In her head
“You are such a failure.” She kept her head down.
“You can’t do anything right.” She kept walking.
“Waste of space.” She kept her tears back.
“You should just go kill yourself.” She kept silently sobbing.
“Why are you still alive?”
These words were burned into the back of her mind as if they were notes on a test. Everyday she looks in the mirror and thinks about those words, how they were strung together. How they played over and over and over again when she laid in bed at night. The same words that kept her up at night, the same words she heard every day for ten years. The words that almost broke her. She could not speak. She couldn't fight for herself, she couldn’t say, “No” you are there was no one in her corner, no one to help her, no one to tell her that what they say isn’t true, no one to show her how kind she was even when she was at her worst, how she helped the people who brought her so low. The same people who one day would see her happy, see her smiling and it not be fake, the same people who knew how horrible she felt when no one else did.
The halls echoing when she walked, a faint laugh was heard as they saw her. Step, step, step, she put her head down. Trying to make herself small enough so no one can see her so no one notices the pain in her eyes, no one can see the sadness. She sees her friends down the way, all she can think is “Stand up, they cannot know what is going on. They cannot know what is going on behind their backs. Smile. Keep smiling. Say, ‘Hi’” They still had no clue what was going on inside her head.
By looking at her she lives a great life, has a great family, gets good grades. But when you pull back the fake smiles, the fake laughs, the fake friends, you see a whole different story. You see the anxiety, you see the real her, all the pain hidden behind that bright eyed smile. When you look at the real her you see a broken soul you see someone who has been put down so low yet makes sure that everyone else is fine and happy. She puts on a happy face to help everyone. No one knows the words they spit at her.
She knew she had to try and act happy so they don’t win. So they cannot take that power that she so desperately grasps on to. It is her life line the only thing keeping her afloat. She may have friends to help her but they don’t know they don’t see how much she hates coming to school how much she lies about being busy or having other plans. She was the nice girl who always said hi and made knew kids feel welcome. The girl who talked to everyone about something. That was her power no one to pity her no one to tell her everything is going to be okay.
In her head this was the time when she could just be, not have to act happy, not have to build up a wall so high that no one could see her, no one could hurt her. Every time she saw a new person who had no clue what goes on in those four walls of that school, she could smile, someone who could know an entirely different person than the one she was. She could paint on any face tell this person any and everything. She could have been anyone she wanted, even if just a second she had that moment to be who ever she wanted to be. She wasn’t the broken girl whose grandpa has cancer, whose mom is barely home because of work, the girl who spends most days by herself crying in her room. That new kid saw a happy girl, one who was involved in that small town, who loved school, who was a great person to hang out with. The person she wanted so badly to be.
When she looks back to that time she smiles, she sees how much better she is now. She sees that they wanted to bring her down, she let them get to her. She let go of all those fake friends, now when she smiles it’s real. She now knows that every word that spit at her meant nothing. She knows she is beautiful and strong. The ones who were bringing her down look at her and see a huge smile.