Posts tagged writers

The danger of the single story perspective of your life

The single story.
It was the holiday season. The sun had set and evening calm descended upon the neighbourhood. The campus boys in the compound behind weren’t playing obnoxiously loud music. There hadn’t been any football matches during the day either; football matches that often sent their ball flying into our compound which, depending on the mood of our dogs, were licked, deflated or ignored.
My mum and elder sister were the only ones in the house with me. We were at the dinning table, probably one of those days when mum had just gotten back and we were gisting while she ate her dinner. It was a slow evening so I hadn’t told Emil to switch on the generator yet.
The soft glow from the solar-powered lamp illuminated the white walls.
The subject of our conversation must’ve flowed around perspectives for I ran upstairs to fetch my mini-laptop.
I remember setting it down on the table and clicking on Chimamanda’s Ted talk – “The danger of the single story.” – for both of them to watch.
I remember the pride that soared in my heart as Chimamanda’s steady and knowing voice filled the silence in the house.
Chimamanda’s talk on the single story is acclaimed one of the most-widely watched ted talks on youtube with 3.7 million views.
What was she saying in that talk?
How do I summarise that brilliance into a few lines here? I’d rather quote excerpts and urge you to watch the video here:

“I come from a conventional middle-class Nigerian family, and so we had, as was the norm, live-in domestic help who would often come from nearby rural villages. So the year I turned eight, we got a new houseboy. His name was Fide. The only thing my mother told us about him was that his family was very poor. And when I didn’t finish my dinner, my mother would say, finish your food, don’t you know people like Fide’s family have nothing? So I felt enormous pity for Fide’s family.
But one Saturday, we went to his village to visit, and his mother showed us a beautifully patterned basket, made of dyed raffia, that his brother had made. I was startled. All I had heard about them was how poor they were, so that it had become impossible for me to see them as anything else but poor. Their poverty was my single story of them.”

She also tells of her previous single story opinion of Mexicans.
Also, her roommates disposition to her when she was 19 and new in the U.S.

If I had not grown up in Nigeria, and if all I knew about Africa were from popular images, then I too would think that Africa was a place of beautiful landscapes, beautiful animals and incomprehensible people fighting senseless wars, dying of poverty and AIDS, unable to speak for themselves, and waiting to be saved by a kind, white foreigner. I would see Africans in the same way that I as a child had seen Fide’s family

…all of these stories make me who I am but to insist on only these negative stories is to flatten my experience and overlook the many other stories that form me. The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but they are incomplete, they make one story become the only story”

Why am I bringing this up?
It’s easy for anyone on my campus fellowship who knows me as a spirit-filled sister to think all that there is to me is something fellowship-related once I’m through with classes. It’s easy for them to think I have no opinion on politics or assume I don’t read novels. assumptions.
It’s easy for someone to view the president of my fellowship as spiritkoko and not know that he likes football, a whole lot at that, or that the P.R.O of the fellowship has a sister who models in the U.S. I’m just painting a picture. We have lives, full lives. Those lives are often viewed through the lenses of sister and brother sososo, that’s okay once your lenses admit that generally, everyone is an human being and Jesus is happy about that.
Not the single story of ”I only see X in fellowship, and X is a student, therefore brother X is made up of classes and fellowship time”.
Single story. The danger of this single story is that brother X starts to live an insecure and people-conscious life.

“…The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but they are incomplete, they make one story become the only story”

Essentially, you must know everyone is a person and persons are subject to idiosyncrasies and a full world of ideas and passions. That your prayer secretary may be nursing the ambition to be the next governor of Oyo state(and it might not make him any less spiritual than if he’d been hoping to be the next missionary). Everyone is a person and Jesus loves them like that, Jesus planted a huge number of those passions in their hearts and Jesus is happy to see them bloom. Jesus doesn’t think they should only pray in fellowship. Jesus supports your vice-president going to the gym.
I believe when you accept it about yourself, you’re able to accept it about others too. Then you’ll stop feeling quite ashamed when someone you’ve mentored spiritually discovers you do something other than study and pray. I was self-conscious for a while until God helped me out of it.
Or worse still, you’ll stop feeling ashamed when someone knows a member of your family isn’t born again. I mean, what? Shame?
Dear friend, live, breathe, bloom, blossom. You’re more than one perspective. The single story is just that, – single.
Tell your own story. Be your own person. Own your story.

so that is how to create a single story, show a people as one thing, as only one thing over and over again, and that is what they become”.

What do you think? Care to share?

Freedom and light,
Debby

Hello Strong Friend.

Hello precious people. Welcome back to this space. How’s life going? I really want to know, feel free to ramble away on how life is going in the comment box. I also advise you learn to journal some of your thoughts down, it helps to analyze your feelings. I don’t do so everyday but for the days that I do, it’s amazing.
Today, I’m sharing part of what I wrote down last year and I was suprised to re-read this year.
I wrote this sometimes last year:

God, I want to cry.
I so want to cry that I can’t type. I just want to cry on someone. For being so strong for so long, I want to cry. I just want to cry for everyday that’s gone by. I want to cry.
My lecturer cried in class today and it’s broken something inside of me, I just want to cry.
I got to IVCU fellowship office today, and in the outer office, I heard some of my friends’ voices inside. I didn’t want to go in because I would have to be strong in front of them.
Since when did that start? Friends you can’t cry in front of?
Friends you can’t break your walls in front of.
Am I like that to other people?

The structure of my campus fellowship’s office is basic: you step into a room, call it your reception area. Then there’s a door leading to a store by your right. Still in the ‘reception’ area, there’s a door in front of you that leads to what we often refer to as “the inner office” or inner court (in reference to the Jewish temple).
The walls are made of thin wood, and it’s really just dividing one big office. You can understand that the voices carry.
The context: That day, my lecturer had cried in class and it surprised me, surprised everyone. But it did something more to me, it made me want to cry. I had something to do at my fellowship immediately after my class and I hadn’t cried yet 😀.
Discussion: It’s alright if I didn’t want to break down in front of more than one person but the real issue was the thought that flashed by my mind making me think I had to be strong in front of people.
Strong. Strong? Who is strong please? Such a relative word. Truth is there is more strength in vulnerability than in ‘bold face’.

Since when did that start? Friends you can’t cry in front of?
Friends you can’t break your walls in front of.
Am I like that to other people?

The real question was whether I had friends who would turn away rather than cry in front of me. I’m not talking of general acquaintances. The few and deliberate friends.

Cornelius Lindsey, I referred to him in this blog post, put this picture up on instagram. A part of his caption says:

“To be the strong friend is a desirable position because it means you’re valuable and useful.
Unfortunately strength turns to weakness when it’s used without rest and replenishment. That’s why it’s important for strong friends to have true friends who s/he can be honest with when asked “HOW ARE YOU?”
So strong friend, don’t hide behind pride! Answer honestly for your own sake. I know you help others, but you need help too.”

It’s got two aspects. Check on your strong friends selflessly.
Two, allow yourself to be checked on. Don’t turn back. Go in. No pride allowed here.
There’s a saying that goes:

“Good friends never let their friends cry alone”.

I tell my friends ‘make me a good friend please, don’t cry alone’. Na beg I beg.
A problem shared is a problem half solved. Be deliberate about your friends. Don’t just let friendship happen to you. “We’re in the same group, so we’re friends; we work together, so we’re friends“. That’s cool on a surface level but you must have friends you can tell the brutal truth. Brutal, being the emphasis.
My message to you: Choose your friends, then trust them.

Truthfully,
Debby.
Go on ahead, how are you doing?

Life as a non-fiction writer

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So I’m wondering, “what exactly keeps me from writing?” It’s not one thing, that I know for sure. So when someone asks me that question, of course I come up with an answer but I still know it’s not one thing.
The time is 1:35am and I’m preparing indomie in the kitchen. This is the time I’m best atuned to write, I know. My thoughts have always resonated well with writers who, when they’re interviewed, talk of writing early in the morning after they wake up. I think yes, that’s the way! But for me, no. I have to have my personal devotion with God first.
So I considered, what of much earlier Debby? Perhaps, if your personal devotion would be by 5am, what of waking by 3 am to write? But then I felt it would be mechanical, like I’ll be doing it just because it has to be done, if it really were first place in my life I would merrily run to have it anytime I wake up.
Last night, the Lord had different plans for me. I found myself on YouTube and I found Zadie Smith. Then I saw an interview  she had with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and I spent an hour on it.
I got this drive to write as myself. Chimamanda was pure in her own skin;comfortable. Her favorite book of mine is Americana. She said she wrote it going against the set back rules, even to herself. Well, I always got that vibe reading it.
I then decided I was going to do what I pleased on my blog. Truth is, I love writing fiction, infact I started the blog as a place to put up my short stories but writing fiction doesn’t come easy to me anymore. What will we do about that?*mindless shrug*. I’m going to live my life doing as it pleases my Lord and myself. I would put up a post when I can, I would endeavour to make it a real good one. I won’t delve into all aspects like I did when I was trying to find my voice. I look back at something like we’re weak without weekly words and I don’t even hear myself in it. What was I doing giving definition of words? lol.
I’m thinking I’m more of a non-fiction person now. I would blog on that and I would do what is right, no fear of laid down patterns and procedures. I would find myself subsequently writing at night, with more midnight snack *small smile*. Nevertheless guys, if I were to find my fiction voice back again, I would probably write a post like this and delve right back into it. It’s my blog. It’s a personal blog. A lifestyle blog. My life isn’t a straight-out ‘one definition’ life. Thus if you’re going be reading a lifestyle blog, you’re going to be reading a burst of different tastes. You’re going to be reading changes.
On that note, welcome Debby and welcome reader✌
P. S:I feel having said welcome, we’re all looking forward to different gigantic posts in this “new dawn”. Nothing of such people, nothing of such.
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Debby Adebayo