So, this past week was FAMU Homecoming, so a lot of my Facebook friends who went there were posting pictures showing that they are proud alumni of the institution. Although I didn’t graduate from FAMU, I did attend for 2 years, so I have some stake in the celebration. After a few days of the posts, I said “What the heck, let me find a picture I can post to join in on the fun.” So I scroll back to find some pictures that were posted almost 10 years ago and I finally found some pictures where I was wearing some FAMU paraphernalia. But what began as a celebratory Facebook post, turned into a self loathing spiral.
This is a picture of me during my freshman year at FAMU. When I saw this picture my initial thought was “Wow, I was so pretty then.” and all I could think about was the fact that my face isn’t as clear as it used to be. Acne scarring has been an up hill battle for me for some years now and this is one of the last pictures that I have where I felt, I didn’t need make up.
This is a more recent picture of me without makeup up on. Most people will say, there’s nothing wrong with how you look, and they’re right. But like anything else, when you know the condition something used to be in and you see it in it’s current state, the contrast is hard to overlook. Although I can stand to be in public without make up on some days, I rarely take pictures when I don’t have on foundation because it isn’t something I want to capture and see again, nor is it something I would want to share.
After I sat and thought more about how unhealthy unproductive it was for me to continue to envy my past, I began to see something else. I thought about how scars tell a story, a testimony. Many people who have survived tragic accidents say that they wear their scars with pride because they are happy to be alive. And although my scars aren’t a result of a traumatic event, they do in fact tell a story.
My second year of college was pretty difficult for me, and although I had been suffering from acne since middle school, it wasn’t until that year of college when I began to get stress induced acne. The bumps would be so painful and whether I left them alone or not, they always left a scar. One after another they kept coming, until dark spots were sprinkled about my face. During that time in my life, I didn’t talk a whole lot about what was going on, but I remember being very unhappy. There were some new challenges and situations in my life that I had to face, and it seemed that I was being attacked from the inside out.
Once I got out of the environment, I began to feel better, release some emotional weight, and the acne didn’t come as often, but I was still left with the scars. So I’ve had the challenge of loving the me I see now; the face that survived.
In all of this I had to remember a couple things that I encourage you to think on in regards to that thing in your life that has challenged your self-love.
For man looks at the outer appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (From 1 Samuel 16:7)
Image is huge in the society we live in today which makes it doubly as hard to accept our blemishes and imperfections. But we cannot forget that what’s most important is the condition of our hearts. If we focus more on the image of Christ, what we look like should become less important to ourselves and others.
Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Isaiah 43:18
As great or terrible as things may have been in the past, forget it! Don’t be so attached to the past that you can’t fully live and appreciate the present. Just don’t think about it, especially if it brings about negative emotions.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! You’re workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it. Psalm 139:14 (NLT- I love this translation).
Recognize that God’s work is good, and some things are just a part of our complex nature. Thanksgiving gives you perspective; a healthy, better perspective.
Memories are great, but don’t let them pull you out of the present.
Learn to love every stage of your journey.
Vulnerably submitted for the Kingdom,