I remember a while ago reading an essay about a writer who could walk on the streets and be recognized by no one until he would say his name. Then the other parties would be excited, calling him doctor because he was an award winner, asking him about his books and revealing how much they loved his work. The funny thing is that they would always just see a lousy man walking around the streets, paying him no attention until maybe another person highly involved in the literature world would recognize him and everyone else would come running up to him.
Now that is the danger of judging a book by it’s cover! I remember boarding a plane a couple of days ago and sitting next to who I called a young girl. She was dressed decently, in what I would call the ‘Traditional Islamic attire’, with a veil over her head, and I care to admit that I thought she was maybe a girl of fourteen or sixteen. Being twenty-three myself, this doesn’t necessarily give me the right to choose who I speak to, so I made up my mind that I would just mind my business. She sat next to me, and said hello, to which I smiled and replied. Then I got back to minding my business. Forty minutes into the flight, I saw this book titled ‘Kwani?‘ on her laps and it captured my attention. So I picked it up, without her permission, perused through it, and after a good eight minutes I was like,
‘Hey, I am sorry I just picked your book like that. I hope you are not offended.’ to which she replied.
‘No, not at all, it’s okay.’ and that’s how we got into conversation, having a formal introduction, she asked me what I was going to do in Nairobi, what I did, among others, and me turning tables around and asking her the same. Only for her, Amina, to tell me that she was a lawyer working in Uganda, and was flying to Nairobi for less than twenty for hours. She was done with school, received a good income, was obviously financially independent, at I guess she had her game playing way better than mine.
You should have seen the shock on my face! This lady, who I judged by her appearance, was apparently some independent woman part of a huge law firm and was surely making it big! Easy to take people for granted because they look younger than you, or don’t look as good as your standards right? Ha-ha (Amina is good looking and attractive. She just looks really really young )
I told her I couldn’t believe it since she really looked so young, she told me she experienced that quite a lot that it no longer surprised her.
‘Judging a book by its cover’! That’s how we got into discussing more literature, controversies, and philosophies and I was impressed by this lady! Finally, I had met a person I could discuss literature all day with and not get accused of not wearing makeup or also get judged on how skinny I really am! or being advised to trim my eyebrows.
That aside, how many times do you meet a person and ignore them just because they don’t come off as your ideal people to interact with? Personally, I have had some people in the past accusing me of being young and not knowing what I was talking about. Or even being taken for granted until someone saw my blog or came across my name on Amazon. Little did I know that I also carried this silent judgment within me, choosing who was worth my attention by just looking at them.
Don’t let this vice eat you up! I read yesterday that the people who have got it all moving are not those wearing suits and have white collar jobs. It’s the guys wearing shorts and T-shirts. Those are the ones sleeping in multimillion-dollar condos yet don’t behave like they have got it all! I hope my lesson inspires you to change something inside yourself too.
Let me know what you think! I would really love to hear your thoughts on this.