Beneath The Surface

I’ve always found images depicting a cross section of the skin fascinating. I’m not a science whiz or anyone close to that actually – I’m a communications person – but, from the first time I saw a cross section of the skin I was enthralled. To me, my skin was always just this caramel, acne forming aspect of my body that I took care to moisturize regularly and was careful not be too harsh with because it’s sensitive. My skin is one aspect of me that ties me to my ancestors and the struggles faced by blacks the world over. I’ve learned to love it. Yes, learned to. There was a time when I would have traded it because I was ashamed of it and what it represented, I hated that some of the struggles I faced were based solely on the premise that I was born black. And I didn’t want those battles. So yes, I’ve had to learn to love my black skin and the strength, beauty, passion and power that comes with it.

There’s no struggle now though, where the colour of my skin is concerned. I mean, it irks me that  I’m plagued by acne whenever I’m stressed but the little suckers have grown on me and I’ve accepted them as a part of who I am. Don’t get me wrong, I am treating the marks left behind because I don’t want permanent skin damage as a result of acne but I don’t feel the need to hide nor apologise for the existence of little bumps on my skin. So yes, I’ve learned to love the skin that I’m in. I’ve digressed quite a bit from the point I wanted to make though so let me revert to my initial train of thought.

The cross section of the skin fascinates me because it appropriately highlights how beneath the surface of what we think we know are so many other layers. The skin is so thin and fragile at times it’s baffling that such a thin layer has other layers to it. I find it intriguing how it’s affected by our lifestyle as well; the things we eat and drink, the hygiene products we use, where we live, our sleep patterns, you name it and it probably affects our skin. And of course, it makes me think of me. How many layers of myself are there that I’m yet to discover? Am I truly aware of how my choices and my relationships affect the core of who I am?

I’m an insomniac and an overthinker: of course one lends itself to the other but what that means is I’ve had many nights to think about things and for a long time I spent those nights thinking about my life, assessing who I am and my place in the world. I would replay situations, scenarios and conversations and evaluate my response to them and dissect them so I could gain a clearer understanding of who I am and how I respond to various stimuli. I map my thoughts and actions back to Christianity and Christ most times because that’s the core from which I operate and I adjust my behaviour as I see fit. Suffice to say I know myself very well, my EQ is above average but I still find that I don’t know everything there is to know about me and that bothers me. I want to understand myself completely but I worry that if I take a closer look at the layers beneath the surface I won’t be pleased with what I find. I don’t know that I’ll be as fascinated with the layers to be unearthed as I’m fascinated with a cross section of the skin.

I’ve read many articles that say, as you grow you learn more about yourself. And as cliche as that sounds it’s true. The more I grow, the more I mature, the more I learn and the more I interact with people is the more I see things within me I didn’t realise was there. Whether they were always there or are new emergents I can’t say. What I can say, however, is it’s interesting to see and evaluate the new things that pop up every now and again. There’s always a new piece to add to the puzzle and figuring out where it goes and how well it works with everything already down on the table can be intriguing. We’re all just a bunch of layers and sometimes we don’t realize just how many layers are beneath the surface but I think they’re worth finding out about.

I think we’re all just a bunch of layers and sometimes we don’t realize just how many layers are beneath the surface but I’m sure they’re worth finding out about. People should know what they’re made of, we should understand ourselves as completely as possible. We should take the time to dissect each layer, understand how they work in tandem to others and how outside forces affect them ie. work, school, people.

What may seem like a complex mix beneath our surface may very well be what we need to become all that we’re destined to be. With all of that being said, I’m very much aware that this will be easier said and done but I think I’m ready to devote some time to peeling back some layers and truly understanding what I’m made of.