Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Falling In Love, etc.




Nature never moves in straight lines but basic human logic does. Nature creates perfect order from chaos. Human logic creates chaos from order. ~Bob Proctor

Falling in Love doesn't make sense. In my life, it never has. The chaos of falling truly, madly, deeply in love with someone always takes my breath away. I don't see all the incongruent parts that could make us fall to pieces. All I ever see is all the things that could make it work. I only see his good parts. I don't look at his past to indicate what type of future he might give me. I live in the moment. To everyone around me, this makes me foolish but I have never cared what outsiders think of my choice in who I love.

When my ex and I parted ways, for over a year all I could talk about was how I did not want to put in any time getting to know someone new. I would rather get together with an ex than try to learn someone else. That mindset has changed. What would it look like for me to go back to an ex? Like I didn't learn from the first failure? There's just too many possibilities in the world to think that going to an ex is the best route for me. I'm not saying that I couldn't or wouldn't go back to an ex. I'm saying that that is not my only option for finding a fulfilling relationship.

Long relationships and marriages go through funky periods of time when nothing seems right, everything seems wrong, and the only thing that makes sense is to leave. I don't know how to leave. I am just not that type of girl. So even if my relationship may fall into a funk, I revert back to that crazy, chaotic moment when I fell in love.... that moment when my heart chose him (whoever 'him' is). That initial magic will always make me melt and thinking of it will always bring me right back to being in love even in the midst of the worst funk. I wish that my former partners had the same resolve but they didn't and I'm not looking back anymore. I have so much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to.
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I can't answer any of the questions that I posed on the video and I'm curious as hell to see how people respond.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

NATURAL DISASTERS - What Are Your Memories?





It was September 1992.
I was 17 years old. My senior year in high school had just commenced.
Hurricane Iniki was touted as the most powerful hurricane to hit Hawai'i in recorded history. It was a Category 4 hurricane when it hit the island of Kaua'i. The damage it left in its wake was heartbreaking. I have extended family in the Ha'ena, Wainiha, Hanalei region so it was sad to see the damage.

The island I lived on, O'ahu, had been spared any real major damage. We had dodged the fury of Iniki in my little town of Hau'ula. The day the hurricane arrived was a Friday. When O'ahu had received the all-clear sign, I instantly went back to teenage mode instead of worrying about my life and the unknown future. Being that it was Friday night, I wanted to hang out with my friends.

A few of us met up at the BYU Hawaii Campus. The Canon Activities Center on-campus was doubling as the Red Cross Shelter. We normally hung out there on the weekends. It was a safe place. Clean. It had a snackbar with inexpensive food and there were college boys.

The remnants of the hurricane left us with light passing showers and cloudy skies with a full moon hiding behind it. Naomi (high school bestie) and I were sitting near the box office of the Canon Activities Center. A couple of our guy friends came by also. We sat there laughing and talking. And then a peculiar thing happened. The full moon revealed itself from behind the rain clouds. One of my guy friends, let's call him Scott, went into this weird trance. We all started laughing while he was stoic and contemplative.

He proceeded to tell us a story. I cannot remember all of the details but I remember the important stuff. Scott said he had a dream one night. He was compelled to walk out of his home in the middle of the night and directed to go to the intersection of Moana Street and Kulanui Street. There, a man in black waited. (I swear this is not a reference to The Gunslinger stories by Stephen King.) The man in black asked Scott if he wanted to live forever and have supernatural strength. Scott agreed and did as the man in black directed. He lay down on the ground at the "crossroad" of Moana Street and Kulanui and sold his soul to the devil.

I couldn't figure out if he was telling the truth or if it was a scary story for a stormy night. I giggled at first (probably an attempt to calm my fears) but was completely weirded out by the visuals that I had in my mind of the man in black. I wondered what the man's face looked like. Was he like that creepy old man, Reverend Kane on Poltergeist II? Or was he a mirror of Scott's deepest fears?

Naomi and I stood up to move away from him. He stood up immediately also and began following us as we backed away from him.

"Scott. Stop! What are you doing?" I asked.

The full moon was so bright above him. He towered over us. He turned his head to the moon and began howling at the moon as if he were a werewolf. When he faced us after his howl, he raised his arms up, his hands mimicking the claws of an animal and began chasing us. Naomi and I screamed. We were both on the borderline between laughter and terror. Scott saw the terror on our face and fell down laughing. When we seen that he was laughing, Naomi and I calmed down and started laughing too.

At the end of the evening, Naomi and I talked about it and we couldn't figure out if Scott was joking or if he was telling the truth. Til this day I still wonder.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

3 Things I Learned From My Parent's Marriage



I did not forget about my Wednesday podcast. I just couldn't post because at the last minute, I decided to hit the road. Hurricane Florence is on its way to South Carolina so I had to leave Dodge. I find myself in Maryland again. I didn't feel like weathering the hurricane by myself so instead of buying all the food and emergency supplies, I am spending that money on gas to get out of town. Bye SC. See you soon.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Dear Best Friend

Dear Best Friend,

I feel so blessed that you are a part of my life. There have been times that we've drifted apart but we always find our way back to each other and pick up wherever we left off. We can sit for hours talking about everything and nothing. I cherish that type of conversation but more than that, I love that you know parts of my history that I don't even have to explain. And because you have seen me repeat the same mistakes over and over, you know when to push me and when to just step back and let me go through it. I think of the times that I have fallen apart with you, crying the ugly cry on your couch. It speaks to your character and your ability to receive me without judging the dumb things that I have done. I never let people see me weak the way that you have seen me and I appreciate that you can see my flaws and call me on them while still being supportive and encouraging. I love that you can see goodness in me because sometimes I need a little reminder that I am kinda smart, and I am kinda talented, and I am kinda beautiful, and I am kinda worthy of goodness. Everyone should have the type of friendship/sisterhood that we enjoy. I can't imagine not having it.

We rang in the New Year together this year and vowed that we would make this year the best yet. I am not disappointed. We did Vegas in March. When I moved into my own place, you and Skeet drove down Memorial Day weekend to "warm" my house up. You filled my linen closet with sheets and comforters and towels and I can't even begin to say how much that meant to me. You threw me the best birthday weekend. The party was non-stop even with your wife and mommy duties. And here we are turning up on your birthday/Labor Day weekend. You always had the best birthday parties when we were back home. Oh my goodness the good times we had in Waialua. The gallons and gallons of jungle juice. The extremely large cooler of every drink imaginable. The food! The music! Good times, I tell ya. A lifetime of it. And there's still more to be had.


WHAT I ADMIRE ABOUT YOU

  • I love your sense of style. Our shopping trips are the best! And we are always exchanging clothes. I'm happy that the red dress that I love so much looks wayyyy better on you than it does me. Sad to see it go but happy that it fits you like a glove. And I love that we both love to work the thrift stores. I can't imagine buying regular priced items when we can get EVERYTHING we want at a thrift store.
  • I love how giving you are. I can say, "Ooh I love that," and you will take it off the shelf or off a hanger and give it to me.
  • I love to watch you "work" a room. You have a way with people that makes them feel welcomed and appreciated - not all the time... but most of the time.  
  • I love how you are very clear about your expectations of people in your life. There are no gray areas and you remain 100% YOU no matter who is standing in front of you. That realness, that genuineness, that authenticity is hard to come by and I am learning to be my most authentic by watching you be you.
  • I love the way you mother your children. Both of your sons are respectful, intelligent, and kind souls.
  • I love how much I feel at home with your family and your husband's family. It's like I'm already family. The fact that I am comfortable calling your mother-in-law, "Mom," says a lot about how you made them aware of my significance in your world. Best friends do that kinda shit.  
  • I love how you always know what to say to build me up. On really rough days when I'm sad or lonely, you know the exact time to call and the exact words to say. You will pull examples from our past to let me know that I've overcome hardship before.

WHAT I WISH FOR YOU

  • ...That HEALTH and WELLNESS will attend you and yours
  • ...That you will always experience LOVE in your relationships
  • ...That you will be fulfilled by LIFE's challenges and triumphs
  • ...That you will find richness and ABUNDANCE in the coming days and years
  • ...That you will CELEBRATE you all throughout your life
But most of all, my wish for you is that your dreams are filled with happiness and that you will find joy in every waking moment.

Happy 43rd Birthday, Best Friend! I cannot think of a single place that I would rather be than here in Maryland, celebrating your special day with you and yours.

Alofa Tele,


NeenaLove


P.S. This letter is about a week late but better late than never. I actually started writing it before I drove up to your house with the intention of finishing it while I was there. With all our turn-up and turn-down going on, I didn't have time. Charge it to my inability to plan out my time properly. No surprise there. Haha


Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Video Podcast Episode 10: Push Away From The Harbor



I briefly mention the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho in today's video. It is a short read and very thought-provoking. The book is a work of fiction and the story serves as a parable. The message will only be received by those who are ready to receive it. The summary of the book on the back cover of the paperback version of the book describes it best. I hope it's enough to tempt you to read it. I think the book is about a 3 to 4 hour read. Put in the time and feed your mind and your imagination.

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Back Cover of THE ALCHEMIST by Paulo Coelho

"To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation."

Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its simplicity and wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an Alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a meditation on the treasures found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.



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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Video Podcast Episode 9: Geisha, Sex, Embarrassing Moment


VIDEO: Geisha, Sex, Embarrassing Moment


This is the second time I posted on Instagram and Facebook, what topic should my next video podcast be?

Everybody has jokes and all sorts of silly topics. My male fans... SMH. Naughty, naughty, naughty! So I narrowed down all the topics to the stuff that are Rated PG-13. I can't say that I will always stay at PG-13 because I do love trashy talk every now and again. So, who knows what the content of future Video Podcasts will be?

Sex is such a touchy subject for a lot of people. I don't know why that is. It is as natural as breathing. Me? It is a necessity. With my raging hormones, I feel like how the media portrays young teenage boys -- I want IT all the time! Oh my how I expose myself so publicly on my blog. I am an open book.

I didn't get the "birds and the bees talk" from my parents. My grandmother (mom's mom) actually said something to me when I was 12. I was getting ready to go to a dance. My mother didn't know it was a dance. I told her it was a talent show in town and that someone's mother was taking us down there and would bring us back home. Before I left the house, my grandmother gave me a whole talk about a cowry shell and how I need to protect it. I had no idea what she was talking about. None. It was like the scene in The Color Purple where Shug Avery is asking Miss Celie if she ever looked at her lady parts. I did not know what my lady parts looked like so I did not make the connection to the cowry shell.

I don't know why my mother's generation is so afraid to talk about sex or to explain the mechanics of it. I think I would have made better choices if my mother was open and honest with me about all of it. Instead, she just left me to find it all out on my own. The one talk that we did have was about how I shouldn't sleep with a boy because my virginity is something I should gift my husband on our wedding night. That was unrealistic to me because I did not even know what happened with sex. The movies and soap operas made it seem like you get in bed naked, you kiss and roll around under the sheets and that's it. So, I did not know the mechanics.

Needless to say, I certainly understand the mechanics now. And sex, as I said, is as natural as breathing.

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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Who Is The First Person You Slow Danced With?


It was the end of Summer 1989. There was a dance to send off the summer and welcome the new school year. My mother told me that I couldn't go to it because my older brother was not going to attend with me. I had just turned 14 and she didn't think I should go out with my friends without my brother close by. Normally, my big brother would cover me but he had plans of his own that night. The dance was being held just a mile from the house and I couldn't understand why she wouldn't let me go. So I did what any head-strong teenager would do and lied. I told her I was going over to my cousin's house, three houses over. I didn't really lie because I had to pass their house on the way to the dance. I stopped in, showed my face, said, "Hello," and kept on moving. By the time I had deployed that plan, it was already late. When I got to the dance, there was only fifteen minutes left before they were shutting it down. I found my friends on the dance floor. One friend, in particular, was dancing with the little boy that I was crushing on but I was glad to just be near him.

Every dance ends with a slow jam. The last song came on. It was "Superwoman" by Karyn White. All my friends were coming off the dance floor and changing dance partners. I had just arrived so I didn't even know who was there. I feel a tap on my shoulder and I turn to see John (not his real name) standing there. He said something really smooth to me. I can't recall what exactly he said but it made me feel like he was being such a gentleman. In school, he had this really rough exterior like he was a tough guy but I knew he was a big teddy bear inside. I was burning up inside. He wasn't the guy I was crushing on but I still felt flattered that he asked me to dance. And that was that. I only remember it because it was such a new experience for me and I felt special. What can I say? I'm a hopeless romantic.

Maybe it's just me. Everyone says I have a distorted view of reality. As my ex would say, I have an unrealistic outlook on life and love. I don't think I do. I think I see the world exactly as I wish it would be and it is my reality. And even though my romantic life has never been the fairytale that I wished that it could be, I am exactly where I should be. And I still believe in the fairytale and I still believe in LOVE.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Video Podcast Episode 8: Foot Binding and the Measure of Beauty




I enjoyed reading two books by Lisa See. Lisa See looks Caucasian, which she is, but she is very proud of her Chinese heritage that has all been washed from her physical features. I stumbled upon her writing when I borrowed Shanghai Girls from the Kahuku Public Library several years ago.

SHAMELESS PLUG for public libraries. I cannot imagine a world without access to the mountains of information that are in the public libraries. In the State of Hawaii, there are public libraries everywhere. Thanks to the internet, you can search the state's library database from home, request material from other libraries to be sent to whatever library in the State that you'd like to pick it up at, and also reserve material or computer time. All of this can be done without leaving home. Trust me, I put it to very good use! You can also download ebooks and audio books to an app that allows you to read or listen to your book. Awesome!!

ShangHai Girls forced me to observe Chinese culture from the present day. In recent years, I try not to attach a judgement to my observation. For instance, an ancient practice in China is foot binding. I look down at my extremely wide, almost flat feet, and try to imagine these 11W's being only 3 inches long. Out of curiosity I just measured my left foot. The results: 4 inches at its widest and just over 10 inches long. My foot is wider than the length of what was considered a beautiful foot in China. Is it right? Wrong? Good? Bad? I am just an observer. Foot binding might sound strange to the present day observer but is it any stranger than women paying to have their face injected with botulin (poision) to remove wrinkles temporarily? Is foot binding more strange than implanting saline pouches to make body parts larger or more prominent? Is foot binding more strange than cutting a portion of the stomach out so that a patient is forced to eat less? Beauty certainly is dictated by society.

I traveled to Malta in 2006 and went on a tour of Gozo. On our way to the ferry that would take us across the harbor to the island of Gozo, the tour guide talked about the history of Gozo. She informed us that the island was filled with monolithic depictions of large women. Apparently, the measure of beauty for people of Malta and Gozo in centuries-past was a large woman. She represented fertility and beauty and ultimate femininity. As soon as we returned from Gozo, I went to a Maltese bookstore and purchased a book on the large female statues of Gozo. I still have that book and it looks fairly new because I have only thumbed through it once. I must preserve the book! It was the only one I could find that was in English.

ShangHai Girls mentions foot binding in passing but the second Lisa See book that I read, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, goes into detail. If you have never seen what bound feet look like, please google it. I can barely stomach the sight of them. I imagine the significance of food binding, from a man's perspective, being symbolic of the loyalty of a woman to her husband. It must be very comfortable for a man to know that no matter how abusive or misogynistic he may be, his wife will never leave his side. Even if he were to take on concubines, in Chinese culture as I understand it, a woman's worth is intrinsically tied to her value to her husband.

Both books deserve a proper review of their own but who has the time? ShangHai Girls explores the life of two Chinese women and their experience of being forced to leave Shang Hai for America in an age of war. Cultural protocol is emphasized throughout; from behavioral expectations to the memory of the ancestors. Some of the practices may seem burdensome but not more than what some of us practice in our own cultures today. In Snow Flower, the book emphasizes class distinction and marriage as the tool to boost a woman's value. However, the true significance of the book is its presentation of a language created by women and only for women; a secret language! This is not pig-latin but an actual living language steeped in poetry and symbolism called nu shu.

The overwhelming feeling in both novels is very heavy and burdensome. I'm not sure if that is what the author means to portray. I assume that the measure for Chinese-American literature would be Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club (made into a movie) and The Hundred Secret Senses. If you recall from Amy Tan's work, the relationship and protocol between male and female, mother and daughter, mother and son, are all very distinct and carefully tended to. The same is true in Lisa See's books. One gets the sense that this must be a token of Chinese culture - the heavy gloom and sadness associated with being a woman, forced to do hard things and make hard choices. The mood of female Chinese-American literature is one of eventual triumph over the hard facts of life. ShangHai Girls and Snow Flower do not disappoint. If anything, Lisa See's work is a definite reminder for women to be grateful that they can choose not to bind their feet (high heels). **giggles** A woman in modern America can choose her spouse, choose where she will live, choose the destiny of her life in open attempt (not in secrecy). And so today - today I am grateful to be me.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

The Woven Coverlet



I awoke very early this morning. A dream had disturbed my sleep. In the dream, my father was riding a motorcycle with my mother riding on the back. She was holding him tight. I was in Las Vegas and they were coming to meet me. When they rolled past me in the dream, I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. In my video podcast the other day I talked about my mother. I suppose that is why she is on my mind now and infiltrating my dreams. Every so often she pops up in my dreams.

I got out of bed and started cleaning my house. The kitchen needed to be tidied up and the second bathroom needed some attention. I replaced the sheets on my bed with a new set. As I was pulling out the sheets from the linen closet, I had to move a beautiful woven coverlet out of the way. I decided to use the coverlet on the bed even though it is more for the winter months because of its weight. The coverlet is a gift to me from my mother. My mother received it as a gift from her aunt, Atoali'i, on her wedding day, September 11, 1971. Aunty Atoali'i flew from New Zealand to attend the nuptials of my parents. She brought the very heavy and expensive coverlet all that way.

My mother never used the coverlet. Ever. I saw it for the first time when she gifted it to me. She told me the story of where it came from and how she carefully preserved it so that she could give it to me on my wedding day. One day I will pass this on to my third niece on her wedding day. (Niece #1 and Niece #2 have other items that I saved for them.) Hopefully she will take good care of it so that it will continue through space and time and she can tell this same story to her daughter on her wedding day.

We attach all our sentimentality onto an object, an heirloom, and we pass it forward through time. My mother has no memory attached to the coverlet except that she received it from her aunt as a wedding gift. There's no sensational story about how it was the only thing she and my father had in their first year of marriage. No story about how it got wet in a flood and was the only thing they salvaged of all their material possessions. No. There's no story because the coverlet was tucked away in her bedroom closet along with her and my father's vinyl LP's and the very expensive genuine silver flatware that was also a wedding gift.

So what, exactly, was my mother's intention in saving this gorgeous coverlet for me? I have concluded that she placed all her hopes and dreams for me onto it. It is an expensive item that she never found occasion to use but she knew that, even before I was conceived, she would pass it on to her daughter. Me. And I don't know what her hopes for me were. She never shared them with me. One day when I do give this coverlet to niece #3, I will tell her this story and I will tell her all of my hopes and my dreams for her.

I hope she will eat healthy and take care of her body because it houses her spirit and her mind. I hope that she will always be her most genuine and authentic and be true to herself even in the face of fierce opposition that may sometimes be from her closest family and friends. I hope that she will choose to be happy all the days of her life even when the trials of daily life threaten to overcome her. I hope that she will always hear and listen to her own voice and trust her gut instincts because her life is hers to live and no one elses. I hope that if she is religious, she will also be spiritual, and always remember that the qualities of love and compassion affect humanity more positively than dogma. Most of all, I hope she lives a magnificent life and that she is always surrounded by people who love her and treat her like the little queen that she is.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Video Podcast : Episode 7 : Three Actions to Help You Move Forward




I was so inspired by a YouTube video featuring Lisa Nichols where she talked about her rise to living her dream.

In my evolution, I am hungry to change the circumstances of my life. I am increasingly aware that if I want a different result then I need to do something different in every moment. My vision board is a bunch of post-its on my wall. The post-its have due dates, specific scenarios, meeting and speaking with certain people, and bank balances that I will manifest. In all my 43 years, I have attempted the typical collage-style vision board with pictures and that just didn't work for me. I love my post-its and I love my handwriting. I have excellent penmanship and there's just a connection between my mind and the actual writing of the vision of my life. Every day I want to add more.

As I make this transition, I realize that I have a lot of hang-ups and emotional things that have held me back for so long. Leaving Hawai'i and my old job was one of the ways I let go of things that are not authentically me anymore. So often we let life move us along. I was so used to reacting to things instead of being actively engaged in choosing the life I want to live. That's not me anymore.

A little over a year ago, I was melting down. I was riding in the car with my older brother telling him how trapped I felt. It was like my divorce had begun to peel away layers of my life that no longer served me. At that time, I had just watched that Steve Harvey clip where he talks about taking risks and doing the thing you love doing. My brother is driving and I am crying my eyes out talking about how my life is not what I had envisioned for myself. The future seemed bleak if I continued on the path that I was on - trapped by a job that forced me to comply with their strict code of conduct and my heart so weathered and broken. I was doing the ugly cry and my brother said, "Then jump! It's time to jump!" He set my mind at ease by addressing all of my concerns that were holding me back. In that moment, I decided to JUMP. 

Deciding to JUMP was the easy part. Undoing all the years of negative self-talk has proved to be the real challenge. I am a positive person to everyone else but myself. I can talk someone up and shiny them up for the world but I have a difficult time in talking myself up. Every day I make a conscious effort to say, 
"I can do this." 
"I got this." 
"I am brave and courageous." 
"I am talented." 
"I am loved."
Whether it's social or cultural conditioning that has made me only focus on the things that I'm not so good at, I want to end that practice now. I am going to celebrate all of the good things about me and walk in my most perfect truth. You should too. When we are sure of who we are, nothing anyone says matters. You take that power back from whoever or whatever you gave it to. Own your life decisions and actively engage in creating the life you want.

I don't care anymore about the criticisms of small-minded people. And some of my closest friends clown my attempt to change the circumstances of my life. I really don't need that type of negativity in my life so I keep my distance. I want to be surrounded by people who have achieved the things that I want to achieve. I want to be surrounded by people who are cheering me on and assisting me on my rise.


The morning I let go of the guilt surrounding my shortcomings as a daughter. If you watched the video, this will make sense to you.