Whenever I think about self-help books, I think about an episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte wants to buy a book called “Starting Over, Yet Again,” but when she goes to the bookstore, the self-help section is full of crying women. She gets embarrassed and pretends she’s looking for the travel section. Ultimately, she goes home and buys the book on Amazon.
WE SHOULD ALL BE MIRANDAS
I’m not like Charlotte. (Actually, I’m a Miranda if you were wondering.) I love self-help books and I own a lot of them. I don’t buy them with the intention that they’re going to magically change my life, but I do like the affirmation that I’m not the only person who needs some reassurance in this crazy world. Clearly, I’m not alone in this, since the self-help market grosses $11 million dollar each year.
WHAT A TIME TO BE ALONE
I recently read the book “What a Time To Be Alone” by Chidera Eggerue, more commonly known by her online moniker—the Slumflower.
I’ve followed Chidera, the founder of the #SaggyBoobsMatter movement, on Instagram for over a year now and always love her content. Despite not knowing her personally, she feels like a friend because of the vulnerability and intimacy she fosters with her audience. On a platform that centers around carefully curated images, Chidera’s authenticity feels borderline rebellious.
When I found out Chidera had written a book, I knew I had to read it. I knew that it would be chock-full of nuggets of wisdom, and I also love supporting fellow creatives when I’m able to. I patiently waited until the day it was released on Amazon and bought it the day it was available.
OWN YOUR STORY
I read “What a Time To Be Alone” in one sitting. It’s not a traditional non-fiction format. Rather than overwhelming reads with pages and pages of text, it’s broken down into easily-digestible insights. It features Igbo proverbs from her mother, original artwork from Chidera, and bright colors and bold graphics that make it as aesthetically pleasing as it is emotionally stimulating.
My favorite thing about this book is that you can crack open any page, and find something inspiring on it. If you don’t have time to sit and read the whole thing, you can carve out 5 minutes of you day and end up feeling more motivated than you were beforehand.
CREATE YOUR OWN NARRATIVE
Chidera is the kind of friend everyone needs, but not everyone is lucky enough to have—the one that has no problem calling you out on your bullshit. Sure, the overarching theme is an inspiring, uplifting message of reclaiming your time and loving yourself, but in order to get to a place where you are able to do so you have to stop lying to yourself, making excuses and playing the victim. Chidera doesn’t sugar coat it, and sprinkled throughout are some hard-hitting, hard-to-swallow truths like: “your victim mentality is why you are stagnant.”
This book made me take a critical look at myself, step back and acknowledge that sometimes, I am the problem.
THE RADICALISM OF SELF-LOVE
Chidera’s entire book centers around the idea that in order to reclaim our identity, or to fall in love with ourselves, we need to face our fears and spend some time alone. Like most things in life, It sounds incredibly straightforward but is much harder in practice.
I think it’s important that in addition to advocating for women to love themselves, she also made a point of discussing the importance influence that external sources have on self-worth, but did so in a way that doesn’t demonize other people for their (presumably) poor behavior.
There are a number of pages in the book that that I dog-eared, because this book is full of good reminders and generally good advice. I think the content of this book would resonate with just about anyone, but especially so for people who are trying to grow into a healthier space and leave bad habits and negative mindsets behind.
I will admit that most of what is in Chidera’s book is not novel advice—and I know these things from having learned them the hard way. Had I read this book 5 years ago, I think I would have taken a more critical look at myself, my priorities and my relationships and realized that I deserved so much more than what I was getting. Unfortunately, this book wasn’t available 5 years ago and instead I had to realize my value and worth on my own. That isn’t a bad thing—it’s something that I’m actually really grateful for. But, hey, having a reminder doesn’t hurt.
What A Time to Be Alone is available on Amazon.