There is no mirror in my room and I didn’t place any in my previous rooms too. My walls are always bare. I pick out clothes from my wardrobe and wear them. I walk outside and at times, a stranger would tell me to adjust my top, adjust my bag, and I would mutter a thank you and adjust. In my previous room, I would leave my room to check the mirror in someone else’s room. The room dweller once asked why I refused to hang a mirror on my walls and I told her a lie; I was restricting the urge to be more self-absorbed.
There are two truths though. One is I hate looking at myself. I just do. Second is the child in me that constantly seeks validation from others and gets fed whenever other people comment on my appearance.
On the first truth, I also don’t know the root of the malady but if what is going through your mind is ‘she’s probably ugly’, you are most likely wrong because I don’t think I am. I believe that I have been called beautiful by several people for a reason. The strange part is I don’t own it. I don’t even think I believe it. I don’t look in the mirror because I don’t like seeing my face. I avoid taking pictures because I don’t like seeing myself. I just feel repulsed by it. I tell myself I’m ugly every time I catch sight of myself on a surface that reflects. I don’t see what other people see.
I kinda like my thighs though. There is a scar on my right thigh. I like seeing it and I don’t think there’s a reason. Maybe it’s because of the way I got the wound that became the scar; electrocution. I was young and naive enough to plug my laptop in the middle of a storm because I wanted to watch Barbie and I remember the particular episode I was watching that night to be Diamond Castle. Then lightning struck and my laptop, which I foolishly placed on my bare lap, electrocuted me and I heard a shrilling sound that took me a minute to realize it was from me.
I have another scar on my palm and I look at it a lot too. I like seeing it there. It makes me recognizable. A biro pierced my palm and it resulted in a wound that became a scar.
Most people don’t like their scars but I love mine because I see them as another means to recognize me.
Aside from my face, I have another one on my stomach from where my younger sister bit me. Another on my arms from where my brother dragged me on a rug after I asked him to. They make me up. The birthmark on my ring finger too. The scars on my right arm and my left brow from the accident I was involved in. Ironically, I have always admired scars on brows because I thought they gave a distinctive look to the face. My best friend has one. My sister has one too. I remember telling the doctor as she was dressing my wound that I have always wanted a scar on my brow and they laughed while calling me a weirdo.
There should be a scar on the back of my head too. I got infected with a viral disease when I was much younger while playing with a friend that had it. I remember my mom took me to visit her friend and they decided to treat it by rubbing salt on the spot vigorously. I wailed like a hungry child. The wound healed and became a scar. It should still be there although I can’t feel it because of my hair.
I rely on these scars because my dependence on my facial appearance is thin and can be shredded.
Hence, I decided to place my bets on my scars. They’re my markings. I have gone through stages of acne that have made people question my sanity and one even said I look like someone that carried a sacrifice. Yes, it stung. At the beginning of this year, my skin was clear. My facial skin was immaculate and I derived pleasure from looking at it. At this moment, the glow has seeped away and I can’t bear to look at myself in the mirror. I’m back to my scars.
There’s no mirror in my room because I don’t need a mirror to look at the parts of me that I hold dear.
Idayat Olúwatósìn Jinadu is the founder and Editor-in-chief of Àyànfé. She’s also a writer with her works published in Black Ballad, Adventures From, and The Girls Like Me.