For the most part, I try to keep this little corner of the internet I call my blog relatively light and happy. I think that the world has enough tough days that sometimes you need a little bright star. But I would be lying if I said that my real life was like that. In fact, it’s definitely the opposite. I definitely do not have a terrible life but anyone’s standards, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my own struggles and demons to deal with.
If I’ll be honest, I’m not quite sure how to write a story like this. Being a blogger for the past 7 years I’ve come to terms with putting a larger portion of myself out there on the internet than most people. But that also means that I’ve pulled closer to myself certain things about me.
So when I say that for the first time in two years over this weekend, I was able to look at myself in the mirror and tell myself I was “beautiful”, it was a pretty big deal and something I’d like to share.
I have always preached being body positive. Loving who you are. Surrounding yourself with people who love and appreciate you for being you. But two years ago things changed in an instant at the smallest drop of a hat. One of my coworkers likes to say how life is full of peaks and valleys…and I found myself at a valley. I was going through a tough time in a relationship that eventually ended in a nasty breakup and overnight, my appearance changed. If you look closely at my lips in this rare picture of me, you’ll see a little dark brown spot:
It’s harmless most of the time, and results from harmful UV exposure earlier in life. Less than 3% of the population develops one and for females, it usually appears on the lower lip.
Now, to understand why I didn’t go to the dermatologist for 2 years, you have to know a little bit more about my background. I was a fairly ill child. I was constantly in and out of doctor’s offices and had to have a spinal fusion when I was 16 for severe scoliosis, so I constantly worry about my health.
So when a suspicious brown spot popped up onto my lip suddenly, all hell broke loose.
Now, I worried. Could I have skin cancer? How could I afford to pay for treatment? What if they couldn’t take the spot off or it got damaged and I was left with half a lower lip? Who could ever love me if I had half a lip?
I could barely look at myself in a mirror. And when I did, I piled on the lipstick to try and cover it up. I stopped dating, stopped going out for social outings as much and stopped being in confident in who I was.
I’m not proud of my inability to face my problems head on. And that’s what made things worse, the longer I waited to get a biopsy performed or discuss removal options. I’ve always thought of myself as a strong, capable women but…I can get caught in a vicious cycle of my own mind.
So, as I was getting three shots of Lidocaine to my lower lip to prepare for a small procedure last Friday, I was immensely proud of myself. I had enough confidence in me and my need to move forward with myself to get to a doctor and discuss some options. In just under two hours, my lips had swollen to twice the size of a Kardashian’s, but the procedure was done and the macule was gone.
Today, the scabs wore off and for the first time in two years, I looked at myself in the mirror with no lipstick and no baggage, and I was just so…happy. I had done something for myself, to help myself move forward. That takes an incredible amount of strength to do.
Whether it’s scheduling that first therapy appointment, getting the hair cut you’ve always wanted, or ending a relationship you know isn’t healthy, you have to take the first step for you.
I learned something very important today. Self confidence isn’t a state of mind. It’s a journey – it’s something you have to earn from inside yourself. If something in life is making you fearful or making you unhappy, it’s you that holds the power to make a change and be the better you.