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Writing + Photography

Memoirs and musings of Darius Bashar. Toronto portrait photographer and writer, in pursuit of all things real, raw and intimate. 

Over 20 Years of Acne {Keeping It Real Thursdays}


It’s hard to see my acne scars on social media, but in real life you can spot them fairly quickly. You may not know this about me, but for over 20 years I had really bad cystic acne. The type that was constant, painful and almost always left a scar. 

I went to dozens of doctors. Tried every treatment under the sun: antibiotics, expensive facial products, cleanses, detoxes, diets. You name it, I tried it. 

At best, treatment would work for a week or two and then things would often get worse. 

I eventually gave up. I failed so many times at “fixing” the acne that it hurt too much to continue to hope that it would go away one day. 

So I settled into the belief that I would have to live with acne for the rest of my life. 

I would never admit it, but I was deeply insecure about my skin and my scars. 

Hoodies, hats, soft lighting, and hiding out in the shadows was my way of coping. 

A part of me wanted so badly to play in the sun. 

To share. To laugh. To show up fully and to contribute

So much inside me was sick and tired of being muted. 

And over time I heard this whisper, growing and echoing from deep within: 

“There is more than this. There is more of you. Let it go. Let it all go D.” 

And slowly I began to take down my walls and let the world see me and my heart. 

It was scary. It still is, but like any muscle you work out regularly, it got easier. 

I have come to love my scars. 

Because each one gave me access to deeper empathy. 

Each one helped me love and accept others. 

Each one, a reminder of my resilience. 

We all have scars. 

Some are skin deep, but most are much deeper than that. 

These “messy” parts can hold us back from fully showing up in our lives. 


Our mess can become our masterpiece. 

You choose.