I’m sure that a lot of people in my life would say that they know me, but I’m also sure that the majority of them have got that wrong. I mean no disrespect when I make that statement, but it is the honest truth.
Yes, they know the happy Shaniqua; the jovial, bubbly, lively, sweet, friendly, outgoing, funny Shaniqua who “always has a smile on her face”. I’ll admit that is the Shaniqua I am most of the time and that is the Shaniqua who is present on the surface, but it is also the Shaniqua that I allow them to see.
I wear the “happy” mask to keep the questions at bay and hide away from everything I am struggling with inside. I wear the mask to put up barriers between them and me, because I don’t want to let people in. I wear the mask because it’s easier.
The mask I wear hides the ugly and for people to really know me, you have to see the ugly. I’ve had people run away when they’ve seen that I’m a little fragile and damaged, and there are numerous individuals who have been surprised by one of my moody outbursts on one of my dark days.
You don’t know the real me until you see me depressed and down. You don’t know the real me until you hear me talk about my feelings of despair and unhappiness. You don’t know the real me until you see me break down in tears.
You don’t know me until you get a look at the scars that border my arms. You don’t know me until you learn about my trust issues. You don’t know me until you know about my feelings of isolation and loneliness. You don’t know me until you hear about my low confidence and self-esteem.
You won’t know the real me, until you see the back of me, turning around and walking away, because I can’t take it anymore and I need the space to be alone.
The real Shaniqua is not all joy and light, but I am also filled with darkness, pain and wells of emotion that I cannot always express. This is who I am and I want people to understand that there is more to me than what they simply see on the surface.
I’m not going to be that sweet girl they see all the time and there are times when my broken side will reveal itself, because sometimes the mask falls off or it becomes so constrictive that I need to remove it. All of this is what makes me the real Shaniqua.