Change Your Perspective Toward Your Flaws

Even people who are pretty confident with their appearance have days where they aren't happy with what they see in the mirror. A lot of times, the idea of body positivity focuses on weight and how that weight appears on our bodies. Though this is perhaps the most common body image struggle, there are unfortunately many more. Some of these issues are addressed by plastic surgery procedures (which this article does not encourage or discourage readers from doing), while others come up from time to time. Embracing how we look with confidence often changes how we feel about our appearance but also how others view our appearance.

Personally, a big struggle I have had with body image is acne. Like most teenagers, I had problems with acne that made me feel a little self-conscious, but the self-consciousness became an insecurity when I started college. As with anyone who moves away for school, I had the chance to make countless first impressions. There were parts of who I was that I had been working to change for a while, especially how I interacted with others; if I was successful, the people I would meet in college would never see those aspects of myself. Yet in all of these first impressions, my physical appearance started to make me anxious. Whether this was true or not, I often felt like people were not looking at me, but at my acne. I felt like my acne was my identifier, and that people felt grossed out looking at me. Unfortunately, I was making the situation worse for myself. Most of the pimples on my face were constantly painful and I could feel the pressure of them all day; sometimes they had so much pressure that I couldn't sleep on one side or the other because the pain would wake me up. Popping them tended to relieve the pressure, but because of this I began to pick at my acne even when it would not pop. This oftentimes led to large bloody marks all over my face, which not surprisingly made me very self-conscious and even anxious when I knew lots of people were going to see me. 

Though I still deal with relatively severe acne, it is better than it used to be and I have gotten better at leaving my face alone. There are still a lot of days where I feel embarassed of the acne that I haven't been able to resist picking at, or just at having particularly large pimples. Though I haven't truly found a way to always cope with my insecurity in this (I also hope the insecurity will motivate me to stop picking at my acne), I came across one thing that I thought was truly inspiring.

Izumi Tutti, a French illustrator, has felt frustrated by the fact that she can't control her acne. Unlike most, who attempt to cover up their pimples, Tutti decided to control how she looked at her acne mentally and in the mirror. Her take on acne shows off her artistic creativity.

"I started to draw constellations on my face after reading an article about the beauty of freckles. I had often heard that freckles were considered an imperfection and not something pretty, so I wondered if I could see beauty in my pimples and scars, too,” she said. “I looked at my skin in the mirror and saw that my pimples looked like the Big Dipper constellation, so I thought it would be fun to connect the dots. I found the result very beautiful and I decided to do it again and again.”

Not only are the constellations Tutti creates beautiful, they give her a different perspective towards her skin. "Drawing has always been a way of expressing myself, and creating constellations with my pimples makes me feel like I have control over what my skin looks like.” Making art from her flaws has helped Tutti feel comfortable with her appearance. She has come to embrace what she once loathed and to view it as charming artwork. I'm sure there are still days when Tutti wishes she didn't have to deal with acne anymore, but by projecting confidence she can feel more confident internally. It made me think if she can feel comfortable drawing more attention to her acne, than maybe I can get past my anxiety about mine. Accepting who you are—physically, mentally, and otherwise—is a lifelong journey. It's hard to become comfortable with something you view as disgusting or flawed. Maybe, if we can make the effort to not be bothered by our flaws, future generations will be less likely to hate parts of themselves. 

*If you want to see more of Tutti's art, constellation or otherwise, check out her Instagram.