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Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Woman's Worth Part 3

If there is anything in the world that could make a person digress from being a sophisticated, mature responsible, member of society, to a jejune, idiotic, unscrupulous social basket case; it is matters of the heart. Just the other day I watched a small group of males and females with ages ranging from 34 to 46 act like a group of kindergartners fighting over who's playing next to who in the sandbox (pure imagination considering I've not been to school lol). And it was all due to love. Whether one is 16 or 61; throw sex and emotions into the mix, we all revert to a very primal instinct. Defense of territory. Which brings me to my third and final installment of 'A Woman's Worth'

Yinka Shonibar's Diary of a Victorian Dandy: 0.300 hours
Now I really should be doing homework, but over the last few months I've developed feelings for someone that has me very distracted. He's single, but there are a lot of women in his life (old and new) vying for his attention. This predicament that I find myself in has got me thinking about womanizers, players, dandies, and polygamists; and how they effect the value that a woman put's on herself in a relationship. 

My viewpoint on committed relationships may be a little different from most women. I grew up in a family where the patriarch had relations with multiple females concurrently, yet it wasn't governed by any particular religious belief or culture. This was not a lifestyle that my parents agreed on when they first married, but something that my father manipulated my mother into over the years. 

Cleopatra is a representation of a woman's influence over men. 
I was taught that a woman is supposed to unconditionally serve the man in all aspects; and this theory was supported with examples from various cultures, belief systems and religions. Since then I've formulated my own thesis on the subject using biology to support my ideas. For me it boils down to this: if man hadn't created the institution of marriage and monogamy, as a species we'd have one primary focus. To be fruitful and multiply (or the survival or our species). On average a woman produces one egg a month, and once it is fertilized, gestation is complete, birth commences and the lactation period ends, two years would have passed. In contrast, a man has nowhere near the procreation limits that a female has. His millions of sperm gives him the ability to make multiple babies with only one orgasm. He is neither the vessel nor a source of nourishment for life, giving him free agency to plant his seeds as often and in as many places as he is physically able. That being the case I fully understand a male's struggle with maintaining a monogamous relationship. It's biological baby!

Harriet Tubman helped roughly 300 slaves
escape slavery. 


Now you may ask "Aziza, does that mean you are a polygamist?" And my answer is yes and no. 
Western culture dictates that a relationship between a man and a woman should consist of one man and one woman. Some feminists believe that any female who allows her man to be with other females, degrades and devalues herself, while putting the integrity of their coupling at risk. My opinion is that a woman sets her own value. There is no institution or belief system that can do that without her approval. You can be in monogamous relationship, but your partner cheats on you and treats you like shit, or you can be the 4th wife of a loving household who has the support of 3 sister wives. You can also represent a minuscule fraction of the bedded roster of a modern day Casanova, or one half of a power couple ready to take on the world. My point is, the going rate of a female individual is set by said female individual (yes I objectified us). If a woman holds themselves in high value, than others will hold them in high value also. If you know your worth, than you will set a standard for yourself, and everyone around you has no other choice but to except that standard.
Harriet Beecher Stow's Uncle Tom's Cabin was
pivotal in the abolition of slavery by garnering sympathy
for the plight of African Americans.


Granted we have centuries of oppression piled onto everything feminine. Periods where we were declared and burned as witches because we began menstruating. Rapes inflicted on us as a spoil of war. Belief systems that alienate us during our monthly cycle and religions that blame us for sin and suffering. But as a source of infinite power and the cradle of life, drawing those who want to own and control us is to be expected.

We as women have to recognize the power we have in ourselves. In doing so we will recognize that same power in our own daughters and other women, in turn increasing the agreed value of our species.  I mean, when you think about it from a theological stand point, if man was created first, women are version 2.0. (You know, the version after the kinks were worked out). And from a scientific standpoint, female chromosomes are XX while male are XY. What is a Y but an X missing a leg (things that make you go hmmm).

Though still working on her legacy
Aziza Kibibi knows she's the shit. 
So I go through all this to say what about love and relationships? Only you can determine how to conduct your relationship.  Titles like polygamy and monogamy only have the weight we give them. When a woman understands her worth, she sets the standards of her relationship with a man and uses the power to determine what she will and what she will not allow. Whether she shares a man with another awesome female or keeps the man to herself, does not decide her value in a relationship. 
But, the value she puts on herself as a female and human being does.  

We are the origin of humanity; we are the saviors of civilization; we are masters of ingenuity and we are the nurturers of nations. We are jewels finer than any that can be appraised by an outside source. Study and know your worth ladies, and you will find that it is beyond measure.  




Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Woman's Worth. Part 2





In an oversexed society, one challenge I've faced in raising my daughters is convincing them of the value of their sexuality. How can I expect them to heed my suggestions on when, why and who they engage sexually with, when casual sex is commonplace in the media and among their friends. 
The teenagers in my daughter's school, are engaging in sexual activity before they even know what a menstrual is. Real life examples such as these threaten to ruin all the hard work I put into establishing sexual morals and ethics in my girls. 

And don't get me started with the boys (those of body and those of mind) that try to convince young ladies that giving up the cookie  "is not a big deal" and attempt to guilt their female comrades to engage because "everybody else is doing it".  Which brings me to the point of this installment of 'A Woman's Worth'. 

If giving up the cookie is not a big deal, why are their so many people lined up to stick their hands in the cookie jar? And if everybody is doing it and seeing it and showing it, why should that decrease it's value?

As Summer's Eve demonstrates in the advertisement above, one thing that adds to a woman's worth, is her sex (that may sound sexist, but it's a fact). Men fight for it; they are inspired by it; they build careers based on it (money, cars and nice houses draws cookie like light draws moths); they go to jail for it; they die for it; they sacrifice for it; I mean, the list goes on. 

Yoni is the source of life, it is inspiration for music and poetry and has been a subject of visual art for centuries. It has been a bargaining chip in times of war and it's required to maintain civilization. Some religions and cultures believe that it's essence can increase personal power and extend one's life span. It is the one thing that no matter how available it is, it never depreciates. So I teach my girls to take care of it, keep it clean and healthy and that instead of giving up the cookie to whoever asks, make sure they know that the one they share it with, is worthy. 


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Woman's Worth. Part 1





I am a feminist; I am a humanist; I am an egalitarian; I am an entrepreneur; I am an employee; I am an employer; I am a writer; I am a mother; I am a survivor; I am a daughter; I am a sister; I am a woman.


I have contemplated what position I want to portray to the public concerning my beliefs politically, religiously and otherwise. Then I thought; why does it matter? It really shouldn't because my experiences growing up effects every single one of us (directly and indirectly) no matter your race, color, income bracket, political position and yes; sex or gender. 

But of course, as someone who is in the process of publishing a book, I have to take these things into consideration when it comes to marketing. As a female in the public eye with a platform concerning sex, I have to consider how I dress, what I say, how my own sexuality is received etc; if I want my message to get across. I call this the necessary evils of consumerism. But, God help me, I will stay true to myself, the cause and by all means maintain my integrity. 

Amidst the many hat's that I wear, professional consumer is one of them. I love fashion, movies, fine dining, music and technology. I can tell you when Christian Louboutins are going on sale, and which "Italian" designer handbags are really made in china. I utilize Ebates on most of my online purchases for cash back benefits, and I was a member of GILT and Ideeli before the websites even launched.  

It was through my automatic repeat of Beyonce's new album 'Beyonce', playing on my iPad Mini, connected via bluetooth to my Big Jambox that I first heard of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. (Even in my consumer hat I still learn stuff)

She is a beautiful African author who happens to be born the same year as me, five days later. She is a feminist; a humanist; an egalitarian; a writer; a daughter; a friend and my new inspiration. 

Please enjoy and share your thoughts!

Be great!


('A Woman's Worth' will be a series of short posts on this blog during the month of February, acknowledging the awesome power of female. Please check back often.)






Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Birds and the Bees

As a survivor of sexual exploitation, the most challenging aspect of recovery is one's outlook on sex. I went through many stages in my sexual growth and it's safe to say I continue to go through them. As a little girl I was confused between the sensations I was feeling, if what was happening to me was right or wrong, fear, and the stress on my body. I have children and I know sexual exploration is a part of growing up, but to have it forced on you is traumatizing to say the least.
 By the time I reached puberty my father had pushed my body to the point that my physical senses were numb and my mentality was that him raping me was another one of my household chores. If I wanted to avoid being choked or punched while he had intercourse with me, it was best that I didn't fight. 
I went from a little girl who's innocence and love for her father was used against her, to a teenager who's will had been broken to the point that she fit perfectly into the role created for her; to a grown woman with little identity of her own; sexual or otherwise. So what now?


At twenty five years old I'd already been having sex most of my life; but I'd never had an orgasm, I didn't see sex as something that was suppose to be pleasurable for a woman, and I'd been trained to please one person. When I was with my first, outside of my dad, I really wanted to express how I felt about him physically. We talked on the phone, spent time together and I told him what happened to me. I trusted him and when we kissed for the first time (one of the many things I hated doing with my father) my body ignited with sensations that I didn't know was possible. I wanted him, and I wanted him bad! But when the day finally came, it was a disaster. As soon as I felt his penis, seventeen years of sexual abuse came flooding back. I didn't break down, I didn't bolt and I didn't refuse; I reverted back to the trained obedient little girl I grew up as, and I went through the motions of making this man cum. As soon as that happened, I felt nothing. No amazing sensation running through my body, no will, no understanding if I liked what was happening or not. I was again the orifice being used for a man to get his rocks off on. And it was horrible. 
I felt like everything that I built with this man went out of the window. I was embarrassed, ashamed and because he didn't orgasm, I felt like I didn't do my job. 
This whole experience made me resentful. I was away from my father, yet he was still present in my life through my interactions with another man. I knew that had to change.
Thanks to my dad, sex was something negative in many ways, and I had to dispel so many head games it was crazy! Without knowing anything about psychology, I knew I had to deprogram the associations I made between sex and misery, and start all over again. 
 Sex statue in Thirumayam temple.
I started to read books on sex (scientific and entertainment), masturbation, female anatomy, sexual art, fetishes, female orgasm (and ejaculation) and different cultural sexual practices. I watched porn and read erotic literature, while paying attention to what aroused me and what didn't. If I saw images that pertained to my father but still triggered sensual sensations in me, I didn't shy away from it. I told myself that if other women can enjoy it, than there's no reason I couldn't either. From there, I started masturbating. I was the only one I trusted with myself so, I enjoyed myself, by myself. I communicated with the man (who became my first love) everything that I did and he was in full support. Then one day while having an erotic dream, I woke up in the middle of my first orgasm! After that, I couldn't get enough. Rape? What rape? Molestation? What molestation? Daddy? Who the hell was that and what did he have to do with my orgasm? This became my viewpoint of the pleasure my body was capable of feeling.

(Side note: God created sex as a means to reproduce. In order to make a baby a man has to orgasm but a woman doesn't. Yet we still have the ability to orgasm. Which means, God gave us our orgasm just for us to enjoy! I'm just saying... woo hoo!)

Once I was comfortable with my ability to have sexual feelings without associating it with something negative, I introduced my boyfriend. And the rest is history. 

Recovering after sexual trauma is a process. It takes work, focus and practice. But first one must accept that they have a right to and deserve to enjoy sex again. Starting with the passion to retake the power stolen from you, and not allowing the abuser to maintain control after the attack, enjoying sex without hangups is possible, and very probable. 



My father performed cunnilingus on me when he started molesting me, and today cunnilingus is probably my favorite sexual activity. Im not ashamed to say that there may be some association pertaining to (this is where I get technical) Unconditioned Stimulus, Conditioned Stimulus and everything else concerning classical conditioning and Ivan Pavlov. But I don't care! It could be, and it could not be. I'm not going to dwell on it because doing so would just be a continuation of crediting and/or discrediting my father for my sex life.  At the same time if there is association, oh well. There's nothing I can do about it now. I need to live my life, and that includes enjoying the pleasure that myself and someone I care about can give me.  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

S.O.S.

I'm not sure if I should be blogging while I'm in this state of mind, but I'm going to anyway.
I'm not usually one to pity myself; shit happens basically. I've had children looking up to me all my life. First my siblings; they depended on me to entertain them for the hours our parents weren't home, to figure out what to eat when I wasn't old enough to use the stove; to keep them focused when we had to do our homework and stop whichever baby from crying when our mother wasn't around to breastfeed. When I had my own children I had to do some of the same things, but on top of that be a better example of a mother than what my own was. And that included protecting my daughters from my father. 
  



My father favored my children which also created animosity amongst everyone else. There were so many  psychologically confusing dynamics in our family that it's made me somewhat of a pro at dealing with stress in my life today. In addition I feel like I have to project a certain level of togetherness and strength to those around me. I can count the times on one hand that my children have seen me cry. Eighty percent of the time that I'm sick, I still go to work and school. Depression is not an option and if I feel a rut coming on I get exercising, or writing. You may ask; what is your point Aziza? And my reply is: despite the fact that I am doing well considering what my life has been there are times that I need help. But I have a serious problem asking for it. 

                                                                           

When my father would come into my bedroom when I was nine, he'd tell me that telling my mother would make her go crazy and I'd never see her again. And this was only one of the many lies he used to confuse his daughter to maintain control. After beating me because I tried to fight back when I was twelve, he said that my compliance gave him the strength to take care of the family.  I became use to having a lot of responsibility with little assistance.  There were decisions I had to make as a child that effected my entire family. And I was led to believe that if I asked for help the result would end in someone else's peril or sacrifice. Today, I don't want to put anyone out of their way, or have them inconvenience themselves for me. It's natural for me to put the needs of others in front of my own, but I have to convince myself that I'm deserving of the same treatment. Which is work in itself. So If I have a problem or a challenge, I pull up my boot straps, buckle down and handle my own business. But just lately I've been feeling  overwhelmed. There aren't enough hours in the day, days in the week, weeks in the month or months in the year for me to get all I have to do done. At the same time if I have a day where there isn't as much to do or things can't get done because they are outside of my control, I feel useless and unproductive. 


                                                                         
What am I suppose to do with myself? And that question is not rhetorical either. If anyone reading this post has any suggestions, I implore you to let me know. And while I'm at it, if you know a literary agent, a publisher, an editor, how to write a grant proposal, a financial advisor, a lawyer and have suggestions on dealing with a fourteen year old boy who's father is his grandfather who happens to be in jail for molesting, beating and raping his mother; please tell me. Because I need some help. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Power of Knowledge

I have one more day in my fall semester at Essex County College. I'm anxious about my grade in my most challenging class; French.  I also took African American History II, Biology 101 and Cinema appreciation to go towards the fulfillment of my communications degree. I'm thinking about things like maintaining my grade point average, and what am I going to do after I graduate. There was a time I never thought I'd have concerns like making it to class in the morning, or getting an assignment submitted on time. And here I am a full fledge college student. 

I sit in class on some days, distracted by the young adults around me sighing out loud in complaint of the Professor's homework assignment. It was frustrating for the progression of my African American history class to be hindered by students that didn't appreciate the opportunity to get an education. There we were, watching a film on the sacrifices people made to improve the quality of the educational system, and the young people watching were uninterested! I just didn't get it. If they only knew what it was like to want to go to school, and not be allowed to.


My father homeschooled me until I was 11. Before he stopped teaching me, he promised that I would go to high-school. I looked forward to the day I'd walk through school doors and sit in a classroom with other students. Well, while under my father's rule, that day never came.  By the time I was 14, my dad banned education among me and my siblings all together. Any teaching I did of my brothers and sisters, I did in secret. I had to worry about my father finding worksheets I created for my sisters to practice their handwriting. I got nervous any time he walked in on them reading a book. So when I watched a film in class on Fredrick Douglass, showing him sneaking around to learn to read, I became overwhelmed with emotion. That film and any others like it themed in slavery, connects to my life growing up on so many levels. Therefore it pains me to see others take the opportunity they have to get an education for granted. 




Kermit sacrificed himself for science and education. 
Learning French gave me a better understanding of English. I've seen the inside of a frog up close and personal. I learned that the free school breakfast my kids eat in the morning, is thanks to a man named Heuy P. Newton; and instead of just watching a film, I can't help but analyze the editing, cinematography and Mise-en-Scene.


I didn't get the chance to walk through school doors and sit in a class room with other students until I was 35 years old. And most of the other students are my daughter's age. I may feel a little uncomfortable when one of these kids wants to give me attitude like I'm their peer, because I'm harshly reminded of my seniority over them. I've even had professors 8 years my junior which is a test in humility in itself. But I'm not embarrassed and I'm not ashamed because I'm using my opportunity to get an education for all it's worth. Better late than never, is what I say. 


Food for thought (this time it's literal):

In January, 1969, the Free Breakfast for School Children Program was initiated at St. Augustine's Church in Oakland by the Black Panther Party. The Panthers would cook and serve food to the poor inner city youth of the area. Initially run out of a St. Augustine's Church in Oakland, the Program became so popular that by the end of the year, the Panthers set up kitchens in cities across the nation, feeding over 10,000 children every day before they went to school.[1

Monday, December 9, 2013

Giving Thanks

I look forward to the holiday season. I love to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and I revel in the smiles that come after someone opens a gift I gave them for Christmas. 
My father stopped us from celebrating holidays some time ago. I don't even remember exactly when, but I remember controversy between my dad and my mom's family surrounding Christmas,
My Apple Rosemary Turkey
Easter and Kwanzaa every year. When my aunts tried to give me and my siblings East
er baskets, he didn't allow us to except them because he said they purchased them after Easter, when the baskets went on sale. Sometimes I was allowed to keep the toys my extended family gave me for Christmas; that is until my father threw them away before spring the next year. 
Well, now that I have my own family, I make sure I make up for lost time. 
My first Christmas after I got my children back from foster care, was especially memorable. I couldn't afford a christmas tree so I bought a spiral "tree" made up of lights from the supermarket. I
My famous Macaroni and Cheese
spent most of December that year  checking the newspaper for community programs that were giving away presents to low income families. I made my way around to four different organization collecting wrapped boxes that said 'boy' or 'girl' so I could make the small space under our vertical light display overflow with boxes with items 
inside unknown to even me. I was determined to make my children's first christmas at home with their mother, just like the holiday episodes of popular sitcoms. And I did. The smiles on my children's faces, and the excitement in their voices, made me feel like the best mother

in the world. The effect that their response had on me the first Christmas I created for my family, motivates and will continue to motivate me every year. And yeah I know there was conflict on the first Thanksgiving day, and there's confusion about what day Christ was born on; but the tradition of cooking food, cleaning house, planning outfits, shopping for presents, and decorating a tree, all for the people that are most important to me; well.....just makes the logistics about dates and origin seem unimportant. I love to watch my children enjoy the fruits of my labor and I adore when my family wears or uses something that I gave them.  
I, pray for the Native American souls that were taken during the first Thanksgiving, just like I acknowledge the celebration of the day that Christ was born. But the most important thing to me is being able to appreciate and celebrate the holidays in my own home (and sometimes at grandmas house) surrounded by my children. And for that, I am truly grateful.