GO SHAWTY! ITS MY BIRTHDAY!!
On Friday, the 14th of September, I turned 38 years old and as I woke up the morning of, I was overcome by an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and thankfulness for the last one year. The past couple of years for me have been filled with such sadness, doubt, a tremendous sense of loss and general confusion about my life and journey.I didn't quite know how to process the emotions that were raging within me and chief among them was immense frustration in the knowledge that yet again, I was having to push the re-start button on my life. It seemed like I had done that so many times before and it annoyed me quite a bit to have to be doing it yet again and this time in a foreign country. Along with the frustration came insecurities, fears of every kind, self doubt and even comparing my life to friends my age who had gotten married, had kids, were building businesses and progressing in their careers while I was back at the bottom of the ladder trying to climb back up. I was not in a good place mentally or emotionally but somewhere deep down I knew I had to get to work rebuilding myself and it didn't matter that I did not like that I had to, I just needed to get it done and I knew I had to start with my faith.
I was feeling so lost and disconnected from God that even prayer felt futile and vey much like a chore and with no clue on how or what to pray for, I just resolved to talking to God the way I would a friend and unburdened my heart to Him. It wasn't easy to do at first because I had never prayed this way before and I had to battle through all the voices in my head telling me I was too much of a failure and lost cause. It was tough to say the least and at the times when I couldn't find the words, I opted to read books that were geared towards uplifting my spirit and building my faith back to where it needed to be. There have been so many lowlights in the last 2 years that just seemed to break me little by little and it of course started with the death of my brother. I've discussed this many times here on the blog but as you can imagine, that put me in such a negative headspace and sent me on a tailspin to a dark place. Shortly after his passing, my marriage of just one year began unravelling and eventually got to a point of complete and total breakdown. My heart was so broken and I became even more bitter at yet another loss because this was certainly not how I envisaged my life turning out. Shortly after this, I made the very difficult decision to walk out of that situation, relocate to the U.S where I have been trying to rebuild the broken fragments of my life one block at a time. In the process of doing that, my cousin passed away after years of battling Multiple Sclerosis and I lost two more friends to death also; one to lupus and the other to cancer. My sister suffered through 2 very painful sickle cell crisis episodes after 3 years of being pain & crisis free and then learned she had developed an ovarian cyst. I felt tested through it all, not knowing where to pour my emotions or even if I wanted to at all. I'm known to never let people know how I'm truly feeling so that's what I did--kept my feelings to myself, with only my journal to help me make sense of what was going on inside. I gained a ton of weight, picked up one or two more unhealthy habits till I finally found my breakthrough.
IBOGIRLLIVING.COM has been more than just a creative outlet and a blog for me, it has become the space where I can focus my energies and talk about the things I enjoy. I wake up excited now, looking forward to posting content and coming up with new things to say and write about. Slowly but surely, 'stella was getting her groove back' and making a conscious effort to start expressing gratitude for the blessings my pain had been preventing me from seeing. I made the decision to get my weight under control, found a church I enjoyed attending weekly, became more active on my social media and chose to see everything as an opportunity to learn and grow. I have found my passion which is writing, transitioned from relaxed hair to being a proud naturalista and changed my outlook on life. I can honestly say I'm in a much happier place and even though I still have more growing and learning to do, I'm content in the knowledge that I will get to where I need to be someday soon.
I may be 38 and still figuring it out, only now I love the process and I'm a lot less focused on the end result. This phase of self love and awareness I'm experiencing is truly bringing me a joy that I never thought possible and I am so thankful for the blesing of it. My faith has been restored and I know the future is bright. I can only go up from here--figuratively and literally.
Thanks to my friends who have stayed by my side, offering listening ears and supportive shoulders. You refused to allow me remain in that dark place and I am better for your friendship. Patrick, Sandra, Tope Fash, Funmi, Kayode, Amaka and Mary--friends to the end. To my ever loving and ever supportive family, I'm not sure where I would be without your love, prayers and all the endless laughter and joy you bring to my life. Finally, to everyone who reads my posts, I see all the views from all over the world and I appreciate it so much.
My first Giveaway on this platform officially kicks off today and will run till the end of the month. It's open only to my readers in the U.S this time who have a chance to enter and win a small goodie bag as a token of my appreciation. I typically do not put up posts on Sundays but will do so just for details of the giveaway, how to enter and what you stand to win so be sure to check it out tomorrow.