Learning to Embrace the Scars and Tan Lines and More

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Your body is an amazing thing. It’s ever-changing, yet resilient.

There was one point in my life I was so worried about tan lines. If you look at some photos, you’ll see me sporting rolled up shorts and camis. Plus, you’d catch me laying out in the sun to offset my soccer tans, track uniform tans, and hiking sock tans.

But looking back, I feel so silly. Like why would I care about little lines on my body??

I can definitely see why tanning is put on the spotlight with all the celebrities and influencers that are all around us, but it all stems down to your own self-confidence. Whether you are accepting your pale-ness or you’re healthily working to accept your body, you just have to realize that you need to feel safe and confident in your own skin.

Kayaking in antelope canyon
I slathered on the sunscreen, but I still got an epic checkered tan line on my chest and I was honestly stoked. It’s my favorite tan yet, and I get to tell people I got it kayaking through one of the coolest places in Lake Powell.

Embrace the hiking short tans, the goggle tans, the Chaco tans, and everything in between. It shows that you’re out and adventuring (as long as you don’t forget the sunscreen! Check out my pick here). While I still have an irrational fear of a farmer’s tan, I’m pretty much okay with everything else.

Scars are pretty much the same thing, they just take more time to fade.

When I was small, I would be learning to find my own boundaries. Whether skateboarding, motor biking or just playing around, I would push the limits and it would end up in cuts, scrapes and bruises. But as I grew older, I found myself conforming to society’s beauty standards.

I was being cautious when it came to outdoor sports to make sure I didn’t tarnish my perfect skin.

Hiking in capital reef
That view though… plus I think the bandage on my knee makes me look badass and I got to tell everyone I crashed supermanning over my handlebars on my mountain bike.

But now I am trying to break the molds and I’m forgetting about keeping my skin in perfect condition. While I still am smart about participating in outdoor activities, I try to get back to my childish roots of pushing the boundaries just enough to experience new things, with maybe some bumps and bruises along the way.

While I’m talking about leaving marks on your body and embracing it, I also want to bring up tattoos. Tattoos are basically colorful scars that can decorate your body with, and I am here for it.

Professor creek falls portait
This is my first tattoo that’s able to be easily seen and I’m still in love with it after a year. It’s speaks to who I am as a person, and mostly is just for me myself and I.

I love the fact that you get to decide what goes on your body. It’s a simple freedom that I’m stoked that society is starting to normalize. You can get a tattoo because it symbolizes your family. Or a trauma you’ve gone through. Or just the fact that it looks pretty or badass. Or you love an artists piece so much you just wanted it on your skin. The choice is yours and you don’t have to validate it to anyone.

So whether it’s a scar or a tan line or a tattoo, know that they tell a story about who you are, and you should be proud of that story. Cheers to the tanlines and scars that come with being an outdoorswoman. Just remember to be smart, wear sunscreen, and never forget how badass you are.

Your scarred, tanned aaand tattooed nacforadventurer,

AJ

 

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