My name was Aliya.
Sometimes I would wonder — What it would feel like to be free? — Free from worry, free from hurt, free of the person I see in the mirror.
She stares back at me and her eyes tell a story of despair. On her shoulders is the weight of the world and I don’t think she can bear the weight anymore. She hates herself.
I turn away and put the mask of the day over my face. Time to smile when you really want to break down. Time to pretend.
I dress myself in clothing to cover the image I so desperately despise. I don’t know myself, but I want to. I try to. Others believe they know me — that gay girl from Philly. She has a lot of friends and a girlfriend. She is so brave to come out and be herself… Time to pretend.
You know for the life of me I do not understand why anyone would want to be friends with this ugly girl. She is so stupid, she doesn’t even have the confidence to stand up for herself. She will never be anything in life.
There are so many of these thoughts swirling around in my head and I want to thank the person who told me those despicable things most of my young life. I do forgive you, but I will never forget that I believed every word.
This is why I need to know who I am.
A part of me is fighting that image of myself, that destiny.
This just can’t be who I am suppose to be.
My body is so tired, my feet are bloody, my heart is weary, and this road has many forks, immeasurable obstacles, and inexplicable pain.
But, this…. This is just the beginning.
And in the beginning… there was just this girl.
Whose self-esteem was six feet beneath her feet…
[To be continued.]