Thin Skin (Agape Haiti)

I am biologically insufficient
Because the advice I have been given for the past 18 years has been pretty consistent
I’ve been told my skin was too thin, my heart’s desires were sin, and I needed to peel a few layers off my body to be slim
I was told to come out of my shell, like a hermit crab lurking in the shadows
Instead I came out of the closet- I learned how hatred flows
Out of people’s mouth and pools into oceans
Kind of like throw up- when I’m really nervous, scared, hurt, or have just been in motion
In my head I’m a badass- a body and voice built to bring revolution to the streets
In reality, I get queasy when people get too close to me with their feet
Sometimes my mouth speaks quicker than any human ears could possibly hear
And my temper is too thin to repeat the words in a cadence that is clear
But occasionally, people understand
They hear the words that I speak, identify the parts of me that are weak, and hold my hand
Because although I would like to think myself a badass, I know the truth- my skin is thin
I once tripped on the edge of a grass field and fractured a bone- my skin is thin
I’ve written poems with the words “I am alone”- my skin is thin
I’ve cried for hours because there are places I love that I have never been- my skin is thin

Like Haiti- the place that my heart has resided
For the past two years since I decided that it would be my destination
As I write this, I know that I should be packing my heart with strength for Haitians
I should be growing thick skin so that I am not torn at the sight of an orphan on the street
Because imagine how queasy I get at the thought of people living with bare feet
How could I tell anyone about loving God while their child sits in a hospital waiting to die?
How could I preserve my strength when the slightest offense makes me cry?
How could I? My skin is thin.
I think about how people exist in piles of trash and build shelters out of their own desperation
I reflect on my thin skin and wonder how I would survive if I were Haitian
I postponed my trip because I need time to collect- I blame it on money
But I really want to collect the traits that are missing; the reasons I find it hard to love me
I thought that if I waited long enough, prayed hard enough, and built up enough walls
I could convince everyone I was something special- that I could take it all
I wanted to heap the trash, the pain, the poverty, the crime onto my back
And carry it like the strength I always lacked
I wanted my face to be dry to compensate for children who had cried themselves to sleep
I wanted and I wanted; because I was told my skin was too thin
It needed to grow; but it didn’t happen fast enough to feel like I could possibly go
To a country that needed more than I could offer
A place that I would hurt more than help; even if I was armed with the best Proverb

Maybe that’s the problem- I thought that making an impact in the world required me to change
But there isn’t room to stow away self loathing in the overhead bins of a plane
Now it’s too late; the flights have been booked and the tickets bought
But maybe I could have offered Haiti more than I thought
So what? I have thin skin.
At least I have a heart.
At least I have passion and purpose; it’s just as noble to stand strong as it is to be torn apart
I could have showed empathy, I could have carried love on my back
And maybe within the streets of Haiti; I could have found a connection that I lacked
A connection with God, a connection with another, a connection with myself
But instead, I attached a truth with the tone created by everyone else
My skin is thin; I don’t need to stow that away in shame
So next time I am advised for it to grow, I will not respond with pain
I will tell them I was built to bring revolution to the streets
Because even Jesus wept, even Jesus prayed before He went to sleep
But He also flipped tables and loved in a deeply passionate way
I shouldn’t have been packing my heart with strength; I should have been packing it with agape

Thin Skin (Agape Haiti)

Chrissy Croft

Joined May 2011

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  • Matty B. Duran
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