I was conceived, born, and raised on the beautiful island of O'ahu. I chose two wonderful loving parents who gave me a lot of contrast to work with while living in paradise. I lived suspended between two worlds. And while it wasn't always a harmonious agreement-- I can say with complete certainty that it served my growth and learning in so many ways.
My Papa is a Hare Krsna and his main prerogative was for us to embrace and live a life by the Bhakti Yoga principles. My Mama was a very independent workaholic who’s main prerogative at this time was to give us our freedom to be kids, provide a nice home, an education, and a future that could provide us security.They lived seperately and shared our custody until they decided to move into a 3 story home together while living on separate floors. This house was like a magical castle to me. I was convinced that there were secret walls and doors that existed in this home and I was determined to discover them. I was also happy to be with the people I loved all under one roof.
You will hear most people say this and I think it is rings true for most of us; growing up, I felt so different. I remember the moment when I realize that what was a "normal" life for me was very strange to my peers. "Who is that blue guy in that picture on your wall?"
It was 2nd grade at age 7 when I went to a public school for the first time down the street from our new home. Prior to this my experiences with other children were with children who were also from alternative lifestyles, free thinking institutions like Montesory and Waldorf, and homeschooling. Upon entering a public school setting and observing the reactions of other children to me, I started feeling shame around "being different."
Being a vegetarian kid today is hip, its trendy, and I hear kids talking about being gluten free-- it's a trip and it's wonderful to see this awareness today. This, however, wasnt the case when we were growing up. It was very strange to be a vegetarian and especially in Hawaii where the pride of the islands delights were Hawaiian plate lunches, kalua pork, bbq, fish, seafood, and such. I would attend birthday parties and I couldn’t eat the cake because it had eggs in it. I am naturally slender and I remember the parents of the other children would look at me with concern and pity and remark that my vegetarian lifestyle was the reason why I was so malnourished. I felt angry at them for demeaning my parents choices and I felt left out because I could not participate.
Looking back, Mama was quite tuned into the struggles that we were having without us ever having to say it. She made efforts to provide us experiences that would enable us to know what it was like to do what other kids did. I appreciated her for this. She did what she could to help us feel like a “normal” kid and one of the ways she did this was by taking my little brother and I to get a happy meal at McDonalds. My guess is that she wanted us to be able to at least know what a happy meal tasted like and to feel the joy of getting a toy with it. I found myself having trouble joining in on conversations that my classmates would have over the current events of what an average child knew about, ate, and did. I believe that Mama did things like this for us so that when kids talked about it we could relate as well as to give us the free will and choice to have a buger if we wanted to. We were overjoyed. We would pull through the drivethru, order, open our toys and eat while she drove us around the neighborhood until we were done before discarding the evidence-- it was our little secret.