Harness Your Rage
I often forget that I’m a feminist — that it’s not usual to be the breadwinner, to to give one’s children your family name rather than your spouse’s, to have a husband who is not only supportive and inspired by your power, but also does more than his share of the housework.
I forget that I live in a world where an unacceptable proportion of women and children are oppressed, controlled by the men in their lives, controlled by systems that deprive them of education, of options, of the choice to lead the life that would not only benefit them but would also benefit their communities and the world.
Or rather, I don’t forget — I choose not to think about it. Because when I think about it, I feel so much rage that it often tips over into paralysis. Except now, I know that I can channel that rage. I recognize that the fire that burns inside me is the most powerful catalyst for change on the planet.
Growing up, I discovered that my innate power and confidence were unacceptable in the patriarchal colonial system I was a born into. I learned that the safest way for me to navigate the world was by being obedient, by jumping through the hoops laid out in front of me, by copying the behaviour of the other girls around me, so that rather than stand out, I demonstrated what it looked like to be a model student.
I was filled with rage and sadness but good little girls don’t get angry, so I spent a lot of time alone, crying, or fantasizing about the extraordinary life I would live once I was away from that place. Once I moved from South Africa to Canada in my teens, I continued to fantasize about the future — the future when I would have the courage to share what was inside me, when I would meet people just like me, who would understand and see me, when I would feel free and safe to be myself.
Moving to Montreal for university felt like coming home. I did find my people but I didn’t know how to shed the programming that kept me believing that I needed permission from some external source to do the things I wanted to do, to be the person I knew I was. I had bought into the fairytale romance of the handsome prince, and so I fell for the tall, handsome, “powerful” guy, changed myself for him, felt frustrated and miserable, didn’t understand why I felt like I was still trapped.
Fortunately, when I was 25, I woke up. It was only a brief awakening but it was the first time I saw clearly. And yet, it didn’t take long after having children with the man I choose to spend my life with for my beliefs about how I was supposed to behave began to crush me again. It took many years for me to fully wake up again, to claim my power and step away from the feeling of overwhelm and victimhood that is used to both overtly and invisibly bind women — even in progressive cultures like Canada.
That said, motherhood has been an absolute joy and my greatest teacher. In the moments, when I thought I was going to lose my mind, I was learning how to feel. My first child, now non-binary, taught me that anger is not only natural but important, showed me what it looks like to have strong boundaries, showed me what it looks like to be a force to be reckoned with who will not be made small, no matter the size of the package.
Being a mother has been the greatest teaching of my life: being the mother of daughters has reminded me that no matter how much I tell them that they don’t need to act certain ways or that they don’t need to believe the messages coming at them from society at large, the truth is that these messages are both subliminal and insidious.
It is time for more women to claim their power. It is time for us to stop putting ourselves against each other and come together to create the world we desire.
I read recently, that (by and large) when men have money they spend most of it on themselves, on leisure activities and alcohol, gambling and status symbols. When women have money, they spend it on their community and their children, on food, and the things needed to live life and hopefully thrive. This is why it is a revolutionary act for women to do the work to claim our innate power. This is why money in the hands of women is a requirement, not a dream.
If we are going to make this world a better place for everyone, it starts with you choosing to face the limiting beliefs that have kept you small, that have kept you docile, that have kept you hating yourself because you are a woman.
It is time for you to free yourself so that you can help others to be free.
This is why I do the work I do. Because playing the game set out before us by the patriarchy is not going to change the world. We need a new game, a new paradigm, one that many of us know is already here. You simply need to choose to play a different game, and notice when you slip back into the old one. To cheer yourself and other women on rather than chastising yourself — or them— to have compassion and patience, and choose to do the things that feel right and good and expansive.
Choose to do things differently. Choose to write your own script. Choose to live life your way, and by your way, I don’t mean your ego’s way, I mean the way that sets her soul on fire, that reminds you why you’re alive, and what you are truly capable of.
So here is the invitation. Do you want to practice channeling your emotions into meaningful action alongside a group of dynamic women?
This practice of expanding your capacity to hold, channel and focus big emotions and energy into creative work is just one of the topics we'll cover in the Shift Membership Community. Starting in February 2023, we will be honing in on tools and practices to skyrocket your confidence and focus — so you can create the change you dream of. If you’re ready to claim your boldest, most joyful life and career, join Shift.
Want to dive in now? Download our free Shine+ Guide: Clearing Your Emotional Cache.