Throughout my life and career, I have been in a constant journey for reclaiming my home and reclaiming and my right of belonging in this world. I was born country-less in a refugee camp, fatherless due to machismo, and exposed to structural violence enacted through militarization and US interventions. In my teen years, the experiences of being bullied strengthened my wildest mission to make this world the way it should be; I wanted to contest the toxic ways organized religion perpetuated injustice through hierarchical value systems inherited from colonialism, while also recognizing my own power as an Indigenous girl and that of my communities. I have been able to contest these systems with my ability to name the specific social structural wounds that caused marginalization, reflecting collectively and making personal and communal decisions on how to change our realities without compromising our safety and that of loved ones. These practices are a radical way of reclaiming our connection to Mother Earth, a liberating spirituality.
I recall one particular incident while in school; one day a bully in my classroom (the son of the mayor in my village) tried to touch my body without consent. These aggressions had been going on for a while and as a femme, I had been told in social-cultural spheres outside my home that my voice did not matter – which I internalized to be true. That day in class, my power was used in voicing my pain to the bully and in front of all my peers. I was shaking but stood up. I told the bully I am tired of your psychological abuse and I am not giving you permission to touch me. Speaking up in front of the entire class was a way to make him accountable.
After the incident, I left the classroom, not feeling shame but crying because it was brave to acknowledge that his behaviors were hurtful and that my body was mine. I also felt scared; scared of the new me, the girl that stood up for herself. I was moving toward a new sense of empowered self. I was shedding my Serpent skin toward change. Some of my femme peers told me that it was not okay to shame him in front of the class, which exacerbated the hurt. But there were a few folx who expressed solidarity and helped me process the experience. Identifying trustworthy partnerships was a key aspect of this learning process. Since then, it has been my mission to utilize my Spiritual Medicine, not only to speak up for my own liberation but most importantly to support other people in their liberation as well. My radical desire that day was that I wanted to create a platform to prioritize and voice my needs, build community through healthy relationship nurturing, and practice rituals for reconnection. I was embracing my Medicine as a guide and healer.
Through critical thinking tools, ancestral rituals, and holding space for life’s complexities, I developed a practice to bring people together so they can:
- Feel more connected with themselves and their communities
- Find nourishment in affirming their experiences while calling out what the wounds and roots are
- Reclaim their creativity to reconnect with their own power and core values
Embracing change is not an easy task. One has to invest the intentional time for self-awareness to enact the transformation within. This process takes courage and energy. Reconnecting with our own Power and Spiritual Medicine to embrace our own values, recognize our ancestral creativity, and use it for restoration within and with our communities and with Mother Earth. All these practices are ways for Reclaiming Home. Every small mindful action and step to listen to our own internal healing voice sustains our deepest needs and radical creative practices.
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