In this post, I want to share an amazing writer, Nayyirah Waheed, whom, I have been crushing on since I read her first poems on Tumblr. Nayyirah Waheed is an American based writer that uses poetry as her medium of self-expression. She writes about love, honey, womanism and racism. Nayyirah Waheed has published two books with her poetry. Salt. was published in 2013, and in 2014 Nejma was published. I am a very proud owner of both, and I cannot thank Nayyirah enough for putting certain things into words that could not have been described otherwise. Let’s get into Salt.!
Below, I will share some of her poetry from Salt. I promise to dedicate next post to Nejma. You have to understand that Nayyirah Waheed’s writing is so deep, and sometimes it feels like she is talking about you, she is telling our stories. That is why I have decided to dedicate two posts to her writing.
You broke the ocean in half to be here. only to meet nothing that wants you. – immigrant
I actually came to Europe at the age of 4 and yes, I am an immigrant. And I think a lot of people of color can relate to this. Even if you are not an immigrant, but your parents or grandparents are, you might think of them when you read this quote. And to me it is hard to think about all the sacrifices people may or may not have made in order to break the ocean in half to be here. People migrate, make this long journey, and once they come to Europe or the Americas, people look down on them or ‘reject’ them in some way just because they are from another country. And when you look at refugees, it is worse. Refugees do not even choose to flee their countries, and yet, they also meet nothing that wants them. Just think about it, among refugees, there are doctors, teachers, scientists and what not. They had lives before they fled the country, they are left with nothing. And then people have the nerve to put all the refugees or immigrants into one group and portray them as
criminals, terrorists or thugs.
you. not wanting me. was the beginning of me wanting myself. thank you. – the hurt
This one is about rejection. I have to say that it speaks to me on a personal and deep level, because EVERY ONE has been rejected at one point. In addition, this can be applied to almost any type of rejection. For example, when you look at beauty standards, people of color are not the standard of beauty. And a lot of models and actors of color have been rejected because they were too dark, and this quote could be applied to that. If mainstream media does not want to portray beauty of color, then I should want to portray that. And I have to say that this is slowly changing. You have various magazines, online platforms such as YouTube and Instagram that have established their own standard of beauty that is more inclusive. Another example can be, when someone you are crushing on rejects you. No person that has ever rejected you should make you want you less. It should not necessarily make you want you more, however, it should NEVER make you doubt yourself nor your worth.
listen to my poems. but do not look for me. look for you. – you
To me, this means that Nayyirah is not necessarily writing for us to think we know her, or know what she has been through. She is not telling stories about herself (necessarily). And even if she is, I think it is not the point she is trying to get across. She wants us to look for ourselves in her poems. She is talking about us. We need to reflect upon ourselves, when we read her words. And to me, that is very deep.
you can not remain a war between what you want to say (who you really are). and what you should say (who you pretend to be). your mouth was not designed to eat itself. – split
There are so many people that have two sides to themselves, who they really are and who they pretend to be. These people have also two sides to their tongues or mouths, they are in a constant battle between what they want to say and what they should say. I have learned that it can be hard to be completely yourself, as every society has an idea of what you should be and how you should act. You must have also seen it in your own home, or witnessed it around you. “Girls are not supposed to do that.” Or when people bully or do things due to peer pressure, or when people study a certain thing because their parents or others expect them to do so. Just remember, sooner or later the truth comes out anyways. People do not necessarily always tell you who they truly are, instead, their actions will tell you in the end. I have had the chance to be myself at an early age, and I honestly, do not know how to be someone else. Thank God.
advice to young writers
the thing you are most afraid to write. write that.
– advice to young writers
This last one speaks on itself. I think that writing can be so hard sometimes, as you have to clear out all of your thoughts and then write it down. My thoughts are always on the move as I am continuously thinking about my next steps and next moves. I really live in my head, and sometimes it is hard to write the things I want to write. I think that eventually, it will all come :).
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