Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Love Dedications

Kids that grew up in the 80's and early 90's know all about radio dedications. In Hawai'i, the evening love dedications on the radio started at 8'ish. It could have been 9 but I'm pretty sure it was 8:00 p.m. The DJ always signaled the beginning of his show by playing Love Songs Are Back Again by Band of Gold. (I embedded the YouTube video at the bottom of this post.) I think of it with great fondness. Listening to the DJ send out messages from one person to another before playing a song always tickled my brain. I wondered the circumstances behind the dedications.

You would hear any combination of the following messages:

"This goes out to Jay in Pearl City from CeCe. She's thinking of you and hopes you're thinking of her too."

"Shawn wants Karen to know how sorry he is and that he is going to do whatever it takes to show you how much he loves you."

"Happy Anniversary Jake. From Lisa. Let's celebrate this weekend."

A song would play that the DJ selected to go with the dedications. I remember hearing Just Once by James Ingram a lot on the radio in the early to mid-80's. Almost Paradise from the Footloose Soundtrack. Endless Love, Diana Ross and Lionel Richie. At such a young age, I couldn't have understood the lyrics the way I do now but the music certainly was beautiful. The lyrics of love songs have taken on new meaning now that I'm in my 4th decade of life and have suffered more broken hearts than one person should. But I lived to hear the nightly dedications back then. As the years wore on, the dedication songs gave way to You Are My Lady by Freddie Jackson, Through the Fire by Chaka Khan, and Whitney Houston's Saving All My Love For You, Still Say Yes by Klymaxx.  There are so many songs that I could name that would take me back to the 80's and those late nights, laying in my bed, listening to the radio. The love ballads captured the different nuances of being in love or consequently, falling out of love.

I would write out love dedications in my journals. I actually broke out the journals that had all the love dedications to see what songs I was using back then.

February 16, 1989
TO: 1989Crush
SONG: Forgive Me For Dreaming by Elisa Fiorillo
MESSAGE: Forgive me
I bet this song brings back memories for those of us that came up in the late 80's. It reminds me of specific moments in time that I wish I could relive. Childhood was so free and chock full of brand new experiences. Love. Like. Hurt. Crush. All kinds of new emotions. My cousin and I would sit in her garage and listen to this song on repeat. We would talk about our secret crushes and all the guys we thought were cute. I miss the innocence of it all.

February 20, 1989
TO: 1989Crush
SONG: Tender Love by Force MD
MESSAGE: Here I lay all alone
The piano introduction of this song certainly takes me back to the 5th grade. There are two specific memories attached to this song, for me.
**First is the movie Krush Groove. The love scene between Sheila E. and Blair Underwood just about knocked my 10-year old socks off. My parents did not let us watch this movie. I had to sneak to watch it. I don't know how we happened upon the video but we got our hands on it. If only real life love scenes were like this one. It was beautiful. Tender!
**The second memory attached to this song -- 5th grade Class Trip to Camp Erdman. It was the night of the flashlight dance and there was an earthquake somewhere in the pacific which prompted an evacuation due to a tsunami warning. Growing up in Hawai'i, surrounded by nothing but water, tsunamis threats are just what it is. We evacuated away from the beach to Waialua High School where we played games until the all-clear was given. When we went back to Camp, we still had our dance and I remember Tender Love was most requested.

The only time I ever got through on the radio to make a dedication was in 2002. I can be certain of a date if I look it up in my handwritten journals because I distinctly remember writing about it. I was on my way to work, driving from Mililani to Waikiki on O'ahu. I worked for the Hilton back then and I was listening to the Frank B. Shaner Morning Show. Frank's show (I can call him by his first name and I'll explain why) was a Hawaiian music program. And if you have never heard his show, he is a crack up in an old-school Hawaiian style way. Consider my surprise when I saw a picture of him and he is on the lighter shade of Hawaiian with features to match. When I get through to talk to him, I tell him that I want to send a shout out to my dad working in the plant nursery at such-and-such place. He asks me my dad's name. I tell him. Low and behold, we're related! I'm skeptical because I don't recognize his name but after the conversation I definitely went through my family history and found his mother's obituary. What a small world and that was the green light for my dedication to my popps. I can't recall the song but it was a good one. Indeed love dedications can include shout outs to family.

I heard a song this morning on the Steve Harvey Morning Show on 101.3, the Big DM, Columbia, South Carolina. Ne-Yo's Good Man came on. Of course the tune is catchy. He samples D'Angelo's (Untitled) How Does It Feel. Using that song already hooks every single woman that has ever seen D'Angelo's video. But the lyrics. The lyrics that Ne-Yo penned for this song is so simple and so beautiful. I heard his interview with Steve Harvey when he released this song and he explained that he wrote this out for his wife. I think he said wife. I don't keep up with celebrity gossip. Ne-Yo explained how his girl told him from the beginning all of her deal-breakers when she is dating a man. He was so impressed. I am assuming because of her high standards. And the song is a result of how he wanted to be a better man for her.

Having said that, let me close with this. This is what I want from whatever man is brave enough to love me for life, maybe even forever. I want him to promise me the things that Ne-Yo talks about:

I ain't nowhere near perfect but I promise,
I promise to make it all worth it
Giving you the things to be the man you're deserving
Making sure you're smiling
Way more than you're hurting
Taking my time to hear you when you're talking
Remindin you how bad you are often
Keep them legs shaking
Making love and making sure you understand
That's in my plan
Said I just wanna be a good man, good man
To you girl, That's all I want to be
That's all I want to be baby

I wait for this love dedication to come my way and I hope it will stay for all the days of my life. Let this be his declaration to me and be the reminder that prompts him when he's feeling trapped in our relationship. Surely, years of being together with one person can certainly get dull. The hope is always that he will not give up on us. That he will find the strength to resist outside forces. I know that I don't want to grow old alone. I can see clearly me sitting in a rocking chair, on a porch somewhere, seated across the love of my life.... whoever he is. We're old and gray and STILL only have eyes for each other. I pray this will be me one day. And I pray that my heart will never be broken again.



Friday, April 13, 2018

You Think You Pretty?

My friends and family say that I am "feeling myself" a little too much lately. According to them, my excessive selfies on my social media is the manifestation of me "feeling myself" a little too much. People text me or message me about it. Honestly, I don't really care what people think anymore. Does it hurt when my closest friends say I just want attention? Sure. But what they think of me is really none of my business and it has taken me all of my life to get to this point. I am no longer in the business of having to explain myself to anyone or to somehow feel bad for "feeling myself" a little too much. And honestly, I want to surround myself with people who are positive. I'm not saying NOT to tell me your honest true feelings but let it be constructive and not meant to tear me down. Certainly as I move toward living the dream, I will need people to help ground me and keep me authentic but as I said, let it be positive and constructive.

I was raised in a culture that demanded humility and absolutely NO outward expressions of vanity. I am 42 years old and I am still desperately trying to overcome the idea that honoring my beauty is bad. I am sure that many Samoan girls and women can identify with this. I grew up getting berated for trying to be "beautiful". My mother, her mother, her sisters would call me "cheeky" if I spent too much time in the mirror. The result was me being very uncomfortable with my femininity. It was easier to be a "tom boy" and mimic the actions of my older brother because he was almost honored for his brawn and his physical attributes. If he played flag football, I wanted to play flag football. He wanted Jordans, I wanted Jordans. Even my selection in clothing looked like his - very boyish and masculine. If he got a duffel bag for his football stuff, I wanted one instead of a purse. Eventually I embraced my femininity in my late teen years but the transformation was very awkward.

It was the day of my senior prom the first time I let my mother take a tweezer to my eyebrows. She had wanted to do it several times before but I absolutely would not let her because she had discouraged it so much in my childhood. And now that I was turning into a woman, at least physically, I just didn't trust that she wanted me to be beautiful because she didn't want that for me when I was a child. Well, that's not entirely true. It's not that she didn't want me to be beautiful. It's like she didn't want me to know that I was beautiful?!

My mother actually graduated from beauty school. She loved doing hair. I have pictures of me as a child with beautifully coiffed hair styles that were far too grown up for me. It's funny how these coming-of-age experiences stand out in my memory. When I think of the tweezing experience, I am immediately transported back to that moment in time. I about died from the pain of it and only allowed her to do one side. This is why you will NEVER see me post pictures from my senior prom because I only had one eyebrow shaped and plucked. The other side was my normal. I think I destroyed most of the pictures from that night anyway. Several months after the prom, after I had graduated from high school, I was sitting in a friend's home in Carson, California. She was my bestie at the time. We were talking while she plucked her eyebrows. It was at that very  moment that I decided to finish what my mother had started.

I have spent a good portion of my life trying to understand why I was discouraged from honoring my beauty. Even now, it feels funny to refer to myself as beautiful. My mother's insistence on modesty in the way I dressed and how I behaved is probably a reflection on her upbringing. Thus, it was the only way she knew how to mother me. As a grown woman now, I can understand some of her reasoning but I wish she would have fostered my self-esteem and help me to appreciate my reflection and my body. Instead, I was shamed into behaving a certain way. I will never understand the use of shame as a tool for control. It has such terrible side-effects that lasts long into adulthood. I know it sounds like I blame my mother entirely for the way I interpreted her mothering. That is not entirely true. She did the best she could with the tools she had.

Being teased by other kids had a large impact on my self esteem also. On so many occasions I remember getting dressed for school, feeling pretty as I walked out the door. As soon as I got to school, one particular boy would ALWAYS tease me about something and most times it had to do with the way I looked. And in typical bully fashion, he was the instigator in his group of friends. His friends would giggle and laugh at his remarks at my expense. I had no words to defend myself. Even now, my eyes well-up with tears thinking of how he made me feel. I think if I had the confidence to know that his words didn't matter, I would not have tried to disappear into the wall whenever he was around. Surely, I tried desperately to stay out of his way. I didn't have thick enough skin to deal with his put downs. Maybe things would have been different if the women in my family helped build me up instead of tear me down. Maybe I would have been stronger to not take to heart what the bully was saying about me. We will never know.

The old me would turn into a shrinking violet if someone was to tell me, "You think you pretty?" Really, the person asking the question is insinuating that I think I'm better than everyone else and that I am really not that pretty, else why would he or she ask the question. "Do you think you're pretty? Cuz you're not," that is the real meaning of the question. I know it sounds strange but in my 'hood, where I'm from, this is a typical reaction to a beautiful person. It reeks of insecurity and a touch of jealousy. I know very attractive people that have asked that question, "You think you pretty?"

The new me has no patience for anyone that wants to stifle my enthusiasm for my reflection. And if you ask me that question today, "You think you pretty?" My answer is emphatically, "Hell yeah! I do think I'm pretty. I'm gorgeous. I am beautiful." Really? That is so shallow. My physical appearance is not even the best part of me. And as I step out from behind the shadow of my childhood where being beautiful was somehow dirty, I refuse to let anyone tell me different. Hell Yeah, I think I'm pretty!!



Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Spring Fool : Chasing Forever Edition

April 10th used to be a very special date to me. I suppose it is still special since here I am blogging about it. Ahhh maybe it's just a day for me to remember old love. I met my first love on this day many moons ago. It was all very magical and I was swept up in such a crazy whirlwind of new feelings and emotions. I was just 18 years old - so young and tender and brand new to grown-up love. He was so apprehensive of whatever was developing between us, and I, I was head over heels for him. I don't know what it is that makes people fall in love but there's nothing like it. Physical attraction leads to spending time together and before you know it, you are falling helplessly down a rabbit hole completely unable to stop gravity.

Here I am 24 years later and I have noticed the same pattern when I fall for a guy. The fireworks and the magic of new beginnings make me foolish. I overlook all the things that might be potential "red flags." Well, I don't actually overlook them and it's not that I don't see them, what happens is that I place those red flag behaviors neatly in a compartment in my mind that says, "I can change that." And maybe that's not something I should do anymore or maybe it's part of my charm? I have a thing for building up my man. My closest friends say that I pick "Project Men" - my selection in men need some shiny-ing up to take the roughness off of their edges. I don't mind that. I love that I can be a positive influence with the man I intend to love. A man should be so lucky to have a woman who supports him and pushes him to his greatest heights.

Even if I am attracted to "the project men," the last thing I want to feel is judged for my selection. Nothing anyone says can actually steer me away from my bull-headed stubbornness. I like what I like and nobody has to understand my choice or even agree with it. In fact, everyone thought I was a fool when I married my ex. Everyone was so sure that we were going to fail within the first year and, I can't lie, it was a rough first year. Hell, we had several rough patches. People thought I had made a big mistake and that it was too soon from my last relationship. They said that we didn't really know each other. It didn't matter because all of the comments came after he and I had already run away to Illinois to get married. We lasted thirteen years before he called it quits and I complied. The last thing I wanted was to stay with a man that didn't want me. But here is what I know. Here is the secret. If there is anything I know about myself, it's that I know how to be a good wife but more important, I know how to be a good partner. I know how to build my man up and shiny him up for all the world. I know how to support him and I know how to take charge when I need to. I am the difference. And so what if everyone judges my choices. Nobody has to understand it.

I know that I always talk about love and I'm obsessed with relationships and the dynamics that happen in marriage and now in my single-ness. I don't know if the topic is redundant but I do know that LOVE isn't going anywhere. It will always be a part of the human condition; how we want to cohabitate and nest and ride this road called life with a loving partner. I don't think I will ever lose the desire to share my life with someone. April 10th, every year, reminds me of new love and how much of a spring fool I am. But even though I've been hurt before, I will never lose my enthusiasm for finding someone to share my world with, to chase forever with. Even though it terrifies me to give my heart away again, I still want to believe that someone out there wants to give me the world. Someone out there wants to love me completely. He wants to be my protector, my provider, and wants to be by my side through every joy and every pain. I know he's out there maybe looking for me too and I just have to believe that love will find me again and this time it will be forever. #iStillBelieveInLove 



Buyer's Remorse


My last post I briefly mentioned that I was buying a house. Since I made the offer and it was accepted, I have felt nothing but STRESS. Feeling stress is NOT what I need in my life. And it occurred to me, just now, that the STRESS is an indicator that I don't agree with this purchase and that I should NOT move forward with purchasing a home.

As soon as I turned that over in my head and came to a conclusion, I called my Popps to get his take on the situation. I explained to him the stress I feel about purchasing this home. With a very matter-of-fact attitude he said, "Get rid of the stress." With that response, I felt good about the decision I made and I have stopped moving forward with buying a home here in South Carolina. It's just too soon. My father was actually very thrilled that I had changed my mind of buying a home in South Carolina. I know he is hopeful that I will return to the islands soon or at least closer to the west coast. I cannot. Not just yet. I have so much to do! And I just love the South. I have always loved the South in comparison to anything out west.

The confusion I felt after making the offer on the home really threw me. Isn't that what every one wants? The ability and the opportunity to purchase a home. I suppose under different circumstances, I do want that. But right here and right now is not that time. Part of my apprehension with buying a home here is that it locks me in and I am committed to this place. I don't even know if I am staying here in this place. I know how to live conventionally. That's what I just escaped from. I don't want a life of convention and conformity to the rat race of a job and bills. I am still relatively young. I feel young. I have NO OBLIGATIONS right now. None. This is a moment in my life, ripe with opportunity. To change the outcome of my life, I have to make different decisions and take risks that I have previously shied away from.

My dissatisfaction with my job is a recent development. I am very under-utilized for the amount of skill and talent I have. I am not modest in that area. I know exactly how good I am at what I do. So I am looking for growth, more money, but more than that, I want to make my biggest dreams come true. A part of me is grateful for the small work load I have because it does afford me a lot of time to pursue other things. However, while I'm making the dream happen I need to make more money. That means that I am actively looking for a better paying job. So... UNIVERSE... put it in my lap. I will wait.