Embracing the Struggle (it was real) in 2018
Seriously though. Homeless and enduring a physical and mental health crisis, brought me to my knees, figuratively and literally, I had to do something! The only thing I could think of, or that kept me from complete insanity, or worse, was this documentary film. It was the thought that, if anything happened to me, the story would never be told and all of my hard work would have been for nothing, that has kept me moving towards my goal. Ultimately, my love for this story saved me, (again) from what I can only imagine would be an unfortunate outcome had I decided to just give up and do something else, (interesting how art led me to getting to know God and an oportunity to have an interesting conversation with the Holy Spirit).
Not to say that it hasn't crossed my mind, giving up that is, even though it's not my style, it's just because so many people have wondered if this was paying off and, truth be told, monetarily, no it hasn't but that's not why I want to this story. Every time the thought of just stopping, has even crosses my mind, I would feel suddenly devoid and even more filled with despair. Inevitably, during those seemingly impossible time, some miracle would occur, like finding a fiscal sponsor or a museum curator contacting me, out of the blue, to ask when this would be complete and where they could finally see it. It's the little things and the combination of the life changes, for the better, that have kept me going this far.
During this time, last year, that became the official plan, keep going... get to Florida... get better... and Finish this film!
I was living in my truck on Kauai, selling custom frames, I had been there since June of 2017. I'd make art with wood scraps I found or Koa scraps from local furniture makers, I used free prints and printed and framed my photography. Most photos were taken all around Hawaii throughout the years, I sold my "Perfekt ImperfeKtions" at Hanepepe Art Night, in the local state parks, and at the beach. It was the only way I could raise money on island to get off the island. I made art everywhere, wherever people would allow me to set up, in backyards, at campgrounds, on the beach ....
I had applied at several places to work and with no official address and my anxiety/depression worsening, from my divorce and loosing two of my closest family members, there was no way I could be the face of Aloha and greet tourists, without breaking down in tears, for no apparent reason. Even during job interviews I cried when they asked me simple questions. I simply felt unfulfilled and like I wasn't reaching my full potential because I have these skills and this film, which is moire than 50% complete that I think about all day every day since I came up with the concept July 2006.
It wasn't till I finally made it to Florida that I was diagnosed with Agoraphobia and a lot made sense after that. It was part of the reason I couldn't cope and was having such intense fear and anxiety while living in Hawaii. It's basically the fear of not being able to reach help or getting stuck somewhere, it is hereditary and usually shows up after the loss of a parent or traumatic event. I already was diagnosed with PTSD after getting rear ended by the MACK truck in NYC so after a few incidents in Hawaii, like going into shock, while camping alone in Kokee State park after being bit by a Black Widow and having seizures from Cat Scratch Disease and being hospitalized for 8 days and being alone through all of this, I look back and it makes complete sense as to why I couldn't get much accomplished and am proud of myself for staying alive. Ultimately, it all led me to exactly where I needed to be and in the perfect position to get this project complete. Who knows, if these things hadn't occurred, would I have found Aloma Church, would I have been inspired to give God the reins completely and utterly trust in him to run my life? Maybe not, so I'm grateful it was an intense year because I made it through and came out better than I was before.
Ultimately, it all led me to exactly where I needed to be and in the perfect position to get this project complete. Who knows, if these things hadn't occurred, would I have found Aloma Church, would I have been inspired to give God the reins completely and utterly trust in him to run my life? Maybe not, so I'm grateful it was an intense year because I made it through and came out better than I was before.
This is a pretty personal post, I'm getting real in hopes that you can see what's behind this, why it's so important for me to make this film, and exactly why I care so much. Of course, also the location and the National Parks are special and it's what happens when people get to enjoy these places, the nature and feeling one gets, just simply being there that drives me back each and every time. I feel incredibly lucky to get to share this story with you and feel like this film captures history in the making, not many people know the story of this place, or that it even exists. This is a part of our heritage that needs protection and the only way to get people to care about something is if they know about it.