“Natalia sit down.”
I looked around the room. My friends are all sitting looking back at me in a strange, serious manner. My first instinct was to cover my head. Had I offended anyone in the room? Maybe I had insulted one of my friends in one of my weekend drunk states. I wracked my brain but came up with nothing. I’ve practically been a saint to all my friends, especially the ones in this room right now.
I looked at Rose and said with a smile “Uh, what’s going on ladies? You all look so serious, who died?” I tried to joke.
“Take a seat” Mafwabo said
“Ok, you’re freaking me out” I said, before finally sitting down. Their eyes shifted from me to Rose who cleared her throat and looking at me straight in the eyes said, “We all love you very much and we thought it wise to talk to you about this (dramatic pause and sigh). You know you are very beautiful but we can’t take this anymore.”
Mafwabo now took the floor and said,
“Yes Natalia, people are bathing, balesamba abakashyana. If you go around town, people are on a mission to look good, ladies are making sure their heads have weaves, lashes done, nails done, eyebrows done. Now look at you: your hair is combed back in a non-existent ponytail. Your eyebrows are so bushy I can do cornrows in there!” At this, everyone burst into deafening laughter which lasted a whole entire minute.
“This, my dear friend is an intervention” Brenda chipped in and more laughter followed.
An intervention? In the way I look?
Each one of my friends took turns to talk about how I should do my hair, how I should make-up my face with that foundation and this powder. How I should either cut my hair or dye it a bright colour instead of keeping it in its natural state. What kind of lipstick would go with my face and which lotion I should be applying to make my skin look brighter – basically lighten my skin tone a bit, just a little bit.
The rambling went on and on. Through it all, I sat quiet, silent, and motionless with the occasional turn of my neck to look at who was talking. Finally Rose said “You are very beautiful, don’t doubt that. You have a very nice shape but you need to upgrade this beauty of yours! So from here you need to go and buy a weave and buy the new lotion we have just recommended for you, okay?”
I looked at everyone and smiled almost laughing “Guys, we’ve been through this. I am happy with the way I look. Seriously, there are more important things that you can sit around and talk about than the lotion I use. And besides, I am friends with you all because you are kind, caring, loyal and fun to hung around with, not because you have an extra face in the form of foundation or because you have nests of fake hair on your heads!
I am content with my skin tone and my natural hair, I am perfect just like this and it’s sad that you want me to change to fit into this world of yours, but what good will it be if we all look the same? You have said I am beautiful, so why is my beauty not enough? Why do I have to be fake for my beauty to be acceptable?” I said, with an almost sarcastic grin.
“Thanks a lot for this intervention but sorry guys, you are going to have me as your friend just the way I am. So if that was all, I would like to go keep up with the latest gossip on all things tagged.” I chuckled and walked out of the room with none of my friends making an effort to stop me.
As I walked back to my house, I replayed the whole so-called ‘intervention’ in my head and funnily enough, I was not upset by it at all. Rather, I was happy because my friends trying to change me made me more sure of who I am and what I stand for as a person, which in my view is exactly what friends are for: to bring out the best in you.
Main image taken from www.xpressmag.com