Thursday, June 27, 2013

TBT: 1994 July 20th


Wednesday
July 20th, 1994

Aroha?! So I'm here in California. I'm happy but anyway. It may sound stupid but I miss Shane. Yeah, I do!! There's just something about him. Uh huh. But if I'm gonna have fun, I have to just enjoy my time and stop worrying about him. I know we aren't committed to each other but as close as we are, I guess we don't need it. Still, he's still seeing Lori --> the OTHER woman. I gave up Thomas not exactly for Shane but honestly... Shane was part of the reason. But what we did break up for is because things just aren't working. I don't think it could. I guess maybe because I didn't give it a chance. Why should I when Shane makes me worlds happier. That's just how he is.

Today, we got in about 6am. Aunty Lesieli picked us up at the Oakland Airport. Oakland is soo huge as compared to the cities in Hawaii. Anyway, traffic wasn't too heavy. (I wanna call Shane)... Got here in Richmond and we just kicked it in the house. Went to sleep. You know, just rested up. I wasn't supposed to call Hawaii besides mom but I called Shane's work twice. Well, at least I got some paper to write him and stuff. After we all got some sleep, we went to Frisco and Larkspur. Just cruisin' and all-a-dat. Can you believe I haven't spent a dime yet? Pretty good. Weather here --> very cold! 50 degrees maybe or less. It's the middle of summer, what's up with that? :-) Oh, we rode on the Bay Area ferry. We sat on the sun desk and it was FREEZING!! Dang, we went out there by Pier 39 and Fishermans Warf. All the way live. I'm tellin 'ya. Uh huh.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Process: Ordinary People

I have been attempting to complete Chapter Two of my "Ordinary People" fictional piece. I am realizing that one of my weaknesses in writing my novels is that I do not map out the characters in my stories. I usually allow the story to unfold as I write. This approach has made me less effective, slow, and is totally subject to the whims of the events of my day in the real world.

For instance, I have been reading Ladder of Years: A Novel by Anne Tyler. It's a story about a 40-year old wife and mother who, out of the blue, walks out on her family. The story follows Delia, the main character, and her journey after walking away from her husband and family. I give this short summary of the novel because my main character in ORDINARY PEOPLE, who hasn't been named yet, was beginning to sound like Delia. Even though many married women can identify with Anne Tyler's portrayal of a woman who is tired of being a wife and mother, I don't want my character to be and sound the same as another character. Does that make sense? Delia is, however, an interesting character but very similar to many women across the world. Though I can't say that I can identify with the mother part, I can definitely follow Delia's dissatisfaction with being a wife. Being a wife is not as bad as I just made it sound. It's definitely tough though. Sometimes there are more bad days than good but the good is REALLLLLY good.

In the past I have tried writing stories that was everything that I thought would be interesting or "deep" to the audience. That is just NOT working for me nor do I think it would work for any true writer. I am beginning to trust my own voice. I don't want to ponder how an audience receives my writing - I want to write from my gut and from a position that is authentic to me.

A couple months ago I read The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis and saw the Oprah interview. If I remember correctly, Oprah asked Ayana if any of the characters were similar to her. Ayana said that none of it is pulled from experience. The characters were from her imagination. I find that hard to believe because many of the characters I develop have some kind of similarity to me. I thought that was an interesting statement. Forgive me if I am remembering that interview incorrectly. I read the entire book and I did a short summary back in March about it. I wasn't as excited as Oprah was about that book only because it left me wanting more from it. To introduce so many different characters and leave all their stories so open-ended was a real drag by the end of the book.

I hope to post Chapter 2 on Friday. If not, definitely by Monday.


* * * * * * * * * *

ORDINARY PEOPLE : CHAPTER 1 "SHOWER TO SHOWER"

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Left-Handed Letter

I sprained my wrist, which is why I have been absent from my blog. It's not too bad but still bad enough where I'm not totally comfortable typing for extended periods of time. I'm glad that if a wrist needed to be sprained, it would be my non-dominant hand.

* * * * * * * * * *

 Dear Left-Hand,

I miss you my left-hand. I need you and want you back at full capacity -- PLEASE!

I promise I will care for you in the best way that I know how. I will not over work you or burden you with excessive work outs that may damage you. I realize that you cannot handle too much weight, at least not all at once.

Consider the brace around the wrist a bra to support you while you heal.

**heavy sigh**

When you come back to me, I promise that I will do my best to pamper you.

Sincerely,



The Rest of Your Body

Friday, June 14, 2013

Foot Binding and the Measure of Beauty

I completed two books in the past couple of weeks 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.

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 remember traveling to Malta and taking 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.



Thursday, June 13, 2013

TBT: 1994 July 19th

Tuesday
July 19th, 1994

Aroha?! Well, I'm on my way to the States. Excited. But you know somethin'... I miss Shane. It was good to be with him before I left. He came to the terminal. Of course it's on Hickam so it was not a problem! I think?! :-) Anyway... I was standing by the pay phones. That's where he said he'd come. I turned the corner and there he was. I was so happy. I thought he wasn't gonna come. Why I thought that, I do not know. It was so neat cause he took me out on the flight line. He showed me all the planes and their purpose. Talk about grand tour. After we came in from the flight line, he went to smoke a cigarette and I went and got the camera. I couldn't conceal the happiness I felt. It was written all over my face. No doubt about that. Then I made Michelle come and take a picture of he and I cause I don't have one. Then she wanted Shane to take her on the flight line. She's so funny.

Shane and I was just rappin' about this two week separation. Dang, I miss him already. Slow tears falling. All i have is this tiger to remember him by. The one he bought for me. We were walking to the plane and Shane pulled up in the truck and we said goodbye one last time. Tonight, I had the urge, when he pulled up in the truck to tell him -> I LOVE YOU -> but I didn't. He might think it's too soon for all that. And with him leaving in November, LOVE will either make it or die fast and hard. I want us to at least be friends cause he is a friend worth holding on to!!

Thomas was hounding me this morning. Of course, I was irritated. Just leave me alone!! Naw but fo' realz, I feel his love for me but mine just ain't there. I told him "I'll always love you" but as a friend and nothing else. He's taking it the wrong way as if my love is romantic. At one time between the two of us, it was a romance. That has all changed. There're so many pressures in our relationship. So much elements breaking it down and not enough building it up. I think he refuses to accept the fact that things just aren't working. Those L.T.G.'s always gettin' in the way. You know what, I don't even like talking about it anymore. I feel guilty that I have to leave Thomas like I did but my space and time... I'm taking what's mine.





Wednesday, June 12, 2013

FOREVER (watch the video in this post)

...remembering when I felt like romance was possible.
but it all fades

sometimes it turns into something more beautiful
sometimes not

i am grateful for love
grateful for companionship
grateful for the capacity to feel emotion




Monday, June 10, 2013

Unconditional

Sometimes it's hard to look back on life and wonder where all the time went.
Ten years is a long time to love someone
So often, we stand at a crossroad and have no idea what direction to take

I love you.
We have danced to the same tune for ten years and I still want to dance that dance....
with only you.

Your smile is so precious to me.
Your concern for me - unparalleled.

Forever
For Always
I will only love you.

Even if we go in different directions, my heart will always belong to you.

Some people get through harder times than we've seen.
We can do it too but I don't wanna hold you back from any plans you have.
Live life fully and completely.... even if it's without me.


Friday, June 07, 2013

'Awapuhi Memory

My mother would have been 65 this year. As the years move on past the day she departed, I long to hear her voices and I wish so hard that I had taken the time to talk to her more about her childhood. I wish I made it a point for us to travel to Samoa together when she was healthy. I know she would not want me to live with regrets so I don't. When I see her again we will speak as if we had never known any time or distance.

I went to her grave site to place some artificial flowers there. My father had already placed fresh flowers from Mother's Day and Memorial Day and we have artificial purple hydrangeas there. Purple was her favorite color. In the last years of her life, my mother made me promise that her funeral would have lots of flowers. I carried that request over. My only wish is that I had bought her flowers while she was alive.

The morning of the day she passed away, my mother woke up just before I left for work. Usually, when I would leave for work, I would look in on her to let her know my schedule for the day. She was usually still asleep and would not rise until after 9am. That morning, she was rushing to get outside and into the yard while I was getting ready for work. I was running late that morning and my ride was waiting on me in the driveway. As I was getting into her van, my mother came running to me from the side of the house. Running, as in wobbling. My mother had broken her leg several years ago and the screws in her knee made it difficult for her to get around. In her hands were stalks of white 'awapuhi ginger that she had cut from her flower patch. The smell of the 'awapuhi will always remind me of her.

She says, "Babe, here," as she attempts to hand me the stalks of ginger.
 "Get a vase from the wash room and put this in your office."

In my rush to get to work and my impatience with the disruption of doing that, I tell her that I'm running late and I have to get to work. "Tomorrow," I say. "I'll take it tomorrow."

I will never forget that interaction. As I write this, I tear up thinking about moments like these.

My mother grew up in Samoa. She did not have indoor plumbing until she was well into her teen years and ready to leave home. They preferred cooking in the umu (google "umu samoa") or over an open fire. I think it is that upbringing that made her hold on to 'stuff' even if we had no immediate use for the 'stuff'. I always scolded her about hoarding things. Take these urns, for instance, in the pictures; these urns sat around the house for years. She had purchased them a long time ago to make floral arrangements for my great-grandmother's grave and my grand-aunt and my great-grandfather's and another aunt's grave. I hassled her constantly about getting rid of them because they were taking up space under the bathroom counter. She fussed at me for being so wasteful. I fussed back! She never did get around to using them and I'm glad because now they adorn her grave.






Thursday, June 06, 2013

TBT: 1994 July 18th


TBT= Throw Back Thursday = This is a look into my written diaries from nearly two decades ago. Most of it is straight from my diary. I may have omitted a thing or two, changed a name or two, corrected grammar, added a hyperlink here and there (for context, of course) etc. etc. The general theme of who I was all those years ago are IN TACT.


* * * * * * * * * *

Monday
July 18th, 1994

Just chillin'... doin' nothin'. Trying to make this journal readable. Or at least exciting. Well, I was just talkin' to Shane about me missin' my doctors appointment this morning. I guess I was just too lazy to go. Upset about what was told to me last time and afraid of what it would show this time. You know? Well, Shane was kinda disappointed and inside I felt bad. This man cared about what's happening to me. I'm frustrated with myself for not even making and effort to go. But anyway... I'm fixin' to go to San Francisco tomorrow. Gotta get outta Hawaii. Ya know?! Get away from Thomas. Shane drives me crazy. Now I know I'm feeling too much. I can't believe I actually consented to seeing someone who already has a "FRIEND". I think I'm crazy for actually doing that. There's just too many feelings. Too much emotions to deal with. I think about him all the time. I mean, he's seeing that other girl and it's driving me nutzo. I just don't know how to tell him... I don't wanna lose him because he does want his freedom. I don't wanna tell him how I feel and get rejected. Especially now in my life, I really don't need rejection. You know, we started with an agreement that we'd be free from those unnecessary bonds. I mean we'd be free to see who we wanted to. I mean there'd be no problems. But now it's so different. I fell different! But if committment and love come into the picture right now, I think I'd put a strain on it. A strain on our friendship. There's already enough pressures on it anyway. In the very beginning, the both of us wanted to get away from the committment thing. The both of us had Fatal Attractions stalking us. I had Thomas. He had that girl he's still seeing. Things just ain't right. I wish sometimes that I never got involved in an awkward relationship such as this one. Like I said, too much feelings!


* * * * * * * * * *

 
A pic of my diary where today's blog post was lifted from. The poems in this post are actually in my diary.

END NOTE: A dear friend of mine wrote the poem, A Fathers Love and Knowledge. I wrote the other one in response to the emotions that arise from rape. I viewed myself as fairly innocent prior to being raped. Even though I had been sexually active and drank and cursed like a sailor, I never felt as dirty as I did in the days and weeks following the rape. I look back at all of this and try not to judge the little girl that I was. I cringe at some of the things that my-little-girl self thought was important back then. I can't believe the things that I put up with in the budding relationship between Shane and I. She was, I am, a work in progress.... always!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Amazing - Just the Way You Are

As of late, I am thoroughly obsessed with Bruno Mars.

It could be because he's from Hawai'i. Class of 2003 Roosevelt High School grad. Sure, it could be that.

It could be because all the local news programs are leading with the passing of Bruno Mar's mother this past weekend. Sure, it could be that.


It could be because he's kind of a pretty girl. LOL... entertaining, to say the least.


It could be because he has written hit after hit for different musicians in the Pop and R&B community. Yes, it could definitely be that.

But today, I love Bruno Mars because he writes the most beautiful love songs. The kind of song that truly makes a woman feel special. I know I feel special every time I hear "Nothin' On You". Bruno Mars, birth name Peter Hernandez, co-wrote this song that appears on B.o.B's debut album.
Beautiful girls all over the world, I could be chasing
But my time would be wasted,
They got nothing on you baby
Nothing on you baby
Then there's "Just the Way You Are". This song, hands down, is perfect for girls and women everywhere to memorize and sing whenever they're feeling sad and "less-than-your-best". Last summer at Girls Camp. I woke my cabin every morning by playing this song on repeat for 20 minutes. I didn't go through the cabin screaming at the girls. I just let the song wake the girls. Who wouldn't want to wake up hearing such beautiful lyrics?

Oh, her eyes, her eyes
Make the stars look like they're not shinin'
Her hair, her hair
Falls perfectly without her trying
She's so beautiful
And I tell her everyday

I know, I know
When I compliment her she won't believe me
And it's so, it's so
Sad to think that she don't see what I see
But every time she asks me "Do I look okay?"
I say

When I see your face
There's not a thing that I would change
'Cause you're amazing
Just the way you are
And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for a while
'Cause you're amazing
Just the way you are 


Bruno Mars has quite possibly written the most beautiful marriage proposal song EVER! You can go to YouTube and search 'marry you proposal' and see the most creative marriage proposals ever. My favorite is Isaac's Live Lip-Dub.


Thank you Bruno Mars for bringing romance back. In a world where pornography and video girls are the norm rather than a dirty, little secret...... I'm glad to have Bruno's music that makes a woman, at least me, feel like romance is NOT DEAD.

I've spent all morning watching wedding proposals and feeling very, very gushy, mushy, and in love-love-love!







Saturday, June 01, 2013

Life Lessons in a Movie: After Earth

WARNING: Totally biased review from a Will Smith fan!

After Earth came out this weekend. I have been looking forward to this movie since they first started playing the trailers. I think Will Smith is so very talented. I remember when I first seen/heard Parents Just Don't Understand on Yo!MTV Raps back in the 80's. It was sing-songy-sweet and innocent enough for my parent's to, ironically, understand. So here we are about 25 years after Parents Just Don't Understand. The Fresh Prince is now a father in real life, a husband, and largest donor of the New Village Leadership Academy. I love that he and wife Jada Pinkett are heavily invested in an elementary school and word is that they are looking to expand into high school. I quote their mission statement from their website:
The New Village Leadership Academy is dedicated to the cultivation of powerful, self-educating leaders - men and women of virtue, wisdom and courage. We are nurturing extraordinary thinkers who are capable of creating healthy, happy, purposeful lives - world citizens who inspire greatness in others and propel humankind toward the greater good.
Can there be a better Mission Statement than that? I would want all those things for my children. POWERFUL. Men and women of VIRTUE, WISDOM, COURAGE. EXTRAORDINARY THINKERS. PURPOSEFUL lives; world citizens who INSPIRE GREATNESS in others. I am amazed -- MOVED -- by their mission statement. Frankly, Smith & Pinkett's vision for the future is inspiring and is a perfect intro for the life lessons I learned in After Earth.

Actually, before I list the LIFE LESSONS I have to give some background information about the movie. I mentioned how talented Will Smith is earlier in this post. We can add to his list of accomplishments - DIRECTOR. According to IMDB, Will Smith did most of the directing while M. Night Shyamalan did the artistic work of camera positions and how a scene is composed, etc. Smith was also fully involved in the development of the screenplay and story line. Impressive! Will Smith never ceases to amaze me (I could probably do a full thesis on each of the movies he has appeared in). The movie is chock full of 1-liners that will probably be classics in a few decades but could actually be a guide on becoming our best selves collectively... right now!

So here's my list of lessons I've learned from the movie in my own personal affirmation. I'm not going to explain each of them or how I came to learn a lesson because that would spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it. For those who have seen the movie -- the lessons should spark a memory of the movie.

1. Fear is manufactured. Even in the face of danger, I will not let fear be my guide.
2. I will take deep breaths and ground myself in the earth to clear my mind.
3. I will allow all the good things that my parents have taught me be my guide especially when they are gone from my life.
4. I will never take for granted the beauty and magnificence of Mother Earth.
5. I am on my own journey and I can do hard things.
6. I will change the negative stories in my life, deal with them, put them to rest then charge full speed ahead..... NO FEAR!!!