My name is Jahwella I am broken and my past can attest to that.
I am still that little girl with pigtailed hair, black front teeth and socks that rise up to her knees who sits and stays at the farthest corner of a room, silently stares at everyone but whose eyes are forced to look down at the floor when someone stares back at her.
I have never tried to put up a fight against myself or the past. I have never tried to wrestle with any of them though they keep on feeding me with nothing but lies. I have never tried, though I have aspired, to look at myself in a different way.
I am an only child. My father’s a senior machinist for more than ten years before he died. My mother has always been a busy housewife, always preoccupied with domestic chores. Most of the people I met thought I had a great life, that I was used to getting everything I wanted – dolls, jigsaw puzzles, lovely dresses, chocolates, warm embraces, undivided attention, love. And I would always scoff at them and at whatever they thought I had. Though I did not have a terrible childhood, I knew, I was never special and had never gotten close to being one.
I was six when I first went to school. I could write the letters of the alphabet better than my classmates could, I could solve math problems faster and more accurately than anyone could, and I could read sentences more clearly than they could. I became the star of my class and I would oftentimes hear my classmates’ parents telling my mother how brilliant her child is.
My other skills shone more brightly by the time I reached my second year in grade school. I was nudged further into the limelight. I became an orator, a little singer who would often be tasked to entice the parents during meetings and card days, a smart kid who would represent the school in different events and competitions. I was the star. But my light didn’t last for long. It was inundated by unraveling thoughts while I was growing up and was finally extinguished the moment I went out of my shell.
Not long after I entered high school, I completely understood the descriptions that were repeatedly connected to my name. I was the good orator, the smart kid, the proficient reader. All of those were meant to highlight my skills, were all about the things people thought I was capable of doing, but never about how I looked.
I knew then, that in this world, no amount of praises could hide the despicable truth – I am ugly.