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Storytime: The Story of Natasha & Why She Had to Die

How It Really Started

I know, I know…

The title is a tad bit dramatic, but I am writing this during Leo season AND a Gemini Moon.

It's dramatic but also exactly what happened. This story starts before I had even taken the leap into entrepreneurship.

It starts in a town that lacks diversity, the same town I grew up in. See Natasha is my middle name. It is also the name I started going by for quite a while. I had been applying for jobs within said town and for some reason could not get a call back for the life of me. That's when I heard a conversation on TV about how jobs discriminate against you based off your name, no matter how qualified you are. And so I had the idea to use my middle name, which is completely allowed since it is in fact my name. And low and behold, I started getting calls (not that I would get hired once I actually showed up and they saw me in my mixed-race glory). So began a new belief. I couldn't use the name Keisha if I ever wanted to be seen as professional or to be taken seriously. This belief followed me into my entrepreneurial journey.

Natasha's Struggles

As I shifted into photography and branding, I clung to the name Natasha for very similar reasons I had began using it. When I looked around at the online coaching space, I didn't see anyone like me when I first stumbled upon it. At the time this lack of representation felt scary and intimidating to me. It felt like my whole experience growing up in a town where no one looked like me or thought like me.

Everywhere you turned there were white "high-vibe", champagne drinking, perfect lifestyle boss babes.

So I did what I thought I had to, to sit at the tables I thought I wanted to. I shrunk myself. I hid my name, and I tried to be as palatable as possible. While the business was growing and the money was nice, I found myself, time and time again working with people who did not feel like a good fit for me. I was constantly feeling underappreciated, taken advantage of and disrespected. And the wildest part was I really only had myself to blame.

By hiding myself, refusing to put boundaries in place due to fear and focusing more on squeezing myself into spaces that weren't meant to me, I created situations I hated over and over again.

RIP Natasha

It took me a while to finally accept that I could no longer go on like this. I was feeling constantly burnt out trying to mask the most authentic parts of myself.

When I started to toy with the idea of reclaiming my first name all types of fears and doubts bubbled to the surface:

What if everyone calls me a fraud?

What if I lose my business entirely?

What if people discriminate against me all over again?

Looking back it was more fraudulent to keep going by Natasha, the business I was building wasn't even aligned with who I am, any business I lost wasn't truly meant for me and people still saw me and discriminated based on me not "looking the part."

The Rebirth of Keisha

What came next was a freedom I had no idea existed. Connections I didn't even know were possible.

By beginning to show up unapologetically as myself, my TRUE self, I started to filter out anyone who was not for me and call in those who appreciated and loved me in all my messy, bold, humanness.

I started to see that there were so many things I was just settling for, for the sake of a seat at a table with people who didn't even know themselves.

I started to see that I wasn't even on a self-led path but a path that made others comfortable. I'm not going to sit here and lie to you and say the transition came without pain and discomfort, but what I can tell you is that it was more worth it than I had even anticipated.

I still have love for that version of me, whole heartedly. Without her I wouldn't have learned so many of the lessons that I did. She was truly doing the best she could with what she had.

To Wrap It All Up

There are many situations that life can deal us where we feel like we have to dim, shrink and suppress ourselves. The feeling that it is safer to hide is a very valid feeling to have.

What it truly comes down to is this:

Is the inner turmoil you deal with, shrinking yourself for other's comfort, worth it?

Are you willing to accept a life not meant for you, for the sake of fitting into spaces not meant for you?

Can you live a life constantly wearing a mask when you know you're meant to authentically shine?

While your fears and doubts are valid, I can tell you that what waits for you on the other side of freeing yourself and fully expressing yourself are opportunities, connections and adventures that will light you up in ways you can't even imagine.

Let Me Know In The Comments

Have you ever felt the need to wear a mask and hide parts of yourself?

If you have any questions or even just want to share your story, please feel free to do so in the comments. I would love to answer them or hear them.

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