Can we talk about sun-burns???

And while we are at it ... can we talk about hand care?  Or more specifically, unsuccessful hand care.

I used to be a blue-eyed brunette or what used to be known as an Irish Brunette.  (now .... I am a gray-haired AARP member!  But .... I am not a red-hatter!)  Light skin ... no olive tones.  Winter.  Think winter.

It makes sense that I burn relatively easy.

When I go outside, I apply 35-40 SPF sunscreen.

I put on a stylish straw hat.............

And I work.
And I sweat.
And the sunscreen melts away.
And I continue to work.

So I burn.............. a bunch.

But here is my problem ... people always talk about my burn. Which I don't mind. But over and over again .... its seem like it is something awful.  I could puff Camel cigarettes in the restaurant with less condemnation!!!!

You know, you shouldn't spend that much time laying out in the sun.  

You know you should be wearing sunscreen when you golf..... or boat ..... or garden.  

 Yea ... like I golf!!

I have heard it all.

You can have a fake-and-bake tan the color of a latte and no one says a word.  But do physical work and get a tan ..... you will get chastised.

Which brings me to my hands.  I have very tiny hands ... and gloves that really fit are hard to find.  Dear friend Jill sent me a great pair and they are wonderful.

But most of the time, when I am working with our customers.......

I am in the dirt.
I have a pair of clippers in my hands.
I'm running water.
I am grabbing change.
I have a chicken in my arms.
I have a cat at my feet.

And any gloves that I may have worn,  are in the back pocket of my jeans.  My nails are short and ragged and my hands are stained with dirt.

At least, I don't have Lindsay Lohan's manicurist!

There are times that I avoid social situations because of my hands and my very-burnt nose.  The comments and/or the stares are hard to take.

We are society that values looks and image over work ethic and physical labor.  And I am sooo very grateful for the many friends that I have that accept my appearance.  I try.  I really do try.

And with all the women entering agriculture ... we are going to see more ragged nails... more burnt shoulders.

We need to honor those that work ... really work.... over those that play socialite. And that means the acceptance of a burnt nose ... red shoulders ...... and stained nails.


Thank you, thank you! My mother used to chastise me about the condition of my hands. Every time I saw her it was the first thing she said, even before "hello". My nails are also short and often there is dirt under them. I scrub well when I come in the house but most of the day I'm also in the dirt. I would love to have soft hands and lovely manicured nails, but then I wouldn't be able to DO anything.
I also sunburn. It happens. It's not the end of the world. Thanks for your post, I really needed to read that.
I used to tell my mom, "sometimes it takes all of my energy to be good, so I may not have much left for looking good."
Teri said…
Amen!! Excellent post Cathy!
Well said.

I too am trying to remember to wear gloves. This year I found a pair that I've become very happy with - Atlas 370, size small. At first they seemed too tight, but then I realized that since they fit snugly well past my wrists, no dirt gets inside them. Google Atlas 370 gloves and you'll find them.
Barb said…
I am a massage therapist, a gardener, a shepherdess, a chicken mom, a bread baker, and a couple of weekends ago, a builder of an earthen oven. My nails have to be short because of massaging. But...my,oh,my, trying to get ALL the dirt out from under the sides of my nails (think clay, sand, water and horse manure from earthen oven building..yikes), well, let's just say my clients think I am unique and I assure them that I do scrub by hands thoroughly before each and every session. They love me for who I am...a whole person, albeit a litte gritty around the edges. :o)
Amen! I hear the same things from people all the time about me getting a burn and that I should wear sunscreen! for one Its hard to keep the suncreen on when Your sweating your butt off and working hard! I don't think people realize that tanning bed tans are far worse for you than the natural sunlight! Besides I would rather have a natural redish tint to me that an orange one. When I'm at home I am so raggity LOL. Cutoff lounge pants and a dirty holy shirt are my garden clothes, When we have people from town come out to our place (Usually family friend etc)They will look at me with a look like "why are you wearing that"
But I don't care. I'm usually walking around with dirty nails and feet and messy hair until the end of the day.
Lindy said…
I rarely run around w/gloves in my hands-especially when "I'm just going to walk out & see what's blooming". Hah-always weeds to pull & by then my hands are a mess. I have to have a spot removed next week so I've been more religious about that suffocating sunscreen. My real problem is with my small head I can't find a hat to fit!
jenn swift said…
I had a moment a few weeks ago as I was painting where I looked at my hands. I do this. I look at my hands when I wash them after being in the garden, or painting, or when I cut my nails to play piano, and I have come to laugh... because they are SOOOOOOO not girly hands. They are cracked, and most often the cracks are filled with dirt or dye too deep to retrieve. They're cut and gettig wrinkly from excessive use... but they are very strong (I love how strong my hands are) and I've thought, too, about the way they've looked and realized, at this point a few weeks ago, that they will always be like this. Always. And I got great joy in thinking about how my hands look like this because people with hands like ours - We get to make beautiful things with them.

I love that I get to make beautiful things with my hands.

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