“We are all brothers under the skin – and I, for one,
It is the nature of man to question what he does not understand. We often react to what we perceive as deviations from the normal, with initial rejection, with insincere curiosity, and in extreme cases, outright stigmatization.
It’s easy to reel out statistics on how chronic skin conditions affect humanity, but the truth is, we often miss one vital point: beyond these numbers lie the ‘real people’ who live with these visible differences daily. They are real people, with real families, real jobs, real dreams, and real fears. These people are more than mere numbers. They have their own beautiful stories.
Stories have the ability to shock us. Teach us. Challenge us and most especially, inspire us. They are what makes us feel alive and connected to each other because they remind us that we are not alone in this big green sphere hanging in space.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”
– Dr. Maya Angelou,
Outer Shell Africa is a Skin and Appearance Social lab whose ultimate goal is to improve the physical, mental, and social well-being of Sub-Saharan Africans living with chronic skin conditions, disfiguring appearance and body image issues. One of our main goals is to understand, address and share the social needs and systemic problems associated with chronic skin conditions, disfiguring appearances and body image issues from the point of view of the patients and other affected persons.
By sharing your journey with the world, you motivate so many others to pick up their paddles and row their boats through the stormy waves that skin conditions and disfiguring appearances bring their way. You prove to them, that they can boldly own your bodies.
Not sure how to start?
First, Read about Sarah Jatto’s battle with Scleroderma here.
If you are not sure where to begin, here are some questions to consider in telling your story, it, however, must not follow this order:
- How/when did you first learn about your condition?
- Did you get medical help immediately or after a while? If you did, what was the relationship with the health workers like?
- Did they treat you with respect and care? Did they listen to you, give you attention or treated you like you do not matter?
- Was there confusion, mixed feeling and disbelief as it unfolded?
- What was it like getting used to your new self?
- How did the society, family and friends treat you
- How did you learn the importance of believing in yourself?
- How have you overcome the unrealistic expectations of others?
Or, not a question but a suggestion instead – you can choose to begin your story with, “I …”
There are no strict rules or requirements for your story.
Anonymity: it’s your call; your submission can be anonymous, but we require that you send your story with three clear pictures of you that show your condition. You can write on behalf of someone too.
Length: Because we want you to share it as you want to, there is no required length or limit to your story — it can be atleast 500words or long as you want it to be.
Language: We invite you to write your story in your preferred language and if that language is not English, we will likely translate your story. If we do, both versions of your story will appear on the site, the original story and the translation.
We invite you to share your story here…
Medium: you choose what medium to use, Video, Audio, text, Poem…Just share it in your most comfortable way.
Pictures: Yes, please send us at least three clear pictures of you that show clearly your condition.
Dedication: You may choose to dedicate your story to someone who has inspired you or touched your life
Follow us on Social Media – Facebook @OuterShellAfrica, Twitter @outershellafric, Instagram @outershellafrica
Do you want to join our closed Online Support? If yes, Join us here
We are eager to hear your story!