Guest Writer, Mai Kapuao`ihilani Mei-Lin Hall–Writer’s Salon

Crying in the Rain
Can I cry now? Can I stop the rain from falling from the sky as it empties a curse upon
the already drenched soil? Can I stop my soul from crying out, “No! Not again! Shit it’s raining AGAIN!” Cloudy, dark, dank, rainy days like this fills the bucket of my human soul to the point of overflowing. Stifling, suffocating saturation of wet walls, sodden soil, impenetrable air closing in on my household, filling already half full stress buckets with more and more rain.

Outside my window is a metal watering can lay up overflowing with chunks of rain water. Overflowing from the day before and the other day before when the rains began and the skies darkened and the bright sun withdrew. Seeing the liquid rain runneth over the bright metal watering cup echoes an all too familiar feeling beginning to rise deep within my chest of a burning sensation mingled with despair raging in my chest. Can I just cry right now? I push down and hide the invitation slowly creeping towards my throat, choking me of air… Is it possible to drown more than once?

I know I’m in for a challenging day. It means I can’t access a park, or let my little boy
play outside, or run around in the huge freshly cut field where there are no obstacles to
trip/fall/bump into. It means no bouncing balls or flying toys which flexes and builds his muscle strength and develops his vision acuity. It means no wide-open spaces for him to express his tantrums, his voice, his high spirited and endless energy which alone takes up so much life space; it means he feels trapped within himself.

It means a deeper depression day for my teenaged girl because the sun is hiding and so is her mood. It means she once again puts on her brave face to tell me she is fine when I clearly see the sadness shaking in eyes and the quiver in her soft voice. It means long contemplation at her mint green bedroom walls decorated with smiling faces lit with sunshine in the backdrop of greenery and tropical flowers, beaches, and mountains. It means missing her forever friends at her home in Hawaii.

It means broken dishes, spilled drinks, fallen plants, and dirty walls from kids trying to express themselves and trying to have fun indoors. It means picking up empty granola wrappers, chip bags, cups, cans, and wrappers from underneath my daughters bed and checking for broken pencils, pens with no caps, and sharpened picks. It means bathroom walls and toilets sprinkled with urine which I desperately try to clean every other day.

It means me, alone at home again with children who do not want to paint, or color, or draw, or build, or play board games due to the nine-year age gap which makes collaboration of any sort even more difficult. It means tired feet from standing and walking bath and forth all day, listening to the deafening, drenching sounds of the rain outside. Then finally, I decide the cleaning can wait and I just cannot anymore. Giving into a losing struggle, I reluctantly relinquish the electronic devices whispering to the invisible condemnatory masses, “I’m not a bad mother, it’s okay to let them watch movies and play video games, I’m not a bad parent.”

I finally make my way to the kitchen, warm up my cold coffee cup and settle into a soft
space just for me next to the windowsill yearning for any essence of natural light. As my gaze lingers on the splattering of rain outside, my own torrid waves of emotions begin to build and can no longer hold back within my chest. I smell the warmth of macadamia nuts and Kona sunshine in my full coffee cup, feel the painful pangs on an empty stomach yearning to eat breakfast at noonday, and see a reflection of my languished crumpled body creeping up over waves of guilt.

Standing up to warm breakfast to eat at noonday I hear a whimper. “Mommy I had a shi
shi accident…” It’s my son pleading to me to help him get the shi shi off his legs; he doesn’t like that sensation, and my hunger pangs are once again gone from my mind as I picture myself slumping towards the bathroom for yet another clean up duty. My eyes pause at the mirror on my way there causing my body to stop and think for just a moment. I recognize her, that look. My tears pool in both eyes and I take a deep, solid breath.

Is it possible to drown more than once? I do, every time it rains.

Mai Kapuao`ihilani Mei-Lin Hall was born and raised in Oahu, Hawaii. As a former educator in preschool, and public education, Mai received both her B.Ed. and M.Ed. from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. She remains passionate about early learning and as a naturopathic Hawaiian cultural practitioner (also known as Lā’au Lapa’au) and a Native Hawaiian mother raising two children ages 4 and 13. 

Her life experiences of childhood trauma, houselessness, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence and battling mental illness has fostered resiliency and protective factors in Mai which she uses to advocate for others in similar situations. 

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