Monday, June 29, 2009

Oh No. I have to wear a swimsuit.

Every year I look forward to family vacation. From the time I was a wee lass it would be super exciting because vacay was always a week at the beach, book-ended by visits to my grandparents' place in North Carolina. My parents let us rent awesome movies and eat sugary cereals (Fruity Pebbles, as a result, will always have a special place in my heart) and all of the pop we could drink. Plus, I would make sand castles and toss around the football or baseball with my brother and dad on the beach. Good freaking times.

Over the years, however, my fam has dispersed quite literally around the country and it makes family vacation a little difficult. Unfortunately my brother and sister typically can't make it due to work schedules, so it's usually just me and the 'rents. Being the youngest (with lots of vaction time holler!) definitely has its perks. The three of us have a blast going out to eat, lounging, drinking, etc. Essentially it's a time for us to be incredibly lazy. Sure we go for runs or bike on the beach...but then we quickly follow-up said sweat fest with hearty food and alcohol. Again, good freaking times.

There is, however, one thing I dread about vacations. Not the drives. Not the excessive time with my family, which some people don't like but I happen to enjoy. Even when we were young, my siblings fought with each other and not with me. Sure I annoyed them (I love being the youngest!) but they fought each other. It was fun. Nope, not even having sand everywhere on everything. I get self-conscious about swimwear, but really? The one thing I hate more than anything is being pale. That's right. My skin. What makes me Me. Hate, hate, hate. To paint a picture, I hung out with the two other pale girls in our class at our tiny Catholic school. The cool kids called the two of them "Cream" and "Sugar"...and me? The "Other Pale One." Yeah I wasn't even cool enough to get a name. "Do Unto Others" my fanny. (My face right now? Frown. Those jerks.) I mean, I own it. I am pale. I can't tan. I match the pearls I wear. If I wore something in a nude/tan color, it would be awkward because it would be significantly darker than my natural hue. Wait, I take that back. It would be awkward if I wore that color in general...I digress...

That being said, I hate being on the beach. Don't get me wrong, I love the beach. The sand, the sound of the waves, etc. But, uh...let's not sugar coat this. I blind everyone. I make children scream in fear of the Great White Thighs. I cannot go for a stroll in a cute suit (with a coordinating cover-up, of course) without feeling like all eyes are on me for being the freak show trying to fit in with all of the tan people. I remember going to Dewey Beach last year. My friends were all laying out while I (sporting a t-shirt and shorts) watched the sand volleyball tournament. I overheard some people in the stands comment on passers-by saying, "Oh wow, those people should NOT be here. They are so pale." Ouch. That could have been me these jerks were talking about. Did I stick up for the pale people who felt like taking a stroll in their cute suits with or without cover-ups? Did I say that everyone has a right to enjoy nature and sunshine and we can't help it?!?!?! No. I sat quietly on the bleachers, trying not to get in the fetal position and sway back and forth whilst softly weeping.

I appreciate any suggestions you might throw my way, but trust me, I've heard and tried it all. In fact, I could document each event. Please allow me to insert artistic exaggeration as I select a few from the vault of memories.

August 1987. Location: family vacation to some Carolina beach somewhere. (Okay, I was two. But I've seen pictures.) Picture me in a stawberry suit (with a matching hat and skirt!!!) in my own little beach chair under my own little umbrella. Dripping in Coppertone Water Babies. Result: "Full on Monet. From far away looks okay, but up close is just a big mess." (Name.that.movie.) All cute kids are cute until covered in flies and sand from sticking to your sunscreen.

June 1997. Location: neighborhood pool. I tried Baby Oil with my friends in an effort to get a nice crisp color. Result? Friends: tan and gorgeous. Me: A nice, crisp, 5 foot lobster. God Bless aloe. I believe I cried under a shade tree all over my neon green one-piece as my friends trotted pool-side in their bikinis cruisin' for fellow 12-year old boys.

June 2003. Location: Senior Trip to Myrtle Beach. I tried SPF 8 instead of my usual 45. Result? Friends who didn't use any sunblock looked awesome and tan in their American Eagle bikinis. Me: I matched my hot-pink bikini, bought an umbrella, SPF 45 and two bottles of aloe, and got made fun of. "The Other Pale One" definitely applied here.

April 2007: Location: Westerville, Ohio. I worked two jobs in college so I could have extra money. What did I spend it on? Well beer, obviously, but yeah. Jergens' Natural Glow and Mystic tan. Result? A nice orange glow and orange-stained clothing from me sweating it off.

July 2007: Location: Washington, D.C. I thought that my orange-ness was awesome, so I continued to do Mystic when I moved. Unfortunately the booths aren't as good as those in Ohio. Result: I could not use my hands lest people see just how orange they were.

June/July 2009: I grew out of my Oompa-Loompa phase. I have embraced that I am slightly a shade darker than the white paper I print in my office all day. I'm cool with taking a sweaty stroll down the beach next week (in a cover-up). I am totally fine with people saying that they are "Blinded by the white" when they look at me in any lighting brighter than those in Recessions. Now if I hear anyone make fun of my fellow albinos rest assured I will not stand by idly under a tree away from the sun. I will stand strong. I will overcome. I will speak my mind. And then I will go back under the tree because I don't have any money to buy aloe.

1 comment:

cal ;) said...

august 1987 - name.that.movie.

seriously? clueless. that's not even hard. :)