I’m still reading Half of a Yellow Sun because I’ve been tacking off to-do lists instead of actually reading. I plan on finishing it today, or AT MAX tomorrow. However, it’s so beautiful, that it’s just dragging me down in its pretty. Thanks, Narcissuses, let me fall into the mirror, anytime.
At one point, the main couple in the book has a relationship break. Now, this isn’t like the break in F.R.I.E.N.D.S, “WE WERE ON A BREAK,” it’s a break driven by trauma and the effects of trauma on the human spirit, particularly in a love relationship. On the break, Olanna gets a lot of advice from the women around her, and I love every bit of their advice. So, today’s quotes come from wise women. May every woman have one and may every woman be one – eventually or all at once, however wisdom comes, in clumps or trinkets, take it and run.
From her Aunt: “You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man. Do you hear me? Aunty Ifeka said, ‘You’re life belongs to you and you alone.”
Olanna to her neighbor’s question on why she loves Odenigbo: “I don’t think love has a reason,’ Olanna said. ‘Sure it does.’ ‘I think love comes first and then the reasons follow. When I am with him, I feel I don’t need anything else.”
Olanna’s Neighbor: “Don’t think of it as forgiving him. See it as allowing yourself to be happy. What will you do with the misery you have chosen? Will you eat misery?”
Olanna: “…and she felt as if she had been gumming back the pieces of broken chinaware only to have them shatter all over again; the pain was not in the second shattering but in the realization that trying to put them back together had been of no consequence from the beginning.”
Olanna’s Neighbor: “Look at you. You’re the kindest person I know. Look how beautiful you are. Why do you need so much outside of yourself? Why isn’t what you are enough? You’re so damned weak.”
Olanna: “…and sat thinking about how a single act could reverberate over time and space and leave stains that could never be washed off.”
I think so much of this advice could be given to any woman at any point in her life. Except maybe for the woman who wrote Lean In, because she’s snap, snap, snapping her womanhood, honey. The best part of this advice is that it’s woman to woman, and most of these woman are of the same age group. It’s not a mother to a daughter, although my mother has often given me this advice, or a mentor to a mentee, it’s true peer advice. I think sometimes if women could just take advice from one another, the world would be run by women, and women who aren’t emotionally drained, damaged, dragged down, or devastated.
Women to women, we can make each other strong – an army of one, if you will. That’s probably also why Adiche won The Orange Prize for this book in 2007. The Orange Prize is a prize given to a women who writes in English, and her first book Purple Hibiscus was also shortlisted for the award. I plan to read this book as well this year because I think Adichie is a premier writer of this generation. Honestly, if you haven’t gotten enough empowerment from this post, just watch her Ted Talk: “We Should All Be Feminists” or buy the book that was printed shortly afterwards. I reviewed this book in 2014 here.