Yesterday I stumbled across a poet who writes fiercely about women and how they should love themselves first. In case you don’t know of her, I wanted to share what I found out.
Nikita Gill has written and curated six volumes of poetry.
She uses social media to engage her audience and has 559,999 followers on Instagram, with quite a few celebrities added in. She has been described as one of the most successful Instapoets. And one of the most exciting young writers working today.
“Tell your daughters how you love your body.
Tell them how they must love theirs.
Tell them to be proud of every bit of themselves—
from their tiger stripes to the soft flesh of their thighs,
whether there is a little of them or a lot,
whether freckles cover their face or not,
whether their curves are plentiful or slim,
whether their hair is thick, curly, straight, long or short.
Tell them how they inherited
their ancestors, souls in their smiles,
that their eyes carry countries
that breathed life into history,
that the swing of their hips
does not determine their destiny.
Tell them never to listen when bodies are critiqued.
Tell them every woman’s body is beautiful
because every woman’s soul is unique.”
Gill grew up in a house full of books and started writing when she was a child.
She was born in Belfast, where her Indian parents were living temporarily while her father, who was in the merchant navy, was taking his captain’s exams at Ulster University.
“My Mum, being a seafarer’s wife, didn’t really want to be away from him for a year.” The family moved back to India when Gill was a few months old.
At school in New Delhi, she was far from a model student. But, like so many other writers, she had a life-changing teacher.
“I was a naughty kid and didn’t do my homework. But that teacher obviously saw something in me. She encouraged my creative spark and I started writing stories.”
At the age of 12, a non-fiction story Gill had written about her grandfather was published in a newspaper. This early publication kindled in her an abiding sense of the power of words.
“Something inside me said: ‘This is a really powerful thing, to be able to tell a story and give it to a stranger.’”
While Gill harbored an ambition to be a writer from then onward, her parents encouraged her to seek a more realistic career, albeit still a creative one. So her writing took a back seat while she studied design at university in New Delhi.
In 2012 she moved to the UK to do a Masters which focused on distraction theory in relation to young people with ADHD, ADD and dyslexia. This led to a desire to work with children with special needs.
“I wanted to do something meaningful with my life. It made me realise there are so many marginalised people who don’t have a voice, and who just need someone who can understand.”