Sensitivity

I (subconsciously) seem to love to stress out about everything.

Dealing with stress in the moment is extremely challenging for me, and I’m not quite sure how to overcome it. It is only in retrospect that I remember taking the time to breathe is an option.

Taking on a busy semester comforted me. I felt like I took on each week with a high-spirited mindset. However, my semester’s schedule did not anticipate added responsibilities, nor emotional stress from harsh personal attacks.

I was so silly to not anticipate these essential facets of life.

By putting myself out there in my university’s (small) student community (Assistant EIC to the school newspaper, student employee, officer of a school club), of course someone was going to notice when I made mistakes. And of course people are going to talk about it – it’s a part of human nature.

To put what I am about to say in perspective, someone thought that I anonymously wrote a nasty message about him in the school newspaper.

I didn’t.

But because he put me in the same position – namelessly calling me out on my mistakes (unrelated to the ‘nasty message’), not to my face but in public (hurtful words and unconstructive criticisms attached) – I know how he must have felt to stumble upon something written about him.

Still knowing this, my feelings were incredibly hurt. I wasn’t prepared for such criticism from someone who’s likely never said one word directly to me.

I cried for days afterwards. My emotional stamina was crushed. Unfocused, I stepped out of classes with tears in my eyes. I dropped one of my classes and stopped going to dance because all I wanted to do was figure out how to deal with the failure I felt as a person.

And it is incredibly fair to say I can be an incredibly sensitive person who functions primarily via emotion. And, this is not to say that seeing myself attacked on social media was the sole reason for my reactions. In retrospect, I think I did not consider giving myself enough room to anticipate at the beginning of this semester.

Still, I love myself and am not ashamed of how I handle things because with these weaknesses (such as being sensitive), I have my strengths. For one, being a person who acts and thinks with her feelings helped me see the situation better from both perspectives. Having these emotional bouts gives me a lot of time to reflect, and these reflecting periods help me figure out who I am as a person, where I want to be, and how I want to improve.

By this point in my life, I’ve accepted I am an incredibly emotional person (I always test as an INFP). I think that it’s more about learning how to use this to my advantage in situations of stress.

Strange(r) Gestures

The other day, I opened the door to a stairway leading to the upper floors of one of our buildings on campus. I opened the door to see a stranger sitting on the steps of the stairway, strumming his ukulele with modesty.

He shifted to the side, and as I began to pass him, he offered me a smile and said, “have a nice day.”

Have a nice day?

It caught me off guard to hear it from a stranger. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard those words from someone I didn’t know.

The gesture turned out to be extremely uplifting.

It’s fascinating how words as simple as those, and a moment as brief as that, can be so significant. 

As the Sun Rises on the New School Year…

It’s been an eventful, busy summer vacation. And a huge part of me cannot believe it’s coming to an end within the next few hours.

Despite not seeing my nuclear family, this summer has been by far one of my best.

Summer began with a relaxing retreat surrounded by the native trees and shrubs of Kalopa State Park, where I learned so much while being surrounded by optimism and wonderful personalities. Plus – I often ask myself now, “do I want to be a blessing, or a burden?,” as per the insightful mana’o shared by a happy man, Uncle Noland. Interestingly enough, as we departed Hilo for the Hamakua Coast, so many worries sat on my shoulder. But, by the time we re-connected to the world just a few days later, everything seemed to solve itself while I was away.

I’ve set up camp in all four cardinal directions of the Big Island, and I backpacked over a’a’ lava and into a beach to camp for the very first time. I slept just yards away from a monk seal only to be told it was there in the morning by new friends, a pair of turtle huggers we at first found naked on a beach they claimed to be “family friendly.”

I’ve gotten the opportunity to connect with my grandpa, albeit faithfully and not in person. I’ve spent good time in the house he built with my cheerful, sweet Grandma and my passionate, kind Aunty Deedee the traveler!

I went on vacation nearly every weekend, and feel so blessed to live in a place where that is even possible to do so easily! It was nice to spend up to $30 to hop in a car and head to another part of the island for a sunset, family time, white sand beaches, or delicious sushi.

I helped develop an Orientation program that received high traffic, even at its last event five days later. I planned and facilitated at least one event each day (!). Plus, I got to know our fantastic Orientation Leader team – some of the nicest and most colorful people at the UH Hilo campus.

This summer, I’ve just been blessed with the opportunity to see, meet, and get to know so many people. People with such a diverse set of personalities and people who do what they can to impact their very own community.

I say goodbye to summer humbled and impressed by the inspiring initiatives I see people pursue, or hope to pursue. I say goodbye to summer hoping that I will still enjoy my time during the school year. I say goodbye to summer somewhat hoping it will be my last.

And next weekend, I do get to see my nuclear family. . . :-)

Somehow, all things do work out very well in the end.

Spontaneous Vacation

Yesterday afternoon as I buried my feet into the pristine white sand of a nearly empty Kua Bay, the sun slowly retreated behind the ocean. The sky blushed pink and orange. The sound of children’s laughter slowly made its way to the parking lot as families began to retreat home for the day. I looked into the sparkling Pacific Ocean, where not much earlier I jumped in after some moments of hesitation.  The feeling of being immersed with the Pacific and its soft white Kona sand felt incredible, and much more comfortable than Hilo and its rocky waters.

It was an overwhelming relaxing finish to a spontaneous trip to Kona in hopes of escaping the Hilo rain. The moment we left South Hilo, the sun was there, waiting for us.

My phone doesn’t have 3G, so I took his, documenting moments as he drove. Finding the sun. Kiholo Bay. “What else did I take pictures of?” In his words: “Everything.”

We took the scenic route. We stopped whenever we could, playing the role of tourist for the day.

It was a nice contrast to always driving straight to the destination, because we didn’t have one.

Subtle Happiness

Lately, I have acquired the deepest respect for my partner-in-craziness.

Almost daily, we work as a team to achieve many end-goals.  For one, we cook almost all the meals we eat together (luckily, we make the time for this task!).  Since we challenge each other with our own dietary preferences or restrictions, I find it absolutely commendable that we can think of delicious, healthy recipes that we both enjoy. That time spent in the kitchen is so valuable and sharing a meal we both pour love into has a taste that lingers on my tongue long after the meal is pau.

Nevertheless, he still finds it in his heart to, seemingly subconsciously, play the role of the provider and protector. His actions are subtle, but it’s things like feeling the pressure to make sure we are comfortable in one way or more others that really make me appreciate the lengths he goes for us.

Our bond is still fresh, but I really do hold his actions dear to me. I only hope I can find ways to return his selfless favors!

Pointe

Despite that the whole becoming a prima ballerina (or even a professional ballerina) is more than likely not in my future, I still have a very deep love for ballet – and dance – as an art and craft. Whenever I’m feeling down, all I have to do is dive into my bedroom and start watching videos of the Joffrey ballet, or if I’m feeling saucy, Center Stage. There will always be disappointments in life, people can leave me as they please, but dance is something that I can keep with me forever.

Lomi Lomi Lovebug

No one can control the dynamic action of falling for someone. It is a result of getting to know someone whose smile makes your heart warm while at the same time giving your body the chills. It is a result of those nights spent cuddling, talking and laughing in bed. It is a result of countless inside jokes thrown back and forth.  It is a result of bananagrams and wine.  It is a result of awkward questions. It is a result of nights spent at the karaoke bar.  It is a result of countless bets and wages over the silliest moments. It is a result of the warmest embraces. It is a result of hula hooping competitions.  It is a result of wonderful afternoons and evenings at the beach, whether it be with homemade sushi or simply each other.  It is a result of a night full of Connect Four battles.   It is a result of weeks of yearning after him, crossing your fingers there would be even the smallest opportunity to talk to him the next time you saw each other. 

The feeling of giving yourself away to someone who will lomi lomi your heart at first arrives with hesitation. After all, it takes a lot to finally trust someone enough to catch you.

Vastly Untitled

It’s hard to watch those dear to my heart sulk in an unhappy pool of feelings. It’s particularly difficult being too far away to do anything about it.

It’s easy for people from an outside perspective of a relationship tell or warn someone they love that a person in particular is bad news.  But this person’s emotional investment in their so-called “partner”, whatever it may be, causes them to overlook what’s going on. This is what makes the inevitable end to those relationships the hardest to watch.

It’s hard watching someone dear to me in an abusive or dysfunctional relationship.  And oftentimes, despite what other people say, people tend to have cloudy judgment about someone to whom they’ve made a commitment. As much as I want to pull them out of it, I also know it’s something they have to realize on their own.

I want to be there for you. Maybe you will take solace knowing I’ve been there, too. You’re strong and I know it, and you will persevere through it.

Damini

“Under the current (Indian) laws, rapists are not being prosecuted the way they should be. Almost 40,000 rape cases are pending in various courts across the country. In 2003, there was an instance of rape whose judgment has come now in 2012 after a gap of nine years. If it takes nine years for justice to be delivered, do you think culprits would be afraid to commit such heinous crimes? It is important to put a system in place to deal with such cases. We also demand to expedite the trial of crime against women in fast-track courts.”

- Ranjana Kumari

There is an Indian girl who, for days, fought for her life in the hospital as a traumatic result of gang rape and being thrown to the side like trash. The protests in Delhi occurring over the past week are commendable…people are protesting for her and for other Indian woman susceptible to such appalling acts, or who have fallen victim to rape. To stand up for a woman unable to stand up for herself, for women unable to stand up for themselves…that is heroic.  The fact that these people are met with tear gas and water canons by police is horrific.

Rape is not something that should be taken lightly –– by law, by government, by people.  It is an act that strips the victim of their humanity, of their basic human right of choice. To take that away from someone is inhumane.

I can only hope that a step towards vigilant reaction, prompter punishment, will come out of this… peace with the police, because you should not fear the institution designed to protect you.

Daily Inspiration

Let me tell you about this woman I know…

From day one of her life, she was destined to be great –– born into a family of hard-working people who knew what was most important in life: one another.

She must have been raised to put others before herself, because in the time I’ve known her she has always done just that. Opening her heart and her home to others came naturally.

This woman takes on every day with a beautiful stride, always hard at work. Ready to put her family before herself, she is the true heroine of this story.  Whether it means giving up her weekend and nights to take on a couple of extra jobs, doing simple chores for everyone including laundry, or cooking dinner, she has mastered the trait of humble generosity.

She’s cute, too. After she learned the art of texting, she made up her own language. Th vwls n hr wrds sddnly dspprd (for those of you who need a translation, it reads: the vowels in her words suddenly disappeared –– don’t worry, it took me a while to figure that out, too). Then, she learned how to send pictures on the phone.  And create texting threads.  There was a point in my life where most of the text messages I received weren’t even from people talking to me, but people talking to her.

She’s also the most caring person I know.  I can’t count the amount of times I’ve called her just to complain a little about what was going on in my life, and she either offered a solution on the spot or called me back with a solution, knowing that whatever I brought up to her meant a lot to me. She is remarkable.

I have been blessed enough to know her for almost twenty-one years, and I am proud to say she is my mother. She is one of my daily inspirations to work my hardest every day.

Happy birthday, mom! I love you so very much.