First things first, no matter what I tell you in this letter, you absolutely will not listen. You take pride in being a contrarian: you think it makes you cool and different, just like every 21-year-old in the history of the world… *eye roll*.
You have just been diagnosed with rosacea and you are reeling. You don’t entirely believe that it is true and won’t for quite a few years.
I want to tell you that your skin will get much worse before it gets better, but that there is hope at the end of it all. I want to tell you that denial is perfectly normal and will probably protect you from your saddest days. I want to tell you that you are allowed to request a different doctor if you’re not happy, and that not every one will be as callous and dismissive as the first one you have just seen. I want to tell you that your once bullet-proof confidence will take a big hit and people from home won’t recognise you, in photos or in conversation. I desperately want to share all the things I’ve learned about triggers with the knowledge that you will definitely ignore me because hair straighteners, alcohol, and late nights fuelled by cheesy chips make life worth living.
I want to tell you that one day you will find the courage to talk about your skin and show it to the world, and that through doing this you will find a community. And that community will bring you pride, purpose, and peace. I want to tell you that you are doing your best and that I’m proud of you. I want to tell you that we’re 36, that we have red hair now (do it much earlier, it suits you better than blonde), we are married to man who is nothing like The Type we invented for ourselves and that is A Very Good Thing. That we run our own business. That we are respected in our chosen field. I want to tell you that we still have rosacea and, to you, that may sound like the most depressing thing you have ever heard, but to me it’s something to hold onto: we still have rosacea and we are thriving. It will only hold you back if you let it. It will only control you if you let it. Rosacea made you kinder, more empathetic, more accepting of others. It will become the thing that defines you which sounds scary, but it will also be the making of you.
P.S. Please stop plucking your eyebrows. I’m begging you.