Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I still burn easily

I am a redhead. This may not be so obvious now. Aging and pregnancies and life have not been kind to my original hair color. I know I always said I wanted curly hair, but I never imagined I would get it in the form of white, curly hairs that sprout wildly from my straight, brownish locks.

Physically, my Addie is my clone. Bright blue eyes, straight, screaming red hair. I look at the picture above and see she even has the same baby teeth I had. Addie also has the whitest skin. I am continually amazed at how pale it is, unless she's running, and then, like her mother, she turns bright red and gets immediately drenched in sweat. No matter how much sunscreen I apply, she burns for nothing. Put Addie in the sun, and she is immediately a tomato.

And that is where we differ in our coloring.

From my mom, I got my red hair. From my dad, I got skin that tans. And eyebrows that are not invisible. I can handle sun exposure better than the average red head. As long as I'm careful, and don't spend too long in the sun at any one time and wear sunscreen when I can, I don't burn. And if I do burn, it usually turns tan in a day or two. Very rarely do I get bad burns any more.

I wish I could say the same for my insides.

Generally, I'd say I'm a pretty confident person. I wasn't always, but I think I am now. I try to do the best I can, cut myself some slack when I can't, and try to allow others the same leeway. I try to take this quote from Brigham Young to heart,

He who takes offense when offense was not intended is a fool, yet he who
takes offense when offense is intended is an even greater fool for
he has succombed to the will of his adversary.


I try to reach outside myself, put myself in situations where there is the potential to be burned, and generally, I emerge unscathed. I'm often even better for it. I try to start conversations with people when I'm feeling shy, host playdates when I'm feeling reclusive, and have a sense of humor about the various and sundry humiliations that come with being human.

Sometimes I get a little burned. Sometimes my efforts are rebuffed. Sometimes invitations are not reciprocated. Sometimes I am ignored. Sometimes others are offended when I intended no offense at all. I try to apologize, forgive and forget and the burn turns into a tan.

But there are times when I feel like I fell asleep on a reflective raft in the middle of of a sparkling lake in the full sun on the longest day of the year wearing a skimpy two piece (which would have been a mistake in an of itself) and now I have second and third degree burns all over my body and they're contemplating doing grafts. Days when I feel like I have no real friends, that I am replaceable in my family, that my efforts to give service have been reciprocated with a slap in the face. Days when I vascillate between thinking I'm just too needy and wondering if I my efforts to look like I've got things kind of together make it look like I'm not needy enough. Days when I just feel lonely, and wish someone would reach out to me.

Days like today.

I realize this burn, too, will heal. I know with time, I'll be able to pull long strips of dead tissue away, and maybe even enjoy the process. But today, today I think I'd better stay out of the sun.

5 comments:

gramma/mom said...

Dear, sweet Ruth,
I have always thought of Addy as a girl version of Ben..I see now it's that he was the only little Geilman I knew at that age--she is definitely your clone! :) As for the "burn"...I have had similar feelings many a time (but you write it so beautifully!) and you're right in that sometimes there is no 'cure' for the pain but to ride it out and allow the healing to take place. Another thing that has helped me, is to get back to 'basics'...when the hurt comes from members--I remind my self that it is my testimony of the Savior not individuals per se that is why I am there. If it is family, harking back to the answers to prayer that brought them into my life or sustained me in the past. You get the picture. I am so sorry that you are hurting for whatever reason but the 'new skin' that comes through after the pain and the healing take place is softer and lovelier than that which it replaced! I send you a huge hug! love, sheryl d :) (I wish I knew how to send this to you privately--but I'm techno ignorant--sorry)

Katie said...

Ruth, my heart goes out to you. Whatever you're going through, I hope you can find the courage I know you posses and get through it. I have felt just as are you are feeling right now and I know it isn't easy. You are an amazing woman and so easy to love. I haven't spent much time with you at all, and it didn't take anytime for me to see what a beautiful person you are inside and out.

Missy said...

Name calling didn't work, huh? I'm sorry you are so laden with trials right now. I still find you amazing, and you know my opinion on other issues discussed.
I'm still your friend, here if you need me, and not if you don't.

kimberly said...

"Days when I vascillate between thinking I'm just too needy and wondering if I my efforts to look like I've got things kind of together make it look like I'm not needy enough"

I have never had someone spell it out so perfectly. I feel you on this 100%. That was me today. I just sobbed when people asked me how it was going...and yet, I had gotten myself ready in attempt to feel like I was pulled together. But oh, how I wasn't. So much so that I left half way through Sunday School because I was so exhausted and emotional.

I hope things are better for you now. If you need someone to rub aloe vera on you, gimme a call. ;)

Brittany said...

OK so I just read this and totally get where you are, since I feel this exact way today.

I think of you all the time and miss your friendship.. one that by the was is irreplaceable. I'm not sure I would have made it without you.

Love a miss ya.