I visited a dermatologist on Thursday. I have a growing number of moles and freckles all over my incredibly pale skin, some of which I'm a little uncertain of. None of them are particularly large or horrifying but there were two, one on my face and another on my arm which made me a little nervous. As a child I suffered from severe sunstroke, my body was red raw and I had blisters the size of golf balls. At the time, I was under the care of a careless woman; she was the mother of my friend, a friend who it seemed, was always in the sun. Once I'd arrived home, my own mother, was not impressed. Unfortunately, I didn't learn my lesson, as an impressionable teenager and young adult, I burned myself to feel more attractive, I wanted to look “healthier” and growing up so white you’re practically grey comes with a lot of ridiculous comments. I especially liked “I thought you were brought up in the desert, why are you so pale?” That’s not how it works.
What does a visit to check for skin cancer involve? It involves taking off all of your clothes and being carefully examined from head to toe by a doctor with a fancy magnifying glass. The two moles I was worried about, the ones which had itched (and were subsequently scratched) were fine. The three or four tiny black moles I wouldn't have even noticed, although OK, need to be monitored. I've been told to check them often and I'm not to go outside without SPF 50. I bought some not so long ago, it says a lot about our culture when it’s easier to find a useless SPF (anything under 15 might as well be olive oil) for adults and only SPF 50 for children. Why do we consider ourselves less important as adults? Oh the damage is done, let’s do a bit more.
I found the scale of the images online surprising, when you search for skin cancer the images are somewhat unrealistic, talk about out of proportion, they should really feature the mole in situ and then a close up of it so that one can understand what they’re looking for. The moles I have to watch are so small; I would've had no idea had the doctor not pointed them out to me using a huge mirror (with the most unflattering lighting ever). I was paying attention to the slightly larger ones, each under a centimetre in size but I should've being paying the most attention to the mysterious, little, flat, black ones. I have so many it looks like a pattern all over my body. It was strange to see how many covered my upper back as I hadn't seen it in such light before, I'm freckled.
Watermelon is growing increasingly cheap here in Poland. I bought some. I ate it.
Obviously, I took a photograph and posted it on Instagram first.
If you’re interested in the various myths surrounding tanning, there’s a great Buzzfeed article about it.