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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 his story.
The ‘Beneath the Smile’ Project.
Hey, don’t even know where to start from. I was born into a family of five, I’m the second and first son :). You really don’t need all this info, let me just go ahead with my story, I have had so many challenges while growing up, having a dad who traveled quite often then, leaving us with mum. It all started when I was little, in primary school, dad always gave mum money to take care of us.
Time for school mum wouldn’t give us money for lunch and will yell we should go to school looking at other kids in school and considering the fact the we always had to trek back home daily under the hot sun had an effect on me, we reported to my dad on phone, mum changed that’s where everything began. Don’t know if it was just me but mum always flogged me all the time no matter how small the crime was to an extent I told some visitors that came around that I would pour hot water on my mum someday they thought I was joking like they will say he’s just a kid and they’ll laugh it off.
In school I wasn’t the brightest, will always come 15th to 17th, in class my best was 10th I was so proud of myself, my elder sister was very intelligent and so was my immediate younger brother I was looked upon as the “black sheep” of the house and the non-intelligent folk / ugliest of all and of course my self-esteem was gone since I was about 7 years old. I always kept to myself, was seen as the quiet one no one knew, dad never allowed toys he saw it as a taboo always giving me elderly advice like I could understand all he was saying then, I kept all of them, made me to always think like an adult, afraid of trying something new, taking risks, making mistakes, friends, the list is endless. I didn’t grow up as a normal kid looking around and seeing how others were around me I still never felt free always shy all the time, then I went for a holiday to my mum’s elder sister’s house in Kaduna, then before the sharia in 1999 stayed for about three months there we hardly ever spoke with my parents on the phone as a little boy, had this cousin of mine that attended NMS Zaria, it was not funny waking up everyday with fear. They beat, punished and made us (me and my brother) cry almost on a daily basis, there was a time they asked me to count all the leaves in the compound and say sorry to them. They did this with all seriousness, they terrified my soul finally we left a day before sharia started and attended the naming ceremony of my last sister that same day. Having three sisters then if you asked me was like a terrible thing, mum would take them out and leave me and my bro to do the chores even on a Saturday morning all in the name of ‘to make their hair’, I learnt how to make fufu from the raw stage and pound, in fact I can do all house chores some of my aunts say I’m a woman and praise me but within I’m really angry.
I was abused by one of our house helps who toiled with me every time the house was empty no one in my family knows about this I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it cause I didn’t even know what was going on. Mum always made me do this and that like I was a house boy leaving others each time I questioned she’ll give the excuse that they can’t do it well but if anything goes wrong I get beaten. Then I preferred staying in school to home, in school I wasn’t really social I had this temper, and low self-esteem would leave me always quiet I was so insecure coupled with the fact that I never got visited in secondary school on visiting days, seeing other kids with their parents, aunts, uncles and family made me very sad I got used to it. Had some people around me who call themselves my friends but were just there, cause of the large amount of provisions I had, never spent time with my parents, not close to any of them, they don’t even know what am capable of.
The story is just too long… I entered the university having no one to look up to, low self-esteem, kept to myself, always worried about one thing or the other, parents who never believed in me… mum once compared me with others academically and I was disappointed, I was ranked second from behind out of 5 I was devastated. Felt all alone, that was probably the worse thing I ever experienced, not being encouraged by my own parents. Always yelling each time I asked them for money and giving others more, presently I have trust issues, never been in a serious relationship the last I had, lasted just 3 months. There is so much to tell, just can’t say it all still. Am serving at the moment, sad, lonely, devastated, lost, frustrated, confused name it. From my write-up you’ll know I’m really confused.
God help me through this 🙂
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N.B. The project goes on with Tomorrow’s ’Her Story, XXXII’ by an Anonymous writer.
You can still send in your own true stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
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