On my first day of fourth grade, I walked into the room being the only new kid.
More specifically, the only Black and overweight kid.
Everyone else had been in school together since kindergarten, leaving me to be the odd one out (as if there weren’t already enough aspects of my being to set me apart). They pointed at me, talked about me and laughed at me. I went to the restroom and bawled my eyes out but didn’t want to call my parents since they were at work.
I knew I had to handle the situation on my own terms.
I distinctly remember looking at myself in the mirror and repeating affirmations.
You have friends.
You have done this before.
You can do this again.
I went back into that classroom and introduced myself to every single person in the class. I asked their names and something about them.
At the time, I didn’t realize that those actions immediately disarmed them and stopped them in their tracks. It helped combat their preconceived notions about me.
I took what I learned from that situation and started applying it to my daily life. I focused my time, energy and determination to overcome some of my own tribulations, including losing 300 lbs.
Through every face-to-face experience with racism, discrimination and exclusion, I built resiliency.
I utilized each scenario to continue empowering myself and empowering those around me to do the same. I’ve always been fascinated by why people do the things they do. Growing up, I would ask myself “How does this impact them?” That particular way of thinking is what sparked my interest in psychology, which I majored in at Concordia University.
However, I quickly realized that the program encouraged looking at scenarios through a black and white lens, and I’ve always preferred to acknowledge and recognize the grey area.
At 27, I found myself feeling what many feel.
Lost without direction.
It seemed as though I had no purpose, passion or career.
I heard about coaching and it finally felt like every aspect of my life was leading up to that particular transition. It all connected. I was able to incorporate my psychology background, as well as my personality, into my new path. Coaching aligned me with my life purpose.
Now, I’m able to put those skills to work by igniting others to feel the same.