After reviewing this blog post, I sat down to write a formal introduction and realized there are no words that can introduce what a brilliant, kind, and compassionate person Pavita Singh is. In fact, when it came time to name this post, I wasn’t sure whether to focus on her role as a dedicated Smile Project Ambassador or the myriad other hats she wears in the service space. What you’ll read below is a beautiful share about how we experience life and what it means to love all of our magic. Without further ado, it’s my honor to introduce Pavita.
Liz: Let's start in true Smile Project fashion. Share a "Happiness is."
Pavita: In this moment, happiness to me is good health, loving family and friends, freshly baked bread and cookies, and sharing my poetry book with the world.
Liz: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Pavita: My mission is to spread light, love, learning, and laughter. Some days, it is easier to do this than others, but I’m definitely trying. I try to make the world and myself a little bit better and have fun doing it. I tend to leave a little sparkle wherever I go with my fairy dust and wanderlust. Professionally, I am the executive director of Girls Health Ed, a project manager and editor at Publish Your Gift, and a tutor. I also have my own freelance writing and editing business called pavEDITa. I enjoy dance, yoga, reading, writing, creative activities, napping, eating out, laughing, watching TV, hanging out with family and friends, and traveling. So far, I have been to 38 countries and 27 U.S. states. I live in New York City.
Liz: Tell me about your poetry book.
Pavita: To All the Magic in Me is a collection of love letters to all of life’s emotions—both positive and negative. Based on my personal mental health struggles and life experiences, the collection includes 61 poems covering the whole spectrum of emotions and states of being, from perfectionism to passion, anxiety to relief, depression to optimism, and everything in between and beyond. Each poem personifies the emotion and is essentially a conversation with the emotion, recognizing its complexity and the role it plays in life. I am also proud to share that To All the Magic in Me is an international bestseller.
Liz: Why the decision to focus on emotions? And, why the importance of highlighting the "negative" ones as well?
Pavita: I believe that our emotions are one of the most important parts of our life and our experience as human beings. As you have described, this book is a “profound nod to the inner workings of our hearts.”
As for the importance of highlighting the negative emotions, many people—myself included—often go through life trying to avoid negative emotions. This is understandable, as negative emotions just don’t feel good. What we forget, however, is that they are a critical part of the experience of being human. They are authentic. They are part of what makes us who we are. If we can learn to sit with, observe, and truly embrace our negative emotions, we will realize that they, too, have much to teach us. Seeing the light in these negative emotions and recognizing the role that they play in our lives are actually much more fulfilling for our mental health than simply ignoring them or trying to push them under the rug. We are often inundated with messages that promote “good vibes only” and being positive all the time. Well intentioned as these messages might be, I actually find them to be quite harmful because they encourage us to mask part of what makes us who we are.
By including love letters to negative emotions in this poetry collection, I want readers to understand that however they are feeling is valid, and that if they are not feeling so great, they are not alone. As confusing as it might sound, sometimes it just feels good to feel bad. That’s the thing about emotions—they are messy, complex, and often contradictory. Not every negative emotion is 100 percent negative, and not every positive emotion is 100 percent positive. There are negatives and positives enmeshed within every emotion. Embracing this messiness and complexity and learning to cope with all our emotions in a healthy manner is key to unleashing our inner magic.
Liz: I understand this is your first published book. How was the experience of turning your poems into a published piece?
Pavita: It has been such a fun experience. I had actually been working on another book before I started this one, but I had a couple of negative events happen to me at the time that made To All the Magic in Me feel even more urgent, and the poems just started coming to me. The process of putting pen to paper as this happened was healing and introspective. I had an incredible team at Publish Your Gift by my side the whole time who helped me to bring out the best in this collection. My family and friends have also been some of my biggest advocates and cheerleaders and have helped me significantly in sharing my message with the world.
There were certainly some moments throughout the journey where I doubted myself and thought that maybe my work wasn’t good enough, but I believe this is something that every creator goes through, no matter how novice or experienced they are. The fact is that no published work will ever be perfect, nor will it ever be a completely accurate reflection of the author’s state of being throughout their entire life. How can it be when people are always changing and growing? Neither of these realities, however, make a published work any less beautiful and should therefore never discourage a creator from putting their work out there.
It was a wonderful moment to hold the first physical proof of To All the Magic in Me in my hands for the first time and flip through it. The book was published in June 2021, and I still light up whenever I receive an order. I always personalize each buyer’s copy with a handwritten note and send their books to them in bright pink envelopes. Going to the post office to fulfill orders has become one of my favorite activities. I always try to carry copies of the book with me wherever I go, and if I feel compelled to do so, I occasionally leave copies in random spots for readers to find or give copies to people whom I sense might benefit from it or who are doing important work in the community but might not always get the appreciation they deserve. It warms my heart to have readers reach out to me and tell me how the book has impacted them, because making a difference in people’s lives and supporting them along their journeys is my greatest motivation for doing what I do.
Liz: Who are you hoping will pick up this book?
Pavita: The simple and honest answer is everybody! As personal as this book is, it is also universal. All of us—no matter who we are or what stage of life we are in—have emotions. While the exact way these emotions manifest themselves is different for everybody, the fact is that we are all affected by them. To All the Magic in Me is a quick and easy read, and I believe everybody can find in it at least one small nugget with which they can resonate. Anybody who has ever struggled with their mental health, who is seeking personal development opportunities, or who enjoys poetry should pick up To All the Magic in Me.
One caveat I should mention is that there are some topics and word choices in the book that may not be completely suitable for or relatable to very young children (perhaps those younger than 13). Younger readers therefore might want to wait to read this book until they are older or read it together with their parents or a trusted adult. That said, I am currently working on the children’s version of To All the Magic in Me, which I am hoping will be published in the next year. So young readers, get excited! Your book is coming!
Liz: When and where will the book be available for purchase?
Pavita: The book is available for purchase now! Readers in the U.S. or Canada can purchase their copy at magicwithpavita.com. If you order directly from magicwithpavita.com, you will receive a personalized copy with a handwritten note and autograph delivered to you in a bright pink envelope. Readers outside of the U.S. or Canada and those who prefer ebooks can find the book on Amazon.
Liz: What would you say to other young writers or artists about pursuing their dreams?
Pavita: Creators are some of the coolest people on the planet. The first thing I would say is “You are awesome!” You will likely experience some challenges along the way. Keep going. Your creation has value, and there is no doubt someone somewhere in the world who is going to benefit from you putting your gift out there. If you’re looking for some support, don’t hesitate to reach out! I would love to connect with you.
Liz: Anything you'd like to add that I haven't already asked you?
Pavita: A portion of the proceeds from To All the Magic in Me will benefit Girls Health Ed, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance gender equality by fostering healthy, informed, and empowered decision-making in adolescent girls and young women, particularly those from low-income, underserved communities, through comprehensive health and sexuality education. By purchasing the book, therefore, you are not only supporting me as an author but are also contributing to the health, happiness, and overall wellbeing of girls and young women everywhere.
I always love meeting new people. If you’re looking for a new friend or just want to connect, you can find me on Facebook (Pavita Singh), Instagram (@power.pav.girl), Twitter (@PavitaSinghMPH), or LinkedIn (Pavita Singh, MPH).