When I started exfoliating my face for the first time ever earlier this week, I was pretty excited. 42 years of oil and dirt build-up were about to be cleansed, not to mention fine lines and cavernous pores into which more than my earthly share of shame and regret had burrowed. Mistakes were written all over me in the shadows below my eyes, guilt heavy around my mouth. I needed this exfoliating product advertised as a “non-irritating, invigorating scrub” like I needed to be reborn.
For best results I was to use this apricot scrub two to three times during the week, so I used it twice a day for five days in row. More is always better. Nothing happened for the first couple of days. Maybe I was more perfect than I had originally thought. And then, on the third day, the skin on my face became taut and shiny; my hairline rose half an inch. My eyes got wide and I could no longer close my mouth. My nostrils flared. Tight.
On the fourth morning I looked in the mirror and saw that my face had burst open. Sheets of skin peeled from my forehead; white flakes sat like a thousand tiny tombstones across my cheeks. Dried blood speckled the areas where skin had been tugged too vigorously during my restorative sleep. My lower eyelids were turned inside out, pulled down to my cheekbones. I yawned and kites formed.
If this was all for the better, so be it; if a new and better me was emerging, Jesus it was about time. Maybe there was an angel in there somewhere, an angel just waiting to molt.