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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.
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Today’s story was sent in by one of our readers @ThatGirlDayo
This is her story.
The ‘Beneath the Smile’ Project.
I don’t want to be anonymous.
I don’t want to be pitied.
I don’t want to get asked a lot of questions.
I hope I’m doing a good thing.
Here goes nothing..
My parents split up when I was six. My younger brother and I went to live with my dad and my step mother. My mother was the second wife. My step-mother and half-siblings didn’t like us at first and they were mean to us. It was terrible. My brother and I cried all the time. They are cool now though.
When I got into secondary school, after JS1, my grades started to drop. I went from being top of my class to always between 5th and 10th. I started getting caught up with unnecessary things around me. Daddy didn’t like this and he always compared me to my cousins. There’s nothing more annoying than your parents comparing you to other people. On visiting days I would watch as people’s parents came to see them and how happy they looked together. My parents came separately to see me. It hurt. I would always cry after they left.
I didn’t have any real friends too then, they were all fake. Even at that, I still lost them all when I got to SS3. I left school for three weeks to write GCE, it wasn’t allowed in the school. When I got back, no one was speaking to me except Bukky. She said they were all angry. Some, because I wrote the exam, some because I didn’t tell them I was writing it and others simply followed the trend. They talked about me in my presence and at my back, saying all sorts of hurtful things. They even had a “gossip book” which they passed during classes to talk about people. That book got into my hands one day and the things I saw… “Madam GCE” “she likes forming tush” “let’s wait and see if she would pass the exam”. I would stay up every single night in the hostel and cry my eyes out. I felt so much pain.
I became a loner. I was always depressed. At a point, I had suicidal thoughts. I started to hate people. I thought everyone I met was going to hurt me in one way or the other. I wasn’t strong spiritually at the time. My dad doesn’t let us go to church, he’s agnostic. He believes I’m not old enough to choose my religion. I’ve gotten to know God more because of school but I still struggle spiritually. Things got very bad at home one time and I ran away… that’s another story altogether. I do a lot of silly things sometimes, some which I’m not too proud of just for the temporary pleasure I got from it whenever I wanted to forget my problems for a while.
I came to university with that mentality. I wasn’t going to let anybody hurt me. But things were different. I met better people, nicer people. I decided to give people a chance. I’m still learning to trust people, which is totally difficult by the way. Part of me is still afraid. I’m happier than I was before but not happy enough to be happy, if that makes any sense. I still slip into those depressive moods sometimes, when my mind takes a trip down memory lane. I wish I could start my life over. I still see my mum when she comes to visit at home and in school too. My dad is old, seventy six precisely. One of my greatest fears is that he could go at any time. I don’t know what I’d do then really.
I’m just thankful now for parents, though not together (which stings) that love me, family, food and a roof over my head. Some people have it worse.
Hopefully, I’d have a happy ending.
• • •
A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS?
Don’t just read, say a prayer.
N.B. The project goes on with Tomorrow’s ’Her Story, IX’
You can still send in your own true stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
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