Wow. It seems like just yesterday we first met in the 8th grade girls’ bathroom. Remember? You walked in, giggling and gossiping with your friends, then caught a peek of yourself in the mirror and darted over to it, your knock-off Doc Martens squeaking across the tile floor. You couldn’t stop staring at me. We were both so bubbly then: you, high on hormones and Fruitopia; and me, just in the literal sense.
Your friends pretended not to have noticed me, but you knew they were lying. Remember how you snuck a squeeze when they weren’t looking and I erupted, straight onto the mirror? And then you pretended to be “so tired!” and leaned awkwardly against the mirror to wipe it with your sleeve before anyone noticed? Ah, good times.
We’ve been inseparable since then. I’ve been there for all your big events: campaigning for class president, proms, graduations, job interviews, work presentations. Your mom and your dermatologist said it wouldn’t last, that you’d “grow out of it.” Well, here we are, 20 years later, proving them wrong!
Granted, sometimes I do feel like you’re trying to get rid of me. The benzoyl peroxide episodes really stung, but in the end, we bounced back stronger than ever, and the only reminders of that unpleasantness are your bleached sheets and that weird Uzbeki cream you bought online in a moment of desperation (thank god that chemical burn was only temporary!).
Even then, I truly never doubted us. And I’ve stuck with you in your times of need, like when your hormones flare once a month and you get super emotional. I just dig in deeper than ever to prove to you that I’m not afraid (even when you wield a safety pin) and I’ll always be there for you. No matter how combative you’ve sometimes been, I know you want me around. You always invite me back when you’ve been drinking—not washing your face before bed, napping against a subway pole, guzzling bacon like it’s water the next morning…
I know you’ve been worrying lately that you’re too old for me. I witnessed your full-on meltdown after the four hours of Googling “old people with pimples” and “is zit-wrinkle cream a thing?” But you’re thinking about this all wrong. Having me on your arm (or, more likely, right between your eyes) keeps you young! Do you think anyone notices your crow’s feet when you have an inflamed whitehead on your chin? Your under-eye circles might impart a certain this-isn’t-what-I-thought-my-life-would-be weariness, but your forehead glistens with girlish spirit!
Stick with me, babe. There’s so much still ahead for us. What would your wedding day be if I didn’t make an appearance, somewhere obvious and difficult to conceal, like your chest or the tip of your nose? And to what would you attribute the “pregnancy glow,” if not the sheen of oily skin and a beacon-like cluster of pimples? The future is bright (and bulbous)! Here’s to another 20 years!