There are battles I have fought for years in my life, but some were decided from the start.
It’s time that I face the cold, pale facts – I will never be tan.
White Girl Problems are my burden, literally.
My Grandmother is adopted so I tell everyone with certainty that I could really be any number of races, but I’m not fooling anyone with my exotic claims. In fact, I am pretty sure my ancestors quite possibly lived in caves most of their lives and/or underwater, because my skin is not suited for the open-air sun-shining outdoors. (Also, I sometimes think I might be a mermaid, but that’s another post altogether.)
I practically get a sunburn just from thinking about the sun. My skin is what you’d call “white with a tendency to turn red in 5 seconds” as a result of, but not limited to: sun exposure, excitement, nervousness, embarrassment, flattery, karaoke, allergic reactions to jewelry, allergic reactions to LIFE, etc. There is no middle ground – I’m red or white, always, like a delicious candy cane! (Okay, maybe not like a delicious candy cane, but I am all about seeing the bright side of things. Except, of course, the bright side of the sun, because I burn! Get it?!?!?!)
Now, I’m not the palest person you’d meet. I mean, I’m no Snow White (even though I do rock a red bow headband pretty fiercely). However, when the rest of my family can somehow achieve a little perfect summer bronze with no sweat, I stick out like a black sheep. Or rather, a very white sheep.
I was always the child at the neighborhood pool with my floaties on that attracted the attention of any mother within a 5-mile radius, including my own, making sure I was wearing sunblock. I’ve been lathered up more than once by strangers concerned for my epidermis’ well-being. Are you ever in the store by the sunscreen and see a ridiculous one marked with SPF 90 and wonder who is buying something with that much protection? Hint: it’s me, I am that crazy person.
Yep, I am the one who packs enormous sunglasses and a hat and an umbrella for a beach day and uses all three.
On a serious note, I completely believe that being tan is not at all worth the risks of skin cancer and sun damage to your precious complexions, so I’m not overly bummed out about this, but still, there’s that little twinge of jealously having grown up in one of the hottest and sunniest states in the free world and never matching everyone else’s obsession and achievement in being brown.
Self-tanner? I’ve flirted with it before.
Bronzer? I may own a few different shades.
Using my high-quality editing skills in MS Paint? I’ll let you be the judge.
But really, I’m just ready for pale to come back in style. I know the world wishes they all could be California Girls, but let’s agree to let the cast-mates of Jersey Shore be a bad example of physical perfection and cheeto-colored skin. I mean, no one wants to turn into the lady that basically tried to tan her 5-year-old and whose face resembles a Cocoa Puff.
I am a young and carefree bohemian twentysomething who frequently wants to rebel against common practices and question authority, but sun protection and SPF is one of those things where I think responsibility isn’t so constricting to my creativity, and it keeps me looking (somewhat) more normal and healthy.
If you naturally tan, I’m not mad at you, just know your limit and don’t forget to at least pack some sunscreen, even if it’s a socially-acceptable coverage like SPF 15 or 30. Bask in your color, no matter the hue. (And if this post was a movie, “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper would play right now. You’re welcome.)
So, if you’re pale and you know it, don’t be afraid to show it!*
*(Just make sure you throw on some 30 before you go outside, especially in the next few months, because, we don’t want that time you went to Schlitterbahn with your middle school choir and hung out with the olive-skinned girls who used tanning oil and pretended that “oh yeah, I don’t even wear sunscreen, usually!” wasn’t a lie to make you seem cool and then you became a lobster to happen again.)