There are some who call this generation lazy, idealistic, unwilling to grow up. Let me assure you that this is mostly true. You might put the blame on coddling parents or social media, but I know another culprit that perhaps you haven’t considered – that damned adult acne.

When there are no mirrors around I like to think of myself as a smart, sophisticated, low-key mysterious woman who lives in a bright apartment that gets featured on cool websites. This version of myself says the word “exquisite” a lot and wears just a swipe of mascara. Of course she sleeps 5 hours a night yet wakes up with no dark circles under her eyes.

But then I look in a mirror and – oh.

On the inside I feel like a 23-year-old: educated, making (some) money, in a serious relationship. Yet on the outside I look like I did when I was 13, just with better makeup and nicer clothes. Wasn’t my skin supposed to settle down by now? I was under the impression that pimples were just a normal part of teen life, like braces, or choosing the most angst-ridden song lyrics for Facebook statuses. No one ever said anything about that shit continuing into adulthood.

If my skin can’t grow up, then how can I?

Since my teenage years have ended I’ve gone to college, traveled for several months outside the country, completed internships, ended relationships. After all that internal growth, I should be ready to take on the world. Instead I’m right back where I started: living at home, sending out applications, writing emotional journal entries. And of course the adult acne that serves as physical proof that I’m not ready for adulthood, that I shouldn’t be taken seriously because I’m still really just a kid.

And so I blame my cleanser, or the weather, or makeup. I try the quick-fixes promised by colorful face masks while I scour the Internet for my dream job, desperate for an easy solution. Because of course the fault lies with those stupid pimples. I’m confident that my life would rapidly improve if my skin cleared up. I’d probably be overwhelmed with job offers and genius creative ideas. Oh well – the search for a miracle beauty product continues. At least none of this is my fault. Diligently examining my face for flaws and using my fingernails to correct them can’t possibly be doing any harm, right?