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Breaking Out of the Shell

Posted on July 28 2019

Breaking Out of the Shell
My name is Erin Landry. I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, LA. I grew up in a place called Mayfair Heights. The child of teenage parents still growing up themselves, my maternal grandmother stepped in as mother and father. Her walk, her speech, and her demeanor all spoke of royalty. And she was everything I ever wanted to be.

My life was not a hard one from the ways I remember it. But thinking back on it now, I realize that there were hard times, just as in anyone else’s life. My most hurtful memories are those of being depressed and anxious as a child. Being teased because I was a “loner.” Having dark skin was never “in.” Having “nappy hair” was never “in.” I was called ugly by other children. I was teased and taunted because of my eczema. The anxiety seemed to make it worse. The itching was ever-present. Rashes, bumps, plaques, and scars ruled my elementary through middle school life. It was on my arms, my legs, the corners of my mouth. I was unable to smile without it seeming to crack and ooze. So, I did not smile.

After returning home from Alabama where I received my Master’s Degree in Biotechnology, I came back to my Grandmother’s home. My sister was there. I always made sure to make it home near her birthday. As she came out to hug me on her 21st birthday, I noticed something quite familiar. Rashes, plaques, bumps, and scars. She was plagued by her eczematous skin. There were plaques around her eyes, at the corners of her mouth, in her elbows, behind her knees. There was literally more eczematous skin than not.

I saw her itch and cry and struggle. SHE is my “Why.”


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