Photography courtesy of Alyona Real
By Alyona Real | December 2018
have an insatiable hunger to do more…to do better, and to act on my passions to live a life enlightened. I haven’t always felt this way, but this is a fire that I don’t think will diminish with time or with hardship. Many women have questioned whether a purpose greater than their own was driving their life, and I have met those curiosities plenty of times throughout my own existence. Not until recently, however, have these wheels really started to turn for me; they are spinning faster in my head than ever before (and most importantly in my heart), whispering to search for my own answers to maximize my potential in life.
Not only am I feeling this way because of the ferocious velocity at which change is occurring in our current political climate (for which I have curiosity and passion), but it’s also because, without a doubt, I feel that I am here to serve a purpose greater than just myself. There is no doubt in my mind that I was destined to use my life experiences for positive influence, because there has to be a reason why a woman from San Antonio, Texas decided to fly to Russia, visit my orphanage and adopt me as her own. She desperately prayed for years about this adoption, and she just so happened to meet the right person on a flight to Dallas that could make it all possible. She struggled with a Russian government who made it difficult to bring her child home, and she spent a month in Russia developing a relationship with me in the most difficult of circumstances before taking me to America. I believe that my second chance at life hasn’t been due to chance alone.
These actions taken by my mother (and so many other individuals) to get me here is not a mere coincidence in my eyes. I sometimes forget that, because the ebbs and flows of ‘normal’ daily life don’t give anyone much of an opportunity to sit and ponder the experiences that have made us all who we are. I do believe though, that when significant moments transpire in our lives, or when those rocky, knock-you-off-your-feet epiphanies come flooding to the surface, our decisions regarding what to do next are influenced by who we are and what we have been through. I have certainly been molded into the woman I am today because of the girl I was when I was seven.
For starters, I have learned about caring for others, and about the importance of being a big sister to other children who shared my circumstances. I have also learned about the power of courage and facing your fears, and about having the ability to recognize a life-altering opportunity when it’s presented to you (and be open enough to take it). I have learned about complete devastation, what it is like to lose everything, and I have learned the feeling of uncertainty about what was ahead when hoping to rebuild. I have also learned about second chances, which has effected the way I view my life and how I take charge of my own potential.
I am blessed to have lived a full life before I really started living what I know to be my life now. Because of that, I am more motivated than ever, and am willing to voice my viewpoints and speak my truths. At one point I didn’t have that privilege or ability. To be given this second chance in life is incomprehensible, and I carry with me the awareness and responsibility that as a woman with a new life, it is my duty to the unheard and the hurting that I take a stance and use my rights to make a difference. I never would have thought this little girl would be here today.
I believe in the saying that life doesn’t happen to us, it happens for us. I intend to make what everyone went through to get me here worthwhile. What that looks like for me is living every day with intention and purpose. In my heart, I was put on this Earth to be the best individual I know I can be: grounded, full of motivation and yearning to carry on–wherever I am–as a leader, empowerer, and someone who always gives back to those who gave me everything.
A recent graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio, Alyona Real earned her bachelor’s degree in digital media communication and uses her skills for marketing and advertising needs in her current job as an optician at The Eyeglass Shop and Visionary Family Eye Care. Real has had a passion for theatre and film since high school and has been in a number of independent films and commercials. She is currently working launching a blog, as it is her goal to own a successful personal media brand and YouTube channel one day, while finding ways to engage in her other passions like animal welfare and environmental protection. Connect with Real on Instagram @alyonagrace.