So, after 3 years of sleepless nights, tears and endless work to build a brand; why would I just randomly change the name to my business? It is hard to formulate into words what being a black business woman in a small town has been like. I make no excuses, just stating my truth...if it offends, let me apologize now.
We ALL have challenges as business owners. However, over the years as a "pretty little brown girl" people have tried to train and condition me to believe and do certain things. Now let me be clear, my mommy raised me not to see color - and you know what...I didn't. It wasn't until color saw me that I began to have anxiety, fear and doubt about who I was as a black woman.
My dream. Well my dream has always been to help others. In some form, I wanted to play a part in saving the world. Event planning just came naturally and fell into place. Most of my life, I was taught to live without fear and without limits. Not necessarily by my parents, but by my experiences. I have ALWAYS been the type that even when my palms are sweaty, heart is racing and I feel like I am going to faint; I just move forward. "Go time" meant no time for emotions...especially not fear. Well over the last couple of years I have lived a double life - a life antithetical to the core of who I really am.
When I started Luxe. Event Design, I wanted to help people have fabulous parties on a budget. Which made no sense, since I named my business Luxe...Ha! But its how I lived...ballin' on a budget. My "luxe life" has been supercharged because there are so many around me that love and support me. To say that I am blessed is an understatement. But even with all that love and support I had been hiding a dirty little secret.
I WAS TERRIFIED. Terrified of what? Terrified of success, terrified of failure, terrified of my gift. Just plain 'ol scared.
From the outside looking in, it appeared that I had it all together and people looked up to me...that was nice, but I really felt like a fraud. It didn't start out this way, but it ended up this way. I blame no one but myself. Really. Just me. It didn't matter how I had been received, what mattered is that I let people's ignorance or preference affect me. I had never cared what others thought about my "blackness" before, but for some reason this time I did. I carefully edited my photos so that they wouldn't look to 'ethnic', I took my photo off my website, pulled my natural hair back and in essence, played the same game that so many black people have played in their professional careers. Was it because this was my baby? Was it because I had been "black in America" for so long and seen so much tension regarding race? Who knows? I just can't believe that for the last several years I have bought into the lie that I can't be, can't have, can't do or can't say because I am black. No one did that to me, I did that to myself.
I realized earlier this year that I was just making excuses. Fear, in general, was keeping me from being the 'go getter' that I was born to be. The person that NEVER took 'no' for an answer. I didn't navigate my way through 2 advanced degrees in the south by being afraid...I did it because I wasn't afraid, I didn't see color, and someone else's opinion of me didn't matter until it began to affect my goals!
Luxe. was awesome, but it represented someone that I am not. It is a reminder of a time when I actually got defeated and believed that lie. I know that I am enough. I know am talented. I know I am gifted, and I have so much to offer. I actually BELIEVE it now.
Now that I have exposed myself, and you understand why I decided to rebrand; I offer this. Go boldly no matter how afraid you have made yourself. Fear is a choice. Don't believe the lie that others have told you whether it was to your face or behind your back. Be confident in the gifts, talents and abilities that God has blessed you with. Covet no one's dream. Define your success and make it happen. Praise, push and applaud others openly, sincerely, and with a good spirit; and that much more will be given unto you. Don't slap God in the face (like I did) and doubt the gift He has given you so freely...walk in it. Most importantly - LOVE and have compassion for where others are, even when they are jerks to you, don't return your phone calls/emails, or slam the door in your face. Who knows what they are going through.
I am sure the taboo talk of race may be off putting for some ( 'cause you can only talk about it openly in our society if you're Oprah or Jay-Z..ha ha ha) but I hope that most importantly you see my heart and that it's not about race...its about fear...DON'T BE AFRAID.
I would like to send a special thank you to Diann Valentine (my mentor in my head) that I watch from afar as she teaches so much about being a proud pretty little brown girl in this business. I applaud you Diann, thank you. You touch so many, even when you don't know you're doing it. Also my party chick besties (Camille, Cineca, Khaliah and Latisha). These women continuously hold me up, encourage and support me. I am grateful for you ladies and I pray that I am a measure of a blessing to you, that you are to me. And Daniel, you are my everything. Thank you for talking me out of my 'cray cray' on a daily basis..lol.
God bless you my friends and thank you for being my 'ride or die' crew..lol
I am Talia Felicia