© 2017 by Cierra Kaler-Jones

August 17, 2016

I threw my hat into the ring for candidacy for a full-time position. The stars seemed to be in alignment when this job opportunity was presented to me not once, but twice, even after I shunned the thought of leaving my current position to pursue something new. I had the support from friends, family, and mentors and with my supervisor’s blessing, I walked into the interview room comfortable, prepared, and was so at ease that I left the interview grinning like the Cheshire Cat with my interviewers laughing and embracing me as I left. This was my time! I started perusing places I could live and fantasizing about what my world would be like with a salary and benefits. I felt like I was finally on my way to starting what I believed to be at the time, my life as an adult, and I couldn’t shake the feeling of being on my way. I wasn’t sure where I was on my way to, but I sure as heck felt as if this moment would propel me one thousand steps forward.

As days and hours passed the time I...

August 10, 2016

I was in third grade. 

I had a schoolgirl crush on a little boy in my class and in true elementary school fashion, news spread rather quickly to him. I was at the skating rink with a group of friends because that’s how we celebrated our birthdays then, and his friend skated up to me, looked me in the eye, and offhandedly spoke the words, “Insert name here doesn’t like you because you’re black.”

As he said those words so nonchalantly, the words pierced through my heart like a needle. In my third grade brain, the words rattled around my head as I thought, “I’m black? What does that mean? There’s different skin colors? Why is that bad? What’s wrong with ME!?” As a young girl born to an African-American father and Filipina-Caucasian mother, I was never taught to think twice about the color of someone’s skin.

As soon as I got back from the party, I ran upstairs to my mom,who I distinctly remember was doing laundry, cried in her arms and told her what happened. She, of course, knew that th...

May 30, 2016

23. The Jordan Year. Sigh. It’s quite an odd age, stuck right in between the rites of passage that come along with turning 21 and the stress-ridden ‘what am I doing with my life’ that comes with being a quarter of a century. I may not be ripe with old age and wisdom, but I have learned a thing or two from surviving high school, college, moving away from home, and completing half of a graduate degree. I think that accounts for the knowledge and familiarity that accompanies growing older and more experienced.

I strive to age gracefully, to grow more internally beautiful as the years trudge on, and become more of the woman God created me to be with every step I take.

1. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. Nothing in life will ever be handed to you. You’re not going to wake up with success in your lap. A lot of the triumphs I’ve had in life are because I mustered up the courage to ask for something more, even if it wasn’t readily in front of me.

2. Treat yourself to expe...

May 22, 2016

My Dearest Hometown,

It’s not you, it’s me. You see, I’ve always been a little restless. My head was in the clouds dreaming up my next adventure or conjuring up a story that allowed me to travel past your constricted dimensions. My head was always delved into a book that enabled me to explore lands beyond the coordinates you defined for me. For most you would have been sufficient, but for me, I did not see how it would work out long term. Maybe it was my curiosity that led me to leave, but I soon started to feel like you were a sweater that was a little too tight. My physicality outgrew you, my mind too fixated on a map of endless possibility. Maybe I’m ungrateful. Maybe I’m selfish. Maybe I just knew what the future could hold.

You were predictable, safe, warm. I could foresee the way the wind would blow and encompass me in its embrace. I had to move away, first to college and then to grad school, to see if we were meant for one another. I thought a long distance relationship would...

May 14, 2016

I’ll be honest. Post-grad life is scary. Actually, it’s downright terrifying. If you would’ve asked me a year ago where I envisioned myself now, I would probably rattle off a series of exclamation point worthy excitements. Job! Grad school! New city! Adventures! New people! Adulthood! Fun! Freedom!

As I detailed more in WhatI Wish I Knew about Grad School, post-grad life wasn’t actually as glamorous as I originally anticipated. It was about a year ago that I walked across the commencement stage with a glimmer in my eye and a dollar and a dream. Throughout my undergraduate years, I changed in my temperament, my beliefs, my goals,my style, while still keeping the embedded core of what defined my values and characteristics, with a little fine tuning(aka learning that white eyeshadow is NOT attractive). I was exiting a stage that I entered so fragile and frail with a better understanding of how my experiences, my upbringing, and my decisions shaped me into an accomplished woman. I thought,...

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