When I was small, my father insisted that I use jumbo pink erasers to clear the errors off the pages of my homework. In his opinion, the erasers on the back on the number two pencils that I gripped tightly in my small hands didn’t do an adequate enough job. In fact, instead of giving my assignments a more pristine look, they often left harsh dark smudges or worst yet, ripped holes in my notebook paper if I pressed down too roughly. Only the flaky pink residue of those ridiculous looking erasers were good enough for him, and though it infuriated me at the time, soon they were the only things I reached for. Though I stumbled often and still continue to stumble, that quest for perfection, to erase the mistakes, and to wipe my soul, spirit and heart clean has stuck with me into adulthood. In college, I once argued with a professor over an A- that I’d received in her class. Before dates, I would spend hours preparing showering, scrubbing and moisturizing my skin, painstakingly getting my makeup just right. Even now, I agonize over my articles, searching desperately for any errors that I may have missed (and inevitably there’s always something ), only to have some commentator under my work either harshly or politely gather me for a misspelled word, or incorrect date or misused term. No matter how small, it rips me open, and I commence with agonizing over what I could have or should have done. Lately, I’ve been working overtime to try and squash that, to embrace my imperfections and my humanity. To be OK with my errors and my size, my mistakes and my faults. More often than not, I’ve been excelling. I awake looking forward to my day, I’m mostly sure at work where I’ve taken on considerable responsibilities. I look in the mirror daily and though I’m far from perfect I mostly like what I see. I embrace my breakouts and my scars, my cellulite and the bags that have suddenly appeared until my mid-twenty something eyes. There is no pink fluffy jumbo eraser for life, no magic solution to make everything clean again. Instead, the scars my life have born are embedded in my soul and my pain lives in my bones. It’s only a dull aching at times, but it’s always present. And despite all of this I’ve learned to love, and to thrive and to press forward and preserve. I’ve become human.
xoxox Chocolate Girl in the City xoxoxox
Images: Aramide Tinubu, GIPHY