© 2017 by Cierra Kaler-Jones

April 23, 2016

Brace yourself because I’m about to tell you something that you won’t believe.

I’m an introvert. Yes, you read that correctly. I become easily drained from social interactions, have to give myself pep talks to attend networking events, and I thrive in isolation, often in pursuit of outputting something creative(hence while you will often see me reading or writing).

When I was young, I used to go to the bookstore, pick out something I found intriguing, go home, and read the entire book within a span of a few hours. I was free to explore an expansive world of my imagination and became lost in the characters and plot of the story. I would sit at my (then) desktop computer and type away fictional stories about female characters living and thriving in a realistic world. I used to work for hours by myself through movement in my room, crafting intricate routines to place on dancers to be presented onstage. I was free. I was free to be myself without worry or fear of being judged.

In a world that...

April 14, 2016

As many young women across the country are sitting in mock interviews articulating their views on an array of issues, rehearsing their talents to hit flawless marks, and slaving and sweating away in the gym, I’m realizing that this is the first time in five years that I’m not visualizing what it would mean to be a state titleholder…because I was one.

While others are counting the days until they pack their bags for a fun-filled and anxiety-ridden week in Ocean City, New Jersey, I am counting down the days until I can take a nap after waving my first-year residents goodbye after surviving their first year of college. It’s quite odd and admittedly my nostalgia is growing, but now I get to stand on the other side, worry free, and speak to those I was once in the position of many times before.

Throughout my years competing, I learned to dig deep and contemplate my heart’s greatest desires. I learned what it meant to represent something much larger than myself. I learned how to market myself,...

March 30, 2016

It’s Monday morning. My alarm goes off three times – 15 more minutes, 15 more minutes, 15 more minutes. My eyes are sullen, my hair is in a ratty bun at the top of my head, and there’s a crust of exhaustion lining my eyes. As you can tell, mornings are not my jam. I’m already running behind schedule. I grunt loudly to give myself an extra umph to lift my body out of bed. I woke up like that. 


We often try and measure success quantifiably, with a check-list. Go to school, get a job, start a family. Two checks. I will probably live and die by my to-do list and I genuinely feel a personal high off of checking off a completed task. I re-write my to-do list every morning to keep track of what needs to get done, out of a pestering fear that I will forget to do something. Some measure success through the purchasing of an expensive car, or being able to rock the newest shoes in various coordinated colors. Others place success on the number of degrees they’ve earned, how much property they...

March 20, 2016

For twenty-two years, I’ve been on overdrive. You can even ask my mother, who signed me up for dance class at an early age simply because I never stopped moving. Some things never change. 

I would work, work, work(cue Rihanna) and never stop to pause to take a breath out of fear that if I did pause to rest, or actually enjoy myself, then my successes would come crashing down, leaving me back at square one. I thought to myself, “I’ve worked too hard to stop now.” I used to live by the motto “sleep is for the weak.” I’ve never actually learned what it meant to be present in the moment. I never basked in the joy of the now and celebrated the reaped benefits of my hard work. Instead of patting myself on the back or kicking my heels off in honor of a job well done, I sat and plotted my next big undertaking.

When I graduated from college with honors, instead of spending my final moments lauding the triumphs with friends and family, I was physically en route to a new internship. When...

March 9, 2016

As I’ve been contemplating topics to write on that are real, I’ve realized that for a lot of what I’m experiencing, there’s a common thread of “what I wish I knew about (insert here).” As a 20-something, I’m still learning, still adjusting, still thriving, striving, and simply trying to survive. There’s a lot of uncertainty and instability that comes with being at this pivotal point in life, where many times I feel like I’m a ‘fake’ adult.

I live on my own, provide for myself, and am financially stable to go about the day-to-day, but I still don’t have the added pressures of a responsibility to others or financial obligations. Every morning I wake up, play dress up, and pretend I’m an adult, like I used to do when I was a little girl, except now I actually fit into the clothes and don’t smear lipstick all over my face. I still have a lot of unanswered questions stuffed into the pocket of my dress pants, only to have the answers revealed through lived experience and personal truth.

W...

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