I’m very happy. Extremely excited. Grateful. Joyful. Happy.
I cried when my story got rejected by Farafina. I was broken and unhappy and sad. The greater heartache was when Adichie said she was looking for writers with “hearts”. I got over it and moved on and with some kind words from friends, I sent the story to http://www.coalng.com and it was published.
I remember complaining to my friend, Oyin Oludipe, and he said :
….Fourth, I believe Adichie might have used some slippery words to express something she never actually meant to imply. But it doesn’t take away from or add to you, dear Adriel. Your passion should be just as fierce with or without; in other words, within! 🙂
Because, trust me, you are always Adichie to some anonymous soul watching.
His words were like healing balm because I slept well that night. Few days later my story was accepted and published by one of the sites I forwarded it to. This was after a favorite website told me “it wasn’t a good fit for their blog”.
A lot of things promoted that story. First, I like to see my self as a feminist – nothing is ever going to change this narrative. And I write from a personal place. So that story was inspired by books I had read, stories I had been told, poems from my favorite poets especially Titilope Sonuga, and most importantly my personal experience.
I got this mail from COAL today;
Hello Ms Chimdinma, in response to your published entry on
coalng.com , it is not in our policy to respond swiftly to
submissions or publish non African writers but some rules
are meant to be broken. An American lady inspired by your
story sent us an essay of her experience in an abusive
relationship for years. Domestic violence isn’t an African
problem but a world’s problem and as such we as an
organization condemn acts of violence against women
irrespective of race or religious backgrounds.
Her essay entry was read, accepted and published by our
editors. Here is the link to her work. http://wp.me/p7ffs9-da
We thought to share this with you as it can serve as a
motivation to your continuous engagement in writing.
But prior to seeing their mail, I had seen the link on their Facebook page and when I clicked on it the first two paragraphs made me cry. See:
I woke up this morning to find Chimdinma Onwukwe’s story, Women Like Me Don’t Die on my Facebook newsfeed. Lately, I’ve been reading quite a bit of writing by young Nigerian women and I’m struck by how bold and fearless they are.
Chimdinma and I were raised in different worlds. She in Nigeria, I in the United States. The details of our stories might be different but the essence is the same. I understand what she’s talking about. Yet, as a young woman, I never had the courage to speak the way she does. I was alone in the dark. I didn’t have other strong women, or a network of writers and artists, both male and female, to support me.
Isn’t it funny? From my little bed in St. Annes Female Hostel somewhere in the University of Ibadan?
Karen Hunt’s story is so moving. Some of the lines from the story would bring tears to your eyes. And this is just one out of the many stories of Abuse.
If I had cut the onions thinner he wouldn’t have felt compelled to throw his dinner across the room. If I had ironed his shirts without a crease in the sleeves, just as his mother did, he wouldn’t have threatened me with the iron in my face. If I had chewed my apple more quietly, he wouldn’t have screamed and ordered me from the room. When I was pregnant, if I had controlled my coughing when I was sick, he wouldn’t have made me sleep on the floor in the other room. If I had moved more quickly down the subway stairs, we wouldn’t have missed the train and he wouldn’t have kicked me on the platform. As an artist, if I had obeyed his advice about my paintings, he wouldn’t have punched me in the face.
If only I had been a better wife. If only I had anticipated my husband’s needs. I wouldn’t have had to kneel down and clean up the food and my own blood from the floor and the walls.
Why couldn’t I be a better wife?
Please read the full story here :
I think I’m happy my story was rejected by Farafina. It was for a greater good.
I know I’ll sleep happy this night knowing that I have connected with someone so far away and so many others who have whispered deep secrets to me.
So Be Careful when you tell me Feminism isn’t needed. When you think my narrative as a feminist isn’t African. Be careful. – Ijeoma Umebinyuo.