“The Hurting…” A Response to Rupi Kaur

I’ve always been a fan of Rupi Kaur since “Milk and Honey,” but I had only seen clips here and there of her work. I immediately appreciated her vulnerability and transparency. It’s something that I too, strive for in my writings. So I allowed myself quiet time this past weekend to treat myself to brunch, and splurges on some books and decided to add “Milk and Honey” to my library to be read in it’s entirety. A week later, through tear-stained eyes, I’ve finally finished her first chapter, “The Hurting.” I found myself having to put it down often, not being able to fully digest her words as they were triggering to my own life. 41 pages. 2 years. 

An empath, failing at ignoring the amount of empathy her words caused me. I could feel and hear and see the hurt seeping through the pages of that chapter. I could see the beginning of healing, the letting go of pain and the nasty scars left behind. I thought about my own hurting. How I never spoke of that period in my life. How it became a repressed and almost mythical event in my life. I never thought about it, therefore it never happened. I never shared about it, therefore it never happened. It never happened. 

I thought about that period in the young and innocent lives of two nine year old girls and how one closed up so tight that she became shut off, mute, and ashamed. I thought about how the other opened up so wide until she busted into a million pieces sprinkling bits of herself asking to be made whole again. Wanting to be made whole again, but never finding the glue that stuck around long enough for her pieces to dry.

I thought about how “it wasn’t our fault,” but why did I still feel guilty all those years ago? I thought about the terror and the vulnerability I felt when being left alone for even a second with the monster from the neighborhood. I thought about all those times those two nine year old girls would scramble to get away from the monster who rode in the backseat with us on the way home from school.

A 17 year old boy from the neighborhood experimenting with his own sexual curiosities, I thought about those two nine year old girls who fell victim as his test dummies. I thought about how for the first time in my innocent life I became aware of parts of myself that were attached to myself.

I thought about that day being pulled into my mother’s room and being questioned about the monster who’d latched on to my family. Sharing family dinners with us, hanging on my family’s house stoop, chilling just because. He was my cousin’s best friend.

I thought about years later, riding the city bus home from high school seeing his face standing on the street corner in front of the bodega and feeling a heavy ball of disgust brewing in the pit of my stomach and his audacity to even say hi to me as if we cool peoples.

I read those chapters of Kaur and thought about all of these things and realized it was the first time I had thought of these things since I was one of those nine year old girls on the cusp of my tenth year.

Some days I wonder had this affected me in any way in my now adult years. Is this the reason I have a hard time committing? Am I non-committal? Am I too picky? Why do I get bored easily? Why do I often find myself extremely underwhelmed by men? I mean, I’m not interested in women, but I’m extremely cautious with men. 

Now in the later half of my twenties, I find myself thinking about these things often. I think about my desire to establish roots, build and create a family of my own and I see how easy it comes for some, but it’s such a difficult process for me because no one seems to add up.

Are the affects of my silent hurting and repression subconscious?

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