So, a few words about spray tans... I'm naturally pale. Really pale. I don't particularly like looking like flour, but I've come to accept it. Spray tans have never been on my to-do list, but the the Natural Olympia XIX bodybuilding competition folks expect competitors to be bronzed and oiled, so who am I to argue?
The pop-up spray tan area backstage is set up with black pods in a row next to each other. There is no modesty. People stand in the pods nude with their arms out, legs apart, and plastic caps on their heads. You have to stand like that until the fake bake dries. (It reminds me of something out of Westworld or the Hall of Faces in Game of Thrones: kind of creepy but fascinating.)
After I was sprayed, dried, and dusted and dolled up with sparkly, glittery powder, I was told my tan would continue to darken and I was to report back in the morning for my touch-up. I was already having trouble recognizing myself and couldn't imagine what my body would looked like another 10 shades darker with my face still flour-white, but this is all new to me so I will do as I am told. Quietly, in my tanning pod.
As I stand waiting to dry, I realize that like so many other things that have happened along this journey, my worries are proving to be unfounded. everything seems to be coming together, just as my trainer, Javier Valladarez, said it would. Standing in my pod, naked and vulnerable, I'm starting to trust the process.