Do you remember the original Coppertone girl exposing her little pale bottom? The message was pretty clear. If you are pale, smearing on Coppertone will guarantee brown skin and a promotion to beach babe status. I wanted to be a beach babe. Of course, I didn’t live near a beach, and my skin was freckled and fish-belly white in between my brown spots. It didn’t matter. Somehow or another I would connect the dots and have an even tan.
I baked myself several times unintentionally. It was the 60's, and there was no sunscreen then. If I wanted to avoid a red schnoz, I smeared zinc oxide on my nose. No one painted it all over their bodies. Sunburns were a part of life. No one mentioned the word melanoma to me. I probably would have thought it was another kind of fake ice cream like Mellorine. When these sunburns occurred, the end product was…more freckles!
I did intentionally broiled my skin in the hopes of achieving a tan. At age sixteen, several of my friends and I used baby oil and iodine to help relieve our pasty situations. The result? I was taken to the Emergency Room with a bad deep burn, and two of the other friends had large blisters on their skin. I was the only one who was treated in the ER with some kind of miracle cooling spray. Man, it felt good! The others were left to suffer, and they laid on their beds like beached jelly fish until their blisters popped. Ouch!
Instead of embracing my freckles, I strived to be someone other than ‘me’. This pattern of behavior guided me most of my adult life, and it was more than just skin deep. I became an actress so I could morph in and out of my soul skin, and even outside the stage, I was a human chameleon in my relationships with others.
I didn’t really want to be me. I wanted to be that brown little girl in the picture. Complete self denial.
Then I met someone who said, “I love you …freckles and all…and even those nasty soul warts.” I achieved a peace that really does transcend all understanding, and I didn’t need baby oil and iodine anymore or a play script. I became a Son Worshipper.
In these days of ultimate political correctness, saying the word Jesus is a dicey thing to do, but if you want to know my true nature, He is the reason why I live and move and have my being. He’s the reason I write and lay on my pillow at night with a sense of joy and peace. I have gone from sun worshipping to worshipping the Son. No tanning cream needed.
About the Author: Helen Jameson is a published playwright and performing Christian clown. It's an odd combo but a great mission field. She directs a drama ministry at her local church and is also a middlegrade fiction writer with several works still seeking publishing homes. You can access her website at: helenjameson.wordpress.com