Choosing a profession was an important part of my growth process, my parents bought me strategic toys geared at manipulating my young mind away from movie stars and models to rocket scientists and neurosurgeons. One of my favorite christmas presents ever was a game called trail. It was an advanced lego with bits& pieces for making the most beautiful houses. At eleven, I was quite the accomplished architect and fancied myself building houses forever till I got a doctor’s kit on my twelfth birthday and it changed my life forever. My teddybears and dolls were my patients and I was their doctor and hero and at that moment the detailed drawings of girls in fashionable dresses and the long hours spent in front of the mirror wishing I was a blonde supermodel fizzled away into oblivion. Well it’s not that they fizzled away, they just took a backseat. Never stopped wishing for a moment that I was hot. My younger sisters were beautiful, everyone said so but I was the ugly duckling, thankfully I was very smart and always came first in class so I still had something good about me but being good has never been enough for me, I wanted to be excellente, I wanted to be the best. I decided that my first step to being beautiful was to get perfect skin. I wasn’t a pimples paradise to begin with but I wanted my skin to be awesome. I first started stealing my mom’s expensive neutrogena cream and since we weren’t so rich mum always got annoyed when she realised her cream was finishing faster than normal and she spent long minutes devising ingenious hiding places but I am my mother’s daughter and I always found the cream. One day as I was taking a bath, I had a wonderful idea, since my face was always so smooth after a bath, my face would be doubly smooth if I slept with soap on my face, I could imagine the perfection. Now don’t get me wrong, I had good skin, now I realise that but then I compared my skin to the glamorous stars in the magazines I read and it always fell short. Wish I’d known then that the pictures were air-brushed and so heralded my first skin disaster, I surely didnt see it coming. First I’d sleep with mild toilet soap on my face n wake up with glowing skin and I was exhilarated. I didn’t realise that the devil- I blame him, was only biding his time. I got a pimple on my forehead a few days later and my aunt suggested I use her strong medicated soap to wash my face, since her generosity was short-lived and there was no guarantee she’d give me the soap again the next day, I decided to rub a generous amount of the soap on my face overnight. Did I hear you scream disaster? It was far worse, by morning my whole face was burnt black like the three gollywogs in Enid Blyton’s children’s book. I was horrified. My siblings laughed and my mom was even more horrified than I was if that’s possible. She made me put honey, egg-white, aloe vera and a whole lot of other things on my face. I prayed and prayed, oh how I prayed, I promised God I’d be good, I’d stop wearing my sister’s socks when mine were dirty, I would stop thinking about kissing a boy, oh how I prayed. God must’ve gotten tired of my incessant ramblings because by weekend my face was peeling and leaving uneven colored skin, I looked like a calico patch. On sunday my mum insisted I go to church, I begged, kicked, screamed, cried, pretended I was ill but she just wouldn’t budge. Didn’t she realise it was social suicide? My crush would see me and my frenemy Nnenna would make sure everyone saw it. I finally resigned myself to my fate, put a centre parting in my hair and combed most of my hair forward to cover my face. As I stepped into church being careful to stay away from everyone’s way and scuttled towards a seat on the backrow, Nnenna saw me and hurried towards me and on coming closer she exclaimed in the loudest voice i’ve heard ‘OMG, what happened to your face?’ Everyone turned to look at me and I silently asked the ground to open up and swallow me. When everyone got tired of staring we continued with church as usual. You think I learnt my lesson? Nah…weeks later, a friend of my mother’s sent her an expensive-looking beauty product from France, the writings on the fancy bottle were all in french and I was eager to test the magic potion. Mum asked me to wait till she could ask her friend what exactly it was but I was too impatient and one evening with nothing better to do, I took out my french dictionary and decoded the erstwhile mystery. Why didn’t someone tell me the french are a confused lot who call cream soap and soap cream or maybe I was the one confused. Anyway I thought it was a special night cream and after taking my bath that night, I lavishly rubbed the cream on my face hoping to wake up and find myself transformed. I was transformed alright, the disfigured hunchback of notre dame would have laughed at me. I was hideous! My face was swollen, the size of a football, my eyes were little slits in my face, I had no eyelids. What had I done? I rushed to the sitting room where my mom was saying her morning prayers and on seeing me, she burst into tears. I did look a sorry sight. After I narrated the whole story, she had to hold herself from giving me a good flogging, she said I’d gotten punishment enough. She warned me not to let my father see me in that condition, so all day I played hide and seek with my father in our three bedroom flat. It wasn’t fun though, I couldn’t shake off the feeling of dread that I was irreparable, I was shrouded in self-pity and cried my eyes out all day, inbetween crying spells, I forced myself to sleep with a mirror close by hoping that sleep would somehow be able to reverse the hideous spell. My mom gave me all sorts to apply on my face but I was still miss balloon face. By evening thankfully there was a slight decrease in the size of my face though my eyes were still slits. my younger sister in a bid to cheer me up, gave me some eye pencil and suggested I start learning how to beautify my new face in case I got stuck with it. Thankfully by morning my face was significantly smaller and I was starting to regain confidence. After the ordeal, I finally decided to stick to stealing my mom’s neutrogena and I could have sworn my face breathed a sigh of relief of its own accord.
Beauty and the geek…