Documentary / Photography / Fashion

Chidera Eggerue on codependency, Toni Morrison and the truth of self-care

Meet The Slumflower.

If you haven’t had The Slumflower retweeted onto your timeline, you’re definitely following the wrong sorts of people. Starting off the #SaggyBoobsMatter movement in her early 20s, Chidera Eggerue is spreading body positivity, feminist messages and self-help all over the Internet and beyond.

Born and raised in Peckham, Chidera was encouraged by her fans online to create a publication with advice on self-love, and after creating a zine, sought to publish it as a book. In July 2018 her dream became a reality, and in a few days her debut What a Time to be Alone became a Sunday Times bestseller. Up next, she’s releasing a second book, Scribble Yourself Feminist, a journal designed to empower, inspire and entertain.

Alongside a captivating shoot by Boy Zero, the creative duo of Joel & Theo, HUNGER talked all things self-love, self-awareness and self-improvement with The Slumflower…

When did you discover your mantra “It’s OK to be alone”?

I discovered that mantra when I realised how codependent most human beings have been raised to become. We are more consumed by the idea of relationships than the reality of having a relationship with oneself.

How did you become content with alone time?

I dealt with a lot of social rejection growing up as a young woman but it wasn’t until I started to believe isolation is a fertile opportunity to spend time with myself, that I started to become content with alone time. It’s fun to put yourself in new environments by yourself. I enjoy people-watching and being a fly on the wall. It allows me to become more familiar with people’s behaviours which in turn, prepares me for a life of having to interact with humans. I love it. Everyone deserves some alone time.

How can we balance self-love and identity whilst having a healthy relationship?

Learn to put your joy first more often. Even when looking for partners or dating, have standards. Hold yourself to a high esteem so that even your friends have a great amount of respect for you. The only thing you lose by prioritising self-love and identity is that which is not meant for you. There’s never a ‘magic’ answer to balancing loving yourself in a world that spins on self-hate. You just need to want joy enough to even prioritise committing to yourself.

What are your top tips for self-care?

Stop arguing with people who have more opinions than experience – especially when discussing something that applies to your life more personally, exfoliate your face once a week but don’t forget to exfoliate your mind too – we all have some residual thoughts and opinions we need to shed, only say ‘yes’ if you really mean it.

Who has had the greatest impact on you over your life?

My mother. She catalysed my evolution by repeatedly misunderstanding me. I had to learn that I deserve to live a life I’ve chosen, not settled for.

Where do you draw inspiration in your daily life?

My inspiration really does come from a constant visualisation of my best self. What’s she eating? What’s she wearing? How does she apply her thoughts to her actions? What does her world look like? Is she happy?

What are the five most inspiring Instagram accounts you follow?

@actualblackmermaid @munroebergdorf @bodyposipanda @birthofamama @alokvmenon

You’ve spoken about how we should see ourselves as projects, how do you put this into action in your life?

I handle myself with care, even when I get it wrong. The internet is a destructive place and it’s completely abnormal for us to spend the amount of time we spend on it, so I always allow myself to believe this quote by Imani Yvonne ‘My life is of perfect design’. This means that wherever I end up, there will always be an opportunity for me to either evolve or implode. And I must always choose evolution – no matter how much it hurts.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

People aren’t going to stop being weird and almost impossible to understand even when you get older, so you better create a world for YOURSELF that you can retreat to when the world gets too loud.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?

This Toni Morrison quote: “If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it”

What’s next for you?

I’m working on my third book! Hint: it’s about men.

5 September 2019