This is what I look like right now. This is my fifth bout with skin cancer, and the fourth (and by far the worse) permanent scar on my face.
I don’t go in the sun. I wear sunscreen every day (have for as long as I can remember) so how did I get this way?
This is a result of the horrible sunburns I subjected myself to as a teenager- all so I could look like someone else. Back in the late seventies, when we fair-skinned girls were supposed to be bronzed like Farrah Fawcett, I hated my body, I hated my skin. Kids used to tease me and call me Casper the ghost. That together with the fact that I was trying to be anyone but myself back then (if you’ve read my essay in Dancing at the ShameProm
, you know what I mean) was a toxic combination.
|The girl who didn’t want to be herself.
So I baked in the sun until my face blistered. And it was awful and painful and foolish, but still I did it again. And again. Anything to not look like me.
And here I am at 48.
When I think back on all the stupid things I did as a teenager…hitchhiking, drugs, hanging out in liquor store alleys asking adults to buy us booze, running away from home and sleeping in the park….Who would have thought that the most dangerous thing I ever did, the thing that caused me the most harm, on so many levels, was wanting to be someone else.
Now I have a permanent scar in the middle of my face to remind myself of the ways I didn’t take care of myself, the ways I didn’t honor myself, the ways I didn’t realize I was fine just the way God made me.
Take it from me- don’t long to be anything but you. Look like you. Embrace you. Live as you. Be grateful for you.
And you won’t end up looking like me.
|Don’t fight who you are.
Please feel free to use me as a cautionary tale for your kids who won’t wear sunscreen, and to your teens or friends who bake in tanning booths.