Monday, June 27, 2005

Race - Check One: (X) Extremely Caucasian

I am just SO WHITE. This is not a racially biased comparison or any form of supremacy declaration. It is a statement of fact.

I think I have a concentration of about .0025% melanin in my skin. I'm not albino; my eyes are not pink and my skin does have some melanin. I realized the other day that I am so white that medical students could learn the circulatory system, without benefit of cadaver dissection, just by looking at my skin. I am transparent to the point that you can see my veins clearly.

No, I am not albino.

I am Irish-Norgwegian.

Anyone out there with this same European/Caucasian decent will probably recognize what this means: I don't tan. Ever. I burn. Always. While most people can go out in the sun for awhile and their skin will produce an even coat of melanin to protect themselves, the melanin in my skin runs away, leaving me vulnerable. I am a sacrifice to the sun-god. Put me out in the sun for more than a few minutes and I begin to smoke.

"You're kidding me, right?" I know you're thinking that I must do at least some tanning. I guess maybe I do. The small amount of melanin that doesn't run away when I am exposed to sun huddles together for protection. That's right: freckles. I get the worst freckles, especially across my nose and on my shoulders. Where some people will get tan lines, I get freckle lines. It's true. Put me outside for awhile in a tank top and when I come in, I will be suffused with freckles that end abruptly at the line of my shoulder strap. The skin under the freckles will be the same shade all the way across. Please don't tell me that freckles are cute; I hear it every summer from June through September. I think it is polite people's way of saying "Damn, girl, you are spotted!" without being too obvious or mean.

I don't even try to tan anymore. Forgot fashion. Forget what people say about looking like a bleached jellyfish. I don't care. My bare legs can cause snow-blindness in the middle of summer and I am proud of it. I've had one small battle with skin cancer and I won it (actually, I didn't even know I had a malignancy until 3 years after it was removed, so it wasn't traumatic or anything like that). I don't intend to give it another chance, so I embrace my inner ghost.

If you meet me in person, you will say "Girl, you are SO white!" And I will say "Yup, you betcha!"

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