Rupi Kaur: On Taking Her Body Back

Rupi Kaur: On Taking Her Body Back

"It takes a whole, complete, perfectly-designed person to survive it."
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I first read Rupi Kaur’s poetry collection, “Milk and Honey,” when I was seventeen. Less than a year ago, I cracked open the pages of "Milk and Honey" seeking inspiration to concur a new trauma that surfaced in my life. "Milk and Honey" is split into four sections that work in place of chapters, beginning with “The Hurting,” then, “The Loving,” followed by “The Breaking,” and closing with “The Healing.” These chapters present themselves in a way that replace the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. While grief comes to a close, the trauma of sexual abuse does not. There comes a time for acceptance, but few victims come face to face with a clean cut from their trauma.

In this way, I think Rupi Kaur replaces sexual abuse from a severe, bad experience. There are moments of acceptance, and relapse—triggers between, “I’m okay,” and, “I should be okay, by now.” An attack on the body leaves a victim in very private, continual healing. I wonder what Rupi Kaur would think if I told her I think it is possible to swap between The Healing and The Breaking—sometimes they’re seconds apart.

Listening to the Ted Talk, I felt a serendipitous connection with Kaur and I don’t get homesick, either. Kaur moved around a lot when she was growing up with her family, and now she travels to share her gift of spoken word across the country. She’s used to having “home” as a place she has built inside of herself. A Home that doesn’t come will blueprints or an address.

I didn’t move around much as a child, but in my family, family is what makes a home, a home. Home is what I feel when I am not alone, in my heart. When I feel loved and I love harder, I feel at home. Don't get me wrong, I wish I saw my parents and siblings more often, but living away made me find a place with of comfort within myself. So for me, there is no upstairs or guest house—I am all garden, all open floor plan.

For Rupi, Home is a connection. Home is “washing yesterday out of (her) hair,” brewing coffee “to the sound of children playing outside.” For me home translates to “sunlight kissing my eye lids good morning,” and that can happen anywhere. I now understand that a home is not something easily rebuilt even if I am just seeking sunshine and rain showers. I have an open floor plan, but I come with a lock and key. I have too much to share, and not enough space to put it all. Before my trauma, I would have never volunteered to keep my voice in a storage; Rupi Kaur has taught me I should never have to. I am the window that forces it's self open and lets a draft in, all open floor plan.

Rupi talks about her abuser breaking into her safe haven of a home, and how she forced herself to “close the windows,” “shut the blinds,” and “lock the doors.” Sexual abuse is trauma that shuts your body down in a way you don’t expect it too. It’s about seeing the hunger in your abusers’ eyes and knowing your diaphragm may never push oxygen into your lungs the same way for the rest of your life. It’s about the “fork and knife” that take your spirit away from you, and how all you can do is lie there “wrist nailed to the ground,” and feel like the body you were born into couldn't possibly be yours anymore. Rupi Kaur continues to explain how after her trauma she felt like it hadn’t ended. She says, “When you broke into my home it never felt like mine again, I can’t even let a lover in, without being sick...Every lover who touches me ends up being you, until they aren’t even the ones on top of me anymore, it’s you.”

It’s a different kind of robbery, a different kind of breaking and entering. There aren’t any locks to save yourself, or much you can do at all. Rupi Kaur’s use of this metaphor allows for people that haven’t been through sexual abuse to understand how frightening of an experience being raped or molested can be. She describes the way this "robbery" left her home empty with “no gas, no electricity, no running water.” So here, Rupi Kaur is again trying to describe the way she had lost her sense of self, and comfort within her own body. She later develops this metaphor into describing how she began to transform into what seems an abandoned building, “rotted from head to foot, covered in dust, fruit flies, webs, bugs.” Her abuser took her home and mended it into something she didn’t recognize anymore. Unfortunately, this feeling can surface and linger when other obstacles and hardships come our way.

Rupi Kaur ends her Ted Talk by sharing how writing became "an extension" of herself, and how her "private hobby," saved her life. Writing has saved my life too. When the "waterfall" of tears stop, and your soul is seeking to be refilled look to what makes you feel whole. For me, it is my family that I have found here in Tallahassee; through the sisterhood I joined this fall, and through my writing. Home is "sunlight kissing my eyelids open, and washing yesterday out of my hair." Turn the lights on, place the fan on full blast, and let your heart be whole again.

If you have not read Rupi Kaur's "Milk and Honey", I encourage you to do so. She is an insightful, wise, and strong writer who has inspired me to share my story, and grow into myself instead of "hiding in the upstairs closet." No matter what hardship you are trying to conquer, remember, "It takes a whole, complete, perfectly-designed person to survive it."

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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65 Truths College Students Need to Hear Right Now

Truth every college student needs to hear.
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1. The best memories are ones you actually can remember.

2. God isn’t going to ask you if you were in a top-tier sorority or fraternity at the gates.

3. You failed a test, not your life.

4. Numbers don’t define you.

5. That includes the number you see that is your grade.

6. Also, how much you weigh.

7. As well as if you are a “7/10” on a so-called “hot scale.”

8. Or if you can bench press 200 lbs. (@ all the guys at the gym, please chill.)

SEE ALSO: 7 Reminders Every College Student Needs To Hear Before The Semester Ends

9. Innocence is nothing to be ashamed of.

10. Neither are mistakes.

11. But learn from your mistakes. Mistakes can be lessons, which can be the biggest blessing.

12. Your metabolism isn’t what it used to be and that is okay.

13. You may not always understand what God is doing, but I promise He has a plan.

14. Every person you meet is battling their own struggles.

15. Life isn’t always great moments.

16. But you have to walk through the forest to get to the mountain top.

17. Your heart isn’t damaged. It is temporarily broken but it will be fixed.

18. However, the only one who can fix a broken heart is the one who created it.

19. So a cute boy or hot girl can’t put the pieces back together.

20. Neither can ice cream.

21. But ice cream can totally help.

22. Stop texting your ex. He/She is your ex for a reason.

23. Loving Jesus means loving people.

24. Loving Jesus also means loving the image of Him in the mirror you see.

25. Stop hiding your emotions. Stop crying in the bathroom or behind a locked door. You have people in your life who care about you.

26. Suicide is never the answer.

27. Breathe in, breathe out.

28. Do you feel your heart pump? Do you feel the air exiting your body? That is a sign you are here for a purpose. Your life is no mistake.

29. Just because you doubt, doesn’t mean you don’t believe in Jesus.

30. However, when walking on the water scares you, look to Jesus and keep your eyes on Him.

31. If you have the opportunity to go to school go. There are young girls around the world who would do anything to sit at the desk you are complaining about.

32. Don’t pick a career based on money.

33. However, I promise you can use any passion or gift to serve a purpose bigger than yourself if you allow yourself to give it to the One who gave it to you.

34. You don’t need pretty prayers to please God.

35. Talk to Him like you are talking to a friend.

36. Look for the good in everyone.

37. That includes the mean girl who no one likes. Chances are she is mean for a reason. Someone was once mean to her. Kill her with kindness.

38. Pray to have the Lord’s eyes. See people with love.

39. Try to have the Lord’s hands, always be reaching out to others.

40. Each morning, pray to have the Lord’s feet and go where He calls you.

41. It is a bad day, not a bad life.

SEE ALSO: What It's Like To Be A College Student In April

42. You don’t need a six-pack to find a man who loves you.

43. You need a spouse who will be able to look at you when you are 80, and wrinkly and maybe a little chunky, and you need him to love you then. If he loves you for your body and your hair, I promise he doesn’t actually love you. Looks fade, but love is eternal. Find someone who loves you like Jesus.

44. Do some squats.

45. But squat so you feel good about yourself, not to attract the opposite sex.

46. You are never too old to find a new hobby.

47. You were beautiful before someone told you.

48. If you don’t know if you are in relationship or not, leave. You deserve clarity, not insecurity.

49. You deserve friendships that are mutual.

50. The best Friday nights are spent with a puppy and food. It is okay to not always be social.

51. Stop worrying about whether your crush will text you back.

52. Stop over analyzing everything in general.

53. Pray for your future spouse.

54. However, also pray for your future bridesmaids/groomsmen. Some of the most influential people you may have in your life you may not have even met yet.

55. Storms bring strength.

56. And storms bring rainbows if you are patient and observant.

57. Stop Pinteresting your dream life and start living it.

58. The Bible is actually extremely relatable. Open it up. Read it.

59. Romans 8:28 “and we know God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” God is on your team. He wants you to have moments of celebration. He has a purpose for you greater than your bad day.

60. Never forget what Jesus did for you on that cross. When he died for you, it was painful and brutal. It was ugly. It was love. Don’t let that truth ever become numb to you no matter how many times you have heard the story.

61. There is nothing wrong with carbs.

62. Study. And don’t wait for the night before.

63. Find someone who you can look up to.

64. Also, never forget that there is always someone looking up to you. Act like someone you would want your future children to be. Act in a way that reflects wisdom.

65. Smile more, you are loved by the one who hung the stars and painted the sea. He created puppies and carbs–yet still loves you more. That is something to celebrate.

College is tough and life is hard. You are going to have moments where all you want to do is celebrate life with your best friends, but you will also have moments where you just want to lock the door, ignore everyone, and have a good cry. Never forget that your worth comes from something greater than your Biology grade, and from Someone greater that the one who broke your heart.

You aren’t too cool for Christ in college. Christ is a necessity for you in your life. He can hold your hand during your heartbreaks and failures and celebrate with you when you get the text back or a passing grade in foreign language. He loves for you and cares for you more than your sorority or fraternity ever will.

So buy your books, do your homework, but never forget when you are walking to you 8:00 a.m. you regretfully signed up for, to look up. Look at the clouds and the sky and thank your creator that in a big big world with many beautiful things, He still loves our messy hearts even more. So this one is for the boys for the King. This life is for the One who laid down His life.

I promise college is more fun when you dance with your Savior. Follow His lead and let him take you on a journey where you can find your purpose. You may not know where you are going, but you do know who you are following.

So never forget that although classes may be hard, and your metabolism may be slowing down–God is still good. He turns our ashes into beauty and our trials into our testimony. Do life with your creator and I promise you that you will have more than you need.

Romans 8:28 “And we know God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Check out my website for more articles on self-worth <3

Twitter: gracev96

Instagram: lemmebeyourvalentine

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I Am Uniquely Me And I Wouldn't Change a Thing, So Let Me Introduce Myself — Hi, The Name Is Cami

An introduction to Camryn Foster herself.

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First and foremost:

This isn't about other people, it's just about me. It's important that you and everyone else reading this understands that the actions, feelings, and things that I write are solely about me, myself, and I.

I've been writing like this for a while now. By "this," I mean writing about me and how I feel. You see, it's hard for me to express myself openly to others. Just writing that sentence makes me feel as if I am already saying way too much and revealing things about me that you have no business knowing. I mean, you all are strangers to me. And usually, the only person "reading," or should I say, has access to these rants, is my computer screen. Yes, I'm referring to my computer screen as a person who holds the key to my deepest, darkest secrets. But let me assure you, my computer screen is much more understanding than my friends and family. You see, my computer screen lets me type and type and type until my fingers get tired (or until I've stopped crying) and release everything I have in my tiny body into words. This is a really important concept, so take note of that.

Some backstory:

Being yourself is hard. I'm sure everyone can attest to this statement. But a quick reminder in case you already forgot, this about me. Being myself is hard for ME.

As a black girl growing up in primarily white neighborhoods...Wow. I've never written that before. For some reason, writing and re-reading things that are true about me makes more of an impact on myself than speaking them out loud. Another important concept.

Anyways, as I was saying. As a black girl growing up in primarily white neighborhoods, I grew up. It's as simple as that, really. I'm not here to make a pity party about myself that expresses a cliche story of being singled out or feeling different from everyone who didn't look like me. That's not what this is. This is simply a small peek into my past. But don't get me wrong, the whole "black girl growing up in white neighborhoods" part still has its place, but we'll save that for another time.

This reminds me of a fact I think is necessary to share: NOT ALL BLACK PEOPLE ACT THE SAME. And in my case, not all black girls act the same. Shoutout to my friend and roommate Machel for clarifying this. FYI, I'll be dropping random facts like these from time to time.

So who am I?

I am seamlessly and perfectly a woman living in the 21st century. I am Camryn Jean Foster, an awkward young adult living a life full of mistakes, accomplishments, weird situations, and this little thing called self-love. I am continuously learning more about myself day after day and I am accepting my flaws slowly but surely. I am an Electronic Media and Film major. I am a writer, a creator, a vessel of great ideas and passion. I am an animal lover, a daydreamer, and a believer of God. I am a human being born on this Earth for a reason I'm not yet aware of. That's just a little bit of who I am. But boy, am I much more.

Me and my writing:

My writing is unique. At least, when it's kept private and I don't have to share it with the world. But I'm trying to become an open book for once and step out of my comfort zone, hence my reason for joining Odyssey. And hey, I might be able to make a living out of my words and opinions. We'll see.

My personal preference for writing is not research papers or even writing essays about things I'm passionate about. The type of writing that I love is creative writing. Writing that has no boundaries. Writing that can be transformed into something visual. Writing that creates an escape for me and my hard-headed feelings. Writing that allows me to release my truest and most genuine thoughts. When I'm writing/typing, I can go on and on. Sentence after sentence without having to stop and think. It's as of my brain is computing the exact words I want to type into the tips of my fingers with ease so that I can go on with my endless thinking. My thoughts are jumbled and cloudy in my head but if I type them they become clear, useful, and readable. It's pretty crazy.

Moral of the story?

This is just the beginning. The beginning of an era filled with rants, food obsessions, personal thoughts/opinions, and a bunch of other unrelated elements composed together in a readable format. Basically, these things make me, me. So stay tuned if you're interested.

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