Sweet Dreams

When I was in elementary school, we had a sub who called herself “The Viking Lady”. She always came to school dressed head to toe in all the necessary Minnesota Vikings garb: a hat, a jersey, and blindingly bright shoes. She breezed through the hallways, a vision in purple and gold, her spirit beads swaying as she went. Sometimes, if you were lucky, she’d wink at you as she passed, her violet eyeliner twinkling in the light. Best of all, she always had candy on her person, hidden within some secret fold of her jersey, that she tossed to children throughout the day.


Not that far off from what she looked like (source).

 Truly a modern day hero.

 As benevolent as The Viking Lady was, she had absolutely no tolerance for mess. If a student got out of line, she was quick to rebuke them, and the sharp look of disapproval on her face was enough to quiet even the rowdiest child. Despite that fact, we were constantly pushing her buttons. Children who were usually saints turned into non-stop talking machines in her presence. Something about a middle-aged women dressed entirely in Viking’s memorabilia really got us hype.

 One day, The Viking Lady made us a promise: any child who could make the journey from our classroom to the cafeteria without talking would get extra candy for the day. This immediately got my attention. If I am fond of candy today, at age seven I was obsessed. I imagined myself confidently walking out of school at four, my cheeks and pockets filled with candy, rich both in sugar and the rise in self-esteem that can only come from being a winner.

 I caught sight of my face in the reflection of my pencil tin and realized right then and there that there was nothing I wouldn’t do for that candy.


What heaven looks like, probably (source).

 As with most things in my life, I took it too far: We began our voyage through the halls, my face stony and my shoulders stiff, like I was afraid to even move lest the soft rustling of my shirt rob me of my chance for candy. I took tiny, deliberate steps, positioning myself directly behind the Viking Lady, or more specifically, her candy-laden pockets, eyes quite literally on the prize.

 Then, in the background, a noise: a muffled snicker from one of my classmates. Then, a barley concealed whisper from my side. I bristled; didn’t my classmates know how important candy was? Didn’t they know they were ruining their own chances of obtaining that delicious, delicious, candy? Why would they sabotage themselves like that? Who raised them???

 It was too much for my tiny third-grade mind to handle.

 I swung around to face my peers, my eyes darting wildly to each of their faces, and loudly (and obnoxiously) whispered, “QUIET.”

 Everything stopped. My classmates froze and The Viking Lady turned to face me.

 “Kiana,” she said slowly, the disappointment clear on her face, “I thought we had an arrangement.”

I swallowed down my fear and boldly gave my reply: “I was only telling the other kids to be quiet! I was helping you!”

 “The only thing you’re doing is disrupting the class! I haven’t heard a peep out of anyone but you this whole time. No candy for you!”

And with those cruel words, she spun around and continued walking, like she hadn’t just plunged a yellow-sneakered foot directly into my heart. My classmates (softly) jeered at me as they passed, their smiles so wide they bordered on inhuman. My candy-loss made me feel slow and unsteady and I started dragging my feet until I was lagging behind everyone else.

 When we finally reached the cafeteria, The Viking Lady opened her pockets to my classmates, allowing them to have their pick of her treasure, while I silently stewed at my table. I looked down at my plain ham and cheese sandwich and wondered where I’d gone wrong.

You might be wondering, dear reader, why I felt it necessary to tell you this story. Maybe, you might think to yourself, this is a cautionary tale. Maybe Kiana’s goal is to tell us about how much she has grown since then, and how now she minds her own business and works tirelessly everyday to better herself.

HA HA! You’ve severely overestimated my capacity for change! Not only do I still do things like this today (just on a more “adult” scale), I am arguably worse now than I was in third grade. At age 21, I still feel a need to control others, to steer them down the right path and force my help on them until they begin to walk it. Worse yet, sometimes these compulsions are still candy-related.

I let my desire to “help” others ruin my life. When the people I love don’t do what they’re “supposed” to do, I get so, so stressed out. I spend all my time thinking about them and how, if they would only listen to me, things would be so much better. I used to blame them for this, but now I see that it is really more my fault than anyone else’s.

I’m just now realizing that I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I have so few answers, it’s actually kind of laughable. And while I want the best for my loved ones, I can’t make them do anything that they don’t want to. They are independent people with their own dreams and desires, and just because those might be different from what I originally planned for them, it doesn’t make them bad. Just different. And that’s ok.

I have spent 21 years whispering demands at people, and now I’m determined to stop. I will always be there to offer help and give advice to others when they want it, but I won’t force myself on them, and I’ll support whatever they decide, just as I’d hope they would support me if they ever stumbled upon my shockingly large secret candy stash.

Live and let live,


PS. I’m still mad about that candy!!

The Importance of Being Awkward


On the first day of class, my mythology professor asked us to state our name and tell the class something interesting about ourselves. I scrambled for a second, trying to think of something exciting that would draw the class towards me. It had to be bold, but not too crazy; it needed just the right amount of spark necessary to convey the message Hey. This is a person you want to know.

In situations like these, I usually pick one of two stories: The time I accidentally shaved off one of my eyebrows (well, I suppose it wasn’t really an accident. I mean, I definitely did intend to take a razor to my brow, but my 13-year-old mind could not have possibly foreseen the consequences) or the time my dad snuck a pizza into the movie theater. I feel like both of these stories sum up what I’m all about in a pretty concise way: Funny, weird, and maybe a little uncomfortable if you think about it too hard. In other words, these stories accurately convey the mythology that I’ve created for myself.

When you watch old movies from the nineties/thousands, you tend to see certain archetypes pop up over and over again: The Jocks, the theater kids, the popular crowd, the goths; the nerds and the awkward protagonist that the audience is supposed to root for. Perhaps there was a time when these sects existed, but by the time I got to high school, they were mostly obsolete. Maybe we all realized that adhering to such antiquated social norms was boring. Or maybe we all thought we were the awkward protagonist.

I’m not really sure when it was decided that I was “quirky”. It was probably around the time I showed up to class with only one eyebrow. People started telling me that I was different, and I just kind of ran with it: I started doing whatever strange thing popped into my mind without fear of the consequence; after all, everyone already thought I was weird. For a while, I actively pursued bizarre situations just so that I would have something to talk about at school. I fully embraced the idea of being more strange and interesting than my peers. The (ludicrous) idea that I was doing something different, something truly original, fueled me.

It seems to have fueled others, too. These days, if you ask a young person to describe themselves, it is almost a guarantee that the word “awkward” will come up. I wonder how many of these people are truly awkward; how many of these people would have fit neatly into some other role, had they only been born in a different year. I often question the sincerity of my own life: I want my myth to at least represent something real, instead of just being a collection of interesting stories to tell at a dinner party.

I suppose that at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. After all, this archetype of the awkward protagonist is doing great things for people: it allows them to fight their inhibitions and find out what feels right for them; it allows them to dare to be original and creative and put themselves out there in ways they wouldn’t have other-wise. Most importantly, I think that this archetype is the reason why we have so many young people pursuing their dreams; this very website is proof of that. And even though I sometimes find myself confused about where the archetype I’ve chosen for myself ends and where I begin, I think that I’m that much closer to figuring it all out.

A letter for my brother 




Did you know that I’ve been blogging for almost four years? 

Probably not. Both because I blog so sporadically it must be hard to keep track and because I don’t really talk bout it.

There’s a lot I don’t really talk about on this blog. Whenever some weird or embarrassing situation befalls me, I always remember to write it down. But the other stuff, the good and positive things that make my life worthwhile, tend to slip through the cracks.

Case in point: Did you know that I have a brother? Maybe you did if you’ve been reading for a couple years or if you know me personally (which, let’s face it: the vast majority of the people who read my blog are friends who I’ve somehow tricked into paying attention to me). But I do. I have a brother, and his name is David.

David is nineteen years old. He likes music, learning new things and entertaining people. He’s pretty cool. A LOT cooler than me, if you think “Performing concerts to raise money for those in need” is cooler than “Almost getting into a fist fight one time because some rando mistook you for another black girl”. Which you very well might.

He graduated high school last year and is still trying to figure out life in the ~*Real World*~. In honor of National Sibling Day (which I KNOW was a couple of days ago) I have decided to write him this letter:

Hi, David!

Let’s get right to the point: 2015 was a trash year (we can both agree on that, right? Your agreement is a necessary component of this letter). It was just horrible in every way. Much like myself, all of 2015’s inclinations were to badness; every time it was given the opportunity to straighten itself out and correct its course, it made a sudden turn and veered into some new horror.

Like I said: Trash.

But who cares about that! We are finally free of 2015’s cold embrace, and it’s time to act like it. 2015 was a decidedly terrible year for our family, but 2016 is different, and we cannot punish it for the previous year’s mistakes. 2016 is limitless-yes, I realize that we are already in the middle of April, but that’s still eight good months!

So what are you gonna do with them? 

I realize that that isn’t really a fair question, especially coming from me, a person who has basically spent the last four months scrolling down various news feeds and avoiding responsibility, but I’m asking it anyway. Mainly because I believe in you.

I believe that you can do anything that you want to do. I believe that truly and deeply, from the bottom of my heart. Like the year 2016, you are full of so much potential and the ability to see it through. So much of it that it almost makes me a little jealous, but then I remember how great you are and feel happy for you instead.

So I ask again: what are you gonna do? But while I ask that question, I also want to emphasize the point that there is no rush. You’re only nineteen, after all. But this is the prime time to figure out what you love and experiment with it, whether it’s photography or business, and find out what fits you best. Otherwise, you might end up accidentally going to school for nursing for three years only to randomly switch to teaching in the middle of your junior year. Basically, what I’m saying is don’t be like me.

But do take my advice! Tons of people read my blog looking for advice! Well, not for advice so much as tales of shame…


You’ll always be my little brother (Because you’re younger, we’re related, and you’re a boy), and I love ya! Happy (belated) National Sibling Day! 



Striking Fear in the Hearts of Man


selfie! (source)

The other day, a man gazed upon my face and recoiled in horror. 

I was sitting in a gas station parking lot, waiting for my turn with the car vacuum (on a more positive note, I also cleaned my car the other day! This is a good thing because it was really starting to seem less like a car and more like a traveling dumpster). It was a lovely day; for one of the first times since spring began, the sun was sitting high in the sky, so I chose a spot in the shadows to get some relief from its rays. I was wearing all black and that, combined with the shadows and my dark features, could have caused me to…blend.

At any rate, I was sitting perfectly still in my car (chillin’, as I am wont to do) when a young man rushed over to the car next to me. He was moving so fast, I started and looked over at him. And that’s when it happened.

His eyes had been moving lazily around his surroundings, but they locked in on me when I turned my head.

“JESUS,” he screamed, and then scrambled into his jeep. He was practically falling over himself, he was trying to escape so fast. Once he was safely inside his truck, he realized his mistake, and kind of smiled sheepishly at me for a second before booking it out of there.

I sat in my car, staring in shock at the spot his car had been.

When something like this happens to you, it gives you a lot to think about. This was my basic thought pattern:

  • Whoa
  • Ok
  • That man was legitimately afraid of me
  • Or my appearance, at least…
  • Or maybe not so much my appearance as much as the fact that it probably looked like I was some kind of shadow beast
  • He probably thought that I was climbing out of the darkness of hell to seize his soul
  • You thought the two of you would exchange friendly smiles; he saw the babadook.
  • This is upsetting

Ultimately, I’ve decided that this was a positive experience. I don’t think I’ve ever struck fear into anyone’s heart before. Maybe “discomfort” or “mild amusement”, but never fear. So this is one for the books!

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to.


PS. I’m back from my blogging hiatus (Did you miss me? Did you even notice I was gone?)! I’m kind of going through the process of re-vamping my blog and getting a more clear idea of the topics I want to discuss here. So stay tuned! Or don’t. Or do.

What I Did When I Wasn’t Here (December 2015)

What’s up, guys?! How’s the family? How are you? Did you survive all of the awkward Holiday conversations relatively unscathed? I hope so.

So: It’s January, and despite the fact that the little box on the right side of the page claims that I am an “aspiring storyteller” I’ve barely written anything in months. In my defense, life has been pretty crazy for a while now. Usually, this is the part when I would start apologizing for my absence, hoping that you didn’t ask too many questions about what I was so busy doing, but not today! This is an update post! So without further ado, let the updating begin.

I Had A Surgery! 

IMG_1917 (1)

A classy, sophisticated post-surgery selfie

Last Spring, I started experiencing mysterious aches and pains across my lower back and abdomen. At first, I shrugged them off; that was an extremely busy time for my family, and there seemed to be a reason to get together every other week. I simply didn’t have time to think about whatever was going on with my body. I pushed my pain to the back of my mind and moved on.

But the pain got worse. It got so bad that I couldn’t ignore it any longer and I did the unthinkable: I typed my symptoms into WebMD. *Cue lightning here*

Needless to say, after reading about my symptoms on the internet and learning about all of the horrible things that could be wrong with me, I became concerned. By that, I mean that I became unshakably convinced that I was about to die.

But I didn’t die! After countless tests and doctor’s appointments where I was basically repeatedly told that I was crazy and that nothing was wrong with me, I was finally sent to a specialist for a second opinion. She ordered an ultrasound of my abdomen. That was when they discovered two growths, each about the size of a fist, on both of my ovaries.

My primary doctor stroked her chin contemplatively when the results came back. “Huh,” she said. “I guess there really was something going on with you!”

I definitely had to suppress an eye roll at that comment. But I’m not bitter: after the ultrasound, I had a CT scan to get a better read of the tumors. Thankfully, they weren’t cancerous, so the worst of my fears were discarded.

On November 17’th, I went in for surgery to remove the tumors in a procedure that was basically like a c-section. The first couple weeks after were a little rough- I had to take things really slow- but now, it barely feels like I had surgery at all! There have been several occasions where people have come up to me, asking how I’m doing in low, concerned tones and I’ve felt confused for a second before realizing Oh! Because of the surgery! 

So yeah. Everything worked out in the end. My surgery went well, I didn’t have a mysterious, exotic disease, and I waked away from the whole thing with a pretty sweet scar.

The only downside is that occasionally, people I vaguely know will come up to me and ask, “Is everything ok with…” while gesturing wildly towards their vaginas. By that, they mean, “Did they take your ovaries away from you?” and I have to awkwardly mumble that no, my reproductive system is still in tact. But things could definitely be worse.

Thanks, Dr.Votel!

Meet Dexter!

This is Dexter:


He used to be my aunt’s dog, but he lives with me and my family now. He’s pretty great.


Me and Dexter have a lot in common. We both enjoy lazing about the house, basking in sunshine and eating extravagant meals.


Me and Dexter are pretty tight, but sometimes we get on each other’s nerves. I get on his nerves by making up random songs about how cute he is and forcing him to listen to them while perched on my lap (Dexter likes to sit on laps, but only for a little bit. He needs to have his space).

He gets on my nerves by ignoring me when I talk to him; he always stops what he’s doing and looks up at me blankly for a couple seconds, like he’s deciding if what I’m asking of him is too much to bear. Then, he turns around and continues doing what he was doing before I interrupted him (Usually eating chunks of snow off the porch). In the moment, I usually feel overcome with frustration, but this never lasts. After all, Dexter is just trying to live his best life, and who am I to stand in his way?


Suffered an Early Quarter-Life Crisis and Reevaluated My Entire Life!

I’ve been writing about one day being a nurse for years on this blog. Last semester, I finally had the opportunity to actually apply for the nursing program. I was getting ready to join a TEAS test review class when it suddenly occurred to me: Huh. The idea of being a nurse fills me with disgust. 

Well, that may be a little harsh. Nursing doesn’t fill me with disgust, it just doesn’t make me happy. It involves aspects of things that make me happy, like interacting/helping people and a busy work environment, but it just isn’t my passion.


I…didn’t expect this to be so creepy.

Teaching is my passion. I’ve known that for years, but I’ve been trying to let go of that dream. Everyone in my family is in the healthcare field. It was just assumed that when I graduated high school, I would join them.

But I can’t.

I know it sounds cheesy, but I just can’t go down a career path that doesn’t make my heart sing! So I switched my major to education and got a tutoring job at my old middle school. The new semester hasn’t even begun yet, and I already feel better about my life. My mother approves, but still occasionally shakes her head at my decision, but I feel confident that I’ve made the right choice.

Here’s to making major life decisions that will almost certainly end in poverty!

On a less entertaining note, The loss of my aunt is something that completely changed me. For many months, it surrounded me like some kind of haze, clouding my vision and seeping into every aspect of my life. I don’t think that the death of a loved one is something you ever really get over, but I’m finally able to see a future beyond it. Now when I think of my aunt, I’m able to focus on something other than the hole her death left in my life. Instead, I think about all of the happiness that she brought into it, and all of the ways her presence changed me for the better. I’m still sad, but progress is happening!

I’m not exactly sure  what changes the next coming months will bring, but I’m looking forward to welcoming them with open arms. I hope that you are, too 🙂







This is one of the pictures that comes up when you google “power move”. Feels accurate. 

I’ve been thinking about new years resolutions a lot lately.

Usually, when someone asks me what my goals for the new year are, I say “My only resolution is to be a bad bitch,” and ignore the angry glare that always follows. But this year, I’ve decided to take things a bit more seriously.

I think we can all agree: 2015 was a garbage year full of garbage things. On a large scale, we saw various acts of terorism, bigotry and the rise of Full body contouring. On a smaller scale (i.e. things only relating to me) we saw accidental breast grazing, unfortunate hair decisions, and endless stains on cardigans. I am more than ready to leave all of that behind me.

So I’m making a resolution. I saw one of my Facebook friends resolve to do this, and I am jumping on the bandwagon: 2016 will be a year of power moves only.

Now, you may be wondering: Kiana, what exactly does that mean?

Well, dear reader, let me start from the beginning.

I have always had trouble asserting myself. For example, when I was seventeen, one of coworkers wished me a happy Kwanzaa, assuming I celebrated the holiday because I am African. A normal person would have just told him they didn’t celebrate Kwanzaa. A normal person would have said it with poise, and grace, and maybe a dash of charm for good measure. Instead of doing any of these perfectly normal things, I fell into a little something I like to call an insanity spiral.

For some unknown reason, I became convinced that just telling him I didn’t celebrate Kwanzaa was too awkward a situation for me to bear. So I thanked him…and he went on to ask several very specific questions about the nature of Kwanzaa.

“It’s…really just about togetherness, you know?” I mumbled dumbly.


Is…is this Kwanzaa?

And that is just one example of many when I had the opportunity to stand up for myself and say one simple thing and I just…didn’t.

Well, I’m sick of it! I’m sick of being timid and quiet when it matters the most. I’m sick of sitting in the background while interesting things are happening all around me. I’m sick of being a supporting actor in my own life. From this moment on, POWER MOVES ONLY. 

This, of course, begs the question: What exactly constitutes a power move? 

Unfortunately, I cannot give you a true answer as the essence of the power move is vague and undefined, but I will try my best: A power move is a subtle way of taking back dominance.

If employed correctly, a person will not even realize that a power move has been played on them. Not right away, at least. They will just wake up one morning feeling weak. Any sense of pride and ambition they once felt will be dashed down, replaced only with a deep, newfound respect for the you. This will seem perfectly normal to them; they will feel as though things have always been this way, with you as the alpha, and them as the beta. It won’t even occur to them to be concerned, so complete will be your rise to superiority.

You are victorious: It’s time to claim your rightful place on the throne, scepter in hand, and bathe in the warm glow of the adulation of your former superiors. This is your kingdom now, and you will rule with an iron fist.

…Or, in my case, it just means actually using my voice. I want to dedicate this year to speaking up when someone is making me uncomfortable; I want to speak up when I see someone doing something wrong to others; and I want to speak up and actually communicate how I think/feel (something that has been notoriously difficult for me). I know that this will be an uphill battle- being passive is one of my dominant personality traits- but I’m feeling hopeful about the new year.

What are your resolutions?



This Is The Third Blog Post I Have Written About Shia LaBeouf And I Am Beginning To Question My Life Choices.

Hello, friends!

This year, more than any other year I have lived through, has taught me that life is kind of ridiculous. Time never stops moving, and things never stop changing and we all just kinda chill in our respective corners of the earth, doing our thing. Some people seem to have it all figured out; they walk around with the air of someone who was received into the world just knowing what life is all about and what they want out of it. Others prefer to use the patented “Kiana Approach” and spend their lives silently darting in and out of shadows, avoiding responsibility and wondering how mysterious stains appeared on their blouses.

And then there’s Shia LaBeouf.

Shia continues to surprise me, which is weird, because I expect nothing from him at all. I don’t have any set of standards that I hold him to, and yet, he just continues to topple them down every day. Today, he has done so by inviting anyone who has time to come watch all of the movies he’s ever been in with him. He’s just been sitting in a theater since November 10th, playing all of his movies consecutively in reverse chronological order, and he’s gonna keep doing it until the 13th. AND he’s live streaming the whole thing.

Art (?)

Art (?)

Here’s a screenshot of it! As I’m sure you noticed, it’s kind of dark and hard to see. That’s because the camera isn’t even pointed at the movie screen. No, dear readers, the camera is trained on Shia the entire time. So when you go to watch the lifestream, you’re really just watching him watch his movies.

Just him.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 3.21.58 AM


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Showing no emotion the entire time.

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I’m not sure what to make of this.

Is Shia one of those fortunate beings who began life with all of the rules already nestled deep within their minds? Or is he, like me, just sort of free-styling as he goes along? Maybe a little bit of both? I cannot say for sure. BUT: he does look pretty confident doing it, and that has to count for something.

PS: Who wants to fly out with me to go watch Shia’s movies with him? (Looking’ at you, Ms.Boll!)

***UPDATE: November, 29***

Turns out I was wrong about Shia staring blankly at the screen for the whole event. Here he is during The Even Stevens Movie (which, sadly, me and Ms.Boll were not able to attend).


Look at that smile!