Growing Pains

Today I'm writing a post I promised to Sarah Fader of Stigma Fighters*. The piece, about living with and being vocal about mental illness, is due tomorrow (ohai procrastination) and being part of Sigma Fighters is super important to me.

Also important is a piece I've been working on is a submission to the HerStories Project's upcoming publication Mothering Through the Darkness. I saw that the deadline was moved back a month to January 1st on the exact same day I was lamenting having missed it, and am trying to take that as motivation to, I dunno, not miss it again. The topic, mothering in the face of postpartum depression (and other struggles) seems right up my alley, right? Just like Stigma Fighters is right up my alley. Hello alley, here I am! I write for you now, you lucky bastard!

In reality, I am totally freaking out.

So This Is Depression

Oh man, I wish it was just sadness.

I mean, there is sadness, but it's not just sadness. It is ache, but it's not just ache. It is restlessness and anxiousness and lack of appetite and fatigue and pain. Everywhere, everything, pain.

It just hurts right now, to be awake. It feels like sickness. Like influenza, only not.

I have no fever, no cough, no running nose. No mucous to expel as a sign of my sickness. No proof of what's going on inside of me.

Fanfare! - or - Achievement Unlocked: #NaBloPoMo

I don't normally finish things. Not really, anyway. You can tell by the way I still haven't moved into my house six and a half years after, well. Moving in. The way I start and start and start different novels and stories and essays only to abandon them when another idea bubbles up. And, well, ideas are always bubbling, you know? That's what ideas just kind of do.

Holiday Weekend

After breakfast we pile into the car and drive to the Pay 'n Save at the bottom of the hill. If it was just me and Celine, we'd have walked down, maybe stop at the Goodie Korner for some Haw Flakes on the way home. But it is the day after Thanksgiving and there is a tree to be had, so Mom and Dad tell us to get in the car.

#WeNeedDiverseBooks For Readers of Every Age

"Don't step on that book," my grandmother would chide. "Books are your friends. "

She loved reading, and probably couldn't imagine raising a child without instilling the same kind of reverence. With her books as gifts and regular public library visits, she saw to it that the children in her care would become avid readers. And because we were Hawaiian children living in Hawai'i, she was able to give us a luxuriously diverse reading experience that I completely took for granted.

#MicroBlogMondays - Last Week of Thirties

On Sunday, I'll turn forty, and I honestly couldn't be happier about it.

I thought I was excited to say farewell to my twenties, what with their decade of first-blush adulthood and confusion and binge drinking. Okay, so maybe there were still some binges in my thirties, but by now I've recognized how much I value being sober. Hate being actually intoxicated, though I do cherish a drink with my dinner.

It's Such A Bummer About Body Hair

"If you don't shave your armpits," she beamed, "it gets all wavy like a man's."

We all turned to the back of the room and laughed at the strangeness of our classmate's statement. We'd been getting A Talk about personal hygiene - specifically, how to not smell awful after our eighth grade PE class. Mrs. Loo had just finished extolling the virtues of baby powder.

My Indigenous Identity

Ian's brow furrowed as he struggled to understand what I was trying to convey. But he wasn't understanding, and when he reiterated that he didn't consider Texas to be his homeland in the same way that I considered Hawai'i to be mine, I kind of lost it.

"I'm not from Hawai'i the same way that you are from Texas," I said forcefully. And then, in a less yelly voice: "How did your family end up in Texas?"

He started to tell me about his father's move from North Dakota; the uncertainty of his mother's family. I stopped him.

"I don't think you're really understanding what it means that I am actually Native."

Not that I blamed him.

For a really, really long time I felt like the ugliest person ever to walk the Earth. Okay, so maybe that's an exaggeration, but only by a little.

I felt...ugly. Like a ridiculous blob. I felt as if every photograph of me had the insidious determination of cataloging weight gain and skin blemishes. Whenever a camera came out, I hid behind my hands or pulled a ridiculous face. Anything, I thought, would be better than displaying the atrocity that was my double chin.

And so, for a few years, all evidence of me disappeared.

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