Walking In Borrowed Shoes

I wasn’t sure that I was going to write about this, but something happened on Friday that tipped the balance.

I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, it means that I have many tiny cysts around my ovaries- I’ve seen pictures of the little buggers that frame my ovaries and cause me a lotta grief. PCOS means different things to different women, it’s a syndrome- a collection of symptoms and the common thread is usually the presence of those tiny cysts on the ovaries, acne, weight issues and hirsutism- excessive hair growth in unwanted places. There are many other terrible symptoms that make it a horrible thing to live with- you can google it.

Sometimes I get menstrual periods that are relentless, painful and bloodful- I know that’s not a word. When such episodes occur, a hospital trip is inevitable. Sometimes I refuse to go the hospital and have bled for twenty-one days straight before I changed my mind and endured the stupid questions I usually got at UBTH. I’m not the most pleasant person in the world and when I have bled for a while, I’m a ticking bomb. Then the drugs for stopping the bleeding make me gain weight too, so you can imagine how unhappy I am to have the nonsense thing happen. Please don’t ask me to pray about it, I swear I’d punch/deck you through your phone or whatever you’re viewing this with.

 

Anyway this post is about my skin issues, acne especially. In October, I worked in a place that did plenty skincare consultations and treatments. According to my then boss (I left the job less than a month after I started) my face did not represent their image properly (I should have quit then). I started a skincare regime that involved scrubs, astringents and lotions in October, however it wasn’t until November that I started seeing improvements.

 

One of the lotions has a skin lightening effect and I use it sparingly but I have still gotten lighter. It isn’t just the lotion, my spots are fading and I have been indoors mostly, the triple combination makes it really obvious. What surprised me however- is the increase in masculine attention that I’ve been getting these days. I travelled to Benin for my friend’s wedding and it felt weird that I suddenly became memorable, I was getting lift offers and in the bus park someone kept insisting on carrying my luggage.

 

It’s only got worse in Lagos, the catcalls and winks have begun to get on my nerves. Even though I have gained a significant amount of weight this month- thanks to the drugs I had to take for the bleeding incident that happened in October to November before my mother literally had me at gunpoint to do something. It really is hard for me to understand though that if I lighten my skin (my face in this), I will get more admirers.

 

On Friday, I ran into an old friend and he was raving about how good I looked and how he liked it.
“Did you get fairer?” he asked
“I’ve been at home this month, the sun no dey see me to blacken me” I replied
“You look so fresh now, this your colour dey glitter”

 

For the first time perhaps, I understand why girls bleach their skin. If I were interested in masculine attention, if I felt validated by the number of my toasters then I’d be encouraged to go further the skin lightening route. I’d probably get Egyptian milk or vitamin C serum or Glutathione topical and parenteral/oral treatments among others to get my yellow sisi groove on. Its sooo easy to slip into that superficial world, trust me it can be tempting. Sometimes I feel good about my “new” attractiveness, the “freshness”. Even through the storms that raged in my head and elsewhere, I still felt the slight tug of vanity.
Isn’t it sad that we see dark skin as something undesirable even though we don’t even know it? Think about it, do we say “you’re getting darker” and mean it as a compliment? NO! We say it when we think the person is stressed, ill or not looking up to their usual standard. Then we tell the person with the lightened skin how they glow, look fresh, are shinning etc. it’s pretty hard to feel beautiful when your melanin quotient is high, you really have to dig deep to get the self-esteem to love your beauty and yourself. Forget the black is beautiful slogans, the reality is quite different.

 

I really wish that a time would come where you can glow, glitter, shine and even be fresh with dark skin. I hope it happens soon, very soon.

 

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14 Comments

  1. I get how you feel Adaeze. I saw a girl this morning. Her face and her lower body were two striking contrast. Iru fanta okpa coke. And she seemed so cool with it. With the influx of whitening soaps and cream in the market, one should not be too surprised at the need to be “white”. Blame the society. When white becomes the new black, everyone wants to be white. Ladies don’t make it easier for themselves, like you mentioned. By the way, keep glowing in your “new freshness”

    Reply

  2. Awww….namsie, I felt ‘down’ when I read your first three paragraphs. It is well dearie. You are an inspiring young lady and I love the straight-forwardness of your write-ups!

    You know, when I was growing up, I really wanted to be dark skinned cause I was too light skinned and people called me oyibo pepper, coupled with my eye colour which made people call me ‘anya pussu’ ‘you get’.
    Sometimes, I get my sister’s annoyed glances whenever I say I’d like to be dark skinned-because I used to feel that darker skinned ladies do not face the same pressure that lighter skinned women face.
    Surprised? In every ten fair ladies, -lemme narrow it down to two-in every two fair skinned ladies, one is always lighter or one’s complexion is always more preferable than the other but it’s not the case for dark skinned ladies. I have light skinned friends who are toning everyday and are now like white people. Tell me, how do I stand close to them without being compared? Annoying huh?
    I guess what some darker skinned ladies that bleach do not know is, that you can make your complexion glow no matter how dark you are. I have a friend who is part Hausa and she has the richest black colour ever, however she used to complain to me of how her mother bought her bleaching creams. Knowing that I am quite good in organic skin therapy, she asked if it was wise to use such and I simply told her not to destroy her complexion but to use honey and almond as a scrub for her skin. In less than a week, her complexion glowed so much that whenever she walked down the road, she kept getting lifts.
    (Now, I’m blabbing…when it comes to skin care….I can go on and on.)

    You know what? It doesn’t matter what colour or complexion we are, we are unique and beautiful in our own ways. Even as fair as I am, I still see those who have bleached and have cleaner skin and I’m like, ‘haba can’t someone enjoy her skin again without trying too hard?’ Yes, sometimes, even with my complexion I want to look like some of these clean celebrities who look so good to be true, the day I tried it ehn….'(back in 100level) I was just shinning with the sun and instead of people to say, ‘Ada, you are so pretty, they were like, you are too bright, it’s like you’re even red sef’

    Whatever the case maybe, you always glow dear!
    e-hugs!

    Reply

    1. As I read your comment, I remembered my classmate in primary school who was so fair that she was almost red. Nobody liked to upset her or make her cry because she’d turn bright red.
      There are two sides to every story as you have just shown, our fair sisters do not necessarily have it any easier even though it seem like they do.
      You made me laugh and think Ada, Daalu.

      Reply

  3. “I was getting lift offers and in the bus park someone kept insisting on carrying my luggage”

    At teh above.. Oshey! Fine geh SomeboRRy.. **Pops Collar.. My Otunne yeah.. She is baDDer than yours.. **Sits up on Jangolova chair.. Wo Nne.. Life eezz tooo short to wait for or seek Validation to live a happy life.. Just let go off the sails.. Kick of your shoes.. and Dance Like no one is watching. If becoming Fairer makes you Happy.. then please by all means do. if Staying Black and beauRRiful is your thing.. Then do so with Pride. Anywhichway Pharmacist Ada..Just live with as much passion as you can muster.. remember We only live once eh!

    P.S: Its amazing how intelligent you are.. I mean you make Brilliance feel good on a someboRRy.. and it is oh! so! endearing.. You have the mind of a goddess Otunne.. and that your brain ehn! na Super! heheheheh..

    P.P.S: I have chosen to not comment on the first few paragraphs.. cause i know you have it all covered.. Ya a Strong lady someboRRy.. Enviably strong. Do stay beauRRifull Otunne.. and Stay Winning.. 🙂 and the crowd goes.. Skibo robo Skibo.. Skibor robor Skibor.. Ooossshheeey BaDDest..

    Reply

    1. Hahaha! I love this… Otunne, enjoy your glow and as your namesie said, you can make black glow, too. So sorry about the cysts, I hope you get a permanent cure soon. Cheers, darling!

      Reply

      1. I’ll try to dearie, the glow seems to have come to stay.
        I hope I get a cure but if it isn’t God’s will, he’d give me the grace to bear it as he’s always done.
        You haven’t updated your blog in a while, kilonshele?

    2. Duru, I don’t know where to start my reply from.
      I’d just say thank you, thank you for being a wonderful friend and awesome otunne. your phone call this evening, i’d always be grateful for.
      Daalu Otunne

      Reply

  4. Hi Adaeze,

    This must be the post! I enjoyed reading it 🙂

    Personally, due to my battle with pimples I am more impressed when I see healthy, spot-free skin rather than complexion.

    We’ve been force-fed this idea that brighter is better, more attractive, and we’ve swallowed it like many lumps of fufu consumed without drinking water, it’s now become stuck in our throats.

    It all comes down to popular culture. Herd Mentality. We are like puppets, the crowd races towards a loud noise without asking why. They were simply prompted by an unexplained urge to join in, and it seemed like the thing to do.

    Imagine this, Lupita’s glowing complexion suddenly becomes so desirable, it becomes the rave. It becomes ultra cool to have the “Ebony sheen”. Suddenly dark skin is declared to be more beautiful.

    Finally, someone has this brilliant idea and produces a lotion/ potion/ serum that promises “Lupitaesque” skin. It flies off the shelves, Herd Mentality.

    Reply

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