CS: Who is Emicia Yvette Parker?
EYP: Emicia Yvette Parker is an artist, a writer, a child advocate, a Pageant Queen, a public theologian, a friend, a sister, a Crystal Light connoisseur, a bubble wrap popper, and a work in progress.
CS: What was your childhood like?
EYP: I was born to two parents who, today, are recovering addicts. They placed me in foster care at two months old, and after some time “in the system”, I was blessed to be adopted by two loving parents. Unfortunately, both of my parents have gone home to be with the Lord, but I carry their legacy in every step I take, and I am committed to building on it as best I can.
CS: I read the story of you meeting your father in JET Magazine. Many people can relate but not many can or have come to experience such a wonderful turning point, a moment for a bit of closure- so to speak. What advice or encouragement could you offer to someone facing what you’ve faced?
EYP: Well the Jet article was more about my mother(s), but as far as my father is concerned, it was, and still is difficult. I had not seen him since I was a couple months old and I was told that he had died. I was shocked to meet him last year after all this time. I truly love my father, and I know he loves me. He’s trying to rise above the perceptions that were drawn in his absence, and I respect that. My advice for anyone who is reuniting with a family member would be to keep an open mind, but a guarded heart (Proverbs 4:23). There is a certain type of pain that only my parents can inflict, so I have to guard myself.
CS: Dealing with unresolved issues, as a young person going into adulthood, is incredibly difficult, I know firsthand. Looking at the many stories about young women going down roads seemingly without hope, young women today can’t seem to imagine any way out of what’s predicted for them. (That’s what media allows us to believe.) You are not a statistic. What has kept you from being jaded? How have you thrived?
EYP: It has completely been by the grace of God!!! Psalm 27:10 says “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will take me in”. If it had not been for His grace and the people He placed in my path, I would have been a statistic. What keeps me from getting jaded is realizing that I am on assignment here. There are people that I need to reach, who are experiencing my same set-backs and who will only listen to me because they know I can relate. With God, nothing is wasted. There isn’t a single experience that cannot be used for His glory. My mission now is to invest in the lives of other would-be statistics, through support and service, so that they won’t succumb to being statistics either.
CS: What advice do you have for the girl who is losing hope?
EYP: My advice would be to evaluate why you are losing hope. Ask God to reveal to you what lie you have believed about your life that is draining your hope. I remember when I believed that my life was just doomed and destined to fail. Everything I touched fell apart. My mother was dying and my friends couldn’t really relate to me, which was isolating. I didn’t know why God had seemingly cursed me to exist, only to suffer. But the reality was, that was my training ground. We learn lessons in pain that we cannot learn in the joys of life. Hope is only possible though the giver of Hope. So reconnect with Him.
CS: I see that you’ve done great things with the Girl Scouts organization. How did you get into that? What keeps you motivated to devote your time to these young women?
EYP: Thank you!!! I contacted Girl Scouts of Greater New York a few years ago asking how to start a troop. Once I found out there was one in my area, I decided to just help out there. I am motivated to continue, because I genuinely love my scouts and see greatness in them. Even when they challenge me, I know that it is simply the leader in them that has to question things. I started crying one day in the Supermarket, just reflecting on what an honor it is to be a part of their development. Their parents and families deserve the real glory. I just come through with crafts and snacks * laughs out loudly *
CS: You are indeed a very busy woman. A student, a spoken word artist (and I do mean artist—you can weave words better than Beyonce’s blonde tracks!), a mentor and now Ms New York Plus America! Congrats! How did you get started with the Ms Plus America organization?
EYP: I became aware of the Miss Plus America organization largely through social media. I have a lot of plus-sized women in my circle who are movers and shakers and I saw the respect they had for the pageant. The more I realized this was completely about amplifying the voice of the community-service oriented woman, the more I wanted in. Spruce Dickerson, who is Miss Plus America Elite 2011, encouraged me to try for the Ms New York title. I didn’t think I could do it, honestly, but it turns out that she was right.
CS: You sure did do it! You wear it well, much like your other talents. I’ve personally had the pleasure of hearing and seeing you deliver your gold, that spoken word. It feels so alive, like you can reach out and touch those words, the pain, the joy, everything. Where does your inspiration come from?
EYP: Thank you poetess!!! My inspiration usually comes from introspection. One of my favorite poets, Yeats, said: “Of our conflicts with others we make rhetoric; of our conflicts with ourselves we make poetry”. It’s usually when I’m conflicted about something that I emotionally unpack it and, in the process, write.
CS: Poetess? Who me? Shhh, let’s keep that quiet, I’m shy * winks * Yeats, indeed said it best. “…of our conflicts with ourselves we make poetry.” What a great perspective, which leads me to my next question. You’re a Christian, there’s no hiding that, you just GLOW and I know it’s not your flawless makeup. So tell me, how does your faith in God affect your life and everything you do?
EYP: Thank you!!! I seriously don’t even know how to condense my answer. My relationship with God affects everything about me, from my worldview, to my tastes, to my motivation to serve others, and everything else. One thing I abhor is pseudo-profundity, but I know so many people who wax poetic about what God is, and make God all manner of things. The question is, what fruit has that produced for the world around them. If your “god” allows you to be comfortable living a self-serving life, then you can smoothly miss me with him/her/it. My relationship with God empowers me to DO and not just talk. I understand that I was created to glorify Him and to serve Him through serving others. It’s a blessing.
CS: WOW, perfect response. Okay let me regain composure…
I think it is safe to say that your life, like many of ours, has not been easy BUT you thrive! Could you tell my readers how you’ve turned the tables on what you’ve been given? (Lemons to Lemonade)
It wasn’t always lemonade!!! There was a time when I was extremely bitter with the hand that was dealt to me. But one thing that always sets my mind right is meditating on John 20:20. This is the passage where Jesus shows the scars from the wounds He had received. To be “Christian”, means to be Christ-like. The fact that the God I serve can relate to what it is to be wounded is ridiculously awe-inspiring!!! But the fact that He didn’t hide his scars, but showed them, is a lesson for us. Scars are not ugly disfigurements to be ashamed of; they are proof that you have overcome something. So it is with my life. I could be bitter and upset that the playing field was never really even for me, or I can glory in the God that allowed me to overcome despite that. It really is a choice. And I choose to glorify God.
Thanks to Emicia Yvette Parker for this inspiring interview. I hope you all have been inspired by it as well. For more information about Emicia visit her website at www.Emicia.com .