01/17/2014 09:02 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Covered in Skin

Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

Nick Veasey's TED TALK on "Exposing The Invisible" makes us question how we view what is otherwise covered in skin.

Holding your life under a microscope, it is hard not to see micro-objects in the viewfinder. However, we have to dive deeper to expose our commonality.

Having our being and other items imaged by x-ray literally lets us see through the surface into a place that is not covered, veneered, or accessorized. The exposure that comes from it does not show if you are gay, straight, or bi-sexual. When everything is peeled back to its core, there is no race or social standing. Instead, the nature of what is beneath the surface is revealed.

We have all heard the adage, "I don't watch the news; it is all depressing." And even though I write news, I am guilty of the same. Unfortunately, knowledge is power and looking beyond the surface is necessary if we hope to achieve a thriving world. Sometimes we have to x-ray everything around us, even if we might be exposed to the radiation necessary to look into the core of an item, to truly understand.

Some days I am too busy to stop and look deeply into situations that rightly deserve attention: a foster child abused here, someone's civil rights being violated there, or a rape going unnoticed. There is no shortage of social justice issues of which, in the least, I could make myself aware. I avoid reading and acting or even learning about these negative issues because it may somehow derail my own life. Had no one taken a moment of their time, I would have been a forgotten person myself.

I grew up in poverty and bounced from one foster care placement to another. Being homeless upon entering adulthood was almost a foregone conclusion and it happened. It came as no surprise that from one horrible situation to another, I would struggle in life. That was until someone lent a helping hand and I was adopted as an adult.

My mother Elaine and a few other people took an x-ray of my life. They looked beyond the obvious, that I was poorly educated, hardly loved and had lived a hard knock life. For some reason they saw potential where I only saw failure.

My biological family avoided radiation by pretending I did not exist and making me the responsibility of the State. However, I grew up to be an adult and needed direction.

Had no one taken a close picture of my inner life, I would not be graduating from a writing intensive college. I would not have served as class president or a senior staff writer at the paper. My opinion would not matter and my own life experience would not be able to help others.

No, instead I would be on the side of the road or sleeping under a bridge. I have a car and a home. In a few months I will have my degree and go on to law school; when I tackle those studies I will be able to help many people who cannot help themselves. You cannot tell any of that as I walk down the road. No, I am covered in skin.

However there is so much more to me that you could see if you made the effort to look.

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