... and 5 reasons to love summer
As we approach the end of summer 2018 (an unusually long, hot and dry one for us here in the north west of England) I find myself trying to hold back time, willing the trees to hang on to their leaves and wishing the nights were not drawing in that little bit more with each passing day. People often complain about the weather in our neck of the woods because summer temperatures and clear skies rarely match those in the south and east of the country. But, in a year when so many parts of the world have experienced extreme heat and freak flooding, we have been blessed with four months of uninterrupted and near-perfect gloriousness. And I confess that the prospect of leaving this behind and braving another cold, wet and windy northern winter sends my heart sinking into my fur-lined boots.
How the changing seasons can affect vitiligo
I realise that my enthusiasm for the lazy, hazy days of summer is not typical of someone affected by #vitiligo. In fact, it is so far removed from my past response to the season as to be almost shocking in its contrast. Before my vitiligo reversed (over eight years ago now) “good weather” used to be something other, “normal”, people smiled about but which created nothing but hassle and depression in my little world. This was a world that consisted of impossible clothes choices, time-consuming camouflage routines, an overwhelming sense of being different from everyone around me and an envious resentment at missing out on the fun and freedom that most people associate with warmth and sunshine.
Some people with vitiligo (those who do not let their appearance define them and are strong enough to meet curious stares and thoughtless questions head-on) may find my former attitude negative and destructive, and they would be justified. I did try to fight it – and sometimes succeeding for a while – but it was always there inside me and the very effort of suppressing it just added to the overwhelming sense of exhaustion that comes with constantly struggling to hide a progressively disfiguring condition behind a facade of normality. Although this may sound overly dramatic, many readers will, I am sure, understand exactly how I felt because they will be feeling the same way. If the state of mind I have just described is familiar to you, then you are probably only too happy to see the days shorten and the winter sweaters come out of mothballs.
Whatever your own perspective on this subject may be, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind us all that there are always as many reasons to embrace the changing seasons (assuming you live in a part of the world that has such changes) as there are to regret them. So, here – in true blogging tradition – are 5 reasons I would suggest everyone with vitiligo look forward to each summer and 5 reasons to welcome winter…
Reasons to love summer (and look forward to the next one)
Reasons to welcome winter
The best season is always NOW!
I feel immensely grateful that I am able to embrace the summer months now that I have my normal skin colour back again. But maybe I need to remind myself that winter has its own delights which should be also be savoured. For so many years I longed for each summer to end so that I could hide my patchy skin from the world for another few months. But perhaps the heightened sense of euphoria that I now feel each summertime has dulled my appreciation of the rest of the year.
It is this realisation that has prompted me to look again at all the good things winter has to offer – after all, no one wants to wish their life away yearning for the months to pass: life is far too short as it is. So, this year, I am determined to embrace the shorter days, the dramatically leafless trees, the frozen ground and the icy winds because, when you come to think about it more deeply, there are actually countless reasons (not just five) to appreciate all the seasons of the year. And the best way to enjoy each one is to recognise the fact that the best time of year is always right NOW.
My name is Caroline.