Perhaps, when you find the opportunity to read my closing blog of 2017 it will be just another day in the New Year. I have so much to say but have yet to put it into words.
On this last day of 2017, I would like to share with you memories. This is the story of a young boy growing up in the country of West Virginia in the 1980’s and buried in a deep closet filled with sequins and organza. Fashion and music was my outlet to living a life without bullying and hate. I would allow my imagination, WWD, & Else Klensch to transport me to places that were filled with excitement, newness, color, style and passion. I knew the only way in life I would truly be fulfilled would be to live a life of travel, fashion, fast pace, and luxury lifestyle outside my little hometown.
Flash forward through the minimalistic utilitarian times of the 1990’s and into the 2000’s. I accomplished my goals, lived my life in New York City, Washington, DC, Palm Beach and Miami. I faced many challenges along the way but due to the support of others (you all know who you are) I was been given so many opportunities to get back up on my feet and continue my journey. I must also say I have been blessed to live openly as a gay man in an industry that “embraces people who make people feel beautiful outside as well inside” and build relationships with some of the most amazing progressive and challenging thinkers of all time. When you reach what you think is your ultimate career goals and aspirations but all you have is sadness, an unbelievable first hand experience of the “The Devil Wears Prada”, behind the scene views of political chaos where other people determine your destiny (not you) and a deep sense of loneliness as well as a whole lot of debt and “designer stuff” you are left lost in the identity of your career not the true person you are. Wow, what a run on sentence. (Sorry Ms. Wanless & Mrs. Snyder)
Little did I know that coming to one of the smallest islands in the world would change me as a person in so many ways. I have always known something was missing and I knew I was on a journey to find it. I would be telling you the most horrific lies if I said my life is filled with surfing, sunshine and hula. In Hawaii I have had to work multiple jobs to survive, went months without being able to find a job, balanced medical challenges from thyroid tumors to vertebrae injuries, fought with depression, sadness, etc. It hasn’t been the lifestyle dream that social media might portray.
However, 2017 has been the year where we were all given a choice. The choice was to conform and step backwards in time or make change happen our selves. Many of us have united and shared our passion while others have remained silent. Over the last few months in the search to make change, I found that reason why I was sent here to Hawaii. I was given precious time to slow down and get to know me. After all the rushing, traveling, facilitating and sharing, I actually was forced to find “me”. What the hell? This is it! It’s that easy. I was given a rare opportunity to live life outside the “superficial bubble” or “glass box” that I have been smothered in for decades. It wasn’t just a closet I was trapped in as a teen, it was a whole life defined by stereotypes, greed, anger and what I thought life was suppose to be. Look, I am so grateful to have “shattered the glass ceiling” for myself. I am certain so many of you have been blessed with this but for those of you that haven’t…”Hey, people life is out there”. I know see that life is about taking your culture, values, DNA and experiences and sharing them with others to make both your lives brighter. Coming to Kauai has reignited my passion and love for the outdoors and brought with it stories that I had forgotten. Always running from the bullying and anger, I forgot about how much my family shared and cared.
My grandfather was a farmer and fur trapper while the other was an educator. One grandmother was a cook and primary provider of her family of seven kids the other was an entrepreneur who owned jewelry stores and radio stations. My mother was a special education aid and school secretary while my father was a director of housekeeping and purchasing for a mental institution. These values make up the person that I am today. It’s who I am. All these gifts that I have been given along the way from my family and my experiences are now meant for me to share with others so they we can all live a life more satisfying in 2018. It’s that easy people-just look around you. Be open.
I leave you going into 2018 with a quote from Glenn Life Brown my late grandfather and former Superintendent of Schools for Lewis County, “No matter what you do touch one person every day and make that difference”. I get it grandpa. I get it. Aloha to you all in 2018. May you find your peace and share change the way it was intended.
Mulberry Seed Design