A hop here, a hop there! Can you guess what it is yet?
Porcelain and her sister, Katerina, loved playing together and using their vast imaginations to come up with new games. They grew up in an era of less technology. There was no computer, no cellphone, no iPad to play on at their house. They had limited TV and no cable. Their parents had decided early on that play was more important than sitting in front of the television. Sure, they had their favorite Saturday morning cartoons, tons of toys and books; but their favorite game was Shadow Jumping.
The sisters would go outside and play when the sun was lower in the sky, hidden behind the thick forest on the horizon. There were several trees in their front yard where leaves created shadows during the day. There were two giant cedars with a wide path between them that led to the covered patio steps. A few willow trees dotted the ground, with fruit trees on either side of the house. A large oak was in the backyard. The oak tree had the tire swing! They would run outside at the first chance they got, heading for the shadows! The rules of Shadow Jumping were: One must jump from shadow to shadow, continue around the yard and end up back where they started.
The sisters loved playing this game whenever they could. On stormy days, they played in the rain instead! Their mother insisted they stayed close though because of lightning, tornadoes, and other extremes. Jumping in mud puddles was the best ever! You wouldn't know these two girls were any different. Following the rules was hard for a kid to do, but games like these made life a lot more fun!
Where did the idea or name of Shadow Jumping come from you ask?
Well, have you seen those comedic movies where the 'vampire' is trying to avoid the sun and creeps around corners, under umbrellas, against storefronts, etc. to avoid it? It's a funny picture... But the reality is a lot harsher for those allergic to sun. It can be a real struggle finding shady areas when walking during the day to get from place to place. The rest of the world wants to enjoy the sunshine! Get out and soak up those rays!
The world isn't accommodating to those with sun sensitivities, mostly because they just don't get it. They say, "oh, can't you just cover up?", or "get some sunglasses, you'll be fine". They don't quite understand that any sun exposure can lead to a phototoxic reaction, and with EPP, it can lead to skin cancer. More education is needed for the world to understand porphyria. Because of all those reasons, Shadow Jumping became the nickname for trying to stay out of the sun, but still be part of the daytime society we are forced to live in.
Here's some tips for your viewing pleasure on how to stay out of the sun and still be a part of society:
- Remember: STOP thinking what everyone else may think of you or what you're wearing. Let them look, let them stare. Maybe it will lead to questions and you can educate them.
- Get used to wearing a big hat (not a wicker hat; sun goes right through it).
- Invest in an umbrella that is dark in color (lighter means more sunlight gets through. I have a black sun-proof umbrella).
- Brown-tinted polarized sunglasses (black-tint may darken everything, but the brown-tint works better for some).
- Thin, airy fabric so you don't overheat in the summer.
- Clothes that cover EVERYWHERE. I'm serious. (sun-proof hoodies are amazing).
- Face cover during the day if you can handle it (I can't handle them. I overheat).
- No open-toed shoes or sandals when outdoors.
A link to clothes that help with blocking all the sun's rays for you:
Coolibar clothing, UV & Sun proof: https://www.coolibar.com/
This is the best store I've found that work for me. And the more you wash the clothes, the stronger the SPF becomes. The hoodie they sell is awesome. Their clothes do NOT stop you from overheating, but they are helpful.
Link to photosensitivity and skin cancers: