I had a function to go to recently that my family would be at, in particular my cousins who I have known all my life and wanted to be like when I grew up. I wanted to be tan like them. I decided that my legs were too white, so I used some self tanner that I had gotten for my daughter to use. It looked very natural on her and didn't have the odor of some I had used in the past winters, years ago that turned me off from them and kept me tanning. I put it on and was hoping that it would give me a little color by that afternoon. I also wore capri's even though I originally thought I would wear something short enough to show off my scar. In the hopes that they would see it and stop tanning maybe...but instead I decided not to show off my scar and to use the self tanner. When I got there, I saw that one of my cousin's was actually not tan. I was pretty sure that it was not because of me. She probably just hasn't had time to tan putting the function together. The other cousin, (they are sisters) was so tan it made me sick to my stomach. I haven't seen her in awhile and she has moved to Arizona in the last few years. She was pretty much always tan ever since I can remember, but she was SO dark. I have never seen anyone that dark in person. We are talking Tan Mom dark. Her chest was literally brown. I couldn't help but feel like I don't matter to her as much as she matters to me. She gave me a long hug and told me that she sees everything I post on Facebook about tanning and that she is very proud of me. She said she hasn't been tanning all of last year, but went tubing with friends and wanted to show all of us from Michigan that she lives in Arizona, so she got tan before she got here. I didn't know what to say to her. I really didn't say anything other than thank you. I didn't want to get upset and I didn't feel like lecturing her. I know she wouldn't stop even if I did. I was a tanning addict once, and I would still be if I didn't get diagnosed with melanoma and basal cell carcinoma. So, I just decided to let it go. I can't MAKE people change. She even said herself that she sees everything I post.
I wish I had not used the self tanner.
I wish I had worn the shorter skirt to show off my scar.
I wish that I didn't have to feel so self conscious about how I look all the time.
Then I started questioning why I didn't show off my scar or go pale or say something to her! I guess I don't know the answer to all of that. I might have not wanted to draw obvious attention to myself, or maybe I wanted to fit in and be accepted. I regretted using the self tanner later when the smell mixed with the sweat smelled horrible! I was so disappointed in myself. I promise myself that from here on out, I will NEVER be ashamed of myself. I will wear my scars with pride. I will not try to change myself to make others happy and I will not hide the Melanoma Me to make others comfortable. I am who I am, and I am still learning. I learned a lot that day. I have never loved myself. I always want to change something to look better. I am still learning to love myself. I will keep learning to accept myself and to embrace myself, Melanoma Me and all!