When I was 17, I started using birth control. I wasn’t fucking around, far from that. My virgin ass just wanted those sweet, sweet benefits that came along with taking it. I heard that you could lose a little weight, rid your skin of acne, and drop that period. I tried so many things to cure my acne, I even went to a dermatologist for a few years, but everything they gave me dried out my skin. Even though my acne was gone, the cracks and flakes from the dryness made me just as self-conscious as when I had 100 angry pimples on my face. I eventually stopped going to a dermatologist, it is definitely a great option for many, but it just wasn’t for me, so I just popped every pimple on my face.
I was scared to ask my Japanese immigrant mother about starting it. I knew there was already a stigma in the US about taking it, but I also knew that Japan is one of the least sex-positive places in the world, contrary to what many may think. When I told my mother that I wanted to get on birth control the first thing she said to me was (obviously translated from Japanese), “I gained weight, I don’t think you should do it.” I was shocked that her first reaction was about weight and not her getting mad at the thought that I might be getting railed by some dumb boy from my high school. But it also made a lot of sense as me being overweight has always been a topic in our household. I know she knew I was self-conscious of it, and I know she also wanted me to become a skinny legend. Side effects vary widely from person to person, and after I had many lengthy conversations with her about it, she finally agreed to let me get it.
I didn’t get the pill, because I’m not like other girls, I’m a forgetful bitch (apparently I had ADHD but I didn’t know until recently). I got the shot, which lasts three months before I got an implant in my arm (both had the same hormones). After being on it for a while, I ended up losing 15 pounds, my period went away, and then finally, the thing I was the most excited for, my semi-clear skin. It didn’t completely clear up because I was eating garbage food, but having 10 pimples was better than what I had before.
One more very important thing that helped me was the emotional stability I got from my antidepressants and birth control (I had started both at the same time). I had a better understanding that changing your skin was not gonna happen overnight. I wasn’t getting frustrated with products that wouldn’t work within a week, and I was able to keep a stable skincare routine. I learned to love myself with the pizza face too.
The hormones are not for everyone, but I know that it’s an option that most teens don’t know about. I know girls who started breaking out when they took it, but for me, it worked. Skincare isn’t just topical, but it has to do with what you’re eating, how much water you’re drinking, your stress levels, your hormone levels, and a million different other things. Skincare is personal, and we all have to find the right balance. I know that the five steps of Korean products and the little plastic stick in my right arm help keep my acne at bay. But while I am embarrassed about the scars and the pimples that still appear on my face, what was so much more important to my journey was learning to love myself. Birth control doesn’t just protect me from babies, but also acne.
Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.
Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.
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We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.