Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Celebrate Yourself : : Leo Season

I enjoy celebrating my birthday. I am not one to wait for other people to plan stuff for me. When I turned 16, I spent the entire day by myself at the mall. My parents gave me birthday money and the keys to my mom's orange Ford Aerostar van. EVERYBODY in high school knew my mom's van because I was always driving it and all of my friends were piled in it, even on our weekend cruising adventures.

The celebration of my birthday, like many people, is usually a day spent partying and having a good time. I used to celebrate 'the day' then it turned into celebrating birthday week and now has extended to the entire Leo Season. This means that I celebrate from July 23rd to August 22nd even though my birthday is August 4th. I make it a point to be a little selfish and do whatever I feel like doing. Celebrating for an entire month takes some planning but for the most part, I wing most of it. I don't worry about the money I spend on myself because I deserve it. I deserve to spoil myself. I worry about the money part later. You can always make more money but you can never go back and make more memories.

When people would ask me what I want for my birthday, I say the same thing. I like homemade stuff like chocolate chip cookies or banana bread. I also like earrings and ANYTHING with hearts on it or LOVE on it. I like smell good stuff like Scentsy stuff or Bath & Body Works home fragrances and candles. But my favorite thing? My favorite thing to get are handwritten cards and if they're accompanied with flowers -- even better! But if you are just itching to gift me something from Amazon, here is my current WISH LIST.

Best Video Card I ever received. The ONLY video card I ever received.

In a previous post, I touched on how I was raised to not value my physical beauty, that it was somehow bad to honor the reflection in the mirror. Also, kids are mean and can really mess with how a person views him or herself. I had to consciously overcome those feelings of insecurity in relation to my looks.

In similar fashion, I have to overcome the "training" I received from my mother to SERVE everybody before myself. I watched her put everyone's needs above her own, which ultimately stole her health from her. I have had to find the balance between the wonderful values I was raised with and the ME that says that I need "ME" time. So celebrating myself during the month of my birth, Leo Season, is about me making time to do ME. It's my most favorite time of the year.

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Original Poem: I Want

I want you to know me
The real me
The me that no one else sees
And when I reveal the dark
and the light
I want to be sure that it will not frighten you
to know me so intimately

I want you to see me naked
Without the facade that I wear for the world
To see my scars
To see my brokenness
and still want to love me in spite of them

I want you to hear my voice
The silent whisper that no one knows
To hear my song
To hear the melody of my pain
and crave the sound of my joy

I want you to feel the intensity of my emotions
And the fire that burns inside me
Can you feel my longing to love and be loved
To taste my tears
My fears
and still want to hold me closer and erase my pain

I want you to know me like you've known me forever
To dance with my joy
To stay in step with my rhythm
To move endlessly through time
and space

I want you to fall in love with my soul
To see beauty inside me
And want forever
to be by my side
That's what I want

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Love Is ______

I don't know how many of my reading and viewing audience has tuned into OWN's Love Is ____ TV Show but if you haven't, I suggest you do. It is, by far, the most refreshing love story I have seen in a very long time. The writing and the acting is so delicious. The cast is so well-chosen. The music and the styling of the set and the "costumes" is so 1990's that I feel like I'm back there again.

Some of the elements that really add to the feel of Love Is ____ is the music. For instance, the piano interludes that play every time Nuri and Yasir exchange a real moment just transports me to another time and space. The simple piano melody arouses those feel-good-vibes and takes me into my forever feelings. I recognize those heart strings pulling on me when I come across someone in my real life who ignites those feelings. The way the story is written, the way the director pulls the emotion from the audience, the way the emotion is conveyed by the cast is enchanting and magical.

The love story is so simple but complicated. There aren't any overly dramatic plot twists where you feel like you're on a roller coaster. Instead, you float along recognizing yourself in each character and gaining insight into the other side of the argument. There aren't any clearly defined protagonists or antagonists. The story IS love and it's plain and honest and naked.

The tension of the story is between trusting your heart or following logic. You can see the difference between the magic of love (Nuri + Yasir) and trying to follow logic (Nuri + Keith).

A moment of instant attraction. That is really all it takes. We vibe with someone's energy and then everything that comes after it is because of that initial in-person energy. Yasir's approach is strong. His confidence and his honesty is breath taking. On the other hand, there's Keith who seems to be the guy who has it all. Good looks, fantastic job, consistent. On paper, his resume looks good. Unfortunately, NO ONE can have a relationship with a resume. And when times get tough, looking back at his resume is not going to pull you through. Whereas, Nuri + Yasir have already fostered very strong chemistry from the beginning way back when Nuri was light-skin-long-curly-hair girl.

I have NEVER been one to size up a guy based on his resume. What gets me all the time is that initial first impression. If there are fireworks going off inside me upon first contact, I'm done. #RealTalk! The magic does not happen with every person I meet so when it does happen, I listen and I act on it. I feel like I have never been wrong to follow my instinct even with all the naysayers on the sideline telling me I'm a fool. I love what I love and if it means that people see me as a fool then so be it. A perfect example is my ex-husband and I. The short version -- we knew each other only seven months before we found ourselves in front of a judge in Illinois, getting married. We lasted 13 years and everyone thought we wouldn't even last 13 days. I love to be in love. I enjoy being a good partner/wife/girlfriend. I don't need the attention of every man. I just want one -- one that's just for me!

So in my world give me that unpredictable Nuri + Yasir action. Save the Nuri + Keith business for the arranged marriage people.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Sad Songs Say So Much: Grief and Acceptance

My "Sad Songs Say So Much" playlist on YouTube.

You can dig through my blog and find all types of posts about love and heartache. It's amazing how free I am with information about my life. I write to let go of the emotions and to sort through the issues. I share it here because someone might be able to hear something in my thoughts that might help them through it. One thing is certain, I am no relationship expert but I could possibly be a champion of overcoming heartache.

In the days following the announcement that my ex wanted a divorce, I had never felt such agony before or since. I will never forget specific moments where I thought I would just die. Everything was so uncertain. Was he serious about this or was this a temporary situation? What happens next? Do we continue to live together? Is he cheating? There were just endless questions. I felt so lost and alone even being surrounded by family and friends. There are times, even now, where I still feel all alone.

In the ugly of my break up, it was very difficult to start my day. I couldn't even see thirty minutes ahead of me. I didn't eat. I drank a lot to soothe me, to numb me, to avoid dealing with the present. I teetered between sadness and extreme rage. I wanted to break things. I wanted to punch and kick the rage out of me so I went to the gym a lot. That helped me get my appetite back as well as work through my rage issues. My friends wanted to hunt him down and destroy his truck. Some days I entertained the thought and we would ride with bats in the car and sugar for his gas tank. We never did do it. I could never knowingly destroy something like that. And besides, my name was still on his truck.

As you make your way through heartache or loss, DO NOT hold it in. You don't have to be strong. Take some time to be alone and grieve through it. Feel all of the emotion and move into acceptance. This is not an easy process but who you evolve into is entirely up to you.

I have learned so much through this process, more than I did from my first marriage and divorce. I have discovered so many things about myself. I acknowledge my flaws in the demise of my marriage. I own the things that I could have done better and vow to turn those weaknesses into strengths for the next man that shares my world. I have learned patience and to trust that whatever is ahead of me is for me. I feel my star rising, whatever that means... I feel it deeply. I have practiced forgiveness on several occasions in my life and this is one event that has forced me to put it into practice again. And I gladly do so because I do not want the ghosts of the past to haunt my tomorrows. I don't want to be bitter and angry because that is not who I am.

I still prepare to be enchanted by life and love and all the beautiful things in the universe. I know that love will find me again and when it does, it will be full and complete and blissful. This is what I want for you too, Dear Reader, that your heart will heal when you grieve and accept what IS.

Monday, July 09, 2018

I Hope You Dance

There is a song performed by Leann Womack titled I Hope You Dance. The lyrics are beautiful, poetic, and imparts feel-good vibrations all the way around.... except for one line. It says, "Never settle for the path of least resistance." I think the song is flawed because of that one line. It should have said something like, "Don't give up even though it's hard," "Be persistent."

Livin' might mean takin' chances, but they're worth takin'
Lovin' might be a mistake, but it's worth makin'
I made the move out to South Carolina because it is and has been the path of least resistance. There have been so many events that are seemingly unrelated yet in my mind they have sequentially pointed me in one direction. That direction is for me to make this move to South Carolina.

Don't let some hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin' out, reconsider
No one ever falls in love thinking that it will end. I have always walked in the direction of love with fierce enthusiasm and the best intentions and ever so optimistic that this time it will be forever. It's not a secret that I have tucked away two romances. I cherish both of them and their presence and season in my life for different reasons. And now I stand in my own truth, my middle-aged self, that I must live for me and only me; that I must dream for me and walk in that dream. I cannot live to be a wife or to be a daughter, a sister, or aunt though I cherish all of those titles and the responsibilities that come with them.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
Today, I walk in my truth and in my happiness - happiness that has alluded me for a very long time. My divorce from my ex-husband has opened me up to all the possibilities of my life. There is so much power in discovering who I am and standing confidently in my authenticity. I no longer worry about what people say or think of the big dreams that I have or even of the seemingly small decisions that I make. Traveling this road alone has been tough. I counted so much on my ex to be my cheerleader and to support my crazy ideas. Most of the time, if my desires did not fit his, he would shoot them down and not support it. So now that I don't have him in my world, I realize that he was not my cheerleader and he is no longer stopping me from doing the thing I want to do the most. I am free to move about as I see fit.

May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed
I am beginning to let the "real me" emerge as I abandon old belief systems in favor of my own crafted version of the meaning of life. My search for happiness is now a path of happiness. I choose to be in a state of happiness no matter what the circumstances of my life are. I am not searching. I am not waiting for happiness to happen. Everything happening around me cannot disrupt the happiness I feel right now and in every single moment. Even when I'm shedding tears of sadness, the tears are just a means to let go of sad emotions and to make room for joy.

I hope you dance.
I hope I dance.
I am choosing to never sit out on experiencing life ever again. I will allow my own sense of morality to guide me and not inhibit me from participating in the great dance of life. There should never be guilt or shame around someone choosing to be exactly who they feel they are inside. Judgement over someone that has a different lifestyle than your own is antiquated and fosters a sense of exclusivity rather than inclusion. And right now, I am all about giving love to anyone I come in contact with. That is the best way I can serve the world by spreading love.

I hope you dance!

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

How I Find Myself in South Carolina

Here's the link to the Deer Incident I talk about in the video.

I have this mantra that I always tell myself:
"Everything I want and need will fall into my lap without effort."

The way the pieces of my life have fallen into place in the present appear random but nothing is ever random. And everything I want comes to me without effort (that's what I tell myself). My move to South Carolina has been all about following the path of least resistance and turning a new leaf and moving in a direction that is not "resistant."

There's nothing like a life-changing event like divorce to make one reexamine life. I had it all. The house. The car. The handsome husband. And with my ex announcing that he wanted a divorce I lost everything that I had become so comfortable with. All of a sudden, all of that stuff wasn't so important anymore and I struggled everyday just to get out of bed. That's a story for another time that I will tell here on this blog and on my video podcast.

The shock of divorce rattled my life, shook it up, and pushed me to find out what will make me happy again. I thought to myself, if I could do anything in the world, what would it be? And this is how I find myself here in South Carolina... chasing my biggest dream to write full time, to be a media personality, to express my thoughts on any platform. I have a strong point of view and I am here to express it.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Red Raider Soul Releases Football Schedule

I did the graphic work on this.
Thanks Red Raider Soul!!!

In Red Raider Nation... we're serious about our football team.
Even though I'm so far away, I still feel connected by working on banners and publications for Kahuku.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

I Wanna Tell Our Story

The story I want to tell here and in my coming video podcasts will probably be the collective story of all of humanity.

Sweet Love.

We all share similar experiences. Our cultural traditions, our familial relationships, our upbringing, our religious and political affiliations uniquely colors our experiences so that we handle them differently. But at the core of the human condition, we share the same search for happiness and how to connect to the world outside of our experience.

Whenever I meet someone, I like to hear their story. Most people have a spiel already created in their mind. It's their go-to summary of who they are. Mine always starts with who my parents are. In Hawai'i, and probably in all Pacific Island groups, we search for our connection so that we can relate to each other and that starts with, "Who's your family and where are you from?" The theory of six degrees of separation is all too true in Polynesia. No matter where I find myself in the world, I will always know someone who knows someone who knows someone and we connect.

I am a Pacific Islander. My mother is Samoan/Swedish from Vaitoloa, Western Samoa and my father is Hawaiian/Chinese from Kaneohe, O'ahu, Hawai'i.

I reside in South Carolina right now. I moved here in November 2017, just over a year after a very seamless and quick divorce. My ex and I were together for 13 years before we called it quits. That certainly colors my life right now. That event has surely changed me and forces me to look at my life with new awareness. And I am here to tell that story; to talk about the lows and the triumphs of overcoming grief. Sometimes I wake up in tears. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep. Maybe it's loneliness and not knowing why my marriage fell apart and maybe it is the uncertainty of moving forward without my best friend. I truly considered my ex my best friend. The way we bounced ideas off each other and laughed and had good times. The way we worked so well as a team. The way we held each other up. These are things I think of when I miss him. I miss that connection. I miss that feeling of knowing that when I go home at night, someone is waiting for me. No matter how hard family and friends try to fill that void, it is not the same thing.

Here I am at the midpoint of my life forced to reinvent who I am. In the year from when my ex and I split to the moment I left the islands, I did a whole lot of soul searching. I continually analyzed the condition of my life. In my mind, I asked the following questions:
What will make me happy again?
How can I live my best life?
How can I change the circumstances of my life so that everything I do is intentional and not a reaction to outside forces?

So here we are. I am going to tell that story!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Adding Dimension to NeenaLove, Inc.

It's time for a change.
It's time for me to catch up to this wave of podcasting that has taken over the online community.

I will always be a writer. 
I will continue to communicate and convey my thoughts and feelings BEST in written format on this blog, in my journal, and it my written manuscripts.

However, it is time to include VLOGGING/Podcasting to my repertoire. 

I actually make this transition with excitement as I love cameras (maybe I can upgrade soon). And I love the sound of my voice. I have a deep, rich voice that sometimes gets mistaken for a man's voice. I remember pulling up at McDonalds once and the woman on the receiving end kept calling me "Sir." At first, I was annoyed but now I'm just used to it. Trust and Believe, I am ALL woman. 

I hope you will tune in to my vlog.
I have selected Wednesday as my regular release date every week.

It is very difficult for me to select just one topic because I am interested and curious about so many things. To nail down a topic and pick just one would be a tragedy in the making. So I am going to treat this like a really good conversation with my BFF and when she's in town, she will make an appearance on the vlog.

Most of the pivotal decisions in my life have happened after a great conversation with people in my inner circle. There's my father who has always dispensed the best advice and usually did it with very few words. Even though he can talk on and on about a variety of subjects, when it comes to causing a paradigm shift in my heart, he only need say a few words and I "get it." There's my older brother. He, too, is a man of very few words. And the words he chooses are always very impactful, just as my father. There's my baby brother who, consequently, is also a man of very few words. His age (he is so young) coupled with his millenial outlook on life always flips the script on me and I always sit back and laugh at his wisdom. There's my sister-in-law. She is like the definition of "plan ahead" and I always cherish her view on things because it's so different from my own. I am the 'fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants' girl. Spontaneous to a fault. I think of all of them as I start this journey into vlogging. 

I have dipped and dabbed, a little, with vlogging. Making videos is such a chore as it requires so much planning. Let's not talk about all the "bloopers" that also happen when filming one single video. I laugh at the many "takes" that I have to do to get it just right. I have not scripted any of the videos that I have made so far. I have a general idea of what I want to say then I go with it. When I look at the videos on my YouTube page that I have made so far, I cringe at the lighting. Almost all the videos look like I have bags under my eyes - thanks to the shadows and the contours on my face that cause the shadows. But I am who I am regardless of what I look like. Also - maybe I can get sophisticated lighting the deeper I get into this vlogging world.   

One thing that I absolutely love is hearing the stories of older people. For instance, every morning when I leave for work, there's an older gentleman that walks around the complex. When I run into him, he is sweaty and looks as if he's been walking for quite some time. This morning, I stopped him and told him that I should get into walking too. He looked so thrilled that I said more than, "Good Morning," as I normally do when I see him. While we're standing there having a conversation, his legs are still going as he is walking in place. 

"How old you think I am," he asks me. 

I take a good look at him and I guess 60 years old. He fires back, "Try again. Higher."
He is shaking his head vigorously.

I step back. No way you're 70?

"I turned 80 two weeks ago." He has a light patois. Jamaican, maybe?

What the hell? The man looks good and maybe it's because he's bald and clean-shaven that there's no graying to behold but his eyebrows are jet black. His skin has some wear on it but no deep wrinkles at all. I am speechless. That is hard to do - to cause me to be speechless. I stand there with my mouth agape as he talks about his habit of walking and his wife's habit of walking. He runs down his daily routine. Exercise. Cool down. Shower. Eat a bowl of cereal. Relax. 

"But," he says, "I just started working again."

Before retiring, he drove a van for special needs children and he has picked it up again.

I smile and tell him that work keeps him  young. Just like my dad who still works at 75 years old. And his job is a physically vigorous job. My father is a landscaper.

Anyway, I wish I had snapped a picture with that gentleman this morning. But trust and believe, I am going to interview him, in the future, for my VLOG. I will let him tell me again what the secrets are for living a long, healthy life.

So here's to VLOGGING/PODCASTING! I will always write but now I'm adding another component to NeenaLove, Inc. Stay tuned!

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