Why I’ll Never Be Tan

Dear Reader,

A lot of my friends are very into spray tanning right now. I totally get it–your skin looks clearer, your teeth look whiter, your muscles look more toned. Plus, it’s not like they’re using tanning beds or actually harming their skin. They’re just getting spray tans once or twice a week so they can feel a little more confident. I’m really not knocking it.

But the other day they were talking about how they have to plan their workout schedule more meticulously because they don’t want streaks, which could come if they sweat a lot on the same day they go to the tanning place.

This reminded me of my junior prom. I had gotten a spray tan earlier that day and decided, that night, to watch the second-to-last episode of The Office. To this day I am still so thankful that it wasn’t the series finale–otherwise my face would have been royally messed up. This episode, however, just jerked a single tear that ran down my cheek–and freicken stained my face.

Remembering this, I made the comment that I probably couldn’t spray tan regularly because of how often I cry. They looked at me kind of funny, maybe a little skeptical too, and asked, “Really? You cry that often?”

And yeah, I cry at least once or twice a week. Sometimes if I’m in a weird spell I’ll notice that I’m crying daily, but those only come around every so often. I really don’t think it’s that bizarre, though, because as I thought about it, I realized that I cry way more because of the lives of others than because of my own.

In fact, more often than not, I cry at the lives of fictional people. When Callum died in Noughts & Crosses and Anna and Elsa grew up without each other in Frozen and Clay discovered that he forgot his own son in One Tree Hill, I shed an absurd amount of tears. And even after the screen was off and the book was closed, I cried. I would just think of these storylines and feel such an overwhelming sadness.

Ugh, especially Clay. His storyline messed me up for days.

These stories just grip me. And these damn writers know just how to work it. The stories they create grab a hold of my heart, and sometimes they’re nice to it and I leave feeling fuller or happier, but other times they just toy with it. They squeeze it until I think it might burst–and I have to remind myself that these are all characters, being manipulated by their writers.

Still–Clay was in such a state of stock when his wife suddenly died that he blocked out his son for six years.

I’m seriously starting to cry again. But it probably doesn’t help that “When She Loved Me” is currently playing from my Spotify.

Jesus, maybe I do this to myself. Maybe I just surround myself with really sad shit as a subconscious way to access these emotions I don’t normally feel.

Or maybe not. Who the hell knows.

But I was thinking about this because I came across a quote the other day that said “you can’t protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”

I don’t do it intentionally. It’s just that not a lot of sad things have happened to me–and I’m truly lucky and grateful for that. I don’t even think I cried when my parents sat us down and said that my mom had breast cancer because we knew her chances were really good–and she’s doing great now! I’ve never lost a loved one (touch wood) and can count the funerals I’ve been to on one hand. I’ve never been dumped or cheated on or had my heart broken–but I’ve also never been in love. And no one’s ever been in love with me.

The other day my friend was telling me some of the stuff she’s been through–stuff I could never imagine happening to me or having to deal with.

And now I’m watching Thirteen Reasons Why where all these teenagers are complaining that the teachers have no idea what they’re going through, and I think I’m about to be grouped in with all of them. Because high school wasn’t really hard for me, but it wasn’t easy I guess either. The biggest things I dealt with were my ADD and self-confidence stuff, but that’s all child’s play. I didn’t really see bullying or peer pressure or rumors getting out of hand. I just sort of floated by.

I think I’m still just kind of floating by. I don’t want a ton of bad shit to happen to me or anything. I understand I have a really cushy life and I’m thankful for all the things I could be taking for granted–the fact that my parents are still alive and together. The fact that I have a sister who is my best friend and a family that is overall supportive. I have friends and I get good grades and I have hobbies and interests.

I cry a lot, but I’m not sad. Or maybe I am.

But I’m also happy, I think.

At this point it kind of just feels like a default setting, and I’m just waiting for it to change.

Hopefully one day soon.

Hopefully this isn’t one of those “careful what you wish for” things.

Hopefully I don’t look back at this post and cringe at my glaring privilege.

Here’s hoping.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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