Hiding This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   I'm not one of those people convinced she'sfat. I promise.

I would love to wear those itty-bitty shorts,and little tank tops. And, I don't really hate water. I just don't wantto wear a swimsuit, so I make up lame excuses for why I can't take offmy shirt at the beach.

I'm not self-conscious about the size ofmy thighs. I'm not convinced my stomach is unattractive, or that mybreasts are too small or too large. I like the shape of my body. I'm nottoo short, and my doctor even describes my weight as perfect.

Sowhy, you ask, will I do anything to avoid people seeing me in clothingthat is the least bit skimpy or flirtatious? Why do I get goose bumps atthe thought of my boy-friend's hand sliding up my back as he gives me ahug?

Because I'm ugly on the outside. Because I'm scared,because I'm not normal, because I don't want others to think I'm ugly.

When I was younger, the boys in my class called me a dog, pizzaface, even Mrs. Zit. It was fifth grade, and I had acne. Lots of it.

When my parents finally woke up and got me medication to helpcontrol it, I thought my nightmare would end. I dreamed that because ofthe magic pills I would be able to wear tank tops, go swimming and doall the other things my girlfriends did without a thought.

But mynightmare wasn't over. The pills only cured the acne on my face,creating the illusion that I had no more acne than my peers. The acnebeneath my shirt got worse. I couldn't even wear a V-necked top withouta spot or two showing.

The fear inside me grew. At a soccergame, my friend watched an older, shirtless boy jog by. "Ew - didyou see that?" she asked, pointing to his acne-covered back andshoulders. "Yeah," I said. "That's kinda gross." AndI knew that how I looked would never be accepted.

I wanted tohave boyfriends, I wanted my friends to believe I was just like them.And so, I kept wearing shirts that didn't show any skin, I kept changingin the bathroom so no one would know, I kept wearing shirts to thebeach.

Then, another curse came my way: stretch marks began toappear on my hips and buttocks. My weight wasn't changing, and I wasn'teating differently. Now I couldn't wear shorts unless they were long.Now I was even more unattractive. Now I would have scarring from bothstretch marks and acne.

I still hide behind my clothing, andI still panic when my boyfriend touches me. I'm scared he'll find out.He might think I'm ugly. I want to be free of this fear. I want to becomfortable with who I am and what I look like beneath pants andhigh-necked shirts. I want to show off my small waist and shapely armmuscles. I want to wear a prom dress without a back, to swim withoutfear that "it" might show.

I've kept my acne a secreteven from my best friends. Lies flow off my tongue almost every day; I'mscared they'll think I'm ugly. They would no longer say I am pretty.They wouldn't invite me to the beach to pick up guys. My boyfriendwouldn't find me attractive. No one would have a crush on me because myskin is such a turn-off.

They would think differently of me.Wouldn't you?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 10 at 8:20 am
i love this so much!
WritingMarie said...
Mar. 20, 2010 at 10:42 pm
I would learn to accept you for who you are. What you "suffer" from is nothing to be ashamed of! It happens to lots! And I think that people will accept you for who you are only if you accept yourself! Don't hide it! :) Be yourself, people will then love you for you! And not for you acne! :)
Laughternchoclate said...
Feb. 28, 2010 at 4:36 pm
I wouldn't. Why would I care? For guys, yeah. Not so much for girls! If I was your best friend, no way I would care.
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