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January 10, 2000

At eleven am tomorrow I値l see the doctor. I値l tell her about this moment and the moments that preceded it that lead up to me sitting here typing to keep the pins from my face. See I知 always convinced that I can stop at just one. Just one little poke and squeeze and I値l be done. I think that was an hour ago that I told myself that very thing and now I知 bleeding and sore and forced to wear a mask of clay goo to soothe my throbbing skin.

I think that I started picking my face when I was about 9 or 10. I have a vivid recollection of poking the sharp end of a safety pin into my left cheek because I thought I saw a blackhead. After several attempts of squeezing it out (the way my mother did) I tried digging it out with the pin. I ended up with a small bloody looking scab that I told my mother was a mole. Several days later, the scab hardened and dried skin formed around the edges. When I peeled it off I recall experiencing the same elation as peeling sunburned skin or picking scabs from my knees.

I got acne in earnest at about 12 years of age. It wasn稚 the cystic sort, just a few pimples here and there. Those few pimples were impossible to resist. Ironically, the more I picked, the more the pimples multiplied and the more infuriated my mother became. Not because of the acne but because of my inability to 屠ust leave it alone. I would spend hours in the bathroom, inspecting and eradicating as many as possible. I felt a tremendous amount of accomplishment when I picked, especially when I was 壮uccessful. If I could squeeze all the white stuff out in one fell swoop, I considered it a success, confident that a new pimple couldn稚 possibly replace it.

One summer, while shopping with my mother, I passed a mirror and caught a glimpse of a scab on my face from that formed from one of my picking sessions. It was gone in an instant but it hadn稚 dried completely and fresh blood quickly pooled in the hole that was now exposed. I quickly wiped it away and caught up to my mother in the store. Following her cursing and swearing was a tremendous slap that sent me reeling into a rack of new school clothes that I wouldn稚 be getting that year for being 電isgusting 墨ot being able to control my picking.

I致e always been repulsed by my lack of self-control. I feel as though my entire life has been one long series of bad judgement calls, indulgence and lack of self-discipline. I have visual reminders of so many regrets: tattoos, pregnancies and skin picking. Whether the picking that I did before I sat here to write will leave scars doesn稚 really concern me now. What concerns me is waking up in the morning and having to face myself in the mirror with a face full of red, swollen marks from my lack of control over my urges to pick. I知 concerned about having to painstakingly apply make-up and taking the stairs instead of the elevator to avoid being too close to anyone lest they see my skin and wonder 努hy? Every morning I知 awakened by the sweet cooing of my boyfriend, 敵reet the day, beautiful, he says but my face is buried in my pillow because I知 too ashamed of myself to let him see my face. How can he believe I知 礎eautiful?

I can稚 live like this anymore. I won稚 use public restrooms because of the florescent lights. I won稚 go swimming or shower at the gym for fear of others seeing my skin. How can it be so hard to stop picking when the results cause so much anguish? How?