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Beyond the Face to the Spotless Heart



We definitely take a great deal pride in our faces. Which is why we invest so much in make-up, hair, colours and of course, the almighty mirror! How exactly are we supposed to see that our beautifully-coiffured face without the aid of Ms clear and lovely mirror? Don’t get me wrong oh, I’ve always been a fan of the mirror, in fact one of her greatest fans. I had one in my every handbag, two in my car, in class, in the office, at church (yeah! gotta look good in the presence of God!), in fact there’s one I carry almost everywhere and I never imagined that anything could EVER come between us.

One of the fondest memories I have, especially as regards taking care of my five year old self, was primping and painting my face just like the ladies that advertised bathing soaps and body creams in those 90s commercials on TV or as I had seen my Mum do countless times. My face would come out looking nothing like the two previously cited examples but that never dampened my spirit nor prevented my trying out different styles and patterns.

That is until Friday the 18th of February 2013. I had finished late from work that eventful evening, was so tired, in fact exhausted! I had been fantasizing about what I was going to prepare to eat as soon I got home. Fried yam with chicken sauce or Spaghetti with minced meat sauce? I like food that much – so when I arrived, I immediately set to work. But have you heard the phrase? ‘the best laid plans of men and mice’, or ‘man proposes, God disposes’, well that’s exactly what happened to me on that Friday.

I put the frying pan on the gas cooker, struck the match and lit the cooker; it wasn’t burning well so lil’ Ms engineer decided to adjust the gas head (while twas still burning), everything after that was a blur. The next thing I knew, there was a ferocious blue flame right in my face, then screams from my mom, neighbours shouting fire, fire.

Well, the fire was put out and everything settled down. Everything that is, except my face. It felt very hot as though it was burning and gradually darkening.

The fine babe in me quickly kicked in, I went straight to the internet and checked out remedies for burns which I immediately applied. Shea butter, then honey and then aloe vera, what didn’t I try? But of course, it was too early to quantify the damage or even the effect of all the treatments I applied. The next morning I didn’t recognise my face and little Ms Mirror became an instant enemy. I couldn’t stand to look at my face or what it had become overnight. I still shudder to think of it.

The doctor’s prescription plus my own herbal remedies became a daily dose meant to restore my beautiful face back to its old glory. I became picture-shy, mirror-shy and in fact reflection-shy. It was a great lesson in patience and perseverance. My skin gradually began to peel, developing new flesh and the only thanks I could give was for my vitalizing, ebony skin. What if I was fair skinned? (the horror!). Typically, there was a series of conflicting and sometimes hilarious information being given by all and sundry. Especially as someone who isn’t into the skill/art of make-up, my only prayer was for time to pass quickly because, as they say, time heals all wounds.

The waiting period wasn’t very palatable. I witnessed varying reactions from members of the general public, a lot of it negative, some even sported disgusted looks, also inquiring comments, advice etc. My face has improved greatly now and I have to specifically tell you about the incident before you notice any scar. I’m so glad and I take pictures at any opportunity now. I forgot to mention that one of the advantages of the blaze was that every pimple on my face immediately cleared (is that vain?)

There were so many lessons I learnt during that time and I pray I never forget what it felt like (though it’s sadly becoming sort of a blur now). I realised that there were so many more important components to me outside my face. I didn’t really change, my personality remained constant, I was still that loquacious, bright, funny (if I may say so myself) young madam and the only visible difference were the scars which had developed on my face for that short period of time. The damage was only skin-deep and could/did not affect the substance I had to share with humanity. I desperately wanted to communicate this to people I met especially for the first time who would actually not want to pry and inquire as to what exactly happened.

Whilst I am not advocating an end to cosmetics and beautification of the human face, we as individuals should learn to look beyond the ‘face’ picture when dealing with people we meet. Rather, take everyone, not at face value but ‘person-value’. I know first impressions supposedly last longer but a lot of times they might not portray the true picture which a little prodding and interest will reveal. Look beyond the spotted face to behold the (almost) spotless heart.

Photo Credit:

Busola Abayomi-Adebayo is a lawyer, public servant and occasional writer. she's passionate about information and just about anything newsworthy. Follow her on twitter @busolaidowu'


  1. Tuu

    August 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    truly inspiring

  2. its just me

    August 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    hmmm i dedicate this to my very good friend, who believes so much in her preety face and good looks, she believes her looks will always get her what she wants and she can achieve everything by being preety, and looking down on people who are not that preety forgetting life is more than that life is more than that.

  3. Hilda

    August 21, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    I agree!
    We like appearances way too much.

  4. X- Factor

    August 21, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Simple, Profound and Insightful piece.. God bless U!

  5. Berry Dakara

    August 21, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Wow. Thank you for sharing your story, and the lesson learned.

  6. kemmy

    August 21, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    very inspiring and thoughtful

  7. yours truly

    August 21, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    yea i feel you,. i had chicken pox and because i had it as an adult it left spots all over my body which earned me the nick name spoty. i have tried almost every thing i can without it clearing till last week when i resolved to just let it be. but men the side glances and the strange look for people when i wear short sleeve or dresses na another level.

  8. bussie

    August 21, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    This reminds me of the period when i had chicken pox in secondary school, infact! teens are not nice oh…i became some sort of pariah! luckily my best friend also had it at the same time though from a different source..that was my ony saving grace… We should always learn to look beyond face…

  9. Didi

    August 21, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Felt like you were telling my story, had a similar accident Dec 24th 2012. God is indeed merciful because right now i look like nothing happened.

  10. Chelle

    August 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    i can relate to this somehow. i was mama pimples in my teenage as in there was no space to even put a pin. i went to the pharmacy one day to buy drugs for my mother and the guy at the counter said i have something that will clear your face, my mother reluctantly gave me the money for the cream, cos she had spent so much already.
    the cream burnt my face
    we were about to take a family photo
    i looked like a man dressed like a woman in the picture
    the photo could not be enlarged becos of my face.
    two weeks after the burns had peeled off
    my face was so fresh i could contest for worlds freshest face.

    • Nina

      August 22, 2013 at 5:12 am

      abeg, what’s the product name? lol

    • Steve

      August 26, 2013 at 10:35 am

      What is the name of the cream?

    • uh-huh

      September 3, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      the name of the cream abeg….my lil sister needs it desperately

  11. Chat

    August 21, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    @chelle u really made my day …

  12. lifegal01

    August 21, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    general info for next time- use cold water on burns. it stops the pain and stops the skin from burning futher

    • Spacey

      August 23, 2013 at 3:16 am

      Ah! Next time?

  13. ayomipo

    August 21, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Sorry about ur face, glad it’s restored. I still remember ur [email protected] faculty.It is good to have a good appearance but what lies inside you is the only thing that will sell you.

  14. SG

    August 22, 2013 at 1:50 am

    I’ll say you were brave about it all. I did see you then and wondered, but I chose not to ask about it because I’d figured you’d have had enough of it. Nevertheless, you were still you – smiling and socialising. #True, we should learn or make the effort to look beyond/passed through the face or looks. After all, in the Walt Disney cartoon, the Beast wasn’t a Beast after all and you my friend are one pretty lady (even passed the scar on the face).

  15. SG

    August 22, 2013 at 1:53 am

    I’ll say you were brave about it all. I did see you then and wondered, but I chose not to ask about it because I’d figured you’d have had enough of it. Nevertheless, you were still you – smiling and socialising. #True, we should learn or make the effort to look beyond/passed the face or looks. After all, in the Walt Disney cartoon, the Beast wasn’t a Beast after all and you my friend are one pretty lady (even passed the scar on the face).

  16. adetosoye wale

    August 22, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Yeah,I most times get disappointed wen I discover d awful
    nature of d person behind d prettie face,whereas u find angels and
    immaculate beauty behind d not so pretty face most times.if only we
    will only reserve our judgement till we meet d person behind d
    face.Nice piece bussie.

  17. Aderonke

    August 22, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Great story Busola…thank you so much for sharing!


    August 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    very inspiring, we should all appreciate what God gave us.

  19. aleesha

    August 23, 2013 at 9:42 am

    I’m glad you recovered fully, and the burns weren’t life threatening or anything.

  20. Deedee

    August 25, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Wow, Busola Idowu, pretty babe, i remember you back in Kd then, we went to school together. U really were a social person and am glad u decided to ignore what people said about u then.

  21. Tosin

    August 26, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Eeyaa. Once I was reading a colleague’s online profile where in answer to “what’s the best thing about you” sister wrote “my face.” What?! Notice the question wasn’t best part of your body, or nicest thing about youe appearance, it was best thing about you, a grown up human being. My dear, I was really shaken by that experience. Women really have lost the script if they’re going about thinking a face is more than what it is.
    Isn’t a kind face the most beautiful kind? Shouldn’t we look for new types of mirrors?
    Thank you for writing. I’m glad you’re OK!

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