On Sunday, I was standing at the information desk at church when someone came in. As she entered a foyer area, a group turned around and welcomed her back from her vacation and started gushing about her bronzed skin. I was about 6 feet from her, but watching this scene. I know I was smiling as I watched this unfold. She said she had a great week at the beach, then looked past everyone at me, and said "I used so much sunscreen, and an umbrella, my olive skin just turns brown so quick" I want to believe her. I am fair skinned and using a ton of sunscreen this year, but I even have a little color. I just laughed and said "I'm sure you did, sometimes you just cant help it" I am sure my response bent the truth as much as she had. She looked relieved and went on with her conversation.
She was obviously aware of my presence and I know she knows my need to get the word out about being safe in the sun. She has commented on links I have posted, and she talked to me once about my scar after my surgery. It was like she needed me to know that she had tried, I hope, or that she was hoping I wasn't being judgmental because she was so tan.
I have noticed other people doing that lately too. Whether it be talking about sunscreens they use, making a big scene of applying it around me, talking about their lack of tan this year, how their children now ask for sunscreen, or how much better their trip was since nobody was sunburned.
It has made me feel good that maybe the information I have shared has put that little voice in the back of their heads to make them more aware. Even those who do not put it into practice, have said they appreciate what I share. Hopefully soon, that will change for them.
I really do hope though that people dont think I am judging them or criticizing them. There are people in my life who have felt attacked because I simply said "I cant tan anymore" or because I was putting sunscreen on my children, without comment, as they were saying it was okay for her kids to get pink because it would fade to tan the next day. I like to say that a guilty conscience is the one that overreacts the most. I know that if someone feels attacked or judged, they will be more resistant to hear the truth.
I guess it is all about balance. To the people who are listening objectively, I want to be that person who shares information. To the people who are taking it personally, I really am not that person that you see coming down on you at all.