She went through a lot of hard stuff. She sometimes thought of giving up. but then an anonymous not made her give life another chance and because she didn’t give up…she found love and became the girl that never stopped smiling.
She fell again, but she got up and dusted her hands, just like every other time. She’d fallen too many times to consider her strength not depleted. But despite of everything, she got up; refused to give up. Her first fall occurred when she was learning how to ride a bicycle. Then, her father had pulled her up. She fell again years later when the society pulled her down for not marrying at the right age. This time, her best friend was the one that helped her to her feet. Then, as if destiny wasn’t already cruel enough, she got raped. Being an Indian, she was literally dumped garbage on. Hated! Completely loathed by those that pretended to be something they were not. They judged her for a mistake that wasn’t hers. The despicable court named society tried her as a criminal and not a victim. This time, there was no one that stood by her. She fell hard; harder than she had ever before. She couldn’t find the strength in her to get back up once again. She thought her life was over. The emotional damage….her turmoil, all was irreparable. She was what she had hoped she’d never be – a shattered piece of glass, that no matter how anyone tried to glue together with the other parts of her, she would never be whole. She was too broken. The society wouldn’t accept her. There were some distant voices though that she heard on social media declaring as furiously as they could that being raped isn’t one’s fault. But she could neither see nor hear any of it for her own parents no more had her back. She had no one anymore. It was soon after that that she suffered through depression. She would take one look in the mirror and declare herself unimpressed.
‘Oh how she’d hope to be something people admired!’ now all she saw in herself was self pity and self loathing.
She cried herself to sleep that night and dreamt of herself as hatred personified. She woke up next morning like an automaton that she had become, looked in the mirror – surrendered – and named herself ‘hate’. She dyed her hair bright red to show the world the blood she’d lost in self harm. Only no one took any notice. She pierced her lip because now the physical pain was the only thing keeping her distracted from the mental volcano she was burning through. She got a tattoo too. She knew she was depressed but refused to seek any help because she saw no point. ‘Nobody cares anyway.’ She would think. Days passed by in the blink of an eye and her energy reserve depleted. She decided she had had enough. She was going to end it. She went through her bag to find the blade she had bought a few days ago for this very purpose. Her mind was completely blank and her heart felt nothing.
In the absolute silence of her lonely apartment a knock resounded. Startled out of her empty thoughts, she put the blade back and fixed a smile on her face. She exhaled as she opened the door. Seeing no one there, she proceeded to shut the door but a vanilla envelope on the floor caught her eye. She picked it up and opened it. In shabby handwriting it read-
“Do not give up. Not yet. Trust in yourself. Do not give up. Please!”
The note being anonymous did not stop the small but bright flame of hope being reignited in her. That night, she fell asleep clutching the note like it was her life. Next day she got up and for the first time in ages, she felt like she could face life again. She decided she would take matters into her own hands now. So she called her parents and told them that being raped wasn’t her fault and if they were ashamed of her because of a mistake that wasn’t even hers to begin with then they should forget that they even had a daughter. It broke her heart to sever her ties with them but she knew she had to move on. She knew she could not give up this easily.
She kept going with her life, working on various freelance writing jobs and earning enough to keep herself on her feet.
Then one day on her way to work, a photographer had approached her. He had asked her to smile for a photo that would go on his facebook page. She remembered asking him, “Why would you pick me out of all of the other women that surround us?”
“Your bold look tells its own story.” He had answered. She had smiled without hesitation. A few weeks later she had gotten a call from a famous New York magazine’s editor. He had offered her a modeling contract for their ‘Bold, Strong Women’ issue. She had never thought of herself as a model before. She had looked around her apartment then and asked herself, ‘What’s here for me anymore?’
She knew the answer too well. It was decided. She packed her bags and was on her way to New York.
Within the time frame of a few months, she had accomplished something she thought she would have never been able to do. She had successfully modeled for several magazines and was an ambassador for a charity named ‘Rape Victim’s Community’. Her life had taken a turn for the better, finally!
Occasionally she would think of her past and that blade in her hand but then the note – now framed on the bedside table – would remind her to not give up. She would smile, more often than not. She would look in the mirror everyday and erase a little bit of hate. Then one day – completely rid of her hate – she named herself ‘courage’.
While she was climbing the ladder of professional success and finding her way back to her old, hopeful self, she met a guy. He was a model working with the same company she was working for. After meeting with him about a combined photo shoot that they both signed contracts for, she found herself completely lost in his thoughts. It was a good thing that the feelings weren’t one sided. One thing led to the other and soon they’d started officially dating.
During one of those dates she had found out that he had donated a million dollars to a charity that helped rape victims get back on their feet. That bit of information had sparked her curiosity and she had asked Jason why he would donate so much money to a rape victims’ charity. Turned out he was a victim too. He had been raped a couple of years ago. Yes, it was possible, men could get raped too. Though if that happened, men usually chose not to talk about it. And Jason talking about it had made her fall for him harder. He was so strong!
She had asked him, “How did you get the courage to get up and get out? Had you never thought of ending it?”
He had said yes and a moment later he had quoted, “‘Do not give up. Not yet. Trust in yourself. Do not give up. Please!’ This was what I had told myself every minute of the day I could not go through anymore. That’s how I survived.” He had winked at her.
Saying she had been shocked was an understatement of the year. She had thought of the note by her bedside table.
“How?!” she’d squeaked.
“I was in India shooting for a magazine when I saw you crying like you were almost about to give up. I just knew I had to help you so I found out where you lived and sent you the note. Some people need to understand the importance of a little support, even if it comes from an anonymous heart.”
She had fallen silent for a moment. “Did you send the photographer too?”
He hadn’t answer. He had just winked and said, “I’ll see you at the shoot tomorrow”, and walked away.
She had gone to bed puzzled that night; puzzled but happy.
Next day she was dressed as a beautiful-bold-pierced bride, ready to smile. Jason had walked towards her in his fabulous tux, “You look absolutely stunning!” She had smiled.
They did the photo shoot with ease for they could not look more in love than they already were. They both had accepted their love for each other and appreciated the strength it provided them as individuals. At the end of the shoot Jason had called her aside and had given her a vanilla envelope.
She had opened it with her heart thundering in her chest.
It had read;
“To my courage,
We have been together for what feels like an eternity and I have come to love you as I have no other thing. I always have and always will admire your strength and untarnished beauty. I love every edgy side of yours. The way you almost gave up but came back from the edge always inspires me; it lets me know that it’s never too late for anyone. Some love – may it be anonymous – can save anybody. I love that ever since, you have never stopped smiling. Do me a favor and marry me so that I can make you a girl that will never ever stop smiling.”
She had looked up and there he was, sitting on one knee with a ring in his hand. That’s it! She had decided then that she would let nothing come in the way of her happiness. She had learned from her past that everything had happened for a reason. It had happened to bring her here…right to this moment. She promised herself and Jason that day that she would always and forever be ‘the girl that never stopped smiling.’