Click here to read part one. Click here to read part two.

My favourite wonderful, beautiful, joy filled summer event

This festival was unlike any party I had been to in high school or overseas. It changed my life. I had always had a bit of a free spirit, but suddenly my free spirit had a place. Here was a few hundred peaceful people gathered together in this incredibly beautiful forest, by this amazingly gorgeous ocean, listening to great music, enjoying dancing, art, food, and truly enjoying each other and their life for this one magical weekend. And this was all happening in my hometown! Not down the road, or in a farflung country… my hometown!

I’ve since been very attached to Powell River, as I have been back there to work every summer at a fun little kayak shop, and discovered a whole new side of the town that I never knew about in high school. Every summer I enjoy the Diversity Festival, as well as other outdoor gatherings like it, dance my face off, and it is, without a doubt, these moments in my life that I truly feel the most alive. I think this was a pretty important discovery.

As much as I loved these weekends of festival magic, there was one thing that I hated about them… and it was that I was always so anxious about how my skin looked. Camping was one of the only times I was without my face wash and my benzoyl. It was hard to sneak away from your friends to find somewhere to slather on your meds and cover up your spots in secret, especially when the only facilities were outhouses! I was ultra aware about how my old foe, acne, infringed upon my favourite moments, and I was resentful. I wanted to be a free spirit after all! I didn’t want to be tied down to anything, especially not this face washing and makeup routine and the fearful attachment that comes with it. 

My kayak shop in Lund, BC

Cue this past winter. It’s the new year of 2010 and I’m still wasting my winters doing something aimless until I can go home to Powell River for the summer to dance up a storm and live the good life. I’m in Vancouver this time, working in a cool pub on Commercial Drive. Benzoyl Peroxide has long stopped working, and my acne problem is growing slowly but surely.

All of a sudden sometime after Christmas, I began breaking out worse than anything I had ever imagined. It started on my forehead and spread all the way down my face until I could hardly recognize myself. I thought it was the face wash I was using, so I ditched it – praying for my skin to go back to normal. But it just continued to get worse, and worse, and worse.

I was beyond traumatized.

I don’t know what triggered it exactly or what all the causes were of this sudden worsening of acne… but you can imagine I poured over every little thing it could possibly have been. I tried creams, supplements, anything. I was desperate and lost. I piled makeup on and carefully placed my bangs across my forehead, just wanting to hide my head. I managed to look okay in public, but this made it worse because on the rare occasions when I’d break down and tell someone what I was going through, they could hardly believe that I wasn’t completely overreacting. I hid it as best I could. They didn’t understand that underneath the carefully placed mask, I felt like a monster. I cried when I went home to wash my face and look in the mirror.

At the worst of it, March 2010

I knew what needed to be done, and I knew that it needed to be done naturally. I wanted to bring my body to a state in which acne was not going to come back like this ever again, and I knew that no drug with it’s insane side effects were going to do that. You can read more about why I decided to go natural with treating my acne in this article here.

I quit my job and I moved back to my beloved hometown for the summer and started my new, healthier life, while trying to work through all the emotions that this bout with acne had put me through. I had never experienced anything like this before, and I was forced to realize where these feelings of low self esteem and self worth were stemming from. If you want to know more about my emotional journey, you can read about in this article here.

2010 was a crazy year for me. It was really tough. I had to realize that I was not superhuman and that there was no shield around me. Bad things could happen and I need to learn to accept and work through them, instead of let them destroy me. My ego was ripped apart and I’m still in the process of rebuilding it as self esteem, and it’s been a pretty amazing journey.

I hate acne. So do you. So does everyone. But in a way, I’m glad that I’ve had it. I never would have experienced the growth that I have unless I had to go through a personal crisis such as this. I would have just gone on living my semi-charmed life until something worse came along to destroy it.

Believe me, acne taught me more about myself and what I’m capable of than any solo backpacking trip ever could.

Me in Yosemite National Park, California, September 2010. Finally brave enough to not wear makeup for the first time in pretty much my entire life.

I’m back in Vancouver now, a year later, looking to the future. Fear still follows me sometimes, but I’m optimistic. I refuse to do any more waitressing gigs, or meaningless jobs just to get by. I’ve realized that I’ve continued to sell myself short throughout my life, still stuck in the mindset that I am capable of anything but that no one will take this cute little girl seriously… so why try? No more of that – I want to help people and I want to empower people to exile their acne and change their lives for the better, and that is what I intend to do.

Thanks for reading my story – I know it was long.

It is my sincere hope that you stick with me and keep reading my blog. I don’t want you to give up because there is hope for you and everyone out there. I know that you all have the strength and courage inside you to bring the life you always wanted into reality.

Peace and happiness my darlings 🙂

If you’d like to know even more about my personal life, interests, and day to day life, click here to read a follow up article in which I answer all kinds of questions about me!

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kayak photo by ScruffoftheNeck