The Apprentice: Pimples and Zits
By Kizzy Katawonga, Uganda:
I have a zit.
A shiny, white head sitting proudly in the middle of my forehead, just above my eyebrows! I've always had a perfect skin but now, here I am staring at a zit in disbelief as it taunts me. I feel like a baby unicorn whose horn is starting to grow. Oh! The shame makes me want to hide in the house: A 36 year old man with a zit? How could I look people in the eye when I can sense them staring at this alien that has taken root on my face?
Those awkward moments in the elevator, trapped with individuals who have nothing better to do than covertly (and some overtly) checking out everyone else in that metal box. How could they not fixate on the lanky bearded man with a zit? Images of that moment when the white head will pop at the most inconvenient time possible, like when I'm having a team meeting and it's my turn to talk fill me with great dread. This is horrible. But why do I feel so self conscious? How can a zit elicit such emotion? It hardly covers 0.0001% of my body mass. So why on earth would I be so conscious of this little thing and why would I believe that everyone around me is looking at it? So why make a big deal out of a zit? …Because the zit represents my weaknesses, fears and failures. Like the tiny zit on a minuscule scale compared to my body, I blow my weaknesses, fears and failures way out of proportion
Admit it, we all do!
Yes we tend to over amplify our fears and failures thinking that everyone around us is staring at these humongous ghastly fails when in truth, they are not worth most people's attentions. We humans are vain, an illusion that the entire universe revolves around us. The reality is a lot more like us being a tiny star in a small galaxy of billions of stars which in turn is one of billions of galaxy clusters that form the universe. People don't think about us as much as we have convinced ourselves.
While I have been so consumed with self-consciousness about my alien visitor and what people think, even my wife had not noticed until I pointed it out to her. It simply wasn't as glorious in reality as I had made it in my mind. And that is how life also plays out. Yes, we all have weaknesses and make mistakes. But when placed against the great canvas that is our life, they vanish into obscurity. When I think of the things that made me so self-conscious when I was a teenager, I laugh at how ridiculous they were seeing as only I remember them and no one else.
People who know me can't remember how short I was in my early teens as well as when when my insane growth spurt began in high school so that my shorts could never keep up with me. Those shorts embarrassed me by being so, well, short all the time. I was so concerned with people making fun of me or commenting on my mini-skirts but you know what? Nobody even remembers me in those shorts. Only I do. And that's because I was the only one who gave it a lot of thought whilst everyone else was dealing with crushes, homework and zits of their own.
So my little zit has been a good reminder that most people aren't as concerned with my flaws as I have made them out to be. Nobody cares what I do if it doesn't benefit or deny them. And my zit definitely falls into that category.
So I am emboldened to live a more active life without too much care of what people will say or think because most people are too busy and focused on their own zits to worry about mine. And that is a tremendously liberating revelation. The little zit you are worried about, nobody's going to notice unless you point them to it.