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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.
Where to begin…
Well, my parents are separated.
I am not using this as an excuse for how I am, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t in some way affect or rather influence the person I am today. My dad was my first and only real love I would do anything for him in a heartbeat. It was so bad that when I was younger I would only let my dad bath me. My family wasn’t the richest but to me it was perfect. My dad, my mum and my 3 baby sisters.
So when my dad walked out on us I couldn’t understand, I mean I thought we were perfect, I thought he loved us, was it because there was no male child or something?
My mum *sigh* she is a wonderful human. I say human because she is also flawed like us all. When my dad left she probably didn’t know how to handle it, so she kind of poured it out on all of us. Me, being the 1st child suffered the most. I got beat for the littlest thing. Sometime my mum would just call me into the room and reign insults on my head and wouldn’t let me go till she thought I had cried enough. She would call me and tell me did I know she married my dad only because she was pregnant for me?
How was I to react to this? I was just 7 but oh well. We had this old man that came to our house one day to see my mum and my mum wasn’t around so while I was opening the door to let him out, he put his hand down my shorts and tried to force his finger into my vagina. I didn’t know how to react but the next time he came around I made sure I was holding a knife. I told him if he tried that again I would slit his throat. My mom walked in on the scene, asked for no explanation and beat me again. I was just 9.
School has always been hard for me ’cause I learnt to develop a hard exterior and stand up for myself a lot, so I got beat up by the other kids and teachers because I would always speak my mind and never let anyone ride me. I was always going home on suspension and all that. Couple of times growing up I tried to kill myself but that just resulted in series of medical conditions I have to live with till now.
Finally I got into Uni (my 1st Uni), I was happy to be far from home and everyone’s bullshit but even then I was never left alone. My mum would call me to tell me stuff to tell my dad, my dad would tell me to stay out of it, my mum would call me selfish and useless for not wanting to be involved and her family members only made it worse. They were the ones always telling the story of how so so so and so brought their parents back together. Me I just wanted to be left alone and not deal with their wahala.
Because of everything that happened at home, my education suffered, my mental health suffered. I guess I wasn’t as strong as I thought. I eventually dropped out in November 2010. The stay at home was hell. One night my mum and granny descended on me comparing me with my cousin who had her own perfect family.
I figured I had heard enough and I left the house that night. One of my friends agreed to bunk me for that night and I was grateful. I was so naïve. In the night when I was asleep he jumped on me and raped me….lol guess that is how I lost my hymen lol.
My boyfriend then, who was the love of my life, I treated like crap. Why? I cannot explain. I got raped I couldn’t even tell him because he knew all about me wanting to remain a virgin till I got married.
Eventually, I left Nigeria for school again; I saw this as a way to start afresh. I was away from my family and that was all that mattered to me. I was in this whole new world and I fell in love again and I thought this was probably God presenting me with an opportunity to start again. I told him everything about me, I was determined to keep no secrets this time.
He told everyone. I have been physically and mentally abused by him but he still won’t let me go.
I think I went mental again, I was diagnosed with psychosis and Bi polar disorder. Oh and I also found out I got chlamydia when I got raped …lol…it’s some form of STD but I’m clean now…..lol fear not. I discovered drugs and casual sex and I can live with that.
My mum has probably realised how badly she handles the situation with me and is trying to correct that, so she doesn’t make the same mistake with my sisters and for that alone she has my respect.
My boyfriend (or ex bf) is in prison now for sexually harassing some girl he cheated on me with. I still go to see him every Wednesdays.
I am still depressed, I still take meds, I am still learning… I keep telling myself, I am facing all this to mould me and make me a better person, but of recent I am also beginning to doubt that.
I am not a saint, so far from it. I am not the only victim here, there are so many victims. I haven’t only been hurt by people, I have also hurt people; but every day, I try to be better than I was the day before. Lol certain people see me and they say “I want to be like you” if only you knew what I would give to be like everyone else. Sometimes, normal is good.
I just want to be a normal girl with normal bad habits a normal family and a normal relationship.
The highlight of my life right now is God, My Sisters, My Mum, My course … and the drugs.
I don’t want to say my name. Good luck to whoever figures out who I am…. Just keep it to yourself.
“Hi, I am ……. and I am a drug addict”
• • •
Don’t just read, say a prayer.
A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS?
N.B. The project goes on with Tomorrow’s ’Her Story, XVII’ by @Seyi_omotoso
You can still send in your own true stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
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