I’ve got incredibly pale skin. I blame it on my Irish heritage.
I used to absolutely hate how pale I was. I once tried laying out in the sun covered in mayonnaise to get tan.
It worked, but holy cow that’s gross.
When I studied abroad in Ghana in the summer of 2011, I stayed with a host family. They’re wonderful and I’m still connected with all of them on social media.
The first night I moved in, I was sitting on the patio with my host parents. At one point, my host mom told me my skin was “so pale it’s almost blue” at that it “sparkles in the sunlight.”
[Insert Twilight joke here.]
I remembered chuckling at her comment, but at the same time I was a little annoyed. I didn’t like my pale skin. She could have it if she liked it so much… I wanted to be tan.
Long story short, I was out in the sun a lot. For six weeks straight.
Once my study abroad time was up, I spent five days unpacking, and then repacked for a week-long trip to Southern California. Where I spent even more time in the sun.
Guess how tan I was by the end of the trip.
Answer: Not tan at all.
If I get any color at all, it’s bright red. And once the sunburn peels off or fades, I’m back to my pale (blue) color.
This annoyed me so much.
I remembered that one time when I was little when I got really tan, and I latched onto it. I wanted to go back to that color. I wanted to look healthy and dark.
Except here’s the irony. Getting a natural tan isn’t healthy. We all know this by now. Spending time in the sun without skin protection is really bad for you. Spending time in a tanning booth is worse.
So, what are the other options? Spray tans? I’d rather not be orange, thanks.
And I tried a bottle of self-tanning lotion once. It left the creases between my fingers suuuper dark. No thanks.
So I learned to embrace my paleness. Not only does it mean I’ve got less of a chance of developing skin cancer, but it’s also who I am.
If I try to cover up my natural skin color, I’m covering up part of my identity. I want to love my body for all of its strengths and its flaws.
And honestly, I’ve stopped seeing my paleness as a flaw.
I’m proud of my Irish heritage. It’s a beautiful country filled with beautiful people. Plus, I love potatoes. Like, a lot.
So my pale skin means I won’t be able to rock any pastels any time soon. Meh. I’ll be okay.
And for the record, not that I need validation from a man to see my own value, but Sean loves my pale skin.
Here are some pictures of me and Randi back in the summer of 2013. Once again, summer. Once again, outside. Once again, Southern California. Once again, super pale.