Its an illness,
I have yet to find a cure.
I have carried this affliction for over ten years, battled with it in private and shown the scars to the public; they have never understood. They mock me at times, they simply don’t understand.
Through the winter months I can disguise my condition, I can hide the paleness in my face with a good blush, so I look like everyone else.
Then summer hits, punching me in the adobe with a fury, and the symptoms begin…
First I begin to see my difference to everyone else. On the first day the sun rises high in the sky society alters the trends. Out go jeans and sweaters and in come short shorts, skirts and vest tops. Oh and the colour; it is not even midday on the suns first visit and women eat lunch in the park crossing their tanned legs, picking at pasta with their brown slender fingers. Builders peel off their shirts to reveal super tanned torsos, even the kids in the street under the care of Factor 50 break out in darn cute freckles.
My illness looks at the sun and weeps, then I know what has to be done.
Reluctantly I drag my pale wintry body to Boots; I fumble round the aisles reading an explosion of advertising:
“Streak free” “no running” “natural looking” “guaranteed not to stain” “airbrush” “spray on” “mitts” “remover”
The words threaten to over power me but the illness takes control and I know I can do this.
I suffer from the mistaken belief that I can apply fake tan well. I have a terminal case.
Hands shaking in anticipation I hand over the items to the cashier,
Airbrush legs canister
Tan for face
Body shimmer cream
I hand over a month’s rent and run home clutching the white plastic bag to my chest with a maniacal grin on my face.
Once home I scour my body, removing at least 4lbs worth of dead skin. Then I begin to paint myself.
The feeling of the tan spreading across my blank canvass causes me to sing with joy. I spray my back giving the bathroom sink a bit of colour, I take care on my ankles, knees and elbows and am sparing with the amount on my face. I then wash my hands as if they had been immersed in cow dung for the last thirty minutes…
That evening I bask in the new glow of my slowly bronzing body. I know I have won, I have beaten the disease; I can apply fake tan.
The morning comes and I fly out of bed to greet the sun, knowing she will shine upon my brown arms and legs.
The sun gazes upon me and then rushes off to hide behind a cloud.
I turn to the mirror, as I do every single fecking year and realise I have not beaten anything.
My legs have orange bands hugging round the ankles, then they turn a perfect shade of bronze except for one immaculate streak of white running from bikini line to toe. My elbows are paler than milk and my arms a rusty orange. My stomach is spot on; but really who gives a feck, as a larger lady no one but me is ever going to see it. My eyebrows look like sunburnt slugs and an unsightly brown line works its way around my jaw.
They look like they have been immersed in cow dung for thirty minutes.
I have an illness; please don’t mock me…