I was born with a congenital condition known as a craniofacial defect. To be more specific, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital diagnosed me with Treacher Collins Syndrome in 2017. This medical condition has made my face and the shape of my head slightly distorted. At first glance, I look a little depressed. I may be happy internally but what people would see is a depressed face. Because of this, I was bullied a lot when I was a child. My classmates and the kids in my neighbourhood had special nicknames for me. They laughed and pointed at me whenever I walked by them. Some of them even physically assaulted me, just because they couldn’t stand looking at me. My self-esteem was dented as a result of their mockery and bullying.
I lived in fear of being insulted or beaten by people for merely existing. The only time I felt safe was when I was by myself. I loved the silence and the peace of mind that accompanied my solitude. Alone, I could pretend that I was a normal girl. I could daydream about the life I would have had if I wasn’t born with a deformity. So I spent a lot of time alone, away from a world that found me repulsive. And I was determined to continue living like that until I encountered Christ at the age of thirteen. My pastors preached one message to me regularly; “There are no mistakes when it comes to God. He has a purpose for everyone and you are not an exemption. Be steadfast in your faith, and watch as God transforms you into a great woman someday.” This message was the hope that burned in my heart when things got very hard.
Whenever I felt like giving up, this message would flutter inside me and propel me forward until giving up is no longer an option. When I got to my twenties, I fought for my place in this world. I had completed SHS then but there was no money to put me through the university. I roamed the streets of Accra, selling cosmetic products for a company. I encountered a lot of hardship doing this. There were times people turned me away the moment they saw my face. But I had a goal in mind so I persevered until I saved enough money to go to school. I proceeded to take care of myself through school with this sales job. When I completed national service, I stormed the job market hoping my educational credentials would help me land a job but nothing has happened for me so far.
Some of the jobs I apply for are online. The recruitment process would go really well but the moment I show up in person, everything changes. The prospect of a job turns into a polite smile and “You will hear from us very soon.” I never get a callback.
I am currently thirty-four years old and I still haven’t gotten a job. When I complain, people say “Find something to sell, start something for yourself.” The thing is, I ventured into selling cloth but it collapsed because no one would buy from me. The zeal I had in my twenties has depleted. I no longer have the stomach to endure discrimination based on the way I look. I am tired. I don’t know when God’s purpose for me will come to pass or if there truly is a purpose for me. At this point, my spirit is broken and I am ready to throw in the towel and accept my defeat. I feel like everything inside me is repellent to peace and happiness.
At my age, I have never had a friend or a love interest. Some days I see men walking toward me but the moment they get close enough to see my face, they turn around. These people don’t know how hurtful it is to me when they do that. Some people tell me, “You are getting old. Just give birth and raise the child by yourself.” How am I supposed to do that if no man will talk to me? Or how am I supposed to raise a child when I don’t have any source of income?
All my age mates are either happily married with kids or have thriving careers. Some of them have both, they have it all. While I have nothing.
I have fasted and prayed so many times but it seems God cannot hear me. Even when I go to church, no one talks to me. I have tried to get involved in church groups but I saw how uncomfortable my presence made people so I stepped back. To them, I am only a face they don’t want to look at. Sometimes I want to scream at them; “I too am human. I have a beating heart that hurts when you reject me. I have dreams that have been crushed. Listen, I have a voice.” But I don’t say anything. I just quietly go about my business and try to blend in the background. Occasionally, I hear people whispering behind my back, “After all the money she wasted in school, she doesn’t have anything going for her. Look at her, she looks like a malnourished person.” I have been crying a lot these past few days. My pillows are always wet. I have lost a lot of weight. I have lost interest in everything about life.
I wish I wasn’t born with this facial complication that has affected my whole life. All my siblings were born normal. They are beautiful and handsome, but me? I wonder if I stole a Komfo’s goat in my previous life, and this life is my karma. Sometimes I laugh when I think about it. I am life’s cruel joke, for whatever reason. I am sharing my story here because I have no one to talk to. I know most of you readers may not understand my plight but it helps me to empty my heart onto this page. I am looking for a friend, someone who will be my safe space.
I am also looking for a job so that I can at least afford to eat and have a roof over my head. You can also share business ideas with me, something you think will work for my condition.
As for marriage and kids, if they ever happen, I will be happy. If they don’t happen too, I will be fine.