When you grow up in a family where mole skin pigmentation are aggressive and common, elementary school health classes can often be, let’s say, intimidating. Because, like all things health-related during that age range, there is less focus on everyone having a different type of body, and more emphasis on basic health standards. Dirt isn’t always bad. If you are bleeding, get a bandaid. Sometimes moles can mean cancer.
Cancer? Goes my little eight year old brain. Cancer means death! Death is bad!
Even if it didn’t happen, I felt all eyes on me. I was the girl with the metric fuck-tonne of moles. We all have them. My mom, my brothers, myself. We are speckled like we were a bit too close to a blender when a chocolate milkshake explosion took place.
(Editor’s Note: I did not go with a poop joke there. I am quite proud of myself)
My mom, ever rational, told me that no, moles were not a sign of imminent death, but just a means to watch one’s health. If you notice new ones, or they start changing colour or shape then get them checked out. Easy-peasy. And for many years I followed this ritualistic advice. A couple years ago one of them on my leg was noticeably irritated and seemed darker than normal. I went to the doctor and was practically laughed right out the front door. Still, I was not perturbed. All for the sake of good health, am I right?
Well folks, I am clearly dying, because I just discovered an adorable mole o the side of my nose that was definitely not there yesterday. I am absolutely 100 % sure of it because I see my face in the mirror at least twice a day and I always wash that area really well. That mole was not there yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, it is adorable. I might call it Louie. It could pass as a very over-assertive freckle if I felt like I needed to justify it to someone.
Upon discovering Louie, something occurred to me.
How the hell am I supposed to keep track of shape and colour of every little bit of skin pigmentation on my body?
We’re not ta;king a small number of moles. We Sawisky’s are dotted with the damn things and no, I don’t want to talk about it but I will anyway, but only because I am deeply concerned that Louie is a sign of my impending doom. There are more moles on my skin than I can count, and while I’m aware that is an oddly personal thing to mention in one’s blog, I’d like to draw your attention back to this picture for a moment:
So how exactly am I supposed to monitor these damn moles? Do I need to make a chart where I classify them by shades of brown, shape, or area of body? Do I name them and then take selfies of the area every day in exact lighting conditions in order to monitor their inevitable growth or festering across my goosey skin? Should I name all of them? Because I came up with ‘Louie’ on the fly, and I’m sure I could manage another ten or twenty names because I start to get painfully bored and go eat an orange or something.
“Ah yes, #35, found on cross section X-2 of limb D. Alias: Janet. Everything appears nominal. #15, cross section of torso, left of belly button. Alias: Todd. Todd appears to be growing in size; photographed and documented; revisit in 24 hours.”
No one prepared me for the challenges that come with being an adult with my own big girl body and responsibilities. Hell, I still want to run and cry to my mom once a week every month like clockwork (one might even call it… a cycle) simply out of the sheer confusion that comes with being a woman.
Why, oh why do my ladies bits hate me, mum? Is it because I didn’t name them like I named my moles?
No, darling, that’s not-
Because I can, if that will make this stop.
No, please don’t name your-
Oh dear lord.
The best option, at this point, would be taking our sharpest kitchen knife and just dealing with Louie myself, before he has a chance to betray my trust by welcoming in those sweet, sweet, carcinogenic mutagens beaming down from the sun. Or however the hell science works. Then again, someone will have to clean up after that as I will be too busy lathering myself with my own blood and shrieking in tongues. That’s just a hassle for everyone and would probably annoy my delightful Eastern European neighbor across the hall. So, I’ll just take the looming threat of skin cancer, or at the very least, blemish-which-is-too-close-to-my-eye-to-be-reasonably-or-easily-covered-up-by-makeup, and lock it far away in the box. The big ol box where all the bad thoughts go.
Right there with Sandra.