Mind over melanin


My tan has left me. My much loved and nurtured melanin has officially left the building. I am very upset about this. I thought our relationship was deep, but eventually my beloved turned out to be like all the others: flaky and afraid of long-term commitment. I’m devastated.

But seriously, has it reached that stage already? I’ve only been back a month and the cruel British winter has stolen my bronze glow. My hands are ugly enough (think 90-year-old granny who’s been in the bath too long… uber prune – sorry for the mental image), they don’t need to be deathly white as well. Not only that, yesterday my hairdresser hacked off my pride and joy in an act I can only put down to pure sadism. My traveller tresses are no longer. Yes, the last three inches of my hair looked like straw, but they could just about cover my boobs and I have always wanted to have hair like Ariel in The Little Mermaid when she sprouts legs and ends up half naked in the sea. All flowy and long and that. Walt Disney protected her modesty with those long red locks. What am I to do now if I ever find myself in her position? I dread to think. Prince Eric wouldn’t give me a second glance with this average-length monstrosity on my head.

Emma's epic tan The tan in its full glory. Half Moon Party, Thailand © Jess Forster

I’ve also put back on any weight I may have lost due to the whole Christmas debacle. But I’m not too bothered about that. Traveller’s tummy is an effective but horrendous weight-loss method. The worst part is that even if you wanted to pack it all in and succumb to the loving arms of a chocolate gateau you daren’t, for fear of the consequences. I was horrified at the prospect of not being able to eat my Christmas dinner – but luckily my body understood the gravity of the situation and developed an appetite by Christmas eve. Win.

So. I’ve lost the body that four months abroad helped shape. I was healthy, fit, windswept and sun-kissed, but most importantly I was happy. Actually, I still am. I was dreading the post-trip depression I was sure would kick in once the Christmas fairy lights were down and the New Year’s eve celebrations were over. But so far, my mental state is, uncharacteristically, calm and positive. The physical evidence of my adventures may be found only in photos from now on, but the knowledge and memories are retained in my mind. And I’m beaming. It seems it wasn’t only my appearance that altered while I was away.

Let’s hope the new attitude doesn’t disintegrate as quickly as the tan.

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