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What’s Behind My Smile

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 with Sara Dalrymple I thought 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

– Has been paid less than my male counterpart

– Has been lied to and finessed

– Has been underpaid and undervalued

– Has had a panic attack in Aldgate station due to burnout

– Has been diagnosed with depression when she should’ve been living her happiest freelance life

– Has been on jobseekers allowance

– Has been made redundant

– Has pivoted industry twice

– Has worked 14-hour shifts for minimum wage

– Has been gas-lit and discriminated against

Yet and still I smile because this is also someone who:

– Has been promoted

– Has been valued

– Has built a business supporting and transforming others

– Gets paid to be her full-self

– Is treated fairly and leaves the tables where respect isn’t being served

– Has boundaries

– Is confident in what she brings to the table

– Is aware of her intersectionality, oppression and privilege all at once

– Is on a mission to change lives in a meaningful way

– Is a certified life coach obsessed with people amplifying their own voice and solutions

– Is a proud black woman in tech who was crap at maths and science but talks about analytics all-day

– Started reading scriptures in her grandads’ church and now gives keynotes to empower hundreds

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.

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