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This is for You (insert your name here)
I voted for George W. Bush. Not once, but twice. I’m from a conservative Christian town in the mountains of Virginia. The monotony of my life was overwhelming. The same cup of coffee, the same bagel, the same shirt and tie. I didn’t smile enough. I needed a change.
I felt common. But, Kalani was uncommon, and I feared I would never fit in. I was afraid of people I thought I would never understand. I was afraid to be open. I was insecure and defensive, and I judged you before I knew you. At times my wall wouldn’t let you in. I was afraid to put my foot on the EMAX dance floor. I feared I would look silly. My soul heard the music and longed to explode into feverish dance. My brain talked me out of it. I envied those who were braver than I. I was surrounded, but felt alone. I was afraid of what you might think of me. Real men don’t cry. I’m a coward.
Risks are never easy, and change doesn’t always come fast. But, I remembered how I was as a child. I remembered how I dance when no one is looking. I remembered the joy of Christmas morning, and innocence of youth. I felt like letting go of all the burdens the world told me carry on my back. I wanted ignore the voices that said I wasn’t good enough. I wanted to tell you what you meant to me. I wanted to love with reckless abandon. It scared me to know you could see right through me. I wanted to be more like you. I wanted to be me.
You and I became friends. Sometimes you couldn’t tell if I was joking, or being serious. Sometimes I couldn’t tell. You and I went to the mountain top, saw the sun set, allowed the rain to fall onto our skin. Each conversation, each hug, each soft kiss, removed a brick from my wall. You were real. This was not a dream. I have the power to change. I have the privilege to change what I can. Change is my responsibility. Love changes hearts. I must remember you.
Three months passed. You were a part of it all. Even if I didn’t know you well, you were a part of it. An internal revolution occurred. A war between the dreamer and the cynic. The cynic looks pretty beat up. The dreamer has had a second wind.
I danced my last ecstatic dance. You saw me smile and you smiled back. No words necessary I read your mind. I wanted to dance so hard my feet would hurt. I wanted to remember why my feet hurt. I danced with fire. Sometimes the flame came from the staff, sometimes it came from inside. They both burned so bright.
I hugged you goodbye. You managed to squeeze a final smile from my lips. We were strangers to start, but friends as we part. I am sad to go, but am happy to have met you. I realize what you really mean to me when I know you won’t be in my life every day.
I waived goodbye from the car window and honked my horn as I drove from Kalani. I cried in my car, and cried all the way to the airport. Real men can cry. I have 16 hours on a plane. I dread being alone with my thoughts for that long. I wish you were with me to talk to. It’s so quiet without you. The world I return to feels black and white. Kalani gave me a paint brush. The colors are brilliant. Time to start painting. The pages of tomorrow are blank. I have a pen. Time to start writing. Will you take my hand?
It was never about fitting into Kalani. It was about fitting Kalani into me.
The following is the poem I shared at the `Ohana night. I hope you enjoy it!
From Virginia to Kalani, what would I find? A place I could really be me, body and mind?
A frames of ants, ecstatic dance, kirtan chants, hold onto your pants.
I had found a place of open hearts, open eyes, and open doors. Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.
Surrounded by nudity and gay men I thought I was in trouble.
I just wanted to go home to my safe, conservative, Christian bubble.
But, all bubbles burst and worlds collide and this time I decided I’m not going to hide.
Because you can’t live life like a game of hide and seek.
So hours became days, and days into weeks.
My mind began to open like a flag unfurled. I was experiencing all of this strange new world.
Capoeira moves, hip hop grooves, nature walks, opening circle talks
I witnessed people being true and free. I witnessed what sometimes the eyes don’t see.
Although there were many moments from August to November, surely it is you I will
A full lunar eclipse, volunteer trips, hula moving hips, songs from Kimo’s lips.
Perhaps it was Gerard in the café, going to Hilo bay, or watching Charlie’s DVD’s on a rainy day.
I saw human tenderness between Kathy and Kasi, and got dressed like a woman with a little help from Bree.
Or what about talking story late on the lanai, or the crystal clearness of the night sky.
I saw rainbows and moonbows, went ecstatic at EMAX, and saw the passing of the torch when we said goodbye to THE Max (Fathom).
Hemi Sync and mystic thought, I even got little naked. Who would have thought?
But not all days was I happy and glad. I’m know I made mistakes that made you mad or sad.
And although there were storms in our spiritual weather, my only regret is you….that I didn’t know you better.
It’s only now I truly understand.
I have gay friends, straight friends, friends from far away lands.
So now I pray for you to God above.
And I bid you farewell, Aloha, from Michael with love.