Guernica Magazine

Reema Zaman: “Once I saw how it all connected, I became free”

The writer on how to rise from trauma and heal collective wounds. The post Reema Zaman: “Once I saw how it all connected, I became free” appeared first on Guernica.
Photo by Erika Ellis

The impact of trauma on entire communities, generations, or genders is too often ignored or disregarded. In my role as the executive director of Acupuncturists Without Borders, I often see people after the worst has happened. I see how, when disaster strikes a community—whether a wildfire, a murder, or a school shooting—a shared experience of trauma shudders through the collective. Sometimes, individual therapy and passing time do not repair the wounds. It is radical to challenge the global voicelessness absorbed by women after centuries of male violence, and insist that our fates are bound together.

And so, when I heard Reema Zaman speak at a reading soon after the 2016 election, I thought, This is the soundtrack of a modern resistance. Reading Zaman’s essay, The Harvest of Bodies, shortly after that, I was struck by her interrogation of the fertility industry from the perspective of a woman of color donating her eggs. Born in Bangladesh, raised in Thailand, and presently residing in Oregon, Zaman is the 2018 Oregon Literary Arts Writer of Color Fellow.

The way Zaman connects the hard truths of her own life to women’s collective trauma is a welcome balm in this time of #MeToo. “When the world fails to provide the protector, healer, warrior, role, love, or opportunities we desire, we must genesis our own,” she writes. After years working as a TV and theater actress, Zaman left the industry to pursue her own script. As a speaker, she now stands before crowds and shares her mission to build a world where all voices are heard and respected. She gives talks like “Me Too, Now What: The Art of Turning Tragedy into Triumph” in corporate settings, yoga centers, colleges, and schools.

Zaman’s new memoir, chronicles her fight to protect and free her voice from those who sought to silence it through starvation, erasure, and intimate violence.

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