Sometimes when I look in the mirror I am delighted by the creature that stares back
without flinching, but sometimes tears of pain roll down my black cheeks. Whenever I
attempt turning my back to the mirror, even then I still see parts of me that make me
laugh and cry.
At times I wake up frowning and sometimes carrying a warm smile. Sometimes I know how I feel, but sometimes I get lost trying to figure out what and how I feel deep down. When I gaze at the reflection in the mirror I develop so many questions I have no answers to. The mirror’s reflection has bushy eyebrows, straight teeth, and high cheekbones. The person in the mirror has brown skin that I feel covers and conceal every pain, emotion, and thoughts from emerging to the outside world.
I remember sitting inside a taxi herding to school when a middle-aged woman got inside the taxi and sat next to me.
“Unjani ntombi yami?” she asked, which translates to how are you, my girl. Immediately after she asked that question fumes ignited within me, but I kept them from erupting. I let them burn my inside.
“Ngiyaphila ma, wena unjani?” I replied, saying I am feeling well mother, how are you.
When she responded I was already in my world of thoughts, pain, and regrets, my normal frequent routine. When I walk down the streets around my hometown, I see teens hugging, and kissing as all teens do. I see my friends playing soccer, some watching and puffing cigarettes. I walk until I realize how much I lost, both good and bad, by choosing a different path.
I chose to become part of the Imagine Scholar Program and recently to study at the United World College. Even now, no one understands why I do it. When I look in the mirror I don’t see a tough face, according to the concept of ‘Being Man Enough’, but instead I see a soft and beautiful male face that defies this concept.
I am different in every way possible and I love that part of me. How I look does not determine what I can and cannot do. Every child deserves to learn that as I have because when you realize that you are unique and you begin to understand how much you’re worth, which is beyond any wealth of this world.
At the end of the day I love what I see when I look in the mirror because beauty is not only physical appearance but it’s whatever concept is true to me.