For most of my life, I’ve sat on the sidelines watching people speak for me and about my experiences while my insides were refuting their words. One of the greatest ‘aha’ moments that I grasped from the Muslim Women For retreat was claiming space, reclaiming my voice, and making sure that my story is being told.
A big part of telling my story is first knowing who I am, who am I representing, and how can my story bring about goodness. As a group, we engaged in many activities that fulfilled those requirements. In one particular activity, I went down memory lane, reminiscing on scents, sounds, and time periods that made me into the person that I am today.
I discovered from that activity that I come from strength and that I have learned resilience through trauma from my matriarch. I experienced an energizing feeling from sharing my story versus suppressing it, which is something too many of us do unfortunately.
I took my reclaimed voice and made it heard in the workplace. I make sure to invite my team members to tell their story. I make sure that I speak up for myself, that I communicate my needs, and that I share my truth as it relates to my intersectionality. Within a week of being back at work, post the retreat, I felt a boost in confidence and a decrease in anxiety.
As I move beyond the workplace, I want to invite others to reclaim their voice. On my social media accounts, I post IGTV videos telling my story as a teachable strategy for self-reflection and self-healing. I’ve witnessed how the act of storytelling can be self-empowering, a healing of self, and a catalyst for the change that we all need. Learning from others’ experiences, and from their stories, is one of the ways we as humans relate to each other.
Thank you Muslim Women For. The experience was life changing.
About the Author: Keyona Shears
Keyona Shears is a Curriculum Product Manager at Maverick Solutions LLC. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her passions are making emotional connections with people, providing a safe space for human growth, connecting with the youth by demonstrating the bridge between the real world and the practice of Islam, and overall volunteering for community service.
By participating in this fellowship, Keyona hopes to learn more about her passion for social activism and to meet like-minded and unlike-minded individuals that will help her implement an inclusive attitude in the spaces she holds a place in. You can follow her journey on Instagram @keyonashears.