I want to become an influencer but like, for eczema. Do we think that’s possible? I’ve reached a point where it’s become such an integral part of my personality that I feel like I deserve to be compensated for it. A model has her face, I have a scaly rash all over my hands and thighs. It’s called using what you have to your advantage, people.
Having any sort of insecurity or instability—especially when it’s causing you pain or discomfort—can make your livelihood feel like it’s nestled right atop the San Andreas fault line. One minute you’re calm, cool, and collected; the next you’re in the bathroom at work ripping your pants off to itch the spot on your kneecap you’ve been fidgeting at for an hour. Over time these insecurities and frustrations build up until you’re forced to accept how much negative brain space you’ve been allowing them to occupy.
This has been especially true for me and my eczema (we sound like an old married couple—cute!) After realizing that most of my days were spent melting down about a flare up, thinking about when I was going to get a flare up, or wondering what’s causing the flare up, I realized that I’d never actually done anything to try and remedy the issue? There’s nothing I hate more than working hard at something that’s not fun or cool.
It became clear that I needed to make a concerted effort to address these ‘quakes in my foundation and tackle them head on. Not even for myself, mostly for the people in my personal life who were so sick of me bitching that I was on the verge of being ghosted. Throughout this process of addressing the “why” instead of harping on the “why me,” I’ve learned that panic ensues when I feel like I’ve lost control of a situation. The moment came when I had to take a long, hard, look at myself in the bathroom mirror—pants-less and hanging on to my will to live— and acknowledge that I wasn’t freaking out for hours in a day solely because I was itchy. I know I can be dramatic but give me some credit here. A lot of my emotions were stemming from the fact that I wasn’t doing all I was capable of to handle it. I’d put my life on hold to make time for an hour long breakdown, and then pick right up where I left off, having changed nothing about the way I was working through the flare ups. I’d go about my day like a pathetic little Monster of Itch, waiting with baited breath for the next time I’d absolutely lose it. It’s 2019, everyone, proactive is the new reactive!
Unfortunately, not everyone has been graced with a skin disease like me…. good luck becoming an eczema influencer without eczema! But for the sake of being #relatable, I’ll give you a little hint that this kind of proactive behavior can be applied to pretty much any terrible thing in life. Have you ever worked at a job that’s caused you to leave every day with tears welling up rapidly, wondering why everything is completely and totally awful? Eventually you resolve to start looking for a new job and the very act of doing so makes surviving a work day seem manageable again?
If you’re a lucky son of a bitch with a fulfilling career, god forbid, let’s try this: you’ve gained a couple pounds and every time you unsuspectingly catch a glimpse of yourself in an unforgiving full body mirror you wonder “when did it get to be this bad?” But, when you make an active change in your lifestyle, you start to feel more confident— even if the number on the scale hasn’t technically shifted?
These moments of acknowledgement are uncomfortable and sometimes painful, which explains why it sometimes takes us so long to reach the point when we force ourselves to accept the role we play in our own lives. Like me, spending a year complaining on twitter and continuing to binge on sugar despite my doctor’s advice. Sorry Lakeshore Dermatology!
I’ve since put long hours in to finding the triggers that make my skin worse. When I’m doing a decent job of avoiding those, it’s amazing how much better my mood is. Even if I look in the mirror and I am still confronted with patches of red that remind me of what it must’ve been like to have leprosy, I feel alright. When I face the music, I accept that maybe my eczema will never be something I can 100% solve. However, finding the ways in which I can improve the constant itch have helped me feel like I’m the one in the driver’s seat, dammit!
Shitty things are going to come into our lives and try to throw us off. Whether it’s a toxic job/relationship/friendship, bouts of anxiety—you name it, it’s going to come knocking at our door going and it’ll do it’s best kick us of our pedestal. Yes, we should try to avoid putting ourselves in negative situations, but fact of the matter is they just happen sometimes! Instead of floundering and letting it derail our energy, we can make an intentional effort to take back our control. Life doesn’t usually change overnight unless you’re blessed with the beauty one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s 20 year old girlfriends, but it’s empowering when you realize that you’re capable of turning panic into action to remedy any uncomfortable environment.
For now though, I’m going to start buying my followers on instagram and sharing “candid” pics of myself in underwear and covered in patches. I’ll be called “brave” and maybe I’ll get a sponsorship from a steroid cream company because that shit is expensive.