A life changing journey that I never saw coming my way

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I have put in countless hours into this so far, dedicating every day to practice with the hope of progressing just a bit further. And yet, I still feel like my journey has only just begun.

What started off as a fun new weekend hobby to learn dance turned into a life changing journey that I never saw coming my way.

How it all started

My exploration of belly dance started late last year after my team and I made the decision to shut down our company, TruStory. I had spent the previous two years building TruStory and it was honestly the only thing I knew.

From the minute I woke up to the moment I fell asleep, my thoughts were consumed by the company. I didn’t have the time, energy, or even desire to pursue other projects. My company was my baby and it consumed my every waking hour.

But that all came to an end in January when we made the decision to shut the company down. Suddenly, my life felt empty.

So… what next?

After TruStory shut down, I realized that I had time to consider a life outside of work for the first time in over a decade. 

Ever since I was in high school, my main focus had always been work because that was the only way I knew of to achieve my dreams.

As a kid, it was my dream to move to California. The only way for me to find my way there was to study hard in school and get accepted into a college in California. So I worked really hard in school and eventually ended up getting accepted into USC.

This was the first time in my life that I got a taste of what it feels like to have a dream come true. I accepted the offer in a heartbeat, moved to California, and started my new life at USC. 

But the hard work didn't end there. It was just beginning.

I was paying for my own tuition so I had no choice but to work part-time while also getting my engineering degree. I was eager to excel in college so that I could land a great job post-graduation and pay off all those student loans. Luckily, my hard work in college paid off as I kickstarted my career in tech at Goldman Sachs before eventually moving to Andreessen Horowitz. 

There was definitely no time to slow down now. I was young, hungry, and eager to learn from some of the best technologists in the world. My goal was to eventually follow the footsteps of entrepreneurs like Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon–start a company that could make a lasting impact in this world.

So I taught myself to code with that dream in mind. After learning to code, I went to work at Coinbase and feel deep into the crypto rabbit hole.

Fast forward to 2017 and my dream to start my own company finally became a reality as I launched my own crypto company.

My team and I spent two years working night and day to make TruStory a success. Despite our best efforts, we couldn’t grow the company as quickly as we needed to. We had little other choice but to shut TruStory down. With that chapter of my life coming to an end, I was faced with a tough decision: What next?

Would I stay in tech?

Would I stay in crypto? 

Would I even stay in California?

I didn’t know the answers to any of these questions.

Honestly, I didn’t even want to think about it. I wanted some time to just live my life, to have new experiences and hand over the reins so life could guide me to where I needed to be. So, I did just that and started to live each day as it came.

I picked writing back up. I started reconnecting with old friends and family. I began to discover my identity outside of my work.

This time reminded me of being a kid again. I could actually go places and do things without being preoccupied by what needed to be done for work. My mind was truly present for the first time in years and I was genuinely enjoying it.

I wasn’t ready for things to change just yet. I wanted to spend a little more time living in the moment and not thinking about what the future may hold. For maybe the first time in my adult life, I was following my heart’s desires without anywhere to be or any looming deadlines to worry about. I had the time and opportunity to learn or do anything I wanted.

And honestly? The only thing I wanted to do was learn how to belly dance.

My journey into dance

I began taking private classes with a belly dance instructor in Los Angeles. The first few classes were really rough. Everything felt so foreign and it was frustrating to not immediately succeed. What had once been an exciting idea in my head started to become a reality that filled me with dread. Watching belly dance tutorials on YouTube had made learning it seem so simple, but now it seemed an insurmountable task.

Nevertheless, a little voice in the back of my head told me to keep trying. It told me to run towards the discomfort instead of away from it. I listened to that little voice and kept attending class every week.

It took many weeks and lots of positive reinforcement from my teacher for me to finally get to a point where I didn’t feel discouraged. Slowly but surely, I began making tiny steps forward in my journey which allowed me to gain confidence and strive for more small wins. Practice went from being something dreadful to something that I looked forward to.

I could feel the beginning of a foundation being laid. It was still weak, of course, but better than no foundation in the first place. I knew that if I kept going and continued to build upon that foundation, I would continue to gain more confidence to keep going.

And then my life underwent another significant change. I had to say farewell to my apartment in California and move back to my parents’ home in New Jersey. After the move, I no longer had access to my private dance teacher.

I had no choice but to buckle down and begin teaching myself. Using any online resource I was able to get my hands on, I changed course and continued learning sans instructor.

For several months, I continued learning and practicing everyday. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. I was captivated! I simply could not stop. Dance was the only thing I could think about anymore. Everything else just felt like a distraction.

Dance is so much more than what I thought it would be

The last nine months have been nothing short transformational both physically, mentally, and spiritually.

When I first started learning to dance, I was eager to write all about my experiences, thoughts, and feelings. I wanted the world to know how awesome and amazing this under-appreciated art form is. As time went on, however, my experience became more… intimate. Simply put, it was just too raw of an experience to share.

I believe everyone’s dance (or yoga, meditation, etc) journey is different. These practices are powerful avenues for exploring and understanding our minds, bodies, and souls. The things you learn are intimate, personal, and can change the course of your life. 

This is why I stopped writing and tweeting for the public eye. I wanted to embrace my experiences as they were happening. I didn’t want to spend my time analyzing and plotting my next post. I just wanted to feel and do.

I am still very much on my dance journey. Every day, I learn new things about myself and about the world through dance. Even though I’ve come a long way in the last nine months, I still have a very long journey ahead of me‒ one that I predict will lost a very long time.

So what now?

After I hit pause on my writing for a few months, I realized just how important it is to my identity. Writing has always been my way of understanding both my inner and outer world. It is my way of connecting with an audience who share my interests. Without it, I feel disconnected to myself and to the world (aka, all of you).

So... here I am, writing again! 🙃

I hope to share some of the knowledge I am gaining throughout this journey. I plan to keep the soul-searching stuff out of it so that the content stays practical and useful for your daily life. And I will throw in some tech, coding, or crypto posts once in a while when my mind wonders there.

And one final note....

I realize many of you know me from different walks of life. Whether it is high school, college, investment banking, venture capital, crypto, coding, or startups. I appreciate you being on this journey with me through life.

See you in the next post ;)


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Why am I sharing my travel stories?

Founder & CEO of TruStory. I have a passion for understanding things at a fundamental level and sharing it as clearly as possible.

Preethi Kasireddy
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