In 2012, I developed chronic cystic acne. I'm not going to sit here and say I wasn't blessed with a pretty face, but I will say when someone develops cystic acne, no matter how they look, it's easy to feel absolutely the opposite of beautiful. It's painful, physically and emotionally. Over the next three years, I forgot what it felt like to feel beautiful. Every day I looked in the mirror and felt hideous. I didn't recognize myself. I would wear my hair down to cover my face. I would spend many days alone at home crying because I was too afraid to walk down the streets of New York. I was afraid to see people I knew for fear that they were thinking, How could you let yourself get like this? What happened to you?
It was the loneliest three years of my life, filled with self-destruction and emotional misery. People often say, "Oh it's not a big deal. Don't think about it," which made me realize people have no idea what it's like. The actual acne is only 30 percent of the case. The rest of the 70 percent is the emotional suffering that comes, the attacking your face and body, the guilt and shame, the self-destruction that occurs because you're subconsciously angry at your body for rebelling against you.