Between the Lines :Phillip Chidavaenzi
Title: The Scars Beneath Our Bracelets
Author: Tariro Matibiri
Publisher: Royalty Books (2020)
INTELLECTUAL property expert Tariro Matibiri documents women’s life experiences and how the scars from their battles are often hidden beneath their bracelets.
This is about drawing priceless lessons from every life experience.
Matibiri uses anecdotes like slices from different women’s lives to drive her message home: the dreamy newly-wed who is accidentally confronted by her husband’s cheating ways, the woman whose treasured friendship collapses in inexplicable circumstances, the young woman trying to map out her life after high school only to realise she lacks the necessary cartographical skill to do so.
The author integrates her life experiences and those of other women in the book and emphasises that the nuggets you find scattered throughout the book like gold dust are culled from “life’s harshest moments; hers, and those of others”.
The wisdom shared throughout the book will enable the reader to reflect on them and grow as a person. The author’s desire is to usher the reader to that place where they are able to improve their life emotionally.
Matibiri is able to seamlessly integrate women’s life experiences into her writing, like that young woman whose dream marriage, perceived through rose-tinted spectacles, crashes down on the rocks of reality after discovering that her husband is seeing another woman behind her back.
We also get to appreciate how women are often torn between two unpalatable choices: continuing with a casanova husband or dealing with the reality of being a single mother, itself an uncomfortable position in a society that is quick to pass judgments.
The blame game in which everyone else tends to justify the husband’s actions, almost blaming the woman for the man’s cheating ways, is meticulously portrayed.
And such knowledge must allow us to introspect concerning the roles we have played in that blame game.
Another anecdote is about the collapse of a decade-long friendship. Matibiri writes: “Over the years, I have made and lost friends, largely because of miscommunication and distance, but lately I have come to understand that not everyone you start your life with will stick with you until the end. To embrace this, I have learnt the power in reaching out to ghosted friends to clear the air and move on. Where the process is unappreciated, I have learnt to respect the space that someone is in without allowing it to reflect who I am not.” (pp11).
“Many times, our focus when we talk about love is on a romantic level or concerning our family. These past decades, and as an area of continuous growth, my focus when it comes to learning about love is with my female friends.” (pg11)
You continue to grow into who you are destined to be. I hope you find the strength to forgive yourself for friendships lost and broken bonds. May you be at peace with the realisation that not everyone will walk with you until the end of your journey. Honour the lessons learnt.
The biggest struggle for people in life is forgiving self: “I pray you find it in your heart to frgive what you can and, most importantly, to forgive yourself for whatever it is you are using to hold you back from completely healing. May God guide you, heal you, and bless you.” (pp12)
Matibiri is bold and honest enough to lay her life bare for inspection — only if it can offer sufficient reflections to teach others find their way in the world: “It hurts that life has no formula. In our search for deeper meaning and understanding of what love is, we cannot help but question certain things that seem to be running against our biological clocks.” (pp16)
Touching on leadership, Matibiri shares lessons learnt from her father who spent years in the military and “emphasised the importance of having the right person lead you into battle”.
(pp18). The major lesson on leadership here is that leadership is not about your position, but who you are.
A speaker and member of Toastmasters (TM), said she had to overcome her fears of people’s perceptions of her to be where she is today. She writes: “Although it took me a year to deliver my first icebreaker (introductory) speech, that gave me enough time to realise that standing in front of strangers and sharing things about myself helped me connect with not only my true self, but with my audience. When you share your story, it may seem like an act of vulnerability, but with vulnerability comes power.” (pp25).
The book is filled with lessons that anyone seeking to break out of any kind of shell will find very useful. It is indeed a worthy read and life-transforming offering.