This is an engaging and insightful talk from Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie.
I recently spoke at a university where a student told me that it was such a shame that Nigerian men were physical abusers like the father character in my novel. I told him that I had just read a novel called American Psycho and that it was such a shame that young Americans were serial murderers.
For me, this insight about the single story has implications beyond cultural stereotypes. Where she thinks of it on a macro global level in viewing media and power, I can’t help but also think of it on more micro level. What does this mean for my more pedestrian life? What are the single stories that I tell to myself about the people I don’t like? Maybe that crazy old lady is more than my label of crazy. Maybe her crazy is from an age old trauma. Maybe she’s raised her kids and misses her protector husband. Maybe she’s a good cook in addition to being crazy.
And what is the single story–the narrow lens–through which I present my own self at times? I’m more than my predilection for midday naps you know. You didn’t know that? You see, now you already have a broader understanding of me. Did you think today was going to be boring? What else can I tell you to expand your single short story of me into a groaning shelf full of the serial novels The Adventures of Me?
For instance, this morning my five-year-old told me his stomach was hurting. Since his older brother is often ‘sick’ when school stresses him out and lately the five-year-old has been stressing about learning to print his name, I figured the same thing was going on. That is, until he leaned over and barfed on the dining room floor.
I also had a mid-day nap.
Stay tuned for more installments in the edge of your seat series The Amazing Adventures of Me.