Category Archives: Breaking Up

Mahalo nui loa, @KwabenaFoli I am a Healer 

I just found this poem by Kwabena Foli and it made me stop scrolling through my Google images search as tears welled in my eyes.   
My eyes overflowed with salty tears and these simple but oh so wise words softened my heart.  This poem felt as if this artist, this poet, this stranger took great care to place the pieces of my broken heart back together.  These words gently repositioned one ventricle to another, I felt as if reading this let me know that I’m not an idiot. 

No, I’m smart. I’m educated. I’m hard-working. I’m talented. I’m generally very happy. I can even state that I’m successful in a field of work that grows more important as the the world grows smaller and the social constructs that divide us crack wider. But I am a healer and as such, I work to help others grow and develop and live fuller lives. This gallant enterprise just doesn’t translate when it comes to affairs of my heart. 

This Spring and Summer swept in with heartache and heartbreak.  Many people who I love fell ill:  urgent care visits, emergency rooms, ambulance rides, each of these houses family members of mine.  We had plenty of scares and unpleasant experiences with doctors and medical tests but so far, everyone is receiving proper treatment. One of my cousins is struggling with the big C and there will be no surgery or procedure to help her. That’s not  

The long distance relationship that I had been working to nurture faced a challenge, could we sustain it separated by 2,000 miles for yet another year?  The nerds that we are, we joked that Spock would say that the only logical thing to do is to break up.  Long distance with no end in sight just hurts.  But McCoy’s point of view chimes in with, “Dammit, Jim. You love her.”  We went against the emotional Dr. McCoy’s advice and agreed to call off our long distance relationship. I never felt like the word “girlfriend” fit for me.  At my advanced age, it sounded silly.  Now, I’m single and that sounds like a new beginning. 

Maybe I am broken and I’ve been avoiding putting my heart back together by staying in a long distance relationship?  He and I have one of those easy connections where we can talk and laugh for hours on end or sit comfortably in happy silence, as only two introverts can.  We no longer wear the labels of “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” but we continue to love one another. 

Despite pain, uncertainty and turmoil in my family, my heart will remain filled with love.  I have gratitude for Kwabena Foli’s poem. He reminded me that it is time for me to heal myself with love. 

Stillness (I used to try to write poems)

Stillness

All around me the world is moving

a blur of motion

in every direction

Frenetic

Schizophrenic

with no destination

My life moves             sways              ebbs                 flows

and my heart is locked inside

protected by a fortress of solitude

cold steel walls

alone

never moving

only beating for existence

not pounding for life

My Guest Host Appearance @thebecauseshow @baldmove 

 “The Because Show” is an affiliate podcast on BaldMove.com. I started as a listener, contributed silly ideas/voicemails and look at me now, Mama, I’m a guest host today!

http://baldmove.com/the-because-show/ep-151-you-used-to-not-like-the-because-show-but-now-you-do/
We talk about Mad Men, restraining orders and vibrators. Super fun topics  for adult audiences only! 

Take a listen and please leave a five star iTunes review, if you love it as much as I do. 

Aloha!

Kauai – The Honeymoon That Never Was

“You know you just said, ‘Boyfriend,’ right?” my friend C smiled at me over his yogurt parfait with oversized blueberries that must have been genetically modified. I looked him in the eye and realized that C didn’t know I had gotten divorced and really was talking about my boyfriend not a husband. My marriage was so short-lived, for all C knew this year should have been me basking in the afterglow of my romantic destination wedding. Although I didn’t make an announcement, I assumed the rumor mill would have spread the word across the office by now. I suppose there isn’t a tradition for your work colleagues to throw a “Divorce Shower” but that idea has the potential to become a multi-million dollar industry. Alas, my marriage was over before we left for our honeymoon four months after the wedding.

We had scheduled a delayed honeymoon, four months after the wedding, and it was a really fun vacation. It was, however, an uneventful honeymoon, if you catch my drift. Wikipedia says that “A honeymoon is the traditional holiday taken by newlyweds to celebrate their marriage in intimacy and seclusion.” This celebration is supposed to be a romantic get-away between two people madly in love who are creating new memories to start their long life together. It should be filled with passion and kisses and hours and hours of bumpin’ uglies. No kisses, no passion, no bumpin’. In fact, my favorite day from that “honeymoon” was when he spent the day fishing out on the open ocean and I drove up to North Shore to enjoy Tunnels Beach, alone.

As a side note, for those of you who have not visited Kauai, there are thousands of wild chickens on the island. Yes, there are a lot of cock in Kauai but I only saw the ones who crow loudly all day and throughout most of the night. I experienced none on my honeymoon. They run freely and no one really messes with them, chickens have no natural predators. They were brought to the island as a source of food for the original Polynesian settlers. Since then, these animals have been used for a violent past time called, cock-fighting, which is a source of illegal income for some locals. Anyone visiting Kauai will see postcards with chickens and roosters in every souvenir store and if you stay outside of the fancy resort areas, you will hear constant clucking and cackling. It is cute, for a hot minute, but then I wanted to find tiny little chicken-sized muzzles for the beasts. If I had experienced a proper honeymoon, I doubt the sounds of wild chickens would have bothered me at all.

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The long and the short of the marriage failing came down to no communication and unclear expectations. We did not have a strong enough friendship in the beginning and we had assumptions about what marriage would be like. I assumed we would work on the marriage together, he assumed otherwise. There were definitely signs that he didn’t see marriage as a partnership, such as buying his own groceries separate from mine and even doing his own laundry with his own laundry detergent. I totally understand and support having separate personal bank accounts but buying two different types of laundry detergent and doing numerous loads of laundry separate isn’t good for a relationship or for the environment. Wasteful actions such as this led to the wasting away of a marriage.

On Friday, I will be boarding a six hour flight for a six day trip to Kauai, the Garden Isle. This vacation is largely unplanned, I’ve been traveling so much for work I thought that it would be best for me to stay home and rest. However, my dear friend and wine drinking buddy booked a trip to Kauai and told me that tickets were about $400 on Hawaiian Airlines. That is an incredible price for a direct flight to Kauai so I considered going with her. By the time I logged in to check prices, less than one week later, the flights had dropped to $328 round trip. No questions asked, I booked two tickets for me and my daughter to join her. I am looking forward to picking up a poke plate lunch at Pono Market and driving back to Tunnels beach with the girls. I had wanted to take a hike or two on my last trip but that wasn’t of interest to him. I also wanted to see Waimea Canyon, up close and personal but had to settle for seeing a bird’s eye view from a helicopter. My friend registered to run the Kauai Half Marathon and I almost decided to join her but then I regained my sanity. Rest and relaxation is what I need. This trip to Kauai will be a mellow adventure and an even better vacation than my honeymoon.

“Your Legacy is Bigger Than That Relationship”

imageNovember 2013 was a time of transition. Prior to that, my heart was locked up in Stillness, I kept myself busy moving and shaking and yet, I felt like my life had become a made for TV movie that I was passively viewing in the background. No, worse, one of those After School Specials that always had a sanitized moral ending that fit into the Judeo Christian view of “the right thing to do.”

My life affords me opportunities to meet powerful individuals: politicians, activists, community leaders, actors, musicians, podcasters, bloggers and more. People who are creating change in this world that can be so cruel. They change systems and policies and practices to create space for more inclusion. I do my tiny part to support this sort of change at my company. But in November, I felt like it was time to make a few changes in my personal life, including ending my very short lived marriage. Fortunately for me, my soon to be ex-husband felt the same. We had a serious talk about our relationship and the opportunities for improvement and the result was that we would end it, we would end the Stillness in my heart.

Stillness
All around me the world is moving
a blur of motion
in every direction
Frenetic
Schizophrenic
with no destination
My life moves sways ebbs flows
and my heart is locked inside
protected by a fortress of solitude
cold steel walls
alone
never moving
only beating for existence
not pounding for life
Stillness

With that decision made and papers being filed in court, I selectively told people that my marriage was over. A few good friends heard the news directly from me I sure didn’t wave a flag that said, “Hey biatches, my marriage failed and I’m getting divorced!” If someone asked me directly, “How’s married life?” I felt obligated to be honest. The story was repeated over and over. People were shocked and concerned for me but I never shed a tear. When I told people, I almost expected people to look at me with disgust and wonder how I could have failed so badly and made such a bad decision to commit to something that didn’t last. It became clear to me that my true friends only showed me love and I had to forgive myself for making a mistake.

For example, one person from work said to me: “I am a little puzzled though, why someone would walk away from a girl like you. You have many great attributes… intelligent, elegant, great personality, big heart and (with all respect) beautiful!! Well, I have faith there is someone that WILL appreciate and compliment you. Just keep being ‘Pi’i’ and continue to shine your light! Your legacy is bigger than that relationship.”

Muchas gracias, work colleague who was so kind to email me this little note, it lifted my spirit like a virtual hug.

And it was a reminder of the concept of POWER en espanol, PODER. The word itself has strength in the way it sounds, say it out loud in Spanish or English and the word just has juice. POWER is staying true to one’s personal beliefs and values by living one’s purpose. It is critical to leave negative experiences in the past to start with a clean slate. One must also to not forget to always take care of oneself (I always take care of others first) and to laugh often. My intention became to move out of STILLNESS and back towards POWER.

There is power in being vulnerable. My heart is open to accepting what is to come. I don’t want to ignore when I feel a tug or am compelled towards a person. If I get hurt, I get hurt. That notion no longer scares me. Most importantly, let me be clear that I don’t think relationships are about “completing me” I prefer the notion of someone “complimenting me.” Think of an infinity symbol looped around two whole individuals vs. the yin yang/two halves becoming one whole. He needs to have his stuff together: focus, drive, command, strength, sensitivity, athleticism, and more. A tall order, I know, but I know he is out there. That is what I want and I am a patient woman because I am confident that it will all be worth the wait. So I live my life all in patiently waiting for that lightning bolt to ignite a slow burning fire that heats up over time. PD!

And I have to recall my list of Fifteen Things to build a powerful connection.

1) Don’t get involved with someone relying on their potential to improve, complacency may be close behind and you can’t force someone to become who YOU want them to be, you can only love and support who they are and love them, warts and all. (Um, maybe not genital warts.)

2) Be madly and passionately in love with your partner, their happiness should be priority and making them happy should make YOU happy. This does not mean sacrifice, suffer and bend over backwards for him, it means true love is about giving and true love gives back in return.

3) Sex is important in a relationship.

4) Communication styles are as important to understand as communicating. Introvert/extrovert; dialogue/debate; private/public; phone calls/text; in person/FaceTime. Figuring out communication styles goes hand in hand with figuring out personality styles. That is critical to understanding each other, especially how your partner deals with stress.

5) Similar values are critical as a strong foundation to any relationship. Is education important? traveling? life experience? meeting people? culture? art? music? politics? money? family? what is romantic to YOU? Work that out ahead of time, don’t assume your partner will be convinced that your way is best.

6) Sex IS important in a relationship.

7) It is ok to take care of yourself while in a relationship. Martyrdom sucks.

8) Stitch said it best, OHANA MEANS FAMILY family means you are legally obligated to these new people related to your spouse/significant other/life partner. Keep that in mind during the courting phase.

9) Sex is REALLY important in a relationship.

10) Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, it’s what you are expected to give — which is everything.

11) Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have at that moment. Sometimes you have to just shut the f*ck up and accept what your partner is giving you because they are giving you all that they have. Get it?

12) Just to clarify sex TOGETHER is really important in a relationship.

13) Make yourself a better person and know who you are before you try and know someone else and expect them to know you.

14) No man is worth your tears, and the one who is won’t make you cry unless they are tears of joy.

15) Did I mention that sex is important in a relationship?

“Dragonflies whisper”

imageFairly often, I am asked about my tattoo. It is not something that I put on display on a regular basis, especially while working in a professional setting. My tattoo is located behind my right ear and it large enough to be seen from quite a distance but it is private to me. I didn’t get the tattoo on a whim, I thought about it for two years before committing to the ink. It is a symbol of going through a very long hardship and coming out in a different place. In addition, I was being recruited for a new position in another financial services organization based in the same city that houses the headquarters for Smith and Wesson and the Basketball Hall of Fame. That would mean this Island Girl would be living across the country in Massachusetts. At the time, I didn’t even know how to spell “Massachusetts”. Dragonflies are a symbol of change and change is peeking over the horizon in my life.

2007: Interesting to me, I became fixated on dragonflies this summer, right about the time when I was ready to escape. Escape from the prison of lies that had consumed, enveloped and torn down my peace of mind. My body and brain existed in constant fear, fear for the safety of my daughter, fear for my own safety, fear of what this stranger in my home might do. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t release myself from high alert. Code red. The truth had begun to chip away at the bright and shiny exterior of bling and things and I realized that my gut instincts are always to be trusted. Why it took so long, I didn’t want to think on that. Forgiveness is in progress, my heart has locked itself back into stillness. Thankfully, I am starting to turn the key. Turn slowly, just as I should kiss slowly.

Beginning on my birthday in April, I saw dragonflies in my dreams, I noticed images of dragonflies in books and magazines and I often mistook images as being dragonflies. They had consumed my thoughts. Strange but true. Why dragonflies? I had no idea. Because really, they are just bugs. And I don’t so much dig on bugs.

In passing, I had mentioned this to my dear friend a few months ago and she recently hand-crafted me a gorgeous dragonfly necklace. It means so much to me that she took such time and care to design a gift so personal and meaningful and now, as I discover, so powerful.
It is said in some Native American beliefs that dragonflies are a symbol of renewal after a time of great hardship. Think about it, dragonflies are a symbol of renewal. Consider what they go through in terms of physical development…You see, the dragonfly is very similar to the butterfly in two respects: first, they both are flying insects with four wings, and secondly, they both go through a metamorphosis period to emerge as fully formed and functional new creatures. For the dragonfly, life starts out encased in an egg. These eggs are laid in water, and when the young dragonfly emerges, it is known as a nymph. These juvenile dragonflies are not nearly of the beauty or stature of their adult counterparts. In fact, they can be downright ugly. Their wings are tiny and their jaws are large and extended, to make it easier to find their favorite foods (like mosquito larvae). They can spend three years in the nymph stage, living in water, waiting to truly take form. The skin of the nymph begins to split, with the new head emerging from the ruins. The rest of it emerges, until finally free, its wings have a chance to dry and become strong enough to fly. The process takes about two hours. However, it won’t be fully complete for another day or two, when the beautiful colors begin to fully come in.

So there you have it, or there I have it. The dragonfly suffers through various stages of metamorphosis, some painful, some long and trying, before it can develop wings strong enough to fly. Only after it gains it’s strength does it fulfill is beauty. To quote india.arie (who wore butterfly wings the last time I saw her perform): “My body is nice and strong…But my heart is in a million pieces. When the sun is shining so am I…but when night falls, so do my tears…Sometimes the fear is so loud in my head…that I can barely hear what God says. Then I hear the angels whisper that this too shall pass.” Or in my case, the dragonflies whisper.

About the Dragonfly
The meaning of the dragonfly according to the medicine cards:
Dragonfly medicine always beckons you to seek out the parts of your habits which you need to change. […] If you feel the need for change, call on Dragonfly to guide you through the mists of illusion to the pathway of transformation.
Follow Dragonfly to the place inside your body where magic is still alive, and drink deeply of its power. […] This ability is ever changing, and contains within it the knowledge that you are creating it all.

“There is no death. Only a change of worlds.”
– Chief Seattle [Seatlh], Suquamish Chief-

The more that I learn about this small but very powerful creature, the more I understand that it is not only a testimony to beauty, but also to strength and more importantly, change.

Sometimes Grown-ups Just Need to Break-up

Since announcing my divorce after a very brief marriage, my friends are offering me tips regarding the new on-line dating apps and such.  Interestingly enough, the last few months have brought incredible new people into my life.  The formula has been:  social media like Twitter or Facebook plus New Media Expo or The Walking Dead or paddling or the SF 49ers equals new friends and possibly the potential for more.  For now, I will abstain from on-line dating and continue to live life all in.  I wrote the blog that I am posting today after a “break-up” and was inspired by a similarly themed “This American Life” podcast.  This post made me realize how emotionally deficient my marriage was, as I am not driven to write a blog to process or mourn the end of it.  That is perhaps the sadder than the divorce itself.

The theme for the “This American Life” podcast I selected to take my beach run by this morning was entitled “Break-up.” Now, it has been quite some time since I have broken up with someone since it has been a long time since I have been in a real relationship. Dating isn’t the same, right? It is pretty easy to tell when it is time to stop dating and that conversation is usually fairly simple and low drama.

This “TAL” podcast was a grand illustration of how universal the “break-up” is, it crosses all ages, all cultures, all time zones, everyone has felt those emotions, some may have felt it more than once, some may still be suffering from that heartache.

One vignette features a woman who describes how integral music, especially love songs, was to her relationship in the happiest of times and how Phil Collins songs were featured. She went on to describe how after the surprise break-up, music then became her sanctuary, wallowing in the pain, alone with her misery, cell phone turned off, just feeling the pain. And she brought up this song, “Against All Odds”. The lyrics hit me.

In the middle of the podcast, she connects with Phil Collins, voice-to-voice, and decides to solicit his help in writing a song as her therapy. Partially in hope of getting her ex-boyfriend back and also to heal the pain she was feeling. Phil Collins is so clever and was so generous in describing his recent divorce, finalized on his birthday no less, that he didn’t want. Ouch. I suppose even stars experience authentic heartache. Even stars like Phil Collins.

After my run, I showered, and kept pondering the concept of “heartache” and wondering why, as my dear friend Preston says, love is so complicated. Then I drove to pick Baby K up from her dad. He said he needed to talk to me for a few minutes and it was pretty important. Now, he and I are very civil in front of Baby K but we sure don’t chit chat or do more than exchange pleasantries, so I knew this talk was going to be something serious. Turns out, he is going to move out from his house and wants to divorce his wife. So we, as responsible co-parents, need to figure out how to break it to Baby K as she will more than likely be devastated. I really like that she sees and experiences a married household, with step-siblings, when she is with her dad. But now, she is going to feel the pain of her own break-up, who knows what sort of contact she will have with her step brothers or step sister or step mom for that matter. Damn. Why does love have to be so complicated with these blended families?  Now I need to figure out how to support my daughter as she loses people who she loves. And the worst part is, I hardly know her step family, so I feel a bit lost. All I can do is love my daughter and reassure her that the divorce isn’t at all her fault. Sometimes grown-ups just need to break-up.

For me, I suppose I have realized that loving someone is truly distinct from being in love with that person. And distance doesn’t make the heart grow fond, it makes trying to develop an authentic romantic relationship impossible. No break-up for us. Just confessions of mutual admiration, respect, appreciation, gratitude, impact, and much to my surprise, love.  Our “relationship” spanned less than a year, yet, we were able to share so much about all aspects of our lives – career, family, spirituality, music, art, parenting, even politics and social issues, we were a good balance to one another. I shared the sentiment written right in the song that “you’re the only one who really knows me at all”, maybe vice versa as well. Couple that with the lack of capacity for more of an emotional connection, that, my friends, equals one option, the opportunity for Pi’i to open the door, pick up the phone and say “yes” to dating someone else. We agreed that capacity is what capacity is, there is no option to buy an external hard drive, or move one of our families out of their home state, or add more hours to our already full and demanding days. I faced the reality and I want a relationship, I want a boyfriend and he isn’t capable of being my boyfriend right now.

How can you just walk away from me,

when all I can do is watch you leave

Cos we’ve shared the laughter and the pain,

and even shared the tears

You’re the only one who really knew me at all