That Odd Story

Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
 Photo by  Ewan Robertson  on  Unsplash

I have been meaning to write this post for a long while now and finally, after a weekend of seeing Chimamanda everywhere on my social media, I think its time, I told my story.

Hey Odd Fam,

My name is Sofiyat, and I am one odd girl. I am terrified of late night rain, I love gelato, and once in a while I cry from juggling too much on my plate, and I think that's okay… I guess. I have always admired Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a fantastic Nigerian author who has written several books like The Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, Americanah and so many other amazing plays. She is also a feminist and is popular in America for voicing these lines in Beyonce’s song Flawless- "We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls 'You can have ambition, but not too much."

I say all that to say she is a fantastic woman, mother, author and many more amazing things and one time, a long time ago she did a TedTalk on ‘The Dangers of a Single Story,’ and that talk is the reason I am the woman I am today. Want to know why? Keep reading.

I remember the first time I was told I am “extra” and “I do too much.” It was in high school, and I think I either joined my 50th organization (slight exaggeration but lets keep going shall we?) or I was asked to present something over a classmate. I remember shying away from that comment and feeling so bad about pushing my dreams. You see, the danger of a single story is simple. You show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become. And, That's what I think everyone wanted me to be. One type of person. Whether it is just this weird girl in high school who was constantly the attention seeker, or the African who never shut up about her culture when I went to College in the United States. It has always been something that put me in a box, a single story box if you will.

I hear my friends in my ear telling me why do you want to do this, or oh… you just like the attention. Or some of the funnier ones, why are you studying that and not engineering or law (yes, people have asked me this). And to those things I say, because I don’t want to. I don’t want to be one story, it's not who I am, and I am sure it is not who a lot of people are either. I want to be a force of nature. I want my drive and vulnerability to speak for me. I am happy, and I am sad, and I can be many more things because I am me.

We are the culmination of several stories, stories that touch our hearts and mold our souls. Stories that have impacted and shaped who we are.

We are an embodiment of several stories, several different types of stories.

Odd Story.png

So Hey Odd Fam,

I am Sofiyat and I saw my dad about 4 times in my whole life and He passed away when I was 13 years old. And, I hear I might have daddy issues because of this, oh well, its my story.

Secondly, I went to boarding school when I was 9 years old for high school and at 15 I started Law school and quit a year after. I’ll one day muster the courage to tell my story on why I quit law school, one day.

Also, I don’t think I've ever been in love or felt love the way people describe it. Not in the movies and in real life but I still get butterflies in my tummy when my mum tells me she loves me.

And, my ultimate dream is to work for an international organization supporting peacekeeping efforts in SubSaharan Africa while maintaining this blog right here because why not.

And… I can go on and on and on. My stories are mine, and no one else's and not one experience has defined who I am as a woman, sister, cousin, lover, and so on. These stories could limit me, or free me. They could be stepping stones or road blocks but they have always been my story.

So let's play a game,

Tell me a story about you and then add another story… and another and another till we realize we are multiple stories in the comments.

I love you for reading this,

Always,

That Odd Girl

P.S if you want to watch the TedTalk, here it is!