Ade Adeniji is a Coach, Group Facilitator and Co-founder of The Quest. He is also a master-storyteller and improviser. Born in London, he spent his late childhood and adolescence in Nigeria. He is an explorer at heart and spent many years searching for himself, only to recently discover that he was never lost, he had simply been hiding from himself. He divides his time between London and Amsterdam, where he lives with his partner.
In his own words:
You love storytelling, why do you think it is such an import part of releasing the pain from the past and finding the way back home to living authentically?
We all have stories to tell and I believe that those stories are meant to be told. When our stories are not told, they simply lie dormant, desperately waiting for that moment when they will be birthed.
In my own life, I noticed that by not sharing stories about the ups and downs of my life journey, I gradually started developing a sense of guilt and shame regarding the events from my past. In some cases, the longer I hid my story, the more I started to distort the event itself. I would find myself glamorising moments of pain, so that when I would share the story with others, I would play down any pain that I had felt when the original event occurred.
I find that sharing stories with others allows us to connect the dots of our life. Those shared stories are like breadcrumbs that we have scattered along the path that we have travelled, from childhood, through adolescence and well into adulthood. Telling our stories is our way of retracing our steps home.
In sharing our stories, over and over, we start to understand how we developed into who we are today. We start to reconnect with our authentic self, by letting go of the toxic pain and emotional wounds of our story. In the words of Iyanla Vanzant, “when you can tell the story and it doesn’t bring up any pain, you know it is healed.“
The insights gained from the telling of our story and the hearing of them by others, can help us live more comfortably in our own skin, so that we can then start treating ourselves with better self-understanding, more compassion and self-love.
Do you think a book like Love Me As I Am will make a difference to how the gay community is perceived by the heterosexual mainstream?
What I really love about ‘Love Me As I Am’ is that we get to hear from a range of gay men about their own unique journey. The book charts the process that many gay men go through from childhood into adulthood and I feel this will give the readers an insight into what is really going on beneath the surface of the lives of many gay men.
The guys who have shared their stories are regular people that you might share an office with, see in the local supermarket, meet on a bus or see in any of the many places that human beings go. These guys give the reader access to all aspects of their lives – the beautiful, the ugly, the pain and the joy. The stories are deeply moving and are shared with such honesty and rawness.
I feel that regardless of the sexual orientation of the reader, each person will walk away recognising that we all have a deep yearning to be loved exactly as we are.