This picture was taken on my exact birthday last year. I look at this girl and the girl writing this post and there have been so much tears, sadness, improvement and change that sometimes I stare at myself in the mirror and ask ‘Is that me?’ I am constantly amazed and surprised at the journey God has placed me on. If you ask me, has it been easy? Certainly not but right now I know it was worth the fight.

For sometime I hated myself, I couldn’t stand to look myself in the mirror because I believed every lie that I thought was true. I am still coming to terms with my past and the truth is I know hurt and pain like the back of my hand. The same hurt that left emotional welts in me came with healing. I have learnt that no matter how broken we seem to be, we are never too shattered to put peace back together.

For so long, I thought my worth in being good enough was buried in another human being. But little did I know that all the beautiful things I thought I could find in another man was just buried beneath the pains. It has taken me a while to find myself; to look into the mirror and fall in love with the broken pieces of my life. To see how beautiful and perfectly flawed God made me. I believe falling in love with myself was the bravest thing I have ever done because it shed some light onto those areas and wounds that needed to be healed.

There are some days that I struggle to find my beauty in a chaos of life. In those days, I look within and call those things that God has called me forth, and even though I don’t see it right away, I have found that it really helps to affirm God’s word within myself. Now I know that with or without a man, I know who I am and whose I am because in the same darkness, I found my light and I am thankful for the people who loved me enough to allow me heal.

In accepting me for who I am, I have learnt that healing doesn’t occur in the past but in the present. And for me to be truly open to give and receive love, I have to be vulnerable to people. One lesson in vulnerability is: you have to feel safe to be vulnerable and vulnerability makes me relatable to people. It has been a journey opening up about the struggles and I am thankful for the process.

Even in the learning to be vulnerable I know that people have different expectations of me due to several factors, and sometimes I fall into the trap of making other people’s opinions and expectations become my reality. I have learnt to constantly remind myself that I am human, I am allowed to change and make mistakes because it is from there that I can learn and grow.

I know God has placed me in a position to be His hands and feet to bless people, I don’t want to live a life where everyone benefits from my wisdom, talents, gifts and blessings expect me. I want to be the first recipient of the blessing God has for my life and then let the love overflow to everyone I come in contact with.

As I add a year to my age in a few days and continue this amazing journey God has placed me on, I vow to be committed to staying true to the woman God has called me to be. To learn from every mistake and season I find myself. To not wait for the world to give me permission to shine.  I vow always put myself first and choose ME regardless, because it is best decision to make.

Here is to new lessons, new love and continual growth!

Happy birthday
Queen Oreoluwa Esther