My Chubby Cheeks in Print

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Recently Star Advertiser’s Steven Mark  took the time to interview me  about my contribution to the It Gets Better book. We had a nice chat about my It Gets Better video, my experiences in high school,  my coming out experience, and my life post-high school. He was unsure when the article would be published, things were pretty chaotic back in Hawaii with everything going on with Japan, and so I carried on with my life.

I saw the feature on the Star Advertiser website this morning. I read it twice because it seemed too nice to actually be about me. I even double checked that my name was spelled correctly and it wasn’t some do-gooder named Krystal Yoneeda. It was a very generous piece and I will do my best to live up to all the wonderful things Mr. Mark wrote about me.

I received a lot of feedback today via email, facebook, and youtube, thankfully all positive. I am also unfortunately anticipating some backlash, though, as I know how easily the comments section on news sites can be overrun with ignorant and hateful people.  I know this article essentially outed me to everyone in Hawaii and I’m okay with that. There may be a few people who will choose not to associate with me anymore because of my sexuality and I’m okay with that too. In the course of the last six months, I’ve quickly realized that my contribution to this project is much bigger than me. My responsibility to the It Gets Better Project and LGBT youth is to provide visibility and support where/when I can.

My cousin emailed me today, saying she read my article in the paper. She used it as an opportunity to teach her daughter about gay people. She asked her what a gay person looks like and then showed her my picture in the paper. She explained to her that I was the same person who has been silly with her and loving her entire life. She explained how none of that changed because I’m gay. She told her daughter that I don’t act differently, look differently, or smell differently than her. She said her daughter smiled and agreed that I was still the same lovable cousin she remembered and missed.

I just sat at my computer and cried. Happy tears, the kind that doesn’t burn while they’re streaming down your cheeks.  From now on, if I ever feel overwhelmed, I will remember this.

If you’re interested, here’s a link to the Star Advertiser article.

 

The It Gets Better Book is endorsed by Chompers.

So This is the New Year

Friday, February 4th, 2011

I kicked off 2011 in a new city. It’s strange to be here in LA–the streets were so quiet on New Year’s Eve and in the morning, there was nothing to sweep up outside. Today is Chinese New Year and again the streets are quiet.

Recently I made a trip to Angel’s Knoll in downtown Los Angeles.  As some of you might know, I am a bit obsessed with the movie (500) Days of Summer.  When I first saw it in the theaters, I felt like I was watching my own life on screen.  So many times I’ve been Tom, saved and then broken by girls like Summer. I sat on Tom’s Bench, his favorite place in the city, and was swept up in the possibility of what my life here in LA could be like.

So what will 2011 be like? I think it will continue to be a year of transition for me as I’m becoming the person I’ve set out to be. Reading old (like 2005, old) livejournal entries, it’s crazy to see my dreams are slowly coming to fruition now. I have a Creative Non-Fiction piece coming out in the Hawaii Women’s Journal anniversary issue in March that touches upon some of the dark and twisty feelings I have about Hawaii and growing up.  At the risk of sounding like a gushing fangirl, the editors at the Hawaii Women’s Journal are amazing.  They let my piece take shape (which didn’t happen immediately, trust me) and pushed me to examine my real reasons for moving.  Writing might be a solitary activity, but editing is a collaborative effort.  These editors not only saw something in my piece, but also in me.

A few months ago, I made a video for the It Gets Better Project. At the time, I didn’t see any other videos from Hawaii, so I thought I’d give Hawaii LGBT teens someone to recognize and relate to.  I am amazed by the amount of feedback I’ve received since then from LGBT allies and teens.  I hope that I’ve given them the same kind of support my friends gave to me while I was in high school.  Out of the 100,000 videos uploaded, mine was one of the few chosen to be featured in the book version It Gets Better (due out in March). I hope my story reminds others that they are not alone.  Life does get phenomenally better after high school.

I’d like 2011 to be a year of support and outreach–while planting some roots here in LA, I’d like to also be a better LGBT spokesperson for Hawaii.  I’m not really sure what that means yet…but I guess I have the rest of the year to figure it out.

I ended 2010 as a winner of Bamboo Ridge’s December Short-Short Story contest.  It was just the push I needed to welcome in 2011. Here’s my entry,  For Keeps.

To keep the ball rolling, I submitted an entry for their January Short-Short Story contest (which is actually the last month they’ll be accepting submissions for their landmark 100th issue).  UPDATE: I just found out I won! Here’s my contest entry, Numba One.