Déjà Rae has been journaling for as long as she can remember. It wasn’t until a spontaneous conversation with her roommate that she decided to begin sharing her words with the world. Since its creation two years ago, her poetry and prose account has gained over 40,000 followers on Instagram and 18,000 followers on TikTok

“Everything I write is based on something that I’ve experienced before,” she said. 

Déjà Rae sugarcoats nothing. Her words express raw emotions that often get lost in the shuffle. Drawn to the human condition, she has an innate ability to craft some of the most complicated feelings into simple, eloquent words. Her writing reminds readers to embrace and accept their struggles. She shares thoughts on topics including faith, relationships and her journey to finding self-love. 

If we don’t practice self-love, we will
search for that love elsewhere.

We will assume that the love we crave is
in the hands of another human. We will
betray ourselves, put others on a pedestal,
and lower our self-worth just to grasp at
scraps of affection.

Sweet friend, the love you are looking for
is inside of you.

Keep digging.

A San Jose native, she attributes her poetic clarity to countless soul-searching walks along the shore.

“I think the beach has really shaped me as a writer because it’s allowed me this quiet place of solitude to really go inward.” 

In 2020, she took a yearlong trip south to Venice, California. While away, she was still drawn to the beach, often taking contemplative 15-mile runs as waves crashed beside her. She speaks fondly of her time there, referring to it as the most transformative year in her life. 

Shortly after this trip, she got a “spiritual feeling” that it was time to start mapping out her very first collection of writing. The title came easily: Ebb & Flow. The organization of the chapters reflects a cyclical pattern of emotions that we all too commonly face. Déjà Rae refers to her chapters as “seasons,” implying that like nature’s patterns, past experiences are bound to resurface.

“The whole concept of Ebb & Flow is that yes, we are all on this growing journey, but once we learn a lesson, we’re probably going to have to learn it again and again for the rest of our lives — and that’s okay,” she said.

You do not have time for anyone 
that does not have time for you. 

Let me say that again. 

You do not have time for anyone
that does not have time for you.

Ebb & Flow is a therapeutic read — one that assures readers they are not alone in their complicated feelings. Despite the wisdom she shares in the book, Déjà Rae admits to readers that even she, the author, is a work in progress. She says that writing gives her the opportunity to dissect her own feelings, and, in turn, she hopes it can help others to reach some level of personal healing as well. 

One of her favorite pieces from Ebb & Flow is about receiving “half love.”

If you want half love 
You’ll have to find another heart
I don’t give my love in pieces
I don’t give my love in parts 

If you want empty kisses
You’ll need to look somewhere else
I don’t need your sweet nothings
I can fully love myself

If you’re looking for a fix
If you need a loving touch 
You can find another woman 
I am not your lustful crutch

If you’re longing for a fill 
If you need some satisfaction
You should look within yourself
Instead of searching for distractions

I am not your toyed attraction
I’m not your sexual transaction
I don’t need your reactions 
I don’t give my love in fractions

“At that time, I was going through a situation with someone where I was getting half love. [The poem] was sort of me putting my foot down and saying, I’m not settling for half love anymore.

In the midst of the publishing process, Déjà Rae moved to New York, where she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in data analytics. While it took some time for her to adjust from the sounds of crashing waves to the sounds of street construction, her creative juices haven’t stopped flowing. In fact, she is almost finished with her next book, which is set to come out later this year. 

Regardless of what’s to come, Déjà Rae will continue to foster a space that both normalizes and celebrates the often arduous path of self-growth. Her writing is unapologetic, and invites readers to embrace emotions that have long been stigmatized. 

“I think the more that we can just surrender to the process [of growth], the more at ease we can be. Whenever I’m in a tough season now, I remind myself that it’s just a season, and it isn’t forever.”

An earlier version of this story described a trip to Venice, Italy. It has been corrected to Venice, California.

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