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ALOHA... Means LOVE

A View Of Breastfeeding Through Primitive Eyes
How Life Appeared To A Young Girl As She Grew Up In Paradise On Earth
By Lana Kalana

Ken Smith writes: “I want to share with all of you something that is very special. This young woman, whom I never met, contacted me and indicated that she wanted to contribute to this website. She wanted to be able to say something… anything… that would be useful for other women in their lives. I invited her to share anything that she felt she wanted to share. She was concerned that her English skills were lacking and asked if I would edit her writing so that it would look better. I did no editing, because I want you to be able to feel for yourself her true emotion and sincerity.

She first wrote to me in the beginning of 2000, just as BreastNotes was getting started, and I was not yet trained to post things on the site. Her letters fell into a box somewhere between myself and our friend Scott Whitney who originally put us online, and we could not do anything with her efforts at the time. Sadly seventeen years have passed since that time, and just recently, when digging through old files, I ran across her letters, and I realized what they were and what her contribution was.

With the first letter it became apparent that she was dealing with the early signs of Huntington’s Disease and the Chorea (muscle spasms) that were quickly robbing her of not only her physical capabilities to use the keyboard but was dimming her memory and mental acuity.

In re-reading her letters this week, I was moved to place her in print, and not knowing where else to place it, I chose to put it  here, because of her description of how breastfeeding was such an important and natural part of her life. She also shares some of her early life, growing up in a primitive portion of our youngest state, and how she dealt with breast development and a changing body, and what life was like to a young girl in Paradise.

I have removed some of her writing only because it was dealing with our discussion regarding the process of posting her work. The dates are the dates of when her letters arrived in my in-box.”


1/27

he hardest i ever had to do was tell someone i am dying-- i knew what killed my mother and i knew she couldnt help it when she didnt know me any more--and everything i read about the HD is what she had and what i have

Already my doctor gave me a counselor and she helps me even when i think she is wasting her time--except for her you are the first person i told that didnt run away--i told some of my chat room friends about a week ago and they didnt even write back to me and before they wrote almost every day

But i understand about that--they have a fear like i did when my Mother was dying and after she didnt know me and her face was all different i was afraid to go see her--and thats why i am afraid to go to doctors and hospitals myself because every time i went to one someone i loved died and maybe that is why i never got a checkup until i stated to get sick--

Thanks for saying you are my friend because i gave up making any more lately

Hope you have sunshine and love today

Lana

 

1/28

I know my typing is like a little kid and my English i learned a little late to always get the words right--and i only learned to type last year from going into the chat rooms--so what i can send you i know is not ready to go onto a website yet

i know how i was brought up was very different from other Americans--and it was different from other Hawaiians from my time and there is no way to know other Hawaiians in the past were like i grew up --my Father kept the old ways of his family--and he kept the old land of his family and from his grandfather back--but we also had our youngest school from mission churches--and my father and uncles and grandfather also did all kind of business outside the family--so i do not say we were like ALL Hawaiians used to be--just maybe

Also i am Lana Kalana--that is my name on social security and driver licence--we never had 2 names and so i dont think of myself with 2 names like most Americans--we had Kalana be the family name a long time ago for those kinds of things like church records and birth certificates--but we all thought of ourself and each other with 1 name--there is also a long name i could use but i dont even know how to spell most Hawaiian words--i never read and write them--and besides the Hawaiian sounds so sweet and looks so gross on paper i think they shouldnt have made it written anyway -- i will definately start today writing but i think it might be a long time maybe when i can put it in the email because i dont like sitting long because my legs kick under the desk and i have to wear boots so i dont break my toes any more-- and i already hurt my knee so i have to wear a brace on it to keep the chorea kicks so they stop dislocating my knee- cap--so my desk time i need it to keep happy and busy but even i would like to type all day i cant -- Thank you Ken!

hope you have sunshine and love in your day!

Lana

 

1/29

I was born on the island of Hawaii about december 29 1971--at least that is the date my Father  and mother put on my birth certificate some time in 1972

Our home was really 2 homes--a plantation on the Big Island and a smaller island somewhere to the south of Hawaii I only remember called Mokupuni Iki--our Little Island--we farmed and we lived the way my grandfathers lived before us--at least as I remember from my childhood--when I was 9 or so our family farm was sold under the pressure of money on the adults--and where I stand under a tree one day I stand on gravel the next day and a parking lot the day after and soon I am standing in a hotel where my father is working and I am living indoors and going to ride a bus to school where I dont understand what is said and only a few understand what I say

I wanted to live on the Little Island and have my school like I did before--the Parents and Grandparents taught about people and places and skills to live by like where to plant sugar cane and what flowers and insects we could eat and which to leave alone--and how to make a fire in the ground and cook and build a canoe and paddle it and find your way in the waves back home Sometimes our school came from the little churches we had come and go around us--they were called mission schools and the teachers taught us in our own language--or something they thought was close enough--and our parents told us what we learned would be useful when older even we didnt see what use it was now--we learned about the life of Jesus and our salvation in Heaven--we learned about the numbers and math--and we learned Pigeon English so we could talk to anyone in the world!

But the new school told us the Pigeon was old and gone and I learned the proper English when I got there and learned first to read and write before they would let me go into the other classes like history and music and more math and science

I got counselling and extra help and all I heard that I remember was I learned the English too old to learn it in my heart and I would always talk funny and have trouble with writing jobs all my life and so I shut up and was the quiet girl in the school so I wouldnt make a mistake speaking--when I was about 10 I was taller then all the boys and most girls and that made me feel like I had to hide--it was my first real taste of body shame--and because I was so skinny and that was a time when skinny girls were on all the magazines and skinny girls were the pretty ones in all the movies--and I had a thin face and light skin next to the other Native Hawaiians more like the white American faces--the fatter girls had a hard time making me their friend and older boys started to noticed me and --I say no girl can hear they are pretty and not like it even if its a boy she wants to run away from!

I was just turned 13 years old when I first got the little breast buds that gave the promise of being a woman soon--i remember the first time I ran and felt the tiny weight of them on my chest and how they moved in just the smallest way different from the rest of me--I could BOUNCE!! and I thought about showing them off with a tight shirt or even letting my buttons stay open at the top--but I knew what was said about the girls who showed their breasts off and besides that--i was still trying not to be noticed in school

Around that time all the magazines we girls read had bigger and bigger breasts in the pictures and it seemed only the chubby girls really got anywhere close to what was supposed to be a beautiful womanly chest

When I was 15 I had only small soft breasts--hardly bigger than the first time I felt a bounce 2 years before that--and they didnt even stand out like I thought small breasts should--i had the idea then that small breasted girls looked best when they  came to a point on the nipple and the point was as high up as it could go--Mine were round and my areola were wide and low--so now I had a different body shame experience--the other girls were closer to my height and now the boys my age were groing taller than me--but now I was in my own mind behind in the chest contest I thought was going on inside the head of everyone looking at me!--those stupid magazines!--who told them we are suppose to look like that?-- Women have breasts and men dont--so the bigger the breast--the more woman you are and the more female and so sexier!--and grown men too--they always felt them men have a penis and women dont--so the bigger the penis the more the man and so more male and so sexier!

This idea I did not keep in my heart--it was like how I answered my question how the magazines and movies and all the readers and watchers were fooling themself--even if they didnt think it out loud--they were being told to beleive it in a sneaky way--so any girl in the world would beleive she wasnt woman enough and any boy would think he wasnt man enough and they would all buy the magazines and the movies and whatever else was being sold to think they would have the things to make up for it!

 

2/1

Hi Ken!

i feel reasons to hurry and reasons to slow down--i slow down because i am not comfortable sitting long and i hurry because its not comfortable anywhere else either--i slow down to think about and remember things like a picture and find the words to make the picture for others--i hurry because my head shakes and i dont know how long i can still read the screen or if my hands will type next week or just jerk--i dont go upstairs any more because i dont feel safe on the stairs but my right leg is good enough to drive my doctor says so i dont feel all alone yet--i can feel the independence i made for myself ending soon-- i want to go back to writing Ken

any friendly note i still am glad to see even if you want to say how bad a day at work or your cat just threw up or whatever is nice to read instead of empty mailbox-- i dont want to make you feel like you have to write to me every day or something just i like to hear from you Ken

i dont want to see in my writing  Wahine or Waahine because when i was a kid it was a beautiful word for a beautiful woman like my Mother and when i was older and working in the hotel the tourists would say it in disrespectful way like “where can i get some Wahine?” when they were looking for prostitutes and when someone in English says it makes me feel little sick what the beautiful word for my Mother really means to them

And they always say Mahalo to me but we only said Mahalo to the mayor or the preist or the leader because it does not mean just *hello* to me or *hi friend* but is for someone of Higher class or like a boss or something And they think we all ran around in grass skirts--i never saw 1 in my family

Ken i hope you and your family have a good smile today!

Love

Lana

 

2/1

MY WORLD BEFORE THE MODERN DEVELOPMENT

I lived until I was about 9 among the flowers and fields and with a village was mostly family and some close familys to ours and didnt use electricity or plumbing or cars or houses-- you wanted to stay in 1 place forever--the rivers were our water and our bathtub and we washed--or swam--2 times a day ever since I could remember--sometimes we went down to the ocean and washed there--the adults always joined the children nude when swimming and so there were no secret body parts of adults or children and we knew the names of all the body parts and there were no shame for being seen naked not for fat folks or old folks or folks with scars or rashes--i was a nudist when I was a kid and never knew it!--if I thought about it I would think then we had a whole world of nudists and there never was a thing like body shame (or whatever it is called--shyness or inhibition or whatever makes folks cover up).

I remember the closeness of a family each in love with the next--when someone came or went it was every time with a hug and *Aloha*--everyone knows Aloha means *hello* and *goodbye* in Hawaiian--what they dont know is the word really means *love* and that is the word we said when we came and went and you felt the love every time the word came out and it was a warming word for your heart and you kept the word there until they came back

The Apo--the hug--that was the real *hello* when someone got close enough--the Aloha reached you first but it was only to keep the smile on your face until someone was close enough for the Apo--and when you left you felt like the Apo would never hold you happy until you came back so you gave the Aloha for as far as you could be heard to make the walking away easier

I wore nothing but flowers before I was 9 years old--girls and boys both were naked day and night and never felt like we were missing anything--we decorated ourselfs with our hair and the flowers we had around us--we knew we could make a Lei from twisting grass and tying flowers up but we had a better way where you didnt have to hear grass swishing in your hair or have all your flowers fall out the same time if you lost a Lei--my youngest memorys are lying on my Mothers lap and her petting my hair like you pet a cat and tying single flowers up with my long black hair and aranging them and petting my head some more just for the pure love you feel in every touch--the love and comfort and warmth and safety from each of those touches I still feel today--

My Father also I remember with my head in his lap when I was too big to lie down my whole body in his lap--and the hair petting love was just the same and I think when he tied flowers in my hair he and my Mother used the flowers for a secret code because my mother always wanted to look at my head after like she was reading a book and told me how lovely I looked in my Fathers flowers!

My Mother I thought was the most beautiful lady in all the world and when I could reach I would tie flowers in her hair while she worked or fed my little brother Pua-- I never saw a baby bottle when I was a kid-- my Mother would hold our baby close --usually sitting down with legs crossed baby cradled in both arms--and hold him close so he would know he was going to be fed--and bring him up so her nipple met his mouth and all in 1 move she and he were into a relaxed hug and they might move 1 time to get his mouth on straight but Little Pua was her socond child and she was like a basketball player shooting the ball after years of practice and skill the way she could scoop up Little Pua and have him feeding in 1 move like that-- I learned from watching my Mother and other women with babies-- I was only 2 when Little Pua was born and it was only the most natural thing in the world for me to see how babies were fed because there was no privacy needed--there was no shyness or shame in a womans breasts--when the men were shirtless the women were too and neither felt exposed and the only difference between men and women in our minds was how the babys were fed--

In my childhood I could see the difference in the shape of womens breasts and know that every woman was different--but it was the same as noticing how mouths or shoulders were different-- the chest had no other values except the nutrition of children

I saw how the new mothers did not lift their babys in 1 move to feed them and they might take many tries to get their back and shoulders comfortable or to use their hand to help find the babys mouth and try to keep from covering the babys nose but after a while they could do the 1 move lifting and maybe another lift to settle down ready to feed and comfortable--some tried to do work with their hands and let their knees hold the baby but mostly they had time to do nothing else but look in their babys eyes and sing to them and pet their hair or check their feet and I say the sweetest singing in the world comes from a happy mother feeding her child and those songs I have in my heart and they comfort me when I go to sleep or have a bad dream or have aches and pains to feel better about-- I saved those songs in my heart for the days I would breast feed my little ones--the closeness of mother and child in those minutes of breast feeding you could feel just looking at their faces--like 2 lovers know what is in each others hearts and not saying a word to know--just sharing 1 thought between them of love and peace and happiness

From how I remember it the Mothers around me back then would lots of times try to sit all together and feed their babies and talk if more than 1 had a baby to feed-- but each 1 of them got lost in her babies eyes and fell into the love that was there and they could not talk for long together unless they all started to sing together and each was in total love with her baby and hardly noticed what happened around her--you might see a tear in a mothers eyes and hear her whisper so her husband could hear “I wish you would not grow any older and go away from me because this is the happiest minute in my life!”

For girls who want to have a baby I have this advice--your minutes of falling in love with your baby will come but only if you have the love of family around you and enough to eat and you have a husband to hear when you whisper to your baby--your happiness and babys happiness will be the best if you wait until you can share it like that with a whisper to a husband--tears and smiles not shared go away like smoke in the wind

 

 2/4

I dont think my Mother or the others ever talked about breastfeeding at all the way they do now--it was like going to sleep at night or cooking to feed the older kids--there was only the 1 way I dont remember how long kids were breastfeeding--my world changed when i was 9 or so--but if they didnt have a new baby they nursed until they were walking and talking at least--my little brother was still nursing when he died and he was 2

My chorea was just a jerking in my foot in september and between Christmas and about a month after it is my whole left leg and starting on my right--i read a lot about it and the younger it starts the faster it goes--my Mother was fine until she was 35 and she died she was 41--so i dont have any reason to think mine will not go faster even--i am  afraid it might start in my hands and not let me type or in my face and not let me read --and it will get to my mind if it didnt already and then i will not be writing for you or chatting on this computer any more-- Keep that smile in the sunshine!

Love

Lana

 

2/11

HI Ken!

I guess i got a writers block--i cant think of anything to say about much and things i dont remember too-- Hope your not in a hurry--and hope the sun warms your house today!

Love

Lana

 

3/7

Sorry Kan i cant wrotte any more

I go away now to Asisted Living apartment Dont cry for me I will have sunshine and smiles all my days because i loved you and i keep you in my heart!

Aloha

Lana

 


“I knew her for forty very short days. Huntington’s Disease is a terrible, genetically-inherited disease  with a fifty percent risk to any children of one who suffers from the disease, and affects muscular control and mental abilities. 

There is still no known means of prevention, or of lessening the effects of this tragic disease.

Thank you for sharing, Lana. May you have sunshine and smiles all your days.

Aloha”