Not Me

I never thought it could happen to me. I am an avid sunblock wearer. I wear it in the car, every day, everywhere. It’s such a habit, I have put it on just to go out for a walk in the late afternoon, as the sun is going down.

But, yesterday, my dermatologist and my friend from years ago, told me I had cancer on my forehead. She would have to perform a biopsy. It was simple. This cancer does not spread. It’s not melanoma. It’s all good I thought.

I felt myself feeling light as air walking out of the office. I paid my copay with glee and set up my next appointment. With stinging skin from the frozen bits she froze off of other threatening cells before they could become cancer, I decided to hit the bakery. I grabbed a large piece of strawberry cake, and some delicious cookies. Devouring them, I felt invincible. I’m ready for Freddy. With my can do attitude, what can stop me?

I will know in a few days the exact results, and then I will get to have surgery. I feel confident in the process, but I am no longer bravely eating cake. I am feeling protective of my skin, fearful of the implications. Let me share please.

When I was a kid, shoot, all of my life, I have loved being outside. I loved it so much that I do not remember my first freckle. I have always had freckles. This sun damage is really my skin’s trending thing. I have always felt fortunate to have freckles. I could never tan, because I was so fair as a kid. So, I freckled away. I wore sunblock even then. I can remember my parents costing me with PreSun. I can still smell that stuff. It was so great. With PreSun we could stay out away from the shade and play in the Bay all day long. I miss that fancy bottle.

I have always loved skin care and discovering ways to feel alive in your own skin. I loved those fun Queen Helene’s Green Masques you could get that were supposed to fight acne. I would sleep in it praying none came in over night. I felt like it would keep them away, because night time is when they sneak up on you.

So, I enjoy a nice routine in my older years. I’m what you call at my midlife. I’m almost fifty, and this has not bothered me, until now.

I suddenly felt foolish and guilty for all the sun exposure, sunblock or not. I had allowed myself to become covered in precancerous cells.

I don’t like that what I consider being a beauty trait I have had all my life, freckles, is called sun damage. I feel so saddened by that. I do get it scientifically speaking. Yet, I wonder this. The lines on my forehead are a sign of aging.

I do use amazing products and the lines are well minimized. But, they are a part of my face too. I’ve often said if I was to pay for Botox, I would insist they leave a bit of the lines there if they could. I like them. It’s not that I earned them.

It’s that every freckle, every line, is a reflection of these amazing memories I have in my life. My freckles date back to childhood, since sun damage is mostly caused at that age. So I’m looking at times I played with roley poleys and I built houses for little creatures in that spot in my backyard I remember so well. I’m looking at my time with Smokey, my first best friend, a German Shepherd that never left my side, how we turned bushes into imaginary castles where we could live.

I’m looking at late afternoon swims with friends that lasted until sunset as my mother called for me to come in and eat. Bike rides, tree climbing, and later in life long walks and even hikes in the mountains with my late husband. I’m looking at singing and walking through Oak Mountain. So, I am looking at my life, on my skin. I am looking at age. Age is stories. Stories stacked upon stories that build us into who we are, wrinkle by wrinkle, including our every single bump.

I’m not ready to give up my red hair. I thought about it, and I love it too much. I almost did years ago. But, it’s worth it to me still. I am not giving up hyaluronic acid’s lovely ability to trap moisture within our pores, my collagen masks, my vitamin C powder, or the all the fun treatments that bring out my glow. I love to still bring out my skin’s best.

But, no matter what happens, I am still me. In fact, all of this sun damage is me, more me than I was before. It’s my life stacked up like stars and stories. I’m thankful for the character, the fact that I’m still here, and hyaluronic acid and peptides and the great Korean Beauty Products and prices. I can do this. And, when it’s all said and done, Im using that new collagen masque I bought. I can’t wait.

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