A super-hot new guy asked me on a date to go paddle boarding. I had a million reasons to say yes. The weather had been beautiful. I am a great swimmer in case I fall into the Potomac River. In addition, at the time I was not wearing a weave so this girl had no fear of getting her hair wet. There was one big reason I thought about saying no, psoriasis.
The trusty Mayo Clinic describes Psoriasis as a skin disease that “Speeds up the life cycle of skin cells causing cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form scales and red patches that are itchy and sometimes painful.” A few years ago, my dermatologist informed me I have this condition and probably will the rest of my life. I believe her because as soon as I brag about being “cured” it comes back.
I am not a doctor. I am still unsure what caused it. It doesn’t run in my family at all and it’s less prevalent for us melanin queens. However, it is still common with millions of people diagnosed in the US most with much more severe cases than mine. Some causes include, stress, hormones, weather and infection. I had reoccurring strep throat around the time of my first psoriasis flare up so I’m guessing infection could be the culprit.
Looking back on my first sighting of the rash on my whole body, I realize that most of my concerns were very superficial. Instead of being concerned about psoriasis and it’s link to my immune system issues I thought about vanity. What will people say or think? Can I cover the spots on my face with makeup? Will I have to blur my skin out in pictures? Will this ruin my precious long legs that I love to show off because I lack of T&A?
All of these things hit me like a brick. A coworker joked about me having full body herpes or leprosy, a hair stylist wore rubber gloves my entire appointment even after I told her it’s not contagious, and a date said, “You must taste good because you have bug bites all over you.” (No, he didn’t hear from me after that night.)
It took a couple tears, Epsom salt-oatmeal-lavender baths and a wakeup call from my then roommate for me to get over it. I have a lot more going for myself than my skin so why would I let a widespread rash dictate my self-esteem, my outfits, my plans and my relationships.
Still I am not completely unbothered. I get itchy especially now that I don’t have a bath tub and I get super annoyed washing my sheets way too often because my prescription creams probably get all over them. Plus, shaving my legs around random patches gets difficult, but these things are trivial. Most cases are much worse than mine. I definitely recommend seeing a dermatologist or two, trying their different methods to see what works for you, de-stressing your lifestyle and eventually just accepting every inch of that extra uniqueness God put on these great bodies of ours.
I also found comfort knowing that Kim Kardashain has psoriasis too and she’s always naked so I can definitely wear shorts and T-shirts. I hope sharing my story can give someone that extra boost that Kim’s gave me. Whether it’s your skin or any other part of your appearance, focus instead on all that good stuff you have going on in your heart, mind and spirit.
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