Appreciate the little things

“Yyeeeaaahh!!!” exclaimed my son when asked if he wanted to go to the park today. Now that Hawaiʻi offers the Covid-19 vaccines to all over the age of twelve, life has begun to feel a little more “normal” in the islands. We plan to still exercise caution, but decided to take our two-year-old son to more of his favorite spots. The local park is definitely his number one choice.

When we pulled into the parking stall he was so excited he lifted his arms up and started his gibberish toddler talk: “Yeeeaaahh! Weee! Ooohhh!” And then tried to unbuckle himself from his car seat, fingers desperately fumbling to free himself from the straps.

After we put his slippers on and walked into the park, he immediately did a sprint straight through the green field laughing and giggling as much as his tiny feet and legs would allow him. At the center of the field he tripped and landed flat on his stomach as if sliding into home plate at a baseball game. At first we thought he was going to cry, instead he began to laugh and roll around in the grass, while throwing a few blades of grass into the air, which looked like confetti.

As my husband and I approached him, he gave a huge smile, got up and started to run, encouraging us to chase him. At that moment, I thought, “how lucky I am to spend a carefree day with my family, especially on a Monday.” Any other week, it would have been the grueling start to the work week. Thankful to be employed, but at the same time, anxiously awaiting the weekend.

I then reflected on the meaning of this Monday, Memorial Day, and how indebted we are to all of the fallen military service members who sacrificed their lives, so we could enjoy ours. How just being able to make a choice to go to the park with my family, is a gift in and of itself.

It reminded me of my two late Grandfathers, veterans from World War II and the Korean War, and how their choices have made it possible for me to be a mother and a wife in a beautiful place like Hawaiʻi.

At this thought, my son ran straight into me and gave me a huge hug, held my hand and started to pull me towards one of his favorites, the playground. I smiled, gave him a hug and told him, “let’s run!”

After a fun-filled day at the park, as soon as we returned home and got my son all settled, on his own, he grabbed his “blankey” and went straight to bed for his afternoon nap. Normally this can a be struggle because he wants to keep playing, but today he was completely content and happy. Before I left the room, he reached for my hand and smiled before he closed his eyes. It melted my heart and reminded me of why I wanted to become his mom in the first place.

It may not have been an extravagant trip to the zoo or the beach, but it was perfect because it was exactly what we all needed, quality time. Hope this will be a reminder to you to appreciate the little things, especially on this big holiday. Aloha 🌺

I almost lost my two-year-old son…

It was the most frightening thing I have ever experienced.

I almost lost my two year old son. Before I go into the details, I just want to clarify that my son is in perfect health, and is a happy, playful toddler. Just as kolohe (rascal in Hawaiian) as always. He’s currently giggling and rolling on the floor with his Dad right now. All is good.

The day it happened started out as a perfect day. It was a weekend and my husband, son, and I had a wonderful family day. We went to the park, stopped by our favorite lunch spot, and decided to get dessert on the way home.

I don’t want to go into too much details, but after getting the dessert we were all enjoying the sweet treat. However, after a couple bites my son started to choke on a piece of food!

It was the most frightening thing I have ever experienced.

He started to scratch his throat, flailing about and was starting to turn blue! I immediately yelled, “He’s choking!” As soon as this happened I knew I had to get him to my husband as he was trained in CPR.

My husband swiftly got my son in his arms, he flipped him over and began to slap his back six or seven times. I think I held my breathe the entire time. On the last tap, the food fell out of my son’s mouth and onto the ground.

I then took my first breathe and my son immediately started to cry holding onto my husband. He then continued to sob in my arms. I just held him tight silently thanking God for keeping him safe.

After he calmed down, he looked sad like he thought he was in trouble. It broke my heart. I explained to him that it wasn’t his fault, and how Mommy should have known to give him smaller pieces, and that I was so sorry. I began to cry as I held him.

Although only two, I believe he understood me as he immediately looked up, and began to talk, and talk and talk. I felt like it was his way of reassuring his mom and dad that he was okay.

We called his on-call doctor and she could hear him talking up a storm. She confirmed he didn’t have to go to the emergency room, and all was fine.

The next day we took him to his primary care doctor and he said that it was a good thing that my husband new CPR because the ambulance would have taken too long — My son could of had severe brain damage, or worse, he could have died.

For the longest time I felt guilty, like I was a horrible mother. So much so I had to have several therapy sessions just to cope with this experience, to forgive myself. It happened in a matter of a seconds, and to this day, it is still hard to talk about without being emotional.

But today, I am much more comfortable and am sharing this story so other parents may learn from my mistake. To help parents be a little more aware of what is near their children and of how important it is to learn CPR.

I am so grateful to my husband for saving our son’s life. And although he is so young, I believe my son is thankful to his Dad as well. Nowadays, he is more than willing to offer kisses and hugs to his Dada, and claps even more when he comes home from work or errands.

I hope my story reminds you of how important it is to be CPR certified. You never know when you might need to use it. My husband said that in all the years he has known CPR, he never had to use it on anyone. He would have never guessed he would of had to perform the technique on his own son!

I also hope my experience reminds you to cherish your loved ones, hold them close and really be present, because every moment is precious and should never be taken for granted.

If you are interested in taking a CPR class, the American Heart Association is a great resource: https://cpr.heart.org/en

Aloha 🌺

At a Time Like This, Family Walks are a Must

Being present in the moment, is the perfect way to remove yourself from any narrative replaying in your head.

Over the past year, there has been a plethora of changes to the world that has left me in a state of shock and sadness. Besides the battle of the pandemic, it has now unearthed and created prejudices of hate, discrimination and racism.

Last year it was #blacklivesmatter with the unnecessary death of George Floyd. This year, it is the cruel and unnecessary attacks on the Asian-American community. Both have left my heart broken at the naivety, injustices, and misunderstandings. Especially at the lack of compassion and empathy by those who commit these despicable acts.

When I watched the video of George Floyd’s death, I cried uncontrollably for a week. In disbelief of how this could happen, especially in the year 2020…

And now in 2021, I am completely dumbfounded at how the Asian-American community has now been claimed as the designated “Covid-19 scapegoat”.

I have loss family members to Covid-19. I know first hand the consequences of this disease. However, I will never understand the logic of the assaulters who judge people by the color of their skin, and then act violently on it.

Luckily, in Hawaiʻi, we are known to be a “mixing pot” of cultures, who are for the most part, understanding and accepting of all ethnicities. Don’t get me wrong, no where is free of prejudices. The Hawaiʻi culture has several of its own jokes and stereotypes that people associate with a certain ethnicity. However, in Hawaiʻi, the racism towards minorities is not even close to what occurs on the mainland.

Through all of this turmoil, I have found family walks with my son and husband have tremendously helped me refocus my priorities — What truly is important. It helps to build a “Hypothetical Wall” from all of the violence, hate, and assaults depicted on social media and the news.

Being present in the moment, is the perfect way to remove yourself from any narrative replaying in your head. I can’t help but focus my attention on the now, on the things I can control and appreciate.

The following is an example of my thought process on the same day I took this picture: As I walk with my son and husband I am admire how green the trees are as the birds chirp excitedly on a branch. All while the cool trade winds blow through the courtyard rustling the leaves. As my son holds my hand, I notice how tiny they are in mine, as he starts to put pressure on my hand so he can lean back and look at the sky filled with white fluffy clouds. I love how his laughter is so genuine and high pitched when he’s excited, especially as he points to the mountain up ahead, which has turned bright green from the previous weeks’ storm. I live for my husband’s hugs, which are strong and sturdy, and yet comforting and peaceful at the same time. All as we smile gleefully at each other because we love the quality time we have, that is so rarely shared.

On walks like this, I am easily able to forget, even if for a little while, the chaos that is occurring outside our Hawaiian archipelago. I can not control the negativity out in the world, but I can control how much of it I take in and how much I react to. There needs to be boundaries in all aspects of our lives, and it is up to us to keep them in place.

Remember a “Hypothetical Wall” doesn’t necessarily have to be an ethical one, it could be a physical, mental, virtual and even a spiritual one. Just be sure to keep it strong and check on it once in a while. In my opinion the easiest way? By walking. Aloha. #stopasianhate #stopAAPIhate

How it took 2 seconds for my 2-year-old to improve my marriage

After six-months of the pandemic, we were having more “it’s your turn” fights. If you are a parent, you definitely know what I mean: “I watched him, so it’s your turn”, “I cooked, so it’s your turn to clean”, or “I have a meeting, so it’s your turn to babysit” – and so on and so on.

In Hawaiʻi and elsewhere, the coronavirus is about to turn one. It’s hard to believe how all of our lives have turned upside down, and yet we have adapted to this “new normal”. Instead of only having one or two occupations, we have also become teleworkers, hairdressers, mechanics, bakers, teachers, IT technicians, online bankers, therapists, nurses, entertainers, contractors, and much more. Furthermore, if you are a parent or caregiver, multiply all of these extra “jobs” by the amount of individuals under your care. We are super heroes. Seriously, well done us.

However, it IS extremely exhausting. So much so it’s easy to forget to make time for yourself, and especially for your partner.

After six-months of the pandemic, we were having more “it’s your turn” fights. If you are a parent, you definitely know what I mean: “I watched him, so it’s your turn”, “I cooked, so it’s your turn to clean”, or “I have a meeting, so it’s your turn to babysit” – and so on and so on. I found my husband and I were going straight to bed after all our responsibilities, without spending any quality time together. When prior to the pandemic it was a daily ritual for us.

Even when my husband returned home from work or errands, I would barely look up from the computer, and just offer a quick “hey hun”. Then later, our conversations just consisted of: “what’s your schedule tomorrow?” “Did you pay the bill that’s due?” “What do you want to each for lunch?” “Did you call your parents?” “Remember to take so-and-so to the doctor.” — You get the idea.

If I had a moment to think about it, I would go down a worry-spiral of having a broken relationship. Granted, in great part due to this world-wide pandemic, but it still didn’t alleviate the concern resting in the pit of my stomach.

However, it didn’t last very long as my son, work, or life would happen and I would be right back in the grind. And once the grind was over for the day, I would be too tired to put any effort into anything else.

Until one day my husband came home from a Costco errand. Normally, my son would just look up and smile and go back to his favorite show. This time, my son stood up, smiled and started clapping saying, “Yay!” which then made me do the same. My husband was so touched, his stress from running errands, turned into a grateful smile and an appreciation for the warm welcome.

That night instead of talking about the tasks we needed to complete, or plans for the next day, we gushed about our son, and how sweet he was with his greeting. Which led to discussing what we loved about him, each other, our dream vacations post-pandemic, and meaningful conversations that were missing for at least six-months or longer.

And this kept happening every single time my husband came home. And later that night, we would easily discuss our son, his cuteness, and matters that really interested us.

Now, whenever my husband goes out and he returns my son and I will clap, smile and greet him with a “yay!” It’s our daily practice, and I have noticed six-months later how this little gesture has helped to make the world of a difference in creating intimacy between my husband and me. I even do it on my own if my son is taking his nap, which just makes my husband melt.

This may sound funny, but if you want to make someone feel special and loved, follow my son’s technique – smile, clap and say “yay!” whenever they come home. Or, use your own genuine or personal greetings, just remember to do it authentically. It just takes two seconds, but trust me when I say the effects last a lifetime.

Ask yourself this when someone rejects you

Anna Akana

Happy New Year! When I woke up this morning one of the first posts I saw on Instagram was from YouTuber and actress, Anna Akana.

Anna normally posts videos on dating, social awkwardness, her anxiety and life in general. It seems that she mostly shares sage advice she gets from her therapy with her viewers. And I’m all for it.

Today was an awesome “gem” that I wanted to memorialize here, and also to share with others who deal with rejection and recovering from people just not liking you. The video can be found on her Instagram, YouTube, or at the bottom of this post.

I have anxiety and complex PTSD, so I overthink everything, and like Anna’s experience, I too was rejected by being unfollowed on Instagram. However, not by a friend of a friend, but by two family members! Cousins, one by blood and one the wife of a cousin. I also found out within two months of each unfollow.

When it happened, I checked my sister’s page and she was still being followed by both (and she’s also the favorite which has been a struggle for me all my life, but that’s another post for another day). She is also closer to one of them and visits her, which I don’t so that helped a little, but still…

Back to the point – I felt severely rejected and checked all our old conversations and tried to see if anything was said that was mean, and also had two huge therapy session with both of my psychologists about it (yes I have two, one for every day problems and one for trauma work), and I could not come up with any concrete event or statement that would equate their unfollow!

Anna in her session, was told the typical comment, “you know you are not going to be liked by everyone, right?” Which is true but not helpful, but then the “gem” was shared —

“How much can you tolerate being misunderstood?”

Anna Akana‘s therapist

BOOM! 💣 Mic Drop 🎤! That hit home for me because I can not control what people think about me, but I can control how much energy I give to their misconceptions about me.

My whole life I have felt misunderstood, to the point where I always gave justifications for my actions, so people would understand me. So much so my mother had a regular phrase: “Stop justifying yourself and just accept what is!”

I may never understand why people don’t like me, but I can increase the amount of tolerance I have for being misunderstood.

For example, my cousins may not like me, but I have a loving, supportive husband who adores me, a son who prefers spending time with me, and friends who enjoy my sense of humor and companionship.

It also relates to my belief, that just because you’re blood, doesn’t make you family. And I’m no longer going to give those who reject me power by needing their approval. It’s their loss that they choose not to know the real me, because I am pretty damn awesome! And so are you!

I hope this helped you realize that not everyone is going to love you, and that’s okay, as long as you love yourself. Life will keep those around who deserve you as long as you know what you deserve first.

Here’s to a new year and starting a new, healthy mindset.

One question to ask when someone doesn’t like you, Anna Akana, January 18, 2021

Family Dance Parties – The Best Cure for All

Aloha Friends,

Lately, my son has reverted back to the clingy-and-moody stage, where he wakes up from his naps screaming and sticks to me like an opihi (a limpet found near the ocean shore that clings to rocks. In Hawaiʻi people jokingly call things that “stick” or “cling” to something, an opihi).

I can barely complete any task or chore as he sticks to me like glue. This first happened when he was an infant, which was right around the time the movie “The Greatest Showman” with Hugh Jackman came out. It’s basically an underdog story about a circus group, their ringmaster, members, and the stereotypes, discriminations, and trials and tribulations they overcome — I absolutely love it!

One day in order to calm my son, I turned the soundtrack on and began dancing with him. He immediately started to giggle, clap, and laugh, and within a few minutes he was completely content playing by himself. I was finally able to finish any household tasks baby-free!

So whenever he’s down in the dumps, or I am, whether spiritually, or due to life drama, one thing I do that works like a charm is either watching this movie, or having a dance party. My son has a signature dance: which basically is him bending down with his butt out, while stomping his feet, and clapping his hands, all with a huge smile on his face. It makes my heart laugh every single time.

The dance party is not always with “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack. It may be whatever is on my “favorites” playlist at the moment. However, it definitely gets me out of my funk, gives me some much needed exercise and gets my energy moving.

Hope you will give it a try. And if you have not already done so, I highly recommend “The Greatest Showman” for your next movie night. I believe it’s available right now on Disney+. I promise it will cure any stagnant energy, and make you feel like YOU again.

P.S. Some of our favorites from “The Greatest Showman” are —

“Come Alive”

“The Other Side”

“This Is Me” (This is the one my son starts to stomp to! Definitely our anthem!)

“From Now On” (You gotta wait a bit for this one to kick in…soo good!)

“The Greatest Show (Reprise)”

Enjoy and happy dancing!

I’m a Mom Now!

Aloha Friends,

As stated in my last post, a wonderful and extraordinary thing happened to me in June 2018. I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this based on the image above and the title, but it was one of the best news I received in my entire life!

The truth is, I was scared I wasn’t going to be able to have any children. I had a medical condition, although not serious, I was nauseous, with digestive issues daily. It prevented me from being around people. I felt isolated, alone, rejected, and depressed.

Then my digestive issues became worse and for peace of mind I took a pregnancy test – and it was positive!

I made an appointment that very week which confirmed it, and two trimesters later my healthy baby boy was born in late 2018.

Being a mother is one of the best feelings in the world. All the mushy stuff they tell you is true, you will never love someone so much even though you have just met. And it is so easy to just watch your baby for hours in complete bliss. Until they reach their terrific twos, but that’s another story for another time…

I guess the point of this blog is, to never lose hope.

To always have faith that the next step will be the final step that takes you to the top of the mountain.

However, I am still climbing. My son was a lovely surprise, but my journey is still going.

I’m hoping to share with you what I’ve learned these past two years. I’m still trekking, but hopefully we can do it together.

P.S. The “selfie” or “footsie” was taken by my son. I don’t know how, but he even chose the filter. He loves camera phones and is always trying to take pictures. Even though I can’t see his face I save most of them to show him one day.

I’m Back…Again!

Aloha Friends,

It has been a while, years in fact, and I hope life has been treating you well since we last spoke in 2018, minus the world-wide pandemic and all.

I am sure you are wondering, “Where have you been?!” Or, if you’re new to my blog, “Who are you?”

As a short re/introduction: I am a 30-something-year-old woman from Hawaiʻi, who is trying to find purpose in her life, while living with an anxiety disorder and other health conditions (minor, but embarrassing ones), with hints of spiritual growth. This blog was supposed to be a diary, a motivation to myself to “think positive,” and to believe that there is “gold at the end of the rainbow.”

The reason why I stopped? Because I could not pretend to be “happy” or “okay” with my life anymore.

I was honestly so unhappy. I would cry every day, and I could not write about how great I was feeling when I really felt like crap. Or, I did not want to give all my negativity to those who read my blog. I just could no longer pretend to be a motivator for myself, or others.

I started to give up, not to the point of suicide (I love my husband too much), but I resigned that I would be dealing with all my burdens and hardships forever.

Until life showed me in June 2018, there was more than one “pot of gold” waiting for me.

Come back tomorrow and I will tell you more about it. 😉

5 Accomplishments This Past Week

You did many awesome things this past week! The thing is, it’s so much easier to forget the “good” moments because when your aligned and in-sync, it feels great, and it’s easily lost in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. It’s good practice to take the time out and remember at least five moments each week which makes you proud of yourself!

My five accomplishments for the week of 1/28/18-2/3/18:

1. I stuck up for myself, and did not give in to a “people pleasing” situation.

At work we have meetings where I normally am the note-taker. Lately, the meetings have been more focused on hiring a new Director, which does not require note-taking. So for a meeting that was 20-minutes of note-taking, and 3 hours of interviews, I asked my boss if I could sit out.

At first my boss was worried about who would take the notes, I then offered her my voice recorder, and she agreed. However, the next day, she still tried to get me to go, by saying, “Oh we can walk over together.” I just replied, “Another person offered to take the paperwork for me, so it’s not necessary.”

It worked out perfectly and my boss was happy with the way the meeting went, even without me there. Had it been me five years ago, I would have totally said, “okay” and attended a meeting I didn’t have to, just to please her.

2. I was able to set and keep my boundaries when it came to the amount of time/money I was going to spend when my family came to visit.

The me before would spend every day with my family when they were in town, at times to the detriment of my health and responsibilities. Although it’s all in fun, I am no longer able to give that much of myself, even for family. Before they came, I communicated with them that I could only spend time with them a couple of days during their stay. When normally they would give me the “guilt trip,” they were totally understanding!

3. I handled an anxiety episode much better than I would have before.

My relatives came into town last week, and the original plan was to have dinner, just the four of us. But at the last-minute the relative invited two more people! I immediately began to freak out, but started to take a deep breath, and “talk my self out of it.”

I was able to make it through most of the dinner okay, there were a couple of times I felt myself start to get anxious, but I just excused myself and went to the bathroom to recuperate, and came back to the table. Overall, it did not go exactly the way I would have hoped, but that’s okay!

And that’s the bonus, that I was able to tell myself, and accept the fact that although it did not go exactly the way I planned, it’s okay, and I was okay with that!

4. I had a huge fight with my husband, but I was able to appreciate it, instead of wallow and not forgive.

We haven’t had an intense fight like this in ages. You know the kind where you slam the door, and yell at the top of your lungs? Yup, that’s the kind of fight I had this past week.

However, the difference between this fight and the previous intense fights we previously had, was that I was able to disregard my husband’s a$$-itis, by pausing and remembering the stresses he was going through in his life — his Dad’s recovery from a heart attack, new jobs, and even school.

I was able to give him the benefit of the doubt, that he wasn’t always nasty, just going through a hard time himself, and that I could let whatever hurtful things he said go. (Well not immediately, but pretty much faster than the many times before). Plus, I got the benefits of him trying to make up for it for at least a week afterwards. (Score!)

5. I finally heard my psychologist when he said for the millionth time, to “just accept myself exactly the way I am.”

As I mentioned before, I have had a chronic medical condition for about three years and I’ve tried everything to get better, but it’s still apart of my life. Many people, including my doctor have said to just accept it, and it has been a life challenge to say the least.

Through tears, it wasn’t until the appointment Tuesday, that I finally got the message, that I will probably keep having this ailment, until I fully accept it and myself with it, and then it will go away. My doctor pointed out that, “I’ve already done all this work, did the different types of treatment, yet I still have it.” The only thing that’s been constant is my nonacceptance of it.

So this past week, no matter how much I tried to push it away, I finally understood that I must accept it, and myself, exactly the way I am. And if I have mishaps, or steps back, it’s okay, as long as I still keep taking the step forward in realizing, “I am just as important as everyone else, and I am indifferent to good or bad opinions.”

The best way to be indifferent? Be mindful and present, sense everything, and everything else will just fade away…

What is your five accomplishments?

Mahalo and Aloha!

My husband’s the best…

I’ve been having a hard week. After the “missile scare” a few weeks ago, I’ll admit it’s just a “first world problem,” but I live in a “first world” so it’s hard to shake. Thoughts just keep coming up, over and over again, bombarding me and I can’t shut them out. I watch movies, I eat everything in sight, I pace, I try to distract myself in every single way, I even randomly just shout, “F&#$!,” to shock my brain to stop, but once it gets quiet, it just starts all over again. It sometimes feels as if I’m a war criminal, and I’m being tortured, but it’s only mentally, and worse, I’m doing it to myself…

Until I got this text, from my husband out-of-the-blue.

484292577123589399420011.jpeg

It reminded me that I’m loved, and I am worth something, more specifically, worth someones’ unconditional love.

I started writing this blog because I needed to be reminded of something good, like my husband’s text. And I’ll admit it helped so much I began to cry. It just so happened my husband walked by, saw my tears, walked to my chair, and motioned me with his hands to stand up. As soon as I stood facing him, with no words, he gave me a big huge hug, and kept saying, “It’s okay babe, it’s okay.” I cried more as he reassured me, that “You have nothing to worry about babe, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll always be here, I love you.”

I thank God/the Universe everyday for him, I don’t know what I did to deserve him. He knows me so well, and is so supportive, and knows exactly what I need without even saying anything. Falling in love is wonderful, but being in love, where you communicate beyond words, where you know each other inside and out, and can solve any problems with just a hug, that’s something that is beyond words…

I always hoped I’d fall in love with someone like him, I’m so happy I did. I hope you fall in love…too.