I have had much debate inside myself, which has produced itself in the form of procrastination, on whether or not I should write this article. As of late I have been given the opportunity to write for you wonderful people an article every month. Any sort of article really, with no real guidelines other than it has to be good.
I took the opportunity last month to share with you the meaning of kuleana. This month I wanted to share the beauty of Honolulu with you but I have been stricken mute by a recent e-mail. As selfish and narcissistic as one can be I automatically assume that all the readers of Hennens’ will know who I am, and where I have come from, what I am doing and where I intend to go. But if you have read my poetry here, then you know that in truth that is a mystery, even to me.
So instead of telling you about the night life of Honolulu just yet, I am going to give you some background. I would like to formally introduce myself and my writing to you. I thought briefly about writing of homelessness and domestic violence, politicians and the evil devil government… but I cannot write of those topics without expressing my opinions and sounding like a total judgmental douche. And I rather hate to be edited or censored, so I must write to you about the experiences that I have had, the things that I am most passionate about, or in the very least, things that I think could help or inspire other people. I have to be myself.
So I have decided to take this opportunity to tell you about myself. My name is Teresa Nash, although at Hennens I prefer to be thought of as Wicked. I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and now live in Honolulu, Hawaii. I have been sharing my thoughts from all the cob-webbed corners of my mind here on Hennens for a few years now and I love the power of words.
This September will be my 20yr. anniversary of the first time I came to Hawaii. I remember being a kid and my Dad having my two kid sisters and I count all the change that he had saved in coffee cans over a few years, and pack it into those paper money rolls. Then he asked us where we wanted to go… Hawaii or someplace else (I can’t even remember the other option lol) and it was a simple no brainer for me and my sisters. Hawaii of course!!! It just so happened that we would be there for my 12thbirthday and I couldn’t think of a better place to spend it.
When we touched down at Honolulu International Airport, I remember stepping of the plane and just breathing the air. The sweet, heavy, air, and I was in love. My Dad was so ecstatic that he took us in a shiny black limo, with a mini bar and everything! He took us down to Waikiki and I recall looking out the tinted windows at all the clothes hanging from the clothes lines on the lanais’ and thinking to myself, “I wonder how that feels, to hang your laundry out to dry, instead of pulling it from the dryer.” I was amazed by this moment.
We spent the week traipsing around Oahu. We saw all the major all the tourist attractions. We did an Island tour, we saw Halona Blowhole, The Polynesian Cultural Center, Manoa Falls, North Shore, Iolani Palace, and had a Dinner Cruise at sunset. We went shopping at the International Marketplace, rode on a catamaran, played in the water at Waikiki Beach. We stayed in a fancy hotel with a pool on the roof. My sisters and I had a blast, and my Dad says that I told him that one day I was going to live in Hawaii, but I must have forgotten that moment, because for the life of me I don’t remember saying that. We were only in Honolulu for a week that first time. I went back to school and wrote a report about Hawaii to make up for all my missed homework. I wonder what ever happened to it?
The next time I would encounter Hawaii would be my early twenties and another birthday spent in the middle of the Pacific. I was fresh out of a bad relationship and I was young, and wild, and free. For the first time in my life I had to survive on my own. And by chance and circumstance, I ended up back in Honolulu. I came with some friends on vacation, but while everyone else was out looking for a good time, surfing and eating well, I was busy looking for a job and a place to stay. You see... when I had gotten off the plane at the airport this time… it was like coming home. I might have been young and free, but I was in the middle of learning some very hard lessons in life and the feeling I got when I stepped off that plane was like my Mom hugging me and telling me everything is going to be okay.
The time I spent on Oahu my second time around helped to sculpt me into the person I am today. I had a lot of fun. I made a lot of memories. I met my husband. I learned things about myself that I didn’t want to know. I was too wild, and too young, and didn’t Janis Joplin say that freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose?
When I left Hawaii for the second time… I can say that in all honesty I was afraid I would never see her again. Here I was at the airport telling my boyfriend Ellis, my now husband, that I would miss him and that he should follow me back to Colorado, but I think my tears were only partly for him. I didn’t want to never come back. I really didn’t want to leave. But when I bailed on my real life back home, I left many things undone and I had to fix my life. Going home was one of the toughest things I have ever done.
When I got home I knew that something in me had changed. Not only was I going to have to move forward but I couldn’t get it out of my head that I should be moving forward with some sort of dream at the end. I have always had aspirations but up until this point in my life I had never followed through with anything really. I was a high school drop-out. I had had a really good start as a chef and earned my income this way, but had bailed on my degree and had filled my life with trying to escape from it and other things.
For the next 7yrs. life took its own course and I became a mother, a wife and an aunty. I changed careers. I faced my past with heartache and I questioned whether or not I was worthy of having a good life. And when I would lay my head down at night I would fall asleep thinking of Hawaii and how I wanted to make my life there.
Through blood and sweat and tears. Many, many twelve hour shifts. Through having to crumble only to figure out where I stand, was I ever able to pack three suitcases, and three carry on bags to bring my little family back to Hawaii to start our life together. The life that we had dreamt about for nearly a decade.
We’ve been residents of Honolulu now for two years this month and have found our footing here. Every day that I wake up I amazed at the beauty of this place that I call home. I have been somewhat silent on my thoughts, and I have struggled to put on paper what I feel in my heart. I have always been a writer that speaks from the heart and I don’t really know any other way to write. Sure I can write you a bullshit paper on almost any subject, but that’s exactly what it will be. Bullshit.
Consequently, I believe that this prospect of writing to all of you glorious people once a month will allow me to share my world with you and I hope to inspire you to tell me your story too. I want to tell you all about the melting pot that Honolulu is and the way of life here in the islands. Hopefully it’s all as intriguing and magical to you, as it is to me.
I encourage you all to write me back with stories of your own places in life and how you are on your own path to wherever you are going to. Maybe destination unknown? If you submit your story with the words “My Story” in the title box I will post them here under “Articles and First Person Essays” with my own. Otherwise for now... I will be thinking of what to share next month.
Until we meet again.