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Me (left) and my sister on the north shore of O’ahu. 1973.
Sometimes all it takes is a song. That feeling of going home again, knowing you never really can. Smelling your mother’s perfume through the melody of childhood. It’s intoxicating.

There are so many times I am asked about being raised in Hawai’i. The looks on faces that whisper envy never disappoint. I want to tell them it wasn’t the same for me; that paradise was Survivor. Each time my mind struggles to say the words, I stop myself. I sound ungrateful.

Growing up on O’ahu as an addict is not unlike growing up in Detroit as one. There are shadows in every city.

Through writing my manuscript, I am slowly getting to where I can visit such a magical place and not be negatively affected.

Sometimes all is takes is a song.
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10 comments

  1. I think that people envy you because their life was different than yours. People without an addiction see life in Hawaii as a paradise. If they were in your shoes, then they might not feel the same way. As for me, I want to retire to a warm climate. So the thought of Hawaii is very inviting.

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  2. I have vacationed in Hawaii some years ago in Honolulu as a matter of fact. I wondered how I could stay. The windward breezes made it feel heavenly. Thoughts of good times or bad can have many triggers, be it food aroma, or music, or words .

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  3. I was humming the song as soon as I saw your title on my blog roll.I hear what you're saying; for better or worse, 'places' are often defined by the experiences we had in them. We've lived some beautiful locations – Mercer Island, Washington, and San Juan Puerto Rico, just to name two – and yet our experiences there make it difficult to answer seemingly simple questions like, "Gosh, what was it like to live there?"I spent all seven years in Seattle in love with the city and battling crippling depression. The four years in the Caribbean were magnificent, if you don't count the isolation, the sense of not belonging, the struggle to maintain a normal balance for your family in a place that is, for all intents and purposes, a foreign country, and the fear of knowing that there are factions all around you who hate Americans and would have no problem bombing the building where your federal agent husband goes to work every day.When we can finally let go of the pain those experiences brought with them, and embrace the growth and the increased compassion for others who are still struggling that resulted, then the locales in which they occurred can move to a more peaceful place in our memories.Sometimes, it takes forever.

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  4. My sweet Chrissy. I know your experience growing up in Hawai'i leaves you feeling differently than I do. But let me say 2 things; growing up there for me wasn't all plumeria's and luau's (come on, you've met my mom), but I'm glad I went through all that in such a warm, inviting, beautiful place, and secondly; my greatest memories of becoming an adult there are with you!! I'm lucky you were there. me ke aloha. xoxo

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