I’ve wasted too much time trying to be what others want me to be.  I’ve spent too long on saying that I don’t like being me and wishing that I was more like other people.  But that time is over and I’m saying, no more.

As I’ve been on this journey to figure out who is the real me, what is hindering me and holding me back, what is important and what I need to leave behind, I’ve learnt so much about myself.  And you know what, I’m proud of who I am.

I’ve been strong enough to admit that I have issues I need to work through.  I’ve shown bravery I didn’t know I had by making choices and taking actions, which I would have shied away from in the past.  I’ve been able to overcome so many of the troubles I’ve faced and now I’m all the better for it.

Despite the hurt and loneliness I may feel within myself, I show love, support and appreciation to those around me.  I try to better the world I live in by showing the care that my Saviour showed when He was on this earth and the individuals in my life seem to love me for it.

I take stands for what I believe in, as my faith and views mean so much to me.  I show loyalty, respect and compassion, because I believe that these are important characteristics for society to have.  I don’t give up without a fight, because I hate the thought of failure.

However, I’m not only proud of my character and how I’ve grown as a person.  I’m also extremely proud of where I come from.  I’m proud of my origins, my ethnicity and my family background.  I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a black female with Jamaican and Grenadian heritage, who has grown up on the gritty streets of Thornton Heath in South East London.

Recently, I’ve been watching a number of programmes based on events in black history, which I not only enjoyed watching but also found more emotional and touching than I realised I would.

Watching what these individuals had to go through, just because of the colour of their skin, and seeing them handle it with such integrity and determination made me feel so proud and appreciate where I come from even more.

So yeah, I’m glad to say I’m a West Indian female.  I’ll happily admit that I love pop, indie, soft rock and emo music, just as much as I love rap, bashment, reggae and r’n’b.  I have no issue with wearing glasses or admitting that I love reading in my spare time.

Why should my decision to drop out of university after two years bother other people more than it bothers me?  Does is matter that I’m a Seventh-Day Adventist?  So what if I’m not the lightest, prettiest, tallest, slimmest, smartest, strongest, fastest or richest?

All that matters is that I’m Shaniqua Marie, a child of God, and I am proud of not only who I am, but the person I’m becoming…




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