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Shawna Renée


Orange skin, you're dead to me.

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By: Shawna Renée 

You know the saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.” What! The person who wrote that must have been completely disconnected from their feelings because from my experience, thoughtless words do cause harm. And it’s amazing how long those insensitive words sometimes stick with us and even cause us to try to make unnecessary changes to ourselves.

For instance, being born a redhead has certainly been a blessing, but I must admit there have been times it’s been a curse. Like the times in school when my peers, and even adults, would make fun of my very pale skin.

This left me with no other option but to try sunless tanning lotion.

Keep in mind that when I was in high school, sunless tanners were not as advanced as the sunless tanners of today. Let’s just say that the combination of the un-advanced lotion and my lack of experience with the importance of a precise application, left me looking somewhat like a calico cat. Shades of dark rust, burnt orange, light amber, rusty brown, and specks of untouched pale ivory didn’t leave me feeling like the tan goddess I had hoped it would.


As I got older, I figured the teasing would stop, or at the very least, I would have enough confidence to not let it bother me. The teasing didn’t stop. And my confidence had not yet improved. I realized this when I went for a check-up with a doctor I hadn’t seen before. You’ll soon understand why I never saw him again, either. 

With the doctor’s stethoscope on my back as I was obediently breathing deeply, he asked me if I was from Canada. When I exhaled that I wasn’t, his reply back was, “You really need to get some sun!” Suddenly, I wished that the day before I would have applied that new self-tanner that was now on the market. It was bad enough I had to sit there in nothing but a paper frock, but now I had to finish the appointment feeling like a humiliated, ghastly pale, freak of nature.

READ: 5 Ways Redheads Can Live Their Best Life Ever 

As I’ve gotten older and wiser, I’d like to say that I’ve completely come to accept my lack-of-color-ness. Well, I haven’t completely, but I do love myself more and have learned to better accept this common redheaded trait of mine. If anything else, I’ve discovered that by being teased, it’s definitely made me a more kindhearted person toward others.

So yes, although you’ll still find sunless tanner in my bathroom, you’ll never hear me poke fun of another soul. I’m grateful in some ways for my paleness-taunts. Where I lack in color, I make up for in character. And, thanks to the much improved sunless tanners, the only shades of orange you’ll find on me is in my hair.

Rock it like a Redhead! 

Photo via Tumblr.