I’ve always been a go-getter. Elders in my family like to call me a “busy-body” and insist that I learn how to “go sit down somewhere because I do too much” but I always shoo it off and continue to go about my business. For those who know me, even if they don’t know me a great deal, the accolades I’ve received and the many things I’ve accomplished over the years aren’t a surprise to anybody. From my role as a graduate student to an entrepreneur all while being a single parent – I’m not doing anything outside of my character.
I’ll admit, I love sharing what’s going on in my life on social media. I’m an open book, respectively, and I know it’s a way for people who aren’t around me (out of town family) to keep up to date with me. I read the comments and the inbox messages about how people are so proud of me and how I’ve grown up to be such a beautiful young lady: “I always knew you would grow up to be successful. Such a beautiful girl. I’m so proud of you” and many other statements I receive. I’m grateful. Beyond grateful. But PLEASE don’t get it twisted folks – Ms. Alana over here DOES NOT have it all together. If the walls I reside in could talk and had cameras that the world could see, you may or may not think differently of me. With all the successes I’ve attained, trust and believe there are some mixed feelings that go along with them. Cheers to my open-bookness because y’all are about to get an entire page full of the ways in which I struggle. Maybe by the end of this post, you’ll think twice before comparing your life to someone else’s because you are unaware of what goes on behind the scenes to get those accolades (I am guilty as well). Wrote a post about it. Wanna read it, here it go:
Alana the Mommy
Y’all, I’ve kept my daughter alive for almost 7 WHOLE YEARS (Toni Braxton voice)! That’s almost 84 months, 364 weeks, and 2,555 days. You know how hard that is?!?! *SideNote* I am not intentionally doing anything to make otherwise happen BUT being a parent aint no joke! In addition to the strategically made IG filtered posts and First day of school images that you all seem to love, if you could hear the conversations that go on in between these pictures being taken. For those who have met Addy, y’all know my child has no chill. None. Nada. Zilch. She has enough personality for an entire starting 5 and then some. Probably why I have yet to have any other children because she already gives me a run for my money. I wrote about my experience with postpartum depression shortly after having my daughter here and I was transparent about me not wanting her and fearful of the fact that I didn’t know (and still don’t know) what I’m doing. There are times where I compare myself to other moms with the mini vans who take their kids to all these extracurricular events and I’m struggling to find time to read her devotionals at night, moms who decided to have children back to back so they can grow up together and my child lets it be known every chance she gets how she hates being by herself and she wishes I would hurry up and marry so she could have a sibling, moms who didn’t have children out of wedlock, moms who attained careers prior to having kids so they can have time WITH their kids, etc. See where I’m going with this? Addy is my little soldier. I love her to death. She gets on my LAST nerve. But there are things I wish I could’ve done differently before bringing her into this world. There are days that I still can’t believe I’m a mother and that God chose Addy Paddy Puddin Pop just for me.
Alana the Student
I’ve just decided I am going to be a professional student for the rest of my life. I love school and complain about it in the same breath but weirdly, formal education has become a slight addiction of mine. I always say I am ready to be done but when I have a break, I feel as though I am supposed to be in the classroom. Respectively, I am good at “school.” I get good grades and develop fruitful relationships with professors and peers on campus but I wish I could tell you how many times I’ve let the feeling of incompetence overwhelm me. My retention sucks (several times I have to read the same paragraph over and over just to remember what I just read), I battle feeling comfortable enough to speak up amongst my white classmates during discussion at my private PWI, I’m still not over the fact that I was accepted into the #2 Social Work program in the country (as if I wasn’t worthy to be accepted – silly right), and I still don’t know what I want to do after I graduate! Sometimes I feel I involve myself in so much at school to constantly feed my need to accomplish something, anything. Idk. It’s like I have this urge to constantly prove something to somebody (specific somebodies) that this young Black woman who had a child out of wedlock who received state assistance can hang with the best of them at this fine institution. It sounds silly when I write it out but it’s the truth. Not the healthiest of thoughts but trust me, I’m working on it.
Alana the Christian
Chile….. the struggles of a young believer. It is so real. I touched on this a great deal in my post 7 Things I Learned After Becoming a Super Saved, Sanctified, Holy Ghost Filled Christian and the struggle aint changed. My journey as a believer is ever-evolving. I go through so many seasons – one day the zeal I have for God is on 1000 and other days the thought of reading the Bible puts me to sleep. Some days I’m all for fellowship and other days, I don’t want to be bothered by church members. Some days I love my church and some days I think I’ve outgrown and need to search for another. It’s a constant battle. I struggle with fornication, drunkenness, gluttony, selfishness, etc. Pick your poison. But I LOOOOOOOOOOVE God. I don’t always get it right and He knows that, but I desire to. I try to. Our conversations always consist of me asking Him to rid me of things that are not a reflection or representation of Him. Daily renewal of my mind and spirit. The fact that I have a mini me up under me watching my every move and is getting older and more privy to the things of the world, strengthens that urgency to walk right in the Lord so that she can have a good example before her.
Alana the Writer
This identity has been one of great struggle this summer. I’m constantly on someone else’s blog or IG page to see how they have their site set up, how they post their images on social media, how they have so much traffic onto their website and how come I can’t have that. What am I doing wrong? What am I missing? My initial reason for creating a blog wasn’t necessarily for heavy traffic but to allow me a space to vent and provide a platform that others can relate to. Then I got greedy (ok greedy is a strong word). But I got curious about how I can amp my blog up and invest more time and skill into it. When I write, I battle with thoughts like: Will other people read this? Do they even care about this topic? Did I overlook errors? Is this my voice or am I trying too hard to be like someone else? How can I get over this Writer’s Block? So on and so forth… This is an area that I would like to grow in (socially and academically) but if I spend all my time comparing myself to other voices, essentially, I will lose mine in the process.
Alana the Entrepreneur
This identity is still fairly new. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit but bringing it to fruition is still new to me. Shopmaescloset.com (#unashamedplug) is my baby and I am having a lot of fun getting it established. I’ve always had a passion for thrifting but the concept behind the store is to pay homage to my grandmother, Willie Mae Randolph, and keep her spirit close to me. Developing a business is extremely hard. One of my flaws is my lack of patience and there are a lot of areas within this process where I’ve rushed when I should have taken my time but I just get SO excited that I just..move. Not to mention I am trying to balance this along with graduate studies, parenting, faith, rest, relationship, etc. Sometimes I just feel all over the place and I get so overwhelmed that I don’t want to do anything. Days where I am ready to quit, I always try to remember why I started this in the first place and keep it mind that it will all pay off one day.
The point I am trying to make is, success is completely different from “having it all together.” It is humanly IMPOSSIBLE to have it all together. Some processes are easier to go through than others BUT each level of attainment is preceded by some struggle(s). Would I change a thing about it? No. Not at all. The lessons I’ve learned with each struggle is worthy of an entire separate post.
(1) Keep your eyes on your own plate. That meal was prepared especially for YOU.
(2) Own up to your mistakes and keep it moving. Greatest piece of advice I’ve been given is, “Make mistakes. Make them big. Make them good.”
A part of me feels I was a little too real with this post but I had to get it out. Next time you scroll past one of my posts on social media and it looks like Alana has struck gold again, refer pack to this post because the next time I make an attempt to compare myself to someone else, I am going to do the same.
Love. Peace. Chicken Grease 🙂