I'll be totally honest here. When I first saw the video that went along with this story about Patricia Krentcil bringing her five year old to a tanning salon and possibly burning her in one of the booths, I forgot about the story.
I forgot to be outraged.
I laughed. Then I wide-eyed. Then I laughed again.
I've been thinking about the story for a few days now. Until this point in my life, I had no idea about so-called "tanorexia" (a name I don't like at all). Does it exist? Are there chemicals released through the rays aimed at the skin? Is it different from those released within the body from the sun, itself?
What a weird thing.
I originally came here to poke at her calling her critics fat and ugly, but reading the news about it, it seems as if she's only calling one person that, someone she knows, someone who supposedly hates her.
I have people who hate me, too, Patricia. They don't hate me because they're fat and ugly. They hate me because I annoy them, bother them, have done something to them that they have decided is deserving of hate. Their appearance has nothing to do with it.
On that train, should Krentcil's appearance have anything to do with the story of child endangerment?
I know that upon seeing her, my reaction was, duh, guilty. But back up. That's not fair. I drink coffee and alcohol, but my children don't. There are many parents out there with various addictions, mental disorders, phobias and other hardships that work very hard not to pass them to their children or expose their children to their battles. Just because you have a thing, doesn't mean you're passing it off to your children.
Now, Krentcil might be. I don't know. She did, so far as I know, at least bring the child to the salon and had her wait outside the booth. I wouldn't leave my five year old outside a tanning bed. But if it's an addiction well...
Point being, I had my laugh, and it wasn't very right of me.
Patricia Krentcil needs help. Maybe therapy, if she truly is addicted to this, maybe guidance from public services to help her make decisions that won't land her in the news with a butt-of-jokes nickname. Maybe a babysitter so that she can go do this without bringing her kids along.
Whatever she needs, I hope she gets it. And I hope her kids grow up strong and form their own opinions on the hazards of tanning (which are great) compared to the benefits (which are small). And not just tanning, but everything.
To me, this is just another story of moderation is key.
**However, I don't yet believe that she stuck her kid in that tanning bed. If she did, well, she was really, really wrong.
As parents, we have to set the example for our kids. We have to fight our demons on our own time, and seek help if we cannot pull that off alone. It's not weakness, it's strength. It gives the next generation the best possible start.
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