My husband and I sat at our kids swim lesson last week while a woman remarked that she needed a tan so badly. She said this while being very tanned already and yes her friend had a beautiful sensational brown tan.
John and I immediately smirked at one another and chuckled at what she must have thought of us. We must be simply appalling. Both my husband and I are natural redheads… gingers… carrot tops… highlanders… in our pasty white skin that covers with beautiful freckles as we spend our time in the sun. My mother used to say if her freckles would ever connect she would have the most beautiful tan, but even as she is in her late 50’s she has yet to achieve this wonderful notion.
So many people are opinionated. Much like the lady at the swim lesson- they make remarks such as these either to a level I can hear, but the most rude are the ones that say things directly to you. I’ve had people tell me what they think of my skin blatantly verbal in their negative assessment of my skin tone. I’ve been told the following thing directly to my face- I shouldn’t let my legs out in the sun in public without more sun on them. I cause reflections on the beach. I shouldn’t wear black or white because it makes my skin look whiter in the summer. Too bad you freckle what a shame. You know I’m sure now that you’re on a teacher’s salary you could afford a tanning appointment. Wow… you are so white. Get a tan before you wear that again….
What they don’t realize is that our skin simply burns and then freckles while fading into the white that was already there. We- do- not- tan all we do is damage our skin without accomplishing a beautiful bronzed tone. Some redheads are blessed with skin that freckles and tans- I am not one of those people.
We have collected all kinds of sunscreens with 30 to even 80 proof spf. I went to a college football game in 1999 with a visor on and layers of sunscreen I still managed to get blisters all over my face, chest and shoulders… all that remains now are freckles and even scars from that one day. Once a few months ago I stood on the sidewalk with my back to the setting sun and talked to a neighbor for 15 minutes and burned the back half of my body even through my t-shirt. This doesn’t include the multitude of other times I allowed myself to get pink while attempting to tan to amuse someone else and only fail in my childhood to early adulthood.
With all of the knowledge now of skin cancer, I am simply amazed at the ignorance that people display in encouraging people to tan in such a manner. Recently, my father-in-law found skin cancer on his right ear. It has been removed and he has a lovely chunk out of his ear, but his prognosis is good. ::hitting close to home::
There is something in society where we feel the need to fit the mold- or shade in this case. I gave up on that long ago, but now with my children growing older I worry they will attempt to fit the shade and damage their own skin to amuse their peers. Hopefully, my experience will be able to guide them to smarter decisions. I no longer damage my skin to amuse anyone else with opinions spoken or unspoken and I stand up to those that make such ignorant remarks to me.
My skin is not a choice- it’s the way God made me so I walk in the sand with pride in myself and embrace every freckle that kisses my skin.
So if I were able to choose an item for a survival kit on a deserted island- it would definitely include at least a years worth of 50+ SPF.