In advance, you can air punch me in the shoulder for how pathetic this is all going to sound but I have to get this off my chest.
For the past few months I have been making a sincere effort to take a look around and point out the good around me - in people, in things, in relationships, etc. It was going so well and I was noticing a great change in my outlook and attitude. We had a couple of hot days in a row so Remi and I hit up the spray park with cousins and it was such a fun time! I noticed a sweet mama who had this perfect tan and as our girls played alongside each other, I had to bring it up haha. She laughed and whispered to me that her secret was to get a spray tan, and then tan it out for the rest of the summer! She told me who to call and I was super curious.
The next day we hit up the beach with my brother and his girlfriend. They had both got spray tans before a trip they went on so I asked them some questions and eventually was convinced to just try it out! I have put bronzer on my cheeks since junior high so it's no secret I just love me some color. I bit the bullet when we got home and called for an appointment and they got me in that very night. Game oooon!
The tan was great and I was prepared for having to care for the tan, yada yada yada but I was quickly reminded of how self conscious I am. Despite what people would tell me, this tan set quite orange and it got a little splotchy under my mouth, on my neck, and on my wrists. I figured, oh well. I wanted to try it out and it's not that terrible. Live and learn right?
Well, people would pay me compliments and I could tell that some were genuine but most were a little hesitant. I am often mocked for not being able to take a compliment but this was different! I knew when people were being sincere or not.
In this case of having a spray tan, I felt like a target. A walking ORANGE target! haha. I always felt the need to explain myself and instead of just say "hey thanks", I was always giving these lengthy explanations to make myself feel better. I started to feel a little embarrassed. I felt vain. I felt like people were judging me. I was just so foreign to the whole "spray tan" experience!
And then came outdoor soccer.
I am playing on this team where we don't all know each other very well but it's been a handful of weeks now and our team are a bunch of jokesters so we are all pretty comfortable with each other. Everyone is always razzing everyone and I love it. So I am 1.5 days into this spray tan, I show up to the game, we are warming up, and a teammate comes up, gets in my face and says, "whyyy are you orange?!"
KNIFE TO THE HEART!
Son. Of. A! I know he is right though and in my head I'm thinking, "I can take it. I can take it..."
Then he yells it out to the rest of the team, "guys, Bry got a spra..." (and I'm covering his crazy mouth trying to shut him up) I did my best to explain myself in 3 seconds with, "It will be gone in a week!" "Dude, I had a moment of weakness!" "I'm super embarrassed about it!" "Pleeeeease, just don't talk about it!" And he keeps yelling and yelling and yelling, "You're disgusting! I can't even look at you! What is wrong with you?", and I'm laughing my FACE OFF but completely reversed inside just dying. Who says those kind of things?!
I physically crumbled to the ground trying to laugh away tears and he fakes an apology as I'm hiding my face, "ohh, Bry don't cry. Barbies don't have tears!"
For the rest of the game 3 guys razzed me.
Missed shot? "Just blame Bry and her tan."
The score is 5-3. "Hey, like the cost of Bry's tan!" (which it wasn't! haha)
KNIFES, DAGGERS, SHOTS TO THE HEART OVER AND OVER.
"You're disgusting! I can't even look at you! What is wrong with you?"
If there had been just ONE person to stand up for me and give me any type of encouragement, I would have paid them $100 BUCKS haha but instead they all just sat there and either ignored it or were deaf but no one said a word which, to me, meant they all agreed.
Later some family members who were on the team admitted to me that I was pretty orange and when they left that night I jumped in the shower at midnight and, despite care instructions to exfoliate, took a loofa to my face. I did this over and over for 3 days straight hahaha. I didn't talk to anyone about it, I just scrubbed and scrubbed. The tan is pretty much gone now and I find the whole situation pretty funny actually but mostly eye-opening.
I know this story sounds terrible but I feel I handled it pretty well. I pushed through and I know it affected my soccer game but I still played my heart out. If I just had an ounce of confidence I could have ignored them, tanned it out for the summer and probably would have loved it! Instead it was really hard. Curse my sensitive soul! It might be the death of me. ;)
I share this story not for pity and not even to warn you from getting spray tans haha. I just wish there was no bullying or pressure to try things out and do what we want! I wish people would let other people be themselves! I relate this to so many individuals in my life right now who compare themselves and put people down. I realize it's human nature to compare but putting someone down is where you cross the line. It ruins relationships and ruins your ability to genuinely be kind. I know I can look at those guys on my team next game and things will be just fine but mostly because I'm not orange anymore hahaha. I feel like they will now accept me. If it had been something out of my control, I probably wouldn't have set foot back on the field and that's how bullying goes. It's terrible.
Normally a post like this might end with the overall message that I don't need a spray tan to be beautiful like that pretty mama at the spray park (which is truth!) blah blah blah, but instead I would rather want people to know that, spray tan or not - ignore the pressures around you and just be you! In this specific situation I failed. I eventually caved and obviously a spray tan wasn't for me but I wish I could have failed in peace. Don't let the rude ones get to you!
Dye your hair purple if you want to! Wear extensions or false lashes. Rock those high-waisted jeans or any style you want to for that matter! Post a million photos on instagram or be that person who doesn't post at all! Check your phone in social settings despite the people who razz you! Run that marathon or sit on your couch eating donuts! Love your slender body or embrace your beautiful curves! Parent your kids the way you want!
Saving the best for last, get out and try a freakin' spray tan! Haters gonna hate.
There are always going to be haters that I wish were kinder. You just need to BE YOU.