I’ll see your zit and raise you my face.

Zoe is angry at me because I wouldn’t let her miss school today just because she has a ginormous zit that has set up camp on the tip of her nose.

I felt awful for her because having “been there, done that” too many times to count in my own youth, I knew exactly where she was coming from. Who among us has not suffered a similar fate back in high school? One minute, everything’s fine and you’re busy fiddling with your walkman, singing your lungs out to Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, fixing your shoulder pads and emptying a bottle of AquaNet into your hair and then WHAM! All of sudden, you are the second coming of Rudolph and you’re panicking because you know you won’t be allowed to play in any reindeer games.

And for those of you sitting there and acting all cool, because you wouldn’t have been caught dead belting out You take the grey skies out of my way, You make the sun shiner brighter than Doris Day, I just have one word for you: LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE. Now go stand in the corner and shout Don’t leave me hanging on like a yo-yo at thirty second intervals and think about how your actions affect others. And then go douse your pants.

Now, for the rest of us who are not ashamed to admit to a little dose of George Michael every now and then … emulating Rudolph sucks, no?

But I couldn’t let her stay home from school because she’s an honor roll student and if genetics have anything to say about it, this will probably not be an isolated incident and if she stays home every time it happens, she’ll be getting her GED about the same time she qualifies for social security.

Why can’t genetics just shut up for once? Maybe then, I wouldn’t have to take cholesterol meds or hem all my pants with duct tape or pay $30 for an industrial strength bra or have a pound of bone shaved off my nose before I could legally drink.

Stupid genetics. Boo on you.

I tried to talk to Zoe about feeling her pain but talking to Zoe under these kinds of circumstances is kind of like having a conversation with a volcano. You can talk and talk and talk to your heart’s content and it will just sit there, stoic and silent, with bits of steams escaping every so often until all of a sudden, it blows its top and goes all Mt. St. Helens on your ass, after which, it will simply fume and ignore you for the next couple of decades.

Remember what it was like to be fifteen? Show me a teenager who thinks her parents had a life before she came into it and I’ll show you a teenager who thinks texting is the work of Satan. As far as my own fifteen year old self was concerned, my mother teleported to earth the day I was born, complete with credit cards and a Buick and mad culinary skills, having never experienced life as an embryo or infant or toddler or tween or teenager. What the hell did she know about zits?

But nevertheless, I tried.

I was all “Zoe, I know you think it’s horrible but every single kid in school will go through this, you are not alone” and she was all “NO YOU DON’T, MY LIFE IS OVER.”

And I was all “I used to get acne like this when I was young, I know how awful it feels” and she was all “NO YOU DON’T, I MIGHT AS WELL DROP OUT OF SCHOOL AND MOVE TO SPACE.”

But when I was all “Zoe, it sucks, it truly does, I know exactly how you feel” and she was all “NO YOU DON’T, YOU NEVER HAD TO WALK AROUND WITH YOUR FACE ALL MESSED UP, I WANT TO DIE,” then I had to draw the line.

A big, fat, thick, enormous black line with a jumbo black, permanent Sharpie.

I don’t know what it’s like to walk around with an abomination of nature on my face?

Oh No, She Di -Int.

Excuse me, Zoe … have you met my face?

Need I remind you of Bernice?

cold sore

Who could forget Bernice? The cold sore that parked her ass on my lip on July 4, 2008 and within six hours, blew my lip up to what you see here. Not only did she triple the size of my lip, but she also gave birth to multiple leaking blisters and canker sores. This would be the same Bernice who thereafter turned the inside of my mouth to raw hamburger, causing my entire face and neck to swell and ache for three of the longest weeks of my life.

Now, let’s meet Bernice’s younger sister, Millicent.


Millicent moved in yesterday. This was two hours after onset. I have no idea how long Millicent intends to suck the life force out of me, but I’m guessing my lip will be entering a room five seconds before the rest of me does for at least two weeks.

And who could forget my thrilling bout with Bell’s Palsy, when the entire right side of my face became paralyzed and drooped lower than my boobs? And I had to walk around drooling and holding my eyelid open? For six weeks?

So yes, I do know what it’s like to walk around with a neon billboard stapled to my forehead flashing FREAK OF NATURE.

But life goes on and as much as I would have liked to have stayed in bed in lieu of a face transplant, I still had to go grocery shopping, to playdates, to the kids’ schools, to meetings, to swimming, to restaurants, to parties, to holiday dinners and, the best part of all, a July 4th picnic which coincidentally, occurred at exactly six hours after Bernice’s arrival, five minutes after that first photo was taken. Whoo hoo!

But, apparently, because I’m not fifteen and didn’t have to go to Global Studies at 7:30 a.m., I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING.


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38 thoughts on “I’ll see your zit and raise you my face.”

  1. Avatar

    Oh my! I’m sure you’d gladly swap Zoe’s zit for your lip any day of the week. Sending ‘lip shrinking’ vibes across the ocean to you.

  2. Avatar

    You don’t do things by half measures, do you?! If Zoe’s anything like my girls, this will be HER problem because NOW she can’t be seen anywhere with YOU!!

  3. Avatar

    Wow, Bernice and Millicent are bitchy chicks.
    I wish I could tell you I sympathize with you regarding Zoe, but all I can think of is, Oh, you have one of those too?
    Why are teenage girls evil? WHY???
    I just love how you threw “WHAM!” into your paragraph about Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. You are a genius! And I not only sang the songs, I had the poster. Oh yeah.

  4. Avatar

    First of all, OW! I really hope your lip recovers quickly. That just looks painful! 🙁

    Secondly, dude, I’m so far beyond my teenage years that the melodies of Wham are but a distant echo (okay, maybe not. Maybe I was rocking out to the 80s channel just yesterday. And the day before that. And the day before that. And also have a ginormous 80s playlist on my iPod for when I’m outside the house), but you know what? Someone forgot to give the memo that “HEY I’M PRACTICALLY MIDDLE-AGED NOW, THANKYOUVERYMUCH!” to my face, ’cause it still breaks out with alarming, monthly regularity.

    Humph. At least Zoe doesn’t have to simultaneously worry about breaking out and “Hmmm, do I really need reading glasses and my God, was that another grey hair?!?” at the same time.


  5. Avatar

    Raising hand.
    I danced to Wham.
    A lot.
    Had all their albums on tape.

    Now, could those of you with teenage children do me a favor? Figure out how to calm them down and be rationale human beings then pass that information to us that have sweet 5 and 6 years old and don’t want to read stories like this any more because they will be made to sleep, standing up, with bricks on their heads so they won’t grow anymore if this is what I have to look forward to! (that is one hella long sentence!)

  6. Avatar

    You so won that argument. Did you show her the pics to remind her? This is one instance where she is forbidden (because I say so, and my opinion matters here, right?!) from ever saying that you don’t understand!!

    For what it’s worth, my lip has done that once or twice (not lately thank god) and I feel your discomfort…

  7. Avatar

    Oh goodness! I hope your lip gets better quickly.
    I worked with a girl that just loved Wham, she thought George was just oh so sexy. She was talking about Wham one day and said Wang by mistake. I thought I would pass out from laughing with her!

    Sending you lots and lots of lip shrinking vibes!


  8. Avatar

    I’ve had some serious cold sores, I fell your pain! I remember being 15. I once told my mom “yes, but no one cared what you all looked like when you were in high school. Look at what you wore”

    She was so not happy with me

  9. Avatar

    Gosh, I’m so sorry for your lip ailment – that is totally sucky and annoying I’m sure.

    As for your daughter, I am totally torn as to what I would do. My mom once let me stay home for nearly a week bc I had a zit that turned into a hole in my face the size of a pea because I kept trying to pop it. It was a mess. I remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom, holding an alcohol-soaked cotton ball to it, crying because of the embarrassment and the stinging of the alcohol, and watching the Ricki Lake show.

  10. Avatar

    I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago and love it! As the mother of 2 teenage daughters (17 & 18)I am all too familiar with the Mt St Helens eruptions. I offer no hope for those with the teen years still ahead. There is no escaping the wrath of a teen age girl. The trick is to hold your ground and have plenty of good wine on hand!

  11. Avatar

    We are 6 weeks and one day away from having 15 in our house. So, I hear ya. And unfortunately, I’ve had a similar “friend” adorn my face too. For me, it was my upper lip. And I literally scared people. No, really. People gasped. Outloud. I was sent to the company nurse (yes, we actually had a company nurse…it was 1990 or 1991). She took one look at me and said GO TO THE DOCTOR. LEAVE THIS PLACE. YOU COULD DIE! I felt so loved. My cold sore had become grossly infected and the close proximity to my brain was apparently a potential issue.

    You really didn’t need to know that I guess, but I feel better now 🙂

  12. Avatar

    I’ve never had a cold sore in my life, I had no idea it could do that to you! I hope you get better soon!

  13. Avatar

    Zoe must be related to my teenaged daughter, who has either two modes: Giggling Like a Maniac, or The Snarl Queen. I saw The Snarl Queen last night when I told her that her blonde hair was turning brown. About every other thing I say is misinterpreted and The Snarl Queen appears. Teenagers are such fun. Not.

  14. Avatar

    Oh ouch! What is a zit compared to that lip…?!
    Hope it’ll pass soon, looks rather painful I think…
    But I enjoyed your writing though 😉

  15. Avatar

    Ooo, definitely been here, glad I don’t have to go back. Did she try toothpaste?…I think we used toothpaste overnight back in the day.

    Stop over at my blog when you get a chance. I have something for you. 🙂

  16. Avatar

    I love your posts. And I too experienced the whole teenage hormonal facial issue. Still do as a matter of fact and am nowhere near teenage years. THAT is truly unfair and I will shove that in my daughter’s face the first day she thinks I don’t know what she’s going through!

    Thanks for sharing with Best Posts!

  17. Avatar

    I think I read to use visine and it will take the red out, so blemishes arent so mean looking. she could take the bottle with her to school as long as they don’t consider it a drug. And she doesn’t share. And if she starts to have a bad case send her to the doc, they have things to help now. No reason a teen has to go through that anymore.

  18. Avatar

    Three words: Neutrogena Rapid Clear. Best zit medication evah! You know how you can usually feel a little tingling sensation when you’re about to start getting a pimple? Well, if you apply the Neutrogena gel ASAP, it pretty much clears the whole thing up before it blows up to the ginormous Zit from Hell stage. Cheap miracle in a tube!

    Wish I had a similar product to recommend for Millicent and Bernice, but . . . .

  19. Avatar

    I’m thinking it’s time to commit Bernice and Millicent to glossy 8 x 10 photo paper and attach them to the fridge door, all in the name of a silent sermon.

    BTW, where is your digital scrapping entry for said Bernice and Millicent? I know you could come up with something so fabulous to celebrate their tenures.

    (and the volcano bit? That was fabulous. Truly. You just rock.)


  20. Avatar

    I had to add your button to my blog…you totally crack me up. I hope other people can find you here too…you’re too entertaining to miss!

  21. Avatar
    Cold Sore Sufferer

    I truly sympathize with you regarding Mellicent and Bernice because I have a raging volcano on my lip and below my nose right now. Your story truly made me laugh and feel better… And by the way, I just got a prescription for Valtrex and Denavir ointment. Supposed to work fast and kill the pain.

    Here’s to a fast and painless recovery!

  22. Avatar

    wow!! know exactly how you feel..once bernice left you..that nasty lil’ witch visited me! kid you not..i looked like octo-mom undercover..and hurts like hell…and i think it’s not fully healed yet..(she came about 2 weeks ago) although all gone..somehow still feel traces of her in my lip…zit over the lip ANYTIME!!

  23. Avatar

    Hello I just stumbled on your site as i was researching cold sores trying to prove it was the long day at the beach this past weekend that cause the enormous lip i have now. Try taking L-lysine, its OTC and it actually helps. I do not have health care so this is what I use and it makes the life of these horrible things shorten to about a week.

  24. Avatar

    So I found this page through a truly terrifying Google search on similar facial eruptions and thus found your blog. It made me snort orange.

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