Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Tiny Book Review #2

This book is so impactful for how little it is; it’s 80-ish pages long (per Amazon, what I wrote down was that is was 63 pages, so maybe depends on the version, I admittedly can’t really read the note I jotted down super well so…) I don’t often really ponder feminism. I’m very privileged to have never really felt discriminated against, based on my gender. The company I work for full-time is a very female-centric one so.. our VP is a woman, our top educator is a woman, our social media person is a woman.. I’ve never felt like I couldn’t do something, based on my gender. Again, I am very lucky and very privileged. And that is why “Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions” was so important for me to read.

Adichie promotes the idea, “Be a full person.” You are more than a mother, a sister, a wife, you are all of those things, but you are also an innovator, a creator, a healer. Be a full person.

Another bit from the book I loved was the quote, “Feminism and femininity are not mutually exclusive.” YES!  I grew up very tomboy, oversized shirts, baggy pants, no make up, and it was great. Currently I’m happily in skirts or dresses 5 or 6 days a week, with makeup on as often, and you know what, it’s great too. I think there is the idea if you’re a feminist, you shouldn’t be glam, or gorgeous, or girly. And you know what? Fuck that. BE A FULL PERSON.

One last quote from the book – “Everybody will have an opinion about what you should do, but what matters is what you want for yourself, and not what others want you to want.”  You want to be a stay at home mom who bakes cookies from scratch? DO IT!  You want to be a CEO who wears high heels bigger than the average cock? DO IT.  You want to do both at different points in your life? DO IT.

BE A FULL PERSON.

Again, I grabbed any book that looked tiny, pretty blind beyond length, but I am so thrilled that this one ended up in my hands. I know I didn’t get into many details, and this not much of a review, because I think you should experience the book itself. The entire thing is quotable and relate-able and teachable and… I knocked it out, while writing down some fantastic passages, in… maybe 30 minutes?

Read books that don’t apply to you, maybe you’ll find they do.  Read books about subjects that haven’t touched your life, and let them.

One-ing

I read a book!  I honestly couldn’t even tell you the last time I read, from start to finish, a book. It’s been far too long. And this is where the little books come into play.  I read One-ing by Sheri Ritchlin. It was tiny (64 pages, per the info on Amazon). I think it took me maybe… 20 minutes to read, and that was with writing down a few brilliant quotes from the passages. I will say this is not a beginners book. Despite looking short and simple, there is a lot of content here, and it felt like, to me, the reader is supposed to maybe already have an understanding, deeper than surface level, on some of the concepts here, which I don’t. I can’t say I loved it, due to that, but… it did give me things to ponder, like.. deep ponder, which for 20 minutes worth of work, I will not be mad about. Let’s hop into some of that.

There is this great quote, “We cannot play another’s part or live out another’s nature. Neither can we expect another to live out our own.” Sheri then talks about seeds. How does a marigold seed know to bloom into a marigold, versus say.. an oak tree. And this, this thought, I just love. I don’t think too many plants are having existential crises. I don’t think they are down in the ground, fretting about what they are going to become. They stay grounded, the absorb nutrients from the soil around them, drink in the water given to them, bask in the sunlight that shines down, and they bloom into their potential. And I think that is a pretty decent outline for us too. I’m not trying to be too fatalistic here, I so strongly believe in our ability to grow and change and become but again, a marigold seed will never become an oak. But, it can become the prettiest, tallest, most hardy marigold in all the land. Nurture yourself. Bloom beautifully. Be the best that you can, whatever that means, or looks like. If we were all oak trees, the entire ecosystem would be fucked so, don’t ever feel bad about being you, whatever that is.

Also, blooming, growing, becoming, this all takes time. Don’t discredit tiny advances. Again, all these thoughts are flooding through me from reading 64 pages. You will not break through the soil every single day, but you will grow, millimeter by millimeter, struggle by struggle, you will get there. Keep absorbing. Keep growing.

“We live in a participatory universe. We are part of the picture. And the picture is not static, but living, constantly changing and evolving.” pot-marigold-free-license-cc0