Identity And Belonging: Skin. “We find strength where we belong”
Little Mike is only five years old. Clenching onto his mother’s fingers, he stands intimidated in front of a confronting building, which is seemingly to be called his School for the next thirteen daunting years of his life. Not wanting to leave his mum, his sharp screech breaks through the usual drone of the passing crowd, accompanied by the crocodile tears trickling down his blushed cheeks. It is rather his fear of being separated from his parents which troubles him more than making new friends outside of his niche. “I can’t do it mom!” Mike roars, “I don’t want to go!” Unfortunately, his beg for mercy is unheard, or rather disregarded under his father’s order. “Mike! Get over it, you have to go now; we are freaking late for work!” Although it is expected by Mike to do what his father demands, it is his mum who unwillingly pushes him towards the School. “You’ll be fine love,” she assures Mike, “trust me.” The two words, “trust me,” strike Mike like nothing else present around him; not the School bell, not even his father’s uninterrupted rumble, yet only the two words.
Mike somehow gathers the courage to defy his fears, and proceeds several steps further to the School. While the sight of his mother seems to disappear, he notices more children surrounding him, besides whom stands the principal griming at Mike. “Hey young man!” he waves. Anxious of this unknown domain, Mike bursts into tears and sprints back to his mother, “Don’t leave me, Please!” he grabs onto her hand. This, is where little Mike belongs, where he finds his strength, his family. “Enough Mike!” she says, “go out there and make some new friends!” Mike is compelled to view his parents leave him. He now feels that they have excluded him, in fact, he believes they do not love him anymore, after all, they left him all alone without considering his feelings, however deep down inside, he understands that that’s not the case; he know that his mum still loves him as much as before. Panning his attention towards his classmates, Mike observes what they are doing.
He notices a group of boys hitting a ball around a square, soon enough realising that its his favourite game of down ball. “Aye come play with us!” one of them calls out to Mike. “we need more players.” This evokes a strong sense of confidence within Mike, after all he knows he’s the king of down ball, he aces that game! And now, since he has got a chance to show off his skills, he is more than happy to join them. Mike rushes to the squares; “sure!” he utters. “Hey man what’s your name?” “Mike, and you?” “I’m James, this is Dylan, that’s Andrew, and she’s Bianca. Here, you’re supposed to be in this square.” James continues. The boys start playing their game, and its not late before Mike is promoted to “Kings” from “Dunce,” neither is it late before Mike’s friends realize his skills. “Far out! Andrew he’s actually good,” Bianca compliments.
While Mike pretends not to care, he is blushing, and his appreciation is clearly visible on his face. “Brah do you wanna play tomorrow?” Dylan asks, amazed of Mike’s talent. “Yeah man,” he replies, feeling much more accepted in the premises of what was once only his anxiety. It seems as if it was just a matter of minutes before Mike would find his strength in his new School and amongst his new strength, his new mates. “Mike!” his mum screams, “You forgot your lunch! Come here and get it!” “Yeah mom, wait a minute!” He shouts back “We’re nearly finished!”