I jumped, dropped my hand quickly away from my face and went bright red.
I was eleven years old.
Picking your nose is the most disgusting and shameful thing you can be caught doing at that age.
Mum turned back to choose a tray of lamb cutlets….
and I stood there in the middle of the supermarket feeling humiliated.
Moments earlier we were getting gravy and mint sauce from aisle 4 and ran into Harry Turner (thank God we weren’t getting toilet paper)
Mum and Mrs Turner exchanged the pleasantries of raising eyebrows and smiling “Oh hiiii! How are you? And how are you, Harry?” Blah blah blah.
Harry’s hair looked tousled and messed up compared to the sleek, side-part he kept for the classroom. He looked fresh in a white frogger tee and maroon shorts. I decided then and there that Harry was going to be my new school yard crush.
Now standing there, my face still burning, my eyes dart around to see if my new love is anywhere in hearing range.
Mum was right, I WAS picking my nose.
But I was picking away at a scab on top of my nose from where I’d been sunburnt last weekend.
Through the week my face had started peeling, and a brown scab had slowly formed on top of my nose.
I tried not picking it, but it was tempting. It’s just what humans do. We pick away at things on our body that are loose.
I look at old photos of me now around that age and I always seemed to have a red, scabby nose. In some of the pictures I look cute but the damage that was obviously being done makes me wince.
The worse thing was, it happened when I was at the beach with my very own family.
Mum would spritz herself with tanning oil and lay open to the beating rays. My sister and I would build sandcastles for hours under an unsuspecting sun. There was no such thing as sunscreen. When we felt like we were burning to a crisp, we’d just jumped in the ocean to cool down.
Rinse and repeat weekend after weekend.
Mum didn’t protect us from the sun because she wasn’t aware of the risk and danger herself. Melanoma wasn’t even a thing.
Then in the 80’s, a cheerful little seagull in boardshorts sang us a song to remind us to slip on a t-shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat.
The Slip, Slop, Slap, SunSmart campaign was born.
Skip five years. I’m sixteen. And still crushing on Harry Turner.
I know all about sunscreen and zinc now and my mother hounds me constantly as I leave the house. “You got sunscreen!”
It’s rich coming from someone like her who still lays in the backyard slathered in baby oil.
I’m confused and half ignorant (and maybe a tad arrogant)
I like having brown legs. If I wear sunscreen, will my legs go white?
And why doesn’t mum use it?
Living in a coastal town meant social gatherings were always at the beach.
We’d sunbake for hours. Every now and then we’d check our strap marks to assess our tan against the contrast of our white skin. I refused to wear sunscreen and I loved looking tanned.
One day it got back to me that Harry Turner said I had a “filthy body”.
I cried for the rest of the weekend and by the time Monday rocked around I’d built up some big time hate for him. By recess though, I’d learned that a “filthy” body was slang for what today would be a “sic” body.
Turns out it was a compliment!
I fell instantly back in love with Harry but alas, Harry and I would never date.
I’d also have more days ahead of me at the beach baking and burning and nursing scathing sunburns. All for the sake of wanting to look tanned and feel beautiful in the company of boys like Harry.
I’d eventually leave those days behind and become a mother myself.
I studied and researched everything natural and changed my idea of what it meant to live a healthy life.
I wasn’t keen putting the chemicals from most sunscreens on my kid’s skin, but we all wore hats and sun vests to the beach and left before the hottest part of the day. My kids got plenty of vitamin D without having to compromise their pale skin.
I know by now you’ve already predicted that this story ties in with our Aussie Bronze instant bronzing cream.
But that’s why I’m telling you!
I’m guessing you too have had your years in the sun. You try and redeem those days now by covering up and keeping things natural. You inspect every label and look for only the good stuff your skin is happy to absorb.
And like me, you probably still love to have your legs looking bronzed and beautiful.
Aussie Bronze gives you that gorgeous summer glow that won’t streak or run.
It’s DHA free, non-toxic and vegan. You can apply Aussie Bronze moments before walking out the door to meet the girls for afternoon cocktails.
Even if you’re faithful to “tanning nights”, Aussie bronze is a great back-up to have in your bathroom for those unexpected outings.
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P.S: Were you as embarrassed as me as a teenager?
Go on, hit reply and tell me, I’d love to know…it’ll make me feel better.
PPS. I didn’t end up with Harry Turner (*name has been changed to protect his identity😉) but sometimes I still think about his hair.