I have had a love-hate relationship with the word ‘blessing’. Blessings can happen in our lives at any moment and time. As I have gotten older and experienced life in many ways, the more I see things as blessings – whether things have gone good or bad for me. Everything in life has led me to this point in my life, where I can genuinely feel that I am blessed and mean it. For the first time, I feel as though life has guided me to my current position, where I can see where I am going without knowing where I want to go.

Growing up, I never thought I was blessed; I couldn’t believe it and had my reasons. I genuinely felt that I was cursed. I had insecurities and personal problems that made me feel like I was the opposite of blessed.

The insecurities were my vitiligo. I had serious vitiligo growing up, and it was pretty bad – well, to me, when I was younger, it was bad. I wouldn’t say I liked it growing up; I hated it, to be honest – and hating it made me begin to hate myself. Whenever someone asked me about the patches on my face, I would make up a reason. ‘I got burnt’, ‘I’m allergic to the sun’ ironically was one of them.

You see, I knew how kids were and knew that if I said that I had a skin condition, it would lead to them thinking it was contagious and make my life hell – and I didn’t want that. The insecurities it caused within me made me unconfident in everything I did, especially at school and being around people.

As I got older, my confidence in myself increased – and that was because my vitiligo was not as bad on my face or body anymore. This was the first time I started to feel blessed – I had confidence in myself – as bad as it sounds, but I used to pray for the vitiligo to go away, and for some reason, it did.

Looking back on it, I realise how insecure I was about it. It was something I had put to the back of my mind and left in the past, but occasionally, I think about how it made me feel, which wasn’t good. For an 8-12-year-old boy to pray for it to go away actually makes me realise how much it affected me. I wasn’t comfortable in my skin. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel ashamed for hating myself due to it because I do. The way I hated myself was unhealthy; I internalised everything – especially as it was out of my control.

Going into and during my teenage years, I went through things that made me feel the opposite of blessed; I felt like a constant target – and it affected me and made me a paranoid person about everyone and everything.

When I was younger, I thought blessings would only occur when positive things happened in someone’s life: a birthday, Christmas, etc. Only in the last few years, into my late 20s, have I realised that everything we have experienced in life is a blessing. Whether it is the people we meet, the days we have, or the struggles we go through, every little thing we go through in life is a blessing.

In the past, I would give anything and everything to change certain circumstances of how things came to be in my life, but when you start to look at life differently, you begin to realise that everything happens for a reason. Everything we go through in life makes us who we are every day. Thinking I never used to see things as a blessing makes me realise how ungrateful I was when I was younger. It is a blessing to have everything I have in life, to wake up every morning, and to have people in my life alive and well; even having the choice to have something to eat is a blessing.

I want to end this by saying never to doubt things being a blessing in your life. Whomever you come across, whoever leaves your life, whatever situation you may go through in life, everything is a blessing, whether in disguise or not. Appreciate and be grateful for what you have.