Dear kid: sorry I gave you dodgy genes
I was putting on her pajama top when I felt it: the bumps on the backs of her arms.
“Shit,” I thought.
I was hoping she wasn’t going to get it.
I waited for those bumps to go away. Every day, I found an excuse to touch the back of her arms, just to check. But they stayed, like I knew they would.
I have keratosis pilaris, a totally harmless but weird-looking skin condition that causes rough bumpy skin on your upper arms, thighs and bum. Essentially, I look like I have goosebumps all the time, which makes wearing shorts and vest tops super fun, but doesn’t really affect me in any other way. It’s not itchy or irritating, and it’s pretty subtle as far as skin abnormalities go. Still, I was really hoping not to pass it onto my kid.
It know I’m supposed be full of body positivity and embrace my body and its flaws, but damn, there are some things about my body that are just not that great. I have some things that I don’t want for her – like my chicken skin – but given that she’s 50% me, she’s probably going to end up with some of them.
So sorry, kid, but you’re likely to:
- Be short-sighted. Both your father and eye have pretty appalling vision, so I hope you’re up for glasses.
- Have scoliosis. Yeah, we’ve both got that too. Mine gives me just the tiniest hint of a hunchback, which is a really sexy look, especially from the side.
- Have crazy hair. Those beautiful curls that you have now will most likely turn into the thick, frizzy waves that I’m saddled with, which a hairdresser once described as ‘chaos’. “You know how sometimes you see a tree in the forest and its branches are all twisted in all sorts of directions? That’s the chaos theory. That’s what your hair is like,” he said. It was a pretty poor description of the chaos theory, and I think he was also high. But my hair? Yeah, he was right. It’s ridiculous.
- Spend a large portion of your 30s removing chin hairs. You’ll pluck them daily. They’ll grow back. You’ll pay for a very expensive salon wax that the beautician promises will last a month. You’ll feel a new hair poking out THE NEXT DAY. It’s a battle that you’ll never win.
But it’s not all bendy spines and hairy chins – my body does have some redeeming qualities. So, kid, in an effort to be all positive role model-y and that, here are some things that I hope I pass on:
- My ability to eat stupidly and not get fat. After having you, I stopped going to the gym, adopted a late-night snacking habit and re-discovered the joys of Nutella, and I somehow lost 20lbs. My metabolism defies science.
- My cavity-free teeth. I don’t have a blindingly white American smile, but my teeth are straight-ish and hole-free, which is more than a lot of people can say.
- My hassle-free eyebrows. Unlike my chin, my eyebrow hair doesn’t require much maintenance. It looks pretty okay in its natural state.
- The strength to grow another person (if you want to). My body provided you with a comfortable home for nine months while you grew from a single cell into 6lbs 13oz of screaming, adorable baby. Thanks to that amazing feat, I’m willing to overlook pretty much all of its flaws. Even the chaos hair.