In 1981, I was a Kristy McNichol look-alike, but with slightly larger, Bugs Bunny teeth crowding my oversized-smile. My thick, mousy brown waves had a life of their own and always seemed to lose the battle with the Hawaiian island humidity. I was an average sized tomboy who tanned easily with an SPF army of sun freckles splashed on the bridge of my turned-up Irish nose. I was a perfect tropical storm of adorable and awkward.
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When we weren’t in school, my friends and I spent our days body boarding the Free Disneyland waves of Waikiki Beach. I loved the outdoors, and like a true water sign, spent most my waking days in the ocean. My favorite pastime was riding those Waikiki water-coasters.
I LOVED my new bike!

On dry land, I tore up the neighborhood on my yellow Schwinn bike, complete with tasseled handlebars and glittered plastic banana-shaped seat. It was a time when childhood danced with freedom and Mother Nature was my discothèque.

Then I turned thirteen.

One day after noticing sporadic red bumps on my temples, forehead and cheeks, I asked my mom to pick up some CoverGirl® make-up at the drugstore. I thought I would slap some liquid loveliness on my face and poof; easy, breezy, beautiful.

My color selection and application skills were non-existent, so what I hoped would transform my face in to the next Christie Brinkley, made me look more like an Oompa Loompa. Like most teen-age girls experimenting with face-paint, I completely missed the mark.

So there I was, my bumpy pumpkin face hiding behind matching orange Pee Chee® folders, running around school in leg warmers and shoulder pads.

That same year, MTV exploded on the social scene, so wearing heavy Blondie-like make-up helped support my Glamamouflage cause.

Left profile following scar excision surgery

Theater tricks aside, my skin issues were far from concealed. The little red bumps quickly graduated to full blown golf-ball sized cysts and they were erupting all over my body.

I was diagnosed with Grade IV Nodulocystic Acne Vulgaris, a very severe skin disease consisting of deep seated fluctuant nodules and cysts. Most of my face, chest and back were infected and I would go on to have several surgeries on my face to remedy the scarring.

It was the beginning of a life-long struggle to ever feel normal-looking again.

Next up: Stripping to feel beautiful.

4 comments

  1. Ouch! I 'm so sorry you had to go through that! I suffered (suffer) from horrible acne, but nothing that required surgery! I'm curious to read your next post. Working in the adult industry also helped me get past a lot of body image issues – including my horrible acne.

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  2. You were such a cute little girl. I can remember getting very bad acne in junior and senior high, and being very self-conscious about it. But it was nothing compared to your ordeal.

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  3. wow, Im sure that made life extremely difficult. I had bad skin, (nothing like yours however, mine didnt develop until my late 20s) and it can really do something to the self esteem, huh?You have turned into quite the interesting woman.

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