Beneath the Smile, II

Thanks for waiting. In case you missed the preview, find it here, so you know what to expect. If you are not sure what Beneath the Smile is about, please check the preview out.

The project aims at looking beyond the smiles of the next person, to see what’s really beneath, what’s really going on? How people really need help and won’t bother saying anything about it but would rather cover it up with a façade of strength, with a smile.
It’s time to look beneath the smile and lend a helping hand. People are going through real things, these are their stories.

We hope that you’d be kind enough to leave a comment. Your feedback is important to us.

First story, Beneath the Smile I by Anonymous Writer

Today, we have our second true story, re-told by @Its_kash

Please Read.

The ‘Beneath the Smile’ Project.

behind the smile (design)

“Everything is never as it seems” – My favorite line from Owl city’s Fireflies.

You know what they say about the tears of a clown, putting up a good front, trying to fool the public but dying inside? Don’t let my glad expression, give you the wrong impression.

I hate my life.

Don’t be surprised, it’s not a harsh thing to say, pain is nothing new to me, I live with the reality that I was created to endure and suffer hardness.

I am Damilola Benson.

At the age of 5, I was diagnosed with Ventricular Septal defect, In simpler terms, I was born with a hole in my heart, well, for some funny reasons, doctors didn’t detect it early … so yeah, all my childhood memories revolve around me, checking in and out of hospitals due to sudden loss of breath and other health concerns.

• • •                                                              

Err… Damilola! How old are you now‘13, sir’, I reluctantly answered …Ah! You are a big girl o, come and give uncle a big hug

That was Uncle Sola, Dad’s younger brother, as usual, he reeked of alcohol, I never really liked him, and he seemed really shifty…I had caught him stealing glances at me; in ways uncles shouldn’t look at nieces.

Oya Dami, get uncle some food to eat, drop it on the stool beside the cupboard”, ‘But Uncle Sola,’ – I replied, ‘Mummy says no one should take food to their room and that everyone should eat at the dining table’

He began yelling at me, going on about how rude I am, so to avoid any trouble, I just took the food to his room, he locked the door behind me, flung me on the bed ripped off my clothes and had his way. I was in tears, extreme pain, totally helpless… again.

When my parents came home, I was black and blue with my clothes ripped in places. I cried and told my parents, my mum broke down in tears and began screaming at my dad and ran to my uncle’s room, but he was nowhere to be found. But that didn’t shock me as much as my father’s reaction. He said he had always known me to be a liar and a slut. He went on to say that he’s very sure nothing happened and that my “little play” was just a ploy to get his brother out of the house. He called me a harlot and a liar and labeled my mother a witch and proceeded to hit my mum and I. He had already made a habit of hitting us all, and had a steady chain of girlfriends.

At 16, the same year I got admission into the university, the man I called a father threw us out of his house and brought in one of his girlfriends. Mom had no money to get us another apartment and her elder brother, Uncle George took us in, he was our savior, very kind and loving, everything my supposed father was not. He paid my fees that year, about half a million and catered to our every need.

My matric day, I was with Mum and Tunji (my only brother) and uncle had promised to leave work and join us. By 2pm, there was no sign of him, thirty minutes later, mum received a call, she started screaming and crying, what we feared the most had happened, uncle was involved in an accident on his way to my school and died on the spot. I cried my eyes out; the shoulder, on which we leaned on was gone. I wished it was my dad instead. How could he go on a day like that, my Matric day?

Five weeks later, I was summoned home, my heart skipped a bit, my mind raced, is Mum alright? Tunji? I was so uncomfortable the whole journey home. No one was saying anything to me. Well, I got home to discover that Tunji, my only brother had been murdered by cultists who had raided their hostels. I was sure there was no God and if there is one, I hate him the same way he hates me, He had taken away every good thing that had ever come my way. For weeks, I was mentally unstable, almost got checked into a mental home, I wanted to end it all, but then, there was the fear of death and leaving mother all alone. Just as expected, dad didn’t show up for the burial. I heard he said “No way! I cannot be associated with cultists”.

At school, I most times find myself having lots of mood swings, some people have the idea that I crave attention, they say all I want is to be noticed. I wouldn’t share my problems, don’t blame me, I don’ trust anybody, I don’t even trust me”. My school is fond of organizing a lot of programs, I consider irrelevant but we have no choice but to attend, the halls get so choked up and stuffy, the air conditioners are just for show, the pungent stench of sweat in the air, I run out of breath and collapse.

I hear their mockery, I hear the voices … “she don dey manifest again” … “This one don start again” … “Attention seeker oshi” … before I fade into the darkness. Some still think it’s my way of craving attention.


I wish we could trade places, let’s see how long they will last.

So, this is me! I must survive; I have to find happiness, if it even exists for me at all. I turn to parties, alcohol and sex for the temporary excitement they offer. Judge me if you must, I can’t be bothered. Anything to numb these sour memories and feelings, I would do. I do not care.

I wear a mask of a smile, but beneath is a 21-year-old, who is just hanging onto the edge, bracing herself for the next storm to hit. I fight a war against the mirror every day, I can’t stand my reflection, I just want to be someone else, and my wounds are too deep to heal. I am too angry and hurt.

I hide beneath my smile.

• • •



N.B. The project goes on with Monday’s Beneath the Smile, III by @bRinEstAkeS Fiction)

You can still send in your own true stories to

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25 thoughts on “Beneath the Smile, II

  1. May God strengthen you, may you find are alive for a reason, to share your story and to inspire other survivors to stand strong..
    The healing process has begun, you need counselling… Please call on Jesus to come to your aid, He will lift you up and help you find another way to rise above your situation. God Bless you…

  2. We don’t choose our parents, we don’t controll our childhood, we don’t choose our thoughts and feelings but we control the thoughts and feelings we feed on. You said u are afraid of death, that’s a prove that u know about Hell and Heaven and that our actions takes us there.
    Come to think of this, Do u want to have a family just like yours? Do u want ur children to be like u? Stop feeding on the nagative and all the wrongs u have seen. Think about ur actions and the pains it will cause ur children and family. It is black pot that its used to make white akamu

  3. Couldn’t help tears streaming down my eyes as I read thru ds story mostly bcos pain hasn’t been a stranger ‎​†☺ me neither.
    I can jst imagine the point of brokeness you’ve been driven into ‎​†☺ the extent that you hate God, but U’re wrong about one thing here nd I knw dat for sure bcos I ones hated Him too for letting me feel so much rejection nd pain nd taking alway the only source of luv I cud lean on (my dad) bt somewhere along the line I cudnt hate no more cos it felt like my heart wz gonna burst open wit so much hatred nd then I stopped. I tried sometin new, learning how ‎​†☺ love, can’t say its been easy nd can’t also tell you my life has been all rosy since the chnge of hrt bt one thing I can assure you of is that God helps with all the pains nd rejections bottled in, the more I seek ‎​†☺ love nd knw Him, the less pain, anger, hatred nd rejection I feel nd my hrt isn’t paining me any more. I sincerely wanna let you know that it became easier on me ‎​†☺ love God than when I hated Him, pls give my therapy a trial, its not that difficult nd jst might work for you.
    Will be praying for you…

  4. Reading this I couldn’t help but cry. So many things we don’t know about other people and yet we judge them. He talks like that for a reason, she walks like that for a reason, heck they hang around you for a reason. Never be too quick to judge because not everyones story is yours.
    May God bless you whoever you are and I hope you know that God has a special plan for you dear, He never fails..

  5. Wow! These true stories r deep! I wish I cld heal the world, bt dtz nt even close to possible. So all I can do is keep people like Damilola Benson in my prayers…

  6. (1COR10:13There isn’t any temptation that you have experienced which is unusual for humans. God, who faithfully keeps his promises, will not allow you to be tempted beyond your power to resist. But when you are tempted, he will also give you the ability to endure the temptation as your way of escape.-GWT)

    GOD is in control,HE is using you,using your testimony to bless others… You have been through a lot,&am trying to just imagine…you a survivor,you are strong…but here is d little piece of advice I may give…You really need to turn to GOD totally…because indeed,HE is the only one that you can find total healing in….you are here alive,you are here telling your story,you have a GOD given assignment…yes you do!…many(in your situation) would read this story & find strength to aleast move-on…you have started by sharing your story…you can go on,by trusting GOD…getting your complete healing and finding yourself,pure joy,&true love in HIM…(its easier said than done I know)but you have taken the first step…just complete it knowing that GOD is by your Side&HE LOVES YOU(because you are precious to me.
    You are honored, and I love you. 5 “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
    .-Isaiah43-4-5a NLT)GOD will cause you to smile genuiely…GOD bless you!

  7. I just pray that God forgives people like me (i said me cos i dont wanna look like a saint)… we take this girls clubbing and partying and in our mind we say “OMO THE BABE NA SURE BABE” Deep down we really dont know whats happening… and God will really help you my dear and please forget the temporary excitement

  8. It’s easier to tell people to forgive than to actually forgive people. It’s easy to hate people. But hate doesn’t do anything for you. It just makes you angry and bitter. I know this because I’ve seen it happen a lot. It’s easy to say ‘let go and forgive’. Holding on to hate and unforgiveness would make your life miserable. I won’t say you should forget everything that has been done to you. You can’t. Hurting yourself isn’t going to help you or make you happier. It’s only going to hurt you (and your mum.)
    I would tell you that you have a future and that there is still hope for you. Jesus loves you and is there for you. All things work together for good. God has plans for you. All these things that you have gone through, are going through and will still go through are for a purpose. Jesus suffered. If you have a bible, read Job and the gospels. Look for someone to talk to. Someone who will pray with and for you. I haven’t experienced any of the things you have but I got to a point where I hated God. But I learnt from those things. You don’t have to be depressed.

    This is my 2 cents. If you want to talk, email me

  9. It’s only God, the comforter himself, that can comfort Damilola and every others in similar shoes. I want to implore her to still get close to God. And if she doesn’t mind, I’d like to be a friend.

  10. Damilola,
    I feel your pain. There is much to say, but cannot all be exchanged via fora such as this. What you need is a youth counselor, in a one -on-one session. I strongly recommend that you do that, and urgently too. (take that from a youth counselor). But do not forget, there is hope for you. Yes, even you. Hope of Healing, though it seems so bleak and out of reach, hope of restoration, and you may wonder how that is even close to being possible. Still, there is hope for you, but a lot also depends on you. It is well, even in spite of your horrifying pain. In one of my churches, we have a saying that I would like to end this comment with:

    Out of the BROKEN PIECES of your past, GOD is able to build an EDIFICE OF HOPE. (If you will let Him). God be with you. You might want to talk more, here is my email address:

  11. OmG dis is soooooo sad….really dnt want to beliv dis is true….lots of pple are dyin in silence pls pls pple dnt be quick to judge others we never noe wat their goin thru….make some smile genuiely, little tings av big meanings..nd its d little things we do dat help hurtin pple want to even try nd overcme deir hurt…God is luv, nd d only true unfailin luv we can rely on share his worD nd luv today. God bless yhu. Dint tink i’l write an epistle jst really tourched by dis story.. Bigups funto!!!

  12. Hun, i can imagine what you have been through. i can’t claim to fully feel your pain, but from someone who has known pains, i do understand. Look, you must learn to rise above all negativity that comes your way. The future holds huge and amazing things for you (yes, i know this) which is why you have faced so much challenges at a tender age.
    I’m sorry for your hurts and pains. i would hang your uncle by his balls if i lay my hands on him. As for your father, he’ll get his. Forget about him, he will be back to grovel at your feet, you and your mum even. Till then, stay strong, and rise above. remember how the rejected stone became the cornerstone.
    Rise above. Aim to succeed, come what may. Seek inner peace. You will be fine hun, you will be.

  13. hmm.. life can be reallly mean to some!!! God will help u thru this, n really d ‘temporary excitement’ myt worsen d pain #justsaying

  14. in life we never choose the situations we find ourselves in. a lot of things happen to us and we begin to question our humanity and if there is a God. firstly i must say there is a God and not just a God but one who indeed cares about us. i cant begin to explain how much he does. we go through certain things and wonder, “why me”. my words to this person is simple, God is the only answer. no matter how much you run away from God, he is the only help you can get in the end. i would have loved to share my story too but there will be no time for that. i am still on the journey to complete peace and joy but i am a whole new person, thanks to God. the HolySpirit is the only one that can help you and bring about the transformation you desire. never want to be someone else cos you might think your story is the worst but there are worse stories. God has kept u alive for a reason, He loves you more than you can ever think. it is only when you give him room that he ll show you what he has for you. the best part of your story will only come wen you give God room in your life. there is nothing like goin through all this and coming out bigger and stronger. it ll be wat the world will run to know,
    my advice is this, turn to God, he is the answer, i know no one else and i ll only give u wat has worked for me and will work 4 u also.

  15. *sighs deeply* Words fail me at this point. No one deserves this much pain.

    I would have said “God strengthen you” – but then, you probably have lost all belief in Him by now.

    Still, there’s got to be a reason you’re still alive. There’s got to be a higher order the pain is desperately trying to blind you to. God help you find it.

  16. All I can say is that I’m sorry to hear of such constant pain. No one deserves it. I hope that you find unconditional love that will heal your wounds one day at a time. I pray this time it lasts.

    Ms Johnson.

  17. Wao! What a painful story. A pastor once told me… God did not promise a smooth take off, what He promised is a safe landing. Your life story is one that is filled with so much pain… I completely agree… BUT (A big but) Its important you know that God is in the midst of you….to be more precise…God is with you! This is the Honest truth. At a point in my life I dispaired for life and I really wanted to die. I attempted suicide on two occasions. God delivered me. Today I am married with a great family and when I look back to those dark days of mine, I can’t help but give God thanks. I know also without an iota of doubt that you will look back one day and give God thanks. My dear don’t give up on yourself for God has not given up on you. For the mere fact that you are alive to tell this story means that HE has NOT given up on you. I Love you!
    Adebayo Ilaboya (

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