Friday, June 26, 2015

I joined! It's horrible! ...but I'm trying! Yay!

About a month ago, I opened a account because I thought it would be a good idea to start dating again during the summer while I have a break from school. Although I’ve done online dating numerous times in the past, I was never looking for a relationship. I claimed to want a relationship, but I behaved in a way that reflected that I really wanted to cuddle with people who wanted to offer nothing other than his penis (when it was available on his terms only). I was scared of relationships because people have to be vulnerable and trusting. At the time, I was in horrible predicament after another and was honestly in no position to be a good partner to anyone. I also had a lot of trouble accepting that I was worthy of love and human decency.

Since moving back to Honolulu, I’ve sorted myself out a bit. I feel better about myself because I’ve been consistent with seeking ways to improve myself through therapy, soul-searching, self-awareness, surrounding myself with positive people and getting my shit together. While I’m not 100% ready to be in a relationship just yet, I’m starting to feel a bit more comfortable entertaining the idea of making decisions that are in alignment with building a healthy partnership.

At the moment, I’m finishing up my last year of grad school and it’s probably not the best time to be dating. However, as someone who has never took dating seriously, I felt it would be a good time to become more accustomed to interacting with potential partners so I don’t want to vomit every I talk to a person I find attractive. I don’t hide my emotions well and the look of nausea is hardly a good place to start one’s journey with a potential husband. Or is this hot now? No? OK!

Last night, I sent my first message to initiate a conversation with someone I found attractive. He also had so many amazing qualities that I appreciated. He didn’t have a neck tattoo and he likes dogs! Things were looking very promising and then I ruined it by writing him this message:

--- the start of something awful ---

Aloha! (so cheesy, sorry) I joined match a few weeks ago because I wanted to meet some new friends. We have quite a bit in common and if you're interested in exploring the possibility of friendship, let me know. I'm horrible at writing to strangers. This is so awkward. I'm also not 100% we haven't met before. I'm also in a graduate social work program (MSW) so maybe I've seen you at a workshop? If that's the case and it's weird, don't even worry! I'm like most reasonable human beings and understand that no response just means we never have to speak of this awkward message ever again. Okay, well... I've clearly established I'm have absolutely no concept of how to properly communicate on this platform. I now realize why people just start out with "hi" and leave it at that. In closing, just wanted to share that I found your profile charming and wish you the best of luck in finding new friends and opportunities for love. :-)

--- it eventually ends ---

What did I learn from that expression of verbal diarrhea? I'm terrible at initiating online dating conversations. In the middle of writing to that guy, I had a panic attack when I realized I've never had to write to someone before. In the past, I always waited for a guy to talk to me first because I feared rejection. WHY DID I HIT SEND? I had numerous opportunities to stop and utilize a friend lifeline but NOOOOOOOOOO I was amped up on adrenaline and sent it anyway!

I haven't even logged on to my account yet. I woke up this morning and momentarily thought, "oh man, I can't believe I had a dream about writing such a dumb message" immediately followed by, "OHHHHH NOOOOOOOOO THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" when I read this text:

On, no one writes to me. Honolulu is a small city and it’s more than likely that we’ve seen everyone on that site and already made the decision that there is no attraction in person. It’s also additionally challenging because I don’t look like anyone’s dream girl. I don’t have nice tits. I’m a Little Person and some people would rather not date me. Conversely, some people who are super into Little People just want to check that sucka off their bucket list. So, there’s that. In the past, I’ve always either waited for a guy to talk to me first or I wrote to a guy I thought was cute and never got a response. Due to the fear of rejection, I’ve been waiting for a guy to talk to me.

The downside of waiting for a guy to initiate a conversation comes down to two kinds of dudes:

Candidate Type #1: The guys who have a photo album of 100+ digital dick pics ready for distribution. They only write "hi" because it takes too much energy to compose a note for the 100s of women who they think may want to lick their penis for 15 minutes.

Candidate Type #2: Men who have had a challenging run with online dating. These guys are the ones who believe that “nice guys finish last” because they are under the impression that buying someone dinner at Maharani Cafe guarantees she should want to marry him. Was it his awkward demeanor? No, it couldn’t be that! Was it his stance that all gay people should burn in hell because they’re sinners who don’t deserve love? Of course not! Was it because girls are gold diggers who use nice guys for Saag Paneer and Chicken Tandoori because they’re just bitches?! YES!

SO. Now that I'm attempting to find someone who isn't a soul-less dick wielder or someone who will email me things like “YOU SHOULD BE LUCKY I GAVE YOU A CHANCE YOU MIDGET BITCH!” (yes, this has happened) or “I HOPE YOU FOREVER WRITE IN YOUR DUMB BLOGS AND CRY FOREVER ALONE!”. With the help of some trusted friends, I now send PDF files of men I’m considering. I don’t trust myself to choose good people. In the past, I’ve unknowingly dated a guy who was “allegedly” a rapist (it was in an newspaper) and someone who threatened to microwave my bunny Thomas if I cheated on him (but he actually cheated on me first). SO, at this point, I think a proper round vetting may be appropriate.

Why am I writing all of this? I wanted to share these details in hope of encouraging anyone who is getting back into dating. Dating sucks for everyone who isn't a crazy-confident and jovial human (sometimes these people are psychopaths--be careful!). While I know it’s traditional for men to “grow a pair” and initiate a conversation, sometimes the best candidates aren't going to find you. A nice guy isn’t on 5 hours a day becuase he has a job and isn’t just trying to get his dick sucked. Good people are out there, but I think it helps to take some initiative.

As I continue on to this awful, yet necessary journey of opening up to the possibility of reciprocal and genuine love, I know it'll get weird sometimes. I accept that. Some people are going to be awful. SO awful I'll want to punch them in the throat until they collapse so I can find someone (because I can’t lift more than 10lbs.) to throw them in the dumpster where they belong. Dating is a numbers game. The more opportunities we take, the better our chances of meeting someone cool.

It’s likely that we’ll meet a lot of cool people, but some of those relationships won’t last because it just wasn’t a good fit. Don’t be discouraged. No one owes anyone anything and the experience itself is forward-moving because no one meets the love of their lives at home watching Netflix while eating a 2-serving sharable bag of crispy M&Ms alone #LastNight #AllTheTime

Love always wins. Real love, not “wanna suck my dick in the parking lot?” kind of (whatever that is, ew, gross). Go out there and meet people. It’s going to get weird and it’s going to be so hilarious. Yay!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Diane, are you gay?

I recently went to the gay pride parade because I support human equality and it’s always a lot of fun. Everyone is happy and it’s the only time of the year when Waikiki isn’t a horrible place. Since the parade, many family members and friends have asked me if I’m a closeted lesbian. No, I’m not.

Here are some recent responses from my loved ones upon telling them that I’m not gay.

1. “I mean, whatever makes you happy. I’m totally fine with it if you are. I don’t even give a shit about that. Are you?”

2. “Are you sure?

3. “...but the pictures”

4. “I hope you meet a nice lady who treats you really good” - My Mom * For a Korean Mom, creating a safe space to be gay or not gay is HUGE. My Mom is a wonderful human being.

5. “...” (conversation abruptly ends) - My Dad * He didn’t ask me. I actually asked him if he thought I was gay and “...” was his response and the conversation immediately shifted to whether or not we should try the gyros at Don Quixote (Leo’s Taverna). My Dad is a wonderful human being.

6. “I was hoping you were”

7. “...but it’d be hot. I think you’re just not sure until you try it.”

As a society, we’re fixated on assessing people by limited information. It’s not surprising as we’re checking boxes right at birth and assign all sorts of labels to our kids that inevitably condition us as adults. While I was surprised that people who know me so well had second-guessed my “Nope, not gay” response, I completely understand. It comes from their sensitivity to maintaining a safe space “just in case”.

I don’t fault my family and friends at all because I have several characteristics that could be easily assumed to indicate that I may want to be in a relationship with a “nice lady”:

1. I’m 31-year-old and “STILL” single.

2. I’m not married to a man.

3. I have not been on a date with a man (or a woman) in over a year.

4. I crashed the 2013 & 2015 gay pride parades and everyone there (and anyone who reads Honolulu Magazine & Advocate Hawaii) saw me waving rainbow flags and celebrating the progression of gay rights.

5. I have female friends who are in relationships with women.

6. I have male friends who are in relationships with men.

7. I’m a supporter of marriage equality and get super huffy when people refuse to honor human rights.

So what is it? Why am I in support of gay rights when I’m not gay myself? I feel very fortunate that I never saw identifying as gay or transgender as “wrong”. “Gay people” or “transgender people” were always just people because I was introduced (at a young age, probably 7?) to the fact that some men love men and some women love women and some people have to endure a very invasive procedure because their bodies were not accurate expressions of their true identity. For 7-year-old-ish me, I didn’t need further explanation.

My first time meeting a transgender woman was when I was in first grade. My friend told me that her brother was going to be her sister soon. It was all cool because she was nice and treated me like a human being. The beautiful thing about children is their flexibility to accept people with no or minimal explanation. Adults make a mess of things because our capacity to see through a different lens is often hardened by how we’ve been conditioned.

I celebrate anyone’s journey to being more authentic with themselves, especially when that level of truth goes against society’s conventional “standards”. For many [probably ALL] people, it’s difficult to accept our realities and even more terrifying to open up to a space of inviting others to love our authentic selves. We all have areas in our lives that we fear others won’t embrace if they “really knew”. Here are some of mine:

1. I have an “irrational” fear of the dentist that’s so bad I have to be sedated (like Ozzy Osborne) or I’ll bite someone during panic attacks. * I don’t think Ozzy bites people when not medicate, but I sure have!

2. I’m fascinated by the Kardashian family. I bought their overpriced cupcake mix just so I could see Kim in person at Famous Cupcakes in Beverly Hills, CA. Am I ashamed of myself? NO. (#SorryNotSorry I love them!)

3. I’m a Little Person and many people can’t accept that I’m worthy of love and human decency. My ex-boyfriend’s Mom pressured him to break up with me because she didn’t feel I was suitable to be in her family. He agreed. I still haven’t been able to entertain the possibility of a “real” relationship because I fear all parents won’t accept me.

4. I have to use a walker that makes a lot of noise because I live in a world that doesn’t care to make assistive technology attractive and more efficient (because it doesn’t generate a lot of money).

5. I’m entering my final year of graduate school and don’t have a steady flow of income. I get paid in experience at my day job and make actual money helping my family’s business. I don’t know what the job market will be like when I graduate.

6. I’ve never been in a healthy relationship. I subconsciously (more likely intentionally) chose men who were emotionally unavailable so I wouldn’t be as disappointed when our time together inevitably ended. I’m 31 and don’t know if I have the capacity to be in a reciprocate relationship with a nice person.

7. At the moment, I’m opting not to have biological children. Kids are awesome and bring so much joy and love in this world. However, I don’t see myself as a biological Mother. I think I’m a cool Aunty and I’m working on being a better Godmother. I would be open to marrying someone who already has kids, but I won’t be having any of my own. This is a dealbreaker for many people, but I stand by my decision.

The point of this random note was not to let everyone know I’m not a lesbian. If you think I like women, that’s okay. I like men. While I don’t feel a need to explain myself to anyone, I do want to avoid any situations that involve being set up by a nice lady. I just don’t want to waste anyone’s time and create an unnecessarily awkward “date” (because I’ve had enough of those with men).

I hope this offers some perspective on why I get super excited during gay pride parades and why I celebrate the passing of laws that help people who love each other put a ring on it. I’m a big fan of love. I find the most joy when people can offer the flexibility of shifting their perspectives and love on someone else without having to understand every little detail. To me, that’s beautiful.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

We're Balloons: The Capacity to Love and Be Loved.

When I was a kid, I had an irrational fear of balloon animals. The twisting of thin latex filled with full-to-capacity air freaked me out. I hated the sound of a balloon popping. Like the equally horrific Jack In The Box, I dreaded the inevitable three seconds of piss-your-pants fear that was supposed to be fun and an integral part of childhood. I’m not sure why, but I never ran away from the balloon animal booth even though it was an experience that was always filled with anxiety. I knew there were risks, but it seemed worthwhile to see little pieces of rubber evolve into a magical flower or a cat with three legs.

I always admired balloon animal artists because they could do something I couldn’t: inflate a balloon with their mouths. As a kid, I was so embarrassed when balloons were passed around at parties because I knew I wouldn’t be able to blow them up. I was always that kid who was red-in-the-face relentlessly trying to be like everyone else. I never successfully managed and someone’s nice Mom would help me while all the other kids made me feel bad for my weak lung-capacity.

Recently, a lady in my meditation group asked me how I cope with the way ignorant people treat me. She admitted that she had cyber-stalked me a bit and found it admirable that I can be confident when it’s clear that my self-esteem has been often compromised by society.

I told her that people are a lot like balloons. She looked confused. Truthfully, I didn’t know where I was going with my balloon analogy either, but I just ran with it. Some balloons are easier to inflate while others take quite a bit of effort. It comes down to a person’s capacity to grow. We are all conditioned with certain beliefs and some people feel there’s no need to stretch and open their minds to unfamiliar ideas. I get that. Some people will look at me and see someone who is broken because they don’t have the capacity to see me fully as a person. I can’t control that. The only thing I have control of is how I see myself. While it’s frustrating, I know it’s impossible to change a person without their consent. So, that’s why I think people are like balloons.

She seemed satisfied with my answer and I left. On my way home, I realized that I needed to hear that message myself. At the time, I had been mending a disappointed heart after yet another potential relationship dissolved into my current season of singledom. I was in the usual “I’m never dating again” mode and even looking at a happy couple filled my heart with sadness.

It was so easy to be in the man-hating mentality because four of my close girlfriends were also swearing off relationships. Commiserating over heartbreak is enlightening for about a week, and then it quickly becomes group therapy with no hope of resolution.

Some popular topics of girl group therapy:

1. “I wasn’t worth being loved. I’m so ugly.”

2. “I’m never going to find anyone, I’ll end up alone.”

3. “I’m done with dating, I’m never going to love again!” – this declaration actually helps to make number 2 quite foreseeable.

These are all lies that are encouraged by our disappointed hearts. Don’t let that inner-douchebag fool you, you’re just sad. Be sad, but know that life is in a state of constant change and those feelings will dissipate with time.

When I go through a break-up, I always feel awful and blame myself. It never gets easier. I automatically assume that it’s because he’s ashamed to be seen with me. In addition to my physicality, I also think it’s because of my fledging career, living at home with my family again, etc. I pull out all sorts of scenarios that make me feel terrible. The truth is that sometimes, I’ve just got too much booty for one man to handle (Thanks DJ Felli Fel, haha). On a more serious note, my reality entails that some men just aren’t comfortable being with a woman who isn’t conventional. That’s their thing, not mine.

I think we all find ourselves in that pit of despair when we let other people define our worth. After discussing levels of capacity with meditation lady, I started to see girl group therapy from a different perspective. So much of the laments involved our own inadequacies while completely ignoring the fact that maybe that guy was just not the right person. The details don’t really matter after a break-up. It just wasn’t meant to be and the end of one relationship opens up the potential for a better one (when you’re ready).

Instead of accepting the end of a relationship as just a season coming to a close, we make up all sorts of fantasy stories of how great it could’ve been. We brush aside all of the red flags and see ourselves and our men on the cover of a romantic novel that you’d find in line at the grocery store check-out. Rubbish! The disappointed heart only allows visions of the would-be greatness that will never be instead of the reality that he just didn’t have the capacity to give anymore. Don’t believe it.

With the help of meditation lady, I realized that my true failing in the way I interacted in relationships was my own inability to have the capacity to value myself. What did I expect? I couldn’t even recognize my worth; it became so evidently weird that I had the audacity to expect someone else to love me when I couldn’t manage to love myself. Relationships aren’t meant to be a point of validation. Expecting someone else to love you when you can’t even love yourself is a lot like having someone blow up a balloon first and letting you have the sloppy saliva seconds.

I’m so glad meditation lady asked me that question and forced me to find an answer. The stories and advice we share with other people are often messages we need to apply to our own lives. From that brief interaction, I had to confront the reality that I sought love from others because I struggled to be happy on my own. Until I can see the value in myself, I know my insecurities will inevitably sabotage any future relationships.

Being in love is one of the most amazing feelings in life. In my opinion, having a true connection with someone who doubles as best friend and lover is an experience well worth the risk of being vulnerable. While the idea of sending another, “just want to make sure you know I’m a Little Person” pre-meeting text makes me sick to my stomach, I look forward to dating again (when I’m ready). Everyone has the capacity to love and be loved. In my opinion, I think it’s wise to learn from mistakes, but at the same time go into new opportunities with an open heart. Like everything else in life worth pursuing, being available to love and be loved takes work and believing in the possibility.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The M-Word

A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak to a class about my experiences as a Little Person. I’m always surprised when people find my life interesting. To me, it’s just, well, life. I’ve known no other body and after 29 years on this earth, living as a Little Person has always been just, living. After addressing that “Little Person” is the politically correct term, someone chimed in and asked if I had heard Bill Burr’s bit about midgets. I hadn’t. He assured me that I would change my view after hearing his perspective.

I didn’t.

It’s annoying when people try to change my mind about this topic after I’ve made it clear it’s not a matter of discussion. “Stop being so sensitive.” “It’s just a word, don’t give power to it.” Don’t tell me how to feel. Unlike most people who were bullied as kids, I don’t have the luxury of shedding my childhood taunts as an adult. People still laugh at me and yell out, “look at that midget!” and laugh with their idiot friends at my expense. When labels like “midget”, “fat ass”, etc. are used; its sole purpose is to alienate a person, not just as a description. Derelicts thrive on putting others down because it satisfies their own voids in life.

The sad truth is that people don’t care about issues that do not directly affect them. We support equality for group A, but screw group B because we don’t give a shit about them! As a person who has experienced cruel behavior throughout my life, I try my best to be compassionate towards everyone. I still have a hard time with blatant assholes, but I try really hard to be understanding of them, too. I still think shitty things, but I have the decency to keep those thoughts to myself. I’ve never called out an asshole for the sake of entertaining my friends. Well, not soberly anyway.

While I understand the value of desensitizing labels, I feel that it only works when everyone is on board. At 29, I can intellectually process that people who call me a midget (after being told it’s not cool) in 2013 are just ignorant jerks. Not everyone has the same stance on derogatory terminology. Some people are deeply opposed while others have built immunity to labels and welcome anything. If you are one of those people who have successfully mastered the “sticks and stones” policy, congratulations! In respect for the rest of us working toward being seen as equal members of society, please keep your revelries to yourself.

It doesn’t matter what the word is, if someone doesn’t like it, it’s just a matter of respect to honor his or her request. If someone were to tell me that he didn’t like to be called a “person”, I’d stop calling him a “person”. I don’t need to understand why, it just is and I’d respect his decision. I’d make sure to try extra hard to remember his name so I never have to refer to him as a “person” ever again.

I understand that it’s hard to learn new words and break old habits. Change can be difficult to accept, especially when our precious go-to jabs are being compromised. I’m embarrassed that I am personally guilty of using the R-word quite a bit in my youth and even throughout adulthood. I was ignorant and didn’t realize it was offensive until recently. I’ve stopped using the R-word and replace it with more appropriate descriptors. It took some effort, but it wasn’t difficult. I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t try my best to correct my own wrongdoings.

We’re not children anymore. It’s shitty to attempt to make someone feel bad for being different. Don’t offer excuses when people express their discomfort of certain words. It’s a shitty thing to do. Be an adult. Take responsibility and value that opportunity to respect a fellow human being. Life is hard; you are either another problem or a beautiful solution.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Photo By: Douchebag

After a two-month Facebook break, I re-activated my account because I missed keeping up with friends I don’t see often. However, this time, things have changed a bit. I only log-in twice a day and I haven’t downloaded the app on my phone. I ultimately decided to cut down on FB because the plethora of “People of Walmart” posts made me feel gross.

I’m not disgusted by bold fashion choices, but by the hourly reminder that society can be so cruel. At some point, people have lost their sense of integrity and consider it acceptable behavior to snap photos of strangers just to humiliate them. We tell our children to be decent people, but even as adults who should know better, we’re bullies.

For the people who think, “well, they shouldn’t have dressed that way” or “they should get to a gym”, think about this: do you always look your best? We’ve all had those days where it was just too much to snap on a bra or run a brush through our hair. Are we exempt from being posted on websites like this because we look like shit at Target instead of Walmart?

I’ll admit that I don’t like these websites because people have snapped photos of me without my permission many times. It doesn’t matter what I’m wearing, I’ve been the focal point of many camera phones because I’m a Little Person. To some people, I’m weird looking and they just can’t control the urge to share this sighting with someone else. These amateur photographers think they are privileged to having a personal photo of me. It doesn’t matter where I shop, people will still dehumanize me for being me.

In 2009, I went to the Little People of America convention in New York City. It was my first time in New York and I visited all sorts of monuments and had the most amazing pizza in Little Italy. My girlfriend (also a Little Person) and I stopped by the Guggenheim museum and had lunch at its café after viewing the exhibits.

While we were eating our sandwiches, my friend noticed that someone was taking photos of us. At the time, I was stuffing my face with a delicious Panini and without thought, turned around to face the perpetrators in time for them to take another photo. I was disgruntled and my mouth was full of food. Great.

If I had been there alone, I would’ve let it go. People have been rude to me my whole life and it doesn’t really faze me enough to exert energy on ignorant people. However, this time, it was different because someone I cared about was also part of this nonsense. We were both quite upset and I decided to say something.

Most people do shitty things like this because they don’t think they’ll have to face any sort of consequence. Unfortunately for these two people, I just wasn’t in the mood to overlook blatant rudeness while I ate my $18 sandwich.

I walked over to their table and told them that they were rude for taking photos without our permission. They had a few lame excuses and somewhere in the conversation I threatened to take this up with security. Other people in the café were starring and the couple seemed to be quite embarrassed. They eventually agreed to erase the photo. Instead of taking their word for it, I treated them like criminals and forced them to erase them all in my presence. I watched as they deleted each unflattering candid photo. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy this moment. I did.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the time and energy to personally confront all of these people. All I can do at my end is come to terms that some people just don’t get why this is mean. It just is. However, I try to do my part and choose not to “like” or share these photos on FB. I also limit my interaction with people who find this deplorable behavior acceptable. It’s just not a decent thing to do.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Shit Happens: Why I Left LA.

In December 2012, I made an abrupt decision to say goodbye to Los Angeles, a city that had been my home for six years. I didn’t have a plan, but I knew that I’d figure it out once I moved back to my hometown in Honolulu. There were all sorts of reasons that led up to this decision, but the greatest of all was the realization that my dreams of pursuing a career in entertainment had died.

To be honest, my dreams had been dead for several years. I was so stubborn and couldn’t accept that the thing I thought was my purpose in life, well, wasn’t. I became jaded by Hollywood. Nothing was exciting anymore. I’ve met heaps of celebrities, gone to red carpet events and acquired several accolades I never thought was possible. However, at a certain point, all of that shit lost its luster. I found myself staring at a blank corner of my apartment every morning asking myself, “Why do I even bother?”

One of my girlfriends sat me down one day and said she thought I had clinical depression. In response, I told her, “well, my dreams are dead and I don’t know what do with my life, I’d surely have some sort of mental illness if I wasn’t depressed.” We never spoke of it again.

I was one of those very generic cases. I moved to Hollywood right after college to pursue my dream of being… something. Like many fame-hungry hopefuls, I had no plan and no talent. I started my quest at UCLA where I studied screenwriting because I was convinced I would write my own screenplay. As a naïve narcissist, I was completely delusional and thought I was special. It would be only a matter of time until someone figured out I was amazing! Hahahaha!

While every person is indeed unique and wonderful in his or her own right, not everyone has a Lifetime special-worthy story. I soon discovered that I was just a small fish in a HUGE pond of other idiots who also thought they were meant to be anything but ordinary.

For me personally, I know that I’ve struggled a lot with the way people have perceived me. It was frustrating that society couldn’t see beyond my physicality and was sometimes cruel to me. As a person who struggled with adversity, I wanted to live the words of Gandhi and “be the change” I “want to see in the world”. Instead of volunteering at youth facilities or furthering my education in social change, I just wanted to be rich! I also wanted the ignorant people from my past to eat shit for being mean to me.

The truth was that my heart motives were very ugly and far from genuine. I wanted to gain notoriety because I felt so powerless growing up in a society that constantly viewed me as insignificant. I needed therapy, but instead chose to hustle through years of horrible open mic nights and subjecting myself to the worst form of rejection: auditioning.

As with most things that aren’t a good fit, the hustle eventually became laborious and I found myself utterly depleted by my efforts. I didn’t want to accept that everyone was right and I was truly a failure. My dreams had died and I had no one to blame except for myself. After six years of playing the game and tarnishing my name (such an idiot for not establishing a stage name) I decided to call it quits and move back home.

My 22-year-old self would be horrified by my current status in life. I’m 29, unemployed and living with my parents. After months of submitting resumes and being rejected after several interviews, I’m still jobless. Although I’ve been fortunate to maintain a few freelance gigs and manage a fledging online business, it’s still uncomfortable when I get the inevitable look of disappointment when I tell friends/family that “I’m still looking” (i.e. not making enough to move out!).

My first three months back in Honolulu were pretty depressing. I ate a lot of potato chips (had to buy new pants) and caught up on a lot of TV series I had neglected over the years. While it wasn’t the most productive season, I gave myself permission to be sad while I locked myself in my room and submitted to countless jobs and trying to find my place in a city I didn’t really know anymore.

I eventually pulled myself together a bit and started to take care of myself again. I started to shift my focus away from junk food and onto aqua aerobics and meditation. I started learning about mindfulness and worked on applying its principles into my current situation. Instead of seeing this turning point as one of the most disastrous moments of my life, I saw it as an opportunity to move forward.

Over time, I started to see things differently. When shit happens, it doesn’t have to be complete devastation. It just is. Sparing some time to feel the sadness allowed me to confront the situation in a realistic view. The more I reflected, the more I realized what had led up to this point and how I had control to decide how I wanted to interpret it. I had a choice: continue to drown myself in self-pity and potato chips or accept that life had changed and move forward.

People still give me a lot of shit about “giving up” on my dreams. While I may have quit a life in entertainment, I didn’t quit on life. I decided to cut out a part of my life that was no longer working. There is a significant difference between giving up on something that has life and something that no longer has the capacity to grow (DEAD). The act of giving up isn’t just a black and white concept. There are several grey areas. For the most part, people can sense in their gut where they stand within the greyness.

My Mom occasionally asks me if I feel I should’ve come home sooner. I always tell her, “no, I wasn’t ready.” There is always perfect timing to every decision we make. While our personal timelines may not be in alliance to a conventional scale, there is never time wasted.

I know for sure that if I had sent my 22-year-old self a slideshow of all the devastation (and awesomeness) she was about to endure in Los Angeles, she would still go. I’m grateful for my time in LA. I made lifelong friendships, experienced an unconventional lifestyle and gained an education that could never be taught through any textbook. While I’m currently in a less-than-favorable (it can get pretty shitty!) season at the moment (by a conventional gauge), I am so grateful for the beautiful lessons I’ve learned and excited for the ones ahead.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

You suck at parking.

When it comes to dealing with shitty situations, people usually fall under one of two categories: people who empathize and people who make life even shittier. A great example of the latter would be the folks who distribute those “you suck at parking” cards.

Collectively, I think most of us can agree that parking enforcement officers are complete jerks. Those douchebags have gone out of their way distribute tickets we deserved! As elitist Americans, we fume over those violations and project our own carelessness onto people who were just doing their jobs.

I really can’t understand the people who carry around “you suck at parking” cards. Sure, we joke about this sort of douchebaggery, but why is this acceptable behavior? Has it become a social norm to chastise people we don’t know based on a first impression? To me, it’s quite disgusting.

I’ll admit that I get annoyed when people take up two stalls, etc. It’s not nice, but not against the law. While a minor inconvenience, is it really the end of the world to find another spot? Was it really necessary to find that stack of cards (that you spent your own money on!), get out of your car and let that person know he/she sucks at parking? If it was indeed completely necessary, you suck at being a decent human being.

There are always two sides to every story and the truth is invariably somewhere in the middle. Getting all riled up over something trivial has never served me well. I don’t feel better; anger just occupies a space that would otherwise be filled with something more productive.

When I find myself annoyed at someone I don’t know (and this happens a lot), I always make up some sort of backstory to justify shitty behavior. My go-to scenario involves the subject matter of a bad case of diarrhea. I feel like having the runs is a very universally awful feeling. If you’ve never experienced this level of life-and-death urgency, don’t worry, you will. If this happens to be you, you lucky soul, Google it now so you know what to expect.

It’s a really simple exercise of empathy. The next time you see someone who has “ruined” your day (you dramatic douche) by parking like a fool, find some solace knowing that person probably had a bad case of the shits. For anyone who has every experienced an unkind reaction to an exotic meal at a C-grade restaurant, you will know this feeling well. There’s no need to make his/her day even shitter, he/she just couldn’t spare an extra 30 seconds. Be understanding of their plight and be grateful you aren’t currently in a shit-inspired quest to find the nearest restroom. Life is good!