I’ve always loved summer. I’ve never complained, even in the worst heat waves. I sincerely believe that I was born to live in a tropical climate. And yes, I realize how ridiculous this sounds when you notice my green eyes, pale skin and freckles. But I tan, I swear that I do! I just don’t tan as dark as people with deeper complexions. And it takes me longer. And I have to do it gradually.
Or should I say, I used to.
Since I had a BCC (basal cell carcinoma) removed from the side of my nose last March, I feel as if I’ve turned into a vampire. They told me to avoid the sun, wear SPF 60 and a hat. Not wanting to go through the experience of surgery on my face and the hideous recovery period, followed by up to two years before I know what my scar will actually look like for the rest of my life, I listened. Oh, how I listened!
At first, it was a relief to avoid the sun. No more longing to be laying out in the warm, caressing rays, getting some color on beautiful sunny days when I should be working. Since I was to avoid the sun, I could simply concentrate on my work and not be concerned about wasting precious sunshine.
I kept telling myself that my skin would look so much younger than everyone else’s, because it is shielded from the evil sun and its aging effects.
I preached to everyone to be careful, avoid the sun, consider the damage and check their skin for anything suspicious. And I believed it. I still do.
But then, I became somewhat depressed. I felt pale and pasty. I missed the sun. So I figured that if I slathered on the SPF and wore a hat and caught just 15 minutes of sunshine from time to time, it would be plenty, and not dangerous.
Then I got fed up with having to put sunscreen on for 20 minutes just to sit out in the sun for 15 minutes. More often than not, I’d remain indoors.
I convinced myself that I could go out walking really early in the morning or late in the evening, when the sun was not strong at all. Then I got too tired to get out of bed at the crack of dawn and too depressed to go out walking in the evening.
And I put on weight. Not much, but enough for me to feel it.
And I stopped wanting to wear my swimsuit when anyone else was around.
Oh, I enjoyed road tripping to PEI and surprising my family in NS. I enjoyed going for drives, and rides and visiting different areas of Quebec.
But I hated my summer.
Spray tan, you say? It’s not that affordable or available around here and, let’s face it, it’s not the same. Also, I can’t stand the smell of self-tanners or chemicals on my skin.
And now, just about the time I always start to shop for a trip south for the winter, I am at a loss. Can I even consider going south for a week when the sun is so strong and my skin has not been exposed for so long and I always get at least some sunburn even if I’m super careful? I think not. Then again, I look at pictures of our favorite destinations, and they call to me.
I hated my summer. Do I have to hate my winter too?