I remember being so upset some years back, after news of a plane crash was announced and efforts by journalists to interview one of the survivors met a brick wall, because her family refused to allow her answer questions as to how she had survived the plane crash that killed so many.
I was upset, though understanding of the actions of the family even though l thought them very selfish because I was of the opinion, that had the knowledge of how she survived been shared, it might be1 helpful to someone else who finds himself or herself in a similar situation and l determined from that moment to share from my experiences no matter how good or bad and whatever they may be.
I have kept true to my resolution as best as I can and if I have not shared as freely as I would have, it’s mainly because other people are involved and they may not be as willing to be open with their lives as I am.
I am nonetheless convinced that we must share our stories. We owe it to ourselves and generations unborn to talk about our difficulties, emotions, struggles, mistakes, our paths to success, our failures and our victories.
We must tell our stories through all available means and tell them truthfully and honestly. It is my sincere belief that we go through things and overcome them not only for ourselves but for the benefit of others . The Christian faith to which I belong tells us that God comforts us, so that we may in turn comfort and console others but, how can others be helped if we don’t share what our experiences are?
How do they know that their experiences are not unique to them if we don’t tell them? How can they know that troubles are for a season and that the night will give way to the morning if we don’t show them? How can our children know we understand the emotions they feel and the pressures they are faced with if we don’t share our childhood stories with them?
There is the tendency to feel isolated when we go through troubles. We are more susceptible to the lie that our circumstances are unique to us and us alone. Isolation, more than anything else, drives people to destruction and I believe it’s one of the reasons why people become depressed or suicidal.
Information is key in life and when we come to a place of acceptance of our circumstances, the next thing we need is information. Information about our situation and how to thrive in and eventually overcome them. However, there is a dearth of information in every sector of our society. People are reluctant to share their stories, knowledge and experiences . When you ask the average person how he made it the usual answer is “it’s God’s grace ooooo”.
Yes, we know it’s God’s grace but there were emotions you felt and overcame, choices you made and a process you followed on your path to overcoming. It may not necessarily be the same path I may follow but it’s a relief and heartwarming to know that one is not alone in their sufferings, that someone else knows to some extent what I am faced with and how I feel.
That knowledge without anything more can be so liberating.
After Mr Aisi’s diagnosis I went searching for information and most of the information I got was from the internet and mainly from Non-Nigerians who had gone through similar things and had put the information out freely for anyone to benefit from. (I learnt so many things about his situation that the two doctors we saw thought I had a Medical background.)
Later on, a dear friend of my mother in-law who had earlier been diagnosed with the same cancer got in touch with us and gave us loads of tips and information which made our journey less formidable and victory seemed more attainable.
The fact that she had been living with the cancer two years prior to when we met her and she was on her feet with no signs of ill health ( At that time Mr Aisi had been in a wheelchair for a month ) was tonic to our spirits. It’s the same with anyone who has met someone who has walked their path whether it is in the area of sickness, death, divorce or a sick child. It’s easier to identify with someone who has walked in our shoes. It’s easier to listen to someone who has gone through what we are going through than someone who is spouting words of knowledge from a theoretical point of view.
I agree that our society is changing and that more people are telling their stories I applaud people like Bukola Ayinde whose daughter Nimi has special needs and who is not shy about going out in public with her and celebrating her accomplishments as every mother rightly should and has been an inspiration to mothers who have physically challenged children or Ngozi Ejedimu a breast cancer survivor who has had a mastectomy and shares her experiences including pictures of herself before, during and after treatment or the several women who have come out publicly to say they had their children through IVF, surrogacy or adoption.
However, we need to share more stories especially about our childhood to our children who are faced with the same evils that we were faced with though in greater proportions. They need to know our struggles with the evils that ail them and how we overcame them.
Let’s share our stories, someone, somewhere is waiting for them.