Ardent readers of my website know that I love Chimamanda. I am thoroughly smitten by the quality of her femininity. I met Chimamanda the other day and damn! it was surreal.
The meeting which was a night of conversations on Feminism, Femininity and issues that affect women was thoroughly insightful.
After meeting Chimamanda, I honestly began to question why some people didn’t like her. I had attended the event with a form of emotional neutrality. Yes I love her, I agree with her opinions to a very large extent but I also wanted to understand people who didn’t like her and probably try to make a case for them based on one or two instances. However, after 3 hours of listening to her share contemplations especially on her feminist thinking, I came to a conclusion:
Chimamanda is not for everyone.
It takes a certain level of intellectual depth, level headedness and authenticity to take her in. Of course, you have to be bilingual too – fluent in English Language and Sarcasm. That is a basic pre-requisite. If you schooled in Nigeria and you are Nigerian, by default you should have both in your skill set- Life skill set I mean.
Watching her speak, carefully noting her words and combing out the sentiments that underpins her answers, I realized it is hard, really really hard for an individual who isn’t used to hearing ‘truth’ especially the type that doesn’t coerce but suggests to get her. To understand that type of ‘truth’, you need a certain level of exposure and a willingness to be ‘wrong’.
If there was one thing that event did for me, it has to be helping me to rethink the way difference is understood.
That said, here are 10 life lessons (in no particular order), from that time I met Chimamanda.
- Being different should be normal.
- Context always matter.
- Gender should not be used to justify human abilities.
- There is a resistance to change that is common to everyone especially when the status quo is in your favor.
- Love stories does not have to be perfect.
- If you want people to pay for your art, you must value it first.
- No one person has a monopoly of knowledge.
- Authenticity can never go out of style.
- A woman’s inability to cook is not a moral failure.
- Being feminist doesn’t mean I will not get married, it means I get to decide who I will marry and when I will marry.
Side Note: Chimamanda, if you ever get to read this, I wouldn’t mind interning as your Assistant. You are intellectual goals!