Straight from NY to Paradise Turns 5! -Happy Bloganniversary

Happy 5th Birthday! If my blog was a child I would be getting ready for it to start kindergarten. Awww blog you have grew up so fast (insert mommy tears).

Life happens quick, sometimes too quick for me. I constantly think about writing daily, however everyday I find an excuse not to write. Time goes by and life continues to happen, and still I feel like nothing gets done. I finally sat down and decided to write today, finally I am writing!

After months of procrastinating and sitting in that endless pile of overwhelm, I decided to turn to what I know and write. It comes with great irony that I picked this month to return to writing. Word Press has been so kind as to acknowledge that I have reached my 5 year blogging anniversary! It is really hard to believe that it has been a whole 5 years since I have started blogging.

In the last 5 years my life has taken more twists and turns than I could ever imagine, emotionally I feel that I have been through it all. But yes you are correct Word Press, I have reached my 5 year blogging milestone. 5 years ago Straight from NY to Paradise in a Day was given life, and my own personal life was given a voice. I had a story to tell, I wanted to tell it. I wanted to inspire others not to be afraid of change, not to be afraid of living, just live. Life happens and life changes so go with it.0171.jpg

I really want to laugh and cry as I write this. I think back on the girl I was 5 years ago, I was single and fierce! Fresh out of a roller coaster of a relationship, still in love with the man who was my past, but ready to start a new phase of life as a free spirit and face the future.  I was ready to take on the world, unstoppable in a sense, but I quickly learned that I could be stopped. The world does not exist for you to live in it alone, it is out there for you to share, to embrace with others, to help others, and sometimes even get help from others. In August of 2009 I had been living in Honolulu for 6 months. And to tell you the truth, I was very much alone. I was still confused about my impulsive decision to move to the other side of the world, and even though I had met a few people, I had a very real fear that if I died no one would notice. The feeling that I would go unnoticed was scary, adding that to a sense of uncertainty about my job, my life, and what to do next, I was really mess of emotions, with anxiety and self-doubt leading the pack.

Yes I was single and fierce, but really I was alone.  Lucky for me I quickly discovered that I was not the only mainland escapee that have flown themselves over to an island in the middle of the pacific to get away from….well everything. I found a love of activity and a love of new friendships. Over the last 5 years, my biggest accomplishment was basically proving to myself that I can live. No matter how depressed I am, how lonely I am, and how much I just want to disappear, I know that I can live, and life always gets better. I think I may have forgotten that lately with the chaos of everyday life back on the mainland. I experienced life in Hawaii for a reason. I experienced being completely on my own for a reason. My next lesson to myself is always to remember those reasons, life is meant to live on purpose, and everyday is a new opportunity to fulfill that purpose.

 

In 2009 I was 27, single, impulsive, and extremely naive. In 2014, I am 31, in a relationship (no not married, sorry), less impulsive, more aware, and slightly more responsible. At 27 I just wanted to run away. At 31, I’ll admit I still want to run sometimes, but I will try a bit harder to stay, to work through it, and always keep in mind that with each day life will keep getting better.

So 5 years later, what did I really learn? In Honolulu I found a love of nature. A hike, a run, or  the view of the mountains as the sun wakes you up is the epitome of everything calm, and the most powerful way to ensure that you will have a good day. I learned to love to push myself. No matter if it was at work, in the gym, or running a race, I knew I could always go harder, do better, and motivate myself to never give up. I learned to appreciate yoga, I really miss the easy access to the yoga studios that are located on every corner. I learned that I am a survivor, life is lived with challenges, now I know that I can overcome every one that comes my way. I learned that I hate dating. I would never want to date in Honolulu again! I learned that I really do miss people when they leave, goodbyes are hard, I hate them almost as much as dating.

Finally, I learned to appreciate the kindness of strangers. When I moved to Honolulu, I knew only myself, and had three suitcases. Strangers helped to me find a home, helped me to find food, and ensured that I was able to keep my job. Those strangers became my friends, who eventually became my family. Never take the kindness of others for granted, that lesson made the difference between me having a home in paradise and just being homeless in paradise.

5 years later, I am living in Virginia, working in D.C. and I am no longer a girl on a rock in the middle of the pacific. I am a 31 year old woman in the DMV!  I am surrounded by friends, family, and strangers. Life continues to be full of twists and turns, so keep reading to see where I end up over the the next 5 years. I can’t wait to see what happens, all I know is I just have to be ready for the changes.

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences!

 

maui 2

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A small moment in time: Waking up in Honolulu

I woke up today back in Honolulu, back from my holiday vacation. What in reality was only a two week long east coast getaway, or vacation if you look at it that way, seemed like a much longer period of time. I feel like time stops in Honolulu whenever I leave. When I come back, I hit play and pick up where I left off.

I woke up this morning back in Honolulu. It was raining, and a bit windy. Eventually the clouds semi cleared up, of course it is a nice day. Whether it is rainy, voggy, cloudy, or sunny, it is a nice day in Honolulu. I felt refreshed when I woke up, although it took me a minute to readjust because I still thought I was in my parents house, in my room, and in my bed in New York. How did I know I was in Honolulu, well I wasn’t freezing because my mom had turned down the heat before she went to work. I didn’t have layers of 5-6 sheets on top of me and under my very thick blanket. I slept in shorts and not sweatpants, I was excited to get out of bed because I knew I would not be freezing as I made my way to the shower, no fear of getting out of the shower due to the thought that the whole house was cold. I woke up this morning in Honolulu, and I felt blessed. As I wake up I say, “Thank you God”, not just because I am in Honolulu, but because I am alive, I am healthy, I am ready to face another day, except today that day is in Honolulu.

Yesterday, I woke up in New York, went to the airport, and got on the plane to return to Honolulu. Now, I love with a passion being able to travel back and forth from New York to Honolulu, however, the plane ride can get annoying at times. Yesterday it was annoying. A straight flight from New York to Honolulu will take from 10-11 hours, that is a very long time. This blog is titled, “Straight from NY to Paradise in a Day” because it literally takes a whole day to travel from NYC to Honolulu. When my plane left Honolulu it was 10 am est, I arrived at 6:15 pm pst, which is 11:15 pm est standard time. The whole day was spent in transit. I did not fly direct, well I sorta did. See I few on United, which does have a direct flight to Honolulu from NYC, I didn’t take that flight.  The first leg of my flight was from NYC to Dulles International Airport in D.C. (less than an hour of flight time), My next leg was from D.C. to Honolulu ( a little over 10 hours of flight time), sound fun? No I didn’t think so.

10 hours on a plane. At least there were some free movies, I stress free movies because there certainly was no free food. Shame on you United Airlines, how do you have a flight that is traveling for 10 hours and not serve free food. I was upset because my ticket did say that they served dinner, silly me to think that the dinner was free. Instead they had meals for purchase. That is the biggest hustle if I have ever seen a hustle. Smart for the airline, bad for the stupid passenger that pays 600 dollars for the plane ticket. Really I am up in the air for 10 hours, you know at some point hunger will set in and the only food on board is the overpriced snack box and your 10 dollar cheese burger. What ever happened to the days of having free meals on long flights, are times really that hard? No chips, no peanuts, well I guess I am lucky the beverages are still free, for now.

Traveling from NY to Honolulu will never be fun, well maybe when I am able to afford a first class ticket it may get a little bit better, at least I can eat worry free on the plane.  There is a small silver lining however, as the plane prepares to land in Honolulu the view from the top of the clouds in priceless. The serene look above the clouds makes you want to just lay on them, as the sun sets it feels like earth is face to face with Heaven, and God is saying,  “be still, I got this”. As the plane goes into the Honolulu  airport, a moment of calmness passes while flying on the pacific, it seems so close yet you hope that the plane does not get any closer to the ocean (not sure how many pilots have perfected that water landing yet). Life seems to stop for a moment while in the air, the noise and chaos of what happens on land is non existent. Above it all, life is good.

Then suddenly you remember why you hate flying.   From the long security lines, to the overly annoying TSA agent checking your bag, your body, and every crack in between, to the flights that are constantly oversold, flying is not fun, ever. But since the only way to get from NY to Honolulu is by air, then I must fly, and sometimes starve.

I woke up today in Honolulu, but I also miss east coast life. I miss the fast paced, overly driven world of the east coast. some days in Honolulu I feel slow, I feel like my drive is gone, motivation lacking. When I go east it all comes back, I am excited to get back on my grind. With that feeling, I feel my days in Honolulu slowly coming to an end. My story may be done here, it may be time to start a new book. Honolulu has a life, a spirit, that I don’t feel can be matched anywhere else, but I came to Honolulu to grow, and now I may have out grown Honolulu. I will always be that girl from the east, and each day I feel the east coast calling me back louder.

So as I wake up tomorrow in Honolulu, I will remember to cherish the day, enjoy the moment, and take in the Aloha spirit  because I know that one day I will longer be waking up in Honolulu.

The Descendants: Oscar worthy or just another rainy day film?

During one of my very few attempts to step away from my computer, my job, and my apartment, I decided to go to the movies. For those of you who actually follow this blog, I guess I will say my dating fast is over (it was peaceful while it lasted), and I went on a date (or something like a date I guess) to the movies. My outing led me to view The Descendants with George Clooney. Overall I would give the move 2.5 out of 5 stars. I must say the previews of the movie were appealing, the actual movie…umm could have been better. To my surprise other people actually loved this movie. Important people loved this movie. It was the rave at the Golden Globes, and George Clooney received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, while the movie received a nomination for best picture.  Wow, who would have thought. I must say that Shailene Woodley had an excellent performance, I hope to see her in future films.  My recommendation: It would be an excellent Netflix film (if you are bored and have a quick 2 hours to waste).

What fascinated me about The Descendants was that the movie takes place and was actually filmed in Hawaii. It is always amazing to see Hawaii on the big screen. To know that I can go outside my door and bear witness to the full beauty of Hawaii is always an added perk of living on the island.  While other movie goers may dream of living here to experience the serene atmosphere and ocean waves, I have the pleasure of living in that world daily.

The Descendants is based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings, a writer who actually grew up in Hawaii. I can probably imagine as in all novels turned movies, the novel is probably much better. The overall story was one that had a good balance of the struggles of the Hawaii of the past to the Hawaii of the present. While explaining the current struggles of Geoge Clooney’s character and the breakdown of his immediate family life,  a touch of native Hawaiian history was thrown in to add an increased dynamic to spice up the overall dullness of the movie.

While the movie had good intentions, I felt something was missing, well a lot was missing. I kept waiting for that climatic moment that would bring out heartfelt emotion. It never came.  Since I haven’t read the book, I can only blame it on the Hollywood effect. To live in Hawaii, has greater raised my understanding of Hawaii and the struggles that native Hawaiians have faced in times of industrialization. Not to be misunderstood, Hawaii is a great place to live, however everyday is not a walk on the beach. One of my favorite lines from the movie was during the initial narrative recited by George Clooney’s character as we are introduced to him. He is explaining that everyone on the mainland thinks it is great that he lives in paradise. The narrative ends with  “I think paradise can go fuck itself”. In essence that one line was the most realistic line of the whole movie, maybe because I have heard that exact same thing from a few of my clients, and some days I can relate to that exact same feeling. While to the outside world, Hawaii is all sun, Hula, and Mai Tai’s, to some of the people who live here island life can be a daily form of torture and devastation.

When Hollywood makes movies, of course they make them for the glitz and glam. A movie made in Hawaii may also be considered propaganda for tourism. The island must look like a place where people would love to come visit and spend lots of money. That part I get.  What was missing was the local style, and the local people. Hawaii is an extremely diverse state, yet diversity was greatly lacking from this movie. Again I will blame the Hollywood effect, often movies are one dimensional with a lack in diversity.

So does George Clooney deserve an Oscar for The Descendants? I would say no. I will give him credit his performance was good, but I have seen him and others do much better. The Decendants came off as simple. It was a simple movie, with an attempt to incorporate a complex story line. Not the best of movies to watch (even if you are bored for two hours). Should it get the Oscar for Best Picture? Definently not. I am not sure what the criteria is for a Best Picture winner, but I am sure this movie does not meet the critera.

Maybe I am judging The Descendants too harshly, hey who am I anyway, my opinion doesn’t really matter. But what do you think? If you have seen The Descendants do you think that it is an Oscar worthy film?

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

29 and counting….Part 1

I once heard someone say what is the point of being 29 if all you do is think about turning 30. I agree!

Presently I am 7 months and 10 days away from my 30th birthday. I have decided to document my journey through the dark cloud that encompasses the last days of my twenties. This is Part 1.

I am starting to think that being 29 is probably the worst age ever. I used to think being 15 was bad. At 15 all the talk was about turning 16. I had envisioned my life magically changing at 16. It didn’t. It was the same. Same school, same friends, same life, same me.

Now, I think being 29 is worse. I know better since I am older. I know my life will not magically change on my 30th birthday. It will be the same life. Of course, I will be the same person. Yet, why does it feel so scary when I think about turning 30? I never imagined what my life would be like at 30, I always thought it was too far away to think about. Now it’s coming up, and coming up quick. Inside I want to just run away, but I have to face it in full force. Life at 30, no turning back.

When I first turned 29 it wasn’t so bad. Another year of life. I still felt like I was 22. Somedays I still think I am 22. But I’m not 22, I’m 29! When people ask me my age, I often forget that I am 29. I want to say 22 or 24 or 26, then it hits me, I am really 29. When the response is “wow, you don’t look 29!”,  implying that I must be much younger, unfortunately I am not flattered. I do feel that I have a youthful essence. However, I think I really must be old if the response sends someone into a state of shock. Though I know being 29 or 30 are not really “old” ages, these are ages that take on a lot of responsibility. Responsibilities that I don’t want some days. I can’t go socially embarrass myself in public, or on Facebook, or Twitter, and blame it on my young age. I can’t sleep all day and blow off work like they are classes in college. I hate to drink during the week because the hangover is miserable.  I have to think seriously about retirement, and have invested interest in the debt ceiling crisis, all because I realize that congressional decisions affect my livelihood. I am forced to be an adult every day I wake up. I am turning 30.

One of my best friend’s turned 30 a few weeks ago. In her true extroverted fashion she had a foam party. Why not? It’s fun and reminds us even at 30 we are still young. She asked me what we are going to do for my 30th birthday. My response, sit around and cry. I can’t help it, I am really not looking forward to this. Her response was, no I am not going to let that happen. And I know if she can help it, she won’t let me mope around with pity because I am a day older than I was the day before. I will have to take 30 like a true champion, with a smile.

At 29 I feel like I am going through a mid-life crisis. I feel the need to kick start my life into gear before I turn 30. It’s time to step up to life. It is my go hard, or go home moment. I have questions for my life. I question my choices in dating, which dates I should go on, and which ones I should just outwardly reject.  I question my career frequently. Is this something I want to do for the rest of my life? What if I want to do something else? A career where I can allow my true self and talents to shine. How would I go about doing that? I have invested a lot of time and money into my current career. Am I allowed to just throw that all away out of indecisiveness and moments of boredom? Have I set myself up for a successful life, or is there much more I need to work on?

To be continued….

Why Not Be The Best Version Of Yourself!

S0 here it is: In a few weeks I will be turning 29! Yup 29. (I am silently wondering if I should be having a brief panic attack) Since I am entering my last year in my twenties, I have decided to do a little bit of self-reflection.

While in my twenties I would say that I almost met all of the societal expectations of girls in their twenties. I graduated from college, entered the professional world, learned how to balance a check book, and dated a variety of men. Where did I go wrong? Well I didn’t get married, and I have no children. In my thirties, if I stay on this track  I will be considered a social leper by the standards of some.  Apparently marriage and babies is the icing on the cake for women in their twenties. Therefore, when women reach their thirties they will be complete with a family, or divorced, take your pick. As a woman, if you are still or newly single in your thirties, you continue to go on what may seem like endless dates, continue to look for Mr. Right, or maybe just Mr. Right now, oh and  you even get the wonderful added pity of people who feel so sorry for you life of singledom that they go out of their way to offer to find you Mr. Right now. Do women ever get the chance to just be happy with themselves, by themselves, and love it?

I spent the majority of my early to mid twenties involved in serious relationships. When I was around the age of 24, I was dating a man who I just knew I wanted to marry. For some strange reason I wanted a husband right then. My boyfriend at the time was cute, and he had a job, he took care of me, so he was perfect to marry right? Well no it was not that simple. I wanted to get married yes, but not because I actually wanted to be a wife or understood what it actually meant to be a wife, at the time I just thought the idea of having a husband would be nice. I would have someone to take care of me, and we would just automatically become one. I must give the credit to God on that one, he knew exactly what he was doing with that didn’t work.

At 24 I would have made a horrible wife. I’ll admit it, just horrible. I was selfish, egocentric, bratty, spoiled, and had no idea of what it meant to be a wife, or how to treat a husband. Marriage was just a word in my vocabulary. I truly wanted the wedding and not the marriage. Looking back life worked out exactly the way life was supposed to work.  However, if I did get married the advantage was then I would not have to face life alone. I could go from living with my parents, to living with my husband. When I was younger I remember my mother telling me that I needed to find a husband so he can take me away. To my mom, she could just marry me off so she wouldn’t have to support me anymore. What a silly idea that was. When the marriage plan didn’t work out, I created a new plan, my own plan. My plan actually turned out to be the right plan. I would live life for me, and figure out how to be the best version of me first before I tried to share my life with someone else.

Around the age of 25, I once heard Oprah and Mya Angelou say that life gets better at 50. So being the me that I am, I figured that I only have to wait 25 more years, then life will start to get good. I will feel free, and living my best days…but at 50, which seems like an eternity away. Did I really want to wait that long? No. I have a huge problem with impatience. So my next thought was how do I make today my best day. I can make life start right now, today, and really live. The advantage had been that I could figure that out all by myself. I had no one to answer to. It was my life, and I could do whatever I wanted to with it. Suddenly I realized the bright side of not getting married, and being a horrible wife at the age of 24. I was given the opportunity to grow, to learn, to love me for who I am, to learn to love other people exactly for who they are, and to learn how to be a good wife. With growth, I learned compromise, I learned the joys of giving, and to be happy seeing other people happy.  I found my own personal happiness, and no one could take that away from me.

During my twenties I feel my biggest accomplishment has been becoming the a better version of myself. With time spent alone, I have learned to love myself first as an individual. Doing small things on my own, has helped me to learn to appreciate my own company.  I am content in knowing what I love and what I don’t love. What I want and what I don’t want.  I used to have fears of going to eat alone, going to the movies alone, or vacationing alone. In the past few years I have overcome all of those fears, and many more. So as I turn 29 do I feel like I have life figured out? Oh no, far from it. But I do know that I am now living life at my best, I appreciate everything that I have to offer to the world. Most importantly, I know that I do not have to wait another 20 years for life to start, because I am ready to start living  life at my best everyday.

Miss Independent: Gift or Curse?

This is a topic that is commonly addressed in public forums, on TV shows, posted on blogs, and random chit chat at the local coffee shop. Recently due to  life and a request I will also touch on this topic. Trust me it is a topic that will never have enough to be said about it.


Are some men intimidated by successful women? Does it make certain men feel inferior if a woman he is attracted to  matches his level of success, or has surpassed his current professional level of success?

Ne-Yo sang about “Miss Independent”, men appeared to be happy and overly delighted that they would be able to find a woman who does not need him in her life, but actually wants him in her life.  With an independent woman these men would no longer have to play the role of  “Captain Save Them”, she would be his counterpart and the perfect compliment to his life, as he would be to hers. However, this appears not to be the case. From what I personally see and hear about,  it seems that some men are more comfortable with a woman who they can save, and the woman who needs him in her life to take care of her. Thus,  leaving the successful, independent woman to continue to look for that man who not only comfortable with her intellect, but also confident enough not to feel like his manhood has been downsized because of her success.

I would like to think of myself as a successful woman, and very independent to say the least (just because I was raised that way).  I also know many other successful, independent women of all races, with amazing personality traits. Many of whom are single, yet they are great women to be around, and yes they are attractive. Recently I have noticed a trend in Hawaii (as well as other parts of the country), women who are educated, have an actual career, and can do for themselves, seem not to have a male counterpart to share their lives with. Yet, the women who appear as “needy” have a man who is willing to give them everything that they cannot achieve on their own.  So I began to wonder is success an unattractive quality?

Hawaii can be complicated to use as an example because it is a world of its own. It is a state that is overrun with military men. Many of the single military men often meet a woman of much lower stature, marry her, and take her away to a new life on the mainland. Many of these girls are looking for a man to save them from the “rock”. I don’t blame them. A military man comes with a stable income, great benefits, and an opportunity to live all over the world.  For the men, well they appear to  like that these women are willing to do any and everything for them, as long as they provide financial support. It appears to be more about an issue of control, and the notion that a man’s ego will never be compromised as long as he knows that his woman will always need him. He will always have  power over her, as long as she allows him to. And if she tries to gain power, or take care of herself, well then the benefits and stability will be cut off.

On the mainland the picture may be different, but the ultimate story remains the same. Studies show that women tend to date up, and men tend to date down.  Men have admitted to feeling inferior to a woman who makes more money. Let me play that to my own life. I have a master’s degree (apparently I am already overly educated), I hope to one day have a Ph.D.  So does that mean the only men who would be confident, and secure enough to have me as a companion would have to be on Obama status?

As a black woman, the task of finding a mate who is not intimidated by success is even more difficult. Michael Eric Dyson candidly points out this fact in the chapter Another Saturday Night, Or Have All The Brother’s Gone to White Women, which can be found in his book , Why I Love Black Women, or in chapter 13 of, The Michael Eric Dyson Reader.  With the statics showing that more black men are involved in the prison system than  graduating from college,  Dyson states, “Black women with higher levels of education, are disproportionately affected by the shortage of black men with similar levels of education”  and, ” Black male resentment of black female achievement, especially among black men who have not enjoyed the opportunity to succeed, may translate to unwarranted hostility toward black women…Further, for a black man to reach beneath his class station to embrace a black woman reinforces the status quo: as breadwinner, he can provide for his family, and thus remain head of house”. Thus, stating that a black male would not readily go for a black woman who has excelled in her education and professional development more than himself,  because it goes against the societal norms leaving him to feel as if he is the inferior half of the relationship. Again going back to the male ego, the force that can make or destroy a relationship.

Some days, I wonder what would happen if I left out the information of my professional life when meeting a new man. I wonder if it would make a difference in the way he views or treats me. When I do tell men about my own success, many respond with an impressive stance, yet, at times I feel that it may make some slightly uncomfortable. Some even change their whole way of speech, and start to overly verbalize about their own personal accomplishments.  This is especially true if the man has not attended college or is still working on his first college degree.

I once had a conversation with a male friend surrounding this topic. I explained to him that no man has ever paid to get my nails done, my hair done, or take me on a shopping spree (I can afford to do all that myself). His response was maybe I needed to be a little bit more submissive.  My response with calmness and a hint of confusion was:  “what in the world are you talking about”.  The word “submissive” made me feel as if I had to give up a part of myself just to have a man do for me what I can do for myself. If I have to “submit” for anything, then no I don’t want it.  I am all for a man being a man, and a woman acting like a woman, but to pretend to be something I am not will not work in my relationship. I am proud of my success.  I love my sense of ambition, and drive to do better. That makes me who I am. I have determination to continue to grow in my personal and professional life. Ultimately, I enjoy being a successful, independent woman. Eventually only time will tell if that trait is actually a gift or a curse.