Being Comfortable in Your SkinDid you know skin is our largest organ? Did you know if you took your skin and laid it flat, it would cover 21 square feet of space?

We think of our skin of something that protects us. It can be irritated at times from mosquito bites or poison ivy. Even though we feel an intense desire to itch or scratch, our skin is protecting us from outside elements.

We think of our skin as something of beauty. It is something we tan in order to gain a better look or tattoo to make it unique.

Skin is so much more than being a layer of protection or attraction; it is energizing.

Skin Facts Unveiled

A few other facts, courtesy of National Geographic (Unmasking Skin):

  • Vitality: “We can live without seeing or hearing—in fact, without any of our other senses. But babies born without effective nerve connections between skin and brain can fail to thrive and may even die.”
  • Kindness: “For humans insufficient touching in early years can have lifelong results. ‘In touching cultures, adult aggression is low, whereas in cultures where touch is limited, adult aggression is high,’ writes Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Studies of a variety of cultures show a correspondence between high rates of physical affection in childhood and low rates of adult physical violence.”
  • Connective Energy: “Your skin has millions of nerve cells of various shapes at different depths;’ explains Stanley Bolanowski, a neuroscientist and associate director of the Institute for Sensory Research at Syracuse University. ‘When the nerve cells are stimulated, physical energy is transformed into energy used by the nervous system and passed from the skin to the spinal cord and brain.’”

Our skin is complex. It is central to who we become and directs us in some of our thoughts and actions.

Our Skin: The Outward and Inward Connection Points

I am no scientist or physician, but the thing I did last month that I never imagined doing was taking care of skin burned and exposed by an explosion. So, although August is nearly over, it took me this long to convert my thoughts into words to answer the monthly Reverb prompt:

Describe an unexpected moment, activity, sighting or conversation that touched you during July.

In July, I visited my brother to help out with his life transition. Part of my help was in tending to his wound care. Although his strength is getting better, he could not reach where he needed to in order to spread the required lotion and place the compression fabric over his arms and legs.

I have always wondered why people tried to cover up their age marks with surgery and special cremes. To me, our skin serves as a life-decorated reminder that we have lived a full and vigorous life. Our skin shows our battle scars as well as the marks of our smiles and squints of trying to engage others and determine our path ahead.

As I cared for my brother’s skin, it wasn’t grotesque; it was his badge of surviving the unimaginable. The grains and depths of our skin are nothing short of amazing. While tender, the protection it provides is some of the best armor around us, yet it isn’t impenetrable. Our skin tries to protect us while also giving us the sense of touch and feeling that is so central to our smarts. And, it doesn’t stop there, because our brain seems to convert these nerve ending responses into a sense of feeling, connectedness, and action.

I know my brother would want his skin whole and undamaged. I know he would like to have his life back to where it was prior to the explosion. Pain and suffering are not something any of us want to go through or experience. However, sometimes we have to face unexpected life happenings. These are the choices not made by us, but by others for us. And, then we have to deal with them.

Our skin is beautiful, no matter the color or the stress or happiness marks. It is a reflection of who we are. It connects our outer senses to our inner functions and then comes back out as expressions of our energy and feelings.

Maybe this is where the thought of “being comfortable in our own skin” comes from. It offers us vital touch points, outward and inward. We need to embrace our skin, care for it, and use it to enliven the spirit of others around us. We need to embrace our skin as a story of our life.

And, this is the unexpected activity that touched me.

What story would your skin tell? What life marks have made you who you are?