By Natasha Bacchus
At the age of 38 years-old, my life is an open book of wisdom, expression and confidence.
Instead of my name Natasha, I prefer to be called Courage, because it defines me as a person who does not get afraid or let fear stop me.
I am a self-employed personal trainer, who was born and raised in a diverse multicultural community in Toronto, but I now reside in North Surrey, BC.
I grew up with my single, hardworking Guyanese mother and my younger brother who knew the ongoing obstacles in life I was facing.
The first language I learnt was American Sign Language at preschool at the Bob Rumball Center for the Deaf.
To this day, I have a zero bond relationship with my dad and every time I wonder if he loved me or felt shame because I’m deaf, my courage and happiness convince me to let it go and move on.
I am thankful to have my mother who has given me a positive influence in my life and has always done her best to support me in whatever I believe in.
At the age of eight, my favourite English teacher asked if I was interested in taking speech therapy.
It changed my lifestyle and how I could communicate and interact with my classmates in two worlds using ASL and lipreading, helping me observe how I was treated as a black, Deaf woman.
I found my raw talent as a speed sprinter at the age of ten after I ended up competing and came first. I loved to see my Metro Toronto School for the Deaf fans cheering with a wide smile and to this day have a lot of track accomplishments including international awards and records I broke at Gallaudet University.
During mainstream secondary school, it was huge fear when my track team had a meeting without access to ASL interpretation.
I decided to stand back and wait until the meeting was done because I did not want to tell my track team I was Deaf and trying to fit into their hearing world – I approached three coaches, asking them to repeat what the meeting was about by communicating with paper and lip reading.
I used to have a really BAD attitude because I was frustrated I never felt as if I fit into the two worlds of Deaf and hearing communities throughout high school.
I lost my virginity at the age of 19 when I felt it was right with a hearing guy I liked. It was a chance to understand sex, lust, and love and when I became sexually active, I taught myself how to be responsible with it.
I attended Violence Against Women with Disabilities empowerment workshops after I was raped at the age of 22 and worked for four years as a facilitator for an organization called Springtide Resources in Toronto where I studied assaulted women and children.
I have faced rejection, discrimination and oppression for many reasons, but I still keep going, trying to find the right door to help me pursue my dreams of finding love again, becoming a master personal trainer, bootcamp instructor, nutritionist, talk show host and competing in the World Masters Games.
My mother is the one who still encourages me to overcome my own obstacles in life and keep trying till I get it.
My recent accomplishment was creating my own television talk show “Courage Bacchus” under Shaw's Vancouver TV station where I interviewed 13 guest speakers from scratch.
Right now, it's on pause because I can't find the right sponsorship or partnership to support me doing this, but I am still looking for someone who believes in what I believe, to bridge the gap of the hearing and deaf communities to help gain a better perspective of deaf awareness.
I need to create a positive impact in Canada where I believe both communities can collaborate to make it work. I want to share the personal stories I have seen in my deaf community with the hearing community.
The present challenge for me is finding a way to continue as a personal trainer in fitness fields and continue doing my TV show where I can educate the best perspective of deaf awareness and fresh knowledge worldwide.
I love to collaborate in two worlds because I have the ability to interact well with a smile, a handshake and a hug.
Please sponsor me in pursuing my dream: firstname.lastname@example.org
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