The Girl Who Never Stopped Smiling
My life has been a roller coaster, but one I would not trade for anything in this world because it has shaped the person I’ve become today. Throughout my life I’ve often been greeted with the compliment, “You have a nice smile” and I always appreciated it, but no one really knew the mystery of it. No one knew that this smile has always been a plaster to cover my pain, struggles and failures and though I would never call it fake (because I love it), I often wished people could see behind it.
Every time someone calls me “friend” I always asked myself the question, “Are we really friends or acquaintances”, because I would never let people beyond the surface level of my life. One moment you’ll feel like you know me and the next you’ll have no idea who I am. On this surface level I’d seem quite perfect but if you were to venture behind the smile you’ll see quite the opposite.
I’ve always tried to maintain an image to please those who expected it from me, which only resulted in self-harm. I’d often deal with all my struggles alone - only with the help of God - and most times it only resulted in me isolating myself, crying myself to sleep almost every night, before and after classes and unfortunately before and after IVCF sessions. No one suspected that anything was wrong because “I’m the girl who never stopped smiling.” I learnt to be by myself and I preferred this to being surrounded by a group of people who thought they knew me.
However, the growth and true friendships I’ve attained through my IVCF family over the past two years have been a heaven-sent gift. Jesus knew exactly what I needed and whom I needed in my life. This club’s impact is indescribable and cannot be fully vocalised. I feel comfortable with the fellowship and true friends I’ve attained who encourage me with godly wisdom. Most importantly, I now have a stronger desire to serve God with my whole heart, rid myself of the image I once held and be true to myself and those around me. Despite the failures and mistakes He showers me daily with His love, peace and forgiveness.
All I’ve said before is a just a reminder that God calls us a “body” for a reason; we need each other even if we think we can do it alone. So I encourage you to look out for one another, because there may be others, like me, silently struggling while surrounded by hundreds of people. Always check up on those that God has placed in your life, because these silent struggles may lead some to their graves and everyone will have a lot to say then. I may never be the most vocal person but everything I’ve been through has pushed me to encourage the hurt, befriend the introverts and more so, love people - even if it’s by simply greeting them with a smile. One should never forget though, that there could be pain, struggles and heartache behind the smile, so check up on that friend who seems to have everything together… even the loudest person in your group gathering, because you never know what hurt is hidden BEHIND THE SMILE.
Moreover, never forget to make Christ the focal point of your life; He’s the only one who sees the true you and remains the only One who truly brings fulfillment.
Nikisha Harris (UWI IVCF Secretary)