Self-Expression: WHY NOT?

Honestly expressing yourself is very difficult.  It is easier to put on a show about who you thin you are than to be truly honest with oneself. Not lying to yourself, is very difficult to do. Self awareness is understanding your strength and weakness rather than compare your weakness with other people strengthen. Always strive to express yourself they way you are and work on improve yourself with constructive feedback.

Lack of self-expression leads to suffocation of your inner voice.  When you are afraid to be yourself because of the influence of others, you are depriving yourself of the greatest opportunity to live authentically. Self-expression is saying what you want to say and saying it properly with confidence.  Self-expression is living authentically, it comes from within you and shines outwardly. Your inner voice is always bringing up ideas of what to say and what to do. Learn how to express that inner voice outwardly.

In the process of trying to achieve your dream and set out goals you have to understand what is your strongest form of self-expression. This is also called self-awareness: to understand your strongest form of communication. For some this is speaking, for others is writing, acting and so on, but the strongest form of self-expression is an outlet that enables you to communicate your message without cutting corners. For me that is writing. Writing as a form of self-expression is an outlet for my rage and therapeutic in helping me understand why some things have happened in my life.

Self-expression saved my life; it enables me to easily provide proof of my work in my home country of Nigeria to support my claim for asylum in the United States because my writings and my speeches are available online. Creative expression is an outlet for me to live my life to the fullest; by documenting my life through writing I am creating a legacy and making history for future generations. Everyday you live your life in the open, you are giving someone somewhere an opportunity to live for another day, and you give people a visible example of who they aspire to become. Creative expression has made me understand that my life is my activism and by living my authentic life daily I am resisting.

Avoidance of self-expression is an escape.  People who refuse to express their true selves tend to think that self-expression is a spectator sport. Some people wish to express themselves but avoid doing so because they feel it is too difficult, fear failure, or fear humiliation.  And some people who are able to express themselves tend to turn to the use of drugs to avoid the response or accept the recognition that comes from their ability to express themselves.

If we can give people love when they try to express themselves, but fail to love them when they are in the midst of a personal tragedy out of their control. Why can’t we create an environment where people can fail and still feel love enough to try again in a safe and supportive community. Self-expression can make our communities safer, by reducing violence with the engagement of people in our society with activities that will help them relieve pain, reduce stress and violence. We should make self-expression a part of our society in ways that attend to the mental struggles of individuals in our community, perhaps through art classes, painting therapy, and writing groups.  Groups like Alcoholic Anonymous allow people to speak about their inner pain and feel they are heard by people going through similar pains with them. Finding a supportive community to express ourselves can save our society and reduce violence.

We see people who are able to express themselves as gods, but nobody was born as an expert in self-expression.  We acquire these skills and you, too, can acquire those same skills. Confidence builds by doing. Go and express your true self, and experience life more with more authenticity, abundance and joy.


Barriers to self-expression

Fear of people condemnation

Always remember the goal is not to strike a perfect pose, but trying to attain a perfect pose makes all the sense. Our society has limited us to the idea of perfection in everything we do, because we are  constantly exposed to polished productions in the media. Most of the images portrayed and displayed in media are deceitful and lead us to believing we are somehow inadequate, compare to the people we see on media. You are not that person you see in the media yet because you might just be at the beginning stage and failing at the beginning by comparing with the finish products you constantly see, then you give up. Which is why you might never achieve your aspiration, not because you can’t but because you gave up trying. What they are constantly refusing to show you is the amount of work it required to attain their success. Nobody would have attained mastery if all they did was wait for perfection before the launch. 

I was scrolling through my social media feed one day and I saw a post by a friend of senator Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic presidential candidate in the United States. In this 2009 video of her on “The Daily Show” being interviewed by John Stewart, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was struggling with her stage presence. Now she is very fierce on the Democratic party primary election debate stage. Life is a marathon and not a sprint; so always be ready to go on the journey, and in this journey you tend to start as an amateur but as you continue to work on yourself, you grow and tend to become master at the end. I learned how to drive a car at age 28.  It was the first time I ever sat in a driver’s seat and turned on the ignition of a car. On this day, my partner thought I was joking when I told him I had never driven a car before. He asked me to turn on the car ignition on the main road and drive. When he saw how I was driving like hiccups, he asked me to come down and then drove me to a primary school parking lot on a Saturday. After that day he refused to let me drive most of the time. I asked him to allow me to practice and he would refuse. So, I got into a screaming match with him one day over how I can be a better driver without ever having practice time. He allowed me to drive him to a Cheesecake Factory restaurant and we both became more confident. Today, I have driven him to Long Island from New York, Connecticut to New York and New York to Connecticut. This is an example many people can relate to, and the same for self-expression.  Great writers started out with a blank piece of paper and practice their writing, which is the same for artists of any kind. There is no perfect way to express yourself; you master your trick with time. So never be afraid of people’s judgments, and just concentrate on yourself. A quote from my book “BED 26” “If you compete with others you become bitter, if you compete with yourself you become better”


How Self-expression helped me in writing my memoir

You never really know who you are until you look inside yourself, one of the ways I was able to look into myself and my past was through writing my memoir. You never know what factors into your upbringing if you never ask some deep questions, such as why my parents lived in a certain this way? What cultural factors influenced their way of parenting? For me during the process of writing my memoir, I came to understand that my dad was influenced by his culture, by getting married to a second wife to please his mother and family who believed a real man should have mother rather than a wife. Also my dad wanted more children and my mum had an operation after my birth that would make it difficult for her to have another child.  After my birth she tried to have a baby in 1993 that almost took her life and the doctor warned her that if she tried one more time she might not be live to see her children grow. My dad had a child out of wedlock almost nine months after the incident, as he was pressured by his family to marry another woman to have more children. Never would I have summoned the courage to forgive him until I saw pictures of him in his young age, and with one life changing decision when the doctor asked him to choose between my mum and the child in 1993, he chose my mum over the child.  If he did not love my mum he would have chosen the child.

Writing gave me the opportunity to open doors for others in detention centers.  Many people have read my work while they are in detention and summon up the courage and write to me.  I’ve had the opportunity to meet a few of them after their release from detention and they tell me that if I can make it, then they believe they can, too. Writing has given me a life and a voice to challenge the stigma perpetuated against younger gay men in my home country of Nigeria, as they now have a figure to look up to and draw up courage. Self-expression has made me a better activist through articulating my ideas and delivering them in a manner that pushes people to act, and not only act but also call for social change. So why not? What is holding you from unleashing your power, whatever you believe you can do to be able to express yourself, whatever age you are. Now is the time, today is the day to take that leap of faith and start changing the narrative, both for yourself and people like you.