A couple months ago, I would find myself once again falling through the doors of Barnes & Noble, with a heavy burdened heart. I had found a routine of ending up in bookstores, desperately searching for a remedy, a balm to my shattering soul. Sometimes I would gather up books and sit in the cafe, falling into the universe behind the covers, over cups of coffee and bowls of soup. Other times, like this one, I would sit before the poetry section, crying to the books that seemed to be able to hold the intensity I felt -- matching my brokenness with verse, tied up with a quiet hope I threw myself upon. Poetry was always the extended hand, the space for me at the table, a voice I could make out in the depths of depression, the nothingness, the heartache, or whatever place I was in.
It was this time, my hands fell upon a small, maroon hardcover with the name “she felt like feeling nothing,” written by r.h. Sin, the pen name of Reuben Holmes. He has put out multiple books including a trilogy titled ‘Whiskey Words & a Shovel’, along with a handful of other enchanting masterpieces of poetry. When you hold this book, you are holding pages that intimately capture women and their bravery, heartache, brokenness, and resilience in the most deserving fashion: authentically and beautifully.
When you hold this book, you are holding pages that intimately capture women and their bravery, heartache, brokenness, and resilience in the most deserving fashion: authentically and beautifully.
The words she and her, tied to words like strong and worthy -- just where they rightfully belong. His works are seeping with female empowerment and the recognition of the value and beauty of women. He encourages women to fight for themselves, to fight for the love they deserve, and refuse anything less than that.
Pinned as a feminist poet, Sin articulates an understanding of the pain and destruction women face. In an interview with The New Stack, Sin mentions how a bad relationship with a woman whose "Father had broken her heart, long before she'd even known me," propelled his writing to urge women to stand up for themselves and take hold of their worth. Sin grew up in an environment where pain was the narrative, but as he continued to evolve and grow, he had the full intent on breaking that narrative -- And he continues to do so.
Poets, writers, artists, people like Sin are important propellers of the movement of encouraging women own their worth and value. Sin uses his voice to heal, to encourage, to be a balm to the hurting soul -- something we all need, from time to time.
While Sin has a seemingly countless number of poems that speak to me, there was one that seemed to completely embraced me, reaching out beyond the paper and words.
and you're here
your heart breaking
your weary eyes
staring at the words
on this page
you're in search of something
that'll calm the chaos
that lives within your mind
you're just searching for something
to ease the aches that reside
in your heart
your pain has brought you here
the hurt that dwells in your bones
has brought you here to me
i see you
i hear you
i feel you
you should be proud of yourself
bending without breaking
falling but finding the strength
to pick yourself up
from a pit filled with broken hearts
and dreams dismantled by the lies
of those incapable
of being honest
your softness is not a weakness
your kindness is your strength
give all of the things
that they've taken for granted
because right now
more than anything
you deserve you
it's time to love yourself
I encourage you to read these words again, over and over, until they become imprinted in your soul. I hope that these words provide a moment of healing, a moment that reminds you how much you are worth, as they did for me while crouched over the book, tears streaming.
Sin is a living image of what it means to be an ally, an advocate, and someone who uses their platform for good. May this serve as a reminder that you too are vital voice, a person of value, and in his words, it's time to love yourself.
May this serve as a reminder that you too are vital voice, a person of value, and in his words, it's time to love yourself.
Written by Sveta Petty