Her eyes open

She lies there

Lies there in the warmth of her bed

In the comfort of her sheets

Wrapped around her, shielding her from the day ahead

As she’s just woken from a deep slumber

She’s woken and her eyes stare up at the crisp white ceiling

She’s awake

She’s alive

 And it’s morning

Her brain tells her all of this

Yet her heart

Her heart dreads the new day

Her heart aches as a new day begins

Her mind tells her

“Let’s stay in bed…”

“Let’s sleep the day away…”

Yet her heart knows

It knows that despite the ache

Despite the quivers and quakes in its bruised chambers

She must wake up

She must rise

Rise and face the day

*******

She throws the covers off

Makes her way to the bathroom

And peers into the mirror

“Hello again…”, she whispers

Her reflection greeting her with sorrow as she stares back

“Hello again self…”

“I didn’t expect to see you today…”

“Yet here we are…”

“Are we ready for another Oscar winning day?”

She stares

As if waiting for her reflection to give an answer

She waits….

And waits….

And while she does

She stretches out her hands and gently touches the mirror

As if to stroke her self

As if to comfort her soul

As if tell her reflection that it’ll be okay

“It’ll be okay…”

She sighs…

“Are you ready?”

She doesn’t wait for an answer

Because her reflection simply nods in agreement

It’s time to wash her face

Wash her face and put on her mask

Put on her mask for the world to see

She gently applies her makeup

Hiding the dried tears that she cried in the night

She carefully chooses her colourful clothes

Intentionally picking out her ‘chic’ jewelry

Ensuring that all is complementary

Ensuring that all is in place

That all looks well, as if trying to save face

Because she wants to ensure

Ensure that her loud, joyous outfits

Hide the brokenness in her heart

She wants to make sure that she’s put together

Because she’s learned that she has to be

She has to put on this mask

This theatrical act

Because to be vulnerable

To be vulnerable

She’s learned is to be weak

And to be weak

Is to be needy

And to be needy is…

Well it’s to be left alone

It’s to be labeled as too much

It’s to be seen as damaged

And she doesn’t want to be seen as damaged

She doesn’t want to be labeled as weak

She doesn’t want all of it

Because she doesn’t want to be alone

And so she’s learned to hide

To hide behind her smile

To hide behind her loudness

To hide behind her crazy laughter

To hide behind her boisterous outfits

To hide behind the image of one strong in her ‘Faith’

She’ s learned to hide it all

Yet inside she wonders what they would do

How they’d see her if they knew

If they knew

If they truly knew

How she spent her nights

If they knew the tears she shed

Each night on her bed

If they knew how each morning

As she opened her eyes

She sighed and wished she could sleep the day away

She wonders…

Yes she wonders…

Wonders if they knew

If they knew what she hid behind the mask

If they knew about the scars deep in her heart

Some still fresh, some healing

And some re-opening time after time

She wonders if they knew

If they knew about the scars on her arms

The scars that have healed on her arms

Yet the ones she hides with her colourful clothes

Because they remind her of her once most painful days

She wonders if they knew

If they knew her struggle

Her struggle with an illness

That dictated her every move

That made her feel guilt for every

Morsel of food she consumed

An illness that spewed so much hate

And poisoned her mind

She wondered if they knew

If they knew this and so much more

She wonders

Wonders if they’d leave

If they’d no longer want to talk to her

Want to be seen with her

She wonders…

And the fear of that

Leaves her clinging to her mask

Clinging to it

And refining her theatrical show

Because she can’t bear the thought of being left alone

Yet as she spends her days perfecting her act

Perfecting it and hiding

Hiding behind its intoxicating comfort

She still feels alone

Alone within her self

Because each day

As she retires her mask for the night

She wonders

Wonders if it’ll ever come off

If it’ll come off

So she can be free

Free to bare her scars

And say to all

Here I am

Yes here she is.

By: Wangui Muya

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