Poet Rupi Kaur’s books have sold more than 10 million copies and been translated into 42 languages, but she’s defining success a bit differently these days.
Kaur, whose world tour begins May 2, can only marvel at her meteoric rise in the publishing world. In 2014, she self-published her first collection of poems, “milk and honey” – after which, she thought she’d apply to law school. Instead, she went on to publish two more books, including her latest, “home body,” and grow an audience of 4.5 million fans on Instagram.
“It was like I got on a high speed train and never got off of it,” Kaur said. “When I did, I got extremely depressed.”
We caught up with Kaur, whose Calm Sleep Story, “into the stars,” debuted last month, about the moments that changed her life and how she’s planning to protect her mental health in the future.
Inside Her Battle With Depression
I never really planned that my first book, “milk and honey” was going to change my life in the ways that it did, so for many years, I was so go, go, go, go, go. It was the first time in my life, in my family’s life, I felt like we were financially secure. I write a lot about abuse in my books, and I felt safe, like those folks couldn’t get to me because I wrote about them. I get to have so many blessings and sharing them with my parents, who haven’t had much, has been such a beautiful experience. But I was also in denial for so long about my mental health. I thought, “You have nothing to be depressed about.” The math wasn’t mathing. [So, I figured], “I will just keep bulldozing through this thing until I feel what I’m supposed to feel, which is joy.”
For two to three years, I would close my eyes, and the only comfort would be imagining not being here anymore or sleeping forever. I would think about that constantly, all day long. It’s interesting that I let that happen for so long without realizing that’s not a normal thing to think about. I definitely thought I would know if I was depressed. And wow, what a wake-up call and how humbling to not actually know at all.