Thursday, May 10, 2012

3-year-old me and loving the skin you were born in

May is Melanoma Awareness Month. Please help spread the word by sharing this post with your friends and family. 

Little me, happily oblivious of skin cancer.
Last week, AIM at Melanoma shared this fantastic new American Academy of Dermatology PSA on their twitter feed (kudos to whoever manages that by the way--you always write me back!) Much as I love bashing on tanning beds, I love this PSA because it digs a little deeper than that. It makes you think: at what point did I look at my natural skin color and start to think, "This is unacceptable. You are ugly"? Was it when kids on my basketball team started giving me a hard time for baring my pasty white legs in a pair of shorts, when I went to the Clinique counter for the first time and realized even alabaster made my face look dirty, or when I flipped through a Delia's catalog and realized none of the models looked like me?

Yes, it was the tanning beds fault that I got skin cancer. Yes, it was my fault that I went to the tanning beds. But whose fault is it that I felt like I needed to start tanning in the first place? Why wasn't my natural skin color good enough for me? Studies have shown that people are more attracted to others who have tan skin than those who don't. Just a few generations ago, however, folks felt the opposite. I hate to think that if I have a daughter she will be faced with the same pressures I have been: bleach this, tan that, buy this, don't buy that. Does it ever end? As a species, we can be pretty self destructive.

Although melanoma is depressing, and my rants about tanning are, too, I purposefully created this blog to celebrate pale being pretty. As a professional writer and a perfectionist, I agonized for days over how I should "label" my writings. "You're writing about tanning," my friends said, "The name of your blog should have something to do with tanning." But I held firm. This blog was to be more than just about tanning. It's about me learning how to embrace the skin I was born in, and to share that journey with others. I think that's why this PSA in particular resonated with me so clearly. On that note, please check out this lovely short video, and make sure you share it with all your friends!


  1. Hi! Love your blog!! You are an engaging writer. Sorry I had to comment on your post, but I didn't see an email. My name is Kalisha Frazier and I'm the blogger for UV Skinz. We manufacture uv-protective clothing and are melanoma awareness advocates. I was wondering if you would be interested in writing either about your experiences or UV Skinz (we could send you product) as a guest blogger? Feel free to email me back at and I really hope we can talk soon. Best, Kalisha

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