Wednesday, October 10, 2018

3 Things: A Star Is Born

VIDEO: 3 Things - A Star Is Born
Ok. Who wants to take me to see this movie... again? 

I don't know what creates sparks between two people but I am aware enough to know that it doesn't happen with everyone, both romantically and with new friends you meet. I absolutely love that magic that happens with new love. Remembering new love fuels everything in the relationship that follows. 
The magic that happened between my current beau and I continues to push us forward. He calls it love at first sight. He said he knew there was something magical between us the minute he laid his eyes on me. And I have to concur. You can't even make up the circumstances behind our meeting. When it's time for love to walk in, it's time. 

I have never been shy about love. My heart is wide open. I don't stop myself from feeling. Does that make sense? Some people who have been hurt in the past tend to cut off their feelings. I'm not one of those. If I feel love, I move with it even against all logic. I know how to follow my heart like that. And now, more than I ever have in the past, I know how to stand on my own two feet and not worry about what people around me think about my life choices. No one has to understand me or my choices. I am the only one that has to understand it. 



Friday, October 05, 2018

Short Trip Home

I was in Hawai'i - September 23rd and I just returned yesterday. What a trip! I didn't get to hang out with everyone that I wanted to. Most of my time was spent with my nieces and nephews. I love hanging out with them. They are so smart, so brilliant, bright shining lights in my world. It's always tough to leave them but I know that I cannot build my world around them as much as I want to.

I am so grateful for everyone that made time for me. I felt so spoiled while I was there. Dates for every meal of the day... a girl could get used to that even though I am not really a breakfast eater. I mean, I like breakfast just not in the morning and definitely NOT every morning. Me and Popps did our normal hide-and-eat adventures. Tita's Grill and Zippys. That's what we do. Lei Lei's, Kula Grill, Kaneohe Pancake House, Original Pancake House, Papa Oles, and the list goes on. I put on at least ten pounds while I was home.

When I walked into my apartment last night, I was a lil choked up to be ALL.BY.MYSELF. Alone. I was writing in my journal that it was always nice to come home to someone... that someone would be waiting for me when I opened the door. What greeted me was a messy house and complete and utter silence. I came home with wayyyy more than I went with. I checked a bag and a cooler plus my carry on and I sent a very large bin of goodies on Delta Cargo. I am pretty well stocked with my goodies and I brought more of my books from home. Anyway, I was irritated that I had pulled a muscle while I was in Hawai'i and had to lug all that mess into my apartment. My cousin offered to send his sons with me to unload my bags but that just wasn't necessary.

Anyway, I miss the noise of my nieces and nephews and their constant banter. I put them in front of my camera, lights on, and mic'd up. They are such naturals in front of the camera. No shame. Wide open. Full of interesting things to say or maybe I'm just biased because I am one-proud-aunt! Whatever. I'm here in South Carolina with a purpose and I will fulfill it, God-willing.



Thursday, September 27, 2018

Goodbye Dear Friend

I heard some heartbreaking news this morning. A death of a dear friend from my high school and college years. It has me feeling some kind of way. Though I don't have all the details, the word is that he died of a heart attack. News spreads like wildfire with social media. Death from heart attacks are so sudden. You can't prepare to let go like you do with a cancer patient or any other terminal illness. With sudden deaths, you just have to let go.

We had two nicknames for each other. The first one was Blue Zebra because it was a club on Restaurant Row in Honolulu. I was with him the first time he went. There was a whole bunch of us that went together. He was fresh off a 2-year LDS mission and so brand new to the club scene. Me? I had been using my cousin's ID to get into clubs since I had turned 17. Anyway, as we walked into the club, I wanted to go to the bar side to drink. He was like, "Can you just stay here and dance?" I rolled my eyes at him and told him that there were all our other friends that he could dance with. He seemed content with that answer and I made my way to the bar. After that night, we called each other Blue Zebra. He said I was too much and I told him that he hadn't seen anything yet.

The second nickname we called each other was french fry.  And people would ask the question, "Why do we call each other French Fry?" and I would relate this story. It all started in our Macro Economics course in College. The teacher asked for a product so that we could break down all the costs associated with it. Of course, I picked french fry because it WAS and still is one of my favorite foods. Especially the crinkle cut fries. Anyway. he couldn't stop laughing at my answer -- FRENCH FRY. We spent the rest of the class listening to the teacher break down the french fry from potato spuds to distribution to McDonalds and other fast food chains. We always laughed about it when we saw each other. No one ever thought this story was particularly funny or that the french fry was funny. Who cares though? We thought it was funny.

Life is too short to be anything but happy. We get caught up in all the little details of life instead of living in the moment and in the here and now. Death has a way of reminding me about the things that really truly matter. I don't know what tomorrow brings but I will not be a prisoner of my fears. Some of my closest friends have the harshest judgments on my life and how I choose to move about in the world. And I will not be a prisoner of their judgments anymore. I will not fear the unknown or the mysteriousness of my future. There is no more time to live in fear. For right now, there is only LIFE. LIFE and LOVE. Sweet love.

I bid farewell to a dear friend. I can't believe he left in this way but I honor his light and his life. The world is a little dimmer but we will move forward and remember to hold our loved ones a little closer.



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.
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.



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.


  • 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.


  • ...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,


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.


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.



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.



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.



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.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

What is the Best Piece of Advice You Have Ever Received?

I had a conversation with an old friend this past weekend. It was different than any other conversation he and I have ever had. Without disclosing too much about him, I have fond memories of us that go way back. We may have lost touch over the years but we have never lost the closeness that we've shared. When we've seen each other in person, we are still the way we were way back when. The last time I seen him, I was picking food off his plate that he hadn't touched yet. He didn't seem to mind. I will always consider him a "bestie" and he feels the same way too. Up until this point our friendship has always been platonic. NO funny business at all. I suppose it still is platonic because he is married and a very devoted father to his children.

At one point, nearly two decades back, we were hanging out a lot. I was separated from my first husband and he was single. We would take these long rides around the island and just talk and laugh. We have always been able to relate to each other and there were never any awkward silences, ever! In our conversation over Facebook Messenger, he changed the condition of our friendship, somewhat by relating his emotions and feelings. I lifted his exact words from our conversation, "All those times we went cruising, we shoulda made love to this song." The song, you ask? I Wanna Be Loved by Eric Benet. I don't know how long he has thought of me in that way. If these are old feelings from way back when, why did he wait to tell me? If these are new feelings, why now?

Nothing can really blossom from his revealed feelings unless we rendezvous like hormone-crazed teenagers. That would make him an adulterer and me the skanky ho that wanted it. You know how you've been friends with someone so long, you take on a certain persona when you're with them. I was in his "friend zone" and never, in my mind, to be more than that. We have never crossed that line between friends and lovers. I was always very careful not to provoke it because I knew too much about him but mostly because I never thought he was attracted to me. He never tried either.

When we would hang out, we would traverse every topic on the planet from funny and entertaining to heavy and deep. On one of our long drives, I revealed to him my biggest dream - to write. We talked about way more than that and he was actually "with it" too. That was nearly 20 years ago and I'm just starting on the dream. For whatever reason we found ourselves in a conversation about why he and I never hooked up, I am grateful for the way he sees me. Lifted from our conversation, "Sorry about your marriage but I don't think men understand the responsibility and privilege of being with you." That right there! Am I wrong to think that he is seeing value in me in a way that my ex(es) didn't? And if so, why now? I can't lie, it brought tears to my eyes. I carry around this broken heart, trying to move forward but still feeling every bit of inadequate to allow someone to love me again. Who can love a girl that has been abandoned, twice? There must be something wrong with me, right?

He dropped nuggets of advice on me that seem to come from deep inside his heart. What he said to me makes me think that he wants me to have the fairy tale that I always talk about. I feel like his sentiments came from such an unselfish and genuine place and it kind of knocked me off my feet; so much so that I am thinking about it a day later.

HIM: For realz tho if us men were mature enough to appreciate a beautiful, intelligent woman like you is better than a million hoochies, you'd get the man you deserve.

ME: Maybe one day

So what is the bit of advice that he gave me?

HIM: Don't give up hope and for God's sake don't settle.

Simple! And though I've had tons of advice over my lifetime from dearest friends and family, for some reason, those words hit me like a ton of bricks. DON'T SETTLE! 

HIM: Rudy Giuliani said, "Never compromise your principles because the worst thing you can do is compromise and lose." You deserve a finished product at this stage of your life.

Okay who walks around with Giuliani quotes in his head? LOL

ME: On the real, I'm not looking for anything. I am going to do me. Make all my dreams come true.

HIM: If someone can add to those dreams then let em in. Easy to say but hard to do... but you got this. Remember Five Heartbeats? Your greatest writing will come once you have known pain.

His 'drop the mic' closing sentiment: Still wish we made love but will have to settle for loving you from afar.


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Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Video Podcast 6 : My BFF Speaks

I am here to share the collective story of humanity. Every single person we meet and greet has a story that defines them.

I spent my birthday weekend with my BFF in Maryland and thought it was a perfect opportunity to get her in front of my camera to tell her story. People are so interesting. Life experiences shape us and mold us into who we are in every moment. I know her very well - her hurts, her trials, her childhood, her broken hearts, her joys, her triumphs. I know how far she's come and the hurdles she's overcome to get to where she is. It is no small feat. We have all traveled tough roads. The way we overcome the trials and elevate ourselves is to be celebrated. 

I will always see the best in people, at least I will always strive for that. When I hear someone's story, even if it's painful, I see how it has changed them and made them better. Even my own story of my life is fraught with broken hearts and yet, everyday I want to love and be loved. A broken heart will never stop me from giving love. And the energy that comes when you meet someone special cannot be manufactured. It's either there or it's not. 

I am, without apology, a hopeless romantic. 
I believe that everything is beautiful and everything has purpose. 
I believe that people are good.
I believe that everyone is capable of doing everything their heart desires.
I believe that the hurt we experience pushes us to be better and more compassionate.
I believe that love is every human soul's deepest desire.
I believe that love will find me again. Whole and complete.

And though I miss the loves that have left my life, I anticipate the beauty of the love that waits for me, that is searching for me too. The most beautiful sentiment I received on my birthday was posted on my FaceBook page.
"Happiest Birthday to this Tender Roni! 
You have taught all of us who know your heart 
how to be fearless in love."
Tender Roni was my "thing" in high school. I was a Bobby Brown fan and I used to say, "My name is Roni, Bobby's heart belongs to me." I would write it all over my school books and all my doodling from high school. But her perception of me... that I am teaching people to be fearless in LOVE. That's me! All day! 

I cannot say if my current love interest will break my heart tomorrow or in 13 years (like my ex did) but I am fearless. I am not afraid of the broken heart that may come in the future because I am going to cherish every single moment for as long as he will be mine. And I will not stop my heart from feeling the way that it does because he might break it in the future. No. I choose happiness now, without fear, without apology. And if this happiness extends into forever then so be it. Whatever troubles may come our way, I am fearless and I will stand by him through every storm and every joy. Love is!

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Drive By Post : Birthday Weekend

Wow. Whirlwind of a weekend. Knocked me off my normal pattern for blogging, writing, and social media.

I had a really good time this past weekend. I hung out with old friends and family, met new friends, and partied like a rock star. This year has been a little different in how I celebrate Leo Season because I am devoting every spare moment to the writing of my novel. I started out writing a contemporary American romance. It is not that anymore. It has evolved into something more meaningful than romance and there are so many facets to it that I had not originally conceptualized. It is STILL a love story. I am in love with my body of work. And there are a million other stories tinkering in my brain and in my imagination; characters that are peeking from behind the dust in my mind. They are fighting to come out. This makes me sound schizophrenic. I'm not! LOL... but I do live in fairy tale land. Most story-tellers do!

I drove out to Maryland for my birthday weekend. My cousin met me there and we hung out with my sister-bestie at her home and in her hood. Before driving out to Maryland, I had written in my journal that I wanted to go dancing and oh-my-goodness I DANCED. My legs felt like jello, they still feel like jello, and I realize that I do need to go back to the gym. I love to dance. I may not be good at it but I really do enjoy it. I especially love it when I've been dancing with someone all night, having a good time, and that last slow jam comes on to close out the night. That is the best! I want to be with someone that loves to dance too... especially if he's good at it.

You never know what can happen in a single moment. It can change the course of your life. One simple act. One single moment can change your perspective on EVERYTHING.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Video Podcast Episode 5: Random Topics

Asking the question, "What should my topic be on my next video?" resulted in random topics that were fun to sit and read. I think I might do this more often. It's fun to see what people want to hear about.

One of the topics I cover is bullying. I can only apologize to the people I may have terrorized as a child. I wish I could take back all that ugliness. I own up to it and I wish to say sorry to anyone who has felt intimidated or bullied by me. I have moved forward in life by vowing to never be that mean girl again. I consciously make an effort to be kind to everyone I meet. That is no small feat because I do admit that I have some prejudices. This is not something I am proud of but I do admit that I have these weaknesses.

Finding my way to being my most authentic has taken my whole life. I feel MORE me now than I have ever felt in a very long time. So often people struggle with who they feel they are inside and the person that their family wants them to be. I love my childhood and how my parents raised me and I have never wanted to disappoint them however, I find that being my most genuine means breaking away from the structure of my childhood.

I present this quote by Immanuel Kant from his writings in Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals:
To secure one's own happiness is a duty. 
If you happen to find yourself reading the entire text that comes after that quote, it really is an analysis on how people choose happiness and the things they trade/sacrifice for said happiness. The text gives an example of a "gouty patient" who sacrifices his health for the temporary happiness of indulging his appetite. The general desire for happiness influenced his will. Some make certain choices out of a sense of duty. Example - my choice to attempt to live the life of a devout LDS woman was more out of a sense of loyalty to my mother and the way she raised me. At the end of my life, had I continued down that path, could I have said that I had no regrets?


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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Candlelight (ZHAVIA Cover) by Sheyla & Naina

I cannot say enough about my two nieces. I absolutely love the young women that they are becoming. They are smart and beautiful and talented but most important, they are kind. I always harass them about going on The Voice or American Idol. They just laugh at me. I think the world of them. I want the world for them. I have always told them to work the dream instead of focusing on Plan B. Why go after that "degree" if what you really want to do is make music/act/broadway?

Work/Live the dream my sweet nieces.
There will always be time for Plan B.
Don't live in the gray area.

Sheyla - playing the guitar. Subscribe to her YouTube Channel.
Naina - on the left. Subscribe to her YouTubeChannel.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

What Would You Like To Be Remembered For

The question, what do you want to be remembered for is a common question in motivational workshops. I have seen mastery classes that actually do an obituary for you, complete with your picture and your name. This is to prompt you to contemplate the condition of your life and if it is where you want to be. And if not, what are you going to do about it?

I am going to be 43 on August 4th. The older I get the more real mortality becomes. The magic of my youth and the idea that I will never get old is fading and I realize that I have not done the things I was put on this earth to do. It has been a struggle to make these transitions, to extend myself beyond the known boundaries of my life. I have no paid mentor telling me how to navigate the self-publishing world but I am not afraid. I am not afraid to fail. I am not afraid of falling flat on my face because I will push until I do the things that I have set out to do.

Beyond my personal goals though, I wish to impact the world in a positive way. So often, we are inhibited by our cultural and religious upbringing that says we must seek to elevate "the village" over personal growth. It does serve its purpose and some people's legacy will be that of sacrificing their own personal desires to serve the greater good. It has taken me nearly 43 years to put that type of thinking on the side and move out of the neutrality of my life and into believing and knowing that my life is powerful. I am not a bystander, watching life happen around me. I am empowered to do whatever it is I am called to do.

We read and see quotes like, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Every time I would see that quote I used to think that it was for the people who had power and influence, not for me. That quote was not for lil ole me in the middle of the Pacific, working the 9 to 5 everyday. And even if I never have the power and influence like Oprah, I can still effect change in my small part of this great big universe. I share Marianne Williamson's famous quote:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. 
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. 
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. 
Your playing small does not serve the world. 
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that 
other people won't feel insecure around you. 
We are all meant to shine, as children do. 
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. 
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. 
And as we let our own light shine, 
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. 
As we are liberated from our own fear, 
our presence automatically liberates others.

I have struggled with identity. Who am I? I have been blessed, beyond measure, with a healthy imagination, a bright mind, a kind heart, and a optimistic vigor for life. Why am I settling to be just like everyone around me when I know in my heart that I am so much more. I am not saying that I am better than people around me. What I am saying is that I have spent most of my life being the same as everyone instead of following my imagination. I have worked so long at 'fitting in' rather than allowing myself to stand out and honor the gifts that I have been given. What good is a sharp knife in the kitchen drawer if you never use it? What good are kind words if it is never spoken? What good is a song if it is never sung? We are here on this planet, in this space and time, and it's time to use our gifts to truly create the change we wish to see in the world.

With that being said, I hope that at the end of my life, it will be said of me that "She lived a magnificent life."

Friday, July 27, 2018

Writing is Art

Navigating the self-publishing world has been an adventure. I am pushing myself beyond my known boundaries. The feeling is exhilarating and scary. I have not thought, not once, of failure and I am grateful that I am gifted with such a fierce optimism. That optimism has gotten me through some very rough patches and I know that it will carry me through the rest of my life.

People have asked me why I don't submit my manuscript to a publishing house. Here are my reasons:

1. TIME - I am not sure that they will move on it quick enough for me. They are looking for "trending" stories that are highly marketable. I think I am a great story-teller but I don't want to sit and wait for them to decide. I set a deadline for myself and I want to keep that deadline.

2. EDITING - Though I would appreciate feedback, I don't want my voice to be drowned out by an editor that wants my story to be "more marketable." The idea behind my writing is not just to sell books but to have my words and the stories make an impact on the reader.

3. CREATIVE FREEDOM - I have a clear vision of how I want the cover to be and how I want the text to be formatted.

I have not eliminated the possibility of pitching this manuscript to a publishing house. A dear friend of mine whose resume is quite impressive as a cultural expert (she was a consultant on Disney's Moana) has already put me in touch with Little Island Press located in Auckland, NZ. I don't want to wait though. I want to push this first novel into the print world. There are so many more that are coming after it.

People think that writing is cheap. And it is. It doesn't cost a thing for me to put my ideas on paper or here on the world wide web. But to bring it all to life costs money. Think of an artist that has sketched or has sculpted or has took beautiful photos. How do they bring it forward? They need the materials and then they need all the fluff to present their final product. Fluff = frames, columns and stands, printing costs, marketing -- it all costs money to present the end product to the world. And though sales and future commissions on their creative works might be a byproduct, that will not be realized for weeks or even months, sometimes years. Vincent Van Gogh probably had no clue the "value" of his work while he was alive.

I think of my writing just as an artist thinks of his or her pieces. I place my heart and soul into the things that I write and when I present it to the world, I make no apologies for the story that I tell. The best stories will change you, will push you to think of things differently.

So as I continue to weigh my options for bringing my first novel to life, self-publishing is still my chosen avenue. It is expensive -- from copyrighting the material to the actual publishing and the  marketing. I thank the people who have contributed to this first endeavor - donors who gave without hesitation. And though it is not enough yet, I am extremely grateful and humbled by their generosity.

= = = = = = = = = =

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Video Podcast Episode 4: Who Influenced You?

In my pursuit of living my biggest dream of writing full time, I want to pay homage to the teachers and books that have influenced me and fostered my love of reading and writing. Children that attended Hau'ula Elementary in the 80's will certainly recognize the two teachers that I mention.

Mr. Ho, who retired a couple of years ago, was my third grade teacher. My parents kept all my report cards from grade school and I laugh when I read them. Mr. Ho would say things like, "She's smart but has a bad attitude." "She wants to be the teacher." I can't help it. I have this natural curiosity, even back then, and was and still am verrrrry impatient. I am not proud of my behavior but there would be times when my impatience made me look like a know-it-all. Mr. Ho would ask a student to read out loud. It drove me crazy that he would NEVER pick me to read out loud. So when the chosen student would read out loud, and he or she would stumble over words, I would blurt out the sentence that they were having a difficult time reading. I can see now why Mr. Ho NEVER chose me. I was not the one that needed help. I was so eager to read through the sentences that were so simple for me not realizing that I was probably intimidating the student that was actually reading. Sorry.

Mr. Ho also had story time where the entire class would sit down on the floor. He would be seated on a chair, front and center. He would tell us ghost stories. The Man With the Golden Arm was a favorite. I knew how the story would end but the way he told it was always so surprising. It is a cherished memory from Mr. Ho's classroom.

In the 4th Grade, I had Ms. Elly Tepper. There are only a few teachers throughout my years that had the ability to make EVERY student feel special. She is one of them. Not only did she inspire my love for reading and writing but she really pushed me to love my culture. I don't believe she is a Pacific Islander but the way she embraced our music, dancing, and cultural practices made me love it more.  4th Grade at Hau'ula Elementary back in the 80's was the designated grade for learning Hawaiian History. The whole year was spent learning cultural practices of my Hawaiian ancestors and it culminated in a week-long, end-of-year trip to Hawai'i Island (where the volcano is). While there we visited ancient heiau (temples) and visit important historical places that we learned about throughout the year. We visited Pele (the fire goddess) at Kilauea. Ancient fish ponds. Summer palaces of the royalty before the kingdom was overthrown by greedy Americans. We danced hula in hotel lobbies and at schools. It was really a beautiful experience and I wish I had my journals from that time but those were lost in a flood.

When Ms. Tepper needed to calm the class down and get us to focus, or we were getting for a test, or we were about to meet an important guest in the classroom, or we were getting ready for a performance, or we were about to get off the bus on a field trip, she gave the most inspiring speeches. The emotion that she was able to pull from each and every student with her speeches will always stay with me. Even if your home life was horrible, when you entered Ms. Tepper's room you knew that she only saw us as little kings and queens. I cannot remember the words that she said but I certainly remember the feelings that she was able to evoke from me. She would walk around the room, between our desks, the heat of the day invading the classroom, and would remind us of our nobility. She was a big fan of the Hawaiian word, ha'aheo. It means proud, like how the mountains stand tall and proud. And she would use that word to remind us how to be. She would tell us to be dignified, proud, and remember always who we represent with our actions. I am a crybaby and there were times that my eyes were filled with tears from her pep talk. I don't ever remember being scolded. She was always firm and direct, not condescending at all. She is a bright light in the world of education in Hawai'i.

I hope that you sit back and contemplate the major influencers in what you are doing today. Maybe reach out to them and let them know the impact they made on your life. I looked up both Mr. Ho and Ms. Tepper and they are not on Social Media. But I am determined to find a way to reach out to them to let them know their impact on me. If you know them, send them a link to this blog post.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Video Podcast Episode 3 : 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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