Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Goodbye Tanning Beds.....

Tanning has always been a hot trend, more so with women than with men, but a hot trend for all none the less. When I was 16 I used to BEG my parents to let me go tanning in the tanning beds.  They held out as long as they could but eventually caved on the issue.  I was determined to get rid of my pasty white outer shell and trade it in for a mocha brown one.  Turned out, I tanned very well for being so pale.  I hardly ever burned, and it didn't take very many sessions to come out with a "golden glow" as they called it.  Problem was, when I stopped hitting the tanning beds, hello pasty pale--welcome back...not. When I got older, pre-Liam, I only tanned for events like beach trips, summer graduations, weddings, etc.
Then came Liam.
Over the past year of coming to understand and process Liam's albinism diagnosis, I have begun to think of our other future children, the ones with a 50% chance of also having albinism. Brian and I will welcome the idea of another child with albinism if it be in God's plan for our family, but then my thoughts turn to little girls.....little girls with albinism......little girls with albinism that eventually grow up and become little 16 year olds with albinism....and then my thoughts turn to that very first time I hear them ask...
"Mom why can I not/when can I start tanning?"
You see to society, tan is beautiful, not pale. No one in high school ever says
"I wish I were pale!"
So when the time comes, and it will come, what am I to say? How do I justify that pale is beautiful when all their mother wants to be is tan?  What happens when I explain the issue with their skin, how their skin will not tan, how it would only be painful and impossible to become tan or in their case lobster red. I can imagine the conversation going just like this:
"It's not fair mom, I'm the palest girl in school."
(Reinforce pale is beautiful)
"But I just want to be tan!"
(Reinforce pale is beautiful, God made her just the way she is.)
"I don't want to be pale!"
(Reinforce pale is beautiful, God made her just the way she is, and remind her she is not alone in this.)
"It's not fair mom, you get to be tan! I want get to tan like you!" (Not that any kid in high school ever wants to be like their mom but you get the idea.)
Insert heart break here......
How....How do you justify and explain this to your 16 year old daughter? My 16 year old self pulled out a similar complaint and I know looking back no response would have done the trick...

To me, and this is my own personal belief, it is not enough to just tell my children, my pale children with albinism, that I think they are beautiful.... I need to show them I believe it. Show them I desire to be just like THEM not society's version of beautiful. That I believe my own pale skin, though tan in comparison to their's, to be beautiful and just how God made me.  That I disagree with society and desire not to change my pasty pale skin.

I want to be like the moms who shave their heads for their children with cancer, showing them beauty is not in a girls hair or any other outer embellishments ..beauty is deeper than skin and hair, make up and jewelry.  Beauty is what is on the inside. So to do that, I must try to embrace my pale outer shell so that one day I can show my daughters that OUR outsides are beautiful just as our insides because they are just the way God made us.
Pale is beautiful.............[and it's about time society discovered this as well]
So goodbye tanning beds, hello pale! Welcome back! Even in the face of two summer weddings, you'll do just fine for this mom.

Embracing it, even in short bridesmaid dresses!