The experiences of our childhood can have a lasting effect on us, leading to unresolved issues and pain that we might carry into our adult lives. This can impact all kinds of relationships, such as romantic partners, parenting, and even professional connections.
Mental health has been a taboo topic in the Black community for many years. However, more recently, there has been a growing number of advocates who encourage seeking help and breaking down the negative stigma surrounding mental health issues. If mental health problems are not properly diagnosed and treated, they can not only affect the individual who is dealing with them, but they can also impact their family and friends.
Natasha Jordan is an entrepreneur, author, and community advocate who is raising awareness about mental health and trauma. Having grown up in the foster care system, she shares how her experiences have shaped her as a person and how she overcame her struggles. Natasha's story is truly inspiring as she serves as a role model for young women who are facing similar challenges. She believes in not letting one's surroundings dictate their future and wants to use her story to inspire others to do the same.
Natasha, could you please briefly introduce yourself to the readers?
I am an individual who has worked for more than thirty years in the Health, Community, and Human Service industry. I was a daughter to a mother who suffered at the hands of mental illness, a child to an absentee father, and a foster child to a woman who loved me as if I were her own. I am an entrepreneur who is investing my time, resources, and years of experience creating business ventures and partnerships that strive to improve the lives of others living and working in urban America.
Natasha, so you grew up in the foster care system, but can you tell us how you ultimately ended up in foster care?
I ended up in foster care because my mother was mentally and
physically abusive to me as a child. I believe this was the result of her suffering from mental illness.
I understand that foster care can be a positive experience for some children, but unfortunately, it often turns out to be a difficult and challenging situation for kids who are not being cared for by people with genuine intentions. Can you share your personal experience with us?
While my foster care experience was not perfect, and it was
not without challenges. The love and support that I received from my foster mother was the driving force in my being able to survive and thrive within the foster care system.
● I work with children from troubled families who often believe that their current situation is all there is to life. Have you ever felt this way? If so, how did you overcome the negative feelings?
I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel that way, especially when I first entered the family court system, which placed me in the foster care system. The fact that I had a mentally ill mother, who I loved deeply even when she was not so kind to me, I had no choice but to see past her faults and the negativity that entered my life. I had to see the good in my mother and my circumstances, which allowed me to push forward in the most critical moments of my life. I have had so many moments where I have been faced with negativity, but my will to overcome
negativity is strong. I am not the cards that I was dealt; put the person who holds the cards to my path of positivity.
I read that your mother suffered from mental illness and that you were one of the sole people to care for her. In most black families, the mentality has been taught to be something we throw under the rug and pretend like it doesn't exist. Did you experience this with your family?
I knew at about age five my mom was different; I would hear my family
say that she was crazy, or you all know how Sarah is. I didn’t know the title (mental illness) until I was about nine years of age.
Natasha, you have been very successful with a Bachelor of Science in Community and Human Service Management and an Associate of Science in Community & Human Service, but what or who was rooting for you and believed that your surroundings would not dictate the trajectory of your life?
To be honest, this is the one area that no one was rooting for me, not even my foster mother; she loved me so much that she didn’t encourage me to go to college. Our bond was so strong that I could have lived with her forever, and she
would have cared for me as long as she could have; it was the determination in me I was rooting for myself. Now, my foster mother was supportive of my decision, and she knew that I was strong-minded and strong-willed and would not allow the trajectory of my life at the time to dictate my life. I knew early on that I was responsible for my future.
Natasha, you wrote the book “From Foster Care with A Purpose.” What inspired you to write this book, and what will readers gain from reading?
. I began writing this book during the pandemic when the world was so uncertain of a lot, and we didn’t know if we would live from one day to the next. I started to think of my mother. What if she had been living during the pandemic? Could she have survived with her pre-existing health condition? If she had died because of COVID-19, would I have been able to say goodbye face to face since the
world was on lockdown? So, From Foster Care With Purpose became my way of accepting her death in 2017, which I had not; I started to appreciate the last moments that I had with her and my foster mother, so this book was a moment of grieving and healing. It is my hope that the reader gains inspiration, especially in moments when things seem so uncertain when people can intentionally hurt you, but your love for them allows you to extend grace. I want the reader to know that we are not our circumstances, but instead, we are the drivers in this journey called life. Get up and try each day to be the best you when you absolutely don’t feel like it or know-how.
● Natasha, you also have the “My Life In Quotes” journal. Has journaling always been
for you to express yourself, or was that something you picked up as an adult?
I have always been a writer; I think part of that is because of my mother; when she would punish me as a child, she would make me read books and write things over and over. For me, as I have gotten older, journaling is more of a formal manner for me to formulate my thoughts and feelings.
As I said previously, you are very successful, and you have several businesses, such as your skincare line, which made you want to go into the skincare industry.
My mother and I have always received compliments about our skin. We have never had skin irritation, or skin disease, we just inherited great skin, so skincare. My family on both my mother and father side have great hair as well. In addition, when I went into foster care and foster mother was a fashion icon, and makeup enthusiastic, so between all those dynamics, and the current urban beauty culture, it was a great transition into the 2Nd half of my life. I wanted to create something that paid tribute to both my mothers, embodied the essence of beauty and represented community, which Sarah Jo’s Beauty Chateau is the result of a place for the urban beauty developer and client to support and serve each other.
We are still at the beginning of the year, a time for fresh starts and continued goal chasing. Natasha, what are you manifesting for at least the first quarter of the year?
I am manifesting that in the 1st quarter, Sarah Jo’s Beauty Chateau rapidly becomes a staple amongst beauty brand developers and customers of beauty products. I want Sarah Jo’s to become a part of the global beauty conversation when promoting urban beauty brands.
Natasha, please let all the readers know where we can purchase both of your books and your skincare products and how we can reach you for your consulting.
Right now, you can go to Amazon.com and purchase the following books authored by me:
1. From Foster Care With A Purpose- this book speaks about my foster care journey.
2. From Foster Care With A Purpose- the workbook is a great complimentary piece to the
workbook, especially if you work in the Community, Human Services or Child-care Field.
3. My Life In Quotes- A great journal created to help us identify areas or moments in our life that require clarity and closure. The great thing about this journal is that it can be your go-to journal year after year.