Skin Cancer: Difficult Reminders From My Past
Last updated: April 2023
I recently moved out of a 900-square-foot apartment in Downtown Dallas, Texas into a much larger home in the suburbs. In the suburbs, I now have room to spread out. As I was unpacking, I went through boxes that had not been opened in years, and I could not help but notice that in the pictures from my younger years, I was always brown-as-a-bear tan.
I thought bronzed was beautiful
In my twenties, as I lived my life fully in the sun, I spent my days studying in the sun day in and day out. I enjoyed how alive I felt being outside in the sun, and I liked the way I looked when I was really tan. I thought I came across to others as physically attractive and even perhaps glamorous. In my mind’s eye, I was bronzed and beautiful for sure.
I consider my greatest worldly achievement as my graduation from law school. Prior to law school, for many years, my life was spent on a legal trajectory. I worked very hard academically in undergrad to get accepted into law school and make myself competitive for academic scholarships. Then, in law school, I worked even harder to achieve a noteworthy class rank to make myself eligible for coveted legal jobs, such as a judicial clerkship with a state or federal judge.
A picture with my very tan skin
As my greatest worldly achievement, I would now like to post a picture or two from my law school years in my new home. However, all of the pictures from my law school years reflect that I whole-heartedly lived a life in the sun during that time. While unpacking recently, I came across a really good picture from my law school graduation of me with my paternal grandmother, who is now deceased. I was greatly saddened by how dark, very, very dark my skin was in the picture. Sadly, now I can envision my line of thought at that time. It was my law school graduation, a very big day for me, and I wanted to look my best. Therefore, I needed to be very, very tan.
It now strikes me as heartbreaking that there is a direct correlation between the road I am on—a skin cancer journey—and the life that I lived in the sun. Sure, at the time, I had no idea that my sun-worshipping ways would have such dire consequences later in life, such as the ongoing skin issues I now live with, but I now see that there is a clear cause-and-effect relationship between my time in the sun and my ongoing skin cancer issues. And honestly, it is a difficult pill to swallow.
Are there reminders of your past life? If so, what are they? And how do those reminders make you feel today?
Do you sunscreen in the fall?