Have you ever been called Ugly in your life?
I mean has anyone in your life ever looked at you and said it to your face. It stings. It shakes you to the core and that moment rings in your mind over and over. Forever! How dare they! Who gave them the right to decide whether or not you are beautiful?
A woman will be told she is beautiful many times in her and she will forget each time; but the one time someone calls you ugly you will never forget. Adolescence is hard enough to figure out without someone else throwing you off your game.
I will never forget the times I have been called ugly.
Imagine this you are in High School excited about the Maths Contest in that school that your school has never been to. Your crush goes to that school, so you hustle hard to get on that list regardless of the fact that you are horrible at Math. You have no plans to even sit a paper and actually contest. Anything for love right?
You get to this school all excited to see future ex-Bae but find out he also worked hard to get himself on their school bus and was on his way to your brother school which was hosting sports which he did not play but you did and then he saw you disembarking your own school bus on his way out and it was too late to change his mind. Heartbreaking!
Forget that love story it was a happy ending at least for two years after this incident.
If you went to a Kenyan Boarding School you understand the method, where girls walk around a school acting interested in anything and everything and praying that anything and everything is interested in them. The end goal was one, not be seen “breezing”. (Find yourself a friend who can explain these terms if you were not privileged to be in the 8-4-4 system).
One lap round the field and this nondescript school bus full of merry students stops right beside me and my friend. One of the guys comes out and starts talking to my friend and another guy pokes his head out of the bus and shouts to Guy No. 1, “Ask her why they brought Lil Wayne to this funkie!” while pointing at me…
The whole bus roared in laughter. The guys in the rugby field heard. The couples walking by heard. Even the ants and stray dogs heard. My self esteem plummeted to depths lower than hell. If I could have chosen to die at any one moment, this was it. I will never forget this single moment in my life.
A little later in life, my girlfriends and I decided to paint the town red. It was one of those boring Fridays in first year one of us was going through a break-up. Feelings were sore and we just needed to go out dancing and forget the wore of men.If you know me I am a little taller than most of my friends and when I wear heels I just tower above them 5 foot fives.
We’re all dressed up queue Beyonce’s formation and ready to party it up. As we’re walking on the streets we pass a big group of guys and one of them shouts, “Look Someone let out the Sudanese tonight!” and his friends chimed in on exactly the degree of dark to pitch black that I am. I understood exactly what he meant by that statement and it was said as an insult insinuating that I am dark.
This time around I did not feel the pinch. It stung for a minute that a few strangers decided I donot suit their tastes but rather than keep that opinion to himself he chose to lash out at me and make me feel bad about something I should not have issues with.
Many young girls and even grown women suffer low self esteem. We exist in a time influenced by vanity and social media pressures on women to look or live a certain way. The glorification of being plastic and leading glamorous lives is so high that we are willing to sell our souls to appear to be better than our peers. So we seek to change ourselves in order to keep up with such ideals, but at what cost?
If I could have it my way, I would rewrite every script that painted the class nerd as wearing glasses and or braces and being plain. What gives a person with great eyesight and perfect teeth the right to decide someone else is ugly based on medical conditions that are being corrected. I have been teased for wearing glasses a lot, but there are also people who find me sexier when I wear them. But at the end of the day whether people like me in them or not I need them to be able to do anything.
In the same breathe I have a problem with a video released by bleached socialite Bridget Achieng’ urging girls to change the way they look in order to it a certain nonexistent curve. To please men that are only after a good time with you. When did it stop being cool to be both smart and beautiful or did we forget that as soon as Ne-yo finished the lyrics to Miss Independent?
Back then Baywatch Boobs were on Pamela Anderson were the envy of every woman wanted. A few years ago skinny bitches were the shit, any and every man wanted a slim Cedes wrapped around his arm. The past few years and particularly after the Kylie Jenner body transformation or maybe it’s Drake and the BBW which sent every woman off in search of curves.
Who is to say that the trend will not change tomorrow and suddenly whatever you rush to get done is out of style after you have done so much damage to your body to achieve it.
That audience in the field and the bus that day is not even a fraction of the global audience that is always scrolling and watching our feeds every second. No filters are sufficient to cover up the insecurities that haunt young girls and older women in their hearts. I have days when my face breaks out so bad I have to tell people I’m on my period so they don’t keep asking what’s up.
A wise friend recently told me, sometimes you constantly endure suffering for all the wrong reasons and people. What you don’t realize is that it is tearing away huge chunks of you that you will not be whole when the right people come into your life.
I am not the least bit ashamed by the color of my skin, I switched up my role models and identify with so many South Sudanese beauties it is almost an obsession. The digital space is rich in diversity, but short of people speaking up about it. Your are never going to be good enough for everyone you just need to be perfect for yourself.
I want to challenge you to use your digital space wisely this year, because your sisters are watching and learning from what you post. Some people are slim but want to have curves and others have more love in their handles than they want. Even light skinned people have body image issues and I have known some who covet dark skin with their being!
Let us teach each self-love and self-appreciation despite our insecurities, let us learn to share them with others just so they know we are all human.
I will leave this discussion here and pick it up again very soon, in the meantime watch the video that set me off on this rant and let me know your thoughts down below.