I remember the days, mum would bend down, and look me eye to eye with a smile and not a frown, ‘you’re beautiful,’ she’d say, ‘don’t let anyone take that truth away and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.’ I’d walk back straight, marching proudly to my school like I had won a prize. But right there at the gate, my confidence would soon evaporate and the 4”8 ‘skinny’ girl would descend back into this victim she so badly wanted to disintegrate. Because as much as she was told she’s beautiful the kids would laugh at her, tease her, push her, squeeze her, treat her like a pissaaa – garbage.
Told her she wasn’t black, not because her complexion was just a tone lighter than the rest of them, it was because her body wasn’t perfect like the rest of them. Big bum, body curvy like the rest of them. It wasn’t like she was proud of the fact; her body was slower than the rest. She hardly thought she was the best. Terrible in everything she did try to do, she hated school. They crushed her spirit, drowned her mind, took her pink fluffy hat and treated her so unkind. The words ‘we’re better than you’ would always ring in her mind!
Oh, the number of times she’d look at her reflection, pleading that maybe God would remove this constant agony of rejection and take her instead of the dread of walking into a place where nobody even cared, to mention that all she had been told was purely only – deception. But before long, she fell. Kids are cruel, oh well. So, no one did mind, that the 8-year-old ‘skinny’ girl was pushed down the stairs and lost a piece of her mind. She thought she had lied, ‘They pushed me,’ she cried, for she had forgotten the events that day, that evening, that night. And so began her education, as well as the constant indigestion she’d get, by skipping meals just so that no kids would catch her and make her upset. Oh, did I mention the avid segregation her teachers would subject her to in order to silence her? ‘Amatuer!’ They’d say,
So crude in every way.
But by the time she left and moved somewhere else, the hurtful words still lashed at her and felt like a hundred belts. And in every year she moved, the words too followed and soon she became confused, bemused and swallowed. But just like caterpillars must turn into butterflies, her darkness soon, at long last, finally crystalized. And the words that once hurt did hurt no more, and she decided to walk back straight, and fly, and soar. ‘You’re skinny, you’re dumb, the only person that could ever love you – is probably your mum. Your nose is too small, your forehead’s too big, and your body’s weirdly shaped – it looks like a fig.’ But the words themselves, now had no power. So now she stood taller and overthrew them like a tower.
And when the kids were mean and booted balls in her back, she’d turn round and smile knowing she was not under attack. She loved the way she was, it was okay puberty had not yet hit her, and as for education, she was determined she was no quitter. ‘It’s okay to be different and to not learn twice as fast, I love the woman I am becoming and I know it will last.’
And as days passed, and months did wither, she soon overcame those words
and made herself a winner.