Yemi Penn used her trauma as a catalyst to find her voice, create documentaries, and write a book. Listen to this inspirational episode!
Yemi Penn is an author, documentary producer, speaker, engineer, and fearless thought leader. She’s the author of, Did You Get The Memo?: Because I F**king Didn’t. A serial entrepreneur with businesses in Sydney, London and the U.S., Yemi is working tirelessly to raise awareness and heal our individual and collective trauma. She invites us to use our trauma as a catalyst for transformation and growth.
In S3 EP 15: Yemi Penn – Trauma as a Catalyst to Transform and Grow:
- How to define trauma
- What trauma Yemi experienced as a child
- Why we suppress trauma
- How we trauma-bond in our relationships until we heal
- How Yemi uses her trauma as a catalyst to transform and inspire others
S3 EP 15: Yemi Penn – Trauma as a Catalyst to Transform and Grow
WHAT DOES ‘WOMAN OF VALUE’ MEAN TO YOU?
Self worth. How do you find yourself worthy? Does it come from yourself, or are you still relying on some external measure?
YOUR ‘AHA’ WOMAN OF VALUE MOMENT
It took me a long time to realize my value. I was in my mid- to late-thirties with two kids from two different dads. It was the height of shame for me, because I obliterated the model of the white picket fence and healthy marriage I was raised to believe defined your worth. My value happened at my breaking point. I found my worth by moving across the world to Australia and being in silence. I left my marriage and began again in 2014.
I got into a relationship, and realized something was wrong with the way I was in relationships. Two years ago, I realized I didn’t need a husband to know I was worthy.
WHERE DID YOUR SHAME COME FROM?
It came from the appearance of other people having a nuclear family. It was the perception of being perfect. My parents wanted me to follow the memo of the white picket fence. My dad was worried no other man would want to be with me, because I had a kid. He loved me and worried no other man would accept me.
HOW DID YOU HEAL YOUR SHAME?
I left and moved to Australia. Changing your environment gives you space. I needed a new perspective. I picked out the things that didn’t work for me. I found out that therapy didn’t mean I was crazy. There was so much power in talking. I found out I do have a voice. I went to personal development programs and continued to grow.
THE PRESENT: CREATING DOCUMENTARIES ON TRAUMA AS A CATALYST TO GROW
When I wrote my book, I wrote about something that haunted me, even though I was sure I moved on. It was about my childhood trauma. So many people came up to me and told me they, their relative, their mom had experienced childhood trauma, too. People told me to speak about the trauma. I didn’t want to. But, I realized I needed to find out “Did I choose my trauma.” Because I wanted to know.
I was sexually abused by my uncle when I was seven. In the documentary, the people I interviewed spoke about all types of trauma and how we keep things buried and disassociate. It came together quickly, even though I had no idea how to create a documentary. People want to talk about trauma.
As a little girl, when I spoke about my abuse, nothing was done about it. That silenced me further. I now know the only way to change things is by speaking.
I’m doing a PhD now at transforming trauma and what role African cultures have in our trauma. I’m loving telling stories in a non-threatening way, in the documentary about cleaning our trauma. The real vision is opening retreats for healing. We need to change the way we live and just be seen. The Zulu greeting, ‘Sawubona’ means ‘I see you’.
Sawubona carries the importance of recognizing the worth and dignity of each person.
THE LIGHTNING ROUND
- I used to think I wasn’t mentally strong enough.
- What was the #1 thing holding you back from becoming a woman
of value? Myself.
- What’s the best advice you can give to a woman who wants to
become more empowered? If not you, then who?
- What advice would you give to your younger self? You’re guaranteed to miss the shots you don’t take, so take them.
- What’s something people get wrong about you? They think I’m an extravert. I’m an introvert who wants to stay home.
- How would you like to be remembered? As the woman who encouraged people to contribute and give as a result of their traumatic events.
CONNECT WITH YEMI PENN
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