Do our hearts learn to love after being broken?
How can we feel when we’re frozen by all our wounds and scars?
In the rollercoaster of our lives we experience pain to the point that we don’t know if anything is worth it. Then we fall in love with a soul who walks into our lives, promising to sew us back to normal. For a moment we think nothing can touch us. We’re floating in a cloud of expectation and desire. And then it happens. It all falls apart. We realize that nobody can change or fix us. Our hurt is the only thing we can depend on. But it’s in that moment of devastation that we can begin to see ourselves as we are. To learn to love our flaws.
Rupi Kaur is a poet who has poured her soul into a book of poems and drawings that explore the different feelings that encircle a complex and real life. Unlike the characters who play everyday people in the movies, the real versions are not as easily “solved.” Instead of hoping for another to do our dirty work, it’s through reflection and introspection, a continual conversation with our inner selves, that we can begin to heal the pain that has lingered for so long. The words inside milk and honey are not always pretty or easy to read. They’re raw. Especially in the opening chapter titled, “the hurting.”
it is your blood
in my veins
tell me how i’m
supposed to forget
Weaving through a tale of abuse as well of a family torn between pain and expectations, Kaur leads us to the backroom to sit next to the young girl who cannot fathom what is happening.
the rape will
It’s through this poignant and sharp language that the poet does not sugarcoat or make it easy on the reader. She presents the darkness as if it were a cupcake. It’s there for you to see the horrible in all its detail and trimmings. There’s no fairytale of pretending it’s not there. There’s no television movie spotlight, either. To tell the truth is to present the evidence and consequence, so the audience can become a witness of the violence.
The second chapter, “the loving,” sings a tale of falling in love, of attempting to believe in the possibility of life where passion and caring disrupt the memories of the past.
nothing is safer
than the sound of you
reading out loud to me
-the perfect date
When we’ve experienced disappointment and hurt from others, we hold on to our potential lover as if they were the only anchor to keep us sane. We flood our imagination with the possibilities of happiness and desire. Colors seem brighter and we believe, for a moment, that we will be fine, that all the bad was worth this moment of ecstasy.
you’ve touched me
Every sensation feels like a million little electrical sparks tingling on your skin. You wonder how it took this long to feel this way. You sense a storm coming but you brush it off. There’s nothing that could change or ruin this. Right?
it’s your voice
that undresses me
Then it comes at dusk when you least expect it. A darkness that takes over your entire landscape. You’re burned to the skin, leaving all your past scars exposed. It’s a waterfall of pain. It’s not just the disappointment of the present. You feel everything again as if it was happening all at the same time. Time is irrelevant. Your life’s wounds come out all at once.
my tongue is sour
from the hunger of
In “the breaking,” the author takes us to the pit of despair. To call it an episode of heartbreak is to dismiss the depth of the intricate sensations of longing for someone who’s long gone. It’s the emotion of coming to terms with the fact that the one you opened your heart to never wanted it in the first place. Anyone who has felt as if the one who left took their soul hostage forever will understand what it means to feel broken beyond any hope.
you were so distant
i forgot you were there at all
In the final chapter, “the healing,” Kaur presents the reckoning and unraveling of the entire story. In a culmination of doubt and sadness, the concluding episode occurs within the mind of the narrator.
loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself
When we’re stripped of everything we are given a chance to restart. Instead of running away from this, we should allow all our emotion pour out in order to wash away all the leftover pain that has seeped into the deepest part of ourselves.
with your solitude
It’s in the darkest moment that we can achieve a strange notion of transcendence. We realize that we cannot distract our healing with spiteful comments or learned tactics of hurting others when we’re the most hurt. It’s our chance to end the cycle of self-destruction, as well as that of anger and despair.
other women’s bodies
are not our battlegrounds
Through her words, Kaur presents us the soul of every person who has had to relive past wounds, particularly old ones dated from childhood, in order to encounter their own selves. Her book is as honest as an after-midnight confession told under the last streetlight on the block. The pages of milk and honey are a cathartic moment where the reader can come face to face with decisions and thoughts they thought they’d never think about again. It opens us up to the possibility of beginning a long overdue conversation with our own soul.
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