Being anonymous does not mean that I am powerless.
Being anonymous does not mean that I don’t have a name, or an identity.
Being anonymous does not mean that I don’t have words.
Being anonymous does not take my freedom away from me.
Behind that anonymous, is a mind and a body. Whole. Full.
Circling around joy and grief, pain and laughter, love and fear.
Sometimes broken, other times repaired.
I’ve waited many years to share my life’s experiences as a Bohra woman through a story. I’ve held my chest tightly closed, hidden with memories of being a girl in this world dominated by male power. I’ve longed to scream from a mountain top and tell them to just stop. These men, these systems, that continue to harm us and break us and tear us apart.
This short story is my beginning. An opening of my chest.
Through this storytelling workshop organized by Sahiyo and StoryCenter, I was ushered into a safe women’s circle that I had been waiting for all my life. I wish I could describe to you the experience that I had in my mind and body during the six sessions that we had together, building our stories for the world. One by one, we brought images and symbols that served as metaphors for pain and trauma that we had all experienced in so many different ways.
I remember closing my eyes to listen to the voice recordings and be immersed in every single word. I remember turning inward gently, raw and tender, and really seeing that courage rising. I remember that care and love that we all felt for each other even though we had never met. Our shared challenges brought us together, making our collective voices stronger and louder.
I offer you my story with both humility and hope. There is a lot I share in four minutes, and yet it is not enough and feels incomplete. I hope that this film inspires you to learn more about FGM/C and find ways to support this work. I hope it inspires you to support us as we navigate and stand up to the day-to-day battles we continue to face.