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This story was written by Amaka Ekezie from NIGERIA.

My name is Amaka Ekezie and I live in the southern part of Nigeria. All my life I have had dark spots on my body, mostly as a result of insect bites and the sensitivity of my skin to acidic rain water and harsh weather. I grew up seeing other children's ‘beautiful’ skin and I kept wondering if I was a normal child. Some days I sulked at school because my spots became so bad that they dripped with liquid. The stares I got from other children and their parents made it even worse. As time went on, I received the nicknamed ‘Spotty’ by the other children at school. That alone impacted greatly on my self esteem. All the doctors did was reassure my parents I would outgrow it.

Several years later I still find myself battling with the same problem. I have worked very hard to clear the spots, not just because of the insults I get from the rest of society but because I feel it does not portray me as ‘neat and healthy’. So far my hard work has paid off, but I still have several dark brown spots that serve as a constant reminder of my past experiences.

People still ask if I have some severe ailment – several diseases like measles have been mentioned. People also sneer at me, or drop negative comments. As much as I would love my skin to blend in perfectly with others, I still think that society should learn to accept people the way they are, knowing that everyone has something peculiar that is unique to him or her, and stop shaming others for circumstances they have no control over. Until I was able to effectively overcome it and know that I stood far better chances, I struggled with my self esteem and this impacted generally on my wellbeing. Shaming anyone as a result of their race, tribe, sexual orientation, body, literacy or skin type has to stop.

This is about #SharingnotShaming

This story was part of Safety First for Girls (SAFIGIs) #SharingNotShaming campaign.

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