Thursday, March 1, 2012

Social Pressures and Tanning...

I just sent my very first “what I am going through” email to Mastin Kipp of The Daily Love asking how they suggest handling adversity to social pressure.  Social pressures and judgment at my place of employment prompted this message. 

I happened to be reading my email and something happened that nearly made me cry.  So I sent an email.  In the midst of writing it, someone happened to call with a question to something unrelated and that sopped up my watery eyes instantly.  It’s amazing what a little distraction can do some days.

I have been having some issues with my complexion for the last two months and it’s made me a bit insecure and depressed, but I have been dealing with it.  I really do not like wearing concealer, powder, or foundation on my skin, but I have had to for the last two months and it’s really bothering me.  I have tried switching face washes.  I only use non-comedogenic and allergen free products for everything skin care and even laundry detergents and fabric softeners, but still my skin is freaking out.  This means all perfumes and fragrance products are off limits.  No Bath and Body Works for me.  I go in there for the Wall Flower air fresheners but the scents make my skin crawl.  If and when I do wear perfume it's on the outside of my clothes, on my wrists or in my hair, but I don't wear it anyway.  I am a firm believer in pheromones and I don't think perfume is needed.  I like it sometimes though.

I decided to go tanning last night.  Tanning has always helped in the past and I had tried quite a bit of other options to avoid it so far, but gave it a shot.  This morning when I woke up I was a bit red but I felt better then I have in weeks.  A lot better and I am not wearing a pinch of makeup today.  None, not even eye make up (which I do like to wear).  I always feel better about myself when my skin is not covered up.  I don’t like being underneath a mask of paint.  I also feel like the make up aggravates my skin even more so it’s a losing battle wearing it.

The actual experience of tanning is also rather relaxing for me.  Laying in the bed yesterday I had forgotten how therapeutic and comforting it can be.  Sort of like an inexpensive spa treatment.  Side note:  Ally has never been to a spa, but I imagine it’s similar in mental experience.  Not only is it helping me feel better about quite literally facing the world but its also giving me a stress release.  Tanning, like anything else, becomes bad for a person once it’s over done, but it is actually prescribed to people with certain skin conditions because of the benefits.

Late last night... I am pretty pink but
it got deeper overnight
Anyway, I woke up feeling amazing.  I even texted my girlfriend this morning to tell her how happy I was that I went because I could see the difference and I could feel it as well.  I went into work and immediately got hit with lots of bad reviews.  I am a bit red.  I should have only been in last night for 15 minutes max but I wound up being in for 19 because I didn’t feel like I was warm and I didn’t see the timer until I saw one minute was left.  Usually the timers are to the left but this one was just above my head, which is more convenient since I can’t see past my nose with out glasses.  My mistake.  I know now for the future. 

People honestly thought I was walking around angry all morning.  I kid you not.  Funny thing is I was pretty angry at someone this morning but not that angry.  If I do every get angry enough for my face to turn red you better watch out for me because odds are I am probably extremely lightheaded.  I have only gotten that upset once well over six years ago and I swear I thought I was going to pass out.

A few people thought I was having an allergic reaction.  Some thought I was having a heat flash, others just said I was flush.

I think my decisions are my decisions and no one has the right to inflict their choices upon me or judge me for mine.  However, once I told people I went tanning they got angry.  All the sudden everyone was on a mission to ground me for tanning to the point I didn't want to even tell people that I went because the responses were getting to me.  You would think I was clubbing seals with how people reacted.  This is the first time I have been in a tanning bed in almost three years.  Prior to that I was only going a few times a year minus the one year that I went often with my girlfriend.  I have certainly over done it before and definitely showed up to work looking like a lobster in the past but never ever has anyone come at me like they did today.

I get it.  It’s not the best thing to do.  I know that.  What really killed me this afternoon was when someone quite literally gave me the look of death and refused to talk to me because I went tanning.  This person has melanoma.  I understand where they are coming from but it’s not their decision as to what I do.  It’s also not my fault that this person was a tanning addict and I am not.  I was not given the opportunity to explain why I went, nor should I have to explain.  I highly doubt had I been able to the person would have accepted my explanation even if it were for medical reasons.

I do get my skin checked.  In fact, I am going to the derm next weekend to do just that next Friday and discuss skin allergies.  I really shouldn’t have to pay for their mistakes and if in the future I wind up with melanoma (which thankfully does not seem to run in my family) I will deal with my choices then, but for now I am tanning as safely as possible for the benefits that I think outweigh the risks.  Granted I stayed in a touch too long.

I definitely feel like every time I do something, no matter how healthy or not, to make myself feel good the people here rip me apart.  It’s definitely not just tanning.  When I am exercising regularly and tightened up I am told to gain weight.  When I am eating right it’s a problem.  When I am eating wrong it’s a problem.  When I do gain weight it’s a problem.  To make matters better I have to deal with sexual harassment from time to time.  A new thing that has come up is people grabbing me inappropriately.  By one person in particular and I have noticed more people doing it in other settings.  Oh and being a female in my position being treated like crap by outside companies who think they can walk all over me.  Often I have to get a male voice on the phone to get anything accomplished.  But I can deal with that.  That doesn’t get me.  Being pressured (or bullied) to conform to other peoples ideals is what bothers me.  Often it’s not even their ideals.  When it comes to my body, it’s a reflection of their own self-esteem, but still ridiculously painful and damaging.

2012-01-28 Blog: Ana: Quod me nutrit, me destruit

I almost feel like I have to hide my life completely from work life in order to survive and I don’t like living like that.  I don’t want to have to go tanning on Friday’s so no one gets offended by my choices.  I am not offended when the SAME person goes out to smoke that’s their choice and I accept it.  Will this person be on a mission to get everyone to quit smoking if they wind up with a complication from it?  I think if you are having a brush with cancer you should think about quitting smoking.  My grandmother passed away from cancer and part of it was due to her smoking even though she quit about 10 years before she fell ill.  She quit smoking after surviving her first bought with cancer in an effort to prevent more cancer from forming yet she still got sick, but I don’t take other peoples choices personally.  Maybe that’s the difference, I actually respect people’s choices and they do not respect mine.

Come to think of it, the same person also made fun of my fear of driving in the snow last year which I get picked on for often, but it’s very juvenile and cruel to laugh about my panic attacks when the forecast calls for snow.  I don’t think driving in the snow is a childish fear and I lost a friend last winter to an accident due to snowy roads.  When I make turns and the car slides I get very scared and I don’t think there is anything wrong or delusional about that.  I am scared of a car accident.  If it snows and I don’t have to drive I am fine.  It’s great.  Let it snow.

It’s amazing how people come down on me for having my own life.  I honestly feel like I have three separate lives and I can’t mix them because when I do everything gets whacky.  I have my work life, the cosplay/comic/blogging life, and my circus life.  The people at work like the circus but they do not approve of or like the cosplay/comic side.  I don’t like mixing my work into circus or cosplay because it just kills the mood sometimes.  Circus doesn’t necessarily understand or like cosplay.  My cosplay friends (although happy about my achievements) do not get my circus side.  Generally, no one understands my work life unless they are in it.  To make me more aloof there is also my love of metaphysics, tarot, and paganism (which I think of as a celebration of nature).  So I keep everything pretty separated and it’s not easy.  Lots of social pressure and its overwhelming often.

As for work, I love what I actually do and most of the people there, but the social pressures and judgement from coworkers is killing me.  I keep looking for a reason to leave.  I desperately want to move out to Queens or Brooklyn and just today my friend said she would love to move out here, here meaning Queens (she is visiting NY for the very first time).  I honestly need the right opportunity and push/pull.  Just like when I started trapeze, I need someone to tell me to bite the bullet and do it.  (More on that in a future blog)

What a day it has been... highly aggravating convo with a friend (still annoyed), wig issues, crazy judgement because I did something for myself, it's like I never really left being in an abusive household...