Life is crazy my friends! Last year this time I was getting ready to move home with no plans for the foreseeable future, no idea why my health was failing, and no work lined up for the first time since I graduated college. Now I'm rehearsing for my third show in a row since November! Ya girl has been working non-stop and it's such as blessing. Moving home felt like I was failing in life, but now I know it was just a set up for the next step in my life.
That being said, I'm still learning how to balance being a working actor, taking care of my physical and mental well being, and staying centered while keeping my Chakras aligned on this healing journey. Things have definitely been out of whack. Last night I slept the whole night through for the first time in I don't know how long. It was glorious. With me feeling like a zombie most days, I haven't been writing at all. Not even journaling, which is probably contributing to my feelings of being off balance. Shout out to the moms who home school their children, cook for their family's every day, are masters of the DIY crafts, run successful blogs, AND manage to look like catalogue models every day. I see these people on Pinterest and I'm like....are you real? Meanwhile, I'm over here struggling to manage myself, keep my room clean, and get to rehearsal on time all while looking like a scrub. But that's why I started this blog. I'm not perfect. None of us are. So let's help each other be better by exposing our imperfections.
On today's episode of "expose your flaws," I'll be talking about how I stopped moisture withdrawal waaaaay to early, because I'm vain. Let's flash back to December when I had been doing moisture withdrawal for over two months.
Look at my face! It had improved so much and I no longer had flakies every morning when I woke up. It wasn't perfect, but I was starting to look and feel more like myself. I still had issues with my hands, arms and legs, and I had hyperpigmentation on my forehead and above my lips, but I was celebrating the victory of smooth skin on my face.
Now flash forward to January. I flew from DC back to Seattle to start rehearsal for a show with people I had never worked with before and my skin flared. I tried to be strong and not apply moisturizer, but I just couldn't stand the thought of being flaky around new people. I lasted about two or three rehearsals of being super dry and I started lightly applying coconut oil to my cheeks, chin and neck on days when they were just out of control. When the show opened, I decided to stop moisture withdrawal completely since I would be wearing makeup everyday. I mainly moisturized with jojoba oil and occasionally other all natural oils or creams. I was a little flaky every morning and my skin was not as soft as it was in December, but it was presentable and manageable. Then, after a few weeks, things just started getting out of hand. I would get these unbearable itch attacks, my neck, cheeks and above my lips started oozing at night, and the skin on my cheeks was a puffy.
Then, the week I started rehearsal for a new show, and the day I had an audition, I woke up with my right eye swollen. I had to wear glasses to the audition and keep my right eyebrow raised all day just so I could see. My eyes used to swell up all of the time in the beginning of my topical steroid withdrawal process, but this hadn't happened in, I want to say, 6 months or more. And that was the turning point for me. The only thing I had changed in my routine was moisturizing, so I told myself, new people or not, it's time to go back to moisture withdrawal. I don't care how crazy I have to look for a while, I need to aid my skin in getting healthy, and right now moisturizer is not aiding it. Like I said in previous posts, my skin needs a break from all moisturizers, even all natural oils and creams. My body has to learn to heal itself and provide its own natural oils without outside influences.
I was so worried about what people would think about my dry skin, that I stopped doing the one thing that helped me heal *cue eyeroll.* And guess what? Just like in my previous moisture withdrawal posts, nothing happened when I walked out of my house with a flaky face. People didn't cringe in disgust, nobody pointed and laughed on the street, and nobody treated me differently. People may have stared a little, but I lived. AND I booked that audition, swollen eyelid and all. At this point in my healing process, topical steroid withdrawal presents day to day challenges, but it's not stopping me from living my life.
The moral of the story is, a lot of times our insecurities and fears are all in our heads. I didn't want to be dry around people in fear that they might not think I'm pretty, or they'll think I'm gross, or *gasp* they might stare! (Clutches pearls) Who cares! As a society we put a lot of value in physical appearance, but at the end of the day, I will temporarily sacrifice my physical appearance so that I can be healthy in the long run. People don't know your story or what you're going through, so don't let your fear of their opinions stop you from doing what you need to do for you. If you don't love and take care of yourself and your body, who will? Not gonna lie, I'm still a little self conscious about my ashy face, but I do it because I know it's what's best for me. Sometimes the first step is to do it while you're still afraid so you can build up the strength. Whatever it is you're facing, do you, boo! You got this. If you're interested in the moisture withdrawal process check out the progress pictures below.
I'm Lauren, aka Just Du Pree, and I want to thank you for reading. This is a space where I share my very personal journey healing from eczema and topical steroid withdrawal (among other things), life lessons I've learned along the way, and occasionally the thoughts of an awkward Black girl (no Issa Rae). I'm a performer and filmmaker, so if you feel so inclined, pop over here to see what goes on in my mind on the regular. If you like what you see, you can stay up to date with my work here. Much love, friends!