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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 who has asked to stay Anonymous.
This is her story.
The ‘Beneath the Smile’ Project.
I’m not a writer so this may seem a bit amateur but whatever. You’ll get the story anyway.
I’m Shirley (not my real name) and I’m from an average Nigerian home. I have 3 sisters, no brother. My childhood was amazing, we were given almost anything we wanted. Attended the best schools and all.
But I’ve always been different.. Always wanting more and I have always been alone. I still am. I’ve never been a loner per say. I’m beautiful.. With a very good body. So I have loads of ‘friends’ and all the male attention you can think of. But that’s where it ends. I never feel loved.. Or special. That’s why I crave that feeling of being in love; being wanted. That’s why I fall for the wrong guys and get hurt.
That’s why I lost my virginity to a 35-year-old man at a tender age of 15. He said I was like a daughter to him. We met on Facebook and he invited me to his place. The first time he wanted to have sex with me I was able to stop him. But the next time was a different story. He had his way with me. I felt disgusted and dirty. I think I lost something more than my virginity. Myself, maybe.
I dated more than a couple of boys after that.. And I slept with all of them. I even slept with some I never dated. I didn’t have any respect for my body. I felt I was dirty already so what the hell?. I even slept with a man older than my father. I fell in love twice. My heart got broken twice. The 1st time, I was naive. I was dating a popular playboy, hoping I had changed him but alas I was just another play toy. The 2nd time was worse. It left me broken. He got away with my heart, my self-esteem. He almost got away with all of me. We dated for 6 months. It was six months of heartache, suspicion, deceit. He had a serious relationship. I was just a side attraction.
He had his way with me and he had it good. I found out about his real girlfriend on a social network. Trust me, that sh** hurts. I put on a ‘I don’t care’ facade about the tragic end to the relationship. My friends still believe I wasn’t hurt. But for weeks I cried myself to sleep every night. I was never good enough for the people I loved. I was only good enough to be the side chick, the one who’s meant for just sex and not loving. After this, I built walls. I shut everyone out. I’m in my second year in a private university. I’m always dressed well. I’m regarded as one of the ‘hottest in my set’ my grades are good. I have lots of friends, I’m popular and a lot of boys approach me. But when I see a boy interested in me, my brain tells me ‘Run, Shirley, he wants to use you, and leave you‘
I push everybody away now. I’m so lonely.
I seem like a happy person.. always smiling. But beneath that smile is a world of pain. I love keeping to myself. Locked alone in my room, and just crying. Crying tears of frustration.. crying for the love I crave.. The love I have never found.
I’m dating again. I’ve told my boyfriend there’ll be no sex and he agreed. He says he’s in love with me. But these walls I have built haven’t let me fall for him yet.. maybe I will. And maybe this is love.
But till then..
Beneath my smile.. I’m a damaged girl and I’m all alone.
My smile is my shield.
• • •
Don’t just read, say a prayer.
A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS?
N.B. The project goes on with Tomorrow’s ’Her Story, XIII’ by Tinnie
You can still send in your own true stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
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