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

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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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Dear Facebook,

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Dear Facebook,

I guess it’s apparent now that I went ahead and reactivated you.  There’s a few reasons to this that I’ll go over later on in this post, but first I’d like to congratulate myself for writing 2 posts within about a month of each other!!! Praise be procrastination be damned I can maybe do this blog thing!  Anyway let’s get into it.

First I guess the reason how Facebook went in and out of my life.  As so many people have discovered, social media has a way of completely shaping the way we see the world and how we act within these parameters of thought.  To me the big three are pretty much Facebook Instagram and Twitter.  Being the first class of freshman students (09′ represent!) to interface using Facebook, it’s always been my media of choice.  Mostly because it became such an essential form of “communication” in my life.  Coming from the perspective of essentially living on a rock surrounded by ocean, the prospect of going to college on the “mainland” was daunting to put it lightly.  Let’s be honest though amongst the major ideas of having to move, new weather, new levels of scholarly pursuits, new living situations, new monetary headaches, the one problem that weighed most on me was the idea of new people.  Facebook at that point helped to chip away at the barrier presented in front of me; the barrier that obviously I had no idea how people from the mainland acted thought…or maybe the fact I shouldn’t lump all of them together at all…yeah sheltered much.

I still remember sending out my first friend requests to people by who’s profile pictures and general descriptions I deemed “safe”.  One important one obviously was the freshman roommate friend request.  This accepted friendship became my first Facebook message dialogue which then blossomed into a wonderful friendship with probably the best roommate I’ve ever had (Yeah be jealous again internet my freshman year roommate made yours seem like the girl from the ring.  Although the year after I probably had to deal with the worst housemate known to man who single handedly made me lose my appetite for mac and cheese for a good 5 years.  So I guess that evens itself out).  At this time I experienced my first preliminary thrill of being “accepted” by 100% of these strangers who probably figured I seemed pretty harmless as well despite my random, off-kilter choice of quoted individuals.  This later lead to further warm fuzzy feelings about discovering the like button and poking people.  The descent continued until I was up to my nuts in pending friend requests from people who successfully disproved the 6 degrees of separation theory, 50+ candy crush and farmville invites, forgotten pokes from years gone by, and what seemed to be never enough validation for the actual things I was posting.

Facebook at some point to me had the sense of competition.  I don’t think I even realized it consciously; or maybe I did and chose to ignore it.  But I do know that the fact that some bimbo I used to have art class with got 73 likes and 35 comments on a picture of the right side of his/her face with the comment, “Do you think this is pink eye?” definitely didn’t jive with me.  I don’t think it ever got as bad as some anti-Facebook proponents propose it could, like I don’t think it ever interfered with my studies, nor did it cause me immediate emotional distress…and more importantly I NEVER ended up accepting ANY candy crush invites thank you.  However, the psychological effects of this type of “plugging into” this type of social network reared it’s head post graduation.

After literally picking up and moving to Korea a week and a half after I graduated from college, I felt a certain sense that perhaps I was missing out on things going on back at home.  Facebook became an obvious means to the end of not really keeping in contact with people, but keeping creepily accurate updates on their lives whether they knew I was doing it or not.  Not during the first 3 months of my adventure of the eastern persuasion (for I was working 7 days a week and being paid under the table in cash denominations of 10.00USD…in Won I was holding millions…but I digress) but later during my stay was the first time probably since my childhood where I experienced actual “free time”.  During college I was caught up with taking extra course loads on top of 2 jobs and an internship most every quarter, not to mention the time I had to take off to go home and work 7 days a week at Nordstrom and Starbucks.  Needless to say the concept of hours with nothing to do eluded me.

As hard as I tried to fill time with hobbies and practical uses, I quickly slipped into crime TV and Van damme action marathons on the English stations as well as Korean Soap Operas and nonsensical variety shows.  Another obvious outlet for my free time became “checking” up on friends classmates colleagues…and random ass people they knew on Facebook.  I really can’t tell you the amount of times I went through someone’s entire photo library because I saw them like a friends status.  Just because I could.  It was probably around the amount of times I got sucked into the youtube video trap of doctors popping giant pimples and cysts.  Seriously don’t judge me.  There’s something so cathartic about seeing a giant white cream cheese like filling ooze out of a clogged pore on some indian dude’s back.  Anyway I admit now and forever that for a time I was a certified stalker on the internet.  Hide yo wife hide yo kids…cuz I could find them if I wanted to.

Instagram also followed with the advent of the smart phone (an unavoidable evil living in the land of Samsung and LG) and this added a whole new dimension of validation issues.  Now not only was it another platform for me to seek out and be seeked by others upon, I had to choose the right filter for my endless pictures of food…I miss Korean food.  Although Instagram added to the social sickness I felt from Facebook, I didn’t check it as religiously or rigorously as I did when waiting for the little red number to pop up on the status bar of my phone alerting me of some Facebookish activity.  At one point I tried the mass deleted of friends who weren’t actually my friends…but it only led to me gaining more interest in the people I had remaining access to.

I’m not saying that it’s all bad on there.  While traveling for 2 months when I returned from Korea, it was a great way to reach out to friends I had falling out of touch with and subsequently lost their other forms of communication.  It is also a good way to create events that maybe 10% of the people you invite will attend if it’s posted as public.  For me however, I think social media in general became an emotional crutch which I leaned into heavily.  I believe that when most people post things (unless they want to be emo) we all want to express the best versions of our lives.  Therefore, all pictures, status updates, and notes are usually about whats going great with us.  Even random inane updates are mean to impress in some way or fashion.  Come on people we’re in it for those thumbs up.  If an hour went by of me posting something, anything, and my phone didn’t alert me to activity on that post…it felt like a fail.  Eventually this insane attachment to this system is what lead me to deactivate my account.

Since being off of most media sites in general..minus buzzfeed because I honestly think I if I couldn’t have a space to look at Leonardo DiCaprio memes, the Senates status on the unemployment benefits extension, and 31 animals who ‘just can’t handle it right now’ all a click away from each other I would literally implode…I’ve noticed a lot of changes in my life.  One is I’m definitely not on my phone as often.  I think that’s admitting that no one likes to contact me through normal means…aka I’m a loner…but I’m fine with that.  And I don’t know if it totally has to do with social media or no social media but I feel more content.  At any given time I am scrolling through pictures and posts, but they’re not people I know or have personal connection to.  I think it’s given my life some platform to develop a realistic equilibrium upon where I’m not inundated with popups of people getting engaged every 10 minutes or information about what a friend of a friend’s cat ate that day.  It was also great not to be dealing with this addiction during the holidays when things were pretty taxing as it was for me (see Dear Myself,).  In essence I think I’m happier.

So after that lengthy explanation of why I QUIT my habit, why jump back into it?  Well, partially I think it’s because Facebook is a good networking tool.  It does it’s job there of connecting people together on a very user-friendly program.  Heading into a field where networking is essential to my survival, I need all the help I can get.  Also in this new endeavor I’m pretty much moving out to the middle of nowhere.  Part of me wants to document my experience in the event something unsavory happens to me…maybe someone might pick up on that and call to ask if I’m still alive (More on this next post because there’s some awesome stuff going on all around me. Until then that picture is of my future abode on 10 acres of big island farmland).  In this vein, it’s a social experiment testing the resolve of my emotional health.  Who knows I may get sick of it again and be gone in a few weeks, or it may work out for the better.  Only time will tell.

Before I sign off I’ve been eating an unheard of amount of quesadillas and spaghetti.  I guess they’re my regular comfort food, but straight up it’s been fart city over here in Hilo.  Sorry new coworkers and students. 

xoxo-

WLK

PS: Thanks for reading my blog so far I hope it’s getting better.

Dear Myself,

Dear Myself,

Hey there buddy.  It’s been a rough couple of months hasn’t it?  Couldn’t bring yourself to write another post huh.  To make matters seem worse it was around Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Times of the year which should be filled with love and emotional fulfillment.

Put in this perspective I think I need a new favorite holiday.  There is so much pressure put into the end of the year.  Like, “Hey we couldn’t be thankful and giving all year so let’s try and save face and cram it all into a couple months.” It is interesting the weight we assign to holidays.  Of course Christmas is mostly everyone’s general favorite.  It’s like everyone get’s a second birthday during the year.  Thanksgiving we get to be gluttons and then make new years resolutions to NEVER DO THAT AGAIN BECAUSE THAT LAST HELPING OF MASHED POTATOES AMLOST KILLED ME.

Don’t get me wrong I love getting making and wrapping presents.  The music is cheerful sweater weather is the best and  peppermint is my version of crack.  With all this going on the last three months sometimes I feel like I go into “happy” overload.  The need to feel positive vibes and contentment outweighs the real issues going on around me.  I need to fit in with the other thousands of smiling faces around me.  The world has me well conditioned.  If I’m told I’m supposed to be happy I’m going to try my hardest to oblige.

When the ball falls on NYE the hammer also falls down hard.  The glow and the glitter of the holidays wares off and the realization that the new year and the new day is no different from the 365 that we just left behind sets in.  Now that I’ve said all of that I don’t mean this to be a melodramatic world hating post.  The only reason that January 1st is not different than the days that came before it is simply because everyday is special and glittering and full of love and amazing.  Well, it is if we want it to be.

For me I let the hammer fall early this year.  After returning from living abroad, I had a fresh new dreamy expectation of what my life would be back in America.  Everyone would be wetting themselves with excitement when I got off that plane and the home of the free and the brave would rejoice to have it’s daughter home.  Basically I was kind of a deluded selfish b-hole.  The delusion didn’t end there however as I spent the next couple months sleeping on the floor of my parent’s 1 bedroom apartment and taking odd jobs for non profits family friends and babysitting.  You would think that would ground me, but with pockets full from 3 years of a lump sum pension pay out I was going to take a two month trip across the states.  Also Hawaii in itself is pretty luxurious living not gonna lie.

So after the magic of Disney World, seeing such amazing sights all across mid America, being fawned over by friends in family in numerous states, and thinking I found love before leaving the mainland my ego…well it was huge.  I had been on the high of transition for way too long.  When it came time to settle and find a routine again, my crystal ball shattered.  Real world problems enveloped both my waking moments as well as the unconscious.  For any normal person this is just life, but for one who has been on vacation for 9 months it is hell in a haystack.

I started off pretty strong with getting a couple part time jobs and feeling like I was contributing to society again.  Then as new problems and news kept piling on I slipped slowly into a york peppermint patty Netflix induced coma.  For two weeks through Christmas I was a walking talking bundle of joy, but it was like someone was pulling my strings like a marionette.  Numb is the closest feeling to describe my holidays.  I won’t go into details about why, but the absence of feeling and the hole is bored into me was like nothing I’ve experienced.

And then an incident finally made me feel something.  Anger.  It doesn’t sound like the best progression, but from anger I was able to give into a lot of the other emotions I’d been suppressing throughout everything.  There came a moment however on new year’s eve, sitting on the couch of my friends house sharing a 20 piece chicken mcnugget meal watching korean soap operas, when the healing started.  It sounds ridiculous and weird but it’s the truth.

Having people say they’re sorry and empathizing with you is such a blessing, but at the time all I want to yell is REALLY?! REALLY YOU GET IT AND YOU’RE SORRY?! Well whoop dee friggen doo that changes everything.  Everything honestly happens in God’s time planning application timing and all.  There’s no way that we will understand it with earthly means, so the best we can do is accept and make peace with the past and go with what is happening in the present.  I didn’t come to truly appreciate the sentiment of what my friends and family were saying to me till that moment on that couch.

I’m mostly writing this post for myself hence the title, but for anyone who has asked me how i’m doing recently out of love and caring, and I’ve kind of pushed the subject off to the side here’s why.  Everything I’ve said here is truthful, from my heart, and slightly cathartic, but it doesn’t change anything.  Every time I rehash events of the past, it’s like reliving a lot of them.  The only thing that has worked is to give up the worry and problems to a higher power and go on being supportive and loving to the people around me.

Life moves forwards not backwards, and it’s no use to live in times past whether they be joyful or sorrowful.  It’s not that I’m not grateful for concern, in fact it’s amazing that people think about the issues in my life at all when everyone has so much going on.  I don’t want to draw energy from others anymore.  The holidays have been emotional enough as it is, you don’t need my problems tugging on your left over zeal stealing your vitality.  Just know I love you all for who you are and all that you do, but let’s work on making future memories rather than reveling in times gone by.

To conclude my longwindedness, my new favorite holiday is Halloween.  It’s always ridden a close second to Christmas only because Christmas lacks a lot of chics walking around half naked dressed as sexy bears and sexy fish and whatnot.  But you do get you dress as whatever you want eat a bunch of candy and get to see a bunch of adorable trick or treaters.  Win win despite all the sexiness.

Well buddy, it’s been a rough couple of months.  But you’re ok.  And you wrote a new post!  Huzzah!  It’s a new day and a fresh pristine opportunity to make some magic happen.  That sounded like some weird espn announcer.  “Give him the hammer!” “Goodbye. Game over. Drive home safely.”  Ok I’m done.

-W.L.K.