When you think of poetry, Shakespeare, Keats, and iambic pentameter probably come to mind. Like me, your teachers probably forced you to dissect line after line in hopes that you would decipher the deeper meaning. And since then, you probably haven’t read much poetry.
And no one has tried harder to do that than poet Nikita Gill.
In a YourTango interview, Nikita Gill answered some questions about her writing.
"I started writing at the age of 12 and it's always just been my way to cope with trauma," Gill tells YourTango about the origins of her writing. "I believe some of the greatest art can come from a place of great emotion. And it is emotion that inspires me to write every single day."
Not only did she hold her head high after 137 rejection letters from publishers (Ladies! Let this be a lesson), this impassioned woman took her poetry to social media, and today she has over 600,000 followers on Instagram. Thousands of people, including several A-list celebrities, have shared, re-posted, and re-grammed her best work on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr.
In her book Fierce Fairytales, she brings a fresh feminist perspective to the classic fairytale — especially for women.
"I think the most interesting things about fairytales is how they bind women to this idea of moral perfection. And not just women but men too," she explains. "There are these really detrimental ideas that enforce gender roles, like passivity to the point of sleep (Sleeping Beauty and Snow White) and therefore unable to give consent yet are basically kissed when unconscious. I also find the concept of masculinity, where men have to be a certain level of stoic which involves repressing emotions."
She decided to use her poetry to modernize the toxic gender roles perpetuated by traditional fairytales.
"Traditional fairytales bring this concept of women having to be saved by men, that women are incapable of being their own heroes, that kindness and courage are somehow intertwined with taking abuse (Cinderella) and all of this reflects on how women are seen today. Women are basically taught to endure everything that happens to them, and the minute they speak up against abuse, there is pushback to silence them once again."
Altogether, Gill has published eight books of poetry, with her ninth book scheduled to publish in 2021.
"I have a lot of writing and a lot of love to give to the world as yet, so that is what I'm looking forward to most," Gill says. "I am also working on my first ever novel, which is extremely exciting and I look forward to the day I will introduce it to the world."
Read through these 50 Nikita Gill quotes and poems about love and self-empowerment and see why the London-based poet Nikita Gill is so amazing.
1. "They don't tell you when you fall in love with your first, that sometimes it is a test of how you fare when you walk through fire. And they never tell you that no one has ever come out of those flames whole."
2. "If he truly loves you, he will love you when you are an ocean breeze, but also when you are a summer storm. You were not made to be loved in parts, you were meant to be loved as a whole."
3. "The monsters were never under my bed. Because the monsters were inside my head. I fear no monsters, for no monsters I see. Because all this time the monster has been me."
4. "You were a forest, your lungs filled with butterflies and magic, your heart a hidden lake and the souls of a thousand ancient trees resting beneath your skin and then, he came along on a windy day. And lit the match that started a devastating fire."
5. "They keep saying that beautiful is something a girl needs to be. But honestly? Forget that. Don't be beautiful. Be angry, be intelligent, be witty, be klutzy, be interesting, be funny, be adventurous, be crazy, be talented - there are an eternity of other things to be other than beautiful. And what is beautiful anyway but a set of letters strung together to make a word? Be your own definition of amazing, always. That is so much more important than anything beautiful, ever."
6. "If someone is cruel to you because of your soft disposition and generosity, respond to their poison with equal parts sweet honey, equal parts dangerous ferocity."
7. "Why be normal when you can be magical?"
8. "There is an entire forest full of the most incredible flowers, plants and trees inside you, and you are ignoring all of it to nurture a single tree that they planted inside your heart and abandoned. The people who left you this way don't deserve to become your favourite stories to tell. You are a massive forest full of beautiful and vibrant stories and every single one of them deserves you more than those that abandoned you to hell."
9. "My dear, never forget that he was just a raindrop, but you are the entire f---ing storm."
10. "Never ever mistake her silence for weakness. Remember that sometimes their air stills, before the onset of a hurricane..."
11. "He says you are too much. You talk, laugh, smile, feel too much. But baby, here is the real problem. He is too little to appreciate that it took an entire galaxy being woven into one soul to make you."
12. "She's the kind of girl who would rather be magical to you than belong to you."
13. "I am tired of loving you in all the ways you choose not to love me. I would rather be my own alone, instead of having a love that is this lonely."
14. "You are a dangerous collection of all my favourite things. An old soul, a heart of gold and hands that make my body sing."
15. "You are a thing both beautiful and terrible, and you deserve someone who treats you like the moon and can love the dark side of your soul too."
16. "Some people are like beautiful dreamcatchers, absorbing the most terrible things for those they love and leaving them only the softest, gentlest thoughts behind."
17. "Child, why did no one ever teach you that you cannot turn people into homes? People are rivers, ever-changing, ever-flowing. They will disappear with everything you put inside them. Still, your home does have a heartbeat. But it isn't one locked in anyone else's chest. Just look inside your own."
18. "Show me the most damaged parts of your soul, and I will show you how it still shines like gold."
19. "Fall in love with someone who tastes like adventure but looks like the calm beautiful morning after a terrible storm."
20. "Kiss someone who makes you feel their magic in your bones, who makes you wonder how can someone who looks like witchcraft at midnight taste so holy."
21. "You are not some holiday destination for people to have a good time in, and then forget. You are not a grave for people to bury their pain inside, never to be remembered again. You are not a piece of toilet paper. So why are you letting other people use and dispose of you? You are made of magic, don't you dare allow yourself to be treated like you are any less."
22. "You are still alive. And if that isn't tough, I don't know what is."
23. "Our mothers tell us that there are no monsters under our beds, or hidden inside our closets but they don't warn us that sometimes monsters come dressed as people that claim to love you more than the sun loves the moon."
24. "Nothing is worth destroying yourself over, but if you are going to destroy yourself, make sure it is for something spectacular, make sure it is for yourself. There is nothing worse than ruining yourself for people who aren't worth it."
25. "My dear, some people (yes, even if they bear the name family) will do nothing but try to ruin you, and you deserve to take back with fire and blood what's rightfully yours. Or else they will keep destroying the garden of your heart that you painstakingly grew, eating your own rage should not be yet another one of your daily chores. Let no one tell you that can only be kind and courage is not angry nor shrewd that can only be silently gentle and have no right to stand up for themselves and roar."
26. "To the men who forgot I am half God before I am a woman, did you really believe that I would not choose freedom, sky flavoured and sea beloved over the prison you kept me in? Did you really think it was that easy to hold my heart that once wed, you could forget me until I was needed? Did you forget that the blood that runs through my veins is ichor not iron? Did it not strike you, Theseus, Menelaus, Agamemnon, Achilles, and yes, even you Paris, that I would always belong to myself first and that is the only reason I would run? Did no one ever teach you, that when you try to touch a Goddess, when you treat her like she is property, you are playing with divine fire and you and everything you love will burn?"
27. "Your heart beats approximately 104,000 times in a day and each one of those heartbeats is far too valuable to waste on comparing yourself to another. You were given your heart's unique rhythm to dance to your very own beat. Not to the beating of anyone else's heart. Just your own."
28. "You see, today I found a note from my seven-year-old self. All it read was, 'When I grow up, I just want to be a good human.' And all I could think was 'I really hope I haven't let her down.'"
29. "I have gunpowder in my chest instead of a heart now, and it escapes my lips shaped like a bullet with your name on it. Soft people become dangerous when you destroy the things they hold dearest."
30. "Not all are made of sugar and spice and all things nice. These are made of dark lace and witchcraft and a little bit of vice. These are daughters made claw first and story-mad, tiger roar and wolf-bad. These are women made of terrible tempests and savage storms and the untamed unwanted. These are damsels made of flawless fearlessness made of more bravery than knights have ever seen. These are princesses made of valour and poison alike and they are here to hold court as your queens."
31. "Did you think they did it alone? Built whole armies, and conquered thrones? Constructed promised lands that would outlive the sun resurrected prosperity from ash and bone? A crest is not just a manmade thing, it is also created by generations of women who wield swords through guile and letters. Show me your kings, and I will show you the queens that willed them, that bred them, that taught them to do better."
32. "A girl who knows her worth is a deadly thing in this world. Darkling magic coils inside her bones as she charms her way onto thrones. Name her threat, name her terrible, name her shrewd. All of this is part of her beautiful. The world wanted her passive but she was destined for recognition. They liked her best asleep, so she to defy them she marries ambition."
33. "The people who consider you weak have not yet noticed the wolf hiding behind your eyes, nor the flames inside your soul. Let them think you are weak and do what wolves and fire do best. Surprise them when they least expect it."
34. "Listen to me, you are a half ocean girl, with wild that you still have to unlock from your soul. No man can help you discover who you are, this is a thing you must do on your own. Chase your adventures, face your breaking, the pain will teach you how to make yourself whole. The water, and the wild have never forgotten you and in them you will always have a home. Become the thing your blood demands, a Siren Queen ready to take her throne."
35. "I weigh the sea, I weigh the storm, I weigh a thousand stories long. I weigh my mother's fortitude and my father's eyes, I weigh the way they look at me with pride, I weigh strength and fearless and the warrior in me. I weigh all the pain and trauma that made me see that I have more galaxies inside me than tragedies. We all weigh joys and darkness and goodness and sin you see, we are infinite within this skin we are in. So when they ask you what you weigh you don't need to look down at any scale. Instead, simply tell them the truth, tell them how you weigh whole universes and storms and scars and stories too."
36. "You have been praying so long for the strength to outlive the pain they inflicted on you that you have forgotten — you are already strong."
37. "Imagine a world where your period is normalized, where instead of fearing leaking every girl can declare proudly, 'I can do anything, and I can do it with holy blood rivers flowing."
38. "This is what you learn from taming snakes: Soon they become your dearest friends. You grow immune to every kind of poison.This is what becomes of you when death takes your love: Your grief twists inside your gut till you cannot breathe. You grit your teeth and smile through the tragedy. And this is what happens when they deny you the crown: You swallow the world. You devour the stars. You make them bleed. You make them bleed. You make them bleed... "
39. "I suppose I love my scars because they have stayed with me longer than most people have."
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40. "You grew up to be both a woman and closed fist constantly looking for a fight. A better, quicker warrior than your brother, you had learned monsters before men, because you did not want men to fall at your feet instead you taught them how to fear your footsteps. People whisper your name as 'Demon slayer', for you were born to kill monsters. But the King calls you "Lord Commander" because his army know no better leader."
41. "What if Cinderella had an attitude problem and Snow White just liked the idea of strangers and poison too much? What if the Little Mermaid always enjoyed human company more than her own kind's and Sleeping Beauty just liked her solitude more than human touch? What if the only rabbit hole Alice ever fell down was a terrible mistake with an awful substance, never discussed as such? What if they locked Wendy away for hallucinating about Neverland and a boy who never grew up? What if fairytales aren't as innocent as they sound and even princesses aren't perfect? What if I told you that your damage doesn't define you and the way you survive is no one else's damned business?"
42. "I am more powerful than I am damaged and I will rise from any abyss you drown me in."
43. "Defined by no man, you are your own story, blazing through the world, turning history into herstory. And when they dare to tell you about all the things you cannot be, you smile and tell them, 'I am both war and woman and you cannot stop me."
44. "Who told you only the soft could be good mothers? That mothers could not be dragons in disguise? That women who teach their daughters how to preserve themselves by breathing out lightning were any less than wild, magical things when teaching their young about war and love's terrible lies?"
45. "Listen to me, girl, you have castles inside your bones, coronets in your heart, if he threatens you with battle, you raise him a whole war, the last time I checked, Queens cower before no man."
46. "If he puts his hand on you without your consent, turn into a crone. He will not know how to handle you ancient and powerful. He does not know how to handle you dark and vengeful. When he puts his hand on you without your explicit consent, he is giving you permission to sink your wicked witch claws into him with all your might and savage him down to his wretched little worthless soul."
47. "You are a thing both beautiful and terrible, and you deserve someone who treats you like the moon and can love the dark side of your soul too."
48. "Imagine if the holy river we bring to life every month was treated with the prayer and worship it deserved. Visualize fairytales that included the oceans in our stomachs. Aurora speaking to her mother about blood was a right of passage. Belle teaching a whole classroom how to care for their wombs. Queen Cinderella decreeing that the language of blood was no longer secret. Snow White, being able to declare to the dwarves, 'Excuse me, I have my period' without them being affected into silence and awkwardness. Think of a world where your period was not a thing or murmurs. How people knew that like the moon, half the world has a cycle, and because of this cycle, this process of our uterus letting go that humans exist, you see, blood does not take permission. Blood comes and goes as it desires, and it is a damned shame that instead of looking at themselves as the warriors they are, little learn to worry about how to afford this bleeding, instead of math, science, art, history, geography, literature, drama. Imagine a world where your period is normalized, where instead of fearing leaking every girl can declare proudly, 'I can do anything, and I can do it with holy blood rivers flowing.'"
49. "There is an entire forest full of the most incredible flowers, plants and trees inside you, and you are ignoring all of it to nurture a single tree that they planted inside your heart and abandoned. The people who left you this way don't deserve to become your favourite stories to tell. You are a massive forest full of beautiful and vibrant stories and every single one of them deserves you more than those that abandoned you to hell."
50. "I wonder what I could have done with all of the time I wasted wondering if I was good enough, pretty enough to exist."
51. "Some days I am more wolf than woman and I am still learning how to stop apologizing for my wild."
52. "One day, a knight in shining armour may find my daughter, and offer to save her from her life, her problems, her troubles. In that situation, I hope that I have raised such a girl that she smiles coolly and tells him, 'No, thank you. I've very much got this.' Then puts on her armour and rides off into the sunset alone to save herself."
53. "Every time you think you are broken, know this: you are never really breaking. No one can break an ocean, darling, all you are doing, is breaking the glass that is holding you back, diving deeper into your own depths, discovering yourself in pockets of the most somber waves, rebuilding your heart with coral, with seaweed, with moon coloured sand dust. So stop trying to hold yourself back inside that glass, it was never meant to hold you. Instead, break it, shatter it into a thousand pieces...and become who you were always meant to be, an ocean, proud and whole."
54. "Her mother told her she could grow up to be anything she wanted to be, so she grew up to become the strongest of the strong, the strangest of the strange, the wildest of the wild, the wolf leading wolves."
All images used with permission from Nikita Gill.
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Tess Griman is a writer whose work focuses on astrology, relationships, and pop culture.