Kings and Queens

by Maya Mutesi

I read somewhere not to write about speculative subjects, but here I am, indulging you in my undoubtedly speculative subject!

As a child I always complained about everything, from the smell of gas at the gas station, to the lunch I had at school, to simply — my face! My constant rants were always met by my mom’s unfazed response: “Humura mukobwa mwiza wanjye, ntacyo uba.” The key part of that response was and still is “mukobwa mwiza wanjye”, which either made me laugh or frustrated me because it seemed irrelevant to my problems, if not plainly false. No matter what my rant was about my mom reassured me that it would pass away all the while reinforcing what I am, her beautiful daughter. I never realized how much of an impact her ever-so-sweet words had on me. Unconsciously thinking that my mom thought I was beautiful made the rest of the world an irrelevant critic of me and my beauty. Her words translated in my little mind to “If mom thinks I am the shit therefore I don’t care what anybody else says or thinks”.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never walked around thinking I am the shit, I simply reasoned that if my mom thought so then it did not matter what anybody else thought? Up to today, she grounds me.

Our world redefines and criticizes beauty on a daily basis. I find beauty to be a fickle concept. Displayed and examined on the immense platform that the world wide web is and then tied in with cyber-bullying, racism, eating disorders, and different sexual orientations… beauty has become chaotic. A man-made calamity.

Make-up, plastic surgery, filters, dieting, working out, fashion you name it… Whether girl or boy we have all adopted a remedy, a concoction of some sort we trust to make us feel pretty, beautiful or just of this world.

All of this is overwhelming and I am sympathetic to you and me because we are victims and simply products of our times but if you are not affected by all of this I applaud you. However, what bothers me most today is our choice of words. I understand we cannot all live and behave the same way but we can all be careful about the words we use to describe ourselves and our friends. We went from bashing each other, calling each other horrible names to putting ourselves on pedestals and worshiping ourselves. Both extremes are lethal if you ask me.

Queen: the female ruler of an independent state, especially one who inherits the position by right of birth. (of a woman) behave in an unpleasantly superior way.

King: the male ruler of an independent state, especially one who inherits the position by right of birth. act in an unpleasantly superior and domineering way. So are we in any way Kings and Queens?

What happened to humility? Why can’t we be realistic? Or is it me that has no sense of humor? I am here to make the bold claim that people calling themselves Kings and Queens are not kings nor queens! I am also pretty sure all of them are aware of that fact, so it beats me why we must call ourselves things we aren’t, to feel better about the way we look; are we speaking it into existence? This defense or survival mechanism is not constructive.

“Compliments are a cheap distraction from the truth.” — This is one of my favorite quotes. Today people not only spend hours posting pictures on social media digging for compliments but also tend to believe the sugar-coated comments.

Words. Words are a powerful tool, the tongue forms these little things that at times can lead to actions, habits and mind-sets. I know for a fact that for the longest time Africa, the name of our continent itself was synonym for jungle. The noun “African” over the years has been a synonym of Tarzan, kunta kinte or primitive. “Black American” a synonym for unintelligent, violent, dope-dealer or lazy. Just because our cultures have been made fun of, ignored and at times deemed irrelevant, I don’t think claiming we are kings and queens removes all the stereotypes from history or people’s memory. Does it make you feel better? Maybe for 10 minutes but then you remember you aren’t an actual queen, or worse you think you have some royal blood in you.

“Compliments are a cheap distraction from the truth.”

The mind-sets we are creating today will only distract us for a few minutes. Otherwise, these words are crippling and excessive. We have chosen to look at ourselves as extraordinary beings instead of looking at things the way they are. Reality is not that bad, I assure you. You can love your skin for what it is and not out of idealization.

You ought to love your heritage for what it truly is and not for what you would like it to be. You should love your kinky hair for what it is and not simply for admiration. I guess this speculation of mine turned into a lesson about self-love. A lesson I am learning everyday, but boy am I blessed to have a mother who introduced it to me before I was aware of its importance. Sadly, I cannot teach this lesson, I can only help you think. I hope and pray that every individual learns this pressing lesson at their own pace however, ultimately not through cheap lies and fantasies.


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