Saturday, August 26, 2017

HeartBreak + Forklifting

Today was rough for me. Actually, the last couple of days have been rough. So many thoughts in my mind... needing to get my mind and heart right to move forward in life and not feel so weighed down. I just want to come out from beneath the grey skies. I was doing good for a minute but certain events in recent weeks just put me over the edge to where I can't ignore the conflict in my heart. After much contemplation, I have concluded that I need to do what's right for me and only me. I cannot be concerned with anyone else.

This morning, one single song triggered a host of memories that I just could not ignore. Bonnie Raitt, I CAN'T MAKE YOU LOVE ME. It took me back to 2001 when my first husband and I were separating. We divorced in 2003. I was taken back to the last time we made love before we parted ways. I knew he was leaving me and had known for weeks before he finally departed.

Turn down the lights
Turn down the bed
Turn down these voices inside my head
Lay down with me
Tell me no lies
Just hold me close, don't patronize
Don't patronize me


I had probably been very melodramatic leading up to our actual separation. How do I say goodbye to the only man that I had ever loved? How can he leave me and break my heart with little regard for me? Why was my love not enough to keep him here with me?

I'll close my eyes, then I won't see
The love you don't feel when you're holding me
Morning will come and I'll do what's right
Just give me till then to give up this fight
And I will give up this fight


I remember him kissing me. It always lead to making love. I absolutely loved that about us. We had a very compatible sex drive. This time was different than any other time because I knew this was goodbye. I think about that time in my life and just can't help but sob like a baby. I feel every single emotion I felt way back then. Even after all these years, I just can't shake those raw emotions and it seems even more intense now. It's funny how that works. I will NEVER get over my first love. NEVER. There will always be unfinished business between us. 

So this morning, as I am experiencing all these feelings all over again, I was crying like a baby. My eyes were swollen and red from the tears that just would not stop. I was falling to pieces. In the nick of time, one of my besties pulls up to save me from myself. She takes one look at me, her eyes narrow, and she says, "Who did it?" She tells me to get dressed. As is typical with me, whenever I'm stressed, I go right to work. Apparently she was having a melt down also and needed to get some physical activity.

We made our way to our job site about 45 minutes away and we put in work. We moved large items around. It required the forklift and thanks to my diverse resume, I know how to drive a forklift. Doing physical labor always helps me forget stuff that bothers me. Today was no exception. By 7:30 in the evening, we were spent and found ourselves pigging out at the local Mexican restaurant. Physical labor and sweat makes for good therapy. I am so grateful for my sister-friend who saw my bat signal and came to my rescue.


#NeenaLoveDrives
@ NorthShoreLiquidation






Friday, August 18, 2017

Say A Little Prayer For You

Made this video for the guy I like to call, "My Mentor," Richie Norton. I was such a groupie of his wife who is a fabulous photographer as well as Richie, both are extremely talented entrepreneurs. I love basking in their glow. They have such great energy and charisma. Prior to meeting them in person I followed them closely on social media. I read Natalie's entire blog in a matter of days. And Richie's free e-book, I devoured in a couple of hours. They are the salt of the earth.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Life Is a Collection of Experiences



Life is a collection of experiences.

I have become increasingly comfortable with being single, unattached, divorced, and free. I am not in a rush to be with someone exclusively. I am actually enjoying the freedom, the ability to choose my destiny. The road ahead is mysterious, scary even but it invigorates me. The adventure of new experiences or the potential for new experiences fills my world with a brand new excitement that I have not felt in a very long time.

I miss the comfort of my ex and I will admit that my birthday weekend had me really sad. I wanted to be with him desperately. I wanted him to take me out like we have done for my birthday for the previous twelve years. I wanted him to hold my hand, to make love to me, to  hold me long into the night but I know it would have been all wrong. There's just no way that my heart can handle that. Even though he offered to take me out, there was no way I could have done that without feeling all kinds of sadness the next day. It would get in the way of my healing and I cannot turn back now. I have come too far to go back to that place of loving him. Even though we had some really good years, I think we just grew apart wanting different things from life.

I could never be the one to leave. I only know how to be loyal and committed. I am truly a woman of my word. If I said, "Til Death Do Us Part," I really meant it. But he decided to leave and I can only respect him for his courage to make the changes that he saw fit. I know I never want to live under the gloom that was taking over our marriage. I never want to feel that dead inside again and I am sure he was feeling that way also. At the same time, I had a deep love for him and he will always own that piece of my heart. Life truly is a collection of experiences. Though he was not my first love, he is and will always be a significant character in the story of my life.

I was having a discussion with a friend. We were discussing first love. Every person has that one. My first love was everything that you would expect. He was pure love, animal attraction, physical satisfaction, and yet was also pure hurt. We compared the emotions of our experiences with our first loves and our reactions are identical - that we would run back to them in a heartbeat just to feel that rush again.

Why is it that we want to run back to that comfortable place of first love? Both she and I were similar in that we loved them with complete abandon. We gave our whole heart to them. What I experienced with my first love is that as shy as I was, he was patient with me. We explored our emotions and our physical desires together. He cradled my heart and my body like no one ever has. Even now as a 42 year old woman, I have only ever been fully satisfied with him and not just sexually. He knew my body and could take me to the heights of pleasure but even deeper than that, he appreciated my heart, and was absolutely in love with my mind. First love is supposed to be like that - a collection of brand new experiences that we brave together.

We wish beyond all wishes that we could take back the heartache that came with first love. It could not have been first love without the heart break. My first love will always own that title of "first love" because he broke my heart, because him leaving cut me the deepest. And my foolish heart was so naive to think that he could love me in my totality forever. And yet, I look back at the fierceness of my love and the strength that I loved him with and I am in awe at my capacity to love him. When we parted ways, I did find love again but a part of me will always belong to him. That place in my heart that was reserved for only him is still locked away never to be experienced by anyone but him.

The woman I have become since I split from my first love, I could never be her without having experienced that hurt. I honor that event and all the years since we split because it has added so many facets to my womanhood. My kindness, my compassion, and my capacity to love has only increased because I know what a broken heart feels like. And though I wish that our love had never stopped, I am also grateful that I found love again. And even though that second love has left me, I know I will experience love again and fall truly, madly, deeply in love with another. All of these experiences of love and pain and hurt and joy and passion are possible because I have loved and I have lost. And I honor all of these trials and triumphs.

Life is a collection of experiences.

#iStillBelieveInLove

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Zipline Review: CLIMBworks Keana Farms

I went ziplining with my nieces yesterday. In typical Leo fashion, I celebrate all season long. The party begins on July 22nd and ends August 22nd. So I have a couple more days of celebrating until Leo Season is officially over.

I had not planned on going ziplining. My sister-in-law had won two tickets to CLIMBworks at Keana Farms located in Kahuku, Hawai'i and she was sending her two oldest children to use the tickets. My oldest niece is leaving for college in just 12 short days. I am so crazy excited for her. This zipline thing was part of her "things to do" before leaving home. I decided to tag along. My father had given me some birthday money so I could afford to splurge on the $150 price tag (Kamaaina Rate).

EASE OF BOOKING:
I walked in there and asked if there was any availability for me. There was one more spot left and I snatched it right up. The worker behind the register was helpful and worked quickly to get me signed in and paid for. There is a 275 pound weight limit and they do actually weigh you before they take your money.

LOBBY AREA:
The lobby was clean and very nice. There are plenty of workers to assist guests with any needs.

GETTING GEARED UP:
Everything is provided for you. You just show up. The workers get you geared up and assist in making sure all the necessary safety precautions are taken. There aren't any lengthy safety videos or lectures. You go on your first zip right at the beginning where the guides give you some quick tips on being safe and having fun.

THE EXPERIENCE:
The tour is two and a half to three hours. After the first zip, you go up the mountain in an ATV. The views from the top are stunning. I think we did a total of 8 zips. One was as fast as 45 mph. The highest I believe was over 1,500 feet. It was an amazing experience! In between zips, you hike or climb or pull yourself up on a rope. It is quite invigorating.

OVERALL:
I had a great time. There is nothing negative that I can say about the entire experience. The guides were fabulous and friendly. They knew each of us by name after the first couple of zips. If there is one thing I wish I had done is take my camera/phone. I didn't take it with me on the hike because I thought I would have dropped it. All the videos in my short vid were taken with both of my niece's phones.


Thursday, August 03, 2017

Paper Hearts : Birthday Edition



Wow. I will be turning 42 tomorrow.

Last year was the saddest birthday ever. My now ex-husband and I were fighting like cats and dogs. We were both so unhappy. I had made plans for dinner and dancing atop the Ala Moana Hotel. It used to be called Aaron's but it's now called Signature Steak House. It still has wrap around views of the mountains, the city, and the ocean. When it was Aaron's, it was definitely one of my favorite spots. I frequented it a lot back in the early 2000's. The men were required to have a coat, which is always a nice, classy touch. The food, the drink, the views were absolutely fantastic. But my most favorite thing was that it featured a hot R&B band that played there on the weekends. They did covers of every single R&B song you can imagine from the 60's to the present. It was something kind of wonderful. I am not sure if the band has continued with the new restaurant but when I made reservations last year, I was hoping that it would still be a feature.

With my then husband and I fighting, I cancelled the reservation. There was no point in having dinner together. We could hardly stand to be in the same room much less have a conversation and be romantic. And I was craving the romance, wanting him to fall back in love with me. I had no idea how to fix whatever was happening with us and I sat idle and watched as our relationship came to a grinding halt. This, by far, has been the most challenging year for me and I have been through some really hard ish in my life.

Marriage number two is down the tubes and I am not sure if I will ever be married again. It is nearly a year since he and I parted ways and I miss him immensely. Recent conversations between he and I have crushed my heart and eeked out every last bit of resolve that I have been holding on to. What I have to do to get me through contact with him is to force myself to think that he will never love me again. And I have to be okay with that. I have to convince my heart and my mind that he has rejected me because he has. Even though every cell in my heart wants to run back to him and feel his strong arms around me, feel his gentle kiss upon my lips, I cannot let him just manipulate me whenever it's convenient for him. The new NEENALOVE will not accept that.

I crave love and affection as much as the next person but I just can't bring myself to put my heart out there again for another person to trample. I crave a deep connection with another soul - that is no doubt. And though I may encounter men that set my soul on fire, at this very moment I have NO desire to completely give my heart away. As a dear friend recently told me, I have a paper heart right now. She said I need to keep building it so that it doesn't shred to pieces at the first hint of rejection. One of these days my ex will not have this effect on me and I will be able to converse with him as if we were old friends. Today is not that day and it is taking EVERYTHING in me to NOT beg him to love me again.

So as my 42nd year commences, my focus is entirely on me and what will make me happy again.
I will not be mistreated.
No more paper hearts!  


Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Do What Makes You Happy: Pole Fitness Edition



There's this new thing called "pole fitness." It's a new trend in the fitness world. Actually, I don't know how new it is, really, but it's brand new to me.

A bunch of us had a groupon to attend a specific pole fitness class this past Saturday. It was so much fun. Even though I felt painfully awkward, it was still a blast. I would share the video on here but there are people on the video that I did not get permission from to post. I will respect their privacy. Also, what happens at pole fitness stays at pole fitness.

The class we attended was put on by Fit for a Goddess. It is the cutest little studio located on Ward Avenue in Kakaako, O'ahu. Their entire studio is dedicated to pole dancing fitness courses. Scheduling the groupon was fairly simple. The class is usually booked solid several weeks out so we were surprised that the owner was able to accommodate all five of us just a couple days prior to the class.You are instructed to bring a towel, a yoga mat, and water to get through the 90-minute course.

I arrived a little late at the studio. The first thirty minutes is spent stretching and getting to know your classmates. This class has a different level of intimacy that requires one to be comfortable with their fellow participants. As expected, the class was made up of entirely women. There was a nice, even mix of women in different age groups, ethnicity and abilities.

After the thirty minutes of stretching, the instructor goes right into teaching a dance routine. The expectation is that at the end of the day's course, you will be comfortable performing a five-minute routine. Well, I survived it. And I have to stress that it felt so awkward but it was also very invigorating. The instructor makes you want to behave sexy even if it is way outside of your comfort zone. She encourages you to come out of the shell that you're in and to release any inhibitions. I have to say it was loads of fun and super empowering.

As a woman, so often we take on all these labels. WIFE. MOTHER. TEACHER. DRIVER. CHEF. DOCTOR. NURSE. ACCOUNTANT. SAINT. We get so caught up putting everyone's needs before our own and we forget to take care of ourselves. Part of taking care of ourselves means taking the time to get beautiful or to feel sexy. This can come in the form of all kinds of things. What's sexy and beautiful means something different to everyone. For me, I have had to change how I feel about being sexy and beautiful. I realized that I relied so much on my partner's opinion (ex-husband) of me rather than what actually makes ME feel good. This pole fitness class made me feel fantastic. And I don't have anyone to do the dance routine for but it doesn't even matter.

I also love manicures and pedicures. When I was in my early twenties, I did my feet and nails religiously. When I got with my now ex-husband, all of that stopped. I don't know why I stopped but here we are thirteen years later and I have brought it back! When I was going through the ordeal of divorce back in November, my BFF in Maryland took me to the nail shop that she goes to. I was so out of practice. It had been over a decade since I last did my nails. Now there's gel polish and paraffin dips, exfoliation and mud wraps. It's all brand new again.

What I realized is that I had stopped taking care of me because I always wanted to make sure that my husband was happy. I did not want to spend excessively on me because I wanted him to have everything he needed and wanted. I wanted him to be so happy and so content with life that he would never leave me. He would never break my heart. YetIi the end, he left without explanation. So today and every day, always choose you first! Always take care of your heart and do what makes you happy.

Buy the shoes.
Dye your hair.
Get the plush spa package.
Do the surgery.
Go on that Girls Trip.
Take that pole dancing class.
Cut your hair.
Book that massage.
Reconnect with your first love.
Write that book.
Schedule that dream trip.

Take a leap of faith and move toward all the things that make you happy. In the end, no one is responsible for your happiness except you.