oh, the fantasy of it

To Whom It May Ever Concern:

Do you ever get so absorbed in a book and in the protagonist’s life that when you’re finished reading, you feel a bit hollow inside? Well, that happened to me quite recently. Quite yesterday.

You see, the protagonist of this particular novel was pretty similar to me. I resonated with her story. Her choices. Her thoughts. Oh, her thoughts. I lost track of time as I got to know her.

I thought some moments were cheesy. Expected. Imminent. But I thought others were real. Pure. Genuine.

As I neared the ending, I kept lingering over phrases, re-reading sentences, reliving earlier moments of the plot. In a way, I was procrastinating. I didn’t want the story to end. I wanted to continue to be in the hands of a character whom I grew to like and to trust. I didn’t want to burst this fantastical bubble and return to the rigidness of reality.

I know myself well. After I read powerful literature, watch informational videos, or hear eye-opening conversations, I like to apply what I have learned to my personal life. I always bring it back to my tirelessly thinking mind.

I love to freaking think. I am a two-pronged thinker. On the one hand, I passionately create connections between a multitude of topics and deepen my intellectual curiosity every day. On the other hand, I frequently go through different scenarios in my mind, whether they’re realistic or idealistic. I analyze. I plan. I have control.

When I’m made aware of my past mistakes, I am bothered so deeply, so heavily. I think it’s because I cannot process the fact that my constantly churning mind, which critically thinks through and plans my responses, choices, and actions to the minute detail, screwed up. How could I let it? How could my thoughtfulness backfire on me?

See, this is where another one of my internal flaws comes to play. Constant validation. It works hand in hand with my tendency to overthink. But Logan, do you think that whatever happened was okay? Did I really mess up? Do you think I accomplished my task smoothly and successfully? Yup. Story of my life. I try hard to refrain from this urge for affirmation. Sometimes, I only need my own thoughts and words to ‘approve’ of what I do. Other times, I really need other people to advise my dynamic mentality.

This brings me back to the title of this post. My greatest gift — my worst enemy — my best friend: my thinking. My perfectionism behind my reflections. My organization at the core of my analytical thought spirals. My fear of failure annihilated as I plan the forthcoming day. My imagination serving the needs of my reality. Oh, the fantasy of it.

I am having a hard time articulating whatever this is. A mental anomaly. A unique stream of consciousness. A case of OCD.

“Trust me, I want to stop thinking. I wish I could,” she said.

I do, too. I wish I wasn’t so paranoid about so many things that I don’t have control over. But, in the end, it’s been my thinking that has led me here. To writing. To stronger friendships. To my budding interest in social reform. To listening to music. To loving my family. To loving myself.

To all the strange, wonderful, hard thinkers out there, I’m with you.

getting the feels

You’ve worked so hard to be yourself, to be your own person. To think just about YOU and not about the toxic people who used to be in your life. You’ve moved on. You’ve lived. You’ve made new friends. Had new experiences. New tastes. New wall photos. New Snapchat best friends. New everything.

Until you see them again. Talk to them. Whether that be through the phone or through Skype or in person, but those old feelings of anger, frustration, love, happiness, and confusion resurface so quickly. As if they were destined to be unleashed on the exact day of the encounter. Your state of being so so easily triggered.

How? It’s been months since you’ve felt the way this person makes you feel. You became a different person and dissociated yourself from them. No strings attached.

One quick “hi!” and it feels like old times. Your face becomes red, your heart beats a bit faster, your mind is spinning thinking about the past. Nostalgia. A deep yearning to be with the person, a deep yearning to abandon that person, a deep yearning to understand what is going on within you.

But why? Who cares. These toxic people do not define us, no matter the circumstances. So what if they seem different? So what if they haven’t changed at all? You’re you. The ‘new’ you hasn’t left, hasn’t changed, hasn’t gone anywhere. Anywhere.

Although your thoughts might be slightly skewed after an uncomfortable and awkward conversation with that person, you should know that the person is irrelevant to you and to your life.

Think of your life as an impossible puzzle, and one tiny piece that seems to belong nowhere just rose to the top of the pile amongst the other tiny pieces that do belong there. That toxic person is that tiny, non-belonging piece of puzzle. Useless. No big deal.

Get back to your life. So many things await for you in the future. Celebrate. Enjoy. Live. But don’t be discouraged when things like these happen. After all, life has to live up to its label of difficulty or else where would all the fun be?

a finale

Writing helps. For me, at least. Jeeeeeesus, this week has been a whirlwind. A storm that’s pulled me off of my feet and sent me flying to uncharted territory. A storm that’s also grounded me.

Sunsets are so freakin’ beautiful. I woke up at 6am this morning (no alarm!) to see the sunrise, and I’m currently observing the light blue and scarlet-red mélange. God, it’s gorgeous.

Well, today I was driving to volleyball practice, and I don’t know what happened to me. It was as if I was an expanding balloon that inevitably had to pop. Thank God I was under the guidance of my mother, so I pulled over. Crying felt so good. Just letting whatever virus was in me out (temporarily…) was such a great feeling. I went to the doctor, and I’m just waiting for my blood test results!! (Cross your fingers 🙂

Okay, but I am very very behind on my AP English homework, so I better go finish that. Wish me luck. But before I say goodbye, I’ve been really inspired by something I read recently.

“You’re a slave by choice,” he said. “You need to own yourself instead of latching onto other people.”

So, to my nonexistent readers, let loose. Unchain yourself. Set yourself free. From your burdening schedules. From your thoughtless friends. From your tangled mind.

The sunset fades away, leaving little evidence of its occurrence. We fade away, too, leaving colossal evidence of our existence.

first crush

Butterflies. The most stereotypical yet accurate portrayal of entering ‘that’ phase of mystery, of pure excitement. A butterfly that clings onto your heart and turns it 180 degrees. It’s hard to forget your first thoughts – skewed impressions – of a person. Especially when that person continues to be in your life.

A smile that extends across your cheeks. Endorphins that deceive your emotions. A burst of motivation, of self-belief, that drives you to the next thing on your gigantic checklist.

You just know when it’s right. Maybe it’s not meant to be as you imagined; fantasies are only just avalanches of our own summit of potential. But of course you know the degree of truth in something. You feel it. Authenticity didn’t just invent itself. It had to be experienced before it was labelled as ‘real.’

I’m very fortunate to get to live through moments like these that pause the pestering pains of everyday life. Taking a stroll down memory lane is a habit that I’ve relied on so heavily in the past couple of months. It’s toxic and refreshing, disheartening and grounding.

How could I ever forget your red beanie, sitting just behind me to the right? I told myself, then, come 4 years later that we’d be close. Here we are now. Still putting the same damn smiles on my face once in an every blue moon.

I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason. But sometimes I wonder where the line is between destiny and spontaneity.

1320

I’m a 1320. The College Board can confirm it.

Despite the fact that I eat, drink, sleep, and am as human as possible, I’m a 1320. It’s an accepted fact. I’m four numbers put together. Four numbers that stick harder than an adhesive bandage. What’s the point of calling me by my first name anymore?

I should start embracing my new label. It’s about as permanent as a tattoo, right? It will guide me throughout my entire future– it is rather pivotal in the upcoming six months. Guide is too soft of a word; it will decide my future for me. The future is a pretty vague concept. Let me define that. Future: the college(s) I attend, the career I choose, and the happiness I find in that. So my 1320 is the present and the future Kiana, wrecking everything of the past, putting it to shambles. That sounds about fair, right?

The silliness I find in writing this ironically discloses the solemnity of my sardonic tone and the message I’m trying to convey. I’m scared. I don’t like being a 1320. I wish I was a 1450 or better yet, a 1550. I’ve strived to be better, but it hasn’t worked out in my favor. All roads lead back to 1320.

Harvard wants a 1540, Northwestern follows with a 1500, and UCLA looks up upon 1370s. Who wants a 1320?

If a 1320 means someone who puts his or her best effort into everything, someone who is driven and reliable, someone who perseveres to reach a longtime dream, then sure as hell would I want a 1320.

 

social media // society // soci0-

socio- relating to society; a combining form of Latin socius: a fellow, companion, comrade

Social Media- Welcome to the 21st century. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Pinterest, Youtube, Tumblr. The list goes on. Social media has become such an integral part of our society. Through it we are able to connect with friends, family, co-workers, teachers, and even celebrities. We are able to stay in the loop with all of our friends, constantly receiving notifications of their location or scrolling through their pictures at the end of the day.

I recently deleted my Snapchat and Instagram. (It’s been about 3 weeks – of course I’m counting the days.) Sometimes during the school year I’ll delete my social media apps to focus better on school work or upcoming exams, but now that it’s summer, that isn’t my main concern. I realized that it made me unhappy, at times. Especially when I was home sitting on my couch. I’d watch a video of a friend learning how to wakeboard or I’d see a group of people hanging out in a fun place or someone exploring the streets of Venice. It would make me feel like I wasn’t doing anything with my life. It would really influence my mood, and I’d become depressed.

Honestly, I’m astounded by how much contemporary society revolves around the digital world. I was just texting a friend, and I said, “It doesn’t feel like summer. Without social media I feel so lonely.” Re-reading it now, there’s so much wrong with that last sentence. How could two apps have that much control over my life, over my feelings? I don’t understand. It’s like a drug. When I used to check Snapchat, I would be instantly gratified. I would send a pic of my sweaty (but proud) face after working out to a friend, or I would open a snap of someone telling me about his or her day. I was addicted, and I was oblivious to how much it was affecting my productivity and motivation. Now that I’ve suddenly deleted both apps, I’m going through major withdrawals. It’s difficult. And it takes lots of self-control to refrain from downloading the apps again. Social media was my bittersweet drug.

“We blame society, but we are society.”

Let’s reinvent ourselves.

 

a state of mind

To Whom It May Ever Concern:

Being alone, feeling lonely, being independent – it’s hard to explain these feelings. In fact, how can someone determine if they are actually lonely? What’s the scale? Is it based on the number of times you see certain people in one day? (10 being absolutely no interaction and 1 being running back and forth between different friends, constantly being with someone else.) Is that a thing? I don’t know.

It’s funny. “I don’t know” has been my go-to phrase recently. It’s actually annoying because every time I say it, I practically undermine my self-confidence. It’s bad habit, but it’s a reassuring word to say (and to hear). I hate sounding like I have my whole life together, as if I am sure of every decision I make or positive about everything that comes out of my mouth. “Kiana, where do you want to go to college?” I’ve been hearing that question at least three times a week lately, and my immediate response has been something like “I don’t know, maybe somewhere in the east coast…” Heck, I pretty much have my whole list solidified, but God forbid I say that I’m really interested in Northwestern’s writing programs or that I absolutely love Columbia and its campus. Weird, huh? I do know. Why don’t we give that statement a try?

I do know that feeling lonely sucks. I also know that emotions really stem from the heart. Happiness, fear, sadness, and anxiousness- how can you define these feelings? We put labels on everything, from a No. 2 pencil to a wooden chair to a New York skyscraper. We have accepted their names, their “states of being.” But we’re a bit more hesitant to accept our feelings and emotions. We’re never taught in school how to articulate our inner states of mind, whereas we’re taught how to balance a chemical equation. But maybe there’s a reason. Chemistry is complicated; emotions are a lot simpler than they seem. They come from the heart. They really do. It’s that simple. If you’re happy, you’ll know when. If you’re sad, you’ll feel it. If you’re anxious, you’ll feel your heat beating fast.

Human emotions and feelings are intertwined with the chambers of the heart. What a fascinating concept.

 

is it summer?

To Whom It May Ever Concern:

Long time no talk. My bad. It’s been a busy couple of months since February. Hmm, to name a few things: Yearbook, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, ARC, Track, APs… Haha, now that I’m reflecting on those days, I’m so happy junior year is done. It was honestly hell at times. But it’s summer now? What?? Literally does not feel like it. I have no idea what to do or how to spend my time for the next two-and-a-half months. Actually, that’s misleading. I do. I have tons of things to accomplish on my summer checklist.

Instead of listing my summer plans (a majority of which revolve around colleges & the application process), I wanted to start off my summer blogging with some things that I’ve paid particular attention to recently.

#1- A few days ago, the Saturday of the Class of 2016’s graduation, in fact, I was driving home on the Narrows Bridge, and I had this moment. I cross the bridge at least twice a day, but sometimes it’s more around three to four times. Prior to this moment, I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated the beauty of the water and the land. Sure, I’ve remarked, “Wow, what a beautiful sunset!” or “Should I Snapchat this cause wow?” But on Saturday June 11th, as I cruised through the bridge, I stopped thinking about everything I wanted to analyze of the day. I looked around, and I thought, “I am so lucky.” It was a view that I’ve never seen before. It was so beautiful, honestly indescribable. I took it all in. I was aware of my breathing. I was aware of the deep turquoise color of the water. I was aware of the orange and the yellow and the light blue that streaked the sky. I was mindful. I was myself. And I was happy. It was a short moment, but it was one of those times when you see something differently.

#2- You deserve everything and nothing more. What does that even mean? I honestly have no idea. I just know that I need to stop being dependent on my friends and the circumstances of my life and, instead, need to trust myself more. I need to guide my own sense of self. I am my best friend (and my worst enemy, at times…) I need to be more self-sufficient and confident. This past year, it’s been a social struggle. I’ve made new friends, lost some (special) old ones, gotten to know people through a different light, etc. My biggest problem is that I fear. I fear failure. I fear the unknown. I fear not being able to have everything back to how it originally was. Well, you know what? Nothing is ever able to return to its original state. The past is the past. It’s gone. We can look back on it, but it cannot be the factor guiding our decisions and our emotions. I used to be very close with this girl (who actually just graduated). However, this year, we drifted apart. We went through a lot, and I’ve realized that I have always valued her much much more than she has ever valued me. I put her on a pedestal. I had so much respect for her. I was thoughtful. I based my happiness on her. When we weren’t close anymore, I blamed her. (Obviously, it’s a two-way street.) I was so mad. I held a grudge. I tried my best to articulate my opinions, to her, to my mother, to my friends, even to myself. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to successfully do it. But, it’s not her fault that we aren’t that close of friends anymore. It never was. She never treasured me the way that I treasured her. I do not know how I believed that she did in the first place, but I shouldn’t be angry. I shouldn’t be superficial in our friendship anymore. Reality check, I deserve what I put into this friendship. It wasn’t reciprocated, and I now know why. She wasn’t intentionally driving me crazy– she just didn’t realize what our splitting apart had done to me. Unlike me, she is able to move forward. She doesn’t look back. She even told me that she rarely looks back at old pictures, whereas I frequently do. I fear the future. I want everything to work out the way it does in my mind. Frankly, that’s not possible. Once again, it was just one of those moments when you see someone differently.

I want to end this post with a quote by my ARC author, Kate Chopin:

“She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”

my first blog post

To Whom it May Ever Concern:

Hello. My name is Kiana. I’m not quite sure how to start this post or why I’ve created this blog, but I really enjoy writing, especially in times of emotional instability or genuine happiness. I’m a 17-year-old high school student – I feel so old as I put this in writing. (14 seemed like a month ago…) I go to a small private school, and I live in the greenest, rainiest, and most boring state ever! (Aha, my deepest apologies to you native Washingtonians, but there is not much to do around here.) I’ve recently found myself grappling with whom I’ve become and how my life has changed so much since this year has started. Honestly, I feel like the first signs of adulthood really hit hard this year (although, technically speaking, I have 1 year left of carefree youthfulness.) And, I guess I tend to over-analyze practically EVERYTHING – myself included.

It’s February 15th of 2016, around 10pm, and I’m sitting by the kitchen counter listening to “Bashed Out” by This Is the Kit while debating if I should make a cup of coffee and start my interminable SAT homework load. But, recently I’ve been thinking A LOT, more than usual, about a range of things – getting into college, reaching my SAT potential, eating healthier, working out more often, becoming close with my ex-best friend again, doing enough community service hours, posting a selfie, living more happily, finding the perfect balance of school and sleep, spending more time with family- the list could go on. And I’m stuck. There’s this little spark at the bottom of my stomach that keeps pushing me to stay motivated and to get everything accomplished on my list, but then there’s this grudge-holding, lazy, and hopeless lump (literally in my throat #thanksanxiety) that lures me to junk food, Netflix, and midday naps. I feel like I’ve been dumped by the love of my life and that my broken heart is trying to put itself back together but isn’t able to do so. My heart ISN’T BROKEN, and I am much stronger than I currently tell myself. However, I do feel out of place, and there is this little lump of sadness and pain in the back of my throat that makes me so nostalgic for the past, for times when I knew I had a loyal best friend or when I always had something to look forward to. I lack that now, and it is painstakingly hard to re-find the Kiana that I was about a year ago or less.

It’s not like I’m on drugs or a good-girl-gone-bad, but there have been specific incidents that have happened this year that I’ve never experienced before, which is the beauty of life, I guess. But I don’t feel like I’ve been emotionally or mentally stable – meaning that I frequently find myself losing motivation and confidence – and I know that writing is a way that helps me cope with change, and it ultimately enables me to see a clearer picture of my mixed feelings.

I don’t have a way to end this post because I could honestly write out my whole life story right now. It’s actually so refreshing.

I want to end it, though, on a short poem, which is a work-in-progress, that I’ve written:

nostalgia

a crazy, unexplainable feeling.

it’s so fascinating, though.

take me back

to happier days.

days that now seem so picture-perfect

when in reality were just like today.

today is the day I long for the past.

oh, what an interminable cycle.