Inside "Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth"

Inside "Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth"

Ladies, this is a must read!
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Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Warsan Shire eloquently brings readers into her reality, filled with contradictions and conflict, and inspires others to do the same with their story.

"Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth" by Kenyan-born Somali poet Warsan Shire captures the story of every woman. From yearning to self-identity and all those in between, she lays out the path for her reader to expel her demons and find redemption. Though the title might sound audacious, Shire does not mean any disrespect or bear any hatred towards her mother. Shire hopes in telling her mother how to give birth, she will find a greater purpose within herself – she is more than what her religion or ethnicity says she is.

Shire does not spare any details, her voice flies unto the page with raw emotion. In “Your Mother’s First Kiss,” the first line she writes goes “The first boy to ever kiss your mother later raped women when the war broke out.” If she is not writing intriguing first liners, she is wrapping her reader around one of her main themes: feminine virtue or the lack thereof.

In “Beauty," Shire writes about her promiscuous sister, who has an affair with her neighbor’s husband. “It’s 4 a.m and she winks at me, bending over the sink / her small breasts bruised from sucking / she smiles, pops her gun before saying / boys are haram, don’t ever forget that.” Though Shire’s older sister is being loose, she gives her young sister advice on how to keep her innocence (ironically) by telling her that boys are forbidden, but the younger sister pays no mind because everything that leaves her older sister’s mouth “sounds like sex.”

“Birds” finds the reader mulling over the issue of virginity – how sacred men make it seem and how some women hold it in little regard. “Sofia used pigeon blood on her wedding night / next day over the phone, she told me / how her husband smiled when he saw the sheets / that he gathered them under his nose / closed his eyes and dragged his tongue over the stain.” The husband is unaware that he was tricked but he praises her anyway, calling her pure and chaste. Shire shows how important men from her country find chastity to be; even men in the 21st century feel themselves swell with pride when they get to be the first one to deflower their lover.

What Shire does best is understand the identity of the women in her life. The women are bound by the age old order of oppression. In “The Kitchen,” the woman is portrayed as weak, letting her husband have sex with her even when she is knowledgeable about his affair. The wife comes to terms with her husband’s infidelity with “sweet mangoes and sugared lemon / he had forgotten the way you taste / sour dough and cumin / but she cannot make him eat, like you.”

She continues on the next page with “Fire,” which felt like a fitting sequel to “The Kitchen." The woman gets a phone call from her mother that does not seem like something a mother would say. “What do you mean he hit you? / your father hit me all the time / but I never left him / He pays the bills / and he comes home at night / what more do you want?” Shire drives the point home that women in her culture would rather suffer the hand that they are dealt instead of making life better for themselves.

In this collection of poems, men are shameful, deceitful, and downright dirty. “When We Last Saw Your Father” is about a father who is staring at the hospital building, looking at all the lighted windows wondering which one of those rooms bares his mistake. The men hold no significance to Shire, if anything, they are the catalyst of why the women act the way they do. The men make the women disregard themselves and pass onto their daughters that the same must be done if they want to keep a man.

Warsan will do the opposite, as she writes in “In Love and In War." Instead of making sure her daughter fits into societies’ barriers, she says “To my daughter I will say / ‘when the men come, set yourself on fire’." Much like the woman did in the “Fire” poem, Warsan Shire wants her daughter to kill herself first before she lets a man take advantage of her. For Shire, that is the bigger lesson to be taught, the lesson that her mother could never understand and teach her own daughter.

Shire paints these traumatic and sensual experiences for the reader with finesse and vigor. This is not just her story; this is the story of others who will forever be in silence. Warsan Shire describes herself as a female activist; to her, it is important to nurture a young woman into being strong about her beliefs and herself. She wrote this book for those that do not have that mother, aunt, or sister in their lives telling them to be great without apology.

Cover Image Credit: toallthebooksivereadbefore.wordpress.com

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The 10 Stages Of A 2:30 P.M. Kickoff, As Told By Alabama Students

But we still say Roll MF Tide!

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We all have a love-hate relationship with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff at Bryant Denny Stadium, especially when it's 94 degrees.

1. Immediate sadness

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What do you mean I have to wake up at 9 a.m. to get ready?

2. Bracing yourself for the worst

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It's a marathon not a sprint ladies and gentleman.

3. Accepting the game is going to happen

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Rain or shine we are all in that student section screaming our heads off.

4. Trying to wear the least amount clothes possible without being naked on the Quad

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Is it me or does it get 10 times more hot the minute you walk on to the quad?

5. Shedding a tear when you walk out your front door once you feel the heat and humidity on your skin

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Is it fall yet?

6. Drowning your sorrows inside a Red Solo cup at 11:30 a.m. at a fraternity tailgate

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Maybe I'll forget about the humidity if I start frat hopping now.

7. Getting in line to go through security realizing it'll take an hour to actually get inside Bryant Denny

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More security is great and all but remember the heat index in Alabama? Yeah, it's not easy being smushed like sardines before even getting into Bryant Denny.

8. Feeling the sweat roll down every part of your body

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Oh yeah I am working on my tan and all but what is the point of showering before kick off?

9. Attempting to cheer on the Tide, but being whacked in the head with a shaker by the girl behind you. 

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Shakers are tradition, but do we have to spin it around in a full 360 every two seconds? I have a migraine from just thinking about it.

10. Leaving a quarter into the game because Alabama is kicking ass and you're about to have a heat stroke.

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I'll watch the rest in air conditioning thank you very much!

We may not love the 2:30 kickoffs but Roll Tide!

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12 Not-So-Boujee Must Haves For Your First Home/Apartment, If You Want To Actually Survive

Broom > Swiffer. Trust me.

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Whether a college student or just moving into your first home or apartment, here is a list of things you probably didn't know you needed.

1. Shower Curtain Rod. 

In my furnished apartment, I was thinking the past tenant would have left this item. WRONG. Walmart is going to be your best bet for getting this, I went to at least three other stores first, and none of them had it so save yourself time and just go to Walmart.

2. Organizers. 

I was lucky enough to already have one. However, drawer organizers are so important. Not only do they save space for me in my apartment and on my desk, but it acts as my nightstand. Living on the fourth floor of my apartment, the last thing I wanted to do was haul a wooden nightstand up to my room. So get an organizer that has wheels, they usually have colored drawers so they can follow whatever color scheme you have going on.

3. Wall Decorations. 

I'm usually not one worried about decorating, but the walls will feel empty without even a cheap poster from Walmart or family photos. Something about decorating just really makes it feel more like home, than if you had just an empty room.

4. Oil Diffuser.

This was new to me. However, not only does my oil diffuser give a little extra light when it's on, but my room always smells amazing now, even if the rest of the house smells like food. Scentsy pots work too, but with the oil diffusers there's less mess and you can use oils similar to DoTerra for health and mood benefits.

5. Tinfoil. 

We all eat food. And let's be honest, college students are lazy and life is so much easier when you can just throw tinfoil on top of your dish and toss it in the fridge. Especially when you're in a hurry. Yes, that's also what Tupperware is for but you also can use it for cooking in the oven.

6. Rugs. 

Most kitchens are hardwood or tile of some sort, having a rug in front of the entrance and in front of the sink are essential to creating less mess to clean. We have a lot of guests in our apartment and since we don't have carpet anywhere but our rooms, it is tough to ask for shoes off so having a rug at the front door can cut down the amount of dirt tracked in.

7. Lamps. 

Lighting can be limited in rooms so it's nice to bring some sort of extra lighting. Either a stand up lamp or just a desk lamp can make a huge difference in the lighting of your room.

8. Dry Shampoo. 

This is less of a need for your home and more of a need for you. I have recently jumped on the dry shampoo trend and it's a life-saver. If you have a long night of studying or wake up late and don't have time to wash your hair, it's a great fix and easy way to keep from looking like you are losing your mind.

9. Extension Cords. 

If you didn't figure this out in a dorm, you are now. Outlets can be in inconvenient places, and as a college student, you have to have space to plug in a laptop, printer, phone, lamps, and anything else that you need to plug in. Extension cords and power strips will solve that problem.

10. Broom. 

Yes, a broom. Not a swiffer. Sadly, if you have more dirt than dust, a swiffer will do you no good. You can get a cheap broom at just about any store that carries any cleaning supplies.

11. Paper Towel Holder. 

I mean you could go without but it does make things more convenient. Also looks nicer than just having a roll of paper towels sitting on the counter.

12. Cooking Oil. 

Super easy to forget, but used more often than you think. Cooking oil is used for so many things, and if you have a kitchen, make sure you have it. Nothing is worse than having a meal planned and finding out you don't have cooking oil.

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