It’s 11pm, I just made the last call of the day, and I am retiring to bed… I really need to catch some sleep because tomorrow I report to work at 8am. Just before stretching out myself to place my phone on the top near the bed, I accidentally hit the gallery icon on the phone, and the first thing I see is this photo, taken slightly more than 2 years ago. I stare at the photo for a while, and before I know it, I am smiling. I think I look really beautiful… Wait a minute, I don’t think, I am actually BEAUTIFUL. Shortly after, my mind goes back to my primary, then secondary, then part of my campus life…

Allow me to share some of those memories…

I grew up in the village; with such a heavy mother tongue accent (most people don’t believe this part), Lived like most average Kenyans. I had all I needed, and life was good. Then, it was okay to not wear shoes; it was okay not to know all the cartoons that show on TV. It was Okay to just plait corn row on your head. Life was not complicated. I enjoyed being a kid. I was the last born; it sure is a nice feeling.

When I got to a certain level of schooling though, all those things that didn’t matter then, began to matter now. I was a little more cautious of how people looked at me, and what they thought of me. I remember one time seriously arguing with a friend over whether my parent’s house had 4 and not 3 rooms… to me, a corridor was also a room, after all, that’s where we kept shoes, the battery (The one used to power the TV) also had it store there. (That’s a room right?) I seriously argued with another one over whether my mum was a doctor or a nurse… In the village, everyone who works in the hospital is called Daktari, and I would hear them call mum that… So, my mum to be was a doctor. The other kid though was convinced that the general hospital where my mum works to date was had one doctor, and that definitely was not my mom.

At this point I am left wondering, wait, when and how did we get to the point of proving status to one another?

Let’s continue with the story of my life

I would say a lot more about my primary school life, and how I suffered self-esteem and identities issues but let’s leave that for another day. On to life in secondary: I kept the best of friends. They were amazing performers, and so was I until the end of 3rd term in form one. Form two’s are said to have a whole lot of problems. It seemed not to be different with me. My performance seriously deteriorated… What I never told anyone is that I was struggling to accept me. I didn’t like the way I looked, I didn’t like my nails, my nose, my size, or anything about me for that matter, and the poor performance made things worse. I hate to say this, but I actually hated myself. For so many days I cried myself to sleep. I felt distant from the entire world. I wished I could change so many things, but I didn’t know that all that needed to change was my attitude and mind towards me.

Even with my poor performance most part of high school, I found a place in campus! Phew! What a relief for everyone!

Surely, life must be different in campus! I thought. For sure, life was so different… TOTALLY different I dare to say. I had the freedom to choose all I wanted to. (Don’t get bored, am not about to give you that talk we all get before joining college, I will try and keep it short). I went to one of the best Universities in the world (I will say that a million times) Yes, one of the best!

Whatever had plagued me in high school was now in greater measures, and didn’t even care to know that I was in one of the best universities…  I am short and dark… (You all do know that that’s not a very good combination to have especially in campus right?)The world expects you to be slender, with an American height and light skinned (‘rangi ya thao’) I would look at myself in the mirror every day and think… What a plump nose! My nails don’t look so good, I don’t like the color of my eyes, my ears are… I found fault in literally everything. I wished I looked better.  (I have no idea how better looks, but well…) I never believed any of the men who said I was beautiful and that they liked me (They were quite a good number by the way… Just saying) I would on a number of occasions ask, what do you like about me? I didn’t see anything to be liked, except just for the finger nails on my left hand and hair (Which I recently cut). In answer to my questions, they would say a whole lot of things, which I thought were meant to just please me.

I could go on and on with these stories, including one of when I took a guy who liked me to a ‘flashy’ estate, in the name of that’s where I stay, because I thought he would like me better if I was richer… (Thank God that estate didn’t have dogs; I hate to think of what would have become of us)Let me leave it at that for now…

As all these memories flood my mind, I can’t help but thank God, I have come from a far, and HE finding me was the best thing that ever happened to me! Some of those thoughts come back to me occasionally, but I have learnt to overcome… My nose is round, so what! My head is small… Does that change the fact that I am living? Does it change God’s world, and the fact that he loves me? Nop! Not  at all.

We need to get to point where we walk with our heads held up high, we are created in the image of the LORD, we are BEAUTIFUL, whether we appear so to people or not! Our worth can never be compared to the type of cars we drive, or how big our houses are, not in where you shop, or which perfume you wear! Our worth is in Christ, He died so that we may live. All of us, including you who feels rejected by the world, including you who is homeless, including you who is sick near death, or you who just had your heart broken, or you who is a poor performer, all you who sells your body to earn a living… all of us!

You may not feel beautiful/ handsome/ worthy, but today I dare say you are… The LORD says you are, so smile, and let your identity be found in Him. I wish I could preach this to the ends of the world! But you can help me do it. Christ loves us all equally. His love for us is everlasting!

It is a few minutes to midnight. I really must sleep. Be encouraged. The lord LOVES, Just the way you are. Look at yourself again and again and smile. I just did!