Shannon: The Journey to Myself

My name is Shannon. I’m 28. I currently live in Nevada in the Las Vegas area. I just recently moved from Seattle, Washington last month. During high school, I developed hormonal and cystic acne so I started wearing a lot of makeup. Because skincare really wasn’t a thing back then, my acne got a lot worse.


During that time, I didn’t even know how to wash my face. I used to use the Dickinson’s witch hazel toner as my cleanser, and that really dried out my skin. On top of that I used to use makeup wipes all the time, I didn’t wear SPF, and I was cleansing my face with these Aveeno cleansing pads. Those things were my holy grail.


I don’t even remember using a dedicated moisturizer. It was so bad, but obviously, I’ve learned. As an influencer, I’ve tried countless things on the market, I’ve learned a lot about the body through my nursing degree, and I’ve discovered what works and what doesn’t.


I’ve loved skincare for over 10 years but getting into makeup right after high school was how it all started. I became obsessed with beauty, and soon after, skincare. However, I was very insecure about how I looked, and that’s why I really relied on makeup. It was a tough time in my life.


I was trying to figure out who I was. I grew up in a conservative family, so self-expression wasn’t something I was around a lot. I didn’t have many opportunities to talk about how I was feeling.  It was considered taboo to talk about your insecurities, and so I poured mine into using makeup. It became a crutch for suppressing my insecurities. Even with the use of makeup, I still just wanted to find my skin - to find who I really was. But, I wasn’t confident enough to embark on that path. I didn’t know how to feel confident in general. It was a really tough time balancing that in addition to my skin issues. I didn’t know how to deal with all of it.


I also remember how all of my friends had clear skin. I remember having friends that I could not lean on or have vulnerable talks with. Yet, I always tried to stay positive because I didn’t like bringing other people down. I never put an emphasis on myself, and I liked to uplift and help people. I actually used to be a nurse. But now, I’m a full-time content creator, and I like to help people in a different way. It’s always been my personality to want to help others, and this was a way for me to put myself out there and live outside of my insecurities. In 2011, I started doing YouTube videos for makeup and helping others with skincare.


Through content creation, I’ve learned to feel more comfortable without makeup. Content creation has helped me grow with my acne and know that my worth is not driven by my acne or by how deep my acne scars are. I’m a lot more at peace with it, and this has helped me gain the confidence necessary to seeking self-love.


Self-love is a journey for everyone. It’s not about perfection. It’s a continual journey of ups and downs. It also brings about a mental health journey. Now, that I’m a full-time content creator, I get to do a lot of mental health videos. I do stuff on my ADHD, my anxiety, and on being more vulnerable with people about my personal struggles. Being open has really helped me gain more confidence in myself overall. It’s helped me get to the point where I’m just like - “this is who I truly am, and this is who I’m always going to be.”


I feel like I’m really coming into myself by sharing online. I do a lot of TikTok and Instagram about my mental health online, and that’s helped me a lot. Now that I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned that it’s important to be open. You just never know how your vulnerability could help others. That’s why I continue to do the work I do online. Whether it’s with acne or mental health, not feeling alone is so important.


As for me, my whole mental health journey has been a long one.  My whole life - I never knew why I was different, why I was always singled out, or why I was always ridiculed. There were no answers as to why I couldn’t fit in or as to why my brain worked differently, and this left me feeling inadequate or lazy. Along with having acne, there was always this inner anxiety surrounding who I was. Because I couldn’t change certain things about how my brain works, I always compared myself. However, this experience has tied into who I am today. The combination of my acne journey and being undiagnosed for so long has made me very strong.


I will also say that God’s grace kept me from becoming a person that I’m not.


When I was growing up, I didn’t have a lot of friends because of my mental health issues. When I moved from Hawaii to Washington, I was exposed to more cultures, and I had more friends. Before, people always saw me as different or as an outcast. They would look at me like - “why is she so different?” But after moving to Washington, I grew because I found people to whom I could relate. God really helped bring those people into my life and to shape who I’m supposed to be as a woman too.


Furthermore, being on TikTok has also really helped with my confidence. Last year, it really blew up for me. I was able to share and create content by being authentic to myself and by just showing random stuff about my day, my mental health, and my real skin. Ever since I started sharing more about my life online and meeting the people I was supposed to be close with, things have just started falling into place. In the last year alone, I feel like I’ve just really come into myself. I could cry just thinking about it, and I truly believe that I’m on the path that I’m supposed to be.