Writing is dangerous, and often scary, not necessarily because of the status of the person who reads it; no, most writers could care less thereof. Itʻs not even because of the way your brain needs to stitch appropriate vocabulary together, creating something that actually makes sense; thatʻs all subjective. However, sharing your opinion on any given matter from Same-sex Marriage to Homelessness in Hawaiʻi, is brutal. Depending on how you read that sentence, some would think Iʻve weighed those two issues and sited them as if I were putting one on a pedestal of priority, and have a fit about it (or a problem about my addressing them as “issues”). See what I mean? And even now, through ages and crossroads of language and expression amongst the worldsʻ most hidden to familiar civilizations, elucidation of your own gut feeling is ominous. I donʻt believe Iʻm a writer.. maybe an artist somehow, but Iʻm not worthy of that title. Regardless, it still feels risky to even allow this process in my head to take place, where my brain sends signals to my hands to encrypt verbatim each flash of a thought. Iʻd imagine that oil-painters and sculptors, musicians and designers, experience a similar fear.
And so, in my expressing and jumping from idea to idea, I mean no harm. I am very much as uneducated as I am educated about countless topics. But quite frankly, I think most of us who take the time to write in and on anything, literally anything, have intentions that lie very far from harm.
I watched a film, not based on a true story, about a retired professional soccer player who was trying to be the best father figure he could, to his son who lived with the boyʻs mother and soon-to-be new husband. Half the movie went by and overlooking the distracting scenes, unessential to the main storyline, I realized that he and his ex-wife controlled the entire ending of the story. Sure, thatʻs not the case in every situation, and life can be much more complicated than Hollywood interprets it to be. But just stop. Think.
When you were little, playing games, running around outside, you had a small fire inside of you. It was just a little spark at first, but as you grew older and hopefully wiser, it became a flame and with each victory and defeat it would dim and grow, dim and grow. It empowers you, ʻtil this day, no matter how bright. And maybe youʻre not a parent, not yet, not planning to be, havenʻt thought about it, but for those who are, thereʻs a little fire next to yours. Those are your kids, precious children who are now thrown back to a time familiar to you: playing games, running around outside. Theyʻre completely new beings, letting their flame burn, walking upon creation as half-you and half-the-other-half. And they have no idea how much power they have. Maybe you donʻt have a clue about yourʻs, either.
Itʻs difficult to write about this, and Iʻm not exactly sure why I am because Iʻm not a parent. However, I have parents. Loving, imperfectly perfect souls that made me. And theyʻre awesome, but I think they can lose sight of their power, in the process of tending to those little fires that keep growing, beside their own. There was a scene in that movie, where the mom sat in the stands with her fiance and the dad, now the head coach of his boyʻs soccer team, was pacing the sideline. All of a sudden, the boy scores a goal and wins the game for the team, and in that moment there was common, yet brilliant, camera work. Everything slowed to nearly a stop, the grass was now greener, the smiles on everyoneʻs faces were whiter, the director cued the climatic orchestra, and it panned from the boyʻs expression, to the dadʻs, then the momʻs. And in that moment the two parents looked at their son and then at each other. At that point I turned the movie off because there it was: the climax. And I love that it lasted five seconds and wasnʻt in the ending.
Iʻve seen my parents do that, without the music of course. Iʻve seen them see me or my brother or sister and see themselves, and I somehow knew that there was difference between looking and seeing and it mustʻve been an important knot amongst the many it takes to hold a family together. In those junctures, fires grew powerful. Now, just a little older, I know getting an A on a midterm isnʻt as exciting for them as was me making my first three-point shot, years ago. I know that. But I also know that they share a connection because of the two of them, then also because of me and the journey it took to create a little spark from their fire. And so I take responsibility for my flame, and make sure I put an effort into keeping it burning brightly and proudly, for them, to remind them of their power. Because if anything were to happen, if they somehow lost grasp of it, I and any other child would naturally feel part to blame.
If youʻre able, make an effort in encouraging the people who raised you, to keep on keeping on. Remind them that they did good, they did great. Theyʻre powerful. And our flaws are certainly not a reflection of them. There are three words in this English language that you could say, to say it all. I forget them now and then, but I hope itʻs said often to the people who deserve it the most, in your life and in your language, typed, emailed, painted, sung, scribbled, or written. Itʻs not a cultural thing, not a suggestion coming from a psychiatrist; itʻs just common sense, that sometimes goes uncommon, to help the people who helped you, to look at every relationship with a servantʻs eye. Parents need that, and in humility and love, we should provide it. Just cuz.
Thank you for my fire. I love you two so much.