EARTHA KITT’S RECIPE OF LIFE
“The stage floor was a stage of thin ice for me to tread. To hold my own or to sink through and die, never to be remembered.”
Showbiz is the mouth of a hungry fish in an aquarium. It gobbles up anything and everything in its vicinity. Once inside, it swallows the things that cater to its taste and belches out the rest, leaving in its trail a pitiful line of stale dreams. You can never just hover around the edges of showbiz without getting sucked into it. If and when you do make your way out, you have undergone mutations in your mind and body, as if centuries of evolution have been compressed into a few experiences. One of the more fortunate ones was the charismatic Eartha Kitt. Despite not being a cult hero, her words and works beg for deeper understanding and attention. Her insight into core human nature and its subsequent reflection in her autobiographies are replete with lessons for us to learn from.
The most important experience that people usually take time to wrap their heads around is the value of oneself. We have a habit of outsourcing this analysis to our lovers, our bosses, our workplace or our relatives and we come to conclusions based on their understanding of us. Eartha Kitt, although a victim to the same folly like any other human being, urges us to do the contrary. To form an opinion of ourselves based purely on our own understanding, despite the hardships that surround us; which is why she rightly says, “My recipe for life is not being afraid of myself, afraid of what I think or of my opinions.”
Her take on love is imbued with a fierce independence, the absence of which has plagued the female race with self-doubt and other detrimental practices. Her thoughts echo in her words, “It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self-love deficit.”
She has propagated her views along the same lines throughout her life because the inherent patriarchy of our society has made her wiser. She says that, “A man has always wanted to lay me down but he never wanted to pick me up.” Painful as it is, it resonates even today with women of this new generation or with love in general that seems to have turned into a bodily affair, devoid of emotions and commitment. Despite not being the voice she would have wanted herself to become, it rests upon us to imbibe the seriousness of her words and to advocate their importance.
“I fall in love with myself, and I want someone to share it with me. And I want someone to share me, with me.” She has urged us to celebrate who we are and extend to our lovers an invitation for joining this celebration—to be a part of your better half’s celebration as well and to make love a community where people mutually rejoice in each other’s faiths and festivities.
Her words have always been a strong bearer of the virtues of self-importance and humility. She seems to urge us to not doubt our true nature and to not let others be the judge of how we should conduct ourselves or map our lives. The fierce proponent that she is of the same is reflected in her words, “I do not have an act. I just do Eartha Kitt. I want to be whoever Eartha Kitt is until the gods take me wherever they take me.”
The futility of material pleasures and the distrust that its availability carries, is a burden she had tried to jettison throughout her life. To her, the soil she’s born of and the one to which she returned were the real treasures to possess. Which is why, one of her more memorable sayings is, “I’m a dirt person. I trust the dirt. I don’t trust diamonds and gold.”
Eartha Mae Kitt was an American actress, singer and cabaret star. But more importantly, she was a fountain of wisdom dispensing herself perpetually for generations after to drink and learn from. Despite being once hailed as “the most exciting woman in the world”, her humility and an eternal thirst for knowledge and human emotions, makes her a voice that needs to be heard again. Because as she rightly says: “I am learning all the time. My tombstone will be my diploma.” And I sincerely hope that we engrave ours with lessons aplenty from hers.