Pretty Hurts … Good Does Too
A lot of us struggle with beauty.
Most of us have thought to ourselves “Am I pretty?” or “Am I beautiful?”
I’ve asked myself the same question a million times, and the answer my self gives back is always a resounding “No!”.
I used to struggle with this. Used to. I looked to men to give me a different answer; silently begged them to bless me with the title “Beautiful” so I could finally be one of the pretty girls. Part of me still does, but most of me is numb.
When you’re beautiful it must be hard to realise that there are penalties for being ugly. The last time I felt like I loved someone, I got beaten and punched and kicked in the stomach till I fell to the floor as he yelled, “I hate to see your face! You are so ugly!”
I never knew of all things in the world, I could be hit for being ugly. But there I was. It happened to me. More times than I care to remember.
I still think about it a lot, and it hurts sometimes although I’ve mostly accepted it now.
Every day I look in the mirror. Some days I think I look pretty; most days I see my ugly face staring back at me.
In stories, you’re led to believe that the underdog is somehow more righteous, destined to finally triumph over those that are much better positioned, and lord it over them.
Maybe that’s why there are so many childhood stories starring the Brilliant Poor Man’s Child and the Rich Dullard, and though the rich kid has money and everything going for her, somehow the righteous poor girl eventually triumphs (usually by winning a scholarship and becoming a doctor, if it’s a Nigerian telling the tale).
Somehow though, I think that’s a lie.
Nothing about being disadvantaged makes you somehow more righteous. Your reward most likely, is not in heaven. And having come to this realisation, I have further realised that besides struggling with the question of why I am not beautiful, I also struggle with the question of why I am not good. In other words, I am plagued by the niggling suspicion that I am an irredeemably bad person.
I think a lot of Nigerians have a lot of confidence. At least the Nigerians I know.
They seem so incredibly confident that not only are they beautiful but also good people.
I’m not confident that I am a good person at all. For most of my childhood, until about age sixteen, I was absolutely convinced I was going straight to Hell.
I try very hard to be good for sure, but I constantly fall short of my expectations of basic goodness and end up feeling utterly defeated.
Part of me is convinced that I am a borderline bad person. Not the sort that would do anything particularly evil, but just fundamentally lacking in virtue.
I’m very much in awe of people more noble than I, and often a bit jealous of their apparent innate ability to emanate goodness, purity, and virtue.
I think in our society good people are treated well by others and it’s a label that true or not, you can use to your advantage to some extent.
Maybe it’s not so much that they are really good people, as it is that they play by the rules of our society so they are seen to be good by others.
I live in constant fear that everyone can see all too easily what a bad person I am.