This smile is unbreakable. In the words of Ktut from Eat Pray Love I’m smiling with my liver. As I bounced around my local park taking self-portraits with Sara Dalrymple, I took a moment of reflection about all the places these photos were destined to go.
I reminisced on where I had been and where I needed to go to be able to show others the way.
This is the smile of someone who has been:
– Bullied at work
– Paid less than my male counterpart
– Lied to and finessed
– Underpaid and undervalued
– Experiencing a panic attack in Aldgate station due to burnout
– Diagnosed with depression instead of living her happiest freelance life
– On jobseekers allowance
– Made redundant
– Pivoted industry twice
– Worked 14-hour shifts for minimum wage
– Gas-lit and discriminated against
Yet and still I smile because this is also someone who has been:
– Building a business supporting and transforming others
– Being paid to be her full-self
– Treated fairly and leaves the tables where respect isn’t being served
– Enforcing boundaries
– Being confident in what she brings to the table
– Aware of her intersectionality, oppression and privilege all at once
– On a mission to change lives in a meaningful way
– Amplifying others’ voice and solutions
– A proud black woman in tech who was crap at maths and science
– Giving keynotes to hundreds after reading in her grandads’ church
I am all these things and I smile. This is who I am and why I do what I do.
A wise man once said, “Tough times never last…tough people do!” and I want you to know that and take heart.