Distorted Mirrors

Throughout primary school, teachers always felt it necessary for us  to write our news and occasionally read it to the whole classroom. Now,  that would have been all well and fine if I actually had a life. You  don’t really do much as a kid besides go to school, go home, play, eat,  sleep. And somehow, everyday what we write in our news is supposed to be  different.

It was  especially irritating when those white kids who did all sorts of fun  things with their holidays came and reported this to the class. The  average black kid came and said “I played soccer with my friends. The  end”. That worked for me. The average white kid came and said “we went  4×4 racing, then went bungee jumping, then I jumped out of a plane, and  then I learnt how to do the moonwalk, and then I played soccer with my  friends”. WHAT!? In Grade 4, there was a mild tornado in the town where I  grew up. From my home window, it just seemed like a hailstorm, but it  was actually more than that. I realised this after this one guy came  back and said “My dad was at the gate, and I went to open the gate for  him. Then the tornado took him away in the car and it took the cow  across the road too. I watched him spinning around and then 5 minutes  later, the car landed on all 4 wheels in-front of the gate, and he  walked out”. I missed the part about what happened with the cow (the  funny thing is that this was the actual story he told us… and we  believed it).

As you can see, I generally had a  challenge. In Sub A (Grade 1 to all you kids who were born after Mandela  was free), I decided to write “My mother got a baby this weekend”. As  you can guess, the teacher gave me extra special attention that day. The  fact that my mother didn’t have a baby that weekend was irrelevant.  What was relevant was that I was a bawse. Two months later, I ran out of  stories so I wrote again “My mother had another baby this weekend”. For  some reason, it didn’t work this time. But another teacher in the  school heard that my mother got a baby, and one day saw my mother on the  street and said “Hey, congratulations on your new child!”. Awkward.

Problem  is, so so many years later, nothing has really changed. Why does one  feel the need to tell a story slightly different from the truth to look  good? For example, I’m into photography. So when I meet other  photographers, and they ask what work I’ve done, I sometimes say “I’ve  done a bit of work in the fashion industry”. What I want him to take  from this is “He has taken pictures for top-end glossy magazines and  done shoots at some of the best fashion shows”. What I actually mean is  that someone I knew in varsity wanted me to take picture of some outfit  she designed, so she could enter it into a competition. Not really a  lie. Just creative truth-telling.

We as humans (I’m  generalising here so that I don’t feel like the only idiot in the room)  tend to do things and say things because we feel that we aren’t enough,  and need to match up. But God made us unique, and I personally think  that God’s creativity is enough. So whether I’m an amateur photographer  talking to a guy with 3000 years experience, or can’t dance to save my  life but tell people I’m standing on the sidelines because my leg is  injured, or I failed my test, and I’m talking to someone whose  vocabulary’s anti-virus automatically finds and deletes the word “fail”,  I am enough. And so are you.

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