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WONDROUS: Chapter One

When you are living in a fairytale, life can be so wondrous.

I tell myself this as I am overwhelmed by the sweet smell of cotton candy. I avoid running into children as I navigate the park with my family, making our way to our next ride, frolicking like it was our first time ever at Disneyland. To be fair, it was our first time at Disneyland on Christmas day.

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. My birthday is December 12 (Sagittarius swag) and all things cheery make me explode with joy. I’m that bitch. The one who puts up holiday decorations after Halloween, completely neglecting Thanksgiving (but really who needs a fucking cartoon turkey and cornucopia on the wall? Pass). Christmas music starts creeping into my days the first week of November, starting with something lighter like the She & Him Christmas album and come November 30, I’m in full-fledged Frank Sinatra – jolly as hell Christmas classics – caroling my ass off like I’m in a holiday movie that takes place in the Midwest and there’s snow everywhere and EVERYONE has a fire place. You know, like “The Family Stone” or something. I grew up on the West Coast so I’m a stranger to all of it. When people who actually grow up in snow tell me that it’s actually awful, I just say “Shut the fuck up, let me have my fantasy.” That is how I always felt about Christmas.

So why can’t I feel that joy now, on this particular Christmas?

We’re standing in line waiting to board the Indiana Jones ride. At this point, it’s me, my sister and my dad. Not sure where everyone else is. Oh also, my grandmother and aunt are here as well. It’s a big family adventure. We are still a little tired as we left Arizona at 3AM this morning to make it in time for the park to open. But here we are ready as ever.

If you have ridden Indiana Jones before, you know just how long it takes to get inside. And now imagine that entire line filled on Christmas fucking day. It’s bananas. But I’m in my thoughts. Everything else is completely shut out. I’m not present. I am in my head, avoiding the bustle of loving families on Christmas day. And that’s when it happens.

I hear a melody.

It doesn’t always happen like this. I’ve written songs since I was 16. I’m not a musician by any means nor do I have a proper singing voice as I am challenged tonally speaking. But melodies come and arrive at my doorstep. I always thought of it as a magical fairy godmother that comes to visit me when I need a song most, a song to pull me out of whatever wreck I’ve gotten myself in. I used to think it was a burden, having these songs come to me when I do not possess the proper skills or talent to produce them into complete work. But now I see it as a guiding light, a mystical beautiful creature to help me carry on. The songs aren’t for anyone else. They are for me. And when I can look back at a particular era in my life, the songs capture every emotion and feeling better than any entry in my composition journal.

Living in a fairytale, life can be so wondrous

The chords kick in.

I believed in fairytales until I got fucked up again

And it continues.

I quickly pull out my phone and begin typing a way in my notes app, repeating the melody over and over again in my head so I don’t forget it as I wait to board the ride.

Babe I promised you, yes, one day I’d get better

That line is for Bryson. I so wish I could get better for him. I’m not well lately. I’m a complete and utter disaster.

I started seeing a therapist recently. Truth be told, I had no choice. I really didn’t. After my last mental breakdown, Bryson made me promise I would start seeing a therapist or else he would tell my parents that I was suicidal. I was at the end of my rope. I had to seek help.

The pre-chorus begins to come in. A backwards process, I know.

So here’s a book to read
go write another story
you could be a big star
you could be a big star

My therapist handed me a book at my second appointment. She said I could greatly benefit from it. It was the Louise Hay Complete Collection. I had no idea who Louise Hay was but eventually found her processes supremely helpful. She would later become my religion.

Go write another story…

I hadn’t been writing in a while, I kind of lost the inspiration when I was truly inspired to kill myself. Now that I’ve accepted I won’t be committing suicide anytime soon, I still struggled to find the means to write again.

You could be a big star, you could be a big star

It’s not that I wanted to be famous, it’s just that I wanted my light back, that inner shine that used to propel me into adventure and self-discovery. It seems I have lost it. It’s even disappeared in my figure. Just last week, my mom asked me if I was on drugs because I’m so skinny now. My eyes sink in like tea bags in hot water. Darkly colored, slowly sinking without much life there, just a slow brewing descent.

In a matter of ten minutes, I had the first verse, pre-chorus and hook written for a song aptly titled, “Wondrous.” As we moved along with the line, I opened my voice memos app and casually hummed the melody into my phone, pretending I was just holding the phone near my mouth for no reason. Real slick.


It’s lunchtime. And when it’s lunchtime at Disneyland on Christmas, there’s no getting into a restaurant without a two-hour wait, so we get food from one of the food stands. Lunch: turkey legs and corn on the cob.

Our whole family sat together, laughing and chatting about the day. All the rides we rode, the sight of the parade, “visiting our Hawaiian ancestors” on It’s A Small World. Everyone was engaged with each other except for me. I could hear them, but it was I was submerged underwater in my own little submarine. I could hear their voices above sea level I but couldn’t really make out the words. I continued to eat and fixate on a Mickey Mouse balloon.

“Paka,” my grandma said. Paka is short for Lopaka, my Hawaiian name.

“Yes?” I said.

“Are you OK? What’s wrong?”

I tell her I’m fine.

But really, though…what is wrong with me?

I am at the happiest place on earth, on the happiest day of the year and I am emotionally disconnected from everyone and everything around me.

I’ll later be told: this is what it feels like to be depressed.

Read >>> Chapter Two


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