There was a question posed on social media for kicks, “When did you realize you were ugly?”
I have a story.
I figured I was ugly early in life. I am the only person in the world that would consider me as “beautiful” as I am. I have always had untamed hair, my clothes a mess, and a stench of “old” to me because I played sports and given up on my physical appearance—So, of course, that made way for school-aged jokes. I would be lying if I said I did not get to me. However, I also made a choice when I was in my early teens to not focus on my physical appearance.
I didn’t “realize I was ugly” until sophomore year in English class. It was standard fall day; I sat and overheard the mean girl group, I call hyenas, taking petty jabs at me indirectly. they needed something to howl about other than their grades.
Well that day, as the Hyenas were toning their insults as if they were on a rollercoaster ride. The “dudebro” in the class, let’s call him Ack— because that is a part of his real name. Decided he wanted to deliberately mix up me and a friend of mine in class, Marcy (not her real name). We don’t look alike, other than we are both tall and black. I guess that was enough for Ack to switch us up. He relished in calling me by her name, fake apologizing for the error, then do it all again. It wasn’t funny nor entertaining, he didn’t take the hint of class silence that he should just stick to being a doucebag with a big white truck—he would laugh and no one laughed with him; I was embarrassed for everyone. Marcy wasn’t taking the mix up as passively everyone else—she was irritated. After the third time, he made the “mix up”, she looked down at her desk for a second, and yells out:
“I’m not her [me] I don’t smell and my hair isn’t nappy.”
She susurrated loudly, “I’m not ugly.”
Everyone slowed down and looked at her as if we wanted to know why the DJ stopped playing music. Even the Hyenas were shocked into silence. The lead hyena looked at Marcy as if she had lost her mind. All of us were working on the assumption she was a friend of mine, at least someone who didn’t partake in taking outward digs about my clothes and hair which was routine back then.
I was more hurt that she repeated with ease what the Hyenas always poked at me for. She said it with such eloquent grace as if this was something her and the hyenas have all gotten together and spoken about regularly. I was more annoyed that she lied and said she didn’t like they Hyenas when in reality, she liked them when it was at the expense of me.
She liked them when the comparisons between her and I had her coming out a clear winner.
That’s when I felt ugly because a friend had “hyenas-made” insults ready to go. She needed to separate herself from ‘what I look like’ to what she looked like
After class, she tried to apologize. She stressed she didn’t “mean it the way it came out.” However, both of us knew that how she meant it, that’s how she wanted it to come out. I wasn’t in the space to go on and act like nothing happened, nor tell her how I felt betrayed. And I gave her a flat ‘okay’ and kept about my day.
It was that day, I told myself. “You’re the only person in this world that thinks you’re beautiful, and that’s okay.” I’m pensive when I tell myself it’s okay.
From then on, our friendship was on a bland perforative basis.
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