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.