My story may be similar to yours. It's a story with a history of wanting to change parts of my body that couldn't be changed. It's a way most of us have felt in our lives, some more than others.
In Australia, 80% of women want to change something about their body. And the statistics show, thanks to the media, that it's happening to our younger generation a lot earlier than it did to us.
For me, growing up, it was my freckles. My two older sisters had olive skin, everyone in our family had olive skin, everyone except me. Living under the Australian sun my fair skin freckled at an early age, a lot. I longed for the freedom that I perceived olive skin gave my sisters, the glamour that a tan gave my friends. In my 20's I delved into the world of fake tanning. Not being one to spend a lot of time and energy on cosmetic things I found this exhausting and when it would wear off it made me feel self-conscious and embarrassed. Everyone could see I was a fake (pardon the pun), or so I thought.
It wasn't until my eldest daughter was born that I learnt to accept my skin. It may have been her beautiful pale skin that I gifted her that helped me take stock of the situation or it could have been the exhaustion that parenthood gave me where I stopped doing the unnecessary. Fake tanning took second fiddle to all of the other essentials.
From day one my daughter has always loved her freckles, she is in the photo above. Like me, her sister also has olive skin. But unlike me at her age, she celebrates her skin. Looking at herself in the mirror, it's not unusual for her to say "I love my freckles". And in a recent photoshoot, she instructed the photographer to make sure she didn't take her freckles away. That was music to this mumma's ears.
Looking back now, it wasn't until I reframed how I thought about my skin that I finally started to feel comfortable in, well, my skin. My skin tells a story of summer days on the beach eating ice cream, of playing sports at school and riding my bike to my friend's houses. It tells a story of a full life spent outdoors. And if you are wondering about where sunscreen falls into this story. No matter how much sunscreen, hats and sessions in the shade, we both are lucky enough that our freckles appear, so they can continue telling our story of a life well-lived.