I never thought lotion would change my life.
That is probably a statement that requires explanation…..
I have severely bad issues with dry skin, be it eczema or psoriasis or perhaps some sort of genetic trait passed down from an ancestor that was made of chalk. In dry conditions, my skin will flake and itch and turn red and all the other super fun things that everyone enjoys. It’s been that way since I was fairly young, resulting in a majority of my thighs being comprised of scar-tissue.
[Were you prepared for a blog post this sexy?]
My teenage and adult life I pretty much just wavered between mostly normal in spring/summer/fall to JO-JO THE HUMAN CALLUS, STEP RIGHT UP FOLKS, IF YOU DARE. GENTLEMAN, GRAB TIGHTLY TO YOUR LADIES AND MOTHERS SHOULD SHIELD YOUNG EYES LEST THEY WITNESS THE TERROR! THE ABOMINATION! THE SIN AGAINST NATURE OF HIS CRUSTY, ROCK LIKE BODY! SOMEWHERE BETWEEN MAN AND GEOLOGICAL FORMATION, AND FOUND ONLY DEEP WITHIN THE DON-SKRATCH-ETT RAINFOREST, THIS MONSTER IS A SORE SIGHT FOR EYES! in the Wintertime.
I never did much to fix it, even as I became older. When I was young, my mom would make me lotion sometimes, but it never really escaped beyond my thigh region until much later (probably because I had caring parents being like “Here, lotion” or “DRINK SOME WATER, DOOFUS”). Right around the point I was old enough to decide that lotion was icky and had no place in my life, I made the move away from skincare and into the “whatever, I’ll live” mindset. What can I say, I made bad choices in my youth. For instance, I once paid money for a Shaggy album. So, this was just one of many.
I went my whole life avoiding lotion. In rare cases of really bad break outs, I would maybe dab some on, very very very very little. However, most of my life was just spent waiting for more humid weather to rescue me. I would itch, scratch, probably damage the hell out of my skin, but it was better than the nasty feeling of lotion. The sensation of being moist under your clothes. How it feels like it’s blocking your pours. Disgusting. I figured it had never been unmanageable. Thought I could just ride it out like that.
Then, about two years ago, I went to DC during a point where the temperature rarely escaped the teens.
The dryness spread to parts of my body that it had never been: My neck, my upper arms, my beautiful bald head. Visible places. I had always been able to just shelter the rashes and redness and etc etc etc away, but now it was right there. Which was not a huge deal, I suppose, since one of the only things I did once it reached that point before returning home was go see the Deadpool movie (if you live in DC and remember seeing a dope-ass Deadpool cosplayer with awesome make-up and just like normal “it’s friggin cold” clothes on, then I am glad I could enhance your experience). I was miserable and it took days to subside. It was like a sunburn but with no rewarding peeling period. I swore never to let it get that bad again.
So I started to make change. A bit more lotion from time to time, but probably still not enough. I did end up increasing the amount of water I drink, which is good, but I hadn’t really reached that “Aveeno showed me the error of my ways” moment I mentioned earlier.
Then this summer rolled around and my dry skin stayed. Humid air, itchy thighs, plenty of rain, scaly stomach. It was the first time in recent memory that I could recall still having outbreaks even when the season changed. I became dejected and frustrated, genuinely pissed that I couldn’t get over my aversion to lotion to save myself. That eventually that Deadpool-minus-the-sick-Ryan-Reynolds-abs from DC was going to become the norm. Because I couldn’t make a change to do what I knew was right.
And right there I thought: So why don’t I?
I had two options. On one hand, accept that I hate lotion too much and let my body suffer, let me suffer. On the other, try and teach myself how to tolerate lotion and moisturizers and taking better care of my skin, which the worst case being I just can’t get it down and I’m right back to where I was.
So, I did it.
I moisturize problem areas every night and before work.
I lotion my face and my absolutely immaculate baldness regularly.
I take better care of my tattoos and apply sunscreen better when needed.
And now I have a plethora of other tools at my exposure to help (Naples Soap Company plug GO).
I changed. I am fine with lotion now, I even love using it knowing what it means: that I overcame a SERIOUS mental hang up to better myself. I know it seems silly to most, being that averse to lotion, but it was terrible. If I put any on, I would be aware of it for hours, unable to focus or fully function. Putting it on at night was a definite “no” and resulted in absolutely no sleep or eventually getting up and washing it off. Diagnose away, I don’t know why I felt that way, but it was how it was for decades of my life.
But I fought against it, hard and fast. I started with days, specifically work days, since I have a very active job. I eventually felt comfortable enough to try nights or other times, and eventually it just became a natural thing.
Now, hooray for me I can fight my itchy skin, but what am I getting at right? I’m sure you’ve heard your fill on gross, nasty skin talk. But it’s more than that.
The other day I was driving to work, cursing myself that I am so attached to free time that I can’t spend more time writing. That I am so worried about being upset that I have no “spare” or “leisure” time that I come home from work, immediately flop into a vegetative state, and gorge on tv/video games/ movies/ youtube/ comics/ booze/ anything else quick and easy (your mom BOOM). On the drive I thought to myself “I just wish I could get over this whole obsession with protecting my free time.”
And reflexively my brain said: So why don’t I?
Here again, I had two options. On one hand, continue to protect my free time, defining that phrase by only immediately gratifying things. On the other, was to infiltrate a bit of productivity into these times, to renew my hobbies and spend more time on the things I want to do in order to better myself. So I did, or rather I am now. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m letting what I love kill me, making it the focus around which I schedule everything else, not the other way around. Hell, I’m typing this out on a Wednesday night, a time in the past that would usually be given over to video games or a local bar.
I say it a lot, but life is all about perspective. Sometimes we need to take a step back and see where this perspective can diverge. We have multiple ways we could react to something, and because humans are meaty sacks of anxieties and emotion, any choice we make is going to come with a bevy of positive and negative thoughts. I’ve found it’s nice, when faced with something of a choice on “who do I want to be” or “which route is the correct one” or “do I stay or go” or any other life-altering question, to ask yourself various things. Why haven’t you changed? What is stopping you? How do you think you’d feel? How are you worried you’d feel? How do you feel now and how do you think you will in the future? The challenge lies in our worry that a change will be worse, so dig deep and decide: is it?
Take that perspective and split it. Step outside of the decision or the path and see what may lie ahead on each of the various routes. Decide which is better for you in the long run. Challenge yourself to look at each then without idealism or pessimism. Just logically, what would each choice mean for you?
It’s not an easy thing to do, changing things. It’s baby-steps for sure. Hell, I’ve got a long road ahead on a simple damn change in lifestyle that I’m building up as this massive thing but hey you’re reading it so thanks for the views.
But sometimes it just takes the right motivation. A good opportunity. A disappointment or failure. Pain. Success. Luck.
The need to use more lotion.
So get out there and find your lotion!
(Note: I will be selling “Find Your Lotion” shirts. Just in time for Christmas.)