Mom… Dad… I have to tell you something. I know you raised me with good old-fashioned Midwestern values. I was that kid who had a paper-route and mowed lawns in our small idyllic community where everyone knew each other. You also taught me to be kind and patient – even when others did not deserve those graces. You taught me to value all types of people – even though our community was not racially diverse. You showed me how to live with humility, to be pleasant, and to have patience. I have carried those values into my adult life and they have evolved even further as my life has unfolded.
I know you raised me right and I am grateful.
I think you may have seen signs that clued you in. I was always a nice kid and I was welcoming to new people, loved the ocean, and enjoyed pineapple. I also probably hang around in Hawaii more than other people, and I talk about Hawaii a lot. I didn’t exactly hide it.
I know you had suspicions.
Over the years, I have realized that it is those very qualities that make me who I am are also kind of aligned with something else. It is something that I cannot change and wouldn’t want to even if I could. It is who I am at the core of my being, and I finally have a name for it.
Mom… Dad… I am ALOHA.
Wait, you thought I was going to say I was WHAT? Oh, yeah… I’m that too. But this time I’m telling you that – with every ounce of my being – I am Aloha.
You see, the Aloha spirit that so many people are celebrating these days, fits with my very nature. I’ve met others who are Aloha and they have helped me see that this is who I am. I always wondered why I didn’t fit in, but now I know for sure… and I can no longer pretend to be the Midwestern boy and all that goes along with that.
Thank you for always raising me to value others who were a little Aloha. In fact, I think you’re very Aloha-friendly. While the rest of the world was telling me that something was wrong with me, you just quietly allowed those personality traits to be “okay.”
I think you may have seen signs that clued you in. I was always a nice kid and I was welcoming to new people, loved the ocean, and enjoyed pineapple. I also probably hang around in Hawaii more than other people do… and I talk about Hawaii a LOT. I didn’t exactly hide it and you most likely had suspicions. I never meant to be deceptive. I just wanted to fit in.
No more hiding. As of today, I am claiming my Aloha-ness. Oh, don’t worry. You don’t have to start calling me “Brah” or “Cuzzin.” Not everyone with the Aloha spirit actually lives in Hawaii and dances around with hula skirts and leis. Iam stayimg right where I am and will keeping being me. However, the Aloha spirit is in me and I can’t pretend that I’m something I’m not. Once in a while you may see a lei in my house, but just know that I am simply embracing a culture that has embraced me.
Please don’t feel like you have to explain it to anyone. I’m just going to be who I am and let them see that being Aloha crosses all races, creeds, locations and lifestyles. It is normal – just as normal as anything else. Only, there just simply aren’t a lot of Aloha people where we come from. So, it might take some getting used to. I know it may make some people uncomfortable, but I promise not to throw a lei on my most conservative family members just to annoy them. I’m just going to be authentically me. I just want to be happy without excuses. Isn’t that what we all want?
I’m Aloha. That’s it. I’m still me, but now I know who that is. I just wanted you to know.