Title: What a Time to Be Alone
Genre: Quotes, Essays, Memoir
Author: Chidera Eggerue
Publisher: Quadrille Publishing (August 7, 2018)
Year of Publication: August 2017
Number of Pages: 192
Reviewer: Oyindamola Shoola
I have been stalling on writing a review for What a Time to Be Alone by Chidera Eggerue for over two months now, first because, it is taking me time to accept what the book offers, digest it, reevaluate myself and my life and fix things where necessary. Second, I don’t think there can ever be a review that fully captions and evaluate all that What a Time to Be Alone by Chidera Eggerue offers. Just imagine a combination of all your favorite motivational speakers in one book but from an extremely raw perspective and unapologetic voice.
As a reader, What a Time to Be Alone has the power to unseat almost everything that you have thought wrongly about yourself, other people and that other people have thought about you. I read What a Time to Be Alone by Chidera Eggerue shortly after New Year celebrations, and while recommending it to other people, I simply told them to ditch the other New Year resolutions books to pick something real like this book.
When I finished reading What a Time to Be Alone, I came to one conclusion and advice which is to stop faking orgasms (satisfaction) when it comes to being myself, obtaining happiness and doing things for myself. In the following months of my self-realization, it became hard for me to ignore the things and people that dissatisfied me and vice versa. It became difficult for me not to want to act by voicing myself, removing, replacing or adding things as needed to find satisfaction.
Paying homage to Nigerian culture and using language, Chidera draws from Igbo proverbs to guide people unapologetically into realizing what’s good for them. Call this book the “no-nonsense be good to yourself spirit” because it doesn’t allow the opportunity for the waste of time and energy in letting you understand why you are enough.
What a Time to Be Alone analyzes human psychology when it comes to wanting, taking and treating others. Every sentence is intentional. A line that captivated my attention the most in an earlier section of the book titled YOU says “The thing about human beings is that we treat others the way we feel about ourselves, and most of the time we don’t even realize it.” With this, Chidera further emphasizes why we do not need to always internalize people’s expression of pain that they feel towards us.
While this book educates us about other people, it is also a lens through which we need to evaluate ourselves and our actions towards others. It is easy to be tempted to conclude that everyone is a bad person and because you have been hurt, you are the good person which isn’t necessarily true. While you are identifying how others have hurt you by a particular action or series of events it is necessary to ask, how have I hurt others by this same action or in similar circumstances?
Chidera Eggerue doesn’t aim to desensitize you from what you feel and experience but to place you in a mindset and position of empowerment to decide for yourself how you will react with control. Still, in the section titled YOU, she writes; “The sooner we stop pretending to be immune to feelings that scare us, the sooner life will begin to make sense.” To further this quote she explains that “There are the people who invest all their energy into performing instead of living, because to appear unbothered all the time, you must be in a constant state of pretense.”
Another part of What a Time to Be Alone that caught my eye has to do with standards. She starts with daring her readers to not be afraid of raising their standards but with the perspective of what it will reveal about other people. There will be people who will meet your standards, people who will tell you that your standards are too high and those who will seek to find loopholes in your standards. Chidera emphasizes the need for us to be as interested in ourselves as we want other people to be; that way we will feel more comfortable in the worth of ourselves that other people need to respect. In addition to raising your standards, Chidera explains that you can choose to make meaningful and reasonable compromises for people who genuinely have earned and deserve it.
Without a doubt, What a Time to Be Alone by Chidera Eggerue is a mirror for many to find their relationships with themselves and question the status of this relationship. You can’t read this book and remain the same; something will tick in you.
As we grow, there are so many things and people in this world that conditions us to exist and teaches us very little about living, trains us to pursue things but not how to hold on to it, teaches us to settle and be contented with that which or who causes us pain then shames us for wanting more. This is where What a Time to Be Alone by Chidera Eggerue comes in.
Because you are not in this world by accident with What a Time to Be Alone by you will realize that everything which flows through you, with you, and for you must be treated with consciousness. You, as a center of these things are a joy and equally worthy of the pleasure that you try to find and give out to others.