I am obsessed with sneakers. I love that they are fashion forward and comfy at the same time. One of my favourite perks of working for myself is wearing absolutely anything I want to work. And this is bliss for someone who is not only a non-conformist but whose moods determine pretty much how I look, from choice of clothing to lipstick colour to even underwear or the absence thereof. I currently own only six pairs of sneakers, but I want a whole rack full of them in different designs and colours and yes I’m working towards it. So these days, I do what I call Instagram window shopping, because most times I make orders from there anyway. I ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at pictures of the ones I like, ask for prices and negotiate discounts for the ones I think I can afford, and take screenshots of the ones I love but cannot afford so I can drool over them later. I know, I have it really bad. Just recently I wore an Ankara shift dress and sneakers to a very important meeting. My excuse? I’m a creative. And I am.
But this is neither about my style or my eccentricity. It’s about the fact that while I obsess over pairs of Yeezys, the latest Adidas sneakers and some red blingy Louis Vuitton ankle-high sneakers, two million people have been displaced by insurgency in my country. And if the Nigerian counting system is anything to go by, I’m willing to bet that the actual figure is double the two million we are told. In faraway Syria, another terrorist organization is doing their best to instil terror in people. Killing. Maiming. Raping. Bombing. As I lie in bed, thinking up creative ways to arrange my rack of sneakers yet unpurchased, these people are probably thinking about the loved ones they’ve lost to insurgency. They probably lie awake wondering when they will get to go home again. Some of these women and girls were sexually abused by the terrorists, and have had babies from the encounter. They will worry, won’t they, about the future of their children. Ever so often, a new-born is found abandoned near a church. In the bush. By a canal. And I’m here, with sneakers on my mind.
When I have thoughts like these, they make me feel small. Insignificant. Unimportant. Purposeless. Oh, I have other worries. Like when will my small business be a Fortune 500 company, if ever? When will I afford a house in Banana Island, if ever? Or when will I write a book that will make the world use my name and Chimamanda’s in the same sentence, if ever? Even then, my worries seem so trivial when placed side by side with people who are fighting to stay alive. And I feel very ashamed that I’m contributing absolutely nothing to help these people other than the occasional prayers. Ashamed that I completely forget (after the first few minutes of horror and shock upon actual receiving of the news) that my fellow citizens are suffering. Syria may be far east, but Borno is not. Neither is Abuja. But because no member of my family is affected, I am unruffled). Flipping shame!
Why is this even something to write about? Because when it boils down to what’s really important, it’s not how many assets my future Fortune 500 company has acquired that counts (see what I did there? Hehe). In the grand scheme of things, my possession of a house full of sneakers is hugely insignificant. What matters is the impact one is contributing in one’s own way, to humanity. Which is why I’ve decided to speak with people I know, let’s form a group of people who will go out to hospitals, prisons and orphanages, relate with these people, share what we can and just do everything we can to touch lives and live fully. Too many things are wrong in the world for us to remain indifferent. This has to be the best time to do this, as the giving season is upon us and Christmas is about a fortnight away. If this is something you’re interested in, please let me know.
Speaking of giving, I wouldn’t mind sneakers for Christmas oh! Thank you!!