A book without a cover is like a person without character. These two sources lead you to the most deliberate truth. Only, we tend to think that the outside predicts the inside, while the inside prescribes the opposite.

In life, we get to be impulsive and judge people for all the wrong reasons. Being an intelligent little girl in school, with all the good marks and very good behaviour doesn’t make me perfect. I was just a normal child that might be growing up with all sorts of difficulties. A not-so-normal child who was left to grow up without guidance.

I loved books the way books loved me. I was Best Learner for two years, breaking a record that was unbeaten. Every teacher asking me to ‘keep it up’ but little did they know that I had so little to help me keep anything up. My parents left me in the care of a “you’ll figure it out on your own” guardian. The guidance she was supposed to nurture my brain with was never offered and my brain died of adolescence.

The love and attention I tried to get from my surroundings wasn’t enough and I found myself saying ‘I love you’ to a stranger. He swore to love me too, but pity I had to prove this with the temple of God I was blessed with. He broke my virginity at 15 and I ran away from home to feel free but came back once I saw my face in the mirror that reminded me who I truly was. That was the girl with dreams and ambitions.

I tried to commit suicide more than once but kept my smile and good marks for people to cheer for. “You never disappoint,” they say, but why do I feel that I’m the biggest disappointment? No one ever knew I was dying of rejection. My smile and good marks lead them to the wrong angle of direction. They all called me a ‘good girl who knows what she wants’ and ‘one who will pass matric with flying colours’. They judged me for a perfect candidate.

I hoped to pass the way they imagined, but with my desperate heart seeking love, I fell pregnant by a guy I won’t call my Prince Charming. The minute I got the news, I wanted to tear him apart like a hungry lion. We are totally mistaken to think that when people are a couple, they share dreams. Well, not this couple which had opposite minds that would never endure success. Anger and disappointment filled my heart but still, painting the ‘good girl with good marks’ picture for people’s eyes to see after I ended things with him.

Lying to everyone about my state or situation, claiming to have a serious life-threatening illness was practical as there were only life against death intentions. Bunking school because I was tired of pretending I was okay and I was sick and tired of the name tag they tattooed in their brains. ‘Genius with good behaviour’ yet I’m a liar without motive.

I wanted to undergo an abortion and if it meant my death, I wouldn’t care because that would be the time were everybody realised I was not perfect. “If you kill my baby, I will destroy you” were the words of support he whispered in my ears so that I wondered if he was the one carrying the child or me? Then I failed to do it. Now I had to choose to fail or pass regardless of my situation. I had no choice but to go back and finish what they’d started. I tried my best to pass my Matric and at the end I got two distinctions while they aimed for six. They judged me for the smile and good behaviour I portrayed. They never knew I was dying of rejection. They never knew I was disappointed longer than they ever could’ve been. Till this day I wish they’d never judged a book by its cover. Maybe, just maybe, they would’ve given me the counselling I needed and I would’ve been at Cape Town University now furthering my studies.