For a lot of my life, I haven't been all that fond of my fair skin. I was embarrassed when kids at school asked me why I didn't look tanned after a holiday, and when a boy in maths told me I have the kind of skin that just goes pink. I thought that being bronzed and olive skinned was the ideal look... and I suppose that means that I thought being pale... wasn't. How silly. Even this year, one of my first thoughts when Tom and I booked our holiday to Corfu was, "I hope I get tanned." When I went to Spain years ago on a family holiday, I deliberately lay in direct sunlight and even demanded we bought measly factor 15 sun cream in hope that I would get more sun-kissed. I used to anxiously rush home from school to catch the last few hours of sun in an attempt to lessen the sneers of other children criticising my lack of melanin (children who probably didn't exist). Carefully checking in the mirror to see if I had any tan lines and even looking down while walking to dinner to see if my legs looked any more tanned in the evening light are fairly normal things for me. But it's all just such a waste of time and effort.
I tried my best to just chill when it came to tanning in Corfu. I tried to not feel self-conscious of my light tan when standing next to a mahogany family in a bar, or worry about spending every bloody waking hour in the sun. To be fair to myself, despite my past sun-worshiping, I have always been very careful in the sun and slather on So. Much. Sun cream. Skin cancer really scares me and I hate getting burnt. Rather than forcing myself to lie in the sun for hours and get rather hot and bothered, I always lay under an umbrella whilst in boiling hot Corfu. I felt like I was getting enough sun exposure from swimming in the pool etc. I know that despite wearing lots of sun cream, bathing in direct sunlight in the past wasn't the best for my skin, so I'm happy that I was more careful this year. Plus, it's much more comfortable to read a book in shade than in unbearable, sweaty heat.
But when we arrived back in Manchester and were waiting in a queue at the airport, I couldn't help feel kind of embarrassed at my little amount of bronzing compared with the scores of brown peeps surrounding me. I'm sure none of them were giggling to each other and slating my modest tan... but I felt self-conscious anyway... urghhhhh!! It's just so not worth it. Fair skin is beautiful!! I need to remind myself that. And I've actually never been someone who feels the need to fake tan before donning a skirt in England, so why was I feeling ashamed of my paleness?! Probably because people expect you to get a tan on holiday... but not everyone is made that way!
After being back on English soil for a couple of weeks now, I'm pleased to say that I've managed to remember that fair is beautiful and flaunt my light tan. I have tried my best not to care when people remark on my lack of bronzing and I've resisted the urge to fake tan... I can't be doing with streaks on my skin and marks on my sheets. Basically I'd rather have one less thing to worry about. I cba with stressing about whether people think I look tanned or not... it's just kinda silly. I have also accepted that with the crappy summer weather we're having here in England, I'm probably not going to be able to build upon my little tan... but OH WELL. I'm still gonna be whipping out the summer dresses and getting my legs on show (when we get some sun.. fingers crossed that we do!!) anyways.
Have you seen that Own Your Tone campaign by Cancer Research? Well I think it's pretty great as it reminds me that my fair skin is already beautiful and that I don't need to damage it in order to look nice. Yes, being tanned is lovely and yay for you (not sarcasm!) if you go really brown... but you can defo still look like a summery goddess with pale pins. Just chuck on a cute floral dress and a sunhat, wrap a bloody floral vine thingy round your head, wear daisy chains on your fair wrists and ankles... go friggin' crazy baby. Your skin is beauts... no matter what that nasty boy said to you in year 8 maths.
I kind of wrote this post for myself, as something I can reread when I'm feeling a bit insecure, but I hope it can help you guys too. :)