Ese Ark’s journey to self unveiled with ‘Naked’
Ese Ark has known pain and shame, but she realized it’s pointless building her life around those negative experiences.
Recently, Ese chronicled her journey to self in her new book titled ‘’Naked: A Journey to Self.’’ The book focuses on her journey to being transparent with no shame, no hiding, no playing small, but just being herself.
In 2013, Ese Walter (now Ese Ark) wrote about a sexual affair with Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, the founder of Common Wealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) whom she accused of sexual manipulation. Then, she found herself holed up in a hotel room in Abuja hiding away from the world. But today, Ese is no longer hiding. She’s focused on living her life to the full with her husband and two children.
Ese Ark spoke to Feminine World about her book and some lessons life has taught her at 33.
You recently published your book, Naked, how do you feel?
My most dominant feeling now is fear. I thought it would be excitement but I have this, “who am I to publish a book” feeling. I think the reality of fulfilling this dream of wanting to write a book is bigger than I imagined and it scares me. It’s good fear though. If the dream doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough.
What was the motivation for the title of your book, why did you choose Naked?
The book is a journey to self. What that means is, it’s a journey to finding who Ese is and owning every bit of her. Writing the book made me dig deep into the things I called challenges and the people I called evil and realize that everything that’s happened in my life is suppose to happen. There are no mistakes, everything is meant to bring me to this place of awareness of my own self. NAKED means I’m transparent. No shame, no hiding, no playing small, but just being.
What are some of the challenges you faced putting this book together and how did you overcome them?
It took a while to write this book because I had to work through most of the emotions that came up for me. The final book is a third draft. The first two were filled with plenty emotional reactions. What came up for me were strong emotions, sometimes I’d have to stop writing the book for weeks or months before I go back to it. I overcame them by shifting the release date for the book every time I felt it wasn’t ready. By the third draft, I knew it was ready, done over perfect.
Did you get to a point when it seemed like you just couldn’t go on with the book anymore, how did you get your drive back?
I didn’t get to that point. I always knew this book was going to be written even if it was the only book I’d write in my life. I felt I had something to say and needed to say it.
What are some of the issues addressed in your book?
I wrote about marriage, religion, guilt and shame, motherhood and growing into your own person, to mention a few.
Do you feel fulfilled?
Well, I felt fulfilled when I sent out the final draft of the book for printing. Now that the book is ready to be released I have all sorts of feelings I’m still trying to figure out, all very far from fulfilled.
What lessons has life taught you that you wish to share?
Life has taught me that I cannot control it and I have to learn to submit to the process. I need to live and not merely exist. And it has taught me that many of the things I worry about may not even happen.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have few author friends and one thing I hear often is, “just write.”
How did you handle taking care of your baby, a pregnancy and working to get your book out?
I learnt to manage my time and take the business of writing like a real business. I wrote for about an hour and a half every morning while my son slept. Writing first thing in the day gets it out of the way and allows me focus on other things during the day.
What would you consider your weaknesses?
My biggest weakness is my love for sweet things. I think I take too much sugar in my system.
What are your strengths?
My biggest strength is self motivation. I do what I decide I want to do even if I’m the only one behind me.
Four years ago, you were in the eyes of the storm for coming out to say what happened between you and a famous pastor, how did you overcome all the backlash that came with your declaration?
I don’t know that there was a way I overcame. I think that I let it all go through me and I transcended the pain and shame it created. There were times I was confused, sad, upset, filled with regret etc. Then I started accepting what was, I realized I couldn’t change my past and I wasn’t there anymore. I am me and my experiences are my experiences. It’s pointless building a house around experiences. Just keep living. Keep going forward.
Looking back, did you regret doing that or you feel liberated?
I don’t get any particular feeling looking back because it will be pointless. What happened has happened. I am here now, that’s what counts.
If you would tell your younger self three things, what would they be?
Three things I’d tell younger Ese are:
*Whatever happens now, will not matter in a few years so don’t get stuck trying to relive or redo any part of life. *Choose happiness every time.
*You will not marry your first boyfriend.