Pale in Paradise & Why I Won't Tan

Apologies for the radio silence for the last few days, but if you've been following me on Instagram perhaps you understand why. At the beginning of the week Thomas and I took a pre-dawn drive through icy fog down to Dublin, boarded a plane, flew to Washington D.C., said a brief hello to my parents, left D.C. less than 24hrs later to fly to a little strip of paradise--the Riviera Maya. It's sunny and warm and we're feeling quite spoiled at the moment. There will be more posts from our sunny get-away to come.
Being in such a beautiful, bright place does mean I feel a bit like Casper on vacation. When I lived in Hawaii my local friends used to tease me about how pale my skin was, saying I reminded them of the under belly of a fish. It was all in good fun and since they were friends and teasing, it never bothered me. Unfortunately comments on fair skin don't stop with the light-hearted jokes of friends and family. For some reason before going on vacation to a sunny clime you are expected to start a base coat or apply a bit of self-tanner to your legs (so you "don't blind someone with the glare off of those!"). Once you have reached that sunshine the pressure doesn't stop, now you should make the effort to go home looking like you laid on a beach--it isn't enough to experience it (and get the pics!) people need to see the sun and sand just by looking at your skin. It starts to feel relentless after awhile and people look at you as if you are vampire white and have two heads when you dare to say you're wearing SPF 50. So why don't I just bite the bullet and get a fake tan or even put a bit of suntanning lotion on when I have the chance to catch some rays like right now? Well there is a number of reasons...
It's not my natural state. The main reason would just be the simple fact this is the color my skin is naturally. Anything else would require effort. I'm not completely against altering your "natural state," as it evidenced by my affinity for dyeing my hair! But with my skin I can't be bothered; if this is the color my skin wants to be, fine by me.
It wouldn't be healthy. I know far too many people who have suffered from skin cancer and it just seems like the smart decision to protect my skin as much as possible. There's also wrinkles and sun spots to think about, but mostly applying sunscreen is an easy way to look after my body's well-being. I might not eat a salad or exercise every day, but I can apply some sunscreen and protect my skin!
I think it looks fine. I know tan is more of the beauty ideal at the moment, but I actually think pale is quite pretty too--even in a bikini or at the beach! There were times in the past when pale was the beauty ideal; I'm not arguing for a return to that, but the fact that what is considered good-looking is fickle just shows how pointless it is to worry about public opinions on beauty.
And honestly, I would look weird with a tan. I mean, can you imagine me with a tan? I can't. It certainly wouldn't suit red hair and would feel so...not me. I was very self-conscious of my pale skin when I was younger, but the older I get the more my fairness feels familiar and insignificant. Most of the time I don't even notice or remember that I'm pale. I'm only reminded when someone comments on it.
I have nothing against tans, self-tanning lotions and I think every skin tone is beautiful, but for myself it's clear--I'm better off pale. I'll still be lying sea-side, soaking up every moment of warmth that I can on this dream vacation, but I'll have my sunblock close at hand as well. 

details: old sunnies, Shein dress c/o (shortened), thrifted belt, BaliElf purse, And Mary necklace
*pictures by Thomas*


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