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During the early days of our courtship, I quickly pointed out my external ‘flaws’ to my then significant other and friend, because I wanted to ensure that he did not notice them and make negative comments about them. This need to point out my flaws was something I have been unconsciously carrying over from my late teen to early twenties. Stay tuned, I will tell you more about that later. I showed him how my face was/is multicoloured because of a rare skin condition I was diagnosed with in my late teens; I am overweight with scars all over my body from motorcycle muffler burn and fights that I perpetrated as well as from domestic abuse. However, he assured me that I was ‘perfectly flawed.’
I have recently heard of people going crazy during the current quarantine and lockdown situations because they are not able to go to the hairdresser and/or to buy and put on makeup and buy new hair and clothes, and they are on the verge of depression (if not there already). I totally understand that some of these people are not only dealing with external flaws but also internal scars and have no clue how to deal with them.
So here is the story I promised:
Back in the day I thought of myself as slim and trim and had a lot of young men and boys trying to get my attention. I was approached by the owner of an entertainment site in my community to participate in a beauty contest. I was intrigued by the idea, but apparently, I was too ‘fat’ to be a contestant, so my weight loss journey began. I was introduced to a green capsule and after finding out that this was not an over-the-counter drug, I found a doctor who I could pay (a considerable amount of money) to write a prescription for me. He told me to take one per day to lose weight fast. I did this, and in no time I was ready to parade my body in front of a crowd. During the time leading up to the contest, there were days when I felt faint because the pill made me feel like I had a hefty meal after taking it when in truth, I didn’t eat sometimes for days. I was in a daze most of the time and felt like I was walking on air, but I was on a mission and nothing could stop me.
I won the overall contest, received most of the sectional prizes, and I was trending; for a while, I was the popular ‘Miss ‘Gola’ (Goldsmith Villa). However, things changed, and the attention was now shifted to young girls with ‘meat’ on their bodies. Society dictated that my friends and I find means to become relevant again; so my weight gain journey began. One of my friends sourced a ‘fattening pill’ that eventually made us gain a considerable amount of weight. I later learned that those hormone pills were given to chickens to make them bigger and fatter, and quickly. Because the spotlight was on us again, we were ‘happy.’
The manufacturers and sellers of the slimming and fattening drug failed to warn us that there could be serious medical and psychological issues later in life if the product was used for a long period of time (or at all). To cut a rather long story short, even when we stopped using the fattening pills, we kept on gaining weight and I became largely depressed (pun intended). I am here today dealing with the after-effects of fattening and then slimming pills used over two decades ago. That is, I developed hypertension from taking the slimming pills and obesity and several hormonal and medical issues that come with that, from taking the fattening pills.
I used to compare myself a lot with how I looked as a young lady back in the day, which led me to feel ugly and undesirable. I stopped trying to lose the weight and just left myself up to whatever wanted to happen. I had to work hard to get out of that hole that I buried myself in and to accept myself for who I am now and see my flaws as perfect. But why? All because I allowed society to dictate how I looked, and what I thought, and felt about myself.
Why am I sharing this aspect of my past with you? By now, it might be clear that I was dealing with low self-esteem and allowed society to dictate what I did with my life; my flaws and scars were as much internal as they were external. However, I later found out that society is not to be blamed for my past and current problems.
Someone once said, “You’re always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company (Anonymous).” If you feel that your ‘flaws’ or ‘defects’ are not trending among your colleagues or the society, ask yourself this question: If I had high self-esteem and was okay with how and who I am, what would I say to someone who shared with me that he or she is having an issue with accepting his or her physical flaws? Would you tell the person that he or she had a right to continue being depressed? Would you advise the person to continue comparing himself or herself with the past or with others? I don’t believe you would.
If you are Christian-minded, what I believe you would do is tell the person that, as creatures of the Creator, he or she is fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). And you would say there is beauty in every flaw you might have acquired, because there is a story or a testimony behind it, right? If not of any religious faith, you would maybe encourage the person to try hard to change what can be changed, and to accept the things that cannot be changed. Also, you may advise the person to talk to a counsellor to determine if he or she is experiencing internal psychological issues and find solutions for dealing with them. So do yourself a favour and give yourself the best advice you can.
Although it is always good to desire physical self-improvement, another thing you could do is focus less on what you consider as flaws and pay more attention to your positive internal qualities; focus on the best person you can be. Concentrating on your flaws and scars can only lead to negative results, while maintaining a positive focus can make it a lot easier for you to use your talents to push yourself forward. In other words, positive focus allows you to see opportunities rather than obstacles. Affirm yourself; be proud of your achievements and your efforts. Also, be grateful for the lessons you learned from failures and be proud when you try again.
My flaws and scars are what got me started on the journey of self-development and that of others. They made me who I am today. Rather than hide your flaws and stress about them, embrace them, and be unapologetic about them. Do this enough that embracing them becomes a habit. Close your ears to what other people might say about you. I am speaking from experience when I say this: when you make attempts to deal with any internal and external flaws and/or scars that you can change, do not stay depressed if you fail to accomplish your goal. Get up and try again. Make a positive impact on society rather than allow society to negatively impact your decisions because it is only in having a mindset change about yourself that you will change the way you view the world. Changed minds change lives.