I’ve always been blase about putting sunscreen on when I’m outside on a hot spring or summer day. Even as I’m consciously applying it on my almost 3-year-old daughter, I don’t give much thought to me needing to protect myself. I suppose I’ve gotten spoiled having naturally olive skin as opposed to the rest of my family–wife, daughter, mother-in-law, father-in-law, mother, brother etc. who have fair skin. Well, to be completely honest, I’ve become a bit cocky and over-confident in thinking that my skin is so super human that it will defend me the harmful rays that spark various types of cancer. Others need sunscreen. Katie needs sunscreen… and I never forget to spray her down with good ole SPF50. But me, nah. I’m good. I’m tough. What’s a little sun. Gives me a nice tan. And it’s not like I lie in tanning beds and expose myself to harmful amounts of radiation. I’ll be fine. No worries.
I should know better since a) I’ve been burned quite a few times on my neck and face and b) my father-in-law is battling merkel cell cancer. Elizabeth, rightly so, is always asking me or reminding me to put on sunscreen. I shrug it off or lie and say that I have. I know what you’re thinking, it’s stupid and lazy and selfish, particularly the latter because I’m putting my life danger and robbing my loved ones of many years with me. I’m shortening the life of a little girl’s daddy.
You’re right. Absolutely. 100 percent. Today my ignorance and selfish behavior ends. I got my wake-up call when I went on Facebook today and saw the following video posted by a couple of church members. The video, produced by the David Cornfield Melanoma Foundation, is entitled “Dear 16-Year-Old Me” and features melanoma cancer survivors raising awareness about the disease by speaking to their 16-year-old selves (i.e. if you could go back and tell yourself at 16 something you learned as an adult, it would be…) as well as others.
“Dear 16-Year-Old Me” is beautifully done and after reading it, I can’t afford to ignore my skin and the life God has given me anymore. As one guy says in the video, “It’s a huge pain in the ass (to put on sunscreen) but it’s so worth it.”
Dear me. Dear 16-year-old. Dear You. Dear Someone, Anyone. Take care of yourself, please.