They say when you want to bring about changes, it starts with uncomfortable conversations. We have a very passionate writer with us today, Yuimi Vashum from Ukhrul, Manipur whose work picks up emotions, feelings and humanity to create powerful poems. In her latest book, “Love, Lust and Loyalty”, she talks about the horrific experiences she went through as a child and through this book, she hopes to speak for the kids who are going through the same in silence. The book is a collection of poems where she talks about sexual violence, relationships and womanhood. We chat with Yuimi to know more about her and her debut poetry collection.
Yuimi Vashum, a survivor of a child sexual abuse is here to convey the message to all the victims of sexual violence not to be shameful and fearful about raising their voice through her book, “Love. Lust. And Loyalty”.
Hello Yuimi! Good to have you here, please introduce a little about yourself.
Hi! My name is Yuimi Vashum, 28 and I’m from Ukhrul, Manipur. I am a freelance writer, an educationist and a Communication Skills trainer at Sprout Culture (a learning centre for soft skills).
Tell us about your book “Love. Lust. And Loyalty”.
Love. Lust. and Loyalty is a collection of poems I put together as an expression of art on sexual violence, relationships and womanhood.
Yuimi Vashum’s debut book “Love. Lust And Loyalty”
What made you write this book?
Funny thing is, publishing a collection of poems was the last thing on my mind even though I would casually write poems about love, family, society and what not. However, there was a point of time where I began to feel so strongly about sexual violence – child sexual abuse particularly, given that I am a victim of one. So, I began writing hordes of poems to express the emotions I go through.
So, yeah, basically it began as an art form for me to talk about everything. In this book particularly, I chose to largely dwell on empowering victims of sexual violence.
“Change starts from home, from within, from you and me. Let’s break the shame in honesty” – Yuimi Vashum.
To the Survivors, to strength, to peace, to courage and to self love. Excerpt from “Love. Lust And Loyalty” by Yuimi Vashum.
What initially sparked your interest in writing?
Ever since I was a young child, I had the habit of writing to my grandfather who lived in Imphal, Manipur. I would tell him about my school, the fruits I wanted to eat, my test scores, etc. This keen interest to show my grandfather my life in a letter was how I caught the writing bug, I guess!
“A poor man’s gold” – excerpt from Yuimi’s book “Love. Lust. And Loyalty”
How has your upbringing influenced your work or working style?
I’ve always been very sensitive about our community and my surrounding. I think somehow that is reflected on how a lot of my poems talk about our society in general, although I personalize it to my mother and family or a lover.
One that inspires Yuimi everyday to reclaim our voice, our pride – excerpt from “Love. Lust. And Loyalty”
Don’t mistake my writings for a rancor
I am not sad over what happened;
The aftertaste of sadness is too bitter.
I write so people can stop putting up an act
I write to break the shame in honesty.
I write for the little kid
Who grew up dreading the night,
Jumping at every touch.
I write for people like me
So they don’t have to face their fear alone.
I write for the monsters
To show them the nights will no longer be theirs.
There shall be no more cries.
I write for battered souls like me
To forgive, forget, and only live;
That, what is done to us in the shadows
Shall not stop us from living life.
We are air
We don’t bend
We don’t break
We are unprecedented. – the survivors
~ Yuimi Vashum / “Love. Lust. And Loyalty”
Where do you draw inspiration from?
From everything that is around me such as love, heartbreak, homeless sights, mountains, dreams, friends, etc.
What do you hope people to take away from your writings?
Particularly talking about Love Lust and Loyalty, I hope people begin to talk openly about sexual violence among friends and family. And also, hopeful that it will help people to move on in life without holding on to grudges.
“Bad Salad” – from “Love. Lust. And Loyalty” by Yuimi Vashum
“To love or not to love” – from “Love. Lust. And Loyalty” by Yuimi Vashum
When I first brought home my lover to mama
Mama told me Love is never enough.
There was no resentment in her voice
Years on, mama’s visit to the doctor increased
So did our fast and prayers.
For days, we watched mama slip
One platelet count to the next,
Hanging on by a point.
Air thick with deafening silence
Granny grabbed my cold hands, says
When daddy brought mama home, daddy had no bedding;
Mama slept on the cold earth, just a sheet in between.
Granny beats her chest, crying;
Daddy had only love to offer.
Now I know, why Love is never enough.
love is never enough
~ Yuimi Vashum / “Love. Lust. And Loyalty”