once upon a time, i was addicted to being tan. which might be hard to picture since i am so white. but thanks to my mothers genes, i have the ability to get pretty dark. and in 2006 i discovered this little ability. 

i had gone tanning a few times before junior and senior prom. but i could count the number of times on one hand. when i went to BYU everything changed. the tanning i was about to discover was a whole different animal. the first day i met my freshman roommate, i couldn't believe how tan she was (among other things, obviously. i got very lucky. i loved her). she introduced me to this idea of going tanning on a regular basis. this idea was amazing! after a few short weeks i was hooked. hooked, i tell you! it was great roommate bonding and we would go all the time together. 

the further into winter we went and the colder it got outside, the more i wanted to tan. i loved escaping the cold and falling asleep in my little coffin of warmth. it was complete bliss. not only did it make me feel happy and awesome but it made me look good. it cleared up all my acne (this was an amazing discovery for me. natalie acne is killer.) and made my blue eyes pop. oh and everyone knows you look skinner when you're tan. what cellulite? tanning hid every imperfection. i felt good with a tan. 

i was a regular tanner for a good solid year to year and a half (when i told my current derm this, she said, "oh, sh*t!"). i don't know what broke the addiction. it may have been that friendships fell apart and that david found it to be an unattractive habit. but i somehow stopped going. it was really hard. and on really cold days i craved the warmth of a tanning bed. 

though i stopped using tanning beds, i didn't stop burning myself on vacation. when i went on vacation, my goal was to get tan. it wasn't until a year and half ago when i burned myself in mexico that it hit me. i felt so bad for not taking care of myself. i felt terrible for what i put my skin through. i rubbed aloe vera on my body while repeatedly telling my skin that i was sorry. after that vacation, i promised i would never actually look like i went to the beach ever again. i would return as white as i left. 

2013 was the first year that i had my skin looked at for something other than acne. i confessed to my terrible habit and had every mole on my body checked. i felt so relieved. like i was no longer hiding a secret. and most recently, i have adopted the habit of putting sunscreen on my face everyday before i leave for work. and i really should be putting it on my arms too. maybe my derm saying, oh shi*t, was the kick in the pants that i needed. not tanning isn't enough. i need to actively work on taking care of my skin. i hope i continue to feel a responsibility to take care of my skin. i'm stuck with it forever. 


  1. OH Sh#@. I hate it. I try so hard. I put on sunscreen most of the time.... but I still get that stupid satisfaction from a line that shows I'm killing my skin. But thank you. I'm headed to the beach today and I'll wear my hat, I'll put on 100 SPF.... I'm going to try a little harder.

  2. great post! and i love old pictures! I'm the same way now too. I started feeling bad each time I got a sunburn. Now I put sunscreen on everyday. :)

  3. I've always been a sunscreen addict (hello have you seen my pasty white burns in 15 minutes skin?) and my aunt had skin cancer - no bueno. But now what REALLY motivates me to slather the 50 SPF on? WRINKLES! Errmahgerrddd, WRINKLES! Strikes fear in the heart, and I"m not being sarcastic. MAKE. IT. STOP.

    Glad you're wearing sunscreen, friend! Forever young!