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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