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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.
Today’s story was sent in by one of our readers and has chosen to remain Anonymous.
This is his story.
The ‘Beneath the Smile’ Project.
Here, is my story:
When I was younger, my family was, well perfect. My father was the perfect man and I wanted to be just like him in every way, my mother, a very beautiful woman was also the perfect mum. She took the time to stay and nurture us and focus less on her work. Everything was simply perfect, even my new baby sister with her smile and I wanted nothing more in the world.
It was perfect till the year I went to secondary school. I was 9 at the time and I was going to be schooling at a full boarding institution. It was what I wanted. I had never been fully exposed to the outside world and so everything was new. I didn’t fully understand social interactions; I had never really had friends I could see every time. It was primary school, home, family and the cycle kept on continuing. My father was a tad over-protective.
I learnt things in school I would never have learnt if I had the choice, knowledge of what it would do to me and previous interactions with people. Summer after my first year at boarding school was horrible. I had spent the previous summer with my mother’s best-friend’s son and I thought I could repeat it since he was the only one I knew outside school.
Of course, being that young I needed permission to leave the house and someone to take me. I went to my perfect father and asked him:
“Daddy, please I want to go to T’s house?”
“What are they doing there?” Was his reply.
“Nothing, I want to go and play with him.”
“Is he a toy that you want to go and play with him?” Was his smart comeback he gave me.
Over the next few weeks, I got similar replies like when I told him I wanted to go out to see a friend.
“If they can’t come and see you then don’t go and see them.” he would say or something smart.
My mother never wanted to go against him. He was her husband after all. That summer to me was the summer where everything changed. He stopped being perfect in my eyes and I cried a lot. I was angry a lot. I stopped eating especially when I was angry. Every time I thought of my father and what he would say to me when I wanted something it literally brought me to tears.
I became a shut-in. I had learnt to not interact with people and I had barely a little interaction with people who were not my family in the first place. I was a total snub. I didn’t need anyone; my father had taught me that. If they couldn’t come to me then why go to them. I always kept a diary which was quiet weird for a boy but then I had no one to tell me that, with a father that didn’t actually care what happened to his children and no older siblings to speak of, I was left alone to fend for myself. My mother, bless her, tried to reach me but some pains a mother cannot take away.
I was known as the weird kid throughout school. Only a few people made it past the wall my father had built around me. It stayed with me throughout my secondary school days. I became even worse. I never went out, I never went to parties, and I never learnt how to pick a phone to dial a friend. At a time when all my friends were enjoying their new-found freedom, I was stuck in my prison of a house, crying when I could and wallowing in my self-pity.
Things became worse when I learnt my father was abusive and slept around with everything in a skirt that would jump into bed with him. Every image I had of him was destroyed and I didn’t want anything that connected us. I didn’t want to be reminded that he was my father even though I am an exact replica of him. I found a new role model in my cousin who took me under his wing.
They always said everything would get better after high school. They lied. University days were no better. I never learnt how to interact with girls. I had three sisters but I never learnt how to interact with girls in a romantic way. I became “zoned” to whichever girl I was interested in. I looked to them as nothing more than a friend. Even with boys it wasn’t any better. I was trained to be a loner and to make matters worse I am regarded as being over-emotional.
My mother, sisters and I moved out two summers before my final year. I have started to live a little but it’s still never enough. I push people who come too close away. I put everyone one on a pedestal so high just so that they can disappoint. Just like my father did. A never-ending cycle like the one my father created. After all, a soldier never forgets his training. And it was what I was trained to do. My younger sisters had it better, whatever my father did to us affected me the most. My sisters have friends and are not as socially awkward as I am. They’ve moved on. I haven’t, I still blame him for everything that happened to us.
My mother went back to some sort of work to take care of us. She bears all the responsibilities we’ve given her. She’s stronger than we gave her credit for. And she’s the only thing I can hold on to. My father wants us back, but I don’t want to go back. I have brothers now who have taken to rehabilitate me and I’m getting better step by step. I’ve finally learned to accept my dark self.
Who am I?
Honestly, I don’t know. I’m still searching for me.
• • •
THANKS FOR READING.
A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS?
N.B. The project goes on with Tomorrow’s ‘Her Story, IX’ by @misty0_0
You can still send in your own true stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
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