Friday, May 30, 2003

Reframed Screams

I had some time to think about my frustrations described in "Violent Moonwalk" and "Adult Screams."

These are not new frustrations, but the way that I frame them is changing - and must. We all have to help each other. We are all fragile. We all need.


Posted by ruth at May 30, 2003 11:33 AM

Friday, May 16, 2003

Violent Moonwalk

Ugh. ... Argh! Ack!

What kinds of words do you use when you're frustrated by the rope someone puts around you? This relates the frustrations recorded in "Adult Screams."

"Ruth," she calls on the phone. "I heard you're going to Makapuu late at night. I'm very worried."
Tonight's a full moon, so I was going to gather a bunch for a moonwalk.

Mom and I go through this exchange.

"Don't worry, Mom, it's a full moon. There will be others out there" (though I am not certain).

"Well, you know what happened in Makaha years ago. These Samoan guys killed the guy and six guys raped the girl. It's dangerous. You better be safe."

I've been on this moonwalk many times. I understand that anywhere you go, there is inherent danger, and at an isolated place like that, there is a greater risk of being "trapped" if someone wanted to hurt you. But to never see what Makapuu offers because of this fear is no way to live.

If I died trying to experience something beautiful, then so be it. I would rather live that way than stay at home and never be able to testify that "I saw that" or "I felt that."

Mom hears the frustation I thought I so cleverly hid. "Let me be Mom," she says.

We say our polite goodbyes. I hang up the phone.

"Let me be Ruth!"

I need to take a walk.


I know she loves me. If I could ask her one thing, it would be that we treat each other as adult equals, that she throw down her Mom role for something that I think is better for where we're at - equal friendship, mutual respect.

Is this too much to ask? Am I being naive?

Posted by ruth at May 16, 2003 05:10 PM

Jen, my wife, always said, "It's different for girls," and I, idealistic, would just shake my head. Now that I have a daughter, though...
Besides, I think your mom isn't just worried about you, she's just worried. That is, she personally wouldn't feel safe out there, and unfounded or not, that's why she has to warn you. I don't think she specifically thinks you're less capable, or undeserving of respect.
Katie might grow up to be a black-belt kickboxer who can bench press 200 pounds. But I'll still nag, and sit up nights when she strikes out on her own... at fifteen, or twenty five.
I hope the moonwalk was as gorgeous as I imagine! It's been a good week in general for moonwatching. (Even if we were denied the eclipse.)
Posted by: Ryan on May 18, 2003 12:01 AM
Hey Ryan,
Well, the hike turned out to be absolutely lovely.
There were other groups of walkers there on our way up, though our group was the only one left on the hill by the time we were going back.
During the first part of the hike, I had all these nervous and unsafe feelings, with my mom's voice hanging over me like an ominous curse.
But the adrenaline starting pumping, and I suddenly felt safe. It was a most gorgeous hike, and I'm glad I experienced it.
Posted by: ruth on May 19, 2003 10:35 AM
Distance helps. Even now when I stay at my parents', I have a curfew (!!) and my mom is either calling me or wanting me to call her constantly if I'm out.
2500 miles away, she worries if I don't call for a day or two; I only tell her afterwards what I did. I merely climbed- not jumped, mind you, just climbed- the rock in Waimea and told her about it, and she started to freak out.
I don't worry too much about going places in a group, though being alone just about anywhere makes me nervous. I think that's my mom's constant warnings from when I was young- I still have recurring dreams about being kidnapped and/or attacked by strange scary men.
Ultimately, though, I think a bit of common sense and belief in fate (if it's your time to go, nothing you can do about it) guide me. If I have a bad feeling about it, I won't go; otherwise I trust I'll be fine.
Posted by: lisa on May 19, 2003 06:55 PM
Hi Lisa,
Yeah - distance does help. I have a friend who moved thousands of miles away from her parents, and she can be much more selective about the image her parents receive of the life she lives here.
And I experienced something similar when I stayed in Boston for two months. I did all kinds of things but told my parents the waterered-down version.
I can relate to you in that my parents do want to keep in touch - constantly. While that can be a source of struggle, I at least understand the core, which is their desire to be connected. I don't want to throw away all connections because of certain frustrations. Life is too short to disregard your parents over irritations.
I'm sort of trying to strike a balance, wanting to be an adult yet wanting still to honor my parents' love for me. It's not always easy.
Thanks for your insight, Lisa.
Posted by: ruth on May 20, 2003 01:15 PM

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Waning Light

My kindness toward you wanes

And I am sad.

If my trust were blind and my soul innocent,

Perhaps my kindness might grow.

But I am weary, sometimes breathless and weary

Over the times I must second-guess

Whether you will strike me,

Knowing indeed that it is easier

For you to hurt me

Than for you to risk losing

The little you have.

Posted by ruth at May 15, 2003 05:23 PM

Monday, May 12, 2003


She, a middle-aged Japanese woman with strong cheekbones, stared like a tiger into my eyes, her aging limbs stepping past me in the concert hall balcony.

She did not touch me. I disgusted her.

Posted by ruth at May 12, 2003 03:12 PM

Friday, May 9, 2003

Adult Scream

Last August, my brother became a father without the prospect of becoming a husband.

"If that happens to you," my mom said over the phone, "Mom will not exist on this earth."

Mom moved from Okinawan in 1969 to become a pastor's wife and a mother in very short order.
For more than three decades, Mom and Dad worked hard to give their four children everything, including an education.

And in the true spirit of learning, I explored many ideas, not just the ones handed to me during my childhood. I began to see that some "right" paths are absurd.

My brother had become a father that way, but he was being more human than the rest of us. I want to be human, and openly human. But she says it'll kill her.

I want to scream, "That's not fair! That kind of pressure is wrong!"

But she will curl and cry. And she will tell me, "I am nothing to you, then. I have no meaning." So I refrain, as any respectful little girl would.

I'm 30. I'm silent. I want to scream.

Posted by ruth at May 09, 2003 03:33 PM

Scream! By all means, scream. Mother will survive it. And you and she will be stronger for it.
Posted by: kane on May 11, 2003 08:10 PM
Kane - thanks.
It's a little jarring to see secret parts of people who were once your superheroes.
Posted by: ruth on May 12, 2003 12:37 PM

Tuesday, May 6, 2003


The whole UH logo controvery really hit a nerve for me. I have to carry some of the discussion on my own site since the discussion thread on is nearing the end of its shelf-life.

If this discussion were strictly about a logo in and of itself, I wouldn't really care. But this discussion dug deeply into issues of artistic contribution and how the public perceives, receives and rejects it.

It's not my style to be publicly critical of artists, being an artist myself. However, the logos presented by the UH administration were publicly roasted by many people who said they could do better and for much cheaper. Perhaps the people who were vocal about the logos may have sent in their own submissions. I'm not certain. But at this point in the game, having seen the kind of criticism dished out to the the Mainland firm, anyone submitting a design challenging the firm's work should at least be ready to receive criticism as well.

About the Submissions

I have a couple points:
  • Hawaii Stereotypes Revisited. I know several people were complaining that the two scrapped logos embodied Mainland stereotypes of Hawaii. But I also think the reader/viewer submissions did just the same. I don't need to see the eight islands plopped upon an "H" for me to get that it's Hawaii. And if the ocean, flowers and palm trees aren't the stereotypical Hawaii, then I don't know what is.
  • Lack of Simplicity. The submissions are too busy, and they force too many literal images together. They cobble all kinds of generic concepts into a basket. Ultimately, they lack elegance and depth.
Seeking a Sage

Logos, like any artistic product, should make other feel emotions. That end result often does not come about through chaos, but through simplicity. Some of the most powerful logos of all time? To name a few:
  • The cross
  • The Swastika
  • The Nike "swoosh"
Simplicity requires wisdom. If that is the case, we don't need a technically sound artist as much as we need a deep thinker. UH really needed an artist who is a philosopher, too. Short of that, they truly would miss the mark.

Posted by ruth at May 06, 2003 06:42 PM

Thursday, May 1, 2003


All humans are manipulative.

Posted by ruth at May 01, 2003 01:33 PM