I used to be very beautiful, you know, the kind of face that makes tyres screech and creates unrelenting traffic. I always told people that it wasn’t something I intentionally flaunted but even I knew better. My looks opened doors, even ancient doors for me but I never spared a kind thought for the less fortunate facially. I mocked and made fun of them with my clique of friends. I felt that it was their duty to worship the very ground that I stepped on and I never lost an opportunity to say so, after all my family was affluent. My beauty was my pride and I made sure it showed with each step I took. As a morning flower, my beauty blossomed more and more each day. I saw the way they looked at me. Men, because they wanted me for themselves and women wished they could be me while shooting darts of hatred with their eyes. I found it all really entertaining.
That was the kind of life I lived until tragedy struck me.
When the tragedies of my life began, they came in multiples of three. First, it was the loss of my father to a mysterious illness (my mother had already departed years ago). I was left with my step-mother whom I had never really had much regard for. Shortly after that, I got carjacked at a salon I had always visited. It was the car my dad gave me on my 18th birthday. I wept uncontrollably and though people thought I was crying over the loss of my father, it was the thought of entering molue that pained me more. I eventually took a taxi back home. However, I never made it back home the same! Our car was hit by an on-coming trailer. It was later that I found out that the brakes of the trailer had failed and the driver lost control of the vehicle.
After that, I felt my life had ended. I was never the same again, or should I say my face was never the same again. I was later to hear that the left side of my face smashed into the window. The pain was unbearable and the scars went deep. The rest of my body was pretty much unaffected. I can remember telling God to take my life instead of leaving me in such a sorry state. Well, I was discharged from the hospital and I tried to pick the shreds of my life and start again.
That was when I realized how difficult it was to get simple favours from people unlike before. People turned away from me. Children screamed in fright whenever I came close. I had no friends, no sympathizers, no hope. My stepmother was the only one that stood by me at that time. I suddenly began to see her in a different light. I thought about ending my life a good number of times. It was the day some girls saw me on the street and called me an ugly old woman that I decided to execute that thought.
I decided that the best way would be to jump off the bridge. I was weeping bitterly when a woman saw me and followed me. I suppose she must have guessed my intentions. She asked me my name and I told her, Naomi. She spoke to me kindly and even offered me shelter that night. We were awake far into the night as she told me the story of a woman in the bible who thought her life was over after all the sad experiences she encountered, the death of her husband and two sons in a strange land. She told me about the hope that God renewed in the woman’s life through a young woman who stood by her. She told me, “Naomi, don’t change your name to Mara just yet. God still has something good in store for you!”
I can tell you that it was as if my eyes were suddenly opened and I could see what I had never seen before. I began to see people for whom they really are. That was when I realized that I should listen to the contents of people’s character without first forming an opinion just by looking at the face. I renewed my life with vigour and tried to find excitement in everything. My face may still be scarred and ugly but my heart is completely changed now. People now seek me out to listen to words of comfort and encouragement from me. Some say that just sitting with me for a few minutes could calm their worries and renew hope in their hearts. I have realized that the most important thing in life is not beauty but the heart.