I hate it! I really hate it!
These thoughts echoed in her mind like a distant scream into the longest tunnel. She stared at the mirror wishing for something. Anything but this. And, no, not the mirror you’re thinking of. This mirror didn’t reflect the world for what it was, far from it. This was the black mirror, a hammer that forces beyond her control relentlessly used to beat the world into shape, abusing everything she perceived to be reality.
In this mirror the beautiful were never dark. Sure, ever so once in a while they would parade a body of chocolate, a pitiful attempt at neutralizing the lies they tell every day. And there is the issue of the hair. Naturally, her hair was considered un-kept, messy, unserious…ugly. Not until it was bathed in chemicals forcing it to rest easy, or better yet, covered with attachments and extensions hiding her natural form.
As for the skin, it could be summed up in a slogan. Light is right. And why wouldn’t it be? All the icons famed for beauty have been light. Sure, there were women of her pigment famed on the black mirror, the Nina Simones and Ella Fitzgeralds, but never for beauty. She found peace in the promise of a potion. An ointment designed for the sole purpose of washing away her melanin. It will take some time, but eventually, she too would be close enough to a shade of milk. Never mind possible side effects, never mind the lingering social stigma from old friends and the likes. For a break away from her insecurities, the constant weight of being what she was, it was a small price to pay.
And oh, there was the nose, flat and rounded, ugliness compounded. She often wished she could beat it into shape like Michael Jackson. Only if she was rich enough to afford a man skilled with a scalpel. At least she had learned to contour this feature with her makeup. Even if for half a day, she could hide in the safety of this lie. This lie she would live on to tell her daughters and all the other young women who looked up to her. A lie she couldn’t help but tell because it wasn’t just a lie, it was a life she lived, the life she lived.
She took some solace in her lips as she stared at the black mirror. Once upon a time not too long ago, the black mirror had other ideas regarding this aspect of her beauty. But this was now, and plum lips were the best lips. She drew some satisfaction from the thought of women needing injections and all sorts of lip enhancing cosmetics to achieve something she was born with. To think it used to be a thing to be ridiculed.
There was also the body, more specifically, the buttocks; or as she preferred to think of it, her ass. It had gone from fat ass to phat ass, thanks to the black mirror. Now, women were pumping theirs full of silicone and near enough slipping disks at the gym squatting as heavy as their body could bear. Again, regarding this, she was on the right side of history. She turned off the television and looked at her figure in the darkened screen. At least, she hadn’t lost out completely. There was something to be thankful for.
Only if she knew how beautiful she was…there was everything to be thankful for.
Culled from: Photobook Monochrome Lagos, with permission from the author.