From the first time someone says, Who do you think you are? we learn how to repress ~ Lauryn Hill
I have a new category on the blog. It’s called self release and will contain posts that have to do with personal development.
I’m calling it self release rather than self help as the latter term sounds to me a bit like masturbation, which has that pitiful feel to it.
Even self release still sounds sex-related but hey, sex sells as Ghanaian writer/director reminds us in a MIMI Magazine interview.
Jokes aside, I do think that many mental problems, minor and major, are caused from locking up the self rather than releasing the self. In a longwinded way, what I’m saying is that this category is more about sharing than giving ready made answers.
I keep a journal and I write in it frequently. A lot of the scribble makes absolutely no sense to me when I look back over it later. This is because I freewrite rather than keep a record of particular events that happen in my life. The whole ‘Dear Diary’ -thing makes me feel schizophrenic. Who does ‘diary’ represent: the self, one’s parents, God?
I recently wrote the question ‘Who am I?’ in my journal. It was probably meant to proceed into a poem of sorts, but instead what followed was my full name, my ethnic origin, my core beliefs etc etc. I deciphered each piece of information one at a time – Minna. Abiola. Yolanda. Rashidat. Salami. How do my names reflect on who I am? Nigeria. Finland. How do the geographical owners of my DNA shape my identity? Do they shape my identity? What exercise do I love? Yoga, dancing. What does this say about me? I continued to dig deeper into the layers of my personality until I came to an answer:
a soul searching to understand the fullest capacity of love.
In the movie ‘Fight Club’, Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) says ‘Self Improvement is masturbation, self destruction is the answer.’
I remember being confused over what this meant. Self-destruction surely couldn’t be the answer, I thought. Now, I think what Chuck Palahniuk (author of Fight Club) means is that in order to improve the self, we need to actually know the self. We need to destroy ideas that aren’t us but that we uncritically have accepted.
I think many of us are able to define other people more easily than ourselves. We think of people as friendly, bossy, selfish, passionate etc. How about ourselves, what attributes do we really possess? If you were asked two questions in an essay 1.who are you? and 2.who is (insert a friend)?, how long would it take you to answer each? It should of course be easier to answer who you are. If it isn’t, then it might be a good idea to jot it down, look in the mirror and say it to yourself, whatever works for you, but make sure you know.
Hi! I’m Minna Salami. I’m a writer, blogger, columnist, lecturer and speaker and the founder of the feminist blog, MsAfropolitan, which connects feminism to contemporary culture from an Africa-centred perspective. I’ve been listed alongside Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie as one of “twelve women changing the world” by ELLE and my work has been used as a resource and case study at universities around the world. Like what you just read? Sign up above to receive new posts directly in your inbox.