Being a girl, you probably know what it feels like. You’ve probably seen that prettier girl. I can bet you almost anything that she is taller; she probably has fairer skin; smoother too. Her hair is longer, isn’t it? She is richer, unarguably; and her familiarity with received pronunciation throws your accent down the toilet. Being strong, that doesn’t bother you—or at least, you can manage it. You tell yourself you have your own thing going. You don’t have to be Cinderella; Tiana works just fine for you.
You probably kept to that for a while. You’d spend weeks pulling together a signature Afrobeats playlist for that huge party, and she’d steal the show by playing a single Justin Beiber song on repeat. But you know, that’s not what gets to you. You see, when his eyes glint as she flaunts that superiority you see in her, your eyes dim.
You go home one day and stare at that Tiana doll, dancing elegantly on your dresser, and you hold your Afrobeats CD in your right hand, probably cursing yourself. You’re going to want to get him back, Tiana, but Cinderella’s got a strong hold on him.
So you hit the salon, and run the harsh chemicals through your long, thick, bouncy mane of virgin hair. You get something flat in return; slightly longer, but more like hers. Perfect, you mutter, you think he’ll fall right back. But then he doesn’t even flinch.
You sort of blame it on yourself again. Gotta be more like Cinderella. You move on to the next thing; your clothing. You want that beautiful blue dress that she has on. You want the pretty blue satchel and the glass slippers. Not that your heels aren’t cute, and that your Ankara dress isn’t fancy enough. No mom; I don’t hate the dress. It’s just—
And the cycle goes again. Your accent fades, and you try hard to narrow your linguistic cognizance until you become monolingual. When that doesn’t work, you look to your diet. You want to eat salads and pizza and throw away your eforiro and your suya.
There’s something quite typical about culture in every country; not quite its beauty or its richness; but its tendency to grow weaker and generally more dilute as you climb up the social hierarchy. You didn’t know his was a fact, but you probably suspected it. You wish you hadn’t noticed this trend at school today. You probably never thought you’d be affected by this, but you can’t start feeling bad about it; you’re this close to Prince Charming.
You can’t be “hip” or “fresh” and compose a perfectly intact sentence in a local language, or all Hell will break loose on your reputation. You probably just figured this out today at school, when someone spilled hot water on your leg and you went “Ye!” and babbled on in your mother tongue. Note to self: it’s time we totally got rid of this dreadful accent!
I bet by now, you know what it feels like. You’ve spent hours tugging at your thick hair every morning, just to get it to be either straight or curly; depends on what Cinderella, Aurora and Snow White are up to. You’ve had the headaches, and the burns from the hair-dryer and for flattening iron. The scars aren’t making your skin any smoother, either. I mean, take a look at the light patches you’ve started to grow on your skin because of all the toning products. Face it, you look like a wounded cow.
And then you look at her… nothing—not even a drop of pain. Prince Charming’s gone for good—that’s for sure.
So you probably know what it feels like now, to lose diamonds while chasing after a stone.