When I was 14, I asked my mom if I could go to the lake for memorial day weekend with my best friend’s family. They had a houseboat and a ski boat, water skis, and a giant tube. We were going to have so much fun – I couldn’t wait.
My mom said I could go…but if I got even the slightest bit sunburned I was grounded for a month. Summer was coming up, and she was not kidding.
I spent the whole weekend slathering my body with SPF 80, (using up an entire bottle) particularly my right shoulder, because my mom said if my SHOULDER got sunburned I was grounded for 2 months.
I also spent the whole weekend thinking my mom was a crazy lady.
I didn’t get sunburned that weekend.
Still, less than 2 years later – when I was 16 – I started having suspicious skin removed from my body…including my right shoulder.
I was lucky enough to have very aware parents who instilled a deep, dark fear of skin cancer in me.
Or maybe it was unlucky, because that fear started when my grandfather died from melanoma when my mom was just 18.
Either way, I knew tanning beds were evil before they were even invented*. I knew the short-term dangers (being grounded) and long-term dangers (dying) of sunburns.
This is why I have a “fake” tan… so don’t make fun if it’s streaky!
This is also why I have about 10 small scars, 5 medium scars, and 1 really big scar on my body.
This is why I had a big, fresh new scar instead of a necklace for my wedding:
Seriously 16-year-olds… and everyone else…. tans are tempting, but so are drugs and alcohol, and driving too fast.
Don’t take your skin lightly, MAKE your skin light(ly). (My new slogan…I just made that up. Can you tell?)
*I didn’t really know tanning beds were evil before they were invented… I wasn’t even born yet!