Growing up, struggled with fitting in, and being understood. I did not approve of so many things but I couldn’t say much, because children were meant to be seen not heard. That was the start of losing my voice.
I was raised in a patriarchal culture where I was taught right from childhood how to be a perfect wife. As a woman, I was also expected to dress, speak and behave in a specific way. My voice had no place. if I tried to speak up, i was seen as disobedient and wayward, and received all sorts of unspeakable physical and emotional punishment.
I struggled in formal classrooms where we sat for hours on end expected to take in what a teacher said and regurgitate it on an exam. This is not how I learned! I like to process information and use my hands to create things. I was punished heavily if I failed an exam or got low marks and because of this, I hated school.
I found a few opportunities to speak through my hands including cake making and decorating but I still lacked the confidence that I needed to go big with this. I would always start and stop with new ventures, because I was filled with self doubt and lack of confidence.
I knew there was something bigger than me and I saw it at play when I got a scholarship to pursue graduate school in Canada. I was probably the last person anyone expected to go on to graduate school and later complete my PhD!
Coming to Canada opened me up to many opportunities including using my voice. Even with this permission, I still struggled! There was a huge boulder in my throat that needed to move, my creative source was so blocked, that I could not express myself or complete a project! I struggled to complete both my Masters and PhD theses for the same reason. I thought they were not good enough.