Its been four months since my memoir was published and what a whirlwind it has been. I am not alone. Brethren who feel or felt as I once did, are reaching out from everywhere. I have been shocked and amazed at the sheer diversity reflected in all those who have contacted me. They come from varied backgrounds - white British grandparents with dual heritage descendants, British-Greeks, British-Nigerians, British-Irish, Indo-Europeans and Americans just to name a few.
I naively thought my memoir would resonate only with second generation British-Nigerians. I was wrong! It is only now that I realise that with a more global world and a significant rise in interracial relationships all over the world, most people who are products of such relationships have at one point questioned their identity regardless of the colour of their skin. Others too have been made to question their identity based on society’s perceived differences, such as size, religious beliefs or disability.
It puzzles me that we live in a world where society, via science, confirms that we are all unique individuals at a cellular level (our DNA), despite our common humanity, yet the same society insists on putting us in a box with ‘similar’ people. Those who for whatever reason can't be boxed are labelled rebels, eccentrics, deviants or worse. As a result, many people spend a sizeable proportion of their time hiding different parts of their identity in order to fit into the square pegs society has laid out for them. A recent study by Deloite showed that 61% of respondents covered some part of their identity in the workplace, and that include straight white men.
I believe the world would be a much better place if we could just be. So last month, I coined a new phase during an interview and I hope to live it from now on. Hide less and be more!
Have a wonderful festive season.