The underlying trauma that can keep you small as a woman especially, a woman of colour
Photo credit: Chevy-Jordan Thompson
Hey lovely, I wrote this piece at the tail end of 2020 and wanted to share it as I wrote it at the time. Therefore if the dates do not make sense, this is why.
I’m sat here on this very grey Saturday morning, with candles and low lamp light listening to the rain banging on the windows, a sound I absolutely love. Makes me want to eat ben and Jerry's and watch movies, but what I’m actually doing is thinking about what I want to share with you. Hans Zimmer is playing in the background and the music is making me even more sentimental than usual and I don’t really need any encouragement in that department. I think you’ll agree it’s been quite a year for all of us and I really want to share my personal experience of this year hoping that it may give you some value and even inspiration.
Despite all of the adversity that has been going on around us. It’s been a momentous year for me and my mission, When covid hit us in March, subconsciously I told myself to keep calm and actually a piece of advice I gave to myself is Saima you’ve been through some horrendous dark times, you can definitely get through this. I told myself to keep focused on what I wanted to achieve this year in my business and thankfully this approach has served me well.
What I wasn’t quite ready for was my own personal journey and yet another transformation. 2020, has been the year of sensuality for me and learning about and embracing my divine feminine. Quite unusual considering what’s been going on in the outside world.
For the last six years as many of you know I’ve been on a huge journey of self-discovery. Working through my inner traumas to reveal parts of myself I never knew existed and shedding one layer of conditioning after another.
For years I’ve been continuously asking myself: Who am I? What’s my purpose? What am I here do? What sort of life do I want to live? How can I best serve humanity? How can I be better as a human being? Most of these questions have been centred around my work goals and platonic relationships.
This year however has been profound in a really different way. I think this year has been the year of authenticity on a different level and the questions that have come up have been centred around who I am as a woman, the other half of a romantic partnership.
Some of the questions that have come up this year include; Yes, I’m a driven, ambitious, goal-orientated woman but who am I sensually? How do I show up confidentially with the opposite sex? How do I cultivate a relationship where there is passion and desire, safety and respect? In which two people are dynamic and powerful entities in their own rights and can come together as a force to be reckoned with? How do I serve a romantic partner without compromising who I am as an individual? How do I understand the male species better as a woman but also as a coach?
All of this then led to a whole load of other questions about identity and how the culture I was born into has impacted my real power as a woman. How trying to fit into the western world as a woman of colour has suppressed parts of me. The reason why these questions have been so important is that there’s a layer of trauma that comes with being a person of colour which keeps you small, which keeps you like the underdog, the inferior one and it happens unconsciously. You’re not even aware but it’s definitely happening. Having this come to the surface this year, finally enabled me to acknowledge it, let it go to an extent and I say to an extent because it’s still a work in progress and, figuring out the best way to move forward. Parallel to my own journey, we then witnessed the death of George Floyd and what that did was give permission to people of colour to share their experiences for the very first time in my lifetime. My experience here is not unique, I know that this transcends into many parts of society on many levels and impacts men hugely too.
What I’ve truly come to realise as we approach the end of the year is a deep knowing that ‘it’s ok’. It’s ok not to fit in. It’s ok to speak your truth even if it’s not going to be received well. It’s ok to show vulnerability. It’s ok to be a diva sometimes. It’s ok to say no, this does not serve me. This has truly set me free in a way that I couldn’t have imagined.
My own evolution has been a gradual process and taken a lot of self-enquiry and support along the way, shedding layers of conditioning and messages we’ve been told by society, our families and the world.
A woman who knows what she wants and is unafraid of going out there and getting it can be perceived as a drama queen, a troublemaker, or a disruptor. Everything that as South Asian women we are told not to be by our culture. Everything capitalism tells us not to be because god forbid if we actually began to really love ourselves like truly love ourselves then who’d buy the products that keep us young and radiant, or that are in line with the beauty standards that have been rammed down our throats for centuries.
And so, to shed this has meant doing deep inner work. Working through the trauma that has been passed down through our ancestral lineage. Childhood trauma which many of us carry and are unaware of. Trauma around body image and the messages we’ve received since childhood which is to hideaway. Trauma around sexuality and sensuality and trauma around worthiness.
What has sexuality got to do with being empowered you might ask. Well, the body has its own intelligence exactly as the mind does. The two are completely interconnected. The body is also where we feel intuition so when something doesn’t feel right if you really pay close attention you will feel it in your body. When you are disconnected from your body and are predominantly in the mind which many people sadly are because they’ve had to adopt this as a coping mechanism for survival, you are also then disconnected from your intuition.
The body also houses old wounds, anger and fear which is why as a wellbeing coach I’m an advocate of somatic healing practises like movement, breathwork and energy healing in addition to talking therapies. Your root chakra, one of the five energy centres in your body, sits at the base of the spine, the pelvic floor, and the first three vertebrae. It gives you a sense of safety and security with other people and yourself. When it’s imbalanced you may experience anxiety disorders, fears and nightmares.
Photo Credit: Lianne Foye
One of my clients who had been experiencing a very challenging time in her life said to me in her final session recently, ‘Saima, I feel like I’m living again’
Your sacral chakra located in your lower abdomen rules your physical manifestation, it’s also where creativity resides. When the Sacral Chakra is in balance, your feelings flow freely, and you can express yourself without any problems but when imbalanced, you may experience emotional instability, fear of change, sexual dysfunction, depression and addictions.
If you want to feel wholesome and juicy in every area of your life, then you have to embrace your body, every single part of it. And so any shame you may have around the body cannot take up any space. I talk about shame because the messages around sex and the body which have been communicated to many of us, state that sex is bad, and the body should be hidden. Btw, I have to say this, I am not saying that you need to display your body to feel confident and sensual because I often feel that with social media, this is now a new pressure placed on women to show how free they are. You can love your body behind closed doors. Your body is for your pleasure only and whoever you may choose to share it with.
As a child, growing up in a Pakistani family, if you were watching tv and a kissing scene came on, there was always this uncomfortable moment where everyone in a panic started fumbling around for the remote control so they could change the channel. For me, it was really strange to then go to a friend’s house who wasn’t of South Asian heritage and sit with their family watching a kissing scene. It was like omg, what’s going on here. And the funny thing is, things haven’t changed. We’re still like this in my family. When those sorts of messages have been communicated to you, you get out in the world and it’s so confusing and scary. It’s also kept many women small and disempowered. So when I coach women who are having challenges around self-esteem and lack self-confidence. I will encourage them to do something which makes them feel sexy in the body and to do it by themselves, for themselves. Because When a woman comes into her sexual power, she then also comes into her sovereignty and the divine feminine, that’s where the magic is. And that’s when she can truly show up for herself and her partner if she chooses to have one. Likewise, when a man comes into his divine masculine that’s when he can truly show up for his woman.
If you listened to the podcast episode on The Trailblazers Journey with sensuality coach Lebo grand, Lebo touched on the fact that in today’s world all the messages we receive about sex, focus on the exterior. Using outside sources for stimulation, like pornography and sex toys but actually, the true beauty lies when you show up from a place of deep self-love and inner confidence. And deep self-love and inner confidence can only come from embracing yourself fully, your body and everything it does and is capable of doing. Deep self-love also comes from embracing your imperfections, your shadows, what you’ve been through and what you are becoming.
When you can unapologetically, unashamedly, embody your own sensuality, you will also find that you become better in other areas of your life. You become unafraid of using your voice in a relationship or at work, you may set yourself very audacious goals and have this unwavering self-belief that you will achieve them, you may get better at setting boundaries and asking for what you want. You may get more clarity on what you want from life and not settle for second best.
And so, when I look back at 2020, this is what I have learned about myself and can now gift this knowledge to you and my clients. I’ve had my head deep in the books, educating myself whilst going through my own experiences.
It’s been a momentous year seeing so many men and women move through the doors of my coaching practice. Witnessing their transformations. Coaching them through feelings of self-doubt and not being enough. Seeing them go from standing on the periphery of life, feeling small and not using their voices to becoming empowered, enlightened, confident, often cheeky. Their energy shift from low vibration to shiny, vivacious and zestful. One of my clients who had been experiencing a very challenging time in her life said to me in her final session recently, ‘Saima, I feel like I’m living again'
Isn’t this what life is about? Living. Living your truth? Thriving rather than just existing. Showing the world, the full spectrum of your awesomeness. The full truth of who you are.