Chidera Eggerue is popularly known for her conversations on social media using the hashtag, #SaggyBoobsMatter. An award-winning blogger, speaker, creative director and presenter of ‘The MOBO Awards’. Chidera just authored a book, “What A Time To Be Alone,” which talks about self love and owning one’s experience.
In a Facebook live interview with BBC Africa, 23-year old Chidera speaks more about the book and what inspired her to write it.
Read excerpts from the interview below.
On her book
I always look at my life and feel that I don’t want to look back on my 20s and wish that I had loved myself more. I really want to spend this time I’ve been given here, (I don’t know how long I’ve got) to really enjoy the experience of being alive especially as a black woman.
I feel that black women are not allowed to enjoy things. So, I really want to create space for people to enjoy things and hopefully black women would take the most they can out of this because they are the depth of this message but it applies to anybody who has a heart and feelings.
It is about gaining mental independence and being able to see yourself as an individual rather than as an accumulation of what the world think you should be.
This book was shaped by my experience in the West but having been raised by a very Nigerian mother, I really wanted to create a direct and strong link to my Nigerian heritage because that is what has shaped me into who I am and I can’t just credit being British for the greatness that I am.
That greatness has come mainly from me being Nigerian and because Nigerian people are absolutely great.
On young women not allowed to enjoy things
In a world where black women have to deal with structural oppression, which means that everything we do is quite policed, from our hair to how we respond to situations, to how we carry ourselves as a society, to how other people translate that, it means we are constantly thinking about our actions and how they affect others.
My blog is about trying to encourage women to see beyond clothes and just see themselves first as worthy and see the clothes as secondary because the beauty and the fashion industry does play games with our self-worth to make money.
We are just constantly being introduced to new insecurities daily and that’s not fair on every single one of us because you can’t control how you look but you can control how you treat other people. So, that’s the message I try to pass through the blog.
On finding security in solitude
It means being able to know that you’re alone and whatever that means, it doesn’t mean that you’re rejected or unwanted. It just means that you’ve chosen to spend time on yourself so the aim of this book is to help people see their solitude, their alone-time not as a waste of time but an opportunity to grow into themselves and learn about themselves.
Because you often find that the better the relationship someone has with themselves, the healthier their relationships tend to be with other people. So, I really want to encourage people to understand that there is so much value in giving yourself room to learn about yourself as much as you can.
How her Nigerian heritage shaped her experiences
Being an Igbo Nigerian girl who grew up with Igbo as my first language, I’ve been raised with Nigerian proverbs and idioms that have literally saved my life. One of the idioms in my book is, “He who is asking for the same haircut as John, does he have the same head shaped as John?”
And what that essentially means is that we often look at other people’s lives and the results that they’ve shown us and we literally want that. This obviously is expressed through idolizing a celebrity or being jealous of your co-worker or even by just looking at someone else’s Instagram and thinking “oh my God, I just wish I could do it like them,”.
But the thing is, people’s lives turn out like that because of their own experiences and that shapes the outcome of how they end up and where they are. So, if you want to have the same haircut as someone, do you have the same shaped head because the hair will not feel the same on your face if your head is not shaped the same way.
Your own outcome matters to your life. If you’re comparing your outcome with someone else’s outcome, it means you’re missing the whole entire journey because if you are to go through what that person went through, you might not be able to handle it.
You’ve not come from the same place and that person may not be able to handle what you’ve been through because they don’t have the same shaped experiences as you.
“You try to be hotter, you try to complain less, you change your perfume, you wear nicer clothes, you stop being too confident, you shrink yourself, it hurts a lot but you continue doing it because you need the approval, you need the validation.
You’re scared to move on because nobody else can replicate this bond because we go way back, because you think you can fix this, you think you created this problem but the problem was never you. Stop falling in love with empty people and trying to fill them with you.”
This means that we’ve been conditioned to think we can fix people. So when we come across someone who isn’t interested in you and that is what I mean by empty and you’re trying so hard to prove your value to them, it only hurts you and I don’t think anybody deserves to beg for love.
I think there is somebody out there who is willing to see you as a full person and is willing to create a safe space for you by just giving you the room to understand that growth is welcome and you can take your time around them.
We all deserve someone like that. So, I don’t think there’s any value in spending valuable years of your life trying to fix people.
Watch the video below
Watch again:Nigerian award-winning blogger Chidera Eggerue has launched a self-help book, What A Time To Be Alone She spoke to BBC Africa's Bola Mosuro
Posted by BBC News Africa on Sunday, July 15, 2018