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.

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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.

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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,

Kiana

PS. I’m still mad about that candy!!

The Importance of Being Awkward

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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 

 

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✌🏿️🙏🏿

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…

Regardless.

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! 

Kiana

 

One of those Lives

Me, basically. (source)

Me, basically. (source)

Here is a list of things I did wrong today:

  • Instead of studying for the huge chemistry test that is lurking in my horizon, I stayed up into the wee hours of the night watching T.V. At first, I told myself that it would only take a few minutes out of my study time to watch a couple episodes and then I’d get back to work. But as the hours went by, I fell deeper and deeper into the Netflix vortex. I kept trying to convince myself that I would stop, that eventually, maturity and common sense would take over and compel me to study, but it was not meant to be. Eventually, I just gave up the act and dived head-first into Gilmore Girls season four.
  • Because I went to bed so late, I overslept and missed my psychology class. I also have a psychology test waiting for me around the corner, so this was a great time for my laziness to take over!
  • Because I was in such a rush to get to school in time, I forgot my English homework on my desk. When I got to class, I frantically flipped through my folder looking for it, but it was nowhere to be found. Because our whole class period was going to be dedicated to going over the assignment, I decided to quietly slink out of the classroom rather than announce to everyone the mistake I had made. And by “quietly slink” I mean “awkwardly stumble over several chairs and a trashcan on my way out the door”.
  • Then I went to Chemistry. That actually wasn’t that bad.

This is usually the point where I’d say that I’m having ‘One of those Days”. At this point, however, I think it would be more appropriate to describe it as “One of those lives”. I’ve always been the kind of person who starts out extremely enthusiastic about something, only to watch all of my determination fade away like the morning dew. I want to care more about all of my responsibilities, I want to be more dedicated to my goals, but it’s all so hard sometimes (and yes, I am aware of how whiny that sounds).

I used to think that there was some magical formula to getting it all together, that if you followed a few surefire steps, all of the puzzle pieces in your life would just fall into place. The older I get, the better I understand: There is no secret to getting it all right. You just have to do the work. There is no other option; if you want to succeed in the real world and accomplish all of your goals, you just have to sit down and get to it. That’s what being an adult is all about.

Of course, that is easier said than done. And if my Netflix queue is any indication, I won’t be accomplishing it today. But I think that’s okay: I may have dropped the ball today, but tomorrow I’ll work towards accomplishing all of my goals!

Probably! Maybe! Most likely not! I’ll…get to it eventually.

We’re more than half way through February. I turn twenty in May. Before I reach that age, I’d like my life to at least have some semblance of respectability.

I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.

Kiana.

A Valentine’s Day PSA

Film Title: BRIDGET JONES : THE EDGE OF REASON.

Bridget Jones: Prime example that it pays to step your game up. (source)

Editor’s Note: I originally wanted to put this up on Valentine’s Day, but I decided to hold in the cynicism until the day after. Here are a few thoughts I have about dating today:

There are few things that upset me more than a young person, especially a young woman, bending over backwards, trying to make a bad relationship work. Every time I spy a young couple arguing in the corridors of my school or one of my friends plops down next to me to tell me about what their boyfriend has done this time, I feel my soul begin to scream; it starts (as it always does) as a low moan within my heart. Soon enough, though, it crescendos into a bellowing roar, filling my entire being.

“Oh, my God,” I respond on cue, “He is being such a jerk.” I say all the right words, but unbeknownst to them, I have disconnected from the conversation. I know that this sounds selfish, but I just can’t help it. It makes me physically sick to hear tales about all the new and exciting way that my friends are being taken advantage of. It makes me wanna roll up on their house at night TO FIGHT leave a firmly worded letter under their door because I am not athletic and even if I was, there’s really never a good reason to kick your friend’s significant other in the neck.

True, both men and women can find themselves trapped inside an unhealthy relationship, but I think that you’ll all agree that when it comes to all the manipulative and cruel turns a relationship can take, women often find themselves with the worse end of the stick. At least, that has been the case in my experience. And no, I’m not suggesting that we turn the tables and start mentally and physically abusing/ruining men’s lives, but I am proposing that women start stepping their game up.

Look: Women have a buyer’s market when it comes to dating. That’s how it’s been for a long time, and that it will probably be for the foreseeable future. There is no reason to saddle yourself to someone who is mean and makes you feel small, just because you feel like you won’t find anything better. Trust me: YOU WILL. No matter who you are, or what you look like, there is someone out there who is feelin’ it. There is someone out there who would gladly sweep you off your feet and be the kind of person you deserve.

To quote a Tumblr post I saw the other day: Boys are abundant and low in value (Well, the post’s language was a bit more NSFW. But you get the idea). Never let the fear of either being alone or losing an awful boyfriend hold you back from getting what you deserve.

Kiana.

Get Into It!

Look, I’m gonna be totally honest with you: I had a whole awesome intro written up about how I wanna start doing a monthly favorites thing on my blog because it seemed like the hip-thing-to-do, but because I am a fool, I didn’t realize that my laptop’s battery was dwindling until it died while I was mid paragraph.

Now, that original intro paragraph was amazingly well crafted: It was full of jokes and astute observations about life. But it’s gone now; it vanished into the ether, along with several of my research papers, never to be seen again. True, I could try to go back and time and remember what I originally wrote, but I feel it’s best that we leave the past in the past. Yes, I loved that original intro paragraph. But sometimes, the things you love aren’t meant to be with you, y’know? Sometimes, they yearn for greener pastures, for bluer skies, and who are you to hold them back from that?

…Other times, you spend your whole night watching obscure clips from old Disney shows and now don’t have the strength or soundness of mind to remember anything you wrote. Either way, it’s best to move on.

Here was the gist of it: I’m a cool person, I like cool stuff, now I want to share said cool stuff with you.

Here we go:

1. Broad City

I first came upon Broad City by accident. Unlike most accidents in my life, however, this one didn’t cause me countless years of unspeakable anguish– nay, this mistake lit up my life and changed my world for the better. This mistake took me gently by the hand and led me into the promised land.

This mistake provided me with this amazing clip:

Broad City is an awesome show on Comedy Central written and created by Abbi Jaccobson and Ilana Glazer. The two of them have been friends and comedy partners forever; many of their adventures on the show are based off of things that have happened to them over the years. It’s hilarious, the music is great, and even though the stories sometimes stretch into absurdity, they always have a realistic vibe to them. Broad City is definitely one of my favorite shows of all time. so-alive-broad-city

New episodes air every Wednesday on Comedy Central, but if you can’t wait until then, check out their youtube channel. Before Broad City was on TV, it was an equally hilarious web-show. Get into it!

2. Aquaphor

A few months ago, my friend Rahama accused me of being a Beyonce stan.

“NO, I’M NOT,” I said, a little too loudly, “I JUST HAVE A GENERAL APPRECIATION FOR FOR ALL OF THE IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTIONS SHE’S MADE TO MUSIC HISTORY.”

But I was lying. 

Here is how I really feel about Beyonce: I don’t think that she’s a real person; I think that she is a growing orb of light, the power of which has somehow been harnessed and channeled into creating a human like form. I think that everything she touches turns into gold and that when she takes even a single breath, a puppy is born.

In short, my appreciation for Beyonce rivals even my love for Oprah. And that is saying something.

That’s why when Beyonce mentioned offhandedly that she uses Aquaphor to moisturize her skin, I was blown away. Oh my God, I thought to myself, I use the same lotion as Beyonce! *Cue several fantasies about accidentally bumping into Beyonce in the lotion aisle at Target. We’d exchange knowing smiles as we both gracefully tossed a jar of the cream into our carts, forever bonded by the knowledge that we are the only two people in the store- nay, the world- who truly know what’s up*

"USE AQUAPHOR AND YOU'LL LOOK LIKE THIS"- that's not what their slogan is, but it should be. (source)

“USE AQUAPHOR AND YOU’LL LOOK LIKE THIS”- that’s not what their slogan is, but it should be. (source)

Of course, I don’t buy it just because Beyonce uses it. Aquaphor is regarded by many medical professionals to be one of the best creams on the market. Several people have used Aquaphor and found relief from all kind of skins ailments, including excema. Tattoo artists often apply it to skin after finishing up because of it’s healing properties. I’ve used it myself throughout several years of cuts and burns, and it has always come through for me. Also, it’ll even out your skin tone after a few weeks of use, if that’s something you’re interested in!

Basically, Beyonce (and several licensed professionals) think Aquaphor is amazing. I do, too, but my opinion is far less important. So if you love yourself and you love your skin, get in on that!  

Welp, that’s it: Two cool things that will make your life at least ten times better.

Stay trill,

Kiana.

One Lovely Blog Award!

Good morning friends and family of said friends! Gather round, for I have a very important message to share with you: This blog has a Facebook page. I’ve never mentioned it directly before because I didn’t want to fall into the bottomless pit that is shameless self promotion, but then I realized: writing a blog is the ultimate form of shameless self promotion. So if you have a Facebook account and you like reading this blog, why not take a lil’ journey over the page and give it a like? Do it! Or don’t. Or do.

*Phew* Feels good to get that off my chest! Now, onto the regularly scheduled blog post.

Many moons ago, Hiba, my Dazzled buddy and all round A-plus indivdual, nominated me for the One Lovely Blog award.

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Of course, being the unreliable person that I am, it took me several months to actually sit down and start writing. And make no mistake: I didn’t spend those months thinking up clever and innovative ways to make this blog post special. You’ve got some supremely mediocre content heading your way.

Here are the rules for the award:

1. You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.

2. You must list the rules and display the award.

3. You must add 7 facts about yourself.

4. You must nominate other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

5. You must display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

So without further ado, here are seven facts about me:

1. I used to be super into Neopets. Every day after school, I would race home and hop onto the computer, one question at the forefront of my mind: How are my Neopets doing? The answer was usually not great: Since I really only cared about playing the games and winning rare items, my Neopets were often neglected. I sometimes went weeks without giving them anything to eat. To this day, my Neopets are starving quietly in some forgotten corner of the internet. I would log into my account to feed them, but all memory of my log in information has faded away into the ether, along with most of my other fourth grade memories. This may sound cruel, but the experience taught me a valuable lesson: I should never own a pet.

2. I cannot sew to save my life. When I was in sixth grade, I took a class that dedicated a whole three months to teaching me and my classmates this valuable gift. While my peers left with a new skill tucked securely under their belts, all I had to show for my efforts was a lumpy, misshapen pillow. My mother often points out that I should have been able to retain at least some of the information from the class. What she doesn’t understand is that after each school year, my brain clears out everything I’ve learned to make room for the names of new Pokemon.

3. I am an introvert. Many people mistake my loud (and frequent) outbursts for extroversion, but the truth is actually far more complicated: I am often uncomfortable in social situations, but my need to be liked overpowers any awkwardness I might be feeling. Coping with this problem has been difficult, but I am getting stronger every day. Like Jesus, dragging his torture stake along the- you know what? I’m not even going to finish that thought.

4. I am a terrible cook. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who are a wiz in the kitchen, but every food I touch inevitably turns to ash. Literally. There is almost always fire involved. But: I am excellent at boiling things, if I do say so myself!

5. MEG CABOT FOLLOWED ME ON TWITTER (and then promptly unfollowed me). A few months ago, Meg Cabot, author and living legend, saw something special in me. She clicked the “follow” button and leaned back contentedly into her chair, presumably happy with her decision. A couple days later, however, something scared her away. Maybe it was my near constant tweeting about my various urine-related incidents. Maybe it wasn’t. We will never know for sure.

6. I don’t understand snapchat. I downloaded Snapchat a few years ago, and since then, my use of the app has been spotty at best. Every time I think I finally get what Snapchat is all about, I realize that I haven’t even begun to understand the basics. Also, nothing in my life is worthy of being photographed. I think that my inability to understand Snapchat (and many other social-media apps) is a sign that my transformation into a crotchety old man is finally complete. I’m just going to have to make peace with this.

7. I’ve never been on a boat. Unless you count a brief tour around Lake Superior in which the tour guide kept making puns about how the lake is “superior” to all other bodies of water. Which I do not. I’m totally fine with this, though. Ever since I watched Titanic, I’ve had an irrational fear that any boat I step on will sink as soon as I get on deck.

There you have it: Seven facts about me that you did not care to know!

I would like to take this time to thank Hiba for giving me this award. In case you didn’t know, Hiba also has a blog, and it is magnificent. If you’re not reading it, you’re not living.

Here are the blogs that I’m nominating for the award next:

1. HeyPoofy

2. Might As Wale

3. Band Geek Bella

4. Dear Abbey

5. I Have A Messy Bun

6. Another Wild Child 

Welp, that’s all folks!

Kiana.