(For this exercise I’m writing from the perspective of someone who has to overcome an insecurity.)
It had started on his elbows. then it moved to his knees, and then to his back, forehead and eyes. It was called “Psoriasis”. It’s when the immune system attacks itself and the skin responds by over producing skin in the inflamed area. The effect is a white like scab that cracks the skin. You can scrub it off, it’s just dead skin, but the skin underneath is raw and red. The only real treatment is expensive injections once a month that would be impossible for him to afford.
So he had to either cover it, or try to ignore the looks.
Covering it wasn’t that hard in the winter. Long pants covered the knees. Long sleeve shirts covered the elbows. A hat for the forehead. It was the other 9 months where he struggled. He didn’t have a car but instead chose to use public transportation or his bicycle. This meant that pants weren’t always practical, and long sleeve t-shirts were much to hot during spring and summer. That’s when all he could do was ignore the looks.
And there were always looks. People starring at him on the bus. In the checkout line. At restaurants. When people would speak to him, he would always see their eyes glance at his forehead over and over. He had learned to ignore it all for the most part. Accept children. Kids were the worst. Especially the younger ones who. He found their honesty adorably aggravating. Being a father himself, he understood their curiosity, he just didn’t like having to answer the inevitable questioning.
“Did you hurt your knees?”
“Was your face burned?”
“Does that hurt?”
His favorite answer to their questioning was, “This is what happens when you don’t listen to your mom and dad.” That always got the parents smiling.
It wasn’t easy. Just like everyone else, he had days where his self esteem struggled in the face of the attention his condition brought. Some days he wouldn’t even leave his home. It chipped away at him every day, but he refused to give in to it.
That’s why he was going on a date for the first time in years.
He had met her online through one of those dating websites. He hadn’t really had any success so far. He was overweight, with no money, and once he explained his condition, most wouldn’t bother to meet him. Then one day he found her profile. He had struck up a chat with her over the dog in her profile pictures. He had a few dogs himself and used it as a starting point. They hit it off pretty quickly going from texting, to phone calls, and now, they were going to meet for the first time after having communicated for two weeks.
He stood in front of his bathroom mirror and took in a deep breath and then sighed. He stared at his fogged over reflection in the mirror and wiped it away with the towel around his waist. He starred at his reflection, noticing all of his imperfections. “Be positive” he whispered to himself. “You don’t know until you try.”
He wanted to believe in love. He refused to let his condition stop him. He wanted to believe that there was someone out there who could look past his imperfections. He didn’t want them to just see the psoriasis. He wanted someone who would see past his condition. He wanted someone who would see HIM. And he knew to get that, he had to go through rejection after rejection after rejection. He didn’t care. If he stopped believing that he was worthy of love, what would be the point of living? He had to believe.
Fortunately, he was about to meet the woman he had always been looking for.