After an un-fun cycle of disheartening political news, economic news, and more cannibal news than there should be in a week, I was happy to see a very timely Amelia Earheart headline. Just like I will always read a story about Kate & Wills, or the year’s most popular baby names, I will always read about Amelia.
I’ve been keeping up enough to know an unfailingly patient/obsessed team of folks have been getting closer to solving the 75-year-old mystery of her disappearance. The headline teased that they’d made a new discovery on the remote island where they’d been focusing their search; the team unearthed something that surely belonged to Amelia.
By golly, this just finally might be it!
What did they find? Her flight log? Her signature cap? A diary full of her hopes and dreams?
The amazing clue? A jar of anti-freckle cream.
C’mon Amelia, not you! World-renowned aviator, off on your historic around-the-world flight, and what did you make sure to pack? Dr. C.H. Berry’s Freckle Ointment.
Something I did not know about Amelia – she hated her freckles and desperately wanted them to fade. She had fame, glory and the adoration of the world, but those freckles just had to go.
I would not deny a lady the little luxuries that lift the spirit, especially on a desert island – a moisturizer, some sunscreen, a honey-infused lip balm – but when you are a modern day heroine with stuff to do, it’s time to own your freckles.
OK, so it’s no secret I have freckles. The spaces in between my freckles are not so much “alabaster” or “ivory” as much as they are, “see-through.” I wasted many years of my youth apologizing for it and covering it up with pants. Even with 100% percent humidity on an 8th grade summer trip to Washington DC, I was the one kid in pants, sweating profusely but pretending I wasn’t even hot, like, at all.
As an adult, it’s still not ideal –self-tanner continues to be a requirement as a public service – nobody needs to see my veins.
But I had Seventeen Magazine and MTV and modern day middle school to blame for my insecurities. I guess I just assumed Amelia would have been thinking about loftier things – I mean, she had known a time when women didn’t have the right to vote, for pete’s sake. But maybe how American women think about themselves through the decades has not changed as much as we’d thought – for the better or worse. Maybe we all at some level dream about the big, and fret about the small.
Sure, I might be a little bummed that someone like Amelia Earheart was hung up on her freckles, because freckles are great (I tell myself and that charlatan Dr. C.H. Berry); but in one little discovery on one little island – I realized that Amelia is as much a modern woman as can be found today – gutsy and delicate, brave and insecure, all at the same time.
Those aren’t qualities women aspire to, it’s just what we are, and what we’ve been throughout all of history. Maybe we can get rid of the “insecure” part when all of the girls of the world collectively decide that they’re tired of striving for the perfection that is always out of reach – whether by a lot or a little – and think about trailblazing, instead. One can blaze trails while still having freckles.
The beautiful pic of Amelia is from: http://www.americaslibrary.gov/assets/aa/earhart/aa_earhart_learns_2_e.jpg, and happily in the public domain.