Recently I have been seeing a lot of buzz about a #1 New York Times Bestseller called, “milk and honey” by Rupi Kaur. It is a collection of poetry and prose discussing the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. I decided to make a special trip to Barnes and Noble to purchase this book (which lucky for me, happened to be 20% off—yay!).
Seeing as I was able to finish the book in about an hour’s worth of time, I’d like to be able to say that it was an easy read. But truth be told, I’d be lying if I said it was easy to read. This book was dark. It was hard to read at times. It discusses in great detail some of the most bitter moments in life. It’s like a punch to the stomach, of every awful feeling you’ve ever felt condensed into one small novel. But it doesn’t just leave you to feel like you’ve gotten the wind knocked out of you. Kaur finds the sweetness in even the most bitter of moments, reminding anyone who is willing to read that there is sweetness everywhere you look if you are open to seeing it.
Aside from the main idea of the book, there were a few noteworthy aspects that I’d like to touch on. First, it was a little difficult to read in the beginning, as Kaur does not follow the rules of the English language in her writing. For instance, she refrains from using capital letters entirely. This was odd and off-putting at first. It makes you feel a subtle sense of chaos, and disorder. This was not an accident. I believe she wants the reader to feel this way. Perhaps she is delicately reminding the reader that chaos exists inherently, and that everything that is, is not without a sense of disorder at its roots. The words make a more pronounced impact when they are written in this style. The use of lowercase words is also ironic as she is making impactful, colossal arguments with only the use of the most subtle letters. The words she strings together are impossible to forget, as they haunt you in the most familiar places in your heart….and it doesn’t take much–only the mention of these feelings that we work so hard to suppress, and fail to ever articulate.
Another point to mention is her excessive use of periods, when we would typically expect commas. She doesn’t appear to use commas at all, and prefers to indicate pauses through the use of periods instead. I am still not entirely sure what her intention is…but I would expect it to imply the harsh nature of life, and its unwillingness to slow down. Perhaps she is conveying the concreteness of reality. This is just a speculation.
As I read through the book, I found myself dog-earring every other page. Almost every point she made resonated with me, and verbalized an emotion that I’ve never dared to enunciate before on my own. She is brave enough to say the things that we fear to admit to ourselves. She is brave enough to go one step further. There are over 20 different passages that I absolutely LOVE. But one that I’d like to regurgitate today is as follows:
i am a museum full of art
but you had your eyes shut
YESSSS. This passage is money. It’s such a simple line, but oh is it significant. After a breakup, I used to always wonder why I wasn’t good enough. What was it about me that didn’t suffice? Why was I tossed away, without so much as a second glance? My older sister has always helped me to understand by telling me, “You can be the juiciest, most ripe, sweet, and delicious peach in the entire world…but there is still going to be somebody that doesn’t like peaches”. You can have it all, and still not be what someone is looking for. You can be the perfect match for someone, but not necessarily for everyone.
This passage by Kaur felt similar to me, as not everyone is open to the beauty in others. Not everyone is ready to accept what you have to offer. Not everyone is brave enough to risk being vulnerable. It could be the timing, it could be their past, it could be their incapability to feel deeply. But whatever it is, it is not a deficit in you as a person. You are a museum of art. You are beautiful in all of your perfections and flaws. You are a masterpiece. But, that doesn’t mean that everyone will acknowledge you as such. Beauty is only open for those willing to look. Absolutely mind blowing. Remember this passage, as it will provide you with a sense of power when you are feeling worthless, ignored, or taken for granted.
I have been wanting to discuss milk and honey since I read it two nights ago, as it goes where not many have dared to go before. It is eye opening, yet beautiful. If you’re looking for a new read, I highly suggest this one. But be ready for a serious reality check.
Happy hump day all, make it a good one.