Guys, it finally happened. I MET MY MENTOR, SHERO AND WRITER BAE CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHE!!!!
I’ve finally come down from the high of last week that my feet are firmly back on the ground. But my head is still close to the clouds 😉
If you know me well enough, or even a little, you’ll know that I am OBSESSED (in a good way of course) with CNA. She is to me what Beyonce is to the BeyHive. She is Queen of stories, author of unapologetic authenticity and fashionista extradonaire.
I have read all her books-some of them twice. I have read every article and short story she has written and watched every interview she has done (some more than once). Like many, I was introduced to her via her Ted Talk ‘The Danger of A Single Story.’ and was immediately hooked. The way she spoke, the story she told and the manner in which she told it was captivating in a way that even the word doesn’t live up to. I then read Half of A Yellow Sun. The story
stayed haunted me for days, weeks, months, years. I still remember how I felt when I finished reading it. I felt the same after reading Americanah. And Cell One. And Birdsong. And a few others told in The Thing Around Your Neck. That’s how powerful her words are. As a writer, it is incredibly inspiring to learn from.
I never thought the day would come that I would get to meet her. I missed the opportunity when she was touring for Half of Yellow Sun because I was working part time and couldn’t afford to take time off. I beat myself up for years because I wondered if I’d cheated myself. What’s money compared to meeting your idol? At the time, I thought the best decision was to work and ensure I had money in the bank, after all, I was only working part time. Still, the guilt, stayed with me, and year after yearI realized I had been foolish to have made the decision I did.
But the Lord works in mysterious ways don’t he?
When she was doing a tour for Americanah my bff got me a personalized autographed copy! I could’ve died. I felt like she knew my name simply because she had written it.
Our names, together, on the same page! GAAAHHH!!
Yes, I’m that crazy. But it was the closest I ever thought I’d get. Until this same bff (go best friend, that’s my best friend) whose always looking out for a sistah, sent me the info to her appearance here in Toronto. Listen, I was at the bus stop at 7.10am when I saw the message and tackiness and good sense aside, I took out my credit card literally 5 minutes before the bus approached and purchased that ticket under two minutes! In all my years of online shopping, this has never happened. So you know this purchase was above all parchases!! (yes it’s written that way deliberately).
Guys, the event was to begin at 7pm and doors were expected to be open at 6pm. I was outside the venue at 5.15pm. I.was.not.playin’!!! When the doors opened I briskly walked straight to the front row right in front of the stage. I was so close I could’ve seen her nose hairs.
After she was introduced. The crowd erupted.
She received a Standing O(vation) even before saying a word. Queen I’m tellin’ ya. She read an excerpt from Dear Ijjeawele and then sat down for a conversation with the amazing Garvia Bailey. I sat there mesmerized not really believing I was sitting right under her nose. I could’ve been literally bowing at the level I was at. She glanced at me a few times, and I swear I couldn’t believe the moment I was in. Her rapport with Garvia, the side eyes, giggles and real talk made it feel even more insane. She was exactly what I imagined her to be.
The time passed so quickly that it was question time. I froze of course. With much encouragement from my friends I found the courage to get up and ask her something I’d been thinking about. Lucky for me I was standing in front of Olunike (she’s a brilliant and beautiful Canadian actress whose show Workin’ Moms I’m currently loving) who gave me a hug when we got up there. The girl behind me also gave me some encouragement after I told her I was nervous. I bet she could hear my heart beating. It was so loud. I thought I’d stumble over words so I was happy that I’d written the question out on my phone. When my turn came I took a deep breath and went for it. She responded well and smiled. She saw me. In that moment, for that minute, she was talking to me!
When the event came to a close everyone knew she was going to sign books but she wouldn’t be personalizing or taking pics. We all made a beeline for the doors to line up. The line was moving fast which meant you literally had seconds to say something and move along. So I got another chance to say something I’ve wanted to share with her. Another moment. I kinda wish I’d written her the letter/card I’d thought of doing because having only mere seconds to tell a person how much their work means to you needs to be expressed adequately. But I didn’t want to risk getting rejected so the moment will have to suffice.
I hope she keeps her word and comes back soon.
For now, I’ll continue to relish in the magnitude of having had my dream come true. I know the Lord is not done with me yet so I’m looking forward to many more of his blessings. Halleluyerrrr!