As we discovered (frightfully) not long ago, I hate the cold. Winter makes me miserable and stagnant. I love warm weather, sunshine and summer. I’m a sun worshiper and I need my daily dose of vitamin D.
It’s an Australian thing, maybe, a coastal phenomenon that stems from spending so much time in the water and on the sand. Maybe it is, as I’ve been told, because I’m too damn skinny and have no insulating tissue on my bones– also potentially true, because I wasn’t always this much of a sun-baby, and I haven’t always been this skinny.
Maybe I’m just some kind of lizard.
Whatever. It all comes down to– I’m a veritable bear in winter. It makes me grumpy and sad and I have a tendency to hibernate. The warmer the weather gets, the more the sun shines, the more time myself and the kidlets spend outside and the cheerier I become. Forgive me if I sound like a dick, but I’m a big believer in sunshine and fresh air as both a mood stabilizer and an immune booster. And vitamin D is a physical essential– there’s anecdotal evidence that supports the theory that vitamin D deficiencies can contribute to not only depression but also the growth of some cancers.
But then, of course, you’ve got to balance potential vitamin D exposure with protection from UV rays. Forget anecdotal- UV rays have very real, very solid evidence against them saying they definitely cause the growth of cancers. Skin cancers, to be precise- melanomas. Extremely nasty f*cking things that they can cut out, only to have them disappear for years and years…
Then they reappear as huge malignant tumors in your bran or liver or spine or lungs or just everywhere. And start to kill you well anyone suspects you’re dying.
My life revolved around the water when I was a child. Where I grew up, we had lakes, a river, more beaches than I can count on one hand. I can remember arguing vehemently with my mum over sunscreen, hats and shirts in the water– there’s nothing more uncomfortable (or, as it turns out, ineffective against UV rays) than a wet t–shirt, chilling and chaffing salty, sand encrusted skin.
And still, despite my mother’s best intentions, I burnt. I sizzled and fried, lobster-ed and blistered. I remember the feeling of my pale, white, ridiculously anglo skin virtually on fire. I can see myself, aged nine or ten, sitting in the cool air of my bedroom in Paradise after dusk some summer nights, peeling great long strips of dead skin from my back and shoulders. I can still feel blisters bursting painfully against the rough fabric of my school uniform, light trails of sticky, viscous fluid down my back. I remember once, having spent an entire long summer day in the reflective glow of the sand and water, being scorched from head to toe– even my eyes were, literally, sunburnt, red and stinging and sore.
I get my skin checked on a regular basis, for moles and growths and oddities. I’ve been a very, very lucky women so far.
Very lucky. For a total white chick who once experimented with tween–age body art by applying a large smiley face of zinc on her back and allowing the skin around it to cook, I’m not going to dispute that luck has more to do with the current outcome than management and responsibility.
I came to the realization– early, actually, thankfully, before tween-aged baking became teenaged baking– that this tanning thing was just not as fabulous as they purport it to be. And, besides that, turning my pearly white skin a deep golden brown just took too much effort to do naturally. And I am the one chick you know who’s never, ever had a spray tan. And really has no desire for one. The peer pressure to spray was well and truly on in the lead up to my wedding (thanks, uber-supportive bridesmaid), which left me slightly bewildered and confused. An eternally pale woman showing up to her own wedding, in the middle of winter, with a tan for the first time ever… that just doesn’t make sense.
Pale is cool. I think I’ve always known that. It’s taken a whole stack of people a while to catch up.
Sun thyself… but do it safely.
This post is not sponsored, but written for the Cancer Council, to remind you all to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide. It’s something so easy to do that’s so important, and one of those things that become a healthy habit far quicker than you realize.
The Cancer Council do some amazing work. They sent the Bump and I some cool stuff, including daily sunscreen that doesn’t make your make up slide off, and their absolutely divine shimmery SPF 30+ lip gloss. Meanwhile, the Bump has nearly been living in her new ’pink!’ swimming hat. My kid’s skin is, unfortunately for them, as pale and potentially freckly as my own. The bonus is that everyone wears hats and sunscreen in 2012- I don’t think I’m in for the same level of defiance my poor mum was (yet, anyway- kidlets are still just babies, really, and we have a long way to go…)
And stay cool, jellybeans.