2021 has been hard. Like, really hard.
I was hoping it would be better than 2020, but it hasn’t been for so many reasons.
As a teacher, I was burnt out from the most exhausting year of my career. As a mother, I struggled to support my kids through a year of remote learning (!!) and then hybrid learning, in addition to meeting their growing mental health needs. As a daughter, I’ve been processing the messy, complicated grief from the sudden, horrible death of my estranged father. And as a human being, I’ve wrestled with some hardcore isolation.
Many days have felt like lumbering through the fog, with me wandering aimlessly in my own head until something (or someone) snaps me out of it. Some days, I am lucky enough to have some clarity and motivation, and I try to harness that before it slips through my fingers and the fog settles around me again.
But no matter what, each day I’ve pushed myself to get out of bed and do something. Walk with my family. Run alone. Read (if I can focus). Cook. Pull weeds. Cuddle with my sweet cats:
It is no substitute for therapy (which I 100% support), but these small actions do help. My kids--as much as they can be exhausting--have also given me a reason to get up, access hope, and find joy in the small moments. I am thankful for them, my supportive husband, and those who have patiently taken the time to listen to (and read about) my experiences.
“Healing” is a verb, an ongoing act, and it will be a long process. However, I am embracing all I can do to emerge as a stronger version of myself on the other side of this current fog. I remember once, when I was at hula practice over 15 years ago, one of the Aunties noticed I was sad. She gave me a hug and reminded me of the Hawaiian phrase, “Imua,” which means “straight ahead.”
To this day, I remember Aunty Tina’s words of encouragement. I can stop to feel the sadness. I can pause to take a much needed breather. But I must keep my toes pointed forward and keep moving straight ahead, standing as tall as my 5’2” self can in order to take on whatever craziness 2021 still has in store.
Current Read: Kerry and the Knight of the Forest by Andi Watson
I recently discovered Andi’s work, and I was immediately drawn in by the textures in his illustrations. His fantasy story is about a boy on a quest to get medicine to his sick parents back at home, but he must first make it through a dangerous forest, full of spirits and mysterious and magical creatures. I appreciated the quiet moments, the expressive nature of his characters, and the important lessons on trust. Also, my sons enjoyed his book, so that's a big plus!
Writing Update: I am still plugging away on Three Bee Honey (Graphic Novel Project) and working on other project ideas as well. I will keep you posted on this!
Garden Update: Our red flame seedless table grapes are starting to ripen, and they are so crisp and sweet! My kids grab a handful to snack on as they walk by when playing outside.
Inspirational Quote: “Embrace and endure.” I read this quote once many years ago, and it stuck with me. It is simple, but it has become a mantra during the hardest days. It reminds me that these tough feelings are inevitable. I can’t run away from them; rather, I’ve got to embrace them as part of my story.
As you can probably tell, I am a fan of inspirational quotes and great books. Do you have any great books or quotes you'd like to share?
Opening up like this was pretty nerve-wracking, I must admit. But I am glad to be able to share my experiences. I will be in touch again next month. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you! Please reach out if you have any comments on this issue (I am open to suggestions on making it better) or if you have any questions. :)