Top positive review
Truth & Lies
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 28, 2019
Here's Ms. Ikpi, in a 2015 interview I found online:
"It is an illness that will kill you if you don’t get ahead of it. You create art despite illness, not because of it... most great artists are great artists despite their mental illness, not because of it. I’m not going to romanticize it in this quest to normalize. Because it sucks. If there was a choice someone gave me at age seven, I’d be a dancer. I’d do something else. I would not choose it. Because it is a terrible thing. I am not ashamed of it, but it doesn’t mean that it’s made my life better."
Given a choice, Ms. Ikpi would choose not to be bipolar. Would you? Would anyone? Duh.
Ms. Ikpi is a pretty good poet (or once was -- now she calls herself an "ex-poet") but she seems to think it's "despite" her being bipolar. Really? The fearless energy with which she performs on her poetry slam tours, the startling spontaneity, the words that come rushing out of her in a flood of light (you can see recordings of her online) -- can she really claim that being bipolar has nothing to do with her talent and the beauty of her poems?
To do that, she says, would be to "romanticize" her artistic abilities in a "quest to normalize" the abnormal. Being abnormal "sucks." It's "a terrible thing" not to be normal. And yet she says she's "not ashamed". Really? Like the title of her book says, she's telling the truth AND she's lying.
The title says it all, the painful dilemma she can't seem to "get ahead of." None of us are given a choice to be who we are. The only choice we have is to accept who we are. And make the best of the bargain, a marriage for better and worse, in sickness and health. Or reject who we are and spend our time trying to become someone else, someone we are not.
And by the way, I'm bipolar too. And I'm not normal. And neither are you.