It’s not an everyday encounter that one will bear before the public and let out the secrets that have for forever lounged somewhere in the crevices of their heart.
While at university, our creative writing lecturer always argued that all form of writing has a membrane of fiction underneath it. To him, the writer chooses what they want their reader to read not necessarily what they should read.
NO MAKEUP ON is a tale of a real life experience which is not alien to many of us. Often times in the process of writing, some details are deliberately left out for fear of the revelations they will tell of the author’s past. Some experiences are still fresh in the author’s heart that they cannot bring themselves to writing them down. Or they awaken yester demons making them alive again to haunt them. So they prefer to have them left unattended. These and more are the experiences that characterise the writing of a factual piece of writing to be presented as a piece of fiction. They require a given degree of boldness to stand up to them. These masks and makeup are never enough. They call for attention so they do not fall off or wear out. One should be found on guard all the time. And this is tedious work. It drains the pursuer.
It takes a lot of courage—I believe—for a women to reap themselves off the makeup they are wearing to tell their stories.
Reading Hope Babigumira’s book comes with a notification on the screen of one’s life, it is all make up if you are trying to cover up pieces of you. Makeup tends to make things look better than they are in real terms. Photographers tend to add a layer of makeup on a photos to conceal details that may not make the photo to be as glamorous as they want it to appear.
The only challenge with makeup is that it is so temporary. It only lasts for a few hours and wears off. Worse, if the rain found you outside, it would wash it off without so much trying. And yet wearing makeup for long has a side effect on the skin. There are so many shades of makeup worn by both men and women. What differs is the volume worn and how often one re-makesup.
In her book, Hope wears off her makeup mask. She writes of the story of her life, the struggles she has had to deal with growing up. What she does with this book is to bring the skeletons of her past and the masks of her present life at the altar of the page before the reader.
One thing that strikes as you as you read this book is the many skeletons we all have hidden in our closets and how sooner than later they will have to be brought out before they come falling off.
While reading, I found myself pausing and having to reflect on my own life, the past that I have lived and how much of it remains unknown.
In trying to etch out a life of her own, Hope spends more time reading romance novels building an image of what she was yet to learn was a fictitious life. She runs around as a teenager with a yearning to live this kind of life. She, before long, finds herself in wrong company doing the very things her loving mother warned her against. For fear of telling her story, she plunges her life in cycle of sex and alcohol.
Her desire of wanting to deal with the daddy issues in her life lead nowhere. Having lost her father at early age of 5, Hope grew up without a father relationship and worse of it, her experiences with some of the men she met in her life were not necessarily the best.
Hope is on a mission to change other girls’ stories by telling hers. The good thing is that hers is already told in a neatly written book NO MAKE UP ON.
AUTHOR: Hope Babigumira
TITLE: No Makeup on
Cover by Nomad Advertising Ltd