My 1984 Situation


January 9


You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.


‘Now, if you would turn with me to the book of Matthew, Matthew Chapter 10, we would be reading from verse 28’, my pastor’s voice rang through the auditorium. ‘Are we there?’ He said as he wiped the sweat from his face. ‘Yes Pastor!’ ‘Great. Now let’s read together. ‘And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.’ As soon as I read the words off the projector, I began to laugh. I bowed my head and just laughed. I laughed neither because the person beside me had dozed off and only woke up to randomly said, ‘Amen!’, nor because I had seen an adorable little girl dancing to absolutely no music. I laughed because the thing I fear the most is my own flesh- my skin.


I do not fear ‘what would kill’ my body, I fear my body, my skin itself.

My skin is black. Not Fanta + Coke kind of black but ‘charcoal’ kind of black.

I fear my skin because it has chosen me, small me, to stand out, especially in a crowd of those who do not think the best of me.

I fear my skin because it knows that if it were a lighter shade of pigment, people would automatically discard me as someone worthy of their attention. And so knowing this, it rolls in think black mud, wraps itself around me, and makes me work harder so that those who would naturally accept me as someone unworthy of their attention, are now forced to look at me with new eyes.

I fear my skin because it is so strong, it gives me no excuse not to be. My skin; it searched for one of the toughest places on earth and pulled me, small me, there. So now, I have to daily withstand harsh weather conditions, corrupt politicians, uncompassionate individuals, abuse made to look normal, mosquito bites, and so on.

I fear my skin because it is gentle. How can something so strong, be so gentle? It makes me see people suffering and immediately feel compassion because I know how it feels to suffer. It makes me look at people with the same skin as mine, and feel such a unique bond.

I fear my skin because it gives me a natural high. I always say, ‘The head becomes lighter as the skin becomes darker’ I have learned to laugh at situations I should not naturally laugh at. And sometimes, it troubles me.

I fear my skin because it is so much of a hustler, that it hustled and got me, small me, one of the best brains ever. And now, this brain it got me would not let me be… always tasking me to be smart and stuff.


I have to live with this fear all the time – the fear that I would disappoint this skin that has appropriated itself to me, small me. I cannot run from my skin. It’s a room that I have been locked in and given the keys to swallow.

But I have learned to accept and face this fear, because right inside this room of my skin, lie the fiercest heart, the strongest will, the most teachable mind, a growing soul and a loving spirit. And they help.


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