This is the first photo I’ve taken with little to no make up on that I didn’t delete because I thought it was beautiful. I usually do not take pictures unless my face is fixed with foundation and mascara because as some of you may know, I suffer from a skin condition called Vitiligo which I’ve mentioned in some previous posts. As you can see, the dyspigmentation is on the right side of my forehead and eyelid. I remember having felt so good about myself after taking this picture because I’d realized I was taking care of ME for the first time ever. By doing so, it was visible on the outside as well as the inside.

I want to share a little back story of my journey with the focus on my physical beauty, so this post is actually going to be a personal one. All my life, I struggled with my self-esteem. I thought I was the ugly duckling surrounded by friends and family who were so beautiful and when you’re not only comparing yourself to others but having loved ones compare you to others, it’s a recipe for some good ole-fashioned resentment, fair amount of depression and a dash of anxiety. Now there are a lot more factors that played into it, however I’m just sticking with the physical for now.

So growing up and looking at my reflection was a constant reminder of the “shitty” hand I was dealt, hating anytime I had to look in the mirror. It wasn’t until I got to high school that it got worse. You couldn’t give me any sort of compliment without me making a sour face and DENY DENY DENY. I was quick with it too, wouldn’t even let you start your sentence, let alone finish it. I just didn’t want to hear it.

For years, all I did was degrade everything about me. I bashed on my hair, my body, my face, my eyes, you name it. I was extremely ungrateful, there’s no other way to put it. Let’s keep in mind, my hair was luscious, my waist was genetically carved and my face was pigmented equally. But that’s not what my reflection was showing me. Or maybe it was all along and my consciousness was clouded by ill-thoughts that all I saw was what I didn’t have.

Fast forward to my junior year when I was diagnosed with Vitiligo none other than on the one place that mattered most to me, my face. You could imagine what THAT did to my self-esteem. It only got worse, my self-esteem and the Vitiligo because it grew into what it is today. Fast forward another few years to present day. Now I’m going to share what my perspective is on my journey and how I’ve been able to come to terms with it which is a way not many would agree with or are confused about.

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Psalm 138:8

Sometimes in life, we’re forced to learn certain lessons in ways we never would’ve chosen because of our own stubbornness. God has taught me many lessons and this, by far, is one of the biggest for me. Outer beauty had become such an obsession for me, it was the only thing that in my mind, validated who I was as a person. It determined what my value was. Inner beauty was nonexistent and unfortunately what I didn’t realize was that I had the outer beauty all along. But I never appreciated it.

So, He forced me to see myself through a different lens. One that was a real struggle to accept and embrace for the first few years. For people to understand the relationship between an individual and God, especially when it comes to teaching, could be described as a father disciplining his child or for some people who believe in it, the way karma deals with people.

Would you believe me if I told you that the most beautiful I’ve ever felt has been in the years that I’ve had my vitiligo VS. every year before then. Why? Because I learned that outer beauty really (and literally) is skin deep. If you want to see that outer beauty, then you MUST take care of yourself which involves loving yourself wholeheartedly. I look at this photo and see a fresh face, no blemishes, healthy skin and a light in her eyes that was never there before.

He forced me to see myself through a different lens

I won’t lie to you and say I don’t wish for my face to one day regain all of its pigment back, but that’s not a priority on my list right now. I know God has a purpose for everything that happens in my life, this is no different. As difficult as it can be, sometimes you have to be open-minded to the reality of your situation and why you’re going through what you’re going through. Do I have all the answers? Hell no. I wish I did, but I don’t. That’s why I rely heavily on my faith to get me through these trials even if they are year-long processes.

But my God, is it worth it. The only regret I have is not having been grateful from the very beginning. Could I have avoided something like my vitiligo appearing years later? I honestly believe I could’ve had I treated myself better but that’s just my opinion, I don’t have a real answer. As I always say, everything happens for a reason and I know God has His own plans for my life so as the saying goes, you must trust the process.

What I leave you with is this; be grateful before it gets taken away and embrace the trials no matter how difficult it can get, because they’re not there to break you. They’re there to build you into something better, stronger and wiser.