Are you judging me? I know! I'm judging myself, I promise I am! It's so horrible. But, first, let me set the scene. I've always been extremely pale and freckly. I have always been extremely self-conscious--especially, as many of you can probably relate to, in high school. Until becoming an adult and truly learning to accept and love myself as I am (thanks, yoga!), I really, really, really hated my pale skin and freckles, and would do anything to change them. Thus, enter the "miracle" of the tanning bed.
What's even sadder about all of this is that I hardly ever got "tan." I mostly burned, for my entire life, really. I burned in the sun at the beach while wearing SPF 50 for babies, I burned in the tanning bed (obviously), I burned when walking down the street, I burned in the winter when the only thing showing was my face, I burned inside with the shades drawn while wearing a sweatsuit (that last one isn't *quite* true). And I still burn all the time. So why, oh why, would someone like me go to the tanning bed?
A few weeks ago, I went to the dermatologist for my yearly check-in (not something I look forward to), and for the first time ever, I had to get a biopsy on a suspicious looking freckle/mole. And guess what? It came back positive (aka, it was pre-cancerous), which means that I now have to go in every 6 months, and that I avoided a very scary outcome by going to the doctor. Ever since this visit, I'm on total skin lookout.
Not to sound creepy or freak out any of my students, but when teaching, I look at a lot of skin. I stare at backs as I give child's pose and down dog assists, I touch arms, hands, feet, and legs on a regular basis, and I see a lot of faces up close while giving out savasana assists. Ever since having my biopsy, I can't stop noticing all of the freckles, moles, and marks that cover all of us. We all have so many little spots that make us individual, but these marks are also something that we need to learn to pay attention to. If you don't already, I urge you to get them checked out on a regular basis.
So, that's my PSA for the month: GO TO THE DERMATOLOGIST. Learn how to check yourself and learn what to look for. Especially if you, like me, are naturally fair-skinned and have put your skin through unnecessary stress in order to "look better" according to society's standards.
Learn to love your skin, and it will love you right back.
Oh, and if I spot anything suspicious while giving you a child's pose assist, I'll definitely let you know ;)