I have white skin, it is no secret. In Junior High, a boy, who will remain nameless (but if you really want to know, his initials are M.B.), came up with the nickname 'Al,' short for Albino. I still can't believe how quickly word spreads! Before I knew it, all the boys were calling me Al, and some of the girls. I didn't realize how white my skin really was until this horrible time in my life. However, isn't everybody's life horrible in Jr. High? Anyway, back to the point.
The summer after that school year, I didn't wear shorts. I'll admit it, I didn't wear shorts again until I was 16 and well into my Junior year in High School.
I remember telling people that it didn't bother me, but it did! I would secretly cry in my room. I remember trying to defend myself by saying that white skin was 'in.' Really, who was I kidding? I remember one girl laughing hysterically at me and saying, "White skin will NEVER be 'in'!" My Mom always told me how beautiful my skin was and that I should be proud of it....that was my Mom, like I am going to listen.
After years of begging, My mom finally gave in....I started tanning! I literally went tanning EVERY SINGLE DAY, because... the more I went, the quicker I got tan and the tanner I got, the better. Sometimes, when I could go to two different salons, I would go twice a day. Boys that I dated always told me how good I looked when I was tan. Some of the boys I dated told me that I looked better tan, so guess what? I went more! Then, in 1996, I met Aaron, and guess what? He said that he loved my white skin! WHAT? I haven't been tanning since.
I look back at pictures of myself when I was tan and I cringe. I don't look like Karlyn. I look like some processed teenager. My blond hair didn't even look natural, and it was. I am embarrassed.
I look in the mirror now and I see fair skin with lots of freckles. Freckles are not a bad thing, however, I didn't use to have them, I only had them on my nose. I also see wrinkles..I am only 33, I shouldn't have this many! I see years of skin damage because of the tanning bed. I don't see the beautiful milky white skin that I should have. And, I think of how lucky I am that I haven't gotten skin cancer.
I wear shorts now, and short skirts and I don't care what anyone says. I do notice people staring at me, but I don't know if that is because of my white skin, or because of my beautiful looks! :), but it doesn't bother me. Aaron is still (13 yrs. later) constantly telling me how much he loves my skin, and it still means more to me than he'll ever know. How I wish he were there with me in Jr. High.
As far as Mr. M.B. goes, I don't hold a grudge. Looking back I don't think I ever did, in fact, I remember having a crush on him even though he called me Al. We were in Jr. High, we all did mean things.
Now, for the real reason I am doing this post. As most of you know, I have been back in the Theatre because of my kidlets. I have met some of the most wonderful people, and surprisingly enough, most of these people are in High School! There are two girls that I have met that I admire so much, they both remind me of myself when I was that age, not only that they love the Theatre and performing, but they too have very fair skin!
One of the first times I met 'A,' in February, she was wearing shorts, and her beautiful fair skin was gorgeous. I nearly began to cry, I thought of myself when I was that age, there was no way I would have been caught dead wearing shorts! I wished so much that I would have had her confidence when I was that age. I said something to her about it and she said, "Are you kidding? I love my skin!" I also told her to never go tanning, she said she wouldn't. I hope she doesn't....ever.
I remember the first time that I saw 'E.' She was literally glowing, her skin is so beautifully flawless....and fair....like mine use to be. I would see her around and she was always wearing, not only shorts - short shorts, but tank tops! I was instantly jealous....seriously, why didn't I have that confidence? The first time I talked to her I complimented her skin. She graciously said, "Thank You." What the heck? You mean she didn't feel like she needed to explain why her skin was so beautiful?
Seriously what was wrong with me? Why was I so ashamed? Why did I care so much? But, then again, why are teenagers so cruel? Through the years, I have learned to love my skin. Both of my kidlets have a darker complexion than I do, I don't think they will get a cruel nickname because of their skin, but I don't ever want my kids to feel the way I did and go to an extreme like I did all because of peer pressure. I want them to be proud of their looks and personalities, like 'A' and 'E.'
Thanks 'A' and 'E!' They will probably never know how much I look up to them, or how proud I am of them, not only for their confidence and their amazing talent, but for what they are helping instill in my kidlets.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008