I’ve always had a ‘nice young man’ face. An innocent face. Those faces that make neighbors believe that I’m the most outstanding, law abiding youth in the estate. If you were to tell them that, say, Simon smokes M.J, they’d hold their mouths in horror and disbelief. Simon? ule mmoja?! They’d ask completely nonplussed.
I have now grown to believe that its God’s way of protecting me from the world because if my face went along with my thoughts, I’d be one ugly ass man.
But this wasn’t always the case when I was growing up.
As a child, I hated it. I hated to be told that I looked innocent. That I didn’t look tough. A pretty boy. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I was bypassed in leadership roles all because I had a ‘soft’ face. I can’t count how many times my mom was asked if I was a girl. My God, I hated it. In matatus, in church, in Sunday school, everywhere. And to make it worse, I was as fat and spherical as a child would be. I was so fat that one time, I got stuck between the walking spaces of matatu seats as I tried to get in, but that’s a story for another day.
Looking back, I think this shaped who I am now because most of my childhood was trying to prove to the world that I wasn’t as innocent or soft or cute as they thought I was. I was tough as nails, still am.
I fought a lot at school, and with my weight, I rarely lost. A choke hold from me was as deadly as a sniper’s trigger finger. I was stoic and I cussed a lot, still do. But all these didn’t change anything, I was still the cute fat boy, smh.
Now things have changed, I lost all that baby weight. Puberty did its thing and muscles grew from the concrete that was once overfed fat. I have a moustache like a male 80s French porn star and a promising stubble sprouting from my chin. The ‘cute’ isn’t fading but getting more masculine. And luckily, I still look ‘innocent’.
But even with all these downsides to not looking tough, I have enjoyed a few perks from it. I’ve got away with murder lots of times. In school, it was easy to convince a teacher not to beat me up for breaking one of their million rules. Security guys don’t frisk me as heavy as some of my friends. It’s easier to approach girls because I don’t pose a threat. And there’s loads of other trivial perks I’ve enjoyed.
What I’m saying is in life, you have to find a way to turn weakness into strength. Especially if it’s something you have no control over. A saying about lemons and lemonade comes to mind. It’s the only way to empower yourself because sadly, only the strong survive.