It’s hard being pale. In childhood it meant being responsible enough to apply sunscreen when I was at sleep away camp (I wasn’t, and suffered many a night in my already hot and uncomfortable cot with burning hot skin accompanied by a serious case of the chills).
High School meant it was just another thing for some asshole kid to point out to make themselves feel better about whatever some other asshole kid made them self conscious of. Now, don’t be mistaken, my skin CAN tan, after a painful, though not severe sunburn. To bring myself from transparent to a more socially acceptable “fair” in the midst of the long midwest winter, I would occasionally turn to the tanning salon to add a hint of warmth to my otherwise icy blue skin (whatever you do, do NOT tell this to my mother). I justified these actions as an aid to the winter doldrums, but in reality those five minutes spent under the stinky iridescent lights transported me to an imaginary world where, when the blinding lights dimmed and the timer went ding, this white girl would emerge with beautiful caramel-latte skin.
I am now an adult and honestly, I have had enough of the nonsense. A small but noticeable sunspot began forming on my face the same year it was so graciously pointed out to me that I had sprouted my first (of a subsequent many) grey hairs. Amidst my concern for weight, hair, makeup, clothes, shoes, nails, eyebrows, static, cat hair and under-eye circles (to name a few), do I really have the energy to give a damn if the natural color of my skin isn’t what society has deemed as the preferred beauty norm? Absolutely fucking not.
Give me your SPF 70, a cute wide brimmed hat and a trash bin for my self tanner. From here on out, I’m embracing the pale.