Have you ever been called ugly?

554949_613799355327121_123434194_nYesterday whilst searching for a picture that would go with the poem Free by Miss X (Stop asking who that is! Most of you already know her!), I stumbled on a blog post about a little girl who was always taunted by her friends for being fat. She had reported this to her mom on one of such occasions, and guess what the mom did? She quietly wiped the girl’s tears, took her to an eatery and bought her a fat bowl of ice cream. The little girl consumed the junk with utmost delight, forgetting whatever had happened. This, the mom repeated whenever anyone made her little girl cry by addressing her as being fat.
This reminded me of my conversation with a tweep some few weeks back. I had tweeted about my experience as a child when my friends made fun of my then big nose and almost cat-like ear (you know, the type of ear that refuses to rest for a second. Always on “attention”). Truth is, I never saw myself that way until my friends started pointing it out to me. They would say things like “haba, why did God do this to you nau? Height you no get, you come small, your ear dey stand and your nose dey like clown own.” The first time they said it, I had thought they were kidding; but before I knew it, it became the new way of greeting me whenever I arrived at their gathering.
This made me highly depressed and miserable. It affected my relationship with the girls. I knew no girl would ever trip for Shrek. And the boys didn’t make it any easier for me. Because of my little frame, they never deemed it fit to invite me to any of their “wrong maps”. You know how guys hang out and talk about or stalk girls? Yup. They never allowed me into their circles because I wasn’t as big as them, and to make matters worse, I was the “good boy” type. So I had a different view about smoking, drinking, sex, sex talks, fights etc. In fact I remember the first time one of “us” started speaking pidgin english (my school had a policy against it). I made a joke out of it by asking when he started speaking pidgin; and whether he thought that made him feel like a big boy or what. So you can imagine how that would have infuriated them. They scolded me and sent me on lifetime exile, never wanting to have me around them (it was not as if I was ever a part of them). They didn’t feel I belonged with them. As time went on and as we moved to higher classes, in order to win them back, I had to prove my manhood by stubbornly joining them to a bar and ordering for a bottle of Star beer, just like they did. They “loved” me and eased me into the fold. Story for another day.
Even, when once in a while they allowed me hang out with them, that didn’t stop them from pointing out my “flaws” to me. I never felt good about myself.


Now, remember the tweep I said I had a conversation with some weeks back? She shared a similar story with me. Here’s what she said,
“As a child, I was tall, and quite thin and tactless adults compared me with my sister and somehow opined I was ugly. As I grew older, I was a late bloomer and I heard the statements again. Didn’t help that I stretched to 6 feet at 14. How did I respond? I hid away at first… and then my parents noticed and helped me build my self-esteem back. I’m not ugly, I know that for a fact now. I wish I knew what I know now earlier. No to tactlessness, its destructive. Honestly I believed (those adults) and so I concentrated on the inside. Today, I don’t mind being 6 ft and 1 inch tall, I don’t mind not being fat or chubby. I love who I am and I affirm others every chance I get. At a point, I would say to myself, I have a beautiful heart just to make up for not being pretty. I think if parents watched (their kids), they would notice (the changes in their behaviours). My parents noticed and didn’t address it at first. Got my aunt who was also very tall to deal…. I honestly didn’t believe a compliment that went ‘pretty’ or beautiful’. My mind said ‘flattery’…..
But I had long accepted my height and stature. But truly accepting that I was pretty. hmm…those words sunk in so deep….. So I was quite okay with being in the Friendzone: the chic that wasn’t pretty enough to be dated, but be friends. Lol! I didn’t even realise! I believed them (my parents) eventually (that I was pretty). I was mad for the years I wasted just hiding away.”

She went further to relay another tale: “I heard a 6 year old tell another ‘I detest your fatness’. I cringed. I think she was 7. What kind of values are those??? For a 7 year old to tell a 6 year old that? Hmmmm. The poor girl may have nursed those words. Of course, I quickly addressed it. That’s a child to another child.” ”

nick-vijucic-wedding-shotI believe many people have a similar story to share.
Now, the real problem with this situation is not the fact that kids are being taunted by their peers for being too tall, fat, thin, short, skinny, big-headed, late bloomer etc. It will always happen. The real problem is that such experiences usually shape the child. And the society – the family in particular – isn’t doing anything about it. How many parents usually take out time to study the behavioural patterns of their kids? When a child returns home from school looking dirty and downcast, do you try to find out why he is downcast first, or you yell at him for being dirty? When your child suddenly starts withdrawing and keeping to himself, do you care to know why? Do you even notice?

It is quite disheartening to know that most parents even say hurting words to their own kids. I have heard a mother mocking her child for being big-headed. I have heard a little girl telling her brother he is too thin. I have heard aunts making fun of the “bow legs” of their nieces. It is that bad.
Yesterday I saw a headline about a girl who committed suicide because her mom kept making uncomplimentary remarks towards her. I didn’t bother to read the story because I have seen many of such. The occurrence may not be that rampant in the African society, but that doesn’t mean it is an absolute impossibility. Most suicides today are linked with depression and low self-esteem.
Must kids be driven nuts over situations they had/have no control over? Quite ironically, most of these taunted kids grow up to become more handsome/beautiful than their peers ever were or would be.
Now, if kids who were born with complete body parts are made to feel this way, you can imagine what kids with “special abilities” go through every second of their lives.
To wrap up this piece, can you see the first picture in this post? Who do you think that is? NO! That’s not Usher Raymond’s younger bro. That is me now joor. Omo toh clean and fresh, shay? Yea, I somehow grew out of the big nose and cat-like ears. Kinda. To remove all reasonable doubt, here are more pics: Please don’t use them to market your products without my due consent. *dodges grenade* Ooooosssseeeeee!

This is me, at the "introduction" of a secondary school colleague sometime in January. (She was actually the headgirl while I was the head boy. Yes. I was d ori boy.)

This is me, at the “introduction” of a secondary school colleague sometime in January. (She was actually the headgirl while I was the head boy. Yes. I was d ori boy.)

My female friends seem to like this picture A LOT. Dunno why. Cos I look damn cute? Looks homoish, tho, but NO. I AM NOT ONE.

My female friends seem to like this picture A LOT. Dunno why. Cos I look damn cute? Looks homoish, tho, but NO. I AM NOT ONE.

Me and Uncle Clem

Me and Uncle Clem

At the saloon, thinking of how to overthrow Hon. Pat Obahiagbon

At the saloon, thinking of how to overthrow Hon. Pat Obahiagbon

I know some people would have been looking out for my nose and ears in those pictures. Hmm. Una get time sha. Anyway, tell us, have you ever been called ugly? How did you handle it?

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18 thoughts on “Have you ever been called ugly?

  1. Jourye says:

    I was once ugly too! Or rather tagged ‘ugly’. My head was way bigger than the rest of my body! However, I wasn’t even bothered, I learnt to focus on my good qualities! Damn! I was more intelligent than the pretty girls, so dey had no choice. Today, I’m not only still more intelligent but definitely prettier! I dunno how I managed to develop in such a way that my head is proportionate to my body now! Oh please! Dont ask for pics *i don’t want casualties on here*! Nice piece harold!

  2. osarodion judith Edosa says:

    You don’t even need to be called ugly to feel ugly. No one ever called me ugly but no one ever said I was beautiful either. My sister got showered with accolades like “American iyobo” and all that. I naturally thought I wasn’t beautiful. Till today I look at the mirror too many times and say to myself you are beautiful. No matter what people say or don’t say it really is left to you to know that you are beautiful.

  3. We are all children of God. He made us no matter how fat or thin or ugly you are. We are unique in our own way. Just look after your body thats all God wants.

  4. LOL. Nahh fortunately for me I’ve never had such experiences. Apart from the fact that back in the day, my mates used to run from me because of the texture of my skin. Dry, hard & flakky! Yup! Does that count?! Whatever. LOL

    I love love Beautiful!!!! <3

  5. Taiwo says:

    Hmmmm I got taunted a lot o! Especially in secondary school. I was beautiful but extremely skinny and tall! I never really liked sweets, so I always bought fruits with my pocket money. A teacher once taunted me and ‘advised’ that should buy pastries instead of fruits, he did this in front of the whole class and boy, did they have fun at my expense! I cried that day, but I got over it and vowed never to let anyone make me feel bad about myself again

  6. I’ve never been called “ugly”, but I’ve often been made to feel ugly. Being reminded dt I was a “smallie” by my classmates and friends rather too often didn’t help my self-esteem as an adolescent. The low self-esteem even went on into very early adult-hood. Then one day, I did something which helped me(dnt ask me wot it was I did…*wink). Anyways, I thank God I’m over it now. And I discovered that people who often find it pleasurable to make others feel less than they are, simply have a huge problem accepting who they are themselves. They want to share the cancer of their self-hatred; put the other person down, so they can feel on top. I don’t give them d pleasure anymore. And I do love myself now- well…most of the time. I also try to make people feel good about themselves by sharing genuine compliments and affirming them. That makes me feel good.

  7. Ugly duckling I was. I don’t blame them sha. Nothing seemed to be quite proportionate. Big head, big nose, skinny body, dada-like hair. Thank God for my mum that always said, “Leave her. Na me born am. She’s beautiful just the way she is. Besides she’s more intelligent than all of you joined together.” Yep!

    It still used to pain me sha. I became quiet by degrees till all I interacted with was my novels. By 14 though, I came into my full womanly curves, my head shrunk and my face grew into my nose. I handled the hair by cutting it. I also had the best of friends.

    My self-image right now is marvellous. I’m super-creative. And look younger than my age. My mum sometimes stops in the middle of a sentence, looks at me with wonder and says, “My baby is a beauty.”

  8. Stanley Tochukwu Amaechi says:

    I was too damn tall for my classmates that they don’t want to walk with me so, I never had a friend throughout untill ss2 when the chaplin of my school said that donkey was the ugliest animal. from that day, I was called “da donkey”. just three weeks ago when I took a picture of myself, that’s when I saw how handsome I was and I was like, “why was I called ugly initially, where they jealous?”.

  9. Wisdom HAROLD.. says:

    Hmmm…,my.. my.. my..’dey said am short,had bow legs,stupid,&ugly….,oooh God.. I stood 2my Faith..knwing”1dey igo better”… Nd noW,am1 of d Bst 3Evry i go,u’RE Cute,funy nd i Luv ur structuRE…

  10. Thanks Harold for this peice. Nice one!
    I can totally relate.

    Instructive to note how consciously or subconsciously, people’s opinions about our appearance matters so much.

    Today, I think we need to learn how to be tactful and to teach our children same. Why offer unsolicited ‘beauty pageant judgment’ between sisters? Who asked for your opinion? Really? Is it necessary? Why would you as an adult say something that is capable of crushing a child’s spirit to the child’s hearing? Yes, it is your opinion, but please can you choose not to share it with the persons concerned if you must at all? As care givers e.g.teacher, auntie uncle, can we please be careful what we say?

    And can we please not raise our children to pass unsavoury comments about others? Some understanding of how far reaching these comments can be to the self esteem of young people should serve as a guide. Let our hearts guide our lips and may we be builders rather than destroyers.

    Apologies for the lengthy comment.

  11. Read this piece late. Its up to us to make our kids better people by giving them a high self esteem. Kids will be kids and by default, kids are mean, so I think its the parents that have a job to make sure their kids are not affected by what the outside world thinks. Nice one Harold

  12. Never called ugly but was labeled Big head.Was a tom boy and naive,never saw myself pretty enuf to b asked out (thanks to low self esteem) and if a boy was liking me in dat form,i’ll avoid him for a long time … lol! i’ve always had a clique of friends right from my primary school days. So i had the most intelligent girl squad in my set in sec.sch,we were hated by our seniors,class mates and juniors cuz we were all triple threats >> PRETTY,INTELLIGENT & LOVELY VOICES (had the best all female acapella group) plus our shakara plenty,no one could tell us anything.

    Looking at how i looked in the past, i bless God for today cuz i’m beta, was labeled smally,Jada pinkett,smallz till this day, i had to include it as my nickname,i bear it with pride,shamelessly too (i mean i know i am petite and its a blessing) people keep asking me why i don’t age,i look the same facially over the year (fresher dou) its no magic,its in my ability to have it in my head that i’m a smally and smallies should look young always (and of cos my DNA *winkx* lol!) having 3 younger sisters under after me,ppl keep thinking i’m the last girl and it swells my head i wunt lie cus it means over the years,i still look younger,i pray it remains this way till i’m done giving birth…AMEN!

    PS: Mr. Author… you need to get rid of ur unibrow, visit a saloon to pluck ’em.

    Cheers! 😀

  13. denisse says:

    I’ve been always called ugly all my life. I know the feeling of it and so all the pain. I ended alone ’cause i never allowed someone to enter in my life. Never been kiss or have a boyfriend. I struggled to keep a few friends around. But at the end i’m still the depress person, dependent of pills, who wish to die soon as possible.

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