I’ve always had acne. Always.
For me, acne is like the stupid scarf I got from my mother in law. I hate it, but I have no choice but to wear it. So I do. Trying to make is look as unhideous as possible, and only occasionally succeeding.
For the last decade or so, birth control helped me make the scarf look pretty passable. But ever since I stopped birth control, that motherfucking scarf is out of control, growing more and more scarves on top of it, each more hideous than the last. Okay, stopping the scarf analogy now.
Anyway, since I’m seeing the Dragon Lady, I figured I might as well ask if there’s any acupuncture she can also do for my complexion. Grumpily, she told me,
“Oh honey, that easy. That so easy. We do at end!”
Translation: Silly white girl, your body keeps miscarrying and you’re worried about your face? Fine, I’ll take care of it.
And that was all we spoke of it. Until I showed up to my next treatment with a zit on my forehead that really shouldn’t even have been called a zit. It should have been called: Giant Golf Ball Growing Out Of My Brain Scaring Everyone In Its Path.
Because occasionally, golf balls do scare people.
And that got the Dragon Lady’s attention
“Your face bad.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. She then quizzed me about how much dairy I ate, when my period was coming and how many greasy hamburgers I had a week, throwing in commentary like,
“American diet so bad.”
“Every girl come in, face all bad, so many, all eat junk.”
The next appointment, the golf ball was more of a marble. But other marbles had started to join it – soon, there would be enough for a full game. A cruel joke, since I’d never learned how to play marbles. Clearly, The Dragon Lady had never learned to either, because all she said was.
“Your face still bad.”
So this time, she ordered me to write down everything I ate for the next five days and then bring it to her at my next appointment. Heck yeah, I thought. An assignment, and I’m going to ace it. I am going to show the Dragon Lady just how devoted to clear skin and yang-eating baby-making I can be.
The next several days, I was on my best behavior, diligently writing down everything. That handful of carrots, that banana, that turkey sandwich on whole wheat with tomato and no mayo, that sautéed kale. What? Yeah, I was nailing it.
And the whole week, I’m thinking, “damn I am good. Damn my face has gotta be clearing up soon. Man, am I also an effing pro at this yang deficiency thing, thankyouverymuch.
5 days later, I stroll into my appointment, food list in hand, triumphantly imagining the impending celebration of my diet by the Dragon Lady. Once she saw my neatly typed and perfect food diary, she would have no choice but to lift me on her shoulders, carry me out to the waiting room, and announce to the receptionist and all those waiting that I had the most perfect American-white-girl-trying-to-get-pregnant-and-also-clear-up-acne diet.
It did no go down that way.
The Dragon Lady took one look at my paper that I glowingly handed to her and said,
“Oh, no no. Now I see. Now I see why face like that.” (points to my face)
I felt just like Ralphie in a Christmas story after Santa told him, “you’ll shoot your eye out.”
“Tomato, bad. Mustard, bad. Toast, bad. All so bad”
“but it’s whole wheat toast!” I argued, quietly.
She quickly put needles all over me and left the room with my food diary, telling me she would mark it all up for me. Oh yay.
I lay there, needles all over me, dejected, thinking “what went wrong?”
Later she returned with paper I could barely recognize as my own typed paper I had brought to her. Red pen and pink highlighter covered all the foods I shouldn’t have been eating. That paper looked like it had just gotten its period.
And it all served to tell me that not only had I been ruining my female reproductive organs with salads, raw vegetables and veggie burgers. I’d also been ruining my face with gluten, tomatoes, mustard, pineapples, oranges, juices, nuts.
There was only one thing I could do now: never eat again.
Which was a fantastic plan until I got hungry 20 minutes later.
So now, for the second time in 3 weeks, I have completely revamped my diet. For those interested, this is the Dragon Lady approved diet for a scrawny, yang deficient western girl desperate to make a baby and also clear up her acne. Or at least, this is what a typical day looks like:
hard boiled egg
gluten free whole wheat toast (from whole foods gluten free section) with olive oil spread
blueberries and strawberries
mid morning snack:
Two chicken thighs (leftover from the night before)
Steamed carrots or steamed squash
Pork chop/grilled steak/chicken/ground turkey (I alternate so things don’t get boring)
And it really has helped. My skin has cleared. The Dragon Lady likes to point it out to me every time I am in her office. And I want to impress her so much, that I always look forward to her pointing to my face and saying,
In fact, after my last appointment, The Dragon Lady, her receptionist and I were all talking in the lobby and she said to the receptionist,
“See, look how pretty she look now. She pretty before. But now, so better.”
Finally! I felt like I was having the moment I’d dreamed of. It was as close to her lifting me on her shoulders and parading me around the office as I was going to get.
I left her waiting room elated. The Dragon Lady approved! Then, right as I closed the door and stepped out into the hallway I heard her announce to the receptionist and everyone else in the waiting room,
“She eat so bad!”