Monday, May 5, 2014

Secrets, Sex, Lies and Literature

Burn the Books: Secrets, Sex, Lies and Literature

What will I teach my daughters about being themselves? How can I suffer myself the task of preparing them to be perfect and chaste women while the secrets of my own girlhood are one journal, letter, book or conversation away from being laid bare? Far from a pure or perfect person, I am a poor example of both. I am also irreverently proud of those facts. As I prepare to reap the life I have sown so many planting seasons ago, I also prepare to face ugly truths and to do so unabashedly.

I urge mothers to be women with a past and to be women who have earned their stripes and the right to “preach” to their daughters. I will teach my daughters that perfection and purity are unnecessary goals. Love must again be unconditional. I will tell my daughters the truth about my life in small morsels until they are ready for larger portions. As mothers, we have no right to be secret-keepers for life and death are empowered by our testimonies where only death and destruction would dare silence us.

Aziza Kibibi is an East Orange based culinary artist whose forthcoming book, Unashamed, will make you ponder ancient secrets of the world and secrets within your own family. As women, we have dreamed of being queens but many of us do not focus on ruling the day. Instead, women have traditionally been silenced. Today I make the most of opportunities for empowerment as I contribute to conversations about simply being women: single, married, seeking, mama, martyr, mayhem, militant and everything in between. Kibibi’s autobiography deals with various cannons of social, psychological and historical thought. Her very delicate golden web of words is encrusted in the threads of the global conscience which binds all women to the first woman, Eve.

As I think about the impact of history, genetics, and time upon the way in which I raise my own daughters, I am glad that there are women who have come full circle in their views of humanity and self that they might pave the way for others. Speaking candidly with my daughters as they grow older is important to me. Kibibi prepares her readers to deal with sexual taboo, secrets, lies and incest in this literary awakening that provides a sweet, clear caviar of truth in the snare of man’s demons.

I urge mothers, sisters, daughters and best friends to be resolute in speaking their truths with each other that they might enjoy a brief moment in the light. Read books that challenge you at your innermost core and which push you to think about and imagine who you are beyond what you have been told. Do your research. I tried it myself and lost my religion in the process. Welcome to the faith. You are in good company.

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