I am out on a calm, sunny Tuesday. I sit beside a few ladies who are story telling while one picks sukuma wiki from a sisal bag, kicking a fuss how the market was packed and how the economy is bad.
“hakuna mboga. Ona vile hii inakaa na waambiwa elfu moja gunia, serikali saidia hatuna uwezo”(there is hardly no kales, look at this one and yet they say it costs 1000 per sack. The government should help us since we are not able) she says while the others nod in agreement.
I have just finished cleaning and am too eager to take a selfie. With the advanced technology, who doesn’t want to take a good photo and give updates? This is what the digital era has reduced our lives into, no room for privacy.
I stretch out my hand and pose for a selfie. “Wee tupige picha bwana pia sisi tuonekana Facebook ,”(take a selfie with us ,we want to be seen on Facebook)Mary the seller shouts . I take one step forward to focus the whole group and Jane, a young lady seated at a corner looks away and buries her face into her hands.
“Why don’t you want a selfie?” I turn and ask her. She looks at me, smiles and nods her head in disagreement. I move closer, she smiles again and suddenly her smile fades away. “I don’t like how I look like, I mean, look at my skin, it’s pathetic, dry and unattractive. Look at you, am nothing compared to you, you have flawless skin, a charming baby face. I just hate myself for not looking good.
Am 23 but just look at me? I look…the way my daughter looks at me, it’s like she isn’t proud that she is my daughter. My husband doesn’t even look me in the eye, he doesn’t even touch me, anytime he sees me it’s like he wishes I was dead.” She says as I watch her eyes get heavy with tears.
I had read about people who despised their bodies on social media, I didn’t think that I would sit listening to one face to face. I had heard of many more bleaching their color, others going for drugs that messed them up completely. Lotions that burnt their faces, drugs that enlarged one of their ‘ladies love charms’ but this lady was a natural. Her skin was an African black beauty. How could she say that? How could she despise herself? I wanted to tell her how beautiful she was but I feared she would think am sorry for her.
Over the years, many people let their self-esteem be determined by people around us. We have witnessed a lady going back to take off her clothes just because she was told by a matatu taut she looked terrible.
We have seen a man burying his feelings for a lady because his friends told him ‘ Hapa hauezani brathe’ (you cannot make it brother )Until when will you let the little confidence you have die because you thought you are not good enough?
Please ‘Jane’, stand infront of a mirror, what do you see? Well, look deeper, look until you lost in your eyes. See the inner you, what good do you do to people, is it ugly? Is it beautiful? If it’s ugly, that what you should hate, that’s what you should beat up yourself to despise. It’s what you should lament that it’s pathetic, it’s dry and unattractive. That’s what needs bleaching. Never on your skin
Every day, second, minute, hour and month of your life, look yourself in your mirror and say, I am a dime, awesome, smart, funny, kind, unique, worthy of love and affection, never a bother and never pathetic, and I am a perfect image of my father Jesus Christ. And echo the lyrics of the sensational singer Meghan Trainor that if I were you I would wanna be me too.
You define who you are. Let your confidence and your self-esteem ignite from within never lose it because I tell you again, you are enough and enough is never enough without you.