Monday 13 July, 2020

Silence is not golden, ask Ayesha NuRa

Though evicted because of her story, #LifeinLeggings has helped Ayesha NuRa speak of childhood incidences that she had locked away, and each day since, her empowerment is growing in spite of the challenges that have arisen.

When they said it is darkest before light, they must have foreseen Ayesha’s life once she unlocked her lips and told her tale.

Ayesha embraced the #lifeinleggings hashtag and got put out of her home for sharing her experience boldly and fearlessly on Facebook.

Asked how do you feel about the #lifeinleggings movement, she said:

“I am honored to have been able to witness this movement, not to mention to be a part of it just by sharing my own experiences and perspectives.  As a survivor of sexual abuse and childhood molestation, I recognize how much healing needs to be done on multiple levels, by us and for us.  #lifeinleggings highlighted so many issues that we have to face as a community, as a nation, as a people, as humanity.  The systemic degradation of women was literally thrown into the spotlight, literally the day after Americans bowed their heads to give thanks for Thanksgiving.  Meanwhile, as a student of astrology, I also had to acknowledge the amazing timing, as Sagittarius always pushes us to be in alignment and in accordance with our divine truth.  I also think that it is just getting started.” 

Mother to a son, a NIFCA award-winning spoken word artist, actress, activist, an empowerment motivator, or 'life coach' and founder of My Empowerment, My Way, she is about healing and evolution. 

Many cast their stories out and nothing came back but repercussions came straight to Ayesha.

Out of a home now, she has created a youcaring fund and just as she never expected her family’s response, she has been equally surprised by the support and generosity of strangers, friends and other loved ones.

Admitting that she does have reservations at times about opening her mouth, mainly based on how my immediate family will react, she said, “I was motivated mainly by all of the shares and the courage that was being lit under so many people to share and to release any toxicity that builds up when we hold things inside.  It got to a point on Saturday, November 26, where I realized that NOT SHARING was literally STARVING the movement.”  

Ayesha’s sharing was bigger than herself and her own healing, she added, that, “Also, as a Barbadian citizen who also lives in America, I knew that sharing my story would help the hashtag to reach a wider audience and I just knew intuitively that this story wasn't a story to be confined to just one place, one island or even one region.  This is a conversation that needs to be had all over the world.  It's time for us to stand up, to be accountable for our choices or lack thereof and to find solutions for our overall development and health. Our future depends on it.”

After sharing your story with a smile, she said that it has been an emotional roller coaster.

“I have experienced probably every human emotion since then.  There has definitely been ups and downs, spaces of learning and mastery in this journey.  I have gone from being sad because I didn't feel like I was being understood or supported by my loved ones to being overwhelmed and overjoyed by the ways in how my story has impacted others. 

“People are really becoming more courageous and we are refusing to keep secrets and hide the truth of what happened in our lives, whether during childhood or as grown women.  I think the main feeling is proud... I am extremely proud of myself and all people who are standing up for their rights and the right to freely speak their truth and tell their story."  

Beyond being evicted by her mother and brother, she admitted that people freely tossed out their responses. After holding her tongue for so long, people were telling her that she was delusional and selfish.  “I was told that I only care about myself and I don't care about others. 

“However, there were other shocking responses that were very positive.  One of my friends was moved to visit her mother this week to have a conversation about her own trauma and how she is choosing to heal and move forward.  She was a great reminder for me about my purpose and how I choose to show up in this life.”


When asked, 'Did you expect your family's reaction?'

She answered, "Yes and no.  While I did expect that there may be some kind of reaction, I really and honestly did think that my family and I were in a place now that we could have more open and healthy dialog around those experiences of assault.  However, there are a lot of emotions that just have not been addressed: guilt, shame, embarrassment, fear...all things that can be transformed into something that is beneficial to us all if we are open to healing.  It doesn't appear that we are open to healing as a collective.  Yet, I must continue to work on healing myself and speaking my truth without apology is a part of that healing process."

Admittedly, deep inside she hoped that her family would have reacted differently but she explained, “I think that support or being believed by your family members is something all of us should not only hope for, but expect to have as a standard.  Again, this is where our systemic issues come in again.  As I was explaining to my 10 year old, while some things may seem crystal clear, it isn't always black and white for me.  I recognize that, at least on some level, my family does want to support me.  Yet, they don't want to support me posting on Facebook, using hashtags and calling attention to our family.  They would much rather me speak to my friends, one on one.  This is what was said after they read my post online.”  

But love can come from those who are not blood relatives too; “My loved ones were very concerned, as is to be expected.  They were, and many still are, checking in on me every day to be sure that I am in good spirits and that I have everything I need in the moment and to see what my plans are moving forward and if there is any way that they can assist.  That's actually how the youcaring campaign came into fruition.  People would ask me, 'How can I support you?' 'How can we help?' I was literally still in shock at the way things had unfolded. A few friends suggested I create the campaign to give people an avenue to assist.”

Created for one week now, Ayesha laughed at her good fortune.

Her set goal is US$2 000 and she believes the fund raising is going “perfectly” having raised $689 to date, but she added, “if all I had gotten was $1, I would be thankful. 

“I posted an update on the campaign page and I really just want to thank everyone who has given so far and even those who clicked share and passed it on when they didn't have anything to give.  Then there are those who send me immense energy, positive thoughts and prayers.  These things are simply priceless!”

Reservations and all, asked if she would take it back, turn back the hands on the clock, and keep her story hidden, Ayesha looked puzzled and yet ready to laugh.

“In Africa, the Adinkra have a word and way of life called Sankofa.  It is symbolized by a bird looking backward, while it's body is facing forward.  #lifeinleggings was an opportunity for me to revisit my past and to view it from a new perspective.  I have had the opportunity to observe myself - past and present, my loved ones, my life.  This assessment is perfect to prepare for the New Year and to step fully into my place of power.  I and I would imagine many others who used this hashtag and platform to share their experiences since November 25 have become much more clear on ways that these experiences have shaped their reactions to situations, relationships, the way they communicate, the things they enjoy, their triggers, etc.  For my loved ones who are as courageous as I, we have been able to have some very healthy conversations around balance, healing, sexual choices, human rights and so many other topics."  

Because of this hashtag, #lifeinleggings, everyone who is living in the prison of silence can escape according to Ayesha, and therefore she told those who are still being quiet, “When you are ready to share your truth, know that there are people who will support you. Trust that your healing is your first priority.  Staying silent about your pain only creates even more pain and can lead to physical, emotional and mental illness or disease.  Heal yourself.  You are loved and you can end this cycle of abuse.”  


#LifeinLeggings not just a social media trend  

No more silence, says #LifeinLeggings participants  

WEEKEND READ: #LifeInLeggings and more – the ‘woke’ side of Bajan social media

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