Updated: Jul 23, 2021
I grew up in a place where the laws dictated what it means to be a woman. I was told to be holy and save myself. No sex before marriage. And if you’re shy and soft spoken, even better. I was covered up from head to toes since I was in third grade. I wanted to be an adult. I wanted to embody the strong historical women. I was told that covering up makes me free. It keeps me safe.
Could you see yourself and your story in mine?
In 2013, after leaving a fixed marriage I got into when I was 18, I moved to Canada, 24 years old and still covered from head to toes. This all feels like destiny. I have vivid memories of the time I spent in court fighting for divorce. Where I met women who were oppressed, defeated by the system, and some had no one to stand up for them. This is when I found my calling - when I knew that I needed to stand up for women’s rights.
Could you see yourself and your story in mine, in theirs?
They think that I got my freedom when I moved to Canada.
I’d argue not.
Because here I am in Canada and I’m still dictated by society on how to be a woman. How to speak, how to dress, what to do with my body, what to do with my body's hair, and my sexuality is still up for everybody’s judgment.
Here I am in Canada and I’m still dictated by society on how to be a woman leader. And what leadership styles are expected from me. When I was the only female executive in a team of men, I needed to persist to be heard, dismissed and often interrupted. I needed to go above and beyond to prove that I belong, that I have value to offer. I found myself fumbling in the unfairness of it all.
Here I am in Canada and I found myself in a relationship where my partner at the time told me that my passion and interest in politics was not a feminine thing to do, and it made me less attractive. I found myself fumbling between being in a space of power in society, and being loved and desired.
Here I am in Canada and I found myself shrinking, playing small, downsizing parts of myself. Feeling like an imposter. Constantly trying to prove something to someone.
Could you see yourself and your story in mine?
I often thought... how much more do I have to polish myself before I can move through the world smoothly?
Then I saw it..
That it is not an accident that the social, financial and political disempowerment for women and vulva-bodied people around the world went hand-in-hand with the sexual oppression, violence and threats.
That even women in Canada are facing domestic and sexual violence with rates that are on par with the rest of the world.
That even here.. in the “West”... we are shamed, and the ones to blame.
That even here.. in the “West”... we are consistently told how we should look, be and act.
That even here.. in the “West”... we are chronically disempowered as we age.
That even here.. in the “West”... we are systematically told that we’re too emotional, and less stable than the “ideal patriarchy”.
That even here.. in the “West”... ‘God’ is “he”.
That here in the “West” and around the world, men hold the spiritual authorities in all the world’s major religions.
For thousands of years we've been squashed, denied to be ourselves, denied the safety we deserved. Our full dignity and sovereignty to choose our life and our path.
It makes sense... we feel unsafe to show up and be seen, to take up space. We feel it ancestrally, the choices our mothers and grandmothers had to endure. So we play small. We beg other people to show us our worthiness, make us safe, give us approval, give us crumbs of love, crumbs of acceptance.
I invite you to see that we, in our bodies, carry the legacy, the physiological signature, of what patriarchy has been. Notice where you feel it in your body, and how it feels.
I invite you to acknowledge that of course you carry it, that there's nothing wrong with you. Nothing flaw. Nothing less. Nothing broken.
That you are a Sovereign Being. We all are.
I thought that was it for me, for all of us, and I did not know that healing is possible.
But here I am in 2021, and I celebrate my open heart, my radical self love, the lightness and aliveness I feel in my body, my ability to tap into my inner wisdom, the exuberance and joy I radiate, the space I take up, my unleashed wild woman fully standing in my power. Here I am in 2021, and I celebrate not just my healing journey, but that I’m in a place where I am holding safe space for others to heal. Through my business, “I’m All Courage” I hold space for people to reclaim their power from societal or political conditioning and disempowerment. It is perhaps my human way to make meaning of my journey, and transform it to be my greatest power, but I show up in love, willing to put my voice and words, and I do it in service to our humanity.
I vow that this ends with me.
I vow not to play small, hide or shrink myself.
I vow to be in my humanity.
I vow to stand in my power.
I vow to remember my sovereignty.
I vow to unconditionally love and cherish myself and my body.
I vow to boldly put my work and words out to the world.
I vow to let life happen, to live it with so much love, lust and hope for myself and our humanity.
Come with me.
Come with us.