Self-Love Made Intimacy and Dating with Eczema More Comfortable
When I was a young, pre-pubescent girl, I remember having crushes at school. I had a handful of them, actually. Throughout 1st through 6th grade, there were 2 Joels, a Ryan, and a TJ. You never forget your childhood crushes. I also remember feeling incredibly scared and insecure, because not only did I look different (I’m an Asian-American girl who grew up in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood) from America’s standard of beauty, but I also have severe eczema. Not only was I already itching and overheating on my own, but when I would talk to any of these boys, I would overheat again! But the good kind of overheating I guess?
I remember talking with my friends at recess, feeling very insecure whenever we would talk about our crushes. They would tease me, saying that maybe those boys had a crush on me too! But I knew they didn’t. Deep down in my soul, I knew they would never.
Eczema was all they saw
How would they? How could they ever like a girl who looked like me? At that age, I couldn’t see my beauty, especially with eczema in the way. Not only did I feel miserable and itchy all the time, but I looked just as terrible. So how could a boy ever want to talk to me, let alone hold my rough, bleeding hands? And that thing that I heard some of the cool kids had already done - kissing? How in the world would a boy ever want to kiss me?! And how in the world did you make your lips work that way anyway?! And lowkey kind of gross because you know, cooties.
JC Chasez from NSYNC
After puberty hit, I was head over heels in love with JC Chasez. Hey, it was the 90s and *NSYNC was on everyone’s mind, whether they proudly admitted it or vehemently denied that Justin was their favorite. At this point in my life, I had already found that my love for music was strong, so JC’s impressive range, gorgeous tone, full voice, and striking good looks had my attention! He and I didn’t work out, nor did we ever even grace the same room - stadium, yes, but not room.
It just wasn't meant to be
But that’s okay because it was then that I realized that some things are just not meant to be, and that’s okay. Oh and I forgot to mention that I was brought up in an incredibly strict household and religion, so we just would have never worked out. That’s also the reason I never had a boyfriend in my teens. And that’s okay! I was keeping my dance card open for JC.
My 20s hit, and by that time I had gained some confidence through the performing arts. I sang and itched, acted and itched, and attempted to dance and itched again. But I loved it. I loved every moment of it. Through vocal training and competitions, college programs and regional theatre, I gained the confidence that I lacked in my teens. I finally loved myself. It was because of this confidence that I finally brought myself to face one of my biggest fears - intimacy.
A new crush
On my 22nd birthday, a friend and I had a joint birthday celebration, and he brought a friend. His friend thought I was cute, and I thought he was cute and that’s when I learned that humans are humans - we all crave and seek connection and affection. Things like eczema will never get in the way of that.
People care about you
Ever since the moment I started dating, I have been nothing but pleasantly surprised by the earth-shattering fact that people don’t care about your eczema. I mean, they care for you and want your eczema to get better, but your skin never comes up as an issue. People truly do love you for you. In each and every dating experience or relationship I’ve had, every guy went out of their way to make sure that my skin was comfortable.
Dating and intimacy with eczema
Whenever we would go out, they would have a sample size lotion, hand wipes, tissues, Benadryl, snacks that catered to my allergies, etc. When they planned dates, they would take into consideration the time of day, weather, if there was a restaurant nearby that catered to my allergies, etc. When it came to intimacy, they made sure to ask me where all my sensitive patches of eczema were, and told me to be sure to vocalize if anything they did or touched made me uncomfortable. For that young itchy teenager who thought she would never be loved nor touched, dating was really fun for me. That is a sentiment that 12-year old me would have never dreamed of speaking in her lifetime.
Share your story
My advice to you, whether you are about to start dating, currently dating, or coming back from a dating hiatus is this: Know your worth. You are not “less than” because of your eczema. You just happen to now have a bad-a$$ story to tell on those dates of yours. Better polish up that story because you’re going to be going out on lots of dates, right? Yes, because you are beautiful and hot, inside and out! Any person would be lucky to have such a strong person in their life. You know it’s true! Shoot, if only half the people on this earth knew what we push and fight through with eczema! Oh my goodness that’s where I messed up. I didn’t tell JC my eczema story. That’s why we never had a chance. Every guy I’ve told my incredibly captivating story to I’ve always dated/had the option of dating. Well, gotta go everyone. Time for me to write a very important, possibly life-changing email...
How does your mental health relate to your physical health?