LIFE LESSONS FROM DRY SKIN

 Tsitsi Abokoe Muchokwani

I recently developed a new habit of taking extra care of myself and I officially declared Sunday my day of self-care; insert hashtag #SelfCareSundays. Basically, self-care Sundays are days I transfer the kitchen to the bathroom, making hair and skin masks plus scrubs. There is no ingredient in the kitchen that has not met my skin or my hair. Eggs, mayonnaise, lemon, honey, turmeric, banana, avocado, papaya, sugar… and when sugar is almost running out, I switch to salt (please don’t tell my mother). If you are wondering if spices and sauces are part of the crew, who knows? I may have thrown them in there too. Have these gone terribly wrong at some point? You do not want to know. I have cooked eggs in my hair and it took me days to get them out. Please don’t ask how that happened. Other days onion tutorials went terribly wrong and I would be a moving onion in human form. For this one too, please do not ask what happened. I am sure by now you have an idea of how #SelfCareSundays go.

Now here is the problem. You know that one stubborn child, who, no matter what you do, they do not listen? I have that child on my body. My skin. I have dry stubborn skin, one Sunday I almost cried because my skin was rejecting all the love I was showing it. I felt so unwanted. I thought maybe it’s protesting against all the food I’m feeding it; so I changed the tactic. I looked for dry skin and moisturizing products. Nothing. My skin still remained dry and ashy. I’m also pretty stubborn. I refuse to go down without a fight. I declared war on my skin. The search for the solution did not stop.

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One Sunday, I came across a video on YouTube about skin care. I looked at the views the video had. More than a million. I went through the comments. I saw testimonies and thank yous. “Good. I think this one works”, I thought to myself. I have never paid so much attention in all of my classes combined as much as I did when I was watching that video. I watched curiously waiting for the part this lady would start mixing the kitchen ingredients so I also go and get mine and do it with her. That part did not come. That lady kept talking and talking and talking about the science of skin. I was sitting in front of my screen thinking, “Is this still about skin or I just signed up for a medical something class?” I wanted to stop watching, but then I thought, “The views and the comments Tsie. Trust the views and the comments.” I went back to the video and started watching again from the top. And there it was. The lesson on why I was having troubles achieving some of my life goals.

The lady in the video walked me through a whole biology class. From all she said, I took with me three important lessons. Number one: Learn your skin. Number two: The skin’s order of flourishing is inside-out not outside-in. Drink lots of water and mind what you feed your body. What was my problem again? Dry skin. All it needed was healthy food and water. WATER? I do not drink lots of water. My body meets water in tea. Bad habit. The last lesson, number three: Patience. There are no short cuts. It takes time.

That video was no longer about my dry skin. It was about my life. This is about to be about your life too. Now, if I ask you to close your eyes and think about the life you dream of, I can bet my kidney you just thought of the perfect life. What about that one goal you keep trying to achieve but somehow it never quite seems to work? I have those too. Many of them. I would like you to think of that goal as dry skin and let’s revisit the skin-life lessons.

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Number one: Learn your skin. Key word is YOUR. How much of that goal do you know? How much of yourself, in relation to that goal, do you know? Have you taken time to learn the “science” of that goal or you are too focused on getting all the ingredients and bulldoze your way to the perfect skin? How many resources have you lost embarking on a journey you know little information or a lot of irrelevant information about? Have you taken the time to learn and know yourself and your goal? How many times have you looked at the next person and how they are achieving their goal and you rushed to copy and paste without any knowledge of why they are doing it that way?

Number two: Inside-out, not outside-in. Skin works from the inside and reflects the inside, outside. My problem was dry skin. Solution? Drinking water. But was I drinking water? Most times we shoot our own selves in the foot by our habits. We want to achieve so much after putting in so little work. My skin was not being stubborn. In fact, my skin was listening and following every command and order I gave. I gave it no water and that is EXACTLY what it reflected. Dryness. How many times have we sabotaged ourselves and cried foul?

Lastly, patience. There is a famous line that says, “Good things take time.” Patience. One of today’s young person’s problems is lack of patience. We want everything, INSTANTLY. We want events, not processes. But growth is not an event. It is a process. Even if it was an event, an event goes through a process too to come to life. These three lessons are not all there is to achieving goals. There is more, but they are also fundamental. I hope they are something to think about.

About my skin, I am happy to let you know that my skin is now moisturized and glowing. I wish you all the best with your “skin” too. Have a happy glow!

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