Growing up, people would taunt me and call me names like ‘Tinrin gbeku’ which means ‘skinny as hell’ in Yoruba. Any slight disagreement and people would say horrible stuff to me because of the way I looked. It was sinking into my psyche and killing my self-esteem.
I became really shy and felt I wasn’t good enough. I felt out of place everywhere I went to. I would use the fact that I was very brilliant in class to cover up my low self-esteem but I didn’t really associate with people that much. I had just a few friends in class.
Everything began to change in University. I was very active in church and felt better because there was nobody labeling me or saying horrible things. I also felt accepted. I joined the choir and people would appreciate and compliment me because of my voice. I started to improve on my music and I got really good at it.
My defining moment was when a first timer at our church walked up to me and said I sang really well and she was blessed (by my ministration). Because of that, I knew there was something about me that I could offer and it transcended my physical looks. I concluded that anyone who couldn’t see what I had inside and shunned me because of the way I looked was shallow.
I didn’t have any dramatic or huge encounter that transformed me. It was more of a subtle process. I started expressing myself more. I became livelier and started having friends, although I was still cautious. I started being more outspoken around people.
In my final year in school, I even ran for the post of financial secretary of my department and won. This brought me to the spotlight. It was actually up to me to make sure that I didn’t let my esteem hold me down or stop me from achieving the dreams I had.
There was one scripture that helped, Proverbs 31:30 which says “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” This scripture helped me even as a man. You don’t judge people based on their physical looks but their content and that was what I started living by. If you think my physical appearance isn’t good enough for you, then there’s no point hanging out with you.

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