(Photo source: Dollar Photo Club)

(Photo source: Dollar Photo Club)

I’ve never been able to tan. The sun doesn’t kiss my skin; it slaps it and laughs.

In the past four years of my life in Florida, I haven’t gotten a sunburn. I thought maybe the whole not tanning thing was something I had grown out of as a side affect of being a resident of the Sunshine State.

I decided to test my theory last week by standing out in the sun for a couple of hours without applying sunscreen. Turns out not being able to tan isn’t something you grow out of.

I cut my losses, bought stock in Aloe Vera, and accepted that God gave me pasty white skin to keep me humble. With a golden tan, I’d have the confidence of Gaston with sweet demeanor of Cinderella–I’d be unstoppable.

Loving my pale complexion is hard though because it’s not society’s standard of beauty.

When was the last time you heard a guy say his type was a girl with dark hair, blue eyes, and skin so pale she blends right into the sand on those white sandy beaches? Or a girl say she was looking for a man who was tall, Elmer’s Glue pasty white, and handsome? I mean I’m not innocent in all of this–I would personally love to marry a guy with a tan, so our kids would at least have a chance.

But I’m an introvert, so talking to that tall, dark, and handsome man would take an act of great courage on my part.

Like golden tans I believe being extroverted with an outgoing and bubbly personality is another standard of beauty in our society.

While I may still try to change my pasty white skin, I have fully embraced being an introvert. But I used to be so jealous of my outgoing friends and wished I could make friends as easily. (Ok, sometimes I’m still jealous.)

But then I realized being an introvert wasn’t an excuse to be shy; it was an opportunity to be brave.

But then I realized being an introvert wasn’t an excuse to be shy; it was an opportunity to be brave.

And being brave for an introvert doesn’t mean morphing into an extrovert. It could mean talking to that guy at the gym you’ve thought was cute for the past few months but have taken pains to avoid. Or it could just mean leaving a voicemail. Or it could mean starting a blog to say all the things you’re afraid to say in real life because when the jokes don’t land in cyberspace, it’s not as humiliating.

I just want to celebrate the beautifully awkward life of the introvert surviving in a world made for the extrovert. I think it would be fun if you joined me!

This blog post originally appeared on The Sassy Wallflower and was republished with permission.