Summer does strange things to the skin, when we shed the clothing we had worn in the winter, baring a soft exterior to the outside, we can forget the ferocity of the sun. When the humidity heaves in and the outside feel is 100 degrees or more, we need to put something other than a pair of pants on. And the truth comes out: one of the reasons I rarely wear shorts or skirts? My legs have not seen the outside world since - well, it must have been last July and my legs are pale as bone.
Blisters, pale pale pale skin. Or sun burns, general irritation and bubbling, sweating, these are some of the signs of summer on the skin.
Skin: Our biggest organ. About 20 square feet and consisting of three layers: the top is the epidermis and is used as waterproof, the middle, the dermis, this is the source of hair folicles, and sweat glands, and the lower third, the cutis, is mostly fat. Our tone comes from melanin, which is the very top. So that’s less than skin deep. And yet – skin is a delicate organ and must be treated with the utmost care. The skin is our doorway to sensation, and a gentle mantle for our individual function. We can not escape its language. We must participate with the skin as our flag that speaks without our permission, and let the voice of the skin be a voice of truth that we can consistently rely on. Our skin is our individuality and one of our constants.
The regulation of inner temperature and the protection that skin brings: The trains turn the AC on high, so being in a train car for more than five stops is more like a project in surviving in a freezer. All that works to manage the cool is by sitting or standing very close to the doors so when they slide open you can take a breath, you can relax your shoulders and let the warm air touch your back. What is within is our own and the skin manages the distance with the others.
Flats and wedges. Please no flip-flops outside of a five block radius of your apartment any time in the summer. Five blocks is generous. Your feet will thank you for not being exposed to the oozing sidewalk. This city heat will blow you up like water balloon. Moisture is trapped in damn near everything, so the sidewalk is literally a cesspool and you come home and the bottom of your feet are black with grime: no.
I lost myself in the sun. The beaches of New York swallow you whole. You become rolling and endless as the sand. Only to rise up raw and red. Skin places you, makes you into landscape. Forces you to interact with the outside. With the care we give our skin, with the textures and gentleness we wrap around it, we are so interpreted by the world.