BintiMwafrika

You do not owe anyone your story

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A few years back, the Kenyan entertainment scene was abuzz with the news that one of its most beloved singers was cheating on his wife with a young upcoming songstress and not only was he cheating, he had gone ahead and fathered a child with her, a child whose due date was suspiciously close to that of his own wife’s. It was a scandal of epic proportions and I have a feeling he never quite recovered the high esteem his fans had bequeathed him with.

During the aftermath of this, I recall countless interviews with the songstress stating her case and trying to undo the damage wreaked on her reputation. As usual in cases such as this, the man in question was spared from most of the vitriol. This was just before social media truly blew up so we were thankfully spared blow by blow accounts. The singer’s wife on the other hand maintained resounding radio silence on the matter. No interviews, no comments. Nothing.

I kept wondering, ‘why cant she share her story? It wold be so powerful’. I felt it may help people see the pain and anguish that infidelity brings to families.

Nothing.

She quietly went about her business, picking her life up and moving forward, she didn’t walk out of the marriage which was also another cause for more talk. Still nothing.

For the songstress, her interviews became the most memorable thing about her. And I begun to see that maybe there is a wisdom in not always rushing to share your story with the greater world, especially in this times we live in where ” share” buttons and viral could mean that this one story could become your narrative, a way to get neatly packaged in a box. Second, here I was, looking at it from a societal point of view, why should it always be the women explaining, why can’t the man in question come out and share on his wrongdoings. It was simple, if he had no obligation to do so than neither should she.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe there is a power in shared stories but it should not be to the detriment of ones peace of mind or be used to settle scores (cough-cough Maria Sharapova). Maia Angelou’s book: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings which revealed her rape as a child, helped many who had gone through the same, including Oprah, feel kinship and encouragement. But this was not the only thing that was memorable about her story, by telling the story when she was good and ready, Dr Angelou was able to imbue it with other life experiences, her spirit of triumph and her passion for living.

People always complain about how social media is used to just show the highlight reel of ones life and not the sad dark moments. There is a lot of pressure to share everything so you look ‘normal’. On this, I like what Nigerian writer Aza Emezi wrote on her Instagram: ” I use my page as a mood board for the bright moments in life I need to hold on to.”

so this shining thirty two picture was taken by @theloulette on the first day of our brazil trip. i presented my work the next day + as the week went on, i became progressively more stressed + unhappy until i dipped out + came to salvador. this is, i suppose, a reminder that tbh you should stop gauging folk's lives by their IG account. i thought that was obvious but 👀. me i use my page as a mood board for the bright moments in life i need to hold on to. i tend to forget that i'm neurodivergent + sometimes remembrance comes like a pillow pressed to the face. so in my best world, life has all these colors, these plants, this water, but life is a lot of worlds + some are deep and dark. i keep documenting the light sha, hoping that one day, bright days will be all i know. also, in the name of #postyourpictureandgo, i look bloody adorable in this shot! idk what trickery gave me abs but i'm here for it lmao ✨ #travelbunny #brazil #bahia

A post shared by akwaeke emezi (@azemezi) on

You do not owe anyone your story. Only you can decide what you want to do with it, if it means sharing when you are good and ready, well and good. Or you can decide to  share it only with trusted people or a therapist, or share only a part of it. If you are an artist, you can put it in your work or decide not to. But at the end of the day, it is your story and nobody else’s. It belongs to you.

 

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