Tigerstripes was born in Guntersville, Alabama where she received her first noteworthy sunburn. Maybe her fair skin and love of the outdoors was to blame. But, more than likely, it was a certain recklessness that caused her disregard for sunscreen, hats, and shaded areas.
Her first remarkable sunburn happened at age seven. Throwing her sunglasses aside, Tigerstripes ran straight for the swing-set. She kicked her legs wildly through the air as she swung higher and higher, blissfully unaware of the sun’s scalding rays.
A mere day later, she was in her bed squealing over her sore skin. Her mother nodded knowingly, walked onto the porch, and broke off a large stem from an aloe plant. She squeezed the cold globs of plant slime onto Tigerstripe’s face.
Over the next few days, bubbles filled with a clear liquid developed on her nose and cheeks. As her face healed, the skin began to peel away. After a week, her face was covered with lines of dead, flaking skin. Tigerstripes was delightfully unaware of her grotesque appearance until a schoolmate teased her at recess.
After school, she went into the bathroom to examine her face. She hoisted herself onto the sink and began to scratch at the brown edges of skin. As she picked pieces from her face, she thought, “So this is what ugly feels like.” It was the first time she’d given any consideration to her own aesthetic.
She wondered if this was how snakes felt when they shed their old skin.
Created: Apr 10, 2012tigerstripes Document Media