Ugly is as ugly does

The Loop

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Hello Everyone. I did it again. I took a long hiatus for no reason. My sincere apologies. I had to strongly remind myself that I had to make this post. I'm currently making this post from an Owambe 不不不

So... Here goes -

 

As she scrolled through her comment section she thought to herself that fame truly comes with a price. Some of the comments were plain hilarious, if she squinted she could imagine them being sad by an irate toddler, others were mean and hateful; like a stab in the belly, like a shove down the stairs. More comments flew out at her, ‘you ugly fat cunt.’

‘You are so ugly that if I were you, I would have committed suicide.’

‘You look like what would happen if a baboon had sex with a gorilla. Fat ugly thing.’

‘You should stop stuffing your face and lose some weight. You can’t be both fat and ugly.’

She threw herself and the phone on the bed as a sob forced itself through her. Growing up with a family of beautiful people had left her believing she was the ugly duckling. As in the story, she had hoped to turn into a beautiful graceful swan. Puberty had snuck up, snatched her hopes, threw them to the ground and stomped on them, leaving her uglier than she had ever been, along with grotesque pimples the size of lizard eggs scattered all over her face.

  A few weeks ago she was a nobody, at least then she only had to contend with taunts from her family and friends or random people she passed on the streets, then she did a cover of Beyonce’s Listen and talked about being bullied and how it had affected her. She put it on Instagram and twitter; it went viral. Beyonce commented on her beautiful her voice was and how she would like to work with her. She also reposted her video. Soon lots of other celebrities were following her and liking her posts and talking about wanting to work with her. Seeing as she had gotten a platform, she worked harder putting out covers of songs and talking about pertinent issues like the government, toxic relationships, misogyny, patriarchy, gender roles and the society. Her most recent post ‘Patriarchy and its role in relationships had left her comment section filled with hateful talks.

She lay sobbing, curled up into herself when her phone began to ring. She raised her head, wiped her face with the back of her palm, looking pointedly at her phone as it rang insistently like a child crying in its crib waiting to be picked up. She picked it up, watching with dismay as ‘Mrs Peters’ flashed on the screen. She hesitated, wondering if to pick the call. Unlike other daughters who saved their mother’s names with ‘mummy’ or some sort of endearment she had saved hers as Mrs Peters. This was a woman who wouldn’t be caught dead in public with her ‘shamelessly ugly daughter’, a woman who had never held or hugged her daughter; this woman didn’t deserve to be called mother. The mother she knew was her nanny who had held, hugged and told her stories, who had taught her about love and how to be true to herself.

The phone stopped ringing and just before she could taste the relief it started ringing again, she sighed, wondering why Mrs Peters was blowing up her phone.

“Hello,” she said warily into the phone.

“Oh hello,” Mrs Peters said breezily. “Atinuke Darling, how are you?”

She paused, feeling as though the room was spinning. Did her mother just call her Darling? She swallowed hard. “I’m fine. You?”

Mrs Peters let out a high, very feminine chuckle.”Oh. I’m great.”

A few seconds of awkward silence slid by before Mrs Peters cleared her throat and said, “I hear you’ve become a sensation. You must be very happy.”

She nodded, like she sometimes did during phone calls as though the other person could see her. She became a 6year old again seeking approval from a mother who was constantly irritated at her. She told her how Beyonce and other celebrities reached out and wanted to work with her, about the invite to the next TED talk, suddenly out of breath she stopped, realizing with dismay that no matter how far she thought she had come from the girl who craved love and acceptance, she could still regress within the span of a brief phone call.

“Oh Atinuke my darling,” Mrs Peters said softly. “Who would have thoughte that one  day you’d become this person.” She let out a long dramatic sigh. “I’m so happy. I am proud of you.” 

She nodded again, feeling her pulse throb faster, there it was, she thought, with a sudden wave of exhilaration, there it was, the acceptance and validation she had craved for all her life. The words he had wished for through all those years of being best in class and carting home numerous awards. She opened her mouth to speak but her words came out in a squeak. A sob lodged itself in her throat and wouldn’t let go.

“Are you there?” Mrs Peters asked in the silence that followed.

She cleared her throat, forcing the sob back into the depth of her belly. “Yes.”

“Baby, I’ve actually followed your videos and talks,” she paused as though giving time for that knowledge to sink in. “Especially your comment section. People are really vicious. With all the fame and attention you are beginning to garner, what with Beyonce wanting a track with you,’ she pause again and Atinuke had to fight the urge to yell at her to hurry up with whatever it was she had to say. She continued, “time has come for you to do something, you know, this is the age of perfection and enlightenment. No one wants to be caught looking less than flawless. I’ve started arrangements for you to meet with some really amazing surgeons. You don’t need to worry about the funds; your father and I will handle it. Just go get some nips and tucks and restructuring.”

Atinuke switched the phone to the other ear, perhaps she wasn’t hearing well. Her exhilaration was replaced by a surge of rage. “So this is the reason you called?” she asked, half hoping it really wasn’t.

“Atinuke darling,” she began, hesitating briefly.”I called because we are very proud of you. But this is really important too. You are intelligent and all that but looks will take you higher and faster. We need to do something and fast.”

“We don’t need to do anything,” she snapped, her voice shrill and angry. “There’s no we! It’s about me! Me! I can’t believe you have the guts to call me for this. Do have a nice day.” As she ended the call her body began to tremble slightly till she was shaking. She felt a scream well up in her chest and her eyes fill up with water, rage swelled in her heart, rushing to her head so fast that she almost staggered. Suddenly, all the hateful comments came swirling through her mind. Maybe she was better off dead, she thought, maybe the world was better off with on less ugly person. The more she thought about it the less attractive the thought became. She said to herself, ‘life has given me a bag of potatoes, I’m gon’ make some vodka and get high on that shit.’

Later that day, she would channel all her emotions into making one of the most powerful videos the world had seen in the last five years. Later that year, she would make Forbes most powerful under 30’s list.

 

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