I’ve been wanting to see it since it came out in theatres years ago (1997). I just never made the time to watch it – until now. Sadly, I bought it about a month before its meaning would become much more clear to me. Now, after watching it for the first time, I can see so much irony in it.
Elliott Smith, one of the artists whose music is prominently featured in the film, died after many years of telling friends and family he wanted to end his own life. His death was under mysterious circumstances (Read more about it Here). His music continues to live on.
The message of the movie is one of understanding, forgiveness, love, hope, and about reaching your full potential. If you haven’t seen it in a while, get it out. Dust it off. And watch it.
You missed something.
Someone I respect a great deal is Stephen Fry. I want to share a short discussion with him as he talks about his own battle with depression. It’s real. It’s treatable. And this post may actually save someone’s life. I hope you’ll share the video and the others I’ve posted about depression. There is help. Just don’t lose hope.
Here’s the poem he mentions – by Dorothy Parker
Razors pain you
Rivers are damp
Acids stain you
And drugs cause cramp
Guns aren’t lawful
Gas smells awful
You might as well live.
~ Dorothy Parker, poet
For Help in the USA:
If you’re dealing w/ difficult emotions right now, let us help you find hope. @800273TALK is here for anyone struggling 24/7/365. #youmatter
When I was young, I remember my grandmother, Mrs. B., had a record one of my great-uncles had recorded. It was made of thick vinyl. And was the deepest blue I’d ever seen.
And it was beautiful.
The color and the sound made me fall instantly in love with it. The uncle paid to have it made, as he played the music it recorded in a studio that was foreign to me. The record was old but it was protected by a love that never allowed it to get scratched, warped, or damaged. My grandmother loved that record. And I learned to love and appreciate it too.
Sadly, after my grandmother died, the record disappeared and was forever lost.
Some things can never be replaced.
Sometimes when something disappears, the only place it can be found is in someone’s heart. Tucked away for a rainy day. I couldn’t sing or play the song for you now, even if I tried. I was too young to realize I would one day never hear it again. What I do remember is that it was a folksy-blues song with instruments so bold, they reached out and touched me and crawled beneath my skin – where they’d stay forever.
It was Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Ocean” that I read today that caused the memory of that old, blue record to come flooding back over me like a giant wave. I once heard someone say, “dive into a wave, don’t stand against it, and it won’t knock you down” – or something to that effect.
This is the kind of wave I welcome. Salt, and all.
The Ocean has its silent caves,
Deep, quiet, and alone;
Though there be fury on the waves,
Beneath them there is none.
The awful spirits of the deep
Hold their communion there;
And there are those for whom we weep,
The young, the bright, the fair.
Calmly the wearied seamen rest
Beneath their own blue sea.
The ocean solitudes are blest,
For there is purity.
The earth has guilt, the earth has care,
Unquiet are its graves;
But peaceful sleep is ever there,
Beneath the dark blue waves.
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne, American writer
And the wine to go with these words? The full-bodied Etta James and “Stormy Weather”
Finally watched a movie I’ve been wanting to watch for a very long time.
More about that later.
I never got to the theatre to watch it when it was released. That was several years ago.
That’s how it goes.
Life gets in the way and you forget about those little things you were wanting to do. It’s not until something wakes you – and reminds you – of what it was you were wanting to do that you finally get around to doing it.
The movie was dedicated to Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. Two guys who hung out with my favorite author, Jack. I was surprised to see their names at the end of the movie – yet, I knew at the same time it also felt right.
Credit should be given where credit is due.
I recalled reading advice Burroughs once gave. And now I want to share it with you. It’s possibly the best advice you’ll ever hear from a wise man…
Advice for Young People
People sometime ask me I have any words of advice for young people.
And here are a few simple admonitions.
Never interfere in a boy and girl fight.
Beware of whores who say they don’t want money.
In the long run, these are the most expensive whores what can be got.
If you’re doing business with a religious son-of-a-bitch, get it in writing.
Because his word isn’t worth shit, not with the good Lord telling him how to fuck you on the deal.
If, after having been exposed to someone’s presence,
you feel as if you’ve lost a quart of plasma, avoid that presence.
You need it like you need pernicious anemia.
We don’t like to hear the word vampire here.
We’re trying to improve our P.R.
Interdependence is the keyword.
Life in all its rich variety – Take a little. Leave a little.
However, by the inexorable logistics of the vampiric process,
They always take more than they leave.
Fools, I call them.
You’ll know the type.
Everything they have anything to do with turns into a disaster.
No matter how good it may sound.
Trouble for themselves and everyone connected with them.
A fool is bad news. And it rubs off.
Don’t let it rub off on you.
Do not proffer sympathy to the mentally ill – it’s a bottomless pit.
Tell them firmly, “I am not paid to listen to this drivel. You’re a terminal fool!”
And avoid confirmed criminals.
They are a special malignant strain of fool.
~ William S. Burroughs, American writer and artist
I wish I could, but I’m well aware that even when we’re given a second chance – it will always be a second one. We never really get to have that first chance back again. Things change. Memories are made – and memories are destroyed – by the choices we make every single day.
So much has happened since I last posted my thoughts on this website – back on March 10th (2014). It’s been nearly 6 months ago since I’ve written. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had a lot to tell you about – it means that more of my time has been spent on more than just writing down my thoughts.
I’ve said good-bye, forever, to a friendship of nearly 10 years because I realized how unhealthy it was for me – and it changed in an instant. In fact, it was over and done with before I realized it was over and done with. I’ve also made a lot of new friendships and strengthened the ones I already had. As painful as it was to let go, I now understand that it had to happen to make room in my life for new adventures and people I may have never met if I didn’t learn how to say good-bye. Life truly is for rent and we have to learn how to buy-bye.
However, it was the loss of an amazing human being from this planet that forced me to make time to write again. I remember watching this gift-of-laughter-to-mankind perform on “Mork & Mindy” on television – this human truly was out-of-this-world with some wacky ad-libs that caused the producers of the show to cancel it, according to rumors at the time. I consider myself blessed to have grown up with “Mork” and watch him skyrocket to the stars and sadly, melt under the heat from the spotlight, like Icarus whose wings were made of wax. I have a hard time saying good-bye to him – I can’t even type his name here for fear it will make the nightmare real again – because I sense he’s not the only one who’ll take his/her own life because they feel despair and overwhelmed with depression. I sense the others are just trying to find the right time – as if there ever was a right time for saying good-bye to life. I want to live forever.
To me, time is passing by too quickly. I don’t have enough hours in the day to see and do all the things I want to – or experience and taste all the flavors life has to offer. I wish I could find a way to capture my enthusiasm about life and pour it in a bottle so I can give it away for people to drink me all in. The only way I can think of sharing it is by fully participating in everything that comes my way – to be random.
I was saving the video I want to share with you for later – for a time when I thought those of you reading this would need it most – or you could share it when it would be most effective. It seems that time has come sooner, rather than later. The video, “I had a black dog…” was part of the World Health Organization’s campaign in 2012. It’s a great explanation of how those plagued by depression really feel. Depression is real. It can kill. And it can also be treated. And as the author of the book, which the video is based on, says “being emotionally genuine and authentic to those who are close to you, can be an absolute game-changer.” Communicating how you feel allows all those dark feelings to be exposed to sunlight. Once you let them out and allow them to go free, better – brighter – days are ahead of you. Often, those who care about you become more understanding and helpful, instead of negative and demanding. Together, you learn what the triggers are and the signs of when you’re about to spiral downward – even when it happens in slow motion. The more you talk, the more you heal and recover – and the less the big, black dog can control you.
If you don’t suffer from depression, I hope you’ll share the video with others so that those who do suffer can know there’s hope…
For the love of an alien who knew how to share his genuine love of laughter, here’s a moment with Craig Ferguson that causes both of these gentlemen to laugh – from the belly and the heart – Click HERE.
Good-buy, Robin. I miss you.
And another interview that exposes how quickly this alien could respond with humor, while talking to another funny man I miss, Johnny Carson. Click HERE.
I not only woke up this morning, minus an hour for Daylight Savings Time, but I was missing 3 whole months, and now I’ve just realized I’ve lost an entire year!
Time flies when you’re having fun, as they say.
I’ve been wanting to sit down and post a few things to this website, I just haven’t found the time lately. I think I may be suffering from hibernation distraction.
What is that, you ask?
It’s a serious mental degeneration that happens when those who normally should be hibernating during the Winter months, find themselves wrapped up in so many activities, they’re distracted and lose track of all sense of days or time. Instead of wrapping up in a blanket, they’re focused on other things so they don’t notice Winter is upon them, until Spring arrives and they wake from their sleepwalking-through-Winter, only to discover the clock’s been ticking away the whole time, but they haven’t stopped long enough to take notice. I think it’s a definite medical condition but I don’t think they make a pill for it.
Soup and bed rest, maybe.
At this point, I can’t even tell you what I’ve been busy doing all year. A lot of reading, studying, conversing with total strangers, admiring the beauty around me – which I used to ignore a lot because I was so focused on running away from this place. And I’ve been raising a bear cub – which is a full-time job, if you ask me! Kiwi is still growing strong, and intimidating, and every ounce of her is a ray of sunshine in my day. I think she’s helped to make this year go by faster.
I’ve been so distracted, my favorite holiday – Groundhog Day – passed me by this year without me even noticing until it was almost St. Patrick’s Day! I think I need to make an appointment for a medical checkup. That’s so not like me. I did acknowledge Chinese New Year. The day after it arrived.
I’ve been taking a lot of gardening classes lately.
It all started because a friend of mine wanted to know how to become a certified Master Gardener. By helping her get registered for the course, I decided to renew mine. I’ve been a Master Gardener for almost 20 years. A lot of things have changed. Back then, our lives – and our health – weren’t threatened by GMOs or EPA unregulated pesticides. I was aware back then of how quickly our heritage seeds were disappearing and it was one of the motivating reasons behind me getting my Master certification. Monsanto has been determined to become the global source for seeds, which is not a good thing for humankind, for more than 30 years. I wanted self-preservation. I wanted to be able to grow whatever I wanted without having to beg, borrow, or steal. Looking back, I’m very thankful, and I know I made a wise choice.
I didn’t have to renew my certification.
When I became a Master Gardener, it was for life. Now they require a certain number of hours, in-class, every year, to maintain your certification. I will always be taking community ed classes. I enjoy learning – and it gives me a chance to network with people who share the same goals I have. And sharing is a huge factor in the garden community. It’s refreshing. It makes you become more aware of how much selfishness exists in this world.
Another activity I’ve enjoyed this Winter is spending one day a week at my friend’s house, watching something on Netflix.
She has tv.
She has Netflix.
Together, we’ve managed to turn that into something fun.
We take turns making a part of a meal, then we watch Netflix – or The Cosmos series – every Sunday. It’s almost like our new religion. We share a meal and ideas. It’s very enriching for both of us. I highly recommend you try it. Just pick someone and invite them over – or invite yourself into their living room, if you’re like me and don’t own a tv. Offer to make a soup or a dessert or whatever – even if it’s Chinese Takeout. Share. Learn. Expand. Grow. Enjoy. Communicate. Enrich your lives.
Nothing is more worthwhile than spending time with a friend, while learning about something new. And eating. It’s a ritual worth savoring.
Another ritual that I’ve been pursuing with another friend of mine is taking pictures of antiquish things – things that survived through Yesteryear and now, for whatever reason, gets overlooked as we humans rush by, forgetting to notice it anymore. One of the locations was an abandoned ghost town out in the middle of Nowhere Land. I found beauty in discarded, rust-eaten tin cans and metal siding, and nails that had wormed their way through the shrinking lumber used to build homes and storehouses in a bygone era. I felt that if I didn’t snag them in the net of my camera lens, they might deteriorate and vanish before my very eyes.
The sagebrush was more healthy than the dilapidated buildings.
As I walked among the ruins, I felt the presence of those who suffered to make a living off the land. I felt their joy of survival and their sorrow of having to leave it all behind when the land could no longer support their growing needs. They had no choice but to move on. It held treasures – the kind you can’t buy – and a lesson all its own – that it only shared with those who were willing to stop by, listen, and read its worn pages as their feet walked where settlers once walked. I plan to partake in antiquish wisdom more often.
Maybe a bit of carpe diem lifeism inspired by “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” has rubbed off on me? Maybe it’s been there with me all along? Maybe Persephone’s been gathering forks among the ruins of Hades’ cavern and the shiny stuff is floating to the surface? Maybe…
“Beautiful Things Don’t Ask for Attention”
~ James Thurber, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Maybe they just wait, quietly, to be discovered.
Only then, can it truly be appreciated for its worth. A thought worth sharing, as I try blowing out the candles on another birthday cake that can’t be extinguished because of the dragon at the top of it.
Photos from “Yesteryear”
Winter Humor Pictures:
“Look here, McGinnis – hundreds of bright copper kettles, warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with string… Someone was after a few of this guy’s favorite things.”
I stare at the moon whenever I look up at the night sky. I’m mesmerized by it. I’m healed by it. I’m comforted by its glow.
And when it’s not there, I miss it.
A week ago, I looked at the sliver that was the quarter moon and thought it reminded me of a moon sleeping in a hammock ~ and the hammock was tied between two stars. And the glow from Venus was its nightlight. It made me smile to myself.
Tonight, the moon is no less beautiful. It’s called a “mini” moon because it’s the smallest in size of all the full moons we’ll encounter throughout the year. It’s also called the “Wolf Moon”. To me, it was like a peeping-Tom through my bedroom window. Its glow reached out and touched my skin.
I bathed in it. While I listened to Lawson Rollins (on Amazon HERE) play his guitar.
A few months ago, I went to a guitar exhibit at my local museum. It was very interesting. There were all kinds of guitars on display – famous ones, metal ones, Spanish ones, ancient ones, even modern plastic ones. There were guitars made of beer bottles and lunch boxes with just one string. And there were guitars with 12 strings. There was a guitar on display that had 6 arms, mechanically playing a song. There were guitars without guts. And some without heads. Some were just sketched on paper ~ just a thought that evolved from someone else’s head. I never dreamed I could see so many different guitars in one place. I’ve been to the Music Experience museum in Seattle. That museum is impressive – but this museum exhibit was nothing but guitars. And they were mind-bending all on their own.
The most amazing guitar on display, in my mind, was one called the “Crossroads Guitar”. The details in the craftsmanship made the soul of the guitar come alive and howl even though it wasn’t even being played ~ It just hung on the wall for all the visitors to see. If you blinked, you’d miss it. I have a picture of it that I’ll upload later. I’m out of time right now. I spent too much time basking in moonglow tonight. I need to get to sleep. I’ll try to share the pictures I took at the museum with you before I make another post on this website.
In the meantime, I want to share with you some of what I’ve been listening to lately. Maybe Lawson’s music will speak to you too.
Tonight, it was “Promise” by Lawson Rollins ~ A perfect “moon” song.
But I Love, LOVE, Love Lawson Rollins’ “Santa Ana Wind” ~ It reminds me of my childhood in Southern California. And I want to get out my blender and make margaritas! It’s Hot -and- Spicy!
And a taste of “Fire Cadenza” will leave you breathless too…
~ Have I told you about my love affair with bridges? ~
The problem is all inside your head.
The answer is easy if you take it logically.
I can help you in your struggle to be free.
I hope my meaning won’t be lost or misconstrued.
I may even repeat myself. At the risk of being cruel. As I drop off a key – to life – while I explain some about the 50 ways… to love love.
“Wherever you are, be all there.” ~ Jim Elliot
Sometimes my world is like magic. Often. Things just seem to jump out at me. And they all fit together nicely. I just have to be paying attention. I try.
Sometimes they’re the simplest of things. Sometimes they’re more complicated. But when they leave, I’m forever changed. Knowledge, once learned, cannot be unlearned. It’s a gift from the universe. Whether it’s a painful lesson or a bliss-filled “Ah-ha” moment, you’re never the same person you were before the lesson. We evolve.
I’ve had an opportunity – yes, I call it an opportunity – snack on that word for a moment and feel its definition – to watch a boat load of documentaries and old movies over the holidays. I look forward to them more than I do the food. Did I say that out loud?
The food is always basically the same… turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, veggies, dinner rolls and pie. The only variations are the flavors that accompany the main dishes. A few things may be thrown in for good measure. The documentaries are the spice. The variety I crave.
This year I made fresh peach pie with the peaches from my local farmer’s market I collected at the end of this Summer. A friend sent me a text that evening, after tasting it for the first time, that she would “kill someone for my peach pie”. I laughed, but in my twisted head, I could think of a few people I could give her a list of. I’ll be sharing my recipe for the pie later on my site – a special request from another friend. I also made a combo of pumpkin and pecan pies. I’m in the process of mailing one to a friend of mine in San Diego, California. I had to get creative to think of a way to mail a whole pie through the postal service! I’ll just say it includes lots of bubble wrap and duct tape – which are multi-purpose items. *wink*wink*
I’m also sending my friend a jar of homegrown honey collected from the almond fields in California. If you’ve never tried the cornucopia of flavors honey brings to the tastebuds and your idea of sweetness is a packet of “pink” or “yellow”, I can honestly say you’re missing out on the Land of milk and honey life is all about!
Life also brings lessons for some of us and we’re meant to share what we’ve learned so others can experience those lessons without the side-effects they bring. We have an opportunity to teach. It’s our obligation to learn. In order to learn, we have to be ready to take it all in and process it – digest it – and store what we need in the gray matter of our own abyss and if we’re truly listening, we also hide bits of it in our souls. The info changes the shape of our souls forever. We expand beneath the shell of our skin. And if our close friends are paying attention, they’ll notice the change. They’ll see we’re different somehow. Our thinking will tattle on us. We can’t hide it for long.
There are others we’ll encounter who won’t notice a difference. Then there are those we’ll come into contact with who won’t know who we were before the change. The evolution within will have already taken place. Over time, we may not even remember who we used to be until a reminder, sent from the universe, jumps out at us like a ghoul in a spook alley, or a frightened pussy cat. It will either make us laugh, or cry. But it’ll remind us of what once was.
“There are some people who could hear you speak a thousand words and still not understand you. And there are others who will understand you without you speaking a single word.” ~ Unknown
As those of you who know me or have been reading my website know, I don’t watch TV. I watch documentaries, or independent films – whenever I get free time. A few days ago, at work, I was involved in a conversation with a co-worker who was telling me about a guy in his kitchen who was “doing everything wrong. He was even making Jello-O backwards. He almost burned the kitchen down!” as he re-counted his Christmas to me and his roommate sitting next to me. Not knowing him that well, I asked if the guy in the kitchen was his brother. He looked at me across the table and said “No. He’s… Ummm…” and I instantly knew. He didn’t have to say anything more. I looked at him and his roommate and said “Got it. He’s just ‘Um’.” and they both laughed and said “Yes.” and the co-worker confirmed that Um was his partner. I must explain that I live in a very conservative, small town. To admit openly that you’re gay or lesbian or anything other than straight is a quick way to tie a noose around your own neck for a public witch hunt. It’s still legal here to fire someone or refuse to hire someone based on their sexual orientation. I think it’s morally wrong and offensive to judge anyone based on what turns them on unless it brings harm to another. I don’t see how what goes on behind someone’s bedroom doors affects them at work, unless it’s someone who’s slept with more than half the people in your office and that’s the way they got their promotion over you at work.
Maybe you just need to brush up on your sex-book reading some more if you want that promotion?
I’m kidding. It’s just that I had to deal recently with a co-worker who called a friend of mine a “man-whore”. First, this individual I’m talking about is a gossip-monger. I can’t sit near her without getting physically ill from all the gossip she spews out on a daily basis. Those who sit near her actually “feast” on it. They’re delighted to give her tasty morsels they’ve managed to collect. Secondly, if she really knew the definition of that word, she’d know that a man-whore is a male. My friend is female (and also a co-worker of mine). If she took the time to really get to know my friend, she’d know my friend just gets along better with guys than she does women. Thirdly, I know that the gossip is coming from someone with low self-esteem. She feels better about herself by tearing someone else down.
I reported her.
Doing it made me feel better. I must watch a lot of documentaries because another co-worker – a “feaster” – rudely intruded into a conversation I was having with someone sitting across from me about their brother who was “born racist”. This is the same co-worker who currently loves “Um”. Um’s lover is also a fan of Ayn Rand. I had to school him on socialism and why it’s not the same thing as communism and it’s a healthy, necessary element for any society. And why Ayn Rand’s book(s) of fiction is toxic to humans. Yes, I have interesting conversations at work. I’m like the “enlightened one” my co-workers seek out to ask me what I think about something. They also never fail to ask “Where did you grow up?” because my views are “so different” from those who obviously grew up here, according to them. They’re surprised to find that for the majority of my life, I did grow up here. It’s helped to shape my much more diverse views. I sought refuge from the conservative spoon-fed dogma they preach here. Then they ask “Why do you still live here?”. It never fails. As I tried to explain that people learn racism and hate – they aren’t born with it – the feaster said to me “How do you know that, Leilani? Did you watch it in a documentary?”. I knew immediately it was the offended, ignorant, red-neck inside her screaming to try and put me in my place. The conversation didn’t include her but she felt the need to take an opportunity to intrude when it came up. It was her habit. She didn’t wait for me to answer. She moved on. Like a coward, she ran.
Among the documentaries I’ve watched recently was “The Loving Story”. It happened after this conversation, but it’s one I wish the feaster had seen. It’s a story about true love. And it’s a story about pure hate, if hate can ever be considered “pure”. I want to give it to her (the feaster) wrapped in a blue ribbon, in the shape of an equal sign for Christmas next year! It’s my habit – to education through communication.
I also watched “Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel” – a tasteful film with interview footage to kill for! I’ve also seen “Pink Ribbons Inc.” where the I.V. League conversation (they start to speak at the 1:10min and 1:52min mark in the clip) re-shaped my soul. [WATCH a Clip of the movie HERE ]. I hope you’ll watch the movie so you can hear their testimony. I’ve also finished reading the book “The China Study” that makes me want to stand in a parking lot at a local grocery store with a billboard across my chest that reads: Purchase Cancer Inside – with an arrow pointed toward the entrance, like a carnival ride ticket-taker. The book reinforced, even more profoundly than I already understand, how the food choices we make affect the quality and length of our lives. This is something I’ve known for more than 15 years. Something I wish someone had told me when I was in my teens. But this book took that knowledge even further. I’m ashamed to admit that I had the book for at least 3 years and I never got around to reading it until now. It wasn’t until someone in a community group I meet with almost every Thursday night took one look at my salmon salad dinner and knew that I hadn’t read the book but asked me if I had anyway. It was his way of starting a conversation with me. I went home, dusted off the book, and read it from cover to cover – audio style. It changed my life forever even though I’m just getting started on making those changes. I love books like that. I love documentaries that can do that too. The ones where you’re never the same again, in a good way. You learn. You grow. You become courageous.
“I learned: The best way to change the world is to change yourself.” ~ Joe Cross, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
Another documentary that has changed my life, in a good way, forever, is “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” by Joe Cross. [Click HERE to watch a trailer.] Just listening to Joe with his accent is enough to hypnotize me. I could listen to him read a dictionary and that’d be enough for me. However, I believe Healthy people = Healthy planet. After watching his generosity to a roadside stand owner, his thoughtful Thanksgiving contemplation on a grassy knoll, his kindness to a stranger reaching out to him by phone for help who lives an entire continent away, and his determination to share his profound knowledge with others so they don’t have to suffer as he’s had to, it makes me love and respect him all the more as a human being. He’s a man on a mission. And he has the physical evidence to back him up. What really caught my eye in the film was the name attached to the food pyramid: T. Colin Campbell. Dr. Campbell, PhD., is also the author of “The China Study”. [Explore his website HERE.] Joe doesn’t make this connection in the documentary, in fact the pyramid is only in the film for less than a minute, but I recognized Campbell’s name on the chart because I’d just finished reading the book. A book I’d picked up on a whim. A whim that often happens to me while strolling through bookstores.
It’s true Magic.
“When ordinary people do a simple thing, it changes the world.” ~ Barbara Brenner, Pink Ribbons Inc.
I’d like to think I intentionally buy things but I’m learning that as an anti-consumer advocate, things – especially books, movies, and even people – come into my life because the universe has sent them to me. They’ve chosen me. Not the other way around. Universal Magic. And if I’m listening, I’ll hear their words and connect the dots. And if I can, I’ll put that magic into words to share it here with all of you.
“One cannot reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others”~ Lao Tzu
I found myself in a local bookstore yesterday. I went there on purpose. I always do. I was on a mission. I was looking for a cookbook called “101 Juice Recipes“ by Joe Cross. I was looking for other books too but I hoped I’d find his book. I realized recently that, if I’m a hoarder, I hoard books – especially cookbooks. But only the ones I truly treasure have the honor of living in my home with me. It’s a true love affair. What can I say?
I looked in the cookbook section and the Health section. Not there. I was disappointed. As I stood there, looking through the books on the shelf, I noticed my musical hero, Paul Simon, singing in my ears over the speakers in the store. I love Paul. He writes songs with the ink in his heart. It was his “50 Ways” song. One of my favorites.
I grew up, thanks to my friend, Fred, with Paul as Simon & Garfunkel. [You can see from this "Boxer" performance that Simon "had it". The song is one of my favorites because of the lyrics, even though "Garf" butchers it. I'd sell my left nut, if I had one, to see Simon and Sting (my MOST fav) in concert this year!]
I recognize a Paul-song like I’d recognize my own child’s voice. As I stood up and turned around, there was the ever-familiar Sex-Book section. I noticed two things instantly: 1) It was a mess. Books were flopped over on their sides and there were huge, open gaps on the shelf. 2) The color that stood out was hot-pink.
Why are there so many books about sex in hot-pink covers?
Are women the only ones to read them? Are book publishers trying to target market to women? In my experience, men need to read more. Women are the ones with their noses in a book on the commuter bus into downtown Seattle. Men are staring out the bus window with an empty look on their face. Clearly, the majority of Oprah’s book club members are women.
How manly is it for a man to take a bright, hot-pink book about sex with him to the Barnes and Noble check-out counter? And why were most of the titles of these books geared toward women? My personal fav? “Power of the Pussy”. That’s no secret. Were all the books-for-men the ones that were missing and causing the huge, open gaps on the shelves? Where were the bright, baby-blue ones? Who knows? But I couldn’t help make the connection between the “50 Ways” song and the Sex-Books slapping in me in the face as I stood up and turned around. I felt like I needed to get back down on my knees.
All kidding aside, I walked over to the check-out counter and asked the clerk for the CD they were playing in the store and bought it. That’s just the kind of girl I am. When I see or hear something I love, I take it home with me and I make love to it – cover. to. cover. Beneath its covers. But I have to truly love it. I spent the night with Paul last night. It’s a Simon Sunday. And if Paul were reading this, I could find 50 ways to make him blush. In shades of Hot-Pink. No jacket required.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
~ Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)
Knowing that I am about to take a journey of a thousand miles doesn’t make writing this any easier. I am about to share with you things I haven’t made public until now. I have only talked about these things with a few people I have allowed to get close enough to me over the years. I have a lot of friends but I didn’t make really good, true friends until I was much older. Growing up, life was very difficult for me. I was subjected to abuse, neglect, and things no child should have to suffer through.
I am number 7 of 8 children. Only 7 survived; 6 girls and 1 boy. They are all my half-siblings and I have another brother from a step-mother on my dad’s side. My real dad died in a car accident when I was 6 but my parents had divorced long before that. Practically from the moment I was born, my life has been a living miracle. I was raised by my grandmother, “Mrs. B” as everyone called her, for most of my life. It was the time spent with my mother that can fill the pages of a novel and which has brought me to this site, to share my life with all of you reading this.
I have often been told by those who know me and hear my story that I should write a book about my life. I have kept a journal for 31 years and consider it my therapy and believe it’s one of the reasons I have been able to deal with the demons in my past as well as I have. I guess, in a way, by writing about my experiences here, I am finally writing that book. And I am willing to share with you a lot of the things that happened but what I am not willing to share are the specific methods used to torture me as a child since I vowed to myself long ago that I would never disclose that information. I don’t want anyone reading my words to get any ideas on how to torture a child without leaving a mark.
It’s an epidemic in our society ~ One that I believe has gotten much worse since I endured it. Even though I managed to live through all of it, I have often wondered how I managed to turn out so different than my siblings ~ That one in eight ~ who went on to break the cycle of abuse, thrive, live a healthy life, and arrive at a place where I can talk about it with all of you. How is it possible that I didn’t turn out to be a criminal or an abuser? How is it possible that I have managed to be “normal” when my mother and siblings aren’t? How is it possible that I was able to move on and not dwell on what happened? How is it possible for me to talk about it now? And above all, why am I so happy?
I was told by my grandmother (my mother’s mother, Mrs. B.) that I was barely three months old when she and her husband, my grandpa Warren, drove from Idaho to an orphanage in California “to get me” and my siblings. She said they waited and waited for what seemed like hours “for the women to bring me out”. She said she didn’t think they were going to let her have me – that I had already been adopted out and they were too late – until finally one of the women brought me to my grandmother and explained that they couldn’t find any clothes for me to wear and that was the reason for the delay. To hear that I was laying in a crib naked, at three months old, somewhere in an orphanage in California, makes me shudder to this day. Of course, I was too young to remember that.
What I do remember is how happy I was while living with Mrs. B. ~ a “brown-purse-carrying-woman” who only “graduated” from the 8th grade (Girls weren’t encouraged to go beyond that grade in school during the time period she grew up in). Undeterred by this, she managed to own her own restaurant during one time in her life. She was an amazing woman who lived to be 88 years old and whose words still echo inside my head every now and then when I am searching for wisdom ~ some of the pearls I will be sharing with you.
I’ve always felt like I was lucky and blessed throughout my life. I just didn’t realize how lucky I was until I heard Country Music Singer, Jimmy Wayne, say that only three-percent of kids who are exposed to abuse and neglect grow up to “survive and thrive” (as I call it), becoming productive members of our society ~ I didn’t realize I was a “Three-Percent Girl” until February 5, 2010. I still cannot get the words out of my head. It has taken me a month to overcome the tears and sadness and overwhelming shock I felt when I realized I was only one of THREE-percent. Three lucky pennies who have managed to pay back to society what others have lost.
This site will go on to live long after Jimmy has finished his walk from Nashville, TN, to Phoenix, AZ. I am going to be sharing with you not just what happened to me as a child, but also talk about my mentor, Fred, who is a HUGE reason I believe I survived and became such a well-rounded individual and I will be giving him an opportunity to write, in his own words, what it was like to be a mentor to me and how that happened. I am going to share with you my thoughts as I look at the world through the eyes of a three-percent girl, including articles, statistics, resources, experiences I’ve had in the past, such as volunteer work I’ve done, as well as since Jimmy has begun his Project Meet Me Halfway campaign and the sister site, ProjectMMH.org began. I’ll be sharing some of the fun things I do every day, including some of my recipes, pictures, and ideas. And of course, some good laughs (because those of you who know me from Twitter, know I can hardly keep a straight virtual face!) and since I’m an environmental scientist, I will be talking about the environment ~ which, surprisingly, ties in very neatly with the problems we are having in our world today with teen homelessness and the mission that brought Jimmy and I together, on the same path, where our two worlds collided and helped you and I meet on Twitter (something I knew nothing about until 2 months ago!).
I am new to blogging as well, so forgive me if it takes a little while for me to figure it out – I’ve been on a crash course for a few days now. I also encourage you to post a comment – which, I believe, will be hidden until I can decide how to best manage them – if you have questions. I will be happy to answer them or find the answers for you and post them in upcoming blogs. I hope this will be a two-way channel of communication since I truly believe the only way we can change the epidemic is through education and communication.
This website is a view into my world as a 3-percent Girl ~ A way of sharing with others my past, my present, my thoughts, my questions, my answers, and my adventures. It’s my desire that in some small way it may save a life or inspire “hope”. Therefore, I hope you enjoy the walk with me… into my future
~ Leilani (who considers herself a VERY lucky girl!)
P.S. For those of you who have stumbled upon my page and want to learn more, click on the hyperlinks I’ve provided in my pages and they will guide you to more resources. Just click the back arrow on your web browser to return to my site. Don’t forget to bookmark my page too! Thanks for visiting and I hope we can one day share a cup of coffee, some good laughs, and a great conversation, face-to-face.
“Hope is a waking dream” ~ Aristotle
HOW TO CONTACT ME: Follow Me On Twitter ~ To send me a personal message, you can ask me to follow you back and then send me a DM.