Dear 16 Year Old Me: It Could Be Worse

She came down the stairs this morning, golden hair flowing around her shoulders, wearing an adorable lace dress – and her Chuck’s (naturally). Her makeup was perfect in a way that mine never is, or was. Today is her first day as a Sophomore. There is something wonderful about 10th grade. You’re not that awkward, lost, terrified Freshman. Neither are you a Senior, ruling the school whilst secretly scared to death of what happens next.

I want her to know what a great year she has waiting for her. I tried to tell her. She didn’t hear.

“Ugh, Mom! I’m as white as a ghost!! Do you see my legs?!!”

I felt her pain. I only ever burn, freckle and peel. I always wanted to be that “Golden Girl,” tan, glowing. I tired hard to get that golden sheen in my teens, to the point where I quite literally basted myself with baby oil and baked in the desert sun of the town I grew up in. If I only knew. 

Wrinkles are the easiest results to deal with in the aftermath of years of sun burns.

Even though another summer has passed, I know she still thinks that there is enough sun left to try for that tan. So this message I send from my sixteen year old self to her, and those who know that “pale” pales in comparison.

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