Getting Familiar

So I go to the gym sometimes. 24 Hour Fitness because I’m basic AF.  I’ve been going to same 24 Hour Fitness for the past 2 or 3 years. I usually go around the same time through the week, between 5-6am. So naturally, I see the same front desk guy every time I go. Pause. Let’s back up to what I look like going to the gym between 5-6am; my hair is pulled back into a low ponytail that screams butch lesbian or mother of 4, I’m wearing a oversized KCRW hoodie, workout pants, and my eyebrows haven’t been filled in.
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So basically, I look like a wildebeest and I try not to make eye contact with humans. But that front desk guy, the black guy with dreads that would be cute if he didn’t work at 24 Hour Fitness, ALWAYS speaks to me. I know it’s his job to greet me as I’m checking in but is it also his job to start making small talk?
Front Desk Guy: “Hey I’ve seen you in here twice this week, good for you, enjoy your workout”, “You look tired this morning, that workout ought to help, enjoy your workout”, “Hey you’re here at a different time, you’re switching it up on me, enjoy your workout”.
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I’m sorry I don’t want my gym to be the place where everybody knows my name. I want to sweat in solitude and go home. The real issue here is that I just don’t like people getting familiar with me. This isn’t the 1950s where you walk down the street and every shop owner knows you. I don’t need the Trader Joes employee knowing my favorite snack (sweet potato tortilla chips). While there are some people who love being recognized at the establishments they frequent because it makes them feel important, I do not. Being a regular is just another sign that you’re getting old because you have a routine. For example, have you ever noticed when an old person tells you about a place they go to, they’ve been going there for ‘years’? Nope, not me. I’ll just keep juggling 4 Trader Joes just so no one gets familiar and directs me to the sweet potato tortilla chip aisle when I walk in.
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Hey – It’s Been a While

Hey – it’s been a while. I start email’s like that now, it’s like; [greeting] “-” [body of email]. It’s quick and to the point not like the comma. The comma is a foreshadowing of something long and possibly unpleasant to read. Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to, writing robotic emails all day long and doing the work of two people. There are days when I’m so stressed out that I just lock up, freeze like a computer screen, and the rainbow pinwheel starts spinning in my mind. Then something snaps and I get this weird glaze over my eyes and start speaking to everyone like a Stepford wife.

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So when my job asked us who was taking time off for the holidays I immediately replied to that email: Hey – Abso-freakin’-lutely. No, I don’t have any real travel plans and yes, most of my family live in LA. Why are those the only times when we feel it’s acceptable to take vacation days? How about when you’re so stressed out that you can’t can’t sleep through the night, your weigh fluctuates, your face breaks out, and you have neck and shoulder pains from where you hold your stress. Why don’t we take days off to take a break from that? As bad as all that sounds I still feel like I’m just being dramatic and this is normal, everyone feels like this at work, right? Our jobs and society have us programmed to believe that we need to prove something that we need to kill ourselves in order to be happy. F*ck that! I had a realization the other day after one of my many breakdowns and that realization is that; This. Shit. Doesn’t. Matter. We’re not saving lives here people, it’s just a job, and I hear there’s more of them out there. Oh you didn’t send that email? You were late? You missed that meeting? But did you die though? No.

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So yeah, I would have liked to go to the grand canyon with my days off but I also just needed to decompress and get away from work before I had one of those private breakdowns, publicly. And yes, my company is cool as shit, but my job, my job is just shitty.

That was pretty agro but whatevs<—- And yeah, I talk like that sometimes.

RSVP

I RSVP to a lot of stuff. I probably don’t go to half of the stuff I RSVP for. Actually, I don’t go to most of it. I’m not saying that to brag about how cool my social life is or how popular I am, I say that to illustrate how useless an RSVP is at gauging how many people will attend an event. It’s 2016 there has to be a better way. Like, the government creating time machines exclusively for people to travel to the future to see how many people actually attend their event.

I don’t like RSVP’ing for events because chances are I’m not going to be able to go for reasons outside of my control. Reasons like; work, a conflicting event, traffic, or a new episode of Mr. Robot. Honestly, I hate committing to events because I hate obligation. Once I click ‘will attend’ I’ve sealed my future fate. I like to live in the present moment, the here, the now. What if I’m too tired to go when the day arrives? What if I get invited to a cooler event? What if I don’t find anyone to go with? Or what if I meet my soulmate and he asks me out on a date and I’m like, “Sorry bruh, I can’t go out with you because I RSVP’d this event”? Hey, it could happen. I like to consider myself a bit of a spontaneous planner. Subconsciously, I know I don’t want to go to that event or won’t be able to make it, but I don’t come to that realization till the very last minute. It usually goes something like this;

 
Stage One: Yes! I’m so excited about this event I can’t wait to go!
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Stage Two: That event is this weekend… I’m gonna be super tired from work…but I’ll still go. At least it’s open bar.
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Stage 3: Damnit, that event is in two days?! I still need to do laundry, clean my apt, go grocery shopping, find something to wear, get my nails done, do my taxes, slay a dragon…
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Stage 4: Shit! That event is tomorrow! I wonder if they’ll be mad if I don’t make it? I don’t even have anyone to go with….but I RSVP’d.
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Stage 5: FU*K! That event is in 2 hours. Can I make it there in 405 traffic? Ugh, I hate the 405. I’m gonna be so late. I hate being late! **Gets in Un-RSVP time machine and goes back in time to reply “will not attend”**
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Donald Trump or Alf?

RANT: The first presidential debate was last night and everyone was watching. Not because everyone was actually interested in hearing a civil and logical debate about the issues, but because everyone wanted to hear all the ridiculous things Donald Trump had to say. Even the people who hate him still want to hear what he has to say because it gives them ammunition for their social media posts.

So no, I didn’t watch the debate. Not because I hate Donald Trump, but because that debate wasn’t meant to give us a clear understanding of where the candidates stood on the issues. That debate was meant encourage even more uninformed opinions. It was like watching a really long Buzzfeed video. I’d rather read the transcript of the debate and highlight the parts where the candidates talked about issues that mattered to me the most and not watch some shit show that was meant to give people something to tweet about. End of Rant.

Anyway, here’s a short list of people who I believe are more qualified than Donald Trump to be president:

#1 Alf – Yes, I know technically he’s an illegal alien but he’s very charismatic and is good at making new friends. Which is exactly what we need when it comes to foreign relations, just as long as they don’t have a pet cat.
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#2 The “ain’t nobody got time for that” lady – I think we all want a president who’s going to tell it like it is. Global warming – ain’t nobody got time for that!
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#3 The Monster from Stranger Things – You think terrorists would f*ck with a country that can send them to the upside down?
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#4 The Voice from my Waze App – She knows her way around the world and I feel safer when she’s in charge. And being a native Los Angeleno who frequents the 405, their campaign slogan is everything, “Outsmarting Traffic, Together“, they already have my vote!
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#5 Whoever this guy is:

What Are You Watching Right Now?

What are you watching right now….
Is the question I use to judge most people I know or meet.  If they are the average millennial they will most likely answer with any of these shows; House of Cards, Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, Empire, Power, or Bloodline. Which are all great shows. But why the f*ck is almost no one watching Mr. Robot!? I haven’t been this excited and intrigued by a show since Breaking Bad. Let me back up, I’m a TV connoisseur, so I pride myself on knowing good TV and great writing.  When I watch shows I break down the story and figure out the show’s formula. All shows have a formula, it isn’t a bad thing, it’s just that some of those formula’s are predictable. And I get bored and stop watching.
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But Mr. Robot’s formula, is f*cked up mind blowing shit that makes you question everything from society to existence. The twists and turns make me kind of grateful that no one in my timeline is watching and there are no spoiler social media posts for me to stumble upon. Okay, I can’t rant and rave about a show and not give you concrete examples about why I love it. So here you go;
1) Hacker Culture – I’m not a hacker, I don’t know any hackers, but this show does a great job of making me understand hacker culture. You realize they aren’t all just out there to steal your identity or to leak photos. Some of them have a serious agenda.
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2) Rami Malek – I go back and forth with myself if he’s a great actor or he’s just great at playing himself onscreen. Which really doesn’t matter because he’s so good that you believe in his psychosis. A girlfriend of mine who also watches the show had this to say about him “his face is so ethereal”, Look up ‘ethereal’ (I had to) and then look at this picture again.
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3) Christen Slater – Like when was the last time you saw Christen Slater? I love this show just for casting him.
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4) It gets in your head – When Elliot has gaps in his memory the audience is left with gaps in the story. You are left trying to put together the missing pieces of his sanity. You basically know what it feels like to be insane. Make sense? It shouldn’t.
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5) Strong female leads. Darlene – bad ass hacker. Shayla – just a boss bi*ch in general.  Joanna Wellick – I legit have nightmares about her, she’s like all of the witches from every disney fairytale put together.
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6) The way it looks – The way Mr. Robot is shot gives it even more life. The dark colors, the signature blurry then focused close ups, and the way the camera tells you who a character is.
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Okay I’m done being a fan girl. I don’t know, just watch the show. I don’t highly recommend anything in life, maybe brushing at twice a day, I recommend that. But if you watch Mr. Robot and don’t like it, I’ll give you $500! Just kidding. But just watch it so I have someone to talk about it with.
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That time I was a real TV Writer

I debated on writing this post as I signed an NDA and am legally not allowed to talk about the following experience (in detail). But who cares about laws and authority these days given the state of America….

Anywho, I’d like to share my first experience working in a writer’s room for a soon to be aired animated series. So how did the hell did I even get this opportunity?! I knew the creator. But before you exit this this post and chalk it up to me just being extremely lucky, please know that creators of shows most times don’t have complete control of the shows they create. There is a demi god called a Showrunner, who, yes, you guessed it, run the show. So when I ran into my animated show creator friend at Ralph’s and he told me they were looking for female writers, I knew I still had some hurdles to jump through. I text requested his email before I even left the Ralph’s parking lot and sent him my best animated spec script. Then I waited….
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About a week later he emailed back and said they aren’t able to hire a staff writer (full time writer) but they are hiring Punch Up Writers, writers who are brought in during re writes to make the script funnier. Which isn’t the full time staff writing gig I was hoping for but it’s still one step closer to my dream. Then after a few emails of him updating me on the status, I got the green light that I would be brought in to work in the writer’s room for a day! By work, I mean, contracted and paid! And just like that, years of working temp jobs, 7 days a week, and feeling like I should just settle for a life of shattered dreams, comes this one simple email with a glimmer of hope. That was dramatic but you get the point.
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I came in for the table read and tried to act like it wasn’t my first rodeo but in reality I felt like a kid on their first trip to Disneyland. I sat in the table read room peeping the scene; writers, Showrunner, voice actors, executives, random comedians, and PA’s. I tired to contain myself when I was told to sit on the seat with the place card that said “Writer” on it. After the table read we all headed to the writers room where we ordered lunch and got to work on the script. Here’s how a punch up session works;
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1) The script is displayed on a big screen connected to the Writer’s Assistant’s laptop where they make the edits in real time.
2) The Showrunner goes through each page of the script and asks if there are any pitches (jokes, ideas, etc) for each page. If so, anyone in the room is welcome to call them out.
3) If the Showrunner likes it, it goes in the script. A few of my pitches actually made it in the script 🙂
4) We do this for the duration of the day/script and joke around in between.
Pretty sweet gig, right?
You may be wondering how an undercover introvert like myself was able to handle all of this. Well it helped that I was given a boost of confidence by the creator beforehand. He told me he read my stuff, knew I was funny, and the Showrunner did too. Also that I should just pitch as much as possible even if they don’t use it. Basically, don’t be shy. I was in that room because I deserved to be in that room. Knowing that, I knew I had to prove myself. At the end of the day I even pitched a story idea for a future script. I was also bought back for another session and hoped my two random days off didn’t raise a red flag at my job.
So now what? I’ve been so busy with work and trying to come down from the high of getting a taste of my dream job that I haven’t been able to process it all. I guess I’ll just do the only logical thing there is to do, work on my future acceptance speech.
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Full Time Artist

That moment when you realize your life is too stable to be an artist.

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I’ve had creative friends say, they feel like they are “selling out” if they get a “real job”.  As if getting a real job, being an adult, and paying your bills somehow equates to you abandoning all your hopes and dreams. If you had kids then, yeah, your dreams are totally shot. JK, I kid, I kid pun intended. But seriously having a real job can really put a damper on your artist flow.  You can’t make that middle of the day interview, you can’t write a whole script in a day while smoking weed for creativity on a Thursday at 11am, and it’s hard to want to do anything after work other than have dinner and Netflix n Chill yourself.
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So that’s where I am now, teetering between living the semi established life and feeling like I’m cheating on my dreams with my full time job. Until I realized I can have both. The other day, June 9th 2016 to be exact, I worked my first paid “writing” gig for a network TV show. I know, I know, I should be screaming from the rooftops, jumping on Oprah’s couch, crying tears of joy. And believe me, I’ve had my moment…
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The reason I started this blog in 2013 just became more of a reality. But I realized this whole writing for TV shows dream isn’t going to have an end game. I’m always going to be pursuing it. I’m never going to be comfortable and I can’t say that having a full time job will prevent me from getting there.
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I mean, I could go back to the restaurant and be a hostess/server. I could start temping again. I could move home. I could….stop trying to strategize my life and believe in my path, have faith, and confidence that I’m always in the right place at the absolute right time.
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P.S. Slide into my DM’s for more info on my first gig. Also no one has ever slid into my DM’s.
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Mad Woman

Sometimes people ask me if my job is like Mad Men or Mad Women, if you will, to which I say;  that show is super sexist and I couldn’t get past the first 5 minutes of the pilot. However, my job is very demanding, stressful, and tiring. Most days I’m like this: 
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So how does one have a job like this, balance life, and pursue their dream profession?  Well, I’m one of those terrible people, I’m a morning person. I love being up before the sun and getting shit done. It’s the perfect time for an introvert because most people are still sleep and the outside world is less crowded. I start my day at 5:30am/5:45a every morning, 6am on the weekends, gross, I know. So in case you ever wondered what my days look like they go something like this:
5:45am-6am-ish – Wake up. Debate on weather to roll over and go back to sleep, workout, write, or just lay there and keep debating.
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7:00am- Reading, writing, blogging, meditating, praying, coming home from the gym, drinking a smoothie, scrolling through social media and trying not to “like” anything because I’ll look like a creep for liking a selfie at 7am.
8:00am- Showering, hopefully.
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9-9:30am – Stuck in traffic or at work. Depends on traffic.
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9am-ish- Making breakfast at work and trying to resist drinking coffee, even though I always end up having a cup. I swear I can stop drinking coffee anytime I want…
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10am- Checking work emails while simultaneously checking Facebook, personal emails, reading articles, writing this blog post, and trying not to laugh out loud at hilarious gchat convos with friends.
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10am-5p: Meetings, conference calls, maybe lunch, meetings, debate with myself on weather I should drink another cup of coffee or not, more meetings, and overhearing random LA conversations like;
“Willow Smith was in my Soul Cycle class”
“Did you cry at the Beyonce concert?”
“I went to a doggy cafe in Silverlake” 
“The Raw Juicery truck is here!”
And overseeing random things like; someone get challenged to stuff 20 brownies in their mouth and executing it, a guy riding around on miniature tricycle, a group of mimes pass through the office with no explanation, and people playing FIFA at the gaming station. 
5p-forever – Drive home and/or to;  happy hour, a charity dinner, a comedy show, or any other random event that happens on a weekday in LA.
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Forever-bedtime – I eat dinner and turn on one of my many favorite shows; Kimmy Schmidt, HOC, Modern Family, Broad City, or GIRLS. Then decide I’m too tired to start writing and fall asleep feeling unaccomplished. Le Sigh. Maybe I need to wake up earlier? 
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Major Key Alert

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So I fucks with Trader Joe’s, heavy. I don’t know why I needed to start this post off like a rap song but that’s just how much I love it. It’s the single person’s grocery store; they have lots of individual meals, most people use the little hand basket instead of a full sized shopping cart, and the 12 items or less line is always poppin’.
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I also have this little theory about Trader Joe’s. I believe that to keep me coming back and spending my hard earned money on (insert any Trader Joe’s product) they sprinkle crack on it. Yup, I believe the only logical explanation for the tastiness and inability to put the bag down, is that it’s laced with crack. Don’t believe me? Please see my curated list below and test my theory for yourself.
Sunflower Seed Butter- People look at me crazy when I tell them about this, but I cannot stress enough how good this shit is. Pair it with some green apples and you wont be able to eat regular nut butter’s (i.e. peanut or almond) again.
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Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips– Another item my friends scoffed at when I brought it to recent super bowl party but once everyone tired it, they realized they shouldn’t judge a seemingly healthy/boring snack item by it’s cover. I works with all dips, spicy hummus, gauc, salsa, etc.
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Mini oatmeal cookies – I could go through a whole bucket of these things and not realize it. It’s as if they materialize in your mouth one after another, after another, after another. The only way to stop is to throw them in the trash can…outside….in another neighborhood…on trash day. Because if you don’t, you will go back to that trashcan for another hit.
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Latin Style Black Bean Soup. – I know what you’re thinking; “Ugh, gross who eats soup? Kiana you’re old AF!” but listen, this soup is so delicious and it’s got a kick to it with chipotle peppers and garlic. The other day I tired it with some crumbled up sweet potato tortilla chips and BOOM instant vegan tortilla soup!
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Spicy Tomato Hummus.  It goes good with the sweet potato tortilla chips (or regular tortilla chips), celery, or in a wrap. And it’s only $1.99 y’all!
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And the best thing I’ve ever tasted at Trader Joe’s, their Gluten Free Granola.
The serving size is stupid though. I feel like they need to just change it to a whole bag so I won’t feel bad about eating 11 servings in one sitting. Mix it in your oatmeal, yogurt, or ice cream!!
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Also if you want to test any of these items out without commitment, Trader Joe’s lets you sample anything in the store, ANYTHING.
Their lemonade is pretty good too…
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My Story of Revenge

One of my co workers organizes a mini Moth story hour. If you’re not familiar with the Moth, it’s a live/radio show you can catch on NPR or in person. The topics range from seduction to revenge. The goal of our group, aptly titled, “The Cocoon”, is meant to prep you for the actual Moth show. Participants are encouraged to come with stories or just listen in a safe space where food and drinks are provided.

I went to the first Cocoon meeting a month ago and loved hearing all the stories and positive feedback. Which made me pause and thank the universe for bringing me to such an amazing place that supports my creativity. Anyway, I didn’t have a story the first time I came but I decided I would have one the next meeting. I know, I know, who am I? Speaking in public and shit? Sharing personal stories? Big steps. The theme was revenge. So umm, ahem, here goes.

I used to be the crazy girlfriend.

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My college boyfriend Vincent, that’s his real name, by the way, cheated on me. Many times. It was one of those crazy relationships everyone has to say they had. Lots of breaks ups and make ups.

The first time I “caught” him was back in 2005, we had only been dating a few months and I would come to LA to see him every weekend because I went to school in San Diego. I was getting ready to head back to San Diego on a Sunday evening when I got a call from Vincent. We had just gotten off the phone so I figured he forgot to tell me something. I pick up the phone and realize he’s butt dialed me. I start to hang up but he’s having a conversation with his friends. The nosey girlfriend in me wanted to know what he was talking about. So against the better judgment I didn’t have at 23, I listened. I listened to him tell his friends how he couldn’t wait to see some girl that night, how he was having a party that night and she’d be all over him and blah,blah,blah…I hung up. I called back to let him know I heard his conversation and that I was done with him. Just like that, months of dating, being in love, etc. I tossed our relationship to the side as if were dirty clothes in my room. He pleaded with me but I was very clear I didn’t want to speak to him ever again. I should have just went home after that, cried on the 2 hour trip home, and maybe missed my 8am class. But I didn’t. For the first time, probably in my whole life, I wanted revenge

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I didn’t want to take the high road like I always did, I didn’t want to be the bigger person, like I always was. I wanted to be petty and I wanted to display my anger in a very unhealthy way. So I called a friend who I knew wouldn’t talk me out of what I wanted to do and within an hour I was picking her up along with another friend who couldn’t resist getting revenge, especially on a man.

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We get to his house in Long Beach where we park ridiculously too far down the street and case the scene. We knew he was having a party so there could be people coming in and out of the house. But the street seemed quiet. Now was the perfect time. Just run out and do it real quick, no one will see, my irrational friend says. I don’t know, I don’t think I want to do this anymore, I say. The anger was starting to subside and responsible Kiana was starting to come back. What?! You didn’t drag me out of the house for nothing give me the knife, my friend says.

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My friend takes the knife, runs up the street, and stealthy pops 2 of Vincent’s recently purchased Mercedes tires. I quickly drive to her and she hops in. I felt like we had just robbed a bank and I was the get away driver. We were all laughing excitedly at what just happened. The anger wasn’t back but my adrenaline was. I needed to vandalize his car as well. So we turn back on his street I run out and decide that instead of finishing off all his tires, I wanted to take the Mercedes hood ornament. I thought about keeping it as a souvenir of the relationship. I mentioned this before, but I was crazy. Anyway, I try to pull the hood ornament off and it’s not budging. After struggling with it for way too long and cutting up my hand pretty bad, I ran back to my car and skirt off. My friends cheer me on as if I was a war hero. Why was I so okay with vandalism, you ask? Because in the mind of a crazy girlfriend, you feel that he deserves it so you’re somehow above the law. Like if the police were to arrive I could just say he butt dialed me talking about another girl, and they’d let me off.

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I don’t remember the drive back to San Diego that night I just remember his calls/texts the next day. He told me someone had slashed his tires, I say that’s very unfortunate. He went on to ask if I had done it and without lying I said no, I didn’t do it, also that I was in San Diego last night, which I was. He then second guessed himself and blamed it on the neighbors next door who always called the cops on him and his roommates for playing their music too loudly, a convenient coincidence.

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To this day I don’t think he knows it was me. He may have had his speculations but he couldn’t prove anything. I learned a lot from that relationship; how you shouldn’t date anyone you can’t trust, how to love myself before I try to love anyone else, and that Mercedes hood ornaments don’t come off easy.

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