It always interests people when I tell them I grew up in Hawaii. They usually ask why I left, what it was like growing up in a tropical paradise, and if I loved SPAM.

It’s not easy to answer those questions without tainting their views of the islands.

I pride myself in my ability to blow sunshine up my skirt and bask in the kind of naivety only the dreamers of the world could know. Optimism is my sidekick. She’s a loyal friend who, even when shit goes down, makes the ride worthwhile. 

But even with the right attitude, sometimes shedding light is hard.  And although I have amazing memories of eating fresh coconut (after an hour of cracking one open on the sidewalk), dancing hula every May Day in school, and screaming “whoo-hoo!” until I lost my voice ridingthe Waikiki waves, the negative stuff still creeps in.

Show me a perfect family, and I’ll show you a Leave it to Beaver marathon. And even they had their shit.  

I have so much love for my family, and I know my mother did the best she knew how, but the residuals of her poor choices are embossed in my psyche; a mental tattoo not even laser technology can erase. I’ve accepted this, and even moved passed it to a huge degree. It’s easy when you live thousands of miles away.

This time tomorrow, I’ll be sitting in my window seat, iPod turned up and head in Mantra Mode.

Everything’s going to be alright.

When you grow up The Black Sheep, where no one expects you to be anything but a disappointment, it’s easy to rest on those cards. You’re set up to fail, and live with the: “I may as well fuck up, they don’t believe in me anyway” mentality. But for those who dare to live their lives believing in themselves in spite of their circumstance, something happens. We consummate our self confidence by marrying faith and trust in ourselves; a paradigm shift begins, and we take control of our lives.   

There’s no better feeling than the palpable crescendo of self-love.

So, even as I sit here, mentally preparing for the angst this trip will surely bring, I remember that I don’t need to retreat in to the girl they once knew. I can own my strength in character, and be mindful of self-sabotaging road blocks.  And I will remember the little girl who danced hula in school, splashed in the waves, and preferred coconuts over SPAM.

.

School play (I’m in the navy blue dress with white sandals)

My first hula performance. I’m wearing the blue sarong.

 

Performing for May Day (I’m the first one in red muumuu on the left)

Dancing Hula at friend’s wedding

“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.” – Bruce Barton 


10 comments

  1. I love you, girl. You are strong and beautiful and you've come out on top of that mountain. Victorious. Don't ever forget it. I know that pain of never being enough for your mom. It doesn't leave you, but just remember you ARE enough.

    Like

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