No one documents the journey of a woman’s self growth better than Rebecca Lee, a notable Instagram poet and the author of Pulling Petals, a collection of poems. She effortlessly drives home notes of self growth, self compassion, self acceptance and the desire to live an abundant life in the face of life’s trials and tribulations. She took to Instagram in 2015 with her poetry and has ever since warmed her way into the hearts of nearly a million readers. Themes such as agony and darkness are fairly common within the poetry community. However, what distinguishes Becca Lee’s work is that she finds the silver lining in life’s dreariest and darkest clouds.
Her poetry unveils the story of a girl who has been through hell and back incessantly moulding herself into something more, something that would fit right into society’s expectational radius, only to realise when she hits the rock bottom in her life that she is already abundantly whole. Her epiphanies involve stumbling upon the fact that the fire of resilience burns bright within her and that she is a dynamic being, with an unfading love for life and self evolution flowing through her veins. Excerpts from a conversation with Becca as she takes us her through her poetic journey of traversing personal milestones:
Your poetry seems to be a reflection of your own journey of self growth, as a lot of your poems refer to a ‘she’ within them. Is this ‘she’ you and are your poems a creative catharsis of your own life experiences?
Most definitely. Writing has always been a cathartic process for me and, at times, my only emotional outlet. I started writing in my younger, more formative years primarily as a coping mechanism, as I could write many things I found myself unable to verbally express. This is when the aforementioned “she” was initially born. By writing in the third person, I somehow found it easier to speak the truths I was not yet ready to face nor let out into the world. It was as if this singular pronoun gave me enough anonymity to speak (write) freely and openly. And, whilst my work from those days was very diverse to the modern work I produce, it lends the same safety net of freedom to my words. Where initially I wrote from a place of pain and anger, I now write from a place I never thought I’d reach – contentment and self-love.
What drew you to poetry as a medium for self expression?
Poetry wasn’t actually my first choice of medium. Initially, I was drawn to writing rather intense short stories but later tuned to poetry when I realised that I could get the same cathartic outlet within a more obscure context. I love the idea that a multitude of people could read the same poem and each come away with something quite varied. It just seemed a much more personal and vulnerable medium. I love being able to insinuate but the reader having the power to interpret based on their own experiences.
Are there any major life experiences that have greatly impacted your work as a poet?
Yes, some of which I could only speak of through ‘she’. 'For she was raped, she would go days without eating and spend hours ritualistically cutting and burning away her flesh and she was a chronic perfectionist who allowed unrealistic expectations rules her life.'
And for me, I lost my father when I was 16 (in spirit and mind but not in body), lost myself and after many painstaking years, found myself again – stronger and more certain than ever before.
How do you feel you have grown as a poet since you started writing?
This question is one that I am not quite sure how to answer. A part of me realises that I have grown so much throughout this poetry journey, but another feels that I have almost regressed. Initially I would write about a grand scope of topics and they were not orientated to any particular audience, they were written purely for me, from me. Whereas now I feel that I have to produce work that resonates with the followers I have gained and stays true to the artist they have known me to become. However, I have recently (since the birth of my daughter and her life so far in hospital) deviated from my norm in writing and found it equally as well received. So I suppose I have essentially come back 360 to where I started, which I consider a growth for the fact it is a more versatile and holistic representation of myself. I certainly am more respectful of what I post, realising now more than ever the importance and power of the written word.
One of the central themes of your poetry involves the powerful transition of a woman into a strong,resilient and emotionally independent being. Who was ‘she’ before this transition and who has ‘she’ evolved to be now?
I suppose the best way to show you is through an excerpt from the final poem in my first book Pulling Petals, as it epitomises the ‘she’ to me transition perfectly:
Becca's Instagram handle: @Beccaleepoetry
Text Supriya Jain