‘Other Girls’ is a poem written by 14-year-old poet and women’s advocate Anya Thakur. She works to empower and uplift communities as founder of GirlUp Dallas, a UN Women organization, and a MetoWe partner with ArtRising, which provides arts enrichment to underprivileged communities and creates diverse programming for South and East Asian women. Hosting education, self-defense, and language and literature classes to empower rural women in Delhi, Mumbai, and Munipur, and humanitarian efforts with Myna Mahila, which empowers women in rural India through health education, her women’s advocacy promotes UN Women’s mission to ensure a fair and equitable future, and she has traveled throughout the United States and India to speak for girl’s education and empowerment.
– – –
you tell me i’m not like the other girls.
that i’m special, different.
and i’m unable to speak all the words
corroding inside me, as the taste
of the bitter words on your tongue
overwhelms me, flooding my senses.
anger, hot and bubbling and viscous,
coursing down my face in rivulets.
– – –
so, tell me then.
am i not your brave, almond-eyed mother
with granules of gold on the
sugar-speckled curve of her hips
and strength embedded in the silvery
notches of her spine?
or your blazing, fiery sister,
who’s perpetually clouded
in the warm haze of peppermint,
and ignites passion in your eyes
as she spins words into declarations,
fingernails digging crescents into the podium,
from the bundles of nerves she’s managed
to overcome to be onstage?
what makes me so unlike your best friend
with the sun ringing out from behind her and
peals of laughter bubbling out of her chest?
her humor is her catharsis and her armor
i’m transfixed, drawn to the funny girl
with dreams who shares her shield
– – –
i’ve rubbed rosewater on my wrists
run a bath of scorching hot water
laced with nimbu oils and tulasi leaves
sprinkled in saffron and turmeric
rose petals stolen from Mother Earth
and ginseng and ginger shavings
a pinch of pink rock salt
a spoonful of sugar
and nine drops of vanilla extract
there’s a caramelized glaze
clinging to my skin
and i become jams sweetened with honey
thick enough to cut the sharpest words
that fall from your lips
– – –
am i not sweet enough yet?
am i not brilliant
enough to compare?
or am i supposed to be better than ‘other girls’?
– – –