An Intimate Examination of My Facebook “Likes”.

So. I’m back on Facebook.

Is it the triumphant homecoming of a champion whose heart longs to return to where it all began, or is it a desperate plea for help in an empty void? There’s no time to ponder such questions–I’m back on Facebook, baby!

I originally left because things were getting a little too real for me. Friends were graduating, glowing up, and moving on to bigger and better things in their lives. I realize now that I was being more than a little harsh on myself but, at the time, the comparison was too much for me to handle. This is still something I struggle with, but these days things are much less bleak. I’d only meant to hop on for a second to sell some stuff on Facebook marketplace. But you know me– I love to look. I started to check on my friends and teachers and seeing where life had taken them. Turns out, life took them to some pretty cool places! The whole thing was a very nostalgic experience; as I flipped through old pictures and statuses and thought about the people we used to be, I felt happy. I sighed contentedly to myself– I’m back on Facebook.

Then I clicked on my profile and what I saw…shook me to my core.

In order to fully understand my horror, you must first understand the kind of person that I used to be. My profile, a garbled mess of strange declarations and hot takes, paints a vivid picture of that girl: I was very spazzy, very eager to be liked, and also just generally…confused. No more clearly can this be seen than in my “liked” pages. I would like to take a moment and examine those pages through a critical lens. Come along, won’t you?

Okay. A strangely aggressive and sarcastic quip. Exactly the kind of thing I never would have actually said in high school. I might have begun saying it at the lunch table, and then bailed immediately as soon as everyone looked at me. I was not cool enough to pull off saying something like this and have people respond positively. Also, I’m not a very sarcastic person in general. It’s just not where my humor lies– I like my jokes to be unintelligible and alienating, but aggressively earnest.

Sometimes, we hate people because we see ourselves in them. I have to imagine that’s what was going on here. Never in my life have I known the words to a single song, and always in my life have I mumbled along to it, anyway. When I listen to a song, I ignore whatever intended meaning the author has put into the lyrics and just decide it is about something else entirely. That’s why I interpret Harley’s in Hawaii, a song by Katy Perry that truly no one has heard, as a declaration of freedom and youth and not as a song that includes the lyrics, “When I hula hula hula, so good he’ll take me to the jeweler jeweler jeweler (But she’s quirky so she says it like ‘jewla’)”. Anyway, people can do what they want! Mumble away!

Ah, yes. This one brings back a very visceral memory. I did not get a cell phone until I was in tenth grade. This was at a time when many of my peers already had phones but it also wouldn’t have been super unusual to be phone-less. In any case, despite the fact that my parents provided for me physically, financially and emotionally, I was of the opinion that I didn’t have a phone because they were cruel tyrants who were praying on my downfall. One day, I saw a child at target–they must have been around ten years old–pull out a phone and casually make a call. Now, I’m not saying that past-Kiana would have fought a child. But I am saying that she might have come close.

Did this happen? Seriously, is this a thing that occurred??? Please let me know. I remember even being confused by this at the time I ‘liked’ it. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know what swine flu was– I was far too busy worrying about if Sam and Freddie were gonna get together. Oh, to return to a time when I wasn’t aware of a global pandemic. I’d go back in a heartbeat– even if I had to leave my phone behind.

Today I woke up with a scratchy throat and immediately thought I had COVID. I spent the rest of the morning in a cold sweat, checking my temperature every twenty minutes. So yeah. I don’t think P-Diddy wants anything to do with this lifestyle.

Hmmm. Now, am I still “interested” in Jesus Christ? Yes. Is this how he would want me to express it? Almost certainly not.

Well! I think we learned a lot about the importance of growth. Change comes for all of us, that cruel mistress, and we must welcome her with open arms. In order to change for the better, it’s important to take a look in the mirror from time to time and reflect– just to make sure there’s nothing in your teeth. And you know, it wasn’t all bad. One ‘like’ has managed to stand the test of time.

Friends: Stay beautiful.

Kiana

Low by Flo Rida Ft. T-Pain

The most popular song of 2008 was Low by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain. I know this because I am forcing myself to write, and in order to do that I have enlisted the internet’s help for advice. Writer Ashley Ford says that one way to get the creative juices flowing (ew) is to take a trip down memory lane and invoke any of your five senses. Her recommendation: find the most popular song from when you were thirteen and write about how it makes you feel.

Right away, I feel nauseous.

Thirteen was not a good year for me. I did not know it at the time because I had not yet developed any sort of self awareness, but friends: I was not thriving! For one thing, I was absolutely addicted to bermuda shorts. They cut off right above my knees and made me look short and squat, like a tropical gnome. Also, if memory serves me right, this was around the time that my constant abuse of my hair finally caught up to me, leaving me with a palm-sized bald spot on the center of my head. So, in short, I was balding, chubby and dressed like a middle aged dad. But! I had great skin! Okay…I had alright skin.

Anyway, I don’t think that when Mr.Rida penned his famous club banger he envisioned me awkwardly writhing to it in a Minnesota gym class, and yet…life takes us on unexpected journeys.

I’m pretty sure that every middle school student in the Midwest had that gym unit where they learned to do group dances with their peers. In theory, very useful! We all have to go to weddings and the cha-chas must be slid! But in practice we were a group of socially awkward children who, if given the choice, would have picked death over touching a classmate’s hand for even one solitary second. So when I was told that our next assignment would be to create our own choreography to Low by Flo Rida ft. T-Pain, I was understandably shaken.

Gym is best faced with a good group of friends, but I wasn’t very close with any of the kids in my class. I had formed a tenuous alliance with three other girls, but I wasn’t sure it was strong enough to get us through this assignment. Two of the girls were nimble and acrobatic; they suggested we flip, twirl and bend our way through the choreography. The other girl was, like me, just…bad at moving her body in general. We stared blankly while our partners tried to coax us into doing a back bend that would have almost certainly decimated our spines. It was a futile mission, doomed from the start. I can see that clearly now as a wise young woman of twenty six years. But, like I said, I had no self awareness back then so some sick, ill advised part of me thought we could pull it off.

We obviously did not pull it off. It was, say it with me folks: a true nightmare that haunts my dreams to this day! There are few experiences more humbling than attempting (HEAVY emphasis on the word attempting) to do a body roll in front of your peers, the squeaks of your sneakers echoing throughout the otherwise silent gymnasium. Well, actually, not silent at all. I did have Flo Rida to keep me company. Him, and the soft cracking of my already decrepit body.

And that’s what I think about when I hear Low by Flo Rida ft. T-Pain. And now maybe that is what you will think about when you hear Low by Flo Rida ft. T-Pain…but I do not wish that for you.

I’m not quite sure how to end this–I did not really learn a life lesson or grow in any lasting way from that experience. I just kept living and kept not having any body awareness. It is a fun story to tell at parties, though. And really, what more can you ask for?

Kiana







Please Don’t Read This

This post? Nonsense. You are gaining nothing by reading it. And honestly, I kind of don’t want to be writing it. But! I’m trying to slowly lean back into writing and naturally, there will be growing pains. I accept the fact that for a while things are gonna be weird. But yeah, don’t read this lol.

You know, there was a time when I had a constant drive to write. I spent all my spare time online, researching different writing styles and reading things that others had written, trying to hone my skills and grow as an artist. Now, it makes me cringe to even describe myself as an “artist”– yuck.

I’ve changed a lot over the last few years. Unfortunately, one of the changes is that my brain has been replaced with a single egg. No thoughts in there, baby, just dead air. And yet, here I am writing a blog post. And here you are, reading it. Can you relate at all to what I’m saying?

I miss being excited about writing. I miss having fun things to say. I miss the rush putting something out into the world and seeing how people react to it. Fortunately, I have found a few ways to channel my creativity. I’ve started posting my makeup looks on instagram. I like trying new makeup looks buutttt a part of me also feels like I’m being a needy little weirdo. Why do I need other people to see my face so badly? Why can’t I just do my makeup in peace and move on with my life, feeling the warm glow that only comes with a strong sense of self? I’m trying to tell that part of me to shut up. There’s nothing wrong with creating art–barf— and wanting it to be seen. It is a normal part of human life to want to be seen by others. I guess the problem is that as much as I want to be seen and understood, I also want to move away to the Appalachian mountains, never to be seen again. Maybe that’s also part of being human.

Also, me and my friend SoSo started a podcast together! It is called ‘Here, Take it!‘ and it is available wherever, I guess. It’s easier for me to understand the purpose of the pod– because it is collaborative I feel like it has more “weight” to it, if that makes sense. It feels like something that we’ve built together. I wish that I could give the same level of importance to things I do on my own as well! But!! What are you gonna do? It’s a process, and I’m working on becoming more confident in myself and my interests. It helps me to think of my life as something that I need to invest in. It’s important to care about yourself and want to nurture yourself and tend to yourself lovingly. Do I do that? Absolutely not but I’m trying!

I hope you’re well. This has been an absolutely horrid year for most of us. I hope that despite the weirdness you were able to try new things, put yourself out there and keep your heart open. If not, don’t stop trying. We’re all working on it.

Kiana.

Weird Vibes in the Time of Corona

I get jealous sometimes. It’s not something I like about myself, but it’s true. Sometimes I look at others and something awakens inside of me; a nasty, olive-colored goblin that asks me questions like, “Why aren’t you like them, Kiana? Why don’t you capture people’s hearts and attention? Why don’t you have any great achievements? Why have you lived almost twenty-five years with nothing to show for it?” These are questions that I do not have the answer to and cannot possibly be expected to contemplate at three a.m., which is when he stirs the most.

In my ideal world, I would enter a room and everyone and everything would turn to me like flowers turn to sunlight. And they would give me some sort of acknowledgement, something that says I know you. And I see you. And if it happened again, I wouldn’t mind. And then maybe Uptown Funk would play and I’d suddenly be able to dance and it would all be very good.

I guess the problem is deeper than jealousy. My brain is bullying me, and it has unlimited ammo. But maybe I’d be nicer to myself if there wasn’t so much competition. One minute, I’m looking at someone and admiring them—taking in their intelligence, their discernment, their social grace—and the next I’m wondering how I can get some of that for myself. My goblin is very industrious—always on the job, looking for something I don’t have and keeping careful notes for later.

I’m not always this way. In recent years, I’ve made great strides in being okay with who I am: someone who cares a lot, who likes fun and whimsy and who couldn’t live life without just a leeeeetle bit of chaos thrown in the mix. It’s just hard because I feel like the world around me is constantly giving me messages to change. Turns out, most people don’t want chaotic whimsy when the world is crumbling at their feet.

Anyway.

Recently, I have experienced several pretty big life changes. New congregation, health issues, deaths in the family and just a general anxiety about my life and where it is going. Am I the only person in the world who’s ever had problems? No. But they’re my problems, so when I catch myself splayed across a fainting chair thinking WOE IS ME, I try to cut myself some slack.

I want to look at this as a time for improvement. Although it may surprise you to hear, I am a true-blue optimist. Yes, even when I’m lost in the dark, I always find an extra match. It’s harder and harder to do that these days. I’m sure that you feel the same way. But I dunno. There’s only so many TikToks a girl can watch.

I don’t know how to end this. I never know how to end any of my writing these days—a side effect of not keeping up with my blog. But I’ll leave you with this—Dua Lipa’s new album comes out this Friday, so at least we can dance until the goblin gets tired. We’ll certainly have enough time.

There’s always an upside.

Kiana


Artist: K.C. Green