I Found My Identity


God said two things to me: 

  1. The route I have you on is completely different than anyone else’s.
  2. How are you going to spread the Gospel if you’re talking to people who already know who I am?

I was trying to fit in a mold that wasn’t for me. I was trying to talk to people I couldn’t relate to. 

Something I’ve struggled with since High School was the kinds of friends I wanted to associate with.  I was on the track team before attending High School, so that’s all I knew.  My world turned upside down when I came from a multiracial, multicultural Middle School to an all black High School. Now, I did attend Elementary School with a few of the students that were there but finding them in a sea of people on my first day, wasn’t going to be easy.

Within my first couple of days, everything was smooth...until I had to go to lunch. The lunch room was huge and I was now in a sea of black people. I felt like I was going through a culture shock. Even though I was raised on the same streets as many of them, I lived in the suburban part of town and I stayed there for years until we moved into a “more suburban” city where not too many of my people were living. I was placed in an uncomfortable environment with people I didn’t think I would be able to relate to. 

My first encounter with someone was with a girl I formerly attended school with. I began to speak and she was taken aback. She asked me, why are you talking like that? I told her, “Like what? This is how I talk.” She told me, “I'm talking white.” Now, I didn’t know what that initially meant but I soon changed who I was to fit in with a new crowd.

Even in college, I thought attending a HBCU I would learn more about my culture, my heritage, “my people.” That didn’t really happen. I guess I was searching for something that was only in a book and that wasn’t part of the time period I was living in.  I joined a sorority with a group of young women who I will forever be tied to and I love them dearly. I love that we aren’t all the same but we’ve taken the time to get to know one another. Heck, even my sisters say I’m different. I don’t like the things they like, I don’t act the way they act, I don’t dress the way they dress but they love me anyway.

Fast forward to now, on social media, I thought I had to once again be someone else to fit in with a group of people that were “my people.” Then I found myself trying to relate to them but before writing content, I was trying to understand what to write that would be relatable to them.  I realized that I needed to go a different route because these aren’t the people I need to speak to. I can’t relate. What they’ve gone through in their lives, I haven’t experienced.  I didn’t know what to do. I was trying to fit in any kind of way but God spoke to me and told me He didn’t want me to fit in.

I remember my aunt telling me after we came from Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts “Refuse to Lose” tour that her dad, Bishop T.D. Jakes told her before she started to help the people no one would really help. Go back to your people and help them because you’ll be able to relate to them and them to you.  She did just that. She made it comfortable for her specific niche of people she was aiming towards helping. She had wine at the venu, the music was to their liking...sprinkled with a little bit of good ol’ Christian music. She was making herself relatable.

I was trying to do that as well but it didn’t work because I haven’t walked in their shoes. Then God finally got through to me and told me that the way I want you to go is not the same way others are going. I want you to go after the lost. 

Now, I’m in a space where I can relate. You may think I’m comfortable here and yes to some degree but in other ways, no because they’re still different from me. Still non relatable in the biggest way, race. I’m comfortable in a sense that I love fashion and sharing with others my closet, my fashion tips, and just having fun. I’m able to kind of walk into another person’s world and take notes and understand more of who they are, what they believe. I’m able to relate more to black women who talk and act like me because I know they’ve had a similar upbringing.

I’ve learned that there are many different kinds of people in one race...for every race. No two people are alike. 

So yes, I’m on a mission as we all should be and while during this mission, I’m learning so much about myself and I’m learning that I can’t hide who I am. Either you can accept me or not.

Question: Have you ever been in a situation where you felt you didn’t fit in with a certain group of people?

I’m not saying that I’m privileged because I’m not. If I’m honest, I haven’t had to go through the typical hardships some of the people I’d gone to school with, had to face. Even though my mom raised me as a single mom, she had all of the help in the world. I’m the only child so yes I did get any and everything that I wanted. I really haven’t had to struggle with food not being on the table, with not having a car to get to and from places, I didn’t struggle with my grades. I really didn’t have bullies, and everyone in my family has gone to college. Yes I’m blessed. I truly am but at a particular point in my life I thought I had to act like I’d gone through something in order to fit in, to understand. I thought I had to help only my people because they were my people. I didn’t want to leave my people behind. I thought I had a duty to help them in any way I could and I saw myself going towards a certain group that I couldn’t relate to. I thought I was doing a disservice to my race if I wasn’t involved.

This past week, God really put a lot of things into perspective for me. Listen to this sermon from Pastor Dharius Daniels when he attended Elevation Church. “I Am Number 12.”

When you finish listening to this sermon, you’ll understand that we’re all different and we don’t have to try and fit a mold that wasn’t made for us. That day, I received clarity and contentment with who I am and the true path I’m supposed to be on. 

I hope this helps someone be comfortable in not only their skin but their personality and the entirety of their life.

Thank you for reading,

Janelle






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