When you are left with many scars on your body, made by your own roaming hands, a legitimate question a skin picker asks is “Will someone ever love me for who I am?” Not only do we worry about being judged by a partner on our damaged complexion but we fear the response to the explanation of, “I can’t help it… I have a skin picking compulsion“. For anyone who worries about never finding love based on this Body- Focused Repetitive Behavior (BFRB), I am here to let you know that this disorder does not stop you from finding love; it can happen even when you give up hope of never being accepted.
On April 15th, 2010, I started dating a man who I met online; this is usually the beginning of a disastrous tale, but let me assure you it has been the complete opposite. As someone who doesn’t go socializing and prefers to keep to herself, the idea of “putting myself out there” is far beyond intimidating. On top of social anxieties, I have this grand ole’ daunting disorder that usually takes a full lecture for someone to comprehend… so I hate dating. In fact, the “honeymoon” stage in my relationship had been a bundle of uncertain anxiety with me waiting for the rejection.
You can’t help but worry that a partner will say, “It’s not you… it’s your skin” or something jack-assery like that. Of course, I would never enter a situation of dating or intimacy with someone until I felt safe that I wouldn’t get an immediate shutdown. This man I met online was someone I had spoken to for nearly 3 months before meeting; he was the first person who held up an IM conversation that didn’t fizzle out after a few days. After confirming to myself that there was this ambiguous relationship forming, I had to find out the nature of this connection
To my disappointment, the first meeting was awkward. We met up again the next week, which was equally as awkward… which included me exclaiming, “You better not be trying to move in on me!” while we were watching a movie together on his couch and his elbow accidentally brushed up against mine. As you can tell, I am really a charm to have a date with. Anyway, I decided to hang out with this green-haired fellow one more time, but this time it was to tell him that we should just stay friends. When he arrived at my home to pick me up, something was different about him. He was more relaxed, more at ease, and he was opening up emotionally.
I felt the attraction to him and believe I did the whole time, but automatically swallowed that emotion in our previous meetings, like I do all other potentially nerve-wracking emotions. I had been hurt, rejected, under-appreciated, treated like crap, lied to, manipulated, and put down in my past relations with people, some of which had been in romantic relationships so it lead me to the conclusion that I have a real knack for becoming close to those who like to drive daggers in my back.
Between wanting a fully honest relationship and publishing FOREVER MARKED: A Dermatillomania Diary just five months before, I had no choice but to disclose my skin picking immediately. I would rather be alone than in a relationship that makes me feel alone, so I had to let my secret loose.
I had the luxury of discussing my dermatillomania over private messaging instead of face-to-face. If it was in person, I would have opened up about this condition by beginning the conversation about mental illness and gauge his reaction before opening up more. In attempting to explain the urges, I would talk about OCD traits, then educate about this disorder. When Jason accepted my dermatillomania, I couldn’t help but wonder, “is he that desperate???” While my insecurities sound intense, but they really weren’t as severe as they were before. In the beginning stages of my relationship, I looked for flaws and signs that Jason wouldn’t stick around. Those indicators never came,
Instead, I grew closer to a man who loves me unconditionally. I became best friends with a man who knows my thoughts without me expressing a word. I became lovers with a man who is unafraid to touch my skin. He has revived the spunky, silly, and lively part of me that I thought vanished when my father had his brain injury back in 1997.
Jason not only supports me, but he encourages me to continue my advocacy and awareness for dermatillomania. With his career being in web developing, he created this very website for me and even took on a designing role (not a part of his expertise). He designed my business cards for me, used his computer skills to update my original copy of FOREVER MARKED awhile ago, and uses his Facebook page to tell others of my successes when he doesn’t even use Facebook. He also took part in a photo shoot for me because I wanted one that showed the world that scars don’t deter true love, which can be seen below. There is something so unique about him (that doesn’t include the hair!) that can rarely be found anymore- pure kindness.
I don’t want to think about what my life would be like if I had played the “let’s just be friends” card at our 3rd meeting. We are so alike in both having our defenses high and awkward in our ways of “hitting on” a potential mate. I would relive everything devastating in my life tenfold if it meant we would be together in the end. If the illogical situation rose of going back in time and choosing having dermatillomania and Jason VS. not having either, I would choose having both. True love is not something that happens often but it is worth years of suffering to finally have.
PS- Three hours after this entry was posted, Jason PROPOSED to me. We are now ENGAGED!!!!! <3
PPS- On April 15th, 2014 Jason and I married!