CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE
"We can not always bend the world into the shapes we want but we can try, we can make a concerted and real and true effort... Always just try. Because you never know."
"All over the world, girls are raised to be make themselves likeable, to twist themselves into shapes that suit other people. Please do not twist yourself into shapes to please. Don’t do it. If someone likes that version of you, that version of you that is false and holds back, then they actually just like that twisted shape, and not you. And the world is such a gloriously multifaceted, diverse place that there are people in the world who will like you, the real you, as you are."
"I don’t speak to provoke. I speak because I think our time on earth is short and each moment that we are not our truest selves, each moment we pretend to be what we are not, each moment we say what we do not mean because we imagine that is what somebody wants us to say, then we are wasting our time on earth."
"Girls are often raised to see love only as giving. Women are praised for their love when that love is an act of giving. But to love is to give AND to take. Please love by giving and by taking. Give and be given. If you are only giving and not taking, you’ll know. You’ll know from that small and true voice inside you that we females are so often socialised to silence. Don’t silence that voice. Dare to take."
“If you don't understand, ask questions. If you're uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It's easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here's to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding.”
We say to girls, “You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful, otherwise you would threaten the man. If you are the bread winner in your relationship with a man, you have to pretend that you’re not. Especially in public. Otherwise you will emasculate him.” But what if we question the premise itself? Why should a woman’s success be a threat to a man? A Nigerian acquaintance once asked me if I was worried that men would be intimidated by me. I was not worried at all. In fact it had not occurred to me to be worried because a man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the kind of man I would have no interest in."
(When asked to give advice on finding a sense of purpose in your early twenties):
“When I was 25 I didn’t really think in those terms. I really would advise very strongly that this 25-year-old not think in those terms. What is does is it just clouds your head. You start thinking, “I have to find my purpose” when what you should do is just live. Life is short, and you never know what will happen next. Follow what you love, follow what will give you a job so that you can eat. There’s something about our culture all around the world now, that makes people think about things like finding your purpose, working out what you want to become. And I just think: Why?”