Make Muse

For the young womxn who wants to make a change.

What They Say & What I Show Them In Retrospect: A Poetry Series

What They Say & What I Show Them In Retrospect: A Poetry Series

Upneet Aujla

Upneet Aujla

Due to stereotypes and toxic societal standards, women are constantly dealing with close-minded thinking doubt their ability, skill, and achievements. It is the women that break those standards who inspire other women to do the same; in solidarity women are able to persevere, beyond the limiting expectations that are imposed on women. 

Growing up in a household that most of the time deterred me from pursuing opportunities outside societal gender norms often meant that I had to follow these obligations and pass up chances to  do what I wanted and what mattered to me. Constantly being told to “do this” and “do that” hindered any personal progress. I did not come to this realization until everything that I wanted to do or thought of was either immediately denied or accredited to another person in the room. It was in those very moments that I wanted to stand my own ground even more. It was in those moments that I took strides to build the courage to move forward and demand a change. The change that came when I used my voice allowed me to create, discover, and live a life free of societal boundaries. In this poetry series I explore the aspects of restrictions imposed on me for being a women wanting change, as well as how I broke past those restrictions that exist  in today’s society with the excuse of being traditional and cultural values. I write for those who like me, live with a voice unheard for far too long and need to push towards having a carefree and resilient attitude, leading to change and creativity.


They tell me that I can’t. 

I can’t do what I may please.

What may please me does 

not meet the standards set.

The standards set suppress

 to merely be and to hinder 

progress to made on my own.

I am told by family that I aim

 too high and reach for the unattainable.

Being told of expectations that are too high

 comes paired with not doing enough 

with what I am given. 

Stuck between a constant tug of war, 

a cascade of suppression of ideas overlays.


It’s either this and that then or

not at all.

Not at all describes the amount 

of opportunity I was given.

The opportunity I was given

 was next to nothing yet

 something I had to appreciate.

I had to appreciate the restrictive

 boundaries that left me no chance.

Standing in the way was my 

predetermined obligations

 that hindered my ability to partake

 in anything that was in resemblance

 of my own passion. 

Being told instead to focus on what’s the

 “right” thing to do and how to get there put

 my personal goals and ideas

 on the back burner

 and led to the failure to try something

 that challenged and inspired me. 

I colored inside the lines.


It’s doing what’s told and being 

forced to be mediocre.

Being forced to be mediocre is 

something that is instilled and

 practiced throughout.

With being practiced throughout

 it values aged ideals rather than

 progress and realization.

Progress and realization aid in

 moving forward yet the twisted 

perception of it is to the contrary 

causing conformity.

Being told to value ridiculous standards

 that were “tradition” when in actuality 

They were just ways to steer clear 

of understanding a world other than 

the world that I lived in 

forced me to live in a bubble. 

It led to me being less open and

 understanding and rather mundane 

and closed off. 

Opposed to ideas, conformity led me to shut

 out anything or any project that did not correlate 

with the confined space.

Breaking Barriers

It is in times of this very doubt,

 insistence to preserve, and

 harmful values that we have a choice.

We have a choice to adopt the mindset

 or to challenge it.

The challenge lies within questioning. 

Questioning the norm and acting upon

 intention rather than conformity defy’s 

standards and sets a precedent of being

 the necessary challenger in the status quo.

I stood my ground and made clear indication

 that I stood for what I stood for and 

was on the pursuit to achieve what I was told 

was too unachievable, and held no merit. 

I stood to defy the standards placed in my way.

Taking the Beauty Standards Out of the Workout

Taking the Beauty Standards Out of the Workout

Why I Don’t Want to Get Married (And Why You Shouldn’t Feel Pressured to Either)

Why I Don’t Want to Get Married (And Why You Shouldn’t Feel Pressured to Either)