A Young African’s Recreation of Adichie’s Wellesley College’s Speech by Ilodianya Innocent (the blogger) and Tochukwu Maduekwe.
Its very difficult for one to be truly truthful these days, to be one’s truest self,because of the fear of “likeability”, the fear of” offending people “. Yes, especially these days when everything comes in fifty shades.
You’re expected to wear a smile,even when smiling is the last thing you want to,you’re expected to be too lenient, too belignant, to hold back, not to get too angry,you have to be likeable. In the quest for being likable we trample upon our most valuable asset- Originality.
You wear characters that you are not, you’re apologetic for your deeds, solely because it doesn’t please others. You strive to become the person everyone expects you to and not who you really want to, you’re that kind, gentle soul that bottles up, even when trampled upon,even when toiled with just to be called “the perfect gentleman”, “the wife material”, ” the boy is good” and “better pikin”.
You always agree,always bound to say yes,to give in,to shrink yourself, to narrow yourself to becoming that rustic, simple,artless chap that always pleases, an everybody’s person. You lubricate yourself
in order to be soft, genial,to be comely and agreeable
Brace yourself! You don’t have to twist yourself into different shapes and sizes that people want you to, you mustn’t enslave yourselves, torture yourselves, in order to attain likeability. Those who like that version of you, that feigned version, actually likes a twisted shape and not you. You cannot just be anyone than yourself. You’ve got to loosen up,you’ve got to be unapologetic about who you are, about the real you, you have to be truer to yourselves and live your truest lives, you’ve got to free yourselves firm the shackles of likeability,you’ve got to quit wearing that mask, it doesn’t fit anymore.
Everyday we wake up facing wars; to be real and realistic or to be fake and likable. We stand up from the bed and brush our mouth twice, topping up with up a mouthwash, just because of extra confidence. You go to the dining table and shove dried vegetables and water down your throat. So scared that you cannot eat a healthy breakfast because you do not want to be fat. This war continues in your choice of clothes. You sacrifice wearing what makes you comfortable for the trending fashion. It goes on and on. Finally when you look at yourself and see someone else. What you see in the mirror is a mere reflection of yourself. And you start wondering where your true self went to.
Originality goes beyond being an art form, in fact it is the heartbeat of one’s true self, delving into different parts of our being that just being twisted into the quest for likeability cannot achieve. The evident clamor to be likable in an all too social conventional way stings the personality of both the young and old. What would have happened if Achebe, Adichie, Soyinka, Wainana, Wa Thiongo, Obama, Madiba and Brenda Fassie, sought to be like the others? We would be living in a recycled world with no invention and innovation.
Originality makes us strive for excellence and have Mr Success begging for our company. It is what distinguishes us from the bandwagon of “everybody does it”.Originality carves a niche for us and gives us that signature which likeability cannot, Originality reveals what we truly have, likeability displays what we don’t
Do not let people dictate who you should be,do not let them carve you into different characters that pleases them, you’ve got to live your lives and not perform an art, its your lives to live, live it to the fullest. Likability has a way of creating invisible barriers, hurdles and constraints that restrict us from realizing our full potentials.
To say more is to muddle up the idea behind all these, but the crux of the matter is that, the step in the conquest for survival in this cold hard world, starts with one word, “Originality”. So pick or choose, originality or likability? I urge you to choose originality.
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FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART