My type of sunbathing……..

Sitting sunning myself today and made me think of this I’d written last year. I am currently blotchy, sweaty and have a sun headache whilst I post…..
Emma is in my chair. She’s a favourite client of mine. She tells me everything, no holds barred with her. It’s colour time today because she’s looking a tad too light, as she has just arrived back from her yearly 2 month stint at her boss’s pad in the South of France. Sounds fun, but I know what it entails for her. Arranging breakfast orders, transport, extra toiletries, activities, for any of his guests be they 6 or 56. Running around like a loon making sure everything runs smoothly, and jumping every time her boss clicks his fingers. Think The Devil Wears Prada, just in swimwear. Despite being knackered on her return she never looks it because she always has a glorious tan. Let me reiterate that this is a glorious, golden, even, glowing tan. Her ankles are the same colour as her forearms for god’s sake…. I’m always jealous. I have to share with her how I feel about sunbathing.
I think there are two types of sunbathers, those like Emma and those like me. Now I like the sun don’t get me wrong, but the whole sunbathing thing bores me to tears. Hats off to those that can rotate themselves at timed intervals to ensure evenness. I find laying on my stomach on a sunlounger so uncomfortable that I give up so if I do tan ( I’ve very pale skin) then it’s generally the front of me that looks less lily white. And what to do with my head when lying in this position? Hang off the end of the sunlounger whilst attempting to read something placed on the floor in front of me? Get this distribution of weight wrong on a cheap lounger and there’s a potential accident waiting to happen. Turn my head to the side? God forbid I doze off, because not only do I end up with one side of my face more red than the other but it’s a Goldie Hawn from Death Becomes Her moment on waking as I try and put my head back to its correct position.
I have moments of madness when I’m convinced that I can sit in direct holiday sun for an hour. I’ll noisily, much to the annoyance of other sunbathers, drag my sunlounger away from the umbrella. This is done whilst also attempting to not burn my feet after forgetting to put flip flops on. I’ll arrange the little table with, sun cream, water and my book. I’ll place my towel and tuck the ends in to stop it falling onto my face when I’m sat up, I’ll rearrange my bikini and I’m ready. I generally last approximately 4 mins before dragging that sunlounger back under the umbrella.
Emma always buys new bikinis for these summer occasions and has stunning bikinis and ‘beachwear’. A different bikini for each day to avoid strap marks which is where I go wrong and a gorgeous throw that, unlike my cheap high street one that’s 100% polyester, doesn’t make her a sweaty mess. Why is any beach throw made of polyester for heaven’s sake? And don’t get me started on bikinis with metal embellishments that give me burn marks.

I tell her that I’m also convinced I look ok when I sunbathe. In my head I’m tanning evenly, and quickly. My hair is smooth and controlled. My bikini is in place. There’s not an iota of sweat on me. This image is instantly destroyed when I go to the bathroom. Once my sun blindness calms and my eyes have adjusted to the lighting I can see the reality in the mirror. My hair is a candyfloss silhouette of fluff. It’s expanded width ways. The ends have lightened to a yellow hue after I dared wear it up in a top knot for 3 days on the trot. The rest of it adorned with flakes of skin from a burnt scalp. I’ve a sunburn developing like a halo round my hairline from excessive sweating which has removed sun cream.

My bikini top is skew whiff adding to even more interesting tan marks which are now resembling the colours of neapolitan ice cream. I have two red crescent shapes on each armpit where deodorant has clashed with suncream. 

So far the tan is doing face to bikini top: slightly less white with freckles. Bikini top to bikini bottoms: red. Knees and feet: tanned with freckles….lower legs: completely white. This area on me is completely immune to the sun, even fake tan doesnt ‘take’ on this area.

Emma just sits there laughing at me, flashing her golden wrists.

My type of sunbathing……..

Deaf Awareness Week

When I was 18 I lost my hearing due to illness. Having a sense taking away from you overnight is traumatising. To go from perfect hearing to imperfect.  All those songs that I loved. All that music that my sister and I would listen to in our bedrooms and dance to. All those heavy beats in those clubs I’d started going to. Lucy my cat purring. Watching TV. Conversations with more than one person. All that changed for me.

It’s really hard to explain to somebody when you have imperfect hearing what it is you can actually hear. When people tell me to turn the volume up on the television it’s difficult to convey that clarity is important not just volume. When people joke and say do I have to have subtitles on whilst watching television as they find it distracting, my reply is let’s put the TV on mute and then you’ll be able to hear what I hear.  I make my own lyrics up to songs if I do listen to music.  Pre hearing loss I was a huge hip hop and R&B fan which is so hard to listen to now as I can never understand the lyrics. For years I thought Destiny’s Child were singing ‘Lemonade, Lemonade’ not ‘Say my name, say my name’. I never listen to music at home. I do listen to music when I go to the gym and wear headphones in both ears though if the right ear piece falls out I can’t hear anything. I also only listen to music pre 1990 as this was when I lost my hearing.

Things that happen to me being partially deaf……..

I get shouted at. I’ve been told I’m stupid, rude, ignorant, stuck up, not interested, etc etc because I haven’t heard someone.

Someone once told me that I should just try a bit harder at listening…….

It has shaped who I am and has made me a stronger person. This is my life and I get on with it and I cope how I can. I don’t want to go to the theatre, because the minute the actor or actress turns from facing the audience and I can’t see them, I can’t hear what they’re saying. I don’t want to go to a venue where one person is talking on a stage and there are maybe 200 people in the room and I’m at the back, because I can’t hear what they’re saying. I don’t want to go to a dinner party with 10 other people because I can’t keep up with lipreading everyone or hear what everyone is saying, and find it exhausting and sometimes depressing. I don’t want to go to a gig and listen to a band I don’t know because I can’t understand what they’re singing.

I will go to the ballet. I will go to an event which is small. I will go to an event that is small and that I can be near the front or right at the front to hear better,  I don’t sit at the front because I’m a swot or nerdy,  I sit at the front so I can hear.  I will go out and dance to music pre  hearing loss because I can remember those lyrics.

Things that really help me to hear you better. Please don’t whisper. Please don’t put your hand over your mouth when you talk to me. Please don’t shout when you talk to me because it distorts your mouth and makes it harder to lipread.  Please don’t turn away when you talk to me.  Please don’t ever say it doesn’t matter if I didn’t hear you even on the second attempt.  Please don’t think I’m stupid, rude, ignorant, stuck up, or not interested because I hadn’t heard you. 

This week is Deaf Awareness Week. Remember you can’t always see if someone has a hearing problem. There are some great tweets and linked blog posts if you look at #DeafAwarenessWeek on Twitter.



Deaf Awareness Week