Take Up Space. Use Your Voice.
Written by: Fazeena Haniff
You are so worthy.
Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
Do not let the history in your cells stop you from using your voice and living the purpose and the path that was divinely made for you.
You are so worthy.
It was a year ago right now that I found myself in a mystery. It was an unfolding that led to an awakening. Professionally, as an entrepreneur, I was exploring my relationship with money. Personally, I was obsessed with the TV show Outlander and binge-watching episodes until early morning hours. Synchronicity brought the two together to show me something I needed to see.
Prior to starting my own business, I was bringing it in. I had a successful career in Corporate Communications and Public Relations, but something was missing.
I knew I was playing it small. I knew I was meant for more.
I wanted to have an impact. To effect change. To help others. So, in 2015, when the opportunity came along, I took the biggest risk I’d ever taken in my life and I left my secure government job.
I didn’t immediately know that I wanted to start my own business. It was more that as I applied for other jobs, working for someone else didn’t feel right any longer. So, I took another big risk and started my Communication Coaching and Consulting practice.
Entrepreneur life looks sexy on social media. But here’s what no one wants to tell you— every single insecurity you have will make an appearance along the journey, especially if it relates to using your voice, stepping into your power and making money. To kick it up a notch, because you will have taken on one of the biggest roles and risks a person can take on, it also raises unresolved traumas from your own life and passed on to you through generations.
This is where Outlander comes in. didn’t grow up learning much about indentureship and what that meant for our ancestors. All I knew was that our ancestors came on ships from India to Guyana and they started new lives there. So, when an episode of Outlander mentioned the term “indentured servant," I instantly became curious and I Googled and Googled and Googled some more.
There’s something profound that happens when the cellular memory of your ancestors’ experiences becomes activated within you.
The more I read about the brutal reality of indentureship in Guyana, the more I could feel the pain and suffering of our ancestors. All the ways women and girls, in particular, were stripped of worth and sovereignty. Made to accept abuse. Silenced. Given the smallest space in society in which to exist. Designated for servitude.
The “remembering” as it’s called came with an important question— How much of the remnants of those traumas that were passed on from generation to generation played out in my own life and in all our lives today? And not just for those of us whose ancestors were of the indentured, but for all people whose ancestors were brutalized by the ruthless hands of colonialism.
As I reflected on this question and drew upon my knowledge of epigenetics I’d learned in my work as a coach (the study of how trauma can be passed on genetically and expressed in present day), the more I could identify how it showed up in my own life, in the lives of my female relatives, and my friends of similar background.
As a Communication Coach, I take on the role of empowering my clients to get to the root of their communication troubles. We go way beyond the traditional “how-to” and get to the core of what’s really happening. I realized I had come across another critically deep layer of what keeps us stuck and small when using our voices as womxn of colour in professional spaces.
The thought of speaking up to authority on the job causes you to break out in a sweat or to go silent? Well of course it does, when we carry the cellular memory of ancestors who would be met with violence if they dared speak up to colonial masters.
Unable to speak your big ideas, because of self-doubt and lack of confidence? Absolutely what happens when you’re taught your voice doesn’t matter and you have little worth.
Public speaking makes you want to bolt the other way? Remember what they said, “Be seen and not heard,” so shrink into that small space that was created for you and stay there.
The thought of asking for a raise or leadership role, or communicating higher prices in your business makes you want to barf? Yes, it does, because you’re not allowed to ask for more when you were made for servitude.
This is a sampling of how the trauma of indentureship shows up in how we use our voices (or don’t) in our professional lives and, which seeps into our ideas of our worthiness for professional success.
I get it. I’ve been there.
(We haven’t even touched on what this looks like in our relationships, romantic and otherwise.)
So many of us have come into this life to be cycle-breakers. To become aware of patterns that are meant to end with us. We’re here to be trailblazers and to walk paths that perhaps haven’t been walked yet in our lineage. To give words to things that haven’t been spoken of before.
When we take a step forward, the resistance we feel will be real and uncomfortable, because we’re doing things that haven’t been modelled for us. We’re fighting the pull of the past as we actively create a new path and lead forward.
What I know from my own learning and growth as a coach and entrepreneur, and through walking with my clients as they journey to reclaim their voice and reconnect to their worth is that transcending these challenges is absolutely possible and so rewarding. What I also know is, it’s our time to take up space. To use our voices. To reclaim. Because, we’re worthy. So worthy.
Join Fazeena for a free 75-minute I’m Speaking Masterclass taking place on Wednesday, November 25 at 7 p.m. EST.
Fazeena Haniff is The Conscious Communicator – a communication expert with 20 years of experience, a board-certified coach, speaker, consultant, intuitive, and cycle-breaker.
After leaving an award-winning career in corporate communications and public relations behind, Fazeena started her coaching and consulting practice to empower individuals to reclaim their voice from past and intergenerational trauma, and disempowering societal, cultural and family dynamics to be powerful communicators.
Fazeena holds a unique position of combining her many years of professional training and experience in communication with her unique ability to see the unconscious patterns that influence a person’s ability to communicate to facilitate powerful breakthroughs. She’s built a diverse and inclusive practice serving clients of all intersectionalities and backgrounds.