I love that a book of poetry is a best seller. I love that a book of poetry that is so empowering to women is a best seller. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur is the best birthday gifts I got this year. For a moment at my family birthday party it got a bit awkward because my two-year-old nephew kept flipping through the pages. He liked that it had pictures and black pages (too funny!). I’m grateful that no one else really tried to flip through it because sometimes there’s a time and a place for conversations about sexuality.
I quickly realized that Kaur’s collection was not a one-time read; I knew that I would need to read this a few times in order to let the honesty and the power of the words sink in. I applaud Rupi Kaur for her bravery and honesty, yet I also understand her compulsion to write the collection, as written in her foreword:
my heart woke me crying last night
how can i help i begged
my heart said
write the book
This foreword set the tone for the entire collection. It’s about revealing and healing from past hurt. It’s about finding and regaining control and power over heart and body. It is a journey of realization and surviving. Mostly, it is about healing.
One of the things I loved most about this poetry collection is her overall positive message about being women. Women are constantly being stripped of power and dignity through media and through patriarchal systems, yet she reminds her readers that women are strong and resilient: “collectively, we’ve seen the worst of humankind and lived. we have a piece of god in us… we are soft even when the roughness comes and breaks our skin–we live. we fall and get up and keep living. we live through it all. so every part of us is worth celebrating.” (From “Rupi Kaur: The Poetess Behind Milk & Honey” by Sabrina Estrella from “UCLA Feminist Magazine“) I love that line, “every part of us is worth celebrating,” because it is one thing to say this/ write this, but is an entirely different to believe it and honour it.
Having just broken up with my boyfriend, I think that my sister, who gifted me this book, knew that I needed it. I needed to see my relationship as a gift, as moments to treasure and moments to learn from. I needed to feel confident in myself again, to love myself first. I do see my past relationship as a gift, and I always did. Yet now I needed a reminder that I am enough. I needed to remember that I am beautiful the way I am. I needed to remember that I am a whole person and I don’t need someone to complete me. I can find a partner, yet if I can’t love myself I will never be truly happy.
Ever since my grade 13 English class, I have known that poetry is powerful. Poetry can heal. I am so grateful for Rupi Kaur for writing Milk and Honey and the healing it has allowed me to find.
“if you were born with / the weakness to fall / you were born with / the strength to rise” (Kaur, Pg 156)
“So God created humans in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)