SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO TÚRAKÁ
WRITTEN BY RACHEAL TORTY
We live in a world that encourages and desires perfection. We leave our houses looking ‘sharp’, composed and put together—matching clothes, beautiful hair and clear skin. We look at people who are sweaty as dirty and rough so we strive to prevent anything that deviates from the normal.
The perfection the world requires isn’t restricted to appearance alone, it seeps to our mannerisms, speech, motion, personality and virtually every part of our lives. We are expected to look, speak, walk and think perfectly. That in itself is impossible, but humans don’t understand the language of impossible.
Etiquette is another interesting word, it guides and restricts us from weird behavior that we are comfortable doing by ourselves but not with others. An example is the proper etiquette for eating. You can be with a group of people who eat Eba with cutlery and of course to avoid being the object of laughter, you’d eat Eba with fork and knife.
You might be scared to buy rice wrapped in leaves in public so that no one calls you ‘local’.What about wearing high heels to work every other day because everyone is doing it but of course your untrained toes cry out in protest due to the daily torture. A lady once frowned at my sister and me because we were speaking Yoruba in public; I suppose she found it irritating. We could go and on about the many things we stifle in ourselves to fit into the “normal”.
Conforming to the norm has become a necessity, that is, if you want to be popular or well liked because as we all know, people who are different are seldom liked. The phrase “if you cannot beat them, you must join them” has been embraced more tightly than it should be. Everyone wants to ‘belong’ so we are willing to fake the accent, live above our means and pretend to hate what we like.
Oddly enough, anyone who does not conform to the normal is ostracized, insulted or abused. We have turned people who have speech disorders to ideas for jokes and we have called other people who do not follow our idea of normal “local people”.
We cannot escape the stifling side of perfection; an Ethiopian proverb says that “if you pick up one end of the stick, you also pick up the other”. It is so sad that many persons lose their identity and values all in a bid to be part of the ‘accepted ones’. The number of people living fake lives is on the rise and choking parts of you in order to be accepted never ends well.
That’s exactly why you need to Túraká.
They’ll laugh when you eat eba with the best cutlery- your hands, wear flats for a change, sew another Ankara dress and in essence be yourself. Speak your language and drop the fake accent. Order that Egusi soup and Eba in your favorite restaurant and please eat it with relish. Feel free to walk around in your skin, laugh out loud when you want to and do not be scared to stammer or stutter.
Remove the choking cloak that forces you to pretend to be who you are not and will never be. The world wonders at uniqueness, it struggles to understand the concept. It is okay when they don’t understand you, but you are simply being yourself and you are not fitting into the idea everyone creates in their mind. You are unique.
Today, unwind or rather Túraká.
WRITTEN BY RACHEAL TORTY
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