To the lady at the grocery store, yes I was aware my face was red, especially my cheeks. I’m sure you thought well when you decided to offer me some “quick and simple” tips to prevent this in the future. And I’m just as sure you’d ‘appreciate’ a stranger coming up to you in a public setting to offer advice on to not “look so awful” in the future.
Perhaps you thought I was hard of hearing as you discussed how sunscreen works. Perhaps I struck you as confused when you explained that gently applying the sunscreen in a circular motion would ensure I would have even coverage that was blended into my skin. And I’m positive the other shoppers appreciated your lesson on how those little SPF numbers work. It’s a shame you couldn’t remember that SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor because that would have made the lecture more complete. But you did try, so there is that.
The thing is, kind stranger, I have lupus. This isn’t a sunburn. It is my body trying to put on its own version of a visual display. It is displaying that al is not well in my body. The red cheeks you found so “ugly” area sign that my immune system is attacking my healthy tissues again. Shame it doesn’t display exactly which tissue or organ is being attacked.
Yes I wish the display was something more beautiful, you know the way some birds have special plumage ey use for display. But I don’t have special plumage. I just have a super immune system that gets bored easily and attacks my own body, just to keep its occupied, or maybe to prove how strong it is.
Please understand the only reason I stood there while you gave me the advice was because I was tired. I had already stopped I front of those products when you came by. I was waiting for Beloved to finish grabbing two items so he could join me. I wasn’t so much waiting for you finish explaining to me the art of sun protection because I live that art all the time.
You may have noticed my pale skin. That’s from sun protection and not just sunscreen either. You see, dear stranger, I practice the art of extreme sun protection. I cover up so as not to expose myself to sun. Yes I’m that woman wearing a light oversized shirt with full length pants and a huge hat while you are outside in shorts and a sleeveless shirt. I’m a master at finding shade, although clearly in your eyes the only reason I had an “awful, red face” was because I had managed to get a “sunburn from misapplied sun screen.”
Next time you wish to be so helpful, before launching into a lecture you may want to consider how would you feel on the receiving end of it. You may also want to consider that you may be commenting about something you know nothing about, as the man who approached told yo as much. That man, who was irritated by your need to ‘educate me’ was Beloved. And he could see I was tired. Because you see, dear stranger, he is educated in what it’s like to live with someone who has lupus. And he could see if we didn’t finish up soon our vehicle would be in the sun. And none of us wanted me exposed to more sun.