Soapbox

So yeah

It’s been a while. I know. I’ve missed it here but I guess I’ve been sort of in a hole for a while.

A friend of mine asked me a while ago how I do it, how I can handle the rejection that comes with being a writer and I told her something along the lines of, you just keep going. Because it was the way I felt at the time.

And then I got turned down.

Not once, but twice in the same day.

For two different submissions. One for my book, the other for a poem.

I thought, no biggie, I’ve had my work refused before, so I took a break for the rest of the day, decided to give my crushed soul a few hours to heal itself and just when I managed to dig myself out of the dirt I got hit with another one a few minutes after I woke up.

Yep, the next morning I peeled my eyes open, checked my e-mail and there it was like Sub Zero’s final blow in that Mortal Kombat game people my age played when we were kids. The “thank you for submitting your work however…” form letter. True it wasn’t an actual fatality, but I was still left spineless, a glob of pummeled, second-guessing jelly wondering what I did wrong, questioning myself, my skills, my education, wondering if my prior publications are all the evidence that I’ll have of my life’s work.

And I’m not going to lie, it’s taken a while to get over it. I knew when it happened I should’ve just forged on and kept at it, should’ve kept on trying and doing all those things that every one of us humans says we should do when we things we don’t want to happen happen, but after rejections four, five, and six, I didn’t want to. For the first time in years I didn’t feel like writing anymore.

I stopped and focused my attention on other areas of my life. Tried to do positive things that I knew would get me somewhere, like picking up my house, planting a garden, spending more time with my family, spending more time on myself, in hopes that it would somehow take the place of that thing that I’ve wanted to do since I was a scrawny wire with a ball of hair and a big nose. That thing I feel I was meant to do, that art that makes my spirit tingle.

I even started another sport.

I’ve never been sporty before paddling, was never a part of any team as a kid/teenager, never encouraged to exercise– in fact, I was always discouraged from doing anything physical but I like the feeling of using my mind to push my body along. So less than a month ago my hubby and I started crossfit.

Like REAL crossfit.

Before this, we did bootcamp (as in Billy Blank style) workouts with people who said they were teaching us crossfit. Yeah. It was nothing like this. So a week and half into it, and what do I do? I go and sign myself up for a two day crossfit competition. Nuts, huh? I didn’t think it was going to be easy, not at all. So why’d I do it? To prove to myself that I could. To come out with a story to tell. For the experience. To say I did a solo competition. To try something new. To step out of my comfort zone.

A little over three weeks as a genuine crossfit member, and:

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 5.32.31 PMOut of 22 women in my bracket, my overall score for two days of challenges was:

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And I got to watch my paddling sister win 2nd place in our division!

Could I have done better? Who knows? I could’ve trained, could’ve ran, could’ve actually learned how to do the moves correctly instead of taking a week off to nurse my sore shoulder, but it is what it is. No excuses. I gave it all I had and I survived. I’m not going to say it was fun because it was two days of torture, but it definitely made me feel like I can. That I am in control of my life. That my mind is capable of forcing my body to do things… like write this blog.

So that’s where my life is as of today.

Long story short, I’m grateful for all that has happened in the past month or so because I learned something during this aftermath of rejection:

  • it’s not easy. It does suck to be told no over and over again.
  • There is no correct way of dealing with it– we move through it as it comes.
  • Nothing will ever replace the beautiful feeling of doing what we truly love, but the reality is, time is short so we have to either suck it up and move on, or heal quick and move on, because the days will rip by and– life is too short to be unhappy and unwilling to push past our own stubborn minds.

I know it’s easier said than done and that some lessons are best when they are experienced firsthand, but I do hope this finds someone who needs to climb back out of a hole too.

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Puna

So as of today, the people of the Puna district, who were hardest hit by Hurricane Iselle are still in need of food, water and ice. Many do not have generators, have been forced to throw away their refrigerated foods, and are just grateful for something warm to eat.

I’m worried that people will forget about them, in a kind of ‘out of sight out of mind’ way, especially since Puna isn’t ridiculously populated, full of tourist attractions, and it takes hours to get there from either major airport.

Power is back on to some of the residents, but there are still over 3,800 homes who are without electricity, and hundreds who still don’t have water.

This is aside from the looting and the vandalism that has been occurring due to lack of supplies.

The criminal who broke the Alii Ice owner’s trucks was finally arrested on Thursday, (the owner laid off all of his employees and shut his place down as a way to blackmail the people in the area who desperately need ice, and said he wasn’t going to continue making ice for the relief efforts until the criminal who vandalized his property was in jail.) So I guess he’s selling his ice again. Thankfully, Maui and O’ahu have been sending ice over, and the Norwegian Cruise lines has generously donated ice to those in need.

Hawaii Island United Way has partnered with the Hawaii Civil Defense to help, and donations are being accepted on their website to aid those who need it– volunteers are also welcome, and are encouraged to contact janice@hiunitedway.org. A great resource list can also be found on West Hawaii Today.

My family and I will continue to donate and find ways to contribute to the people in Puna. Our prayers are with them, especially with the children, the elderly, the handicapped, and those who are in need of medical attention.

My tribute to Puna, a traditional oli called Ke ha’a la Puna (Puna’s a dance):

     ke ha’a la puna

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Sad

I know the whole world is talking about it, but I’m going to say it anyway. It’s sad when the world loses talented people. Robin Williams will be missed.

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Nanu nanu, man. Nanu nanu.

 

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In the name of money

Price gouging on O’ahu. What a trip!

 

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12 bottles of water for $24.34?!

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4.40 gallons of water for $17.99  (pono= righteous)

 

Supply and demand, or just straight ripping people off?

 

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Hoe wa’a

Two things I love about hoe wa’a (paddling) is that it’s a family sport, and that it’s at the beach. To me, what better way to spend time with your kids than to take them to do something that everyone enjoys?

Drawn by our youngest paddler, our 7-year-old daughter.

So yeah, I wasn’t posting for a couple of days because we were prepping for this weekend, and yes, we were out paddling. I’m sad though because the season is coming to an end, there are only two races left: island championships where we go up against the same awesome clubs we’ve been competing against and state championships where we go against the best of the best on every island that has these races. So: O’ahu, Kaua’i, Maui, and Hawai’i islands.

My crew made it (along with many others) so we get to race states in a few weeks. I’m very happy and humbled that we’ve made it this far. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy paddling prior to this season, it was something I did because it was good for my health– I was discouraged because I had been told my stroke was wrong, that I wasn’t doing things right, and I felt that I wasn’t good enough. And then we moved and I feel like God placed me in this team of beautiful and strong women so I could learn how to open up to others, to trust, to love, to persevere, to be dedicated to something, to get healthier, to feel secure with myself, to know that I am good enough, and to give and receive whatever I could. I feel like I found my kindred spirits and I am so happy. So blessed. Being a part of them has taught me many valuable lessons and helped me to learn my own strengths as a human. I know it’s not over yet but it does feel bittersweet especially knowing that next year, I’ll be moving up to a different division and a few of them will be lucky enough to stay put.

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I know this has nothing to do with writing whatsoever, but I wanted to share something that I found that is so valuable and precious to me and that is the belief that no matter what anyone says, it is possible.

My team went from being the underdogs: 4th & 6th place to clocking fastest times in the State and winning races, and it was all through hard work, willpower, motivation, and determination. In the past few months I’ve grown from a whiner to a winner, I’ve lost weight and made gains not just physically but in my life, I’ve deconstructed my negative attitude and build up a positive one and I’m using everything I’ve learned to push me through my writing. I finished another poetry book recently– I’m looking into submitting it to a press right now. I’m also finishing up another book, which means I get to start cooking my other projects soon.

If I’ve learned anything this summer, it’s not just to write, not just to read, but to get out there– drop right into an uncomfortable situation that forces you push yourself physically and then apply the positive lessons you learn from it to your life. I guess the reason I’m sharing this story is because I feel really lucky and I want everyone in the world to feel as lucky as me.

 

 

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