Name: Alana Parks City: Columbus, OH | @thealanaparks
Dad’s Name: Alan Gray Sr.
Describe your relationship with your Father and how did that impact you?
My father loves by doing. He is not the most emotionally available father and is not very affectionate, but he shows up when it’s most important. We don’t talk to one another often, and he’s never been the type I could call up and ask for money, but it doesn’t bother me, because he raised me to be an independent women and to want for nothing. We love one another very deeply and we act so much alike. It is what connects us, but it is also what causes us the most heartache. My relationship with my father has impacted how I chose my partner, how I make decisions, how I stand up for myself and use my voice when no one else is willing to use theirs. At one point, all I wanted to do was please him and he reminded me very swiftly that being myself, successful, and joyous, is the only thing I owe him
What’s the best thing you’ve learned from your Father?
You are not the decisions and mistakes you make. Everyday you have a choice to be your best you. He always had the weirdest, most funny sayings like “If I get in a fight with a bear, help the bear”, or “I ain’t always right, but I’m never wrong”, but the one I loved most and the one that has taught me many lessons is “You do not get paid to think!”. My daddy has always taught me to put actions behind my thoughts or they are just thoughts with no substance.
What struggles did you face in your relationship with your Dad and how did you get through them?
As an adolescent, we did not have the best relationship and I took a lot of that animosity and resentment towards him into my adulthood. My father coached me in sports at a very young age. It placed a strain on our relationship because it felt like he was always in coaching mode. I think he noticed what was happening by time I hit middle school and backed off a lot. But what I realized, is that sports was a huge part of our relationship and it is what kept us connected, so when that was removed, it felt like we didn’t have anything else in common. I would say this is still a struggle for us. We are relearning one another and my hope is that we can find similar interest with one another to help us stay connected and bonded.
What has your relationship with your Father taught you about what to look/not look for in your partner?
When I was a child he could do no wrong in my eyes. I always yearned to have a deeper connection with him, so I would find any reason to ask him questions and learn more about him and his childhood. Sometimes he would tell me stories from his childhood, a lot of them were painful stories, but it helped me to give him a lot of grace for his shortcomings and not to hold them against him. I realized my dad dealt with things no one could fix or manage for him. He taught me to look for the red flags and believe them when you see them. He also taught me to love people as they are, but that I have a choice if I want to allow them in my space. Lastly, he taught me that you cannot fix or change people and that you should not even try to, this is unconditional love.
How has your relationship with your Father shaped the woman you are today?
I have a sense of humor that allows me not to take life so seriously. I have an unwavering faith in God. I try to put my best foot forward in anything I do. And most importantly my relationship with my father has shaped me into a woman who is true to herself, loves herself more than anything, and encourages me to show up as my full self, while also making space for others to be comfortable in who God intended them to be.
If you could write a short letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
Thank you for being present in my life, for going out of your way to push me to be my best. For loving me unconditionally. For teaching me through your actions. And for just being you, even when I don’t understand, even when I don’t agree, I can always expect you to be you. Growing up you would tell me, “I chose your mama, I didn’t choose you” LOL. This was your way of teaching me that no one comes between your marriage and no one comes before your wife, my mother. Well daddy, even when you work my last nerve, I still choose you, I did not get a choice who my father was. But I am so happy and so grateful that God chose you for me, to be my daddy. You have taught me more than you know and you are so apart of my very being.
I Love You,
Boosie Wah Wah (Alana)