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  • Writer's pictureKiana Rivera

Here's my quick and dirty. What's yours?

I grew up surrounded by love and isolation. I had mom, grandma, grandpa, my cousins and Jehovah. My identity was as a Jehovah’s Witness and as a “local.” In American “local” can be translated to Filipino-American. I wasn’t Samoan until 2015.

When I left for college I sealed my relationship with Jehovah by getting dunked (baptized), but because of college I was also introduced to the world outside my very organized religion. That’s when things started to get complicated. Three years after baptism I came out to myself as a homosexual, which made things even more complicated.

I killed off my religious self; way of seeing and being and ran away to the theatre. My place of refuge became the theatre and gay club scene, but mostly the theatre. Theatre became my community until I burnt myself out of that lifestyle and turned to helping hookers, street kids and people living with HIV/AIDS all who eventually became friends.

Up until last year I cycled through strong-willed, independent boss women who can’t love me back enough to form a pattern and type. To be honest I developed a fondness for heartbreak. This has to be true since I keep repeating the cycle. In some sick way it feeds my creativity (so I think).

Creativity. Creatively I’ve acted on a few stages, directed a few plays, appeared on the big screen and TV at least once or twice and performed for radio. Radio and voice acting is my favorite. Recently I’ve earned the title of Playwright. So far its the most difficult, but rewarding sport/role I’ve played. The rewarding part is conceiving a message and watching that message spread and affect people. I get off on inspiring others and watching people grow. That’s the educator in me.

Adjustment disorder. I saw that diagnosis on my MR once. Basically I have a hard time coping with change. Who doesn’t? Despite this fact I packed up, left my comfortable world in Hawaiʻi to come to Los Angeles with all my dreams and zero savings. I’m not completely without. In fact I’ve always considered myself to be one of the most blessed jobless persons in America and probably the world. I may have left “the organization” (church), but I’m confident that God and the prayers of my

40,000 ancestors as well as those made everyday by my family back home is what’s keeping me afloat. I be running on holy spirit, yo.

So here I am. 1 out of 3.99 million dreamers in  Los Angeles county armed with my story, a will to succeed for myself and fellow indigenous brothers, sisters, cousins and 2 barking dogs that aren’t even my own.

What’s your story?

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