Before you get all “off-with-her-head” from my previous statement, let me do some ’splainin’ here, Ricky. <— I Love Lucy reference if you didn’t get it.I was born and raised a Texas gal which means tanning beds, spray tans, and bleach blondes is all the rage down here in the south.
When I moved to Alaska, I was in a whole new place with new views and ideas very different from my fellow Texans back home. Up north, no one tanned; I suppose that’s not a real shocker as more than half of the year there is snow on the ground and below freezing temps. So, “lighter” skin was acceptable—even my ghost-ass-white skin–and people were, well, frankly appalled when I said I tanned.
“I can’t believe you’d do that to your skin,” they’d gasp.
It was like I was telling them I smoked crack on the weekends or something. I remember people looking at me and thinking they must think I’m so naive. And, hey at the time I was 20 or so, so I was still a little wet behind the ears.
Looking back now, I really can’t believe I tanned that much either. Of course, realizing now that we aren’t invincible and bad things can happen to anyone (even cancer). I understand the importance of being healthy and aware of the dangers of the world.
I remember in high school after softball practice I would race all the other softball players to the tanning salon to try to snatch a bed first (so I wouldn’t have to sit and wait around for an open bed).
And, we’d all compare the bronzeness of our skin; it was almost a competition to see who could get the most tan.
I still think tan legs are prettier than pasty, white ones. I don’t think many people would disagree with that statement. And I still feel if you tan it, it will look better.
But my days sunbathing or laying on top of a plexiglass of UV bulbs are far behind me.
After my diagnosis and with what I’m struggling with (GVHD-wise), I have to be very careful in the sun. Like by careful I mean, stay the hell out of it. Because I’ve had cancer, I’m more apt to get other cancers than people who’ve never been diagnosed.
And I HATE when people are like “you need a tan, girl” or “I’ve never seen you so white before” or “damn, girl you’re blinding me with those legs.”
OK people. Seriously? You think I don’t know all of this? This is what causes insecurities… people who have the audacity to make comments like this. And, I don’t know about you, but this has happened all my life.
“You look like a walrus right now.”
Well, thanks, random people who just like to make people feel like shit. I honestly can’t believe people actually have the nerve to say those things to someone. They have to know it hurts their feelings.
Needless to say, I haven’t been confident about my looks since high school, and even then I thought I was fat and ugly (even when I wore a 0 or 2 in Abercrombie). Ahh, those were the skinny days.
And now since this is my third summer post-cancer diagnosis, I just find myself kind of pissed off at the people who get to swim, layout in the pool, go to the beach when I can’t. I don’t even own a swimsuit ya’ll. I haven’t bought one since 2006.
So it should come to no surprise I hate wearing shorts.
My legs are so white, plus it’s hard for me to shave them (cause of the GVHD), and I have cellulite, spider veins and stretch marks that just beg for me to keep them hidden. Lately, though, I’ve been too damn hot to wear capris everywhere I go; so I’ve bought a couple pairs of comfy shorts (no jean shorts) and I really like them.
I just don’t care anymore. You don’t like my legs, don’t look. It’s that freaking simple.
If I look like a fool, it’s whatevs. I don’t have the privileges you may have to do things to my body and not worry about the consequences.
So summer is the worst time of year for me. I can’t enjoy the summery things that normal people do.
The truth is I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care so much. I’ve published some pretty horrific photos of me—hairless, pale, swollen up to the size of a hot air balloon—so people have seen me worse. Why should I care so much now?
Of course, I’d love to say I’m never going to get upset about my looks again. I know I will. I do every day. But that’s me being upset for me.
I am however not going to give a shit what people say about how I look anymore. If someone comments on my Casper-like resemblance…
I’m just going to ask them what they gained from making that comment and then wrap up the convo up with a “you can go fuck yourself.”