I’m not too big on self promotion. I used to be convinced this was a self esteem issue but upon closer inspection I’ve come to realize that I’ve always been pretty confident in my skill and capability – almost to the point of maniacal egotism. I tend to keep that confidence to either myself or the select few privy to my complete honesty.
This may be as a result of a fundamentally spilt identity. There’s the double trouble pull from the West; the semi-assimilation of individualistic culture coupled with a reaction to the West’s homogenization of African identity have led to the development of a somewhat strong “I”, one that wants or needs perhaps to set itself apart. This influence works against the strong communal sensibilities of the African continent resulting in two co-occurring self constructs: the self that feels as an individual apart and the self that is an inextricable part of a whole. How do I reconcile the “I” with the “one/we”? More importantly can I and should I?
I’ve also managed to pin point another gnawing sensation, a sense that no matter how much I learn I will still be gloriously ignorant (that is, relative to the infinite knowledge to be gained on this our little blue dot, let alone the universe). What some may confuse for humility is simply caution. I want to be sure of what I am and what I say – to a certain extent anyway – before I share it. That’s hard when you consider yours to be a position of perpetual ignorance, thesis constantly crashing against antithesis, forever synthesizing. I can’t sit long enough on any thought without questioning it. This isn’t necessarily doubt in the traditional sense, just me fine-combing my truths in a world that I have come to see as contingent.
Right now I can only learn what is framed by the English and French language, framed by human understanding and perception and by the limitations of the forces in our corner of the universe. This doesn’t make me sad, but I wish I would get over the mental block because if I wish – and I do – to be relatively self sufficient, I better learn to blow my own horn every now and then.