Feeling 'ugly' or 'unattractive' seeps into your life like poison, and it affects everything. Feeling worthless does the same. We internalise these limitations, and it takes an internal revolution to get rid of them.
We are not outraged by blood. We see blood all the time. Blood is pervasive in movies, television, and video games. Yet, we are outraged by the fact that one openly discusses bleeding from an area that we try to claim ownership over.
When I was little, my dad told me about Anandpur Sahib and the court of Guru Gobind Singh. That we came from a tradition of poets, warriors and artists who created when it was illegal to create... we're groomed to be reckless in the defense of what we feel is right.
'You're beautiful' was the compliment I craved so much. I didn't care if people called me smart or innovative - it was the number-one compliment I gave out to other women hoping it was given back to me. I heard people saying it to my best friends. It was the one I wanted to hear more than anything else.
I want to create a collection, almost like a trilogy of sorts. Whereas 'Milk and Honey' was very much like holding a mirror up to yourself, the second book is turning that mirror around and fixing it on the world. The book is a reflection of the times we are in.
My dad studies and practices homeopathy and Ayurveda medicine. He's a strong believer in both honey and milk as forms of healing. Honey is the one food that does not die. It does not expire. Growing up, he'd always be mixing up almonds or turmeric or gram flower with milk to cure a cough or a cold.
I felt voiceless for so long, I wasn't ever able to say what I felt out loud. I didn't know how to say it. Posting online presented itself as a comfortable medium. I could say what I wanted to say in a way I still felt comfortable. Whenever, however I wanted to.
I write from the various experiences I live. Not every poem comes from my personal experience, though. It could be something that a friend lived, or a person from my community here, or a woman anywhere around the world.
I won the speech competition in class, and I always say this was my first 'spoken word performance.' It was the first time I got on stage and recited something. I fell in love with the stage at the age of 12.
I grew up thinking I was going to change the world, but not because I was treated like a special snowflake. It's a silly label. People are starving. We need to feed them. That's the end of the conversation.
I have always been a fan of Salvador Dali, but Amrita Sher-Gil, who was an Indian-Hungarian painter, is another favourite. She was painting Indian women, and, growing up here, I'd never seen anyone paint Indian women, so that was really incredible to see a painting of someone who looks like you. I think that has a lot of impact on you.
When I'd hang out with guy friends, I'd say things like 'I just don't get along with other girls.' Just so they could think I was cooler, you know? Shamelessly trying to level myself up by putting other women down. God it's so embarrassing to admit, but it's important cause I want people to know about the growth. That I'm not perfect.
If I body-shame a woman, it is more a reflection of me being critical of my body, me not being able to keep up to certain standards I have, and so making sure that the women around me feel the same way.
There have been articles saying that all women need to read my book. I ask, why not all men? In fact, that would be even more valuable because we women want to sit down with men and tell them - this is how we feel, this is what we go through.
Really, at the end of the day, the only thing you can control is yourself; the only person you can truly educate is yourself. You have to redefine what beauty is to you so you can't be affected by what people are saying.