The other day I cooked a mean Nigerian fried rice. I mean, it had the perfect crisp yellow color, the veggie mix of carrots, peas, and shrimp were interwoven into the mix just right, the combination of black and red pepper speckled the rice in the right places, and the taste test was simply over the charts. It was a masterpiece, I tell you. Not even the Mona-Lisa could hold a candle to it. In fact, I’m convinced that Mona-Lisa’s smile was a result of having tasted my fried rice.
Obviously, like every millennial, I posted it to Instagram. It just seemed wrong not to share such goodness with the world. That would be selfish and God doesn’t like selfish people. It didn’t need a filter, ofcourse. The rice was doing bad all by itself. So much so, I only placed a filter to dim out the background, and let the succulent meal shine through.
It was midnight and I had spent a good half hour scrolling through surprised-face emojis, licking-lips emojis, heart-eyes emojis, and even clapping hand emojis of various skin tones. I placed the phone down, thinking I needed to do a quick cleanup of the kitchen before heading to bed after a good day’s work. Stepping into that kitchen displayed a scene that was nothing short of a catastrophe. Pots were smeared with all kinds of grease, dishes overflowed the sink to the point where I feared they would topple and shatter to many pieces unto the floor, spots of various fluids decorated the wooden floor, the stove was barely visible under the chaos of multiple bowls that I had used, and the 5’ by 4’ room that gave birth to my masterpiece juxtaposed in appearance to it. My mattress never wailed my name as loudly as it did at that moment. This monstrosity had to be battled the next day.
Life is funny, isn’t it? Especially at a time where social media makes it easier and easier to showcase the beautiful and hide the ugly. No one has it together. I’m talking, not a single, breathing person on this earth past, present, or future, had, has or will have their life in perfect order. Not even the ones you idolize on social media. That dude chilling in the lawn chair, on a sunny day with a huge soda can in his hand? Nope, he didn’t get those chiseled abdominal muscles drinking diet soda everyday in that position. The girl with the snatched face, putting even the makeup gods to shame, with the caption “Woke up like this”? Yeah, absolutely not! She rolled her sleepy self to the bathroom, spent a great deal of minutes, maybe hours, painting her face into the masterpiece you see. What you don’t see is the bathroom counter stained with lipstick, and multiple powder brushes scattered over the floor. What you don’t see are the two-hour gym regimens that the diet-coke-dude spends at four a.m every morning, while you lay in your bed dreaming of the ice-cream sundae you had with your buddies the night before. What we never see is the dirty work, the painful moments, and sometimes the unapplauded efforts people put behind the scenes to get what they eventually display. Don’t be fooled into thinking that overnight success is possible for everyone else except you. Because the truth of the matter is, no successful person got to where they are without some sleepless nights, bawling sessions, intense perspiration, and even persistent doubt. In fact what you see is the result of someone who never gave up on building their Rome. So if you want success, you gotta do the dishes baby.