Indie Muse | Writer Kiah McBride
Writer, Creative, Student of Life, & Wanderer
Q: What inspires you?
Kiah McBride: Life. Just kind of seeing different things and hearing different stories and interacting with different people. Also, self-evaluation has really inspired a lot of everything I do. Even when I was younger, my writing always centered around like relationships and things that were more "real life" as opposed to "fantasy". Being able to use my gift to help others in some way keeps me going, it gives me motivation. When I actually see that happening I think that that's an inspiration. Everything about life.
Q: Which art form or form of self expression speaks to you the most and why?
Kiah: That one's hard because the things I gravitate to from a greater standpoint all have a similar thing in common which is storytelling. I don't know which one speaks to me the most. Reading and writing have always been my "thing" so of course, that speaks to me, but I think music really speaks to me. It's a combination of words and sound and storytelling if it's good (laughs). There are so many elements that play into it - the instruments that are used - I think all of that in some way speaks to me. For instance, when I write I usually write to music because something in the music connects with me. Depending on what I'm listening to depends on how my writing goes. One of my first blog posts was based on a song by Teyana Taylor called "Broken-Hearted Girl" and listening to those lyrics, it's a very sexy song, but when you listen to those lyrics, it's like, "Damn, this girl got issues" (laughs). So that inspired me. I would say music speaks to me the most overall. Writing is more of platform, it's more of my gift, but it's not the only thing that keeps me going.
Q: I'm attracted to blogs like yours because of the way they speak to the part of me that allows myself to be vulnerable in the form of written word - what influences you to be so open? And what has been your favorite piece you've written so far?
Kiah: I guess I feel like people connect with people who are real. I've read blogs where people are just so over-the-top just trying to be deeply poetic and it's beautiful I think, I think all forms of art are necessary, but for me, I've always wanted someone who just kept it real with me. I'm an only child so I've never had sisters and brothers to guide me in any way so it's my way of giving advice to myself to some extent. I feel like people connect best when they feel like they can relate and it's hard to relate when someone's blocking a certain side of themselves. There's still stuff that I don't put out there. You have to be careful of how much you let people in because people can use that to their advantage.
In my case, I just stopped caring if people would look at me a certain way just because they've read something on my blog. If you're using that to solely judge me then you don't really know me anyway and it's probably not meant for us to get to know each other. But, if I can speak to you through my own personal experiences, if I can touch you, if I can help you get through a hard period of your life, then I want to be able to do that and want to be able to do that in the most authentic way possible. I've always been pretty open. I'm not really shy [laughs] about how I feel or what I've gone through. I just like to talk I guess [laughs]. I'm just trying to get my voice out there, still trying to find my voice, but I think I've tapped into something with the real aspect of (my writing).
My favorite post is probably the "Undress Your Insecurities" post. A: it was a hard one to write because I really was crying when I wrote it and it's the deepest part of myself that I've always struggled with. That has been such a burden in everything, whether it's my relationships or how I personally - it's really just the root of my self love and awareness of self movement. I feel like how we interact with people and react to people comes from an insecure place and for me, that's probably always been the thing I've struggled with. I remember when I first got into my relationship with my current guy. I love him for the simple fact that he never gave up on me. He knew I was going through stuff but I don't think he knew how deep it was. We put on this masks like everything is cool and a lot of it is a cover-up. We're afraid to be ourselves, we're afraid to let out emotions, we've allowed society to play such a major role in how we see ourselves that it becomes a lot, it becomes heavy. It causes you to question everything about yourself and forget to appreciate yourself. You lose sight of the core of how you are and you lose the beauty of that.
My biggest insecurity has always centered around my weight and just how I looked at myself and how I carried myself. I just felt like I wasn't enough in a sense. I was confident in a lot of areas but my self image was not one of them. Even now, I have to sometimes remind myself that I am beautiful and that I might not look like that but I will look like the best this. In general, vulnerability plays a role in me being secure with myself. When you're secure and you're confident, it show and it comes out in everything that you do. It allows you to move with a sense of purpose and a level of freedom that you can't when you're trying to pretend that certain things aren't there and that certain things don't bother you. It's hard to fix things that you don't acknowledge.
Q: Who are your favorite writers/bloggers?
Kiah: As far as writers, they span over different genres. Of course there's Maya Angelou, that's my homegirl. I really wanted to meet her before she passed but I have to say it's her, just because of her ability to make words so beautiful and poetic while also telling stories with it. Lately, I've been more on a self-help tip. I like Paulo Coelho. I gravitate towards anything that tells a story and reading his work reminds me of reading the Bible, like a Jesus parable - I love a lot of his work. As far as bloggers, I like people different reasons, they have different purposes, and bring something different to the table. GG Renee, I like her writing. I love her whole movement and how she brings things together and that she incorporates a lot of us writers into the things that she does.
I like Alex Elle. I'm not a big poetry person but I loved everything she represented. I read one of the interviews done about her and I liked how real she was. She focuses more on self love and relationships. She's the first person who stood out to me when I thought about being a blogger again. I used to read Demetria Lucas's blog and I think she is who inspired me to want to be a writer because it was stories of her everyday life - men and different relationship stuff. I like different writers for different reasons [laughs].
Q: Thus far, what has traveling taught you and what's been your favorite place?
Kiah: Well, right now, my favorite place is Australia [laughs]. What has traveling taught me? It's taught me a lot. It taught me about myself. It showed me my fearless side. When I initially started traveling, I did a lot of it by myself. When I studied abroad I think that really showed me. I had to make friends, I had no friends, I had to learn this culture, I had to not be afraid to go somewhere new and to go there alone. I think that's been a big reflection of my life in general. It's been comfortable living in Atlanta these past couple of years. It has been out of the norm for me when I am used to being by myself. I think you learn the most about yourself when you are in a quiet place, when you're still, when you have no one to turn to and have to figure it out on your own. I think traveling has taught me to see creativity and to gain inspiration from the world around me. I think traveling gives me a new perspective. I feel like we're all connected on some levels, but the beauty is of course in our differences and being able to understand culture and understand it.
Q: Where did you find the bravery to abandon the 9-5 and live a life that you love?
Kiah: I think it all comes back to realizing that my time is precious and how I spend it now is really important. To wake up everyday and to hate what you do is stressful. I've had jobs before, I've done lots of internships - I think all of them have shown me that I don't want to work corporate [laughs], but I don't know, this last job has really been heavy for me. I've always generally been pretty healthy but this past year, I have had infections and have been ill. I wanted to be sick, I felt sick. I wanted any excuse not to be at work. I don't like feeling like this. I don't like having to count down how many vacation days I have left. To me, that's not freedom. I guess it'd be different if I was gaining something out of it. I think it stems from knowing that I have a purpose beyond this and in order to fulfill that purpose, I have to move beyond it and be willing to step out and live by faith and not by sight. Even now, I can't say for sure where I am going to go and where I am going to end up. But I also know that it's harder to learn those things when you have a lot of distractions pulling at you and taking away from you. To see like-minded people going after their dreams and making it happen, it makes me realize I am not afraid of failing. I think a lot of times we don't make those decisions because "what if, what if", but I am firm believer that you start to make things happen when you're in the position where you have to.
That's where gems are created, from a place of pressure. If you're in a comfortable position, you're not going to grow out of that. You'll get what it's providing at the basic level, but you're not going to grow. For me, I want to take the day off and go somewhere dope and not have to think about it. I want to take control of my own destiny. I want to be the author, the creator of my life in connection with the Creator of my life. I want God to know that I truly trust him and that I am willing to be used in any way that He needs me to be used. I am not distracted, I'm not scared. I'm available.
That's where gems are created, from a place of pressure.
Q: What does being a woman mean to you? What does being black mean to you?
Kiah: Being a woman to me means balance. For me, it's understanding that you can be strong and independent, but you can also be soft, take direction, and allow someone to lead. You can be feminine, sexy, and sexual but you can also be sophisticated, beautiful, and have an air of mystery around you. You can be fun and quirky and weird and still be focused and passionate and thoughtful and deep. It's all about balance and I feel like the world has pushed us out of balance because they are telling us who we are supposed to be as women. I don't agree with that. Who are you tell us we should be this way or that way or another? Be who you are to you. Being black means strength to me. We are going through it on all levels. It hurts to watch so many of our people getting killed for no reason, it's equally as sad to see our people not wanting more for ourselves.
Everybody seems to pull from us in some way, whether or not it's acknowledged, we are the creators of so many things and the foundation of so many things. It can all be traced back to us essentially. We lost that. We were robbed of that, we were raped of that identity. We've forgotten that that's who we are. When they want larger, rounder backsides or perkier breasts or full lips - we're looked at. There's obviously something very beautiful about us - this goes back to the insecurities - but if you don't know you're beautiful, it's easy for someone to come in and tell you what's wrong with you. If we really found ourselves and who we are meant to be, we would be such a powerful group as a whole.
Q: What is love?
Kiah: Should I quote the Bible? It's that and then some. The biblical definition is the beautiful side of love, but love is also pain, frustration, having to be humble and accept that everyone does not love the way you love. Everyone does not speak the same language of love that you speak. It is diverse. It can't be boxed in. It's timeless. How do you limit love in one word or a few words? It's a feeling, something that you can't control. The way your mother loves you comes from giving birth to you. The way a partner loves you... It's sacrifice. It's so many things. I don't think there's one definition for it. There are words you can put around it and try to describe it. Defining it would be really difficult because that's limiting it in my opinion. I think people in our generation need to learn that it isn't what our parents had because the times have changed but we can still have our own version of that. It isn't always easy and beautiful which is why I think we give up. How much are you willing to fight to make that work? At what point do you decide that letting go isn't an option? The thing that keeps you holding on is what love is.
The thing that keeps you holding on is what love is.
Q: What is fear?
Kiah: Fear is toxic. It is a virus that spreads through you and consumes you. Fear is a comfort thing. When you fear something, it's because you're comfortable where you're at and you don't want to get to that next level. Before you even take the chance or see what it's about, you allow yourself to write it off. It's a heavy burden to carry around because it stops you from being the greatest version of yourself in all aspects of yourself. It's what the devil puts inside of you to stop you from being what God intends you to be. The more you work at overcoming those fears, the more fearless you become.
Q: In your opinion, what's the recipe to a good life?
Kiah: God. Especially now. When you start to think of your life in terms of spirituality, you appreciate life more, it becomes more beautiful because you see your purpose. Freedom - whatever it may mean to you. For me, that's creating, meeting new people, being able to travel and listen to the world. Good friends, good family, good people who can uplift you and push you to the next level, who bring you joy and bring you laughter. Living a life of purpose, knowing who you are, knowing who you want. Being appreciative and content about what you have instead of focusing on what you don't have.
Q: When do you feel most beautiful?
Kiah: When I got on my 20-inch weave girl and I'm swingin' it at the club! [laughs] I'm starting to love my natural a lot more. I feel most beautiful when I am being myself 100%. When I feel like there's no pressure and I can be flowy and free and happy. When everything is in balance. When I've been eating really well for a whole week, drinking my pressed juices - everything from your skin changes, your hair is popping with that protein, you have that glow. Health is one side of it. My favorite part of weave is taking it out. It's like you breathe [laughs]. When I am in a positive mindset. When I am making people smile. When I am educating myself.
When I am doing things that go beyond the surface of myself, it makes me feel beautiful and makes me realize I am a beautiful person. Like wow, you have so many layers to you and you are such a great person and maybe everyone won't see it but people will appreciate it. Knowing that I am beyond the superficial definition of beauty. I think that's what brings a lot of women together too, when you can just see that a woman is radiant and beautiful underneath, they just want to be connected to that.
Q: What are your words to live by?
Kiah: Just be the best version of yourself. When you live by that, it gets rid of the pressure to be someone else, the pressure to be perfect, it allows you to embrace things that are fulfilling to you, it allows you to stop being afraid and embrace the things that do scare you. It pushes you. It's a motivation.
Originally posted on 6/5/15