Stand By Me

Photo Jun 17, 6 32 06 PM.jpg

Leila (right) and I (left) on our first and last out of state trip together. We’re posing in front of a rental car because it was shiny and new. Please excuse my very awkward fashion sense.

When I was in elementary school I had a strange love/hate relationship with a girl named Leila. She was probably the most vile person I ever had to go to school with.

When I was in the first grade, my father ended up finding a better job. From the good fortune we received, we moved from our Habitat for Humanity house on the south side, to a better part of town into a much nicer home. Due to the move, I of course had to change school districts, which led to me going to a completely different school in the first grade. I was always an incredibly shy child. I was so shy, I couldn’t even talk to some of my close relatives. I’m sure you can imagine the horror that I felt on the first day of my new school.

I remember my mom telling me that after she dropped me off and walked me to my classroom, I clung to her crying. I was devastated that my mom had to leave me, but before I knew it this boy Skyler befriended me. We were inseparable…well, until the day he moved away the summer before sixth grade.

Skyler was a quirky outcast, and I was this racially ambiguous shy kid, still unsure of where I belonged in the world. We were a perfect pair, but we were also perfect targets for Leila. There was also a mousey girl in my first grade class named Kelly. Kelly and Leila were best friends. Leila was the stronger of the two personalities, so naturally she bossed Kelly around. The two always reminded me of Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall in The Shining. One was a loud, intimidating, person you didn’t want to get angry. The other was so timid, if a pin dropped, it would startle her because she always tried not to not step on any toes.

That being said, Leila was a bully. She wasn’t just awful to Skyler and I, she was a hellion to everyone she’s ever encountered. She knew every soul crushing insult in the book, and she wasn’t afraid to get physical. It was almost as if she fed on causing trouble and loved it when people feared her. Almost as if she relied on that control in her life.

For the most part, Skyler was the only person I played with during recess. I did however, have two other friends that were also in my class. Renee and Bri. They were two feisty girls that that didn’t take crap from anyone. I don’t know why they chose me to be their friend, but they were always my protectors that year, especially at recess.

There was this one particular time where I was on the slide, keeping to my close knit circle. Leila and Kelly approached me, and of course Leila was the instigator. I can’t remember all the details, but I remember her wanting to get in my face. Renee and Bri immediately started yelling at her, screaming at her to leave me alone. Of course, since Leila was outnumbered in extroverts, she backed off. It was like this for quite some time.

I always liked Kelly, even though she was friends with the person that harassed me almost daily. Since Leila wasn’t in our first grade class, that gave Kelly and I the chance to bond. Somehow, during my elementary school years, Leila warmed up to me and we became friends. I suspect it was Kelly’s doing. Even though Kelly and Leila were now my friends, Leila was still unpleasant to us. We put up with it though. Most likely due to fear and our lack of a backbone.

[FF >> to the 4th/5th grade]

It was a sweltering summer day during Memorial Day weekend. Leila invited me to spend the night at her house, which I was very much looking forward to. Her house was less strict than my house was (and they had cable!). Her dad was never really home, which was fine by me because whenever he was around, the atmosphere changed and made the house feel uneasy. Her mother however, was always around and I absolutely adored her.

The company Leila’s dad worked for always rented out a section of one of the facilities on the property of the local swimming pool/park. They had live music, free food, and employees got to invite their friends and families to come swim for free. This particular year Leila invited me, so I was beyond stoked to go.

Throughout that day we swam at every single pool (there were three), went on the bumper boats, and went down various slides. Eventually we went to reapply our sunscreen. We saw her mother frantically walking towards us. She approached us as calmly as possible, and told us that we had to get into the car immediately. I think Leila already suspected what was going on. I on the other hand was completely oblivious.

We rushed outside, and I noticed all four tires on their maroon 1980s Buick had been slashed. Even with the now four useless tires, we got into the car and Leila’s mother drove slowly back to their house (which was close by). Much of that day is a blur, but I remember Leila and I rushing into her room. She had a white metal framed day bed in front of one of her bedroom windows that faced the backyard next to their garage. We were crouched by her bed, peeking out the bedroom window. Her mother was waiting outside.

Leila revealed to me that her dad must’ve been drunk again, and when he gets drunk he sometimes gets violent. Part of me wasn’t completely surprised. When her dad was home he wasn’t always sober. If ever. I will never forget the concern in her eyes, not for herself, but for me. I think it was the first time she was genuinely kind to me.

She told me,

“Keisha, if my dad comes into the room I want you to crawl through the window and run to the garage. Grab my bicycle and ride it to the church down the street and get help. Have the police come”.

The fact that she was willing to put herself in harm’s way, is one of the most incredible things anyone has ever done for me. Especially someone at such a young age. It is one of the truest acts of kindness that I’ve experienced that I will genuinely never forget.

Thankfully, that scenario never had to happen. Unfortunately, a terrible situation did arise. While her mom waited outside for what seemed like hours, (but was most likely 30 minutes maximum) her dad showed up. He was visibly drunk. From here it gets hazy, but I’m pretty sure Leila’s parents were arguing in the driveway next to the garage. That’s when I witnessed her father punch Leila’s mother in the mouth. I was horrified, and I’m positive Leila was too…even though it’s likely she has witnessed domestic violence in her household before.

She grabbed the pink Pocahontas blanket that laid on her bed, and we hid under it.

We sat in silence.


From that moment on I saw Leila in a different light. I no longer saw her as a bully, or as Jack from The Shining. I saw her as a person that was so angry because of the home life she endured. Being so young, children don’t really think they can talk to anyone about it. I don’t think she had any other outlet than to just explode. Granted, it wasn’t an outlet she should’ve chosen, but I no longer blamed her. In fact, I understood her better. My heart hurt for her.

Even though I wished she didn’t have to endure that life, I’m grateful that I could be there for her that day and she didn’t have to go it alone.

I guess my point in telling this story about a childhood friend, is that even the meanest of people can have their layers washed away. They have their reasons, and I think it’s important that we as people try to understand one another. Even if a person is incredibly angry and rude, there must be a reason, and I believe there’s always hope for people.

If anyone is wondering about Leila, sometime during the sixth grade she moved to a different part of the state with her mother. I got to see her the summer after, and she was a completely different person. She was happier, made a lot of friends, and joined a lot of extracurriculars. Since then, I only got to see her once more a few years ago. She’s happily married and has a great job. She has even traveled abroad quite a bit. Her mother is also doing quite well.

There is always light within the darkness, and I’m glad she found hers.

Xoxo,

Kiki ❤

Always mourning.

Photo credit: Wikicommons: A.Miskovsk

I’m in a constant state of mourning, and I’m not sure how to feel about it. I’m not mourning over the loss of a person. I’m mourning the loss of time, mourning for the past. There are so many things that I miss…people, experiences, the way people lived in certain periods of my life (the 90s). It might sound like I’m afraid of change, but I can guarantee you that I’m not. I just miss those blissful nostalgic feelings that I can’t relive.

I have my photos and my home videos that I can look back on. I just wish I could physically…or completely mentally live it all again. As if I’m an outsider looking in, watching my memories as if I were in some kind of virtual reality world.

You know how sometimes you have the best sleep of your life, and in those moments you have some of the greatest dreams? Sometimes I wish I could re-visit these moments in my dreams…have my own version of San Junipero. There are so many things I remember and my friends and family don’t, and vice versa. I wish I could remember it all. The good and the bad.

I think that’s why I’m so passionate about photography and filmography. I want to document my life so I can remember things in the future. I love journaling my memories as they happen too. It’s always nice to read back on them. Even long after I die, my memories will in a way live on. Maybe be passed on from generations to generations. That’s something I’m very grateful for the technology we have no. It’s easier to preserve memories for other people. We have more than just stories now. I’ll get more into how times have changed in another post.

Before any of you worry, I’m here to assure you that I’m okay. I just think too much.

Xoxo,

Kiki ❤

 

 

A Re-Brand of Sorts

I’ve had so many thoughts on my mind lately. Naturally I went to talk to my best friend Mikayla. The major thing that has been eating at my soul lately is that I’ve been letting a lot of my passions go. This goes against everything I believe in…ESPECIALLY because I think that having a fire burning within your soul is one of the only things that matters in life. After all, without passion you’re essentially just a shell of what is supposed to be a human being.

Writing is one of those passions for me.

If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed (or maybe not) that I haven’t written a blog in quite some time. This breaks my heart a bit because I remember being in high school and just having so many ideas run from my brain to my fingers. I don’t want to give this up. Same with my video making and my photography. All of these things used to be my number one priority, and they just one day kinda stopped.

I don’t like it. Not at all.

Moving on to the point. Mikayla is a passionate person as well. We always have a wide range of conversations. I think that if we worked together she and I could keep the inspiration for writing continuously flowing. I mean, we do share a YouTube channel (that we’ve been neglecting) together. We might as well blog together too.

This blog will continue to stay the same, just with one added person. Consider Whimsical Escapes to be more entertaining, and hopefully more thought provoking too.

Talk to you again soon!

 

Xoxo,

Kiki ❤

 

Dreamcatcher

Just a few moments ago, an elderly gentleman came into my work place. He asked me how my day was, and as an automatic response I told him that I was fine. In return, I asked him how he was.

I expected to get a basic response back, but he told me that he was recovering from colon cancer and recently had his colon removed. He then lifted his shirt to show me the recent scar from his surgery. At first, I felt uncomfortable knowing such intimate detail about this man, but realized that he was just lonely and needed someone to tell his troubles to, so I listened.

He continued to tell me that colon cancer is what killed his mother, and that it upsets him knowing that there are so many people out there with cancer that don’t even know it. He said if it had not been for him feeling bad and deciding to get it checked out, he wouldn’t be alive. He had stoic, yet sad eyes. Even with all of his hardships, he was grateful about everything he has in his life.

His ride had to go several hours up North to visit her mother, so he had no way to get home. He was ashamed to ask, but he wanted to know if I had $0.75 so he could take the bus back. I gave him some money to get home, and that’s when he asked me if I was Indian. I wasn’t sure how to handle this question because being interracial I have endured some racism in my life, so on the defense I said “…no..I’m half Chinese”. He showed me his dreamcatcher necklace, and it turns out he’s part Cherokee and just wanted to know because I seemed like a nice person.

That was the end of that, and he walked away. I hope he has the best of luck with life in the future.

Has the universe cursed me?

It feels like no matter how hard I try, the universe wants to take a big shi* on my life. I AM STILL, looking for a full-time job and either no one wants me, or the ridiculousness that I’m about to tell you happens.

A couple weeks ago, I found out that this new hotel in my city was finally constructed and they needed to hire people by the end of next month. Naturally they held a job fair at this employment agency in town. My friend and I decided, why not? We need new jobs, so let’s do this. The job fair was last week, and my friend and I both went. We dress super professionally, and realize..we’re literally the only ones there that look presentable. Not to trash talk anyone…but everyone else didn’t look up to par..some probably were even on something. With that in mind, my friend and I are feeling super confident.

I get a call back last week and think, “Finally, something in my life is going right. Maybe I’ll even snag this job and be able to sustain myself and travel like I’ve been dreaming of my entire life”.

                                                                       NOPE! WRONG!

This past week, I went into my interview with high hopes. I thought the interview was going well, and then the person interviewing me says “actually…since you currently work at ____ it’s a conflict of interest so we might not be able to hire you”. UM EXCUSE ME?

So now, here I am…wondering if I’ll be hired. Wondering if I’ll ever find a full-time job. I mean…how awful is that though? Literally, the ONE job that called me back and gave me the time of day said they might not be able to hire me because I work at one of my jobs that give me 4 days out of the month. FML.

If I don’t get hired, I’m not going to be angry at the company or the place I work at. I understand that it’s a policy. It’s not their fault, that’s just the way things go. I’m just so frustrated and depressed. I don’t want to feel sorry for myself, and I want to hang in there. It’s just so difficult when it seems every single day, nothing goes right.

If you’re having a shi*ty month like I am. You’re not suffering alone. Something will go right eventually. Hang in there and hold your head up high.

*hugs from me to you*

X0x0,

Kiki ❤

 

Job searching stealing your soul? You’re not alone.

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We all inevitably go through the arduous process of job searching and I’m sure we can all agree that it sucks.

In my attempts at corralling a job, I have discovered that there seem to be way more cons than the obvious pros (having a job, money, etc). For instance, the emotional damage that it can do to a person’s confidence. Here I am at the age of 25, out of college (I can’t even say fresh out of college anymore) still wondering what I am wanting to do with my life.

All of my life I was told that if you go to college you will 100% land your dream job. Well, I’ve been searching for a career for the past year and a half and that has determined that statement to be a lie…at least for me. No one prepared me for just how difficult it can be to not just pursue a career, but to locate one.

I have spent countless hours applying for job for who knows how long. I can’t help but wonder if I’m just some unqualified loser. I’ve even applied to be a cashier at a big chain home improvement store (rhymes with dome repo) and nothing. If that’s not a kick to my metaphorical man bits, I don’t know what is.

If you’re in a similar situation, I know it can seem pointless to continue searching. I know it’s easier to want to curl up under the blankets and binge watch successful fictional characters live their lives on Netflix. As someone that is barely hanging on mentally, don’t give up. Hang in there, and keep lighting that flame (perhaps the one under your bum) and keep progressing further.

A really great person told me recently “…sometimes it’s not if you’re qualified – it’s the market where you are”.

This statement gave me a lot of clarity. Sometimes you need to branch out further if you are really passionate about improving your life and your path towards a better career. To be completely transparent with you all, I will admit that I myself never gave it much thought. It essentially went one of two ways: either people convinced me to stay here or I didn’t believe in myself and thought I wasn’t good enough to live elsewhere. As someone that’s still trying to figure things out, the most important thing is to not let others dictate what you want in life.

If by some miracle someone is actually reading this, I believe in you. You should believe in yourself too. The untraveled path can be scary…really scary. Oftentimes that road is the best road to go.

XOXO,

Kiki ❤

Having it together is only a concept.

As the title suggests, having it together in life is only a concept. A dirty lie. Do you want to know a secret? Nobody truly knows what they’re doing. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met an individual that has woken up one bright and early morning and said, “Aha! I know exactly what I’m going to do with my life. I have all the answers right here”.

The truth is, people simply just make the decisions that they think are right. It’s all a gamble. I guess that’s where the phrase life is a gamble comes from. It’s all very true though. Go figure. No one can truly know what the right decision is.  That’s where our failures and our successes come from, acting on instinct and praying that all goes well. Regardless of the outcome, the real technique is tricking everyone else into believing you have life by the balls. 

Even the most successful of people don’t have every aspect of their life figured out. So if you’re feeling down about where your life is, don’t fret. Just know that as long as you keep trying and keep staying positive, you’ll make it to the next step. Remember, you’re not alone. In fact, every person you will ever stumble upon in your lifetime has or will undoubtedly feel lost too.

XOXO,

Kiki ❤