At 10

My teacher, Aunty Mabel, once told me that at puberty, boys’ voice would become deeper and ladies’ voice would become thinner and that is why all ladies can sing impressively. She told me not to worry, “when you grow up, you will be a good singer”. Her sweet words would delight and thrill me. Back then, I was looking up to one beautiful Aunty Jenifer as my role model. Her lovely voice really drew much attention from the boys. I couldn’t wait to be as good as she was so I too could start singing like her and then arrest boys’ attention.



The night of the day Aunty Mabel told me of my bright future in music, fantasizing kept me awake. I saw myself entertaining several thousands of people on a very large stage while they clapped and whooped for me, their star vocalist. Watching and listening to Destined Kids didn’t help drown my fantasies. It only inspired few lyrics that my siblings laughed hysterically at.

At 13

Here I was, face down. A pair of tiny onions was popping out of my chest at this time. I was so ashamed to be seen in public because of the mischievous eyes that couldn’t but notice the transformation. If only they could keep quiet about it, I probably wouldn’t have been so self-conscious. The horror worsened when I noticed blood stains on the new pink panties my mum had just bought for me. With shock written all over my face and a mouth gaping for lack of explanation, I ran to Mum, eager to see the doctor so as to find a permanent solution to this bloody mystery. The smile on her face didn’t meet my expectation at all. She sat me down in a motherly fashion and welcomed me into the world of puberty. Puberty! Oh! Was that not what my aunty talked about? She said I would be able to sing like Nightingale at puberty! Maybe something good would actually come out of this puberty thing.

I sped to my mirror on the horse of excitement. Long memories of my dreams and visions started arriving as I opened my mouth in anticipation of the angelic voice my aunty spoke so passionately about. I took my first note and there I went “haaalleluyah…haaalleluyah…” The sound that came forth was a disgusting echo in my ears. Was there a blockage in my throat? That definitely could not have been from me. I tried again and again, desperately waiting for a fine smooth treble to proceed from my lungs. No, it wouldn’t. I kept trying but as I continued, reality slowly made itself clear on my dream to be a singer. At first, I refused to accept it. Something had gone wrong somewhere! Could Aunty Mabel be lying to me?

At 18

Now, I wouldn’t stop wondering why I had no talent for something I really loved, something I had always been passionate about. I looked at the likes of Dayo, Yemisi, Rachael and Titi, they were people’s favourites. Why was I so different? Why do people have to plug their ears when I opened my mouth to sing? Why was God so partial when allotting talents? I was as frustrated as ever. Not giving up though, I decided to give it a final trial.



It happened in a late night rehearsal. We were divided into parts and I found myself with the soprano singers. We had barely started this melody when all of a sudden, the conductor thundered “Stop!” and then looking at the soprano group with probing eyes, he said, “someone from soprano is singing off key”. Of over sixty members of the choir there that night, he chose to approach my direction. I began to feel my blood pressure rising though I was trying to convince myself that it certainly couldn’t have been me. Could it? How could I be spotted from amongst dozens of voices?

“Now, no one should sing. Esther, sing the song alone”

Oh no! Why me?

In the coolness of the night, beads of sweat lined up my forehead. But trying to act fine, I smiled and started the song…

When I got back to my room that night, my roommates consoled me with their warm hugs and kind words. They wondered what could have made my eyes so puffy and red. The snickers and laughter from the group at the rehearsal still rang in my ears as I later lay under my blanket to sleep. Before I succumbed to my exhaustion, I assured myself of something – voice training could not help my case.

At 21

You might be wondering if I have given up already. Definitely no! I am not giving up on life though I have given up on the hopeless dream of being a celebrated vocalist. Now, only one thing makes me rueful. I wish I had spent the earlier years of my life developing and discovering what I could do than focusing on what I couldn’t do, what wasn’t mine.

You cannot imagine how amazed I was to discover my other numerous talents and gifts later in life. I am a writer, I have the gift of oratory, I can teach, I make people happy. I am a good learner and I easily acquire new skills. I can do a large number of things. And I was there whimpering at my inability to sustain a key for more than three seconds.



It is unbelievable discovering how unique I am and how endowed I am with great things. If everyone could only sing, who would be there to motivate, to teach and to lead people on the right path? Yes! That’s why I was born and now that I have discovered and I am discovering it, I will keep pursuing it till I breathe my very last.

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Esther Olayinka

Esther Olayinka

is an intelligent, friendly, extrovert and jovial young woman from a family of four. Esther is an award-winning essayist who frowns at imitation and believes that “the best will definitely come out of you when you’re truly YOU!” She’s always interested in reading, writing and listening to music
Esther Olayinka

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23 Responses to “DISCOVERING ME

  • I totally agree with this. It would be best if people discover themselves early in life so that they can avail themselves the opportunities to bring out the best in them.

    • Esther

      Yes..thank you very much for the comments. i really hope people can learn from this.

  • Nice write-up

  • Very wonderful piece from Esther. I can remember I still discussed this same topic with someone yesterday evening.

    Some people actually wait forever hoping to achieve what won’t come their way easily or anytime soon, infact, what may never come their way eventually. While some others neglect/underestimate their known talent/gift which could have helped them achieve better in life, including career wise.

    Just like you have pointed correctly, the base line is discovery! Discover yourself, and what you can do best, explore it and make the best out of it.

    • Esther

      Hmm..true David. If only people could take time to discover who they really are and stop pursuing fruitless ventures. Thanks for the comment.

  • whaooo! this is awesome. It engaged me throughout the journey. Great work from a great mind

    • Esther

      Thanks Spiri. Thank God for men like you in our generation. I am awaiting more of your wonderful and thought-provoking posts too!

  • Wow! This is impressive! You successfully took me by the hands back to the past, to recount the tale of my becoming.

    Our society is so filled with many stereotypes of who an ideal person should be. I believe breaking away from this norm is the first step to self-discovery.

    Thanks for lending your voice to this good cause. I hope to read more of this.

  • Thanks for this inspiring piece Esther, it was a blessing reading it even at my age that is well over 30, it gave me a reason for a self search. This will be of tremendous blessing to many young people I know and I’ll share it.
    Thanks again and keep being a blessing to your world.

    • Esther

      Thanks Uncle. I am glad you were blessed by this. I hope our young ones especially can learn from this.

  • A frank story well told…nice one. Keep it up, Miss.

  • Waooh! This piece is wonderful.

  • Wow really blessed by this write up. Oftentimes people tend to chase the talent that is not thiers Just bcos someone is doing so well in it..Be original I follow my talent

  • This is so beautiful.

  • This is beautiful

  • Esther, I knew you are good… But I never knew you were this awesome! Lovely read! Beautiful& talented storytelling… Still passing a strong message. Me, I celebrate YOU!

  • So inspiring. Wish I too could know my passion,my talent and develop on it before it’s too late

    • Esther

      Bolanle, discovering your talent is not synonymous to building a house. It’s way simpler. I am sure there is a lot deposited in you. Knowing what you love and you are good at is a good starting point. Would love to hear more from you!

  • Quite inspirational. This would pass for a motivation for teenagers.

  • It’s actually a rough road towards discovering one’s passion. God did not make a man without their peculiar giftedness. Discovering this peculiarity is our personal responsibility. What a rough road, as Esther as captured it. But trying things out, falling and rising, are all natural necessities in this course. But the fact is some of us obviously get it right earlier than others…. Thumb up, Esther!

  • Esther

    Yes.. thank you very much for the comment. I really appreciate it.

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