New Year’s resolutions are great. It’s a refreshing way to approach the time ahead with hopes held high and dreams within reach. And it’s that inspiration – those high expectations, personal goals and the belief that you can do it – that all girls with vitiligo need for summer.
Why girls with vitiligo should make summer resolutions
Summer can be hard when you’re worried about people seeing your skin. Personally, the thought of bathing suits, summer dresses and tropical vacations can be enough to give me an anxiety attack. After hiding under sweaters and long sleeves all winter, the idea of stepping into a swim suit seems like a big jump, especially in the confidence department.
It takes courage just to have vitiligo, and even more courage to show your spots or your skin to the world. This is why we’re creating summer 2016 resolutions. It’s our chance to look at the summer ahead and envision the person we want to be, spots and all.
My summer 2016 resolutions
Here are my summer resolutions:
Write in my happiness journal once a day. happy to wake up today
A few years ago, I started a happiness journal and wrote down one thing I was happy about or grateful for before bed each night. It’s a great way to build positivity into a habit and keep my attitude about vitiligo in check. Over the years, I’ve gone through periods of using it and not using it, so this summer, I want to use it every day so I can remember the good things going for me when I’m feeling down.
Get in a bathing suit at least five times
As a girl with vitiligo, bathing suits aren’t my favorite. Wearing a swimsuit is like wearing all of my insecurities on full display. Last summer, I managed to get in a swimsuit a handful of times, so this year, I’m putting a number on it. It’s easy to stay covered up, but jumping in a bathing suit will help me push my boundaries, build my confidence and realize that I’m the only one who actually cares about how I look in a bathing suit.
Ease up on using tanner to cover my spots
Since I’m entirely covered in vitiligo, I wear tanner and get spray tans to darken my skin. It’s great because it gives me a day off of having to think about my skin. But at the same time, it’s almost too easy to become dependent on tanner as I end up basing my happiness and confidence on how my tanner looks that day. This summer, I want to start easing up on tanner by stepping away from spray tanning and learning to let it go if the tanner doesn’t look perfect.
Prioritize health and fitness over looks
When I’m worried about how my skin looks, it’s easy to put health and fitness on the back burner. I’ll skip a morning run because I just put on tanner the night before and don’t want to mess it up. I’ll skip dinner because I’m in a rush to get to the tanning salon before it closes. Staying active, eating greens and getting ample sleep are more important than the color of my skin – it’s something I know, but often fail to live. Putting health first by eating wholesome meals and sticking to my workout routine will help me respect my body and adjust my priorities.
There you have it, the big resolutions that will hopefully brighten my summer and ease my anxieties as I grapple with my confidence and the fear of people seeing my skin.
Now it’s your turn – what are your summer resolutions?
Erika Page is the Founder and Editor of Living Dappled. After getting vitiligo at the age of seven, she lost 100% of her pigment to the condition and today lives with universal vitiligo.