Pakistani Author Sijdah Hussain On Messy Healing In Her New Book ‘Red Sugar No More’

From time to time, we come to the realization that although we might have thought we moved on from something – we actually didn’t. Our past can be a continuous open wound that stops hurting eventually, or perhaps we just get used to the pain until one day something unravels it all and all those emotions come flooding back out our eyes. 

When we hit rock bottom, we can end up feeling even worse because of all our failures and regrets up until that point – not just the one that triggered the whole thing. There are so many books, from self-help to fiction novels, that teach us about the importance of completing the 7 steps of grief because if we follow these steps we are promised a brand new outlook on life and a light feeling that allows us to go on without any hassles. Let’s just cut the crap – that’s a lie. 

“The 7 steps idea of healing is an oasis – an idea of fulfilment – a false promise to keep us moving- a hope for things to be better – a limbo, our own self-created maze thanks to us humans being an embodiment of so many emotions.”

Sometimes we have to go through the same emotion over and over and over until we familiarize ourselves with the patterns and learns not to fall into it again. We start to devise ways to stop ourselves from getting hurt; some go numb, some get high and others start existing every day. Life sucks, until that one day when everything hurts a little less. When we start reflecting on our failures as our lessons for the future. We finally regain peace and start paving our way towards self-actualization. It’s a steep path; you will fall again and again, but it is not impossible. 

‘Red Sugar, No More’ is a book series that focuses on the mental health of a 21 year old who has been living in a bubble for far too long. The story starts when she finally realizes that life is more than just an amalgamation of black & white. She finds out that life is an amalgamation of a series of colors and everything isn’t just blue, golden or grey – it’s a freaking rainbow out there. Making her way through each feeling; understanding and living it, again and again, is the only way she can move on. Of course, it’s not an easy path but it’s not impossible either. 

Sijdah Hussain is a first-time modern day writer. She doesn’t like to call herself a “poetess” because the word poet should not dictate a gender. She calls herself “the messy writer” as her work is focused on a messy mental state one is in when starting the process of healing. She has vocalized various topics in her ‘Red Sugar, No More’, themes such as bullying, victimization & amoral foolishness, friendship, betrayal, pain, feminism, patriarchy & sexism, societal pressure, defeat, regret, blame, anger, paranoia, sleep paralysis as well as suicide.

The idea of the book is to focus on the mental state of a person going through a variety of emotions every second of the day. Bullying is very common in not just in Pakistan where the author is from, but globally as well, despite it being thought of as just a “part of growing up”. Studies show approximately 14% of high school students consider suicide every now and then and 7% of that number actually attempt it.

No one would like to think of themselves as a bully, and therefore we may not know how our personality might be inflicting another human being. This book delves into the thinking of someone who used to be a bully in middle school but ends up getting bullied at much higher magnitudes as an adult. The story moves around the idea of suicide to explaining why someone might romanticize it and someone convinces them self to stop. It also touches on how society reacts after someone has gone through with it. 

There’s a subtle hint to sexism and patriarchal thinking throughout the text that makes the reader aware of how it gets too difficult to work in a society where people focus more on the words coming out of a woman’s mouth than their feelings. How women tend to get broken when the wheel of patriarchy takes its course. From rape jokes to friendships, women are blamed for not having humor as well as being unable to understand the frustration regarding it to.

The book is for every person who has been victimized for those often misunderstood. It’s for those who have been told that they are “too” emotional or sensitive. It is for those who can’t understand why their loved one is unable to overcome their trauma, It’s for those battling for their mental peace every single day. It is for those who have no one to rely on. It is for those who are struggling to win a broken soul’s trust. It is for those who force themselves to sleep with muffled cries. It is for those who feel that life is meaningless. It is for those who struggle with people in power. It is for you. 

The book is set to be released on the 1st of August 2020, aka Friendship Day, on Amazon. E-books are available for pre-orders now. Ironically, Amazon doesn’t deliver in Pakistan (the author is based in Lahore, Pakistan) and due to a lack of good publishing houses and opportunities for unsolicited manuscripts in her country, Sijdah is getting copies printed for Pakistan herself. From every lyric to every illustration, she did it all by herself with on Canva.

You can connect with Sijdah via her Instagram handle (@sijdah) and read more about the book at You can also check out the teasers from the book on Instagram (@redsugarnomore). 

And remember: Healing is messy but necessary!

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