Finding Power in Sensitivity
For Lekeshia Angelique, sensitivity is her superpower. She likes that she can identify and express how she feels. She likes that she can look at someone and understand how they move through the world. Growing up, though, people told Lekeshia that she was too sensitive. The way they said “sensitive” made Lekeshia suspect that they were actually saying that she was weak. She didn't want to be weak. She wanted to be someone that people were proud to know. In her mind, that meant she had to change herself.
Middle Child Syndrome
Lekeisha's a middle child, caught between an independent older sister and a doted-on younger brother. Her mother used to say that Lekeshia was an independent kid who didn't need as much attention as her brother. Lekeshia did her best to fit the bill. After a while, though, she grew depressed. She realized that she did, in fact, want attention. She wanted to connect with people.
Then, at fifteen, Lekeshia became pregnant. Her parents were shocked and disappointed, and Lekeshia carried their disappointment with her. She didn't want teen pregnancy to define her. She wanted to be someone her parents were proud of. Her dad is a veteran, so, at just seventeen, she graduated high school and joined the Army, too. To her surprise, she ended up hating it. She wanted an out, and found one in a man she married two years after she graduated. She soon became pregnant again, this time with twins.
Atoning, Not Achieving
Despite her substantive role as a mother of three, Lekeshia knew she wanted to go back to college. As a kid, she dreamed of chasing down serial killers—Her heroes were Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs and Nancy Drew—So she got her masters in criminal justice.
Getting a master's as a mother of three is a feat, but to Lekeshia, her achievements weren't achievements: They were apologies. She wanted to prove that she was more than her pregnancy.
Her determination to prove herself led her to push down the more difficult feelings she was having. Looking back, she can say she struggled with postpartum depression. At the time, she shoved it down. She married twice. She got divorced twice. After the second marriage, she began to suspect that she'd never fit into a pre-made box. She started to imagine a box that fit her, rather than trying to make herself fit in someone else's box.
Living Life Out Loud
After some soul-searching, Lekeshia realized she wanted to be with women. She came out as bisexual ten years ago and is currently engaged to a woman she's in love with. Thankfully, her kids adjusted to the truth of her sexuality without issue. Her mother, on the other hand, has a more challenging time with it. It's something they're still working through, ten years later.
Lekeshia made a significant change in her professional life, too. Her masters in criminal justice initially led her to Human Resources, where she unhappily worked for twenty years. In the wake of the George Floyd murder, however, Lekeshia saw a need for better diversity, equity, and inclusion training. Though many had the same idea, Lekeshia believes she's one of few that works to bridge the gap between theory and practice. She started Lekeshia Angelique Consulting last year, where she teaches her model of Genuine Allyship to help professionals build spaces and places of true belonging.
Lekeshia says her greatest joy is finding herself and finding her soulmate. She spent a lot of time trying to be someone people were proud to know—Now, she's proud just to be herself.
Learn more about Lekeshia
Lekeshia Angelique is a diversity consultant and entrepreneur. Through her business, Lekeshia Angelique, she offers one-on-one consults, inclusivity workshops, opportunities to grow as an ally, and more. You can find her on Facebook in her Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lounge. You can also follow her on Instagram.