Dear Craftiness,

Dear Craftiness,

I realize that over the past couple weeks posts have been pretty debbie downer.  It was very cathartic to throw what I needed to say out into the universe instead of having it tucked away in my moleskin diary.  Anyway I came across an post in one of my favorite blogs Mommy Shorts about a mom who with her daughter creates dresses using paper and other reclaimed household objects.  The only thing I could think to myself was, “SOMEONE GET ME A SMALL CHILD RIGHT NOW THIS IS HAPPENING!”  (Don’t judge me for following a mommy blog it’s hilarious.  No shame and no pedo.)

I’m very sure I’ve mentioned in the past the affinity I hold for creating costumes made completely by hand and (almost) completely out of duct tape and cardboard.  I’m not sure when this all started really, but honestly no one is surprised that this has become a passion of mine (I’m super strange.  It’s just how it is).  Even though my portfolio of designs is not as vast as I would like it to be, each has taken on it’s own memorial spirit…as they are all built to only last one night.  It’s not shoddy workmanship on my part, it’s just when you’re walking around in wall to wall post consumer cardboard material, you want to be able to abandon said article in a timely manner.  Because although I love my work. it’s hot…like balls hot in there.

My first documented dance with costuming would have to be hat one year I tried to be Goku from Dragonball Z.  In place golden super sayan locks I went with the rainbow wig my dad had bought for a UH Rainbow Warriors tailgating event.

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It was a good year for costumes.  Notice Kristen’s Dumbledore in the foreground.  We had to improvise a beard so she spent most of the night attached to the wall where the fake spiderwebs were hanging from.  Also Marissa peeking into this photo had an amazing Patrick Star costume also handmade.  She actually is waybetter at this whole thing than I am.  I will try to find a full version picture of her.  As you can see this didn’t involve duct tape or cardboard, but a couple well colored sheets from the closet and goodwill.  I hadn’t discovered my mediums of choice yet.

Second and probably most notable was the Megazord costume coming from the show everyone should have watched as a child Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  Unfortunately I myself have no documentation of this prized costume, but you can probably imagine the original as it clunkily graced the screen of your home television screen clear in your minds eye (or you should be able to if you are at all proud of your childhood).

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Truly it was a glorious sight to behold.  To top it off I added speakers in the mastodon shoulder area that continuously played the theme song on loop and a hatch where the rangers had their command center in the middle to which I dispensed candy through out that balmy halloween day. Probably the best part of this costume was the fact that I duct taped a pair of slippers into the triceratops and saber tooth foot holds to anchor them on my feet, subsequently making walking a flailing trundling mess…much like the original.  I had to dismantle myself before entering door ways to go to class and walking up stairs to the front of Alexander Hall to accept my best costume award (it was 20 dollars at Jamba Juice…really Punahou?).  Luckily I have the greatest friends who just followed me around and helped carry the pieces.  Seriously the best friends.  I shared the Jamba Juice with them to be sure.

Another so-to-say award winning costume was for the Border’s Bookstore premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  A lot of my friends were going as various characters from the book such as Harry, Ron, etc. a bunch of girls went as “Hoe Chang” a play off of Cho Chang…you know anything to slut it up a bit.  Naturally I decided my best bet was to pick an inanimate object and run with it.  So I was the golden snitch.

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They had various age groups to which I was a contestant in the “adult” category.  Instead of doing an interview on stage to talk about my costume like everyone else, I had my friend Kyle who was dressed as Harry chase me around the store, thus highlighting the true nature of the object I was trying to portray.  Yes it was entertaining yet I still awaited my second place prize due to the fact that there was a guy who made what looked like a 2 month project dementor complete with stilts that housed dry ice that periodically emitted fog wherever he stepped. Needless to say one of the scariest moments of my existence was learning I had won first prize and seeing this giant black stilted Harry Potter fan drifting towards me through the children’s section isle.  Life resumed after he very politely asked to take a picture of me floated away and I was forced to do interviews with local news stations.  They were super awkward I made sure of that.  (Once again only a $25 gift card…there is no money in cardboard cosplay I suppose)

A few other costumes that I hold pride in are:

His and hers batman prom costumes

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The Jamba Juice umbrella

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Ms. Pac Man

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Water cooler

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and most recently Sprinkler

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Basically this post was to just show off how awesome I am at making things out of nothing.  They’re not quality…but then again they are totally worth it.  Long story short, my future children are going to have pretty spectacular costumes.

I’m not sure if there is such a thing as eating too much spaghetti…actually I’m certain there is and I have surpassed that limit…but I can’t help it.  At his current status, Baxter is about 7 months along…Baxter being my food baby for those of you not in the know…now you know.

xoxo,

-WLK

Dear Stranger,

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Dear Stranger,

The incredibly sad dichotomy of this situation is that you were once someone I knew better than I thought I knew myself.  I’m not sure what happened or if it was anyone’s fault, but somehow we’re back at the point we started.  Instead of walking toward each other however, we’re walking in opposite directions.  What do we do with the happiest memories that seem to cause the most heartache at the end of a friendship?  Is it worth it to even hold on to any of the ideas that once fueled the amazing feat of shaping the relationship of two individuals?

There are really no answers to these questions as we all experience the passing of love differently.  Some people tend to cut their losses completely and try to strike forward with a sense of immediacy.  Others need whatever closure they can glean out of the fraying ends of the ties that once bound them so closely to that other being.  More still will sit in the silence of absence never really knowing how to heal, but waiting for something to strike itself up as an answer.  No one way is greater or healthier or the better response, and realizing this is one of the hardest parts of losing a friend.  We all want to believe that there is a good way or a right way to walk away from someone, but in the end each footstep taken in whatever direction is full of pain, regret, and the want for a different solution.  There will never be a way that makes you feel “relieved” about a decision to separate yourself from love, even if it is a love that needs to end.

In going through one of these situations, it tends to feel overly dramatic, at least to me.  If you’re the kind of person who goes for that final conversation, more often than not you realize the futility of trying to talk things out because let’s be honest the issue of communication probably factored into the reasons for you leaning away in the first place.  The talk is meant to be constructive, and geared to make both parties involved experience the least amount of awkward tension.  Going in you can rationalize every point you want to make in a clean and tidy outline, but in practice feelings are messy and unfortunately there is never a “good time” to have this conversation.  These factors alone will always do you in.

You leave reeking of broken failure knowing that is probably the last time you’ll talk to your friend in that, “why would they want to deal with the complete and utter mess that is me instead of moving on?” and wishing things would have gone any other way.  All your other friends will tell you, “don’t worry you didn’t do anything wrong” or “it’s the other person’s problem now.”  Still, that feeling that you personally brought about the final moments of something beautiful can’t be shaken.

But one of the things to remember is that that singular feeling of loss and heartache is actually what you were looking for all along.  We’re not all masochists, but every in endeavor we set out on, we are seeking an emotional response consciously or not.  Nothing in this world can exist without it’s polar opposite, and until you feel the pain of the situation and recognize it to be true, you will never begin to heal that wound.  So, feel dramatic.  Let the gravity of what your heart is going through be acknowledged.  No one can judge you on how much you love, or how greatly you feel loss.  It’s the elegant and monstrous condition of being human.

The suggestion is to look to the future in trying to move forward; which makes physical sense after all.  It needs to be said though, to honor the past, even if there are things you’d like to forget there or cause you distress.  These are the experiences that make it possible for us to have a future as a mature and able minded person.  As cheesy as it sounds, the end of one adventure is the beginning of another.  Go ahead, take a day to feel sad or remorse about your decision.  Being emotionally vulnerable sucks and we all know it.  Don’t get stuck there though.  Although I think pain is a necessary evil, it needs to give way to healing at some point, and our own positive energy can only speed that process along.

This “ending” I keep talking about doesn’t have to mean you lose someone completely, it could be the start to a different chapter of your friendship, healthier in that you both have an understanding of one another you didn’t have before.  But even if it is the last conversation you have, let it come out of a place of love; a love that wants the best for yourself as well as this other person who still means the world to you.  If the best means becoming strangers again, at least you have the unshakable strength in knowing that along with the power to survive the breaking up of love, you have the spirit and resilience to bring it about again with the billions of other strangers who possess potential to love all that is beautiful and wonderful about you.

Chocolate. Just chocolate.

xoxo,

-WLK

Dear peace,

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Dear peace,

You are a sneaky little thing that’s increasingly hard to find both internally and externally in this life.  As hard as it is to come by, peace is something that is worth striving for.  Amongst all the noise and hectic nature of the world, it is necessary to set aside time to really drown it all out and just be in silence.  The absence of noise is something that is greatly undervalued.  I’m not saying life should be devoid of sound, but being silent in your thoughts is the only time to really get to the root of what we’re feeling or going through.  That being said, it’s probably the single hardest thing to do.

I’m not sure about you, but I can’t not be proactive about the issues in my life.  Sitting on the sidelines and letting it happen does not jive with the way I perceive the world.  Over the years however, I’ve learned that taking charge of a situation really may not be the best solution.  This goes against everything I was taught in young leaders.  I don’t mean be lazy and let other’s do the work, but in some instances there is really nothing to do but let nature take it’s course.  This is especially true when it comes to people.

It’s been a journey for me in these past couple months trying to find out what relationships are healthy, and which are toxic (See Dear Heart,).  It’s sad to say but there’s really nothing imbetween.  I suppose there are works in progress, but it can be seen whether these people are building you up or driving you in a direction that you don’t want to go.  I have learned however that as much as I still care for someone and try to prepare to salvage the friendship, sometimes it’s just meant to be let go.  That is one thing I have the HUGEST time dealing with.  I love talking things out, catharsis is like a drug and in my mind it can’t be achieved in ending a relationship without a discussion.

However, more often than not people leave my life without this exit courtesy.  This must have to do with getting older.  Growing up we have the time and energy to invest in more people, which is why it’s so much easier having more friends when you’re younger.  When we age though, I think there’s some unspoken understanding that people will come and go and along with there being no rhyme or reason there is also no discussion needed.  It just happens.  I’m still having a hard time dealing with this because of my avid aversion to change.  I want all the people I love to be in my life always, but in reality this can never be the case.  It will never be easy to just let go of friends without a fight, and maybe sometimes the fight is worth it.  In the end however, sometimes the permanent distance is better for everyone.

Back to peace, everyone has their own way of achieving some kind of inner silence in their lives.  For some people it’s becoming numb through various activities.  I’m not talking drugs or alcohol, but they are the method of choice for some.  Exercise and TV are also activities that avert the mind from issues and allow a sense of nothingness to settle in.  For me to really be introspective and productive in my silence however, I need to still be sentient.

The ocean has always been a part of my life since I was little, and for me it’s where I choose to go to be alone with my thoughts.  I have one beach very close to my heart because one day it will be the place where I return to the ocean in order to be with the rest of my family that has passed on.  Even though it’s frequented by a lot of vagrants and homeless people at night, it’s still a beautiful spot in which to ruminate and be at peace with the sound of the waves.

This always brings me back to my favorite poem by E.E. Cummings.

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The sea is a place where I continually find myself, both physically returning there and discovering new things about who I am as a person.  To me, it’s where I came from and where I will one day return to and where I will be between those two times.  I hope that you all have a place to really find peace because in these places is where we are the most happy and free.  That is what I wish for all the people I love: peace of mind and eternal freedom.

Today I had business dinner with four older haole gentlemen at a Chinese restaurant in Kaneohe.  It was interesting because normally I only eat with my family at said places.  I don’t think I like it.  But I did enjoy the cake noodle to the point I ate…all of it.

xoxo,

-WLK

Dear Heart,

Dear Heart,

I know you’re a busy and super complex organ that makes life possible within my body.  But lately I’ve been trying to get under the surface of that endocardium into the chambers of the ventricles and septums to figure out what really is going on in there.  Amidst the 5 liters of blood you’re pumping every minute and oxygen distributed to all parts of cardiovascular system…how does emotion factor into your to do lists?  Why do you start to race upon catching the eye of that cute barista at the corner coffee shop, or contract to the point of stabbing breathlessness when learning of the passing of a loved one?  These are questions I know will never have true clarity, but during this week dominated by love and the crimson celebration of Valentine’s, it’s a subject worth consideration.

I’ve never spent a major holiday in the thoroughs of a relationship or with someone of real significance in that sense.  Christmas and Thanksgiving were obviously spent with family, Halloween had me up to my nickers in duct tape and cardboard, and despite the hype for couples, growing up, February 14 was focused on getting to the drug store and purchasing my 30 pack of teenage mutant ninja turtle perforated cards that bore messages to my besties such as, “Cowabunga!  I love you more than pizza!”  Coupled with a ziploc bag full of Costco assorted chocolates…what more could you want?

In this light, I’ve never ever considered myself to be anti-vanlentine’s day.  Like any recognized event in our society, it’s been marginalized and taken to the capitalistic extreme.  Origins of the holiday vary culture to culture, but they’re full of tales of martydom for the sake of true love and the celebration of passion.  I can see how a lot of people take offense to the idea of a day that is so obviously trying to promote consumerism by showing how much you care through showering the people in your life with lavish presents.  I can also see how it’s been deemed “National Single’s Awareness Day” due to the fact that being a single female individual throughout 26 valentine’s days, there is an odd recognition of how the day glorifies the duos over the unos.  But I’ve never been able to feel animosity toward an event that I feel strives to embody positive ideals and well meaning messages.  I’m not going to say that I never wished I had a valentine to call my own, (my track record with significant others lends itself to my total zero expectation in these areas…now is not the post for that however) but I’m one of those sappy romantics that believes love should be celebrated in all it’s forms.

In saying that however, if you sit back and really take a look at the people and subsequent relationships you have in your life…how many of those could you do without?  It seems like a grim question, but it’s one that has provided me a lot of perspective on the idea of love.  It’s not to say that some of your relationships don’t have significance because people are all brought into our lives for a reason, but which people are actively shaping you and causing you to want to better yourself and your situation?  Which are maybe lessons you’ve learned from and are just holding onto because you’re bad at letting go of the past?  For me this past valentine’s day was very introspective and defining in the sense that I answered these questions about a lot of people in my life and those who came before.

If you’ve been keeping up with my seemingly random inane ramblings in this blog, you will remember that for me, 2013 into 2014 was a time filled with a lot of tumult and crisis (amongst other amazing times as well).  It’s not a bad thing to say that actually this has been the case for much of my life.  I went through loss at a young age of probably the most amazingly loving individual I’ll ever have the opportunity to know; my grandmother.  A lot of people view loss as tragic because it’s viewed as time cut short.  When I look back on what I remember and hear about my grandma, she lived in such a way that even though she was “cut short” on the things she could have done, the things she accomplished shinned so brightly, they, in her memory could never be extinguished.  She passed away from an aggressive terminal form of cancer, and although she could have gotten intensive treatment and survived her diagnosis another 6 months, she turned it down.  I don’t remember a lot of things from when I was 6 years old, but I do remember not understanding why I wasn’t allowed to see my grandma in the hospital, and how frustrating that was to be separated from someone I loved so much and had been such a huge influence in my life.  I also remember my own tearful goodbye to her as we scattered her ashes into the ocean off Diamondhead.

It wasn’t until years later that I was able to fathom her choice to let go and be alone throughout her last months.  As I see my grandmother in my minds eye, she was a strong radiant woman perpetually smiling and glowing with the light of warmth and love.  This is how she wanted to be remembered by her grandchildren.  As much as she herself desperately wanted to see us before she left this world, she would rather we carry the happy memories of our time together than be touched so heavily by the knowledge of mortality at such young ages.  The realization of this decision coupled with the way she lived her life, has shaped the way I think and view the world so many times over.   I think a lot of people want to live so that when they die, in a sense a void will be left in their place.  People will cry and lament over their passing because they were such a great person and did so many great things to be immortalized and remembered.  There’s nothing wrong with this sentiment, but to me it’s living for a very singular intent.

It’s not that I want people to be HAPPY when I’m gone, but when I leave this world I don’t need to be remembered for any great doings I may have done or achievements I may have achieved.  Like my grandmother, I want to be survived merely by the feeling of love and commitment to the people around me.  I don’t want there to be a void or hole felt in passing, but for that space to be mended together by the relationships that were built because of my existence and will be carried on after I’m gone.  The lessons I learn from others and in turn what they learn from me; these relational trades are what we leave behind as a building block for future ties between the individuals we care about.  I think about my grandma a lot.  Her love is a kind of love that I hope to impart on the people I hold closest to my heart.  Although I’m human and have various other emotions, this kind of unconditional love toward those dearest to me is what I celebrate on valentine’s day.

I am not trying to sound conceited when I say that I suffer from an affliction of the heart which is basically I care too much.  I know that sounds terribly vain, but caring too much expends energy we don’t have just as caring too little atrophies the heart.  I’ve often wondered why most of my adult life I’ve remained a single individual.  A lot of people closest to me have wondered the same thing out loud saying things like, “But you’re so nice!  How can you NOT have a boyfriend already…” or “It’s ridiculous that someone like you is single”.  These kinds of things frustrated me because if my friends could see it…why not that one guy I’m meant to be with?  Over time I realized that three of the many reasons why I’m unable to remain in the committed relationship are 1. I spread my love too thin, 2. I look for validation in the wrong places, and 3. I don’t know myself enough to share a life with another individual.

Getting to the first point (and then running quickly through the others because this is becoming a long and very ego centric post…) I try to be way too involved in the lives of the people I care about.  In some respect, there’s no room for a romantic relationship in my life because my energies are already delegated to other causes.  I’ve said before I’m pretty nosy, but more than that I want the people I love to be happy at all times.  This is of course impossible, but it’s also ridiculous for me to think that I could be the caretaker of anyone’s emotional state in general…let alone dozens of individuals.  Second, this is a religious view I hold, but I’m not going to find the kind of support I need through worldly means, this includes mortal relationships.  There’s a kind of unconditional love and validation that  can only come from a higher power.  Related to my first point, we all only have the capacity for so much energy, and it sounds selfish but a lot of that energy should be going into personal soul searching and refinement.  It’s selfish to try and rely on another person to fill whatever emotional void is present in my life when they have issues of their own to deal with.  This is not to say we shouldn’t be there for each other, but leading into my last point, we need to be compete and versed in who we are in ourselves before real meaningful relationships with others can develop.  I’ve tried the forceful desperate approach to love making last ditch efforts to salvage a connection that was frayed from the start at best…it’s tiresome and in the end fruitless.  Until I’m at a point where there is some clarity (not saying an epiphany or total understanding) as to who I am, what my priorities are, and have a basic personal means to achieve those prioritized goals, I’m not going to be of any benefit to another person no matter how much I love them and want to help them.

A lot of my life thus far has been seeking confirmation that I’m a worthy human being by sending all my positive energy out to other people.  Another thing I celebrate on valentine’s day is the idea that it’s ok to use the bulk of that energy to fix the turmoil within yourself.  I’m not saying flip other people the bird and live within an ego centric bubble, but in order for relationships to have the kind of give and take flow as they should, each party need to be aware of how their own lives work and the energy required to maintain a state of function.  I believe that no one is able to really love others in a time of chaos or crisis.  It’s a natural capacity to seek comfort from outside sources during times of sadness or grief, but really we should be looking into ourselves to find the strength to address the situation and start the healing process from within.  Then the love of others can provide structure to our lives built on top of this foundation that comes from inside out own hearts.

I got to say that isn’t necessarily what I set out to write today, but it happened.  I wanted to go into a brief history of the idea of valentine’s day and associated heart related customs…but then I just got side tracked…by myself…apologies if you read all of that expecting something more.  I guess this post was really across the board with feelings and messages…I hope I got some point across…whatever it may have been.  One of the hardest things to admit as a single independent female in today’s world is that someday I WANT to be in a committed relationship with someone who will support and care for me just as much as I do for him.  In some ways singledom reigns supreme in society today and aspiring to the contrary makes you somehow femenistically weaker.  I’ve come to a point where even though past dysfunctional relationships have broken me down, and for a time I accepted my fate of “independence”, I’m tired of being dishonest with myself about what I’m really about.  I’ve said numerous times in the past that “I’m done trying” or “relationships are not for me” and at one time I really believed those statements.  Now however, I’m not ashamed to admit that my ultimate goal in life is not monetary success or climbing up the social ladder, but to have a family.  A family that I can cherish and pour love and affection into.

I said before I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have experienced hardship for most of my life.  I say this not because I’m a masochist or a nihilist, but all these times I’ve been broken down or felt defeated have given me that many opportunities to build myself up again stronger from the sum of my experiences.  I know that someday I will have been shaped and molded to the kind of person that someone would WANT to be with, and we could have a full relationship based on reciprocated love and understanding rather than just trying to force love into being from two incomplete individuals who don’t even know how to be themselves much less how they fit together.  People are able recognize confidence and peace within each other and the manner in which we treat others.  To me the most attractive thing of all is a person who is honest with themselves about not only their intentions, buy the full scope of how they will affect themselves and the people around them.

Right now my heart is full.  It’s full trying to figure out exactly who it is and how it can manage to check off all the items on it’s to do list.  It’s not in the business of trying to find it’s soulmate, and that’s ok.  This valentine’s day it was enough for my heart to be honest with me about who we are and how we love, and to be thankful for the love that is in the life as we know it.  Whatever friendships and relationships come to pass in the future will be so much greater due to the fact that by that time I’ll be ready to love the shit out of them.

Also this galentine’s day was spent with two of my closest broads going to vinyasa yoga, inhaling acai bowls, consuming half a bag of semi-sweet chocolate baking chips, going out for pho still classily dressed in yoga attire, and watching the first season of Sailormoon dubbed episodes on youtube.  I’d say my short return to Honolulu is thus far being well spent indeed.

xoxo

-WLK

PS: I also watched Frozen for the first time on Friday…and subsequently have memorized the entire soundtrack…why has no one forced me to watch it before now!?

“Some people are worth melting for…” Image

Dear Professional Sports,

Dear Professional Sports,

Just to start off on the right foot, growing up in Hawaii is amazing.  One part of my keiki-hood that I hope my future children (Who if I do end up having kids of my own will be beautiful mixed race babies no matter who their daddy is.  Hapas for the win!) get to experience is the fact that we didn’t have to wear shoes until the 5th grade.  The joy of arriving to school naked from the knees down, breeze blowing through your toes and being able to stay that way ALL DAY (until after school sports hours) is so quintessential and glorious.  I wish I could explain why, but this idea fills me with such nostalgia and whenever I walk around barefoot it takes me back.  Given, this financially dealt a big blow to my parents, because upon reaching the 5th grade I probably lost more pairs of slippers than most people own in their lifetimes.  I can’t tell you how many trips to Longs Drugstore we made specifically to replenish my footwear supply.   I feel like that is an experience that could be cross cultural, but for me it seems so local, and it warms my heart to think about.

Anyway I wanted to start off talking about something I love about my home before getting into my main point:  Basically, living in Hawaii really cuts you off from relating to the world of professional sports.  College opened me up to a lot of new ideas and people, and being a sports fanatic I soon came to realize how little I knew or cared about any major league team across the board.  I fell into a crowd for a brief time who worshiped Golden State, but no matter how many games I watched or stats I followed I could never feel a connection to anything about that team or any team, and I watched a lot of NBA games that year believe you me (For a brief stint I followed AC Carter’s career with the Heat, but really it’s only because he was a former UH point guard).

It became a frustrating thing because it almost felt like I didn’t have a home.  Hawaii has no professional teams, so I grew up like most local youth tailgating and enjoying the prowess of the Rainbow Warriors or Wahine.  To me, games at the Stan Sheriff Center and the Aloha Stadium were as professional as it got.  Otherwise, it was high school gymnasiums all the way.  Like many other people I was a Bulls fan during the Michael Jordan years.  Unlike most normal 8 year olds however, I had a signed photo of Dennis Rodman hanging proudly in my bedroom as he was my role model…as a small forward (I got to be straight up center for about 2 years before any of the boys on my team at the Boys and Girls club hit their growth spurt).  I also felt a kinship with Toni Kukoč and the way his career progressed.  But even though my father and I watched games religiously and I had a #91 jersey, the love faded with with hype, and back to college sports we went.

I never have had the excuse of having a team solely based on my place of origin.  And let’s be honest I’m kind of picky and it’s hard to commit to a team without researching and I just never had the time.  You could however sit me down in a room with a bunch of fans of various degrees and I could choose a team for that particular game or series and go balls out to the point you would never have known how little I cared for either team.  I love watching sports.  I love it pretty hard.  I feel like there aren’t a lot of events where you can yell so many profanities directed at certain individuals and still be accepted by the rest of the crowd…because they’re probably yelling the same things.  The Superbowl really upset me this year, not so much because I like the Broncos (I do love my Peyton though) but it was a game that lacked any sort of finesse, drama, or sportsmanship.  Damnit Seahawks.  It is almost a crime that I didn’t get to go to professional sporting events growing up.  I could have yelled at so many refs…

I also love sports because one day I hope to be a soccer mom.  This is mostly because I enjoyed seeing the progression of my own mother as my sister and I grew up in the world of sports.  At practices it’s all chatting up the other moms and reclining in lawn chairs shootin the breeze.  Come game time however you’re getting a slightly manic pep talk in the mini van on the drive over, followed by panicked checking of mouth and shin guards, and then full blown raging from their respective child’s sideline while the AYSO referees are really just doing the best they can as volunteers.  I felt so bad for those guys…and yet I can’t wait to be one of those rampant mothers running the field out for blood and some honor to go with those all participation awards.  And the best part is after the game it’s all smiles and gushers snacks.

The good news is in the middle of my 20’s I’ve finally found love…in a hopeless place.  And that place was the MLB.  I remembered playing baseball for one season as shortstop, and I hated it.  I hit one run that whole season and decided I’d rather be handing balls directly with my hands and feet rather than throwing a bat and glove into the mix.  Plus watching high school baseball was the WORST.  I only did it for the reason of a significant other at the time, but even then I fell asleep most night…and afternoon games.  Since that time I’d always flip stations when announcers on ESPN started talking baseball because I had no interest in RBIs OPSs singles doubles or getting anyone to home plate.  So basically I never thought to turn my focus away from my love of basketball to a sport that has never sparked any interest in me.  It also never occurred to me that I would love anything that came out of LA other than Disneyland because to be real…I hate the Lakers…sorry if that just broke off a lot of friendships.   Yet here I am…falling for the Dodgers.

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After another 2 hours of listening to old commentary and reading online articles concerning these boys in blue I’ve often asked myself…what the hell Whitney.  And the only answer I can find is I finally fell in love with a team.  Like in regular love, there’s no rhyme or reason for it, heck I didn’t even really care when I went to my first game.  But being in the stadium and finding a direct connection with what was going on really hit home (haha sort of pun).  What’s not to love about a team that’s taking on even more Cubanos this season (I see your name Erisbel Arruebarruena but will probably never be able to cheer for you with the right pronunciation).  I won’t try to explain myself anymore than that because it’s not necessary and could potentially get slightly graphic.

I started this love affair being gooly-eyed and charmed by the likes of Andre Eithier…rookie move.  But my favorite moment thus far of being a Dodger fan was at my first game when one passionate female fan screamed, “ANDRE HAVE MY BABIES” followed by her even more passionate significant other shouting, “ANDRE HAVE MY GIRLFRIEND’S BABIES!”  Such dedication…but I’ve moved on to better things.

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AJ Ellis I know you’re happily married with a beautiful family, but let me just say you can squat and throw me hand signals anytime.  Especially during playoffs with that pink and black nail polish.  Le sigh.  The end of this month can’t come soon enough.  Sydney and the Diamondbacks…get it.  For all you southern Californians I will be snatching a glimpse of these bad boys June 26 when they face off with the Cardinals who’s fan’s I had to deal with while watching a playoff game at Homebar last year.  Not the classiest of folk…lock it up St. Louis.  So thank you Los Angeles for giving me a home in the Chavez Ravine, the setting for Die Hard, and a reason to stay in Hawaii so I never have to wear a wetsuit out surfing again.  Come join me in my celebration of traveling 2,500 miles to see the only team I care about!  First round’s on me guys.

Does anyone know how they make garden herb Triscuits so damn addicting?  I went through a whole box while writing this post…I gotta yoga some of this out.  

xoxo

-WLK

Dear Bulimia,

Dear Bulimia,

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Yeah that image has nothing to do with this post, it just makes me simultaneously laugh and think about Kendra Hanagami.  Anyway Bulimia, it’s been about 28 days since I’ve last dropped in on you, and although we are pretty much broken up and I hope that I don’t hook up with you again anytime soon, I think a chat is in order. (Also I always think of Bulma from Dragon Ball when I read or hear the word Bulimia…which shouldn’t make me take the subject any less lightly but then I get to thinking of anime and that’s a whole nother animal to tackle.)

It’s a pretty painful thought to be living in a country where depression affects at least 1 in every 10 individuals, and that 24 million of those individuals also suffer from an eating disorder.  It is also dismal that although Hawaii is ranked among the top 5 healthiest places to live in the US, it is also number 2 coming in only after South Dakota in a study classifying states with the highest rates of mental anguish and suicide.

Growing up I never thought that I would be one of these people due to 2 simple facts: 1. I love food super hard and 2. Eating disorders seemed like a lot of work.  I mean seriously having the willpower NOT to eat that last piece of fried chicken in order to fit into a pair of jeans…preposterous you should eat the damn chicken.  And on top of that having to make yourself throw up that delicious food???  The thought tugged at my heart strings in a way no one should ever have to feel about inanimate objects…such as food.

Fast forward to college years.  I don’t blame myself for the 30lbs I tacked on over that jam packed length of time.  2 extra credit courses 2 jobs and various internships didn’t exactly give one the time to live the healthiest lifestyle (Like I said before I was an awesome student. Just in case you forgot.  See Dear Facebook).  Also, due to various family happenings my idea of going out to dinner was popping over to the subway on Mission Street with my housemate and splitting a 5 dollar foot long.  Classy as they come fellas.  The monetary issue got to the point where one of my nearest and dearest friends feared so much for my caloric intake she sent me about a 20lb box stuffed with cans of tuna, spam, giant bag of elbow macaroni, Costco pack of kimchee instant noodle bowls, and one can of bamboo shoots that somehow worked its way in there.  I love her and the sentiment, but ultimately the shipping almost doubled the value of the items within the box.  It’s also probably one of the top 10 stories I hold closest to my heart (Like I also said before I have amazing friends and you should be perpetually jealous).

A lot of people solve their weight problems with exercise.  For me, I’ve been active doing some kind of sport of physical activity since the time I could open my own eyes.  I feel that whenever I work out now I’m just doing upkeep maintenance on my body not really changing anything because that level of activity is what I’m used to.  Some people can start walking 4 days a week and drop unheard of amounts of weight because their body is adapting to something new being added into their routine.  I wish I were one of these people.  Unfortunately my weight is based on my diet, like most people.  I use the excuse of exercise to eat those 20 piece chicken nuggets at 2am…but let’s be real my metabolism can’t work magic.  According to Buzzfeed I am in a relationship with burritos, who are subsequently in a deep committed relationship with my thunder thighs and food baby named Baxter who on the daily makes me look about 7 months pregnant.

I think also though people don’t realize that many “eating disorders” don’t stop at eating alone.  I have a friend who is so manic about having to go to the gym 2-3 times a day, it translates to her feeling guilty of the things she eats because she didn’t “work it off”.  I feel for her and countless others who have to listen to comments like, “why don’t you just eat like a normal person?” or “you look great already just reward yourself!” because even though a lot of interventions and comments such as these come from rational places of love, to me I saw them as accusations.  Accusations that not only did I not feel adequate in my own skin, but other people saw this and made me want to retreat more into my sickness to the point that no one would ever see my anguish about it all.

I never actually noticed how far my weight gain had gone until I moved to Korea.  As I have stated in previous posts I lived in the land of angry old ahjummas and garlic kimchee fart smelling elevators for 3 and a half years.  When you hear people talking about Korea I usually hear these top 3 conversation topics: the “Oh man the food is amazing” starter, the “how are kids in school for 14 hours?!” exclamation, or “Damn those Korean chics in that kpop group are beautiful.”  Although 12 year old me sitting in a health class would scoff at my behavior, it is not hard to believe that a girl in her early 20s could develop body issues while living in a society that is so superficially affixed to the idea of “beauty”.  The national size of Korean women in their 20’s is an american size 2.  Already I had lost part of my battle walking into this cultural standard a size 13.  Not to be racist or insensitive, but one Korean individual told me that the way they view the 3 major countries in their global sphere are as follows: Japanese people are ugly, Chinese people are dirty, and Americans are fat.  With this standard also in mind, I quickly felt the weight of this stereotype pulling on my love handles and fat wings dangling above my elbows.

What we also have to keep in mind is that Korea is the land of opportunity in that they are one of the forerunners in the field of plastic surgery.  I didn’t know this to begin with but 1 in 5 women in Seoul have gone under the knife in one area or another for the soul purpose of beautification.  Overtime I began to be able to notice when someone had a nose job, or eye widening, or the worst of all V-line jaw surgery (Where they literally break your jaw in 5 places in order to reset it giving you more of a pointy chin hence the “V”).  This only added to the unrealistic idea of perfection one hoped to achieve in a society inundated by examples that weren’t natural but manufactured.

The throwing up itself actually started upon the discovery of a small tumor in my large intestine.  It was causing food to build up around it which further caused infection and inflammation in the region giving me the sensations of fierce and unrelenting nausea and urge to get rid of whatever was in my body at the time.  For 2 weeks I was really only able to keep about half the solid food and water I was consuming in me to process before I broke down and went to check things out.  I’m not proud of this, as no one should ever be, but after taking care of the infection and being able to resume my normal eating habits, I liked the way my body felt after basically being starved of nutrients for 2 weeks.  I dropped about 7 lbs in this way, and was determined not to let the water weight back into my life.

I then started a diet program called the Ideal Protein, which basically called for me to cut all sugar, dairy, and carbohydrates including fruits out of my diet and replace it with protein supplements.  I succeeded in losing 24lbs in a month.  I also succeeded in mentally training myself to be afraid of all the foods I had to cut out of my diet.  Although the diet teaches you to incorporate these items back into your life, I pretty much lived in ludicrous constant fear of an apple causing me to gain 5 lbs due to its sugar content.  It also got me into a binge eating cycle due to the fact that this diet “allowed” you one free day a week to eat whatever you wanted.  Now, I’m not knocking this diet.  It does exactly what it is meant to do and returns you to a state of equilibrium in a veritably healthy way when followed correctly by someone in a healthy state of mind…neither of which was me.

I gained about 8 lbs back after finishing the diet, and unfortunately this consumed my thoughts for about half a year before I moved back to the US.  I reverted to the the most effective method of weight loss I knew, which thanks to my tumor was purging.  Damnit tumor.  This also had a great deal to do with the other areas in my life which at the time I felt like I had no control over such as family crisis and health issues.  The idea that I could eat whatever I wanted and control what effects it had over my weight turned out to be a sickly empowering thing.  Thus this continued for some time; basically until I got back to Hawaii and decided to do the diet again to see it as a viable alternative.  More unfortunately for me although the diet successfully helped me lose 18lbs, my sick obsession with controlling my food intake came back with a vengeance…like Die Hard 3 with a vengeance.

Another big problem is when I look at myself, I will always see the image of this body as it was in those pictures from college and early Korea years.  For some reason I am without the mental capacity to see me at whatever weight I am today.  It was through admitting these issues to a couple close friends that made me really realize that this was a sickness and not just purging that I did now and then after eating too much.  Also when it got to the point of me wanting to throw up my favorite food: My mom’s spaghetti, I really knew there was a problem looming over me.  Cuz that shit be crazy good.

As I’ve stated previously I’m mostly writing these posts for myself.  Admitting to people that I have an issue is helping me embrace it as something that is within my capacity to fix, rather than being ashamed of what is going on with my body mentally and physically and retreating further.  It’s not something that is over even though I’ve been in control enough not to give into a lot of these urges.  Getting started on this new chapter of my life is helping a million times over.  Giving my brain other stimulants to focus on outside of my own narcissism is probably the most helpful thing of all.  I’ve contemplated going to see a psychologist about these issues or a nutritionist.  But the thing is I know what needs to be done, it’s just a matter or pushing past my own insecurities and ties to past behaviors that is holding me back, not a lack of understanding.  So I’ll table that discussion for another time in the event I relapse.

It’s weird to have in my post about bulimia and eating disorders, but I just had a peanut butter and honey sandwich.  That’s my jam minus the jam because I love the way the honey kind of crystalizes and gets crunchy adding to the texture of my already super chunky peanut butter…yeah that’s the good stuff.

Thanks to all those special individuals for all your love and support throughout this season of my life.  I wouldn’t have made this much progress without you.  You know who you are.  Also this was not meant to be depressing, I’m sorry if it made you feel that way.  I promise to take you out if you read this and slipped into any kind of sad contemplation about the state of humanity and the world.  Promise.

xoxo

-WLK

Dear Lunar New Year,

Dear Lunar New Year,

Hello year of the horse!  I’m a little late in congratulating you on being the first January Lunar New Years we’ve celebrated in a while.  Threw me off!  In Korea I bet everyone is fat and happy getting your 설날 (Seollal) on eating 떡국 (dduk guk) and getting 세배 (sebae) if you’re young enough…jealous.  I remember laying around with family and friends literally spending the whole day eating…for some reason I feel better about it than American Thanksgiving this year.

One of my favorite parts of Chinese New Year (which is what I feel is the name most people relate to this holiday) is the dragon dance.  Mostly because as a child I actually believed the people doing the dragon dance were victims that the dragon had eaten throughout the procession.  I thought that they needed to grab money from in order to pay their way out.  Obviously I didn’t pay attention during class when Chinese New Year was pretty thoroughly explained every year.  This guy was more focused on the dancing dolls of whatever animal it was that year that we were making in class as well as the candied fruits and gau.  Yeah gau is probably my favorite part.  Academic!

Since moving to the big island, I’ve started working at The Makery (http://signup.themakeryhilo.com).  About this amazing organization will be a post in itself once everything is up and running, but let’s just say I’m super stoaked to be managing the gallery but whoever put me in charge of finances…well let’s just say I won’t lose the money I hope.  If you are looking to learn about using 21st century technology to basically make whatever your heart desires, commission work to be done, or just hang out with awesome people, and are ever in the Hilo downtown area…needless to say I’m going to require you to visit.  Like find you by tracking your phone and drag you into my gallery.  That’s how serious I am about this.  Kidnapping status.  But seriously it’s going to be an amazing space to do equally amazing things.  Hele on over RIGHT NOW!

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Back to Chinese New Year, the annual Downtown Hilo celebration kicked off this year this past Saturday the 8th after another amazing gallery opening for First Friday.  I made my first window display on a budget of 0$.  Basically I did what I do every Halloween; work with what I got.  (See Photo)  Looks kind of like it belongs in the window of Michael’s…but I think a lot of that is the ribbon and written sign because the wood work is superb.  Oh well I’m still proud of checking one thing off my bucket list!  Our gallery and workshop got blessed a little later in the afternoon, but was awesome nonetheless!  The video (http://vimeo.com/86280899) is short unfortunately and don’t mind the awkward girl in front of the gallery trying to keep the firecrackers from burning down the building.  It was much cooler than it looks here.

Thus far the people I’ve met here in Hilo and through The Makery have been some of the most caring sincere individuals on this planet.  Rest of the world you have a lot of catching up to do.  But really it’s a whole different pace than what I’m used to after living in Seoul for 3.5 years then Honolulu which although is still on an island, has more than 1 McDonalds (which is how I gauge how metropolitan a city is obviously).  I wouldn’t say the life here is slow which is how most people choose to describe island life.  The people are vibrant and there is no shortage of things to do.  Once I get my truck and am mobile I’m so excited to explore!  Already I’m busy due to setting up The Makery enterprise, but I know this will be an experience that defines the later portion of my twenties (Oh my Lord I’m going to be 27 this year…).

A big thing I took away from the Chinese New Year festival is that the horse is apparently the animal who goes out and brings back money for the family.  I guess I gotta go find me a horse.  Until then I am just going to be my own horse managing the gallery and getting the farm up and running.  If anyone knows anyone with a weed whacker I need to be friends with them.  Another thing I learned in general is that you don’t admit to people here that you are single or else you are in for a lot of potential blind dates. Le sigh.  I just want to live out my days as a hermit with my dog, chickens (Lucille, Buster, and Gob who live in a banana stand shaped coop) barn cat and tea cup pig named Alfonzo.  I guess that’s what my friends are trying to keep me from but don’t worry about it guys, it’s just something I’m going to lean into. Let it happen.

One question I have for Hilo is, “Why so many Thai restaurants?”  I’m really considering doing research on this.  I feel there are restaurants on every corner with names like Chiang Mai Cuisine (like around the corner from our gallery for example).  It’s really not a bad thing…I love having access to my tom yum goong at almost all hours…just curious.

xoxo-

WLK

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