I mentioned in one of my early posts that there were unmistakable signs early on that I was in the wrong profession, or at least not happy and that I really would be better off in something more suited to my talents. And happiness. Something happened this weekend that, childishly, I assumed would never happen to me. I mean, inside I knew I was cruising for this bruising, but it’s difficult sometimes to avoid the dangers of your environment.
When I started Chiropractic college I weighed about 125 pounds. Muscle, because I lifted weights, in addition to the basic conditioning the Marine Corps afforded me. I worked out every day, carried my protein powder to school. Proud of myself. Then our ridiculous accelerated curriculum pace started to kick in and affect me, with horrid flu’s during midterm and finals weeks (weak immune system) and a 40 pound weight gain over the first year. 40 pounds. I started having hot flashes in class, and my periods became epic.
I’ve always loved knowledge and learning, but at my pace and interest level. I don’t regret what I learned but it definitely could have been offered more sanely, and handled better by me. At the end of Chiro college I thought I was fat. Ha! That was 40 pounds ago. That second 40 pounds came thanks to 6 years of private practice. Stress. Money stress, employee stress, personal stress because I wasn’t a perfect business owner. And lots of New Mexican green chile burritos with bacon and cheese. It was the best way to warm up in winter or clear my sinuses when I had the rare cold (and make myself feel better about life). All of this happened in my thirties, so I didn’t lose weight or have the metabolism of my twenties. Damn aging.
Here in Saudi it’s gotten much worse. All of it. The weight, the stress. Some things have gotten better, in terms of how I think and feel, but physically I’ve declined. Especially my rosacea. I wrote a bit a few posts back about my amazing siblings, to which I also added pictures. In those pictures you can see my very Portuguese looking siblings, with their perfect teeth and olive skin. (I hate all of you) (not really) I wasn’t blessed with that. Nor was I blessed with my mothers peaches and cream skin with a touch of rosacea. I got (blessedly) her amazing hair and whatever horrid genes were lurking in her familial past that made me red. Always red.
When I was a kid I used to HATE when people would come randomly up to me and ask me if I was okay. Had I been skiing or did I have a sunburn. I loathed (to this day) people who find it funny to tease me just to see me blush. Hint, hint folks. People who blush easily don’t LIKE to, and the more we flush the worse it gets. That’s why people with rosacea are warned against pretty much anything that is good to eat, or fun to do. No extreme heat, or cold, or wind. No aggressive face scrubs. Minimal stress. No caffeine or chocolate, spicy food. aka “life” So here I am, pudgy from all the cortisol that comes from chronic stress, first in college and private practice and now…oh God this job… And I live in a place that is 120 degrees at 5 am (I barely exaggerate), with intense sun, blowing wind that feels like opening your turkey oven on Thanksgiving and sticking your face in it, and the rest of the time I’m under florescent lights in front of a computer screen. All the kiss of death for rosacea.
How does all this relate to my creative career change (aside from the obvious…that I need to do it for my health)? Part of the application I want to submit for a job I’m interested in includes a small video resume of some of my personal projects to show my ideas and abilities. The problem is, I avoid cameras like the plague… that is, unless you want to photograph any part of my body that is NOT my face. I haven’t been avoiding this info video because of the content, I’ve been avoiding it because whenever I am on camera I show up BRIGHT RED especially compared to the skin of anybody near me. To willingly be in a photo or video I have to put on so much makeup (it’s actually not much, but I’m a nature girl so to me it feels like an inch of shellac) and as of today (you’ll see…) I literally cannot do even that. So I spent the weekend in Bahrain with friends. Remember that photo of the beautiful sunny, windy, hot sandbar off of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf? Yeah, Andrea won’t be doing that again until the depths of Arab winter after sunset. I woke up the next morning and looked in the mirror. Horror. I’ll admit when I finally got home I had a messy self-pitying cry as I took these pictures, over the fact that my affliction isn’t an inexplicably baboon-red ass or deformity of my hands or feet. It’s my face. Why? Why, Universe, does it have to be my face?!? Aargh! Diagnosis: acute rosacea flare up. No, it is not sunburn, it’s more like heat rash. I’ve never had one, at least not like this. It’s horrifying. I’m not even going to work. My skin (again, face only) is burning and covered with whiteheads and pustules. I’m going to have Carl Malden’s nose. Fantastic. It might seem like I only want to change careers for professional reasons, but it’s also deeply personal. I want to be calm, and happy. Preferably someplace with no extremes of temperature, like on a mountain side in Hawaii. Misty rain, coolish nights and enough sunlight to maintain vitamin D and positivity. Somewhere where going outside isn’t harmful to my health. And for the love of all things holy, please PLEASE in a job that isn’t 95% unrelenting aggravation and 5% fulfillment, like my current one. I want to be me again. :'(
Just as a little followup. I bought antibiotics while in Bahrain and have been taking two a day (doctors often tell us we must take them for up to 6 months). What helped best, though, was the kitchen concoction I made last night. Cold Yogurt, turmeric, oatmeal and olive oil. Painted all over my face with a brush I fished out of a drawer. 30 minutes later when I washed it off, my skin looked 50% better and the whiteheads were gone. So was the burn, at least over night. I cannot WAIT to get home from work tonight and do it again! If you want more information, head over to Frugalista blog, I just noticed she’s posted about
the curse from hell rosacea as well. 🙂