I’ve spent the last two years living abroad, an hour from a city I’ve only dreamed about, with a husband I’ve always prayed about and two beautiful twin girls Iv’e taken the time to embrace and love and affirm. That same love and affirmation that I’ve taken into my classroom as an elementary school teacher, where I’ve been called mom, aunt, and even been asked by a student to adopt them in case anything ever happened. See I love to recognize the value someone has to this world, because I didn’t always see my own.

I didn’t value the woman I was or even the one I knew I was destined to be. I didn’t know what my purpose was or what my value was on this waste. And even though I didn’t know it, others still took. And I still gave from a place that I knew not of. People were writing me bad checks to cash out the delicate pieces of me, and I still took them. People used counterfeit love to deposit and I continued to pour out more and more. Bad friends, bad relationships, waking up in strange places to strange faces, I was giving all I had away, until there wasn’t any left. I was like a broken ATM. Giving out my currency of love, joy, and peace, and no one had to work for it. I had lost all of me… until one day, after a strange place strange face kind of night.

I was heading back to my dorm room, attempting to prepare myself for that loooong walk down the hall to ny room. I always prayed that no one would come out to see me, because truthfully, I didn’t want to see me. I did my best to cover my head, my face, so that no one could see me. When I made it back to my room, I carried on with my usual routine after a strange place, strange face type of night. In the bathroom, I’d wrap my hair in the mirror, put my bonnet on, and get in the shower to wash off any residue from the strange place and strange face. And you know how you can look in the mirror at yourself, but never really LOOK at yourself? You know, those moments when you are doing everything in your power NOT to look at yourself? Yeah that was me… but this time… I looked…

…And I had no clue who was looking back. I stopped and stared and gazed and turned my head a little to the side a few times and had no clue who was looking back. So much so, that I even asked that woman who was staring back at me “Who Are You?”

No response.

It was in that moment it registered I had become someone I didn’t know. Operating everyday thinking I’m Allyson, when in reality, I had given so much of her away, that when I saw her for the first time in YEARS, I didn’t even know her. I did things I said I’d never do, said things I said I wouldn’t say, gone places I said I’d never go, and lived a life I wasn’t meant to live. Many of us spend time going throughout life living as someone else and we don’t even know it. Anyone else been there?

 I had reached my low point. But the beauty in this revelation was that I could only go UP from there. Even though I didn’t know that woman looking back, somewhere deep inside of me was still a little bit of the purest version of me left. How do I know?

Because it had just enough power to recognize the fake me and call it out with the simple questions “Who Are You?”

So I took a step back, wipes my tears, got in the shower, and made a commitment to get back to the real me. To strengthen that small piece of me that was still left over to continue to stand up, speak out and become the ONLY version of me in existence. I was determined to regain every piece stolen from me when I was broken. I was determined to climb out of the place I was in and walk boldly in the purpose for my life. The REAL reason I was put here. I wasn’t put here for strange places and strange faces. I am made for more. 

You are made for more. I need you to see that. I need you to embrace that. I need you to never get to the place I was in where you don’t even know you. And if you’re there, I’m determined to get you out. I’m determined to speak to that small piece not he inside of you that’s left and encourage him, embrace her, and tell him or her to Arise and Shine.

That’s why I’m passionate about this work. I refuse to live on this earth, and you not know what you’re here. Not on my watch. I refuse to let you go through life thinking that you have no purpose. Not on my watch. I will not let you live another day refusing to look in a mirror at yourself because of who you may or may NOT see. Not. On. My. Watch.

You have a reason to live.

You have a reason to love.

You have a purpose.

Let’s discover it together.