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Life as Keoni


Keoni woke up grateful every morning. It hadn't always been that way, but it's the way things are now. There was a time when every day was shrouded in darkness; a shrill negative image of how life should be. Keoni was a survivor. She'd been strangled and lifted into the air by her throat, bounced off of floors, and been made the target of throwing practice. Sodas poured on her head, made to cry and then ostracized for the response, as well as punched repeatedly in the leg while driving to and from school. Everyday had been another prayer to the Unknown to “end it now”, at first, just meaning her situation, but towards the end of her tunnel she wished to snuff out her own life.

Now every morning she wakes to a blessing. She could have died but she never did. She could remember at least once when she had held on to her life from the depths of her soul because she'd been stronger than him. She should have died, feigned tears with emergency calls and rushed tall tales to cover up what had really happened; it should have been a reality. But Keoni never actually wanted to die, that's why she never had the “strength” to end her life through everything that she'd been through. Somehow, her spirit had clung on to this planet with all of its might rather than be smote out at an early age. She persevered and found true love while still locked in the tower of abuse.


But it wasn't until a few months after she got out that she realized that she had a lifetime of challenges ahead of her. Because she had the power of love lifting her up, she realized that she needed to reprogram herself to function normally again. At the time, Keoni was having tantrums, nightmares, and panic attacks. Yet, recovering from PTSD is a lifelong journey that takes years of dedicated effort. And, while now, in the current moment most of her mental trauma has been dealt with, bouncing your head off a floor doesn't just affect you mentally, that causes long lasting physical damage. So then, how is it that Keoni is so happy when she gets up every morning, even when her feet hurt and she's not ready to get up but the dog needs out now?


It's simple. Keoni believes.


She believes in the light at the end of the tunnel. Believes that everything happens for a reason because the universe has a plan. She believes that her traumatic experience made her a better and stronger person. And now, she welcomes challenges because challenges lead to accomplishments.

The challenge of dietary restrictions lead to the accomplishment of bettering her cooking skills. The challenge of going into a new relationship straight out of an abusive one lead to the accomplishment of building a strong trust bond and a healthy, long lasting partnership. All because the challenge of being thrown into the path of chaos lead to the accomplishment of being alive, even now, eight years after escaping the darkness.


So now, when Keoni wakes every morning, beaming despite whatever financial and medical issues they may face that day, merely thankful for another day with Rocky; a safe, trustworthy human being deserving of her energy. She walks the dog and goes to work while Rocky recovers from being sick, knowing that they'll pull out of it eventually. Because she believes that the challenge of overcoming poverty will lead to the accomplishment of being financially sound.

And Keoni's journey doesn't just affect those in her immediate situation, it radiates everywhere she goes, through everything she does. Keoni's extended stay in the depths of the ice caves in the coldest region of her psyche gave her a desire to spread joy, and love, and light to all of those who need it. No matter what her vocation, she's got it in her core to make every customer interaction a positive, and memorable one.

When Keoni's not working, she and Rocky love spending time outdoors, in the wilderness. It was this time spent in the peace and tranquility that allowed her to reflect on how the mightiest things have overcome the mightiest challenges; like how the massive pine trees face the challenges of finding water and surviving arctic weather, or how the mountains faced the challenges of pressure and gravity when they formed. This grand epiphany made Keoni more confident with her desires to achieve more. Now, Keoni is faced with the challenge of maintaining a stable baseline despite having fragile mental health. And it can be hard for Keoni not to feel broken. She knows that things are different now; her trauma started as soon as she entered her teens, and she will never get those years back. She's climbed over the mountain of her obsessive compulsion that resulted in constantly being told that she was wrong and thus, unintelligent. The hardest part is the fact that at unpredictable times, due to innumerable variables, her comprehension centers in her brain would temporarily shut down and she'd have to feign understanding because the thought of letting people judge a brain affliction that she has never gotten a medical diagnosis for was too overwhelming. At twenty-five years old, Keoni takes herbal supplements and eats whole foods to give her body the much needed recuperation time that it deserves, and still slips into severe yet functional depression in addition to having anxiety attacks during periods of high stress. However, more embarrassing than not being able to remember the proper word for certain things or having to write everything down because sixty seconds later she would likely forget it, the occasional incontinence really wrapped around her soul.


Without internal and external love, this one quirk that she now carries around would drag her down into the depths of the darkness again. Recently, Keoni was having a bad day, her menstrual cycle was in full prepare-the-missiles mode and it had been a rough day at work when Keoni went to the kitchen to prep the dishes before starting in on making dinner. Without any warning, not even an inkling of a “potty dance” coming on, as she turned from one counter to the one behind her, her muscles relaxed and she wet herself. Just a little. But still enough to cause her to collapse on the floor and sob. She'd have to shower, change, and wash her clothes after making it to the bathroom to finish the mission. Hearing her cries, Rocky rushed out to see what was wrong.


Shaking her head, ashamed at how her body was wrongly programmed even after all these years of dedicated focus trying to get back to “normal”. “I just pissed myself...with no warning,” she wailed.


Rocky put a consoling hand on Keoni's back. “So everything is alright?”


“No. I'm broken.”


Keoni was such a strong woman who had overcome so much. It killed Rocky to see her like this, destroyed and beating herself up over something that she had no control over in the first place.


“I'm just so angry about how different I am now. I know things don't work right and can not believe that this will remain with me for all time,” Keoni continued.

“You should stop being so hard on yourself,” Rocky replied quietly. “There are plenty of people out there who have brain damage, and you're doing a lot better than most of them, all because you have the determination within you to live the best life that you possibly can. You should be proud of yourself. I know I am.”


Keoni was able to pick herself up, and accept a hug and a kiss after Rocky's words. In the shower as she washed her legs, trying not to let the negative thoughts boil in the back of her mind which would cause tears to spill down her already wet face, she realized that this was just another one of those reminders that she had made it out. That she wasn't dead. Sure, it can be easy to think that at twenty-five years old you should still have full control over your bodily functions, but the fact that her bladder never sent the message to her brain saying “Hey, let's go to a toilet” was her body's way of saying “Hey, remember how things used to be a lot worse, and we almost died, thank the universe that we didn't. And look! Your bladder and kidneys still have blood pumping through them, and still care about you enough to pull waste out of this system that is still up and running. Congratulations!”

After her shower, she made dinner, singing songs with a huge smile on her face.

Keoni's philosophy is that you can face a challenge one of two ways: you can welcome it with open arms and an open mind, and embrace the adventure of figuring out the solution; or you can cower at its feet, let it consume you, and be rendered powerless. Keoni chooses to welcome every challenge with open mind, and open heart, because she didn't work so hard to keep her spot on planet Earth's “Current Beings” roster for no reason.

~Until next time, may peace, love, light, and happiness always be with you.


Keoni and I would love to hear from you, Goddess. Leave a comment below!

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