Today’s article is about a fashion blogger whom I will christen “Miss Lisa”. Miss Lisa is a young woman, probably in her 20s, who last week, captured the attention of Kenyans on Twitter for her rather radical opinions on Kenyan culture, food and rather bland lifestyles.
But first, a background. Lisa has moved to Nigeria to be with a man who will hopefully be her future husband.
She wrote a brutally honest comparison of the Nigerian versus Kenyan life and gushed at the West Africa high life that seemed to faze the young girl who, by her own admission, is used to “thrifting”.
Her viral blogpost catapulted her to instant social media infamy. The reactions were neither fair nor favourable. I thought I should weigh in on the matter with a personal letter. So here we go.
Dear Miss Lisa,
Interesting times, eh? Having keenly followed the social media kerfuffle after your viral blogpost, I thought I could spare a column to help a sister through a tough time.
Your fervent fashion blogging has not gone unnoticed and your work is not difficult to appreciate as you seem to belong to a club of the chosen few fashion bloggers who actually know what they are doing.
So I will begin with a word of advice, do not listen to naysayers, particularly those on social media who do not seem to understand that your opinion is just that, an opinion.
Beware of the folly of social media with a particular caution to Twitter, for it is a valley full of narcissists, some of who are imbued with their own sense of righteousness and others who are self-appointed custodians of morals. They have a peculiar dislike for people who seem to be doing better than them, and especially abhor people with bold opinions such as you.
It may comfort you a little if only you realised that some of them wished they were you, most of them wish they lived your life and many more wish they looked like you. So take the opprobrium in your stride and do not let their barbs dim your light.
More importantly, do not try to explain yourself, what you meant and what you did not mean. Most people do not care anyway, once their perception about you is made, there is little you can do to change them.
I shall not lie to you that we agree on many things, but I do not share your world-view of moving halfway across the continent to be with a man. Neither do I share your view of leaving everything behind, a life and family for a man, particularly a man of West African descent.
But then again, people are different and I have conceded to the temptation of generalising about West African men. Perhaps yours is a genuine man, for which I am genuinely happy for you.
The beauty of life is that we all have the liberty of choice, and we must be allowed to make our decisions as much as we are allowed to live within the consequences of the choices we make, a point that many of your critics have missed.
I think people should leave you alone and let you enjoy your life in the way that you want to. Do not allow anyone to give you grief over the decisions that you have made. Most of all, do not allow anyone to stress you for speaking your mind.
I must, however, warn you against the temptation of showing off your personal life on social media. It is never a good idea and from my observations, it has caused more sadness than happiness.
Relationships, valentine celebrations, engagements, weddings, births and birthdays are personal matters that should never find their way to social media.
I understand the dilemma you must be facing right now, and the difficulty you must be going through as you try to suppress the excitement of acquiring new pair of designer high heels, but I would advise you to keep that excitement in check and share it only with those dear and close to you.