Her Story: My Call To Action
My husband’s hands pushed hard on my lower back as I draped myself over the hospital bed, moaning through the contraction that threatened to split me in two. Desperately clinging to my breath, my mind searched for something to hold on to. From the foggy depths of the pain, emerged one thought: My girl. The much-anticipated little sister for my daughter and my son, and the one who would complete our family. I focused. I inhaled. I exhaled. As the contraction eased, I wiped the sweat from my upper lip. One day, this girl who was trying to burst into this world, as well as my firstborn daughter may find themselves draped over beds, or squatting, splitting from the inside out, to do what women have been doing since the beginning of time.
Women are bonded in our pain and in our joy. We are bonded in our fears and in our dreams. We belong to each other in this way, yet I feel there is still a disconnect. A painful separation, a cracked foundation. Even a gaping hole. There are lies that keep us apart, beliefs that have been fed to us knowingly and unknowingly, and a great deal of emphasis placed on the ways we are not the same. And therein lies our greatest obstacle.
Her Story is our way of demolishing that obstacle and creating a smoother path for us to tread together. Through the stories of women we don’t even know, we will see our own reflection. Through partnering with organizations who serve these women, we will answer the question, “What can I do about this?” Because when we see ourselves in each other, we will realize the importance of doing something.
Karen and I share a passion for storytelling and for bringing women together. When she started talking to me about Her Story, my soul lit up! I had already been contemplating travelling North America to interview Muslim women and write their stories, revealing them to be very much like women you already know. Broadening my scope to include women of all backgrounds facing a variety of social injustices that one might not visualize against a Canadian backdrop, was the perfect way to get me out of the ‘thinking’ mode and into action mode – which is where I want to be.
I told Karen, “I want to do something.” And through Her Story, we will mobilize you, too. If you have ever thought to yourself, I want to do something, you have come to the right place.
At Her Story, we listen first. That is a huge part of doing. It directs us to be the right kind of support, and maps out the best way to make change. Let’s listen together to the stories of our Canadian sisters so that we can best know how to serve them.
And then, let’s mobilize. Each quarter, we will partner with different organizations to shed light on the social issues the women in our country face. We will ask them what they need. We will listen and we will act. There’s a way for each of us to do something – whether it’s sharing what we read or hear with family and friends, donating time or resources, or participating in rallies or fundraisers. If you want to do something, we will help you find that thing.
When I see women hurt, it’s like an injustice has been done to me, and to my mom, and to my daughters. I need to be able to look at my daughters and say, I am doing the very best I can to create a world where your femininity is celebrated, where you are handled with care – physically and emotionally, where your merits are discussed more than your makeup. I want to look them in the eyes and say, I’m championing you every step of the way.
I anticipate this journey to be eye-opening and sacred. I will likely need help to pick my heart up off the ground at times. But I would much rather be broken open so that I can grow into the highest version of myself, than remain closed, uninformed and empty.
Join me, please, on this journey. Let’s hold each others’ hearts and hands.