Remembering Patch

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“Patch was a complex person, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

I will always remember Patch, as Patch was one of the first people I’ve met when I first moved to Portland in 2015. I remember briefly volunteering to run the front desk at the Q Center. Patch came in, and we quickly hit it off. Patch seemed very sad and shared a story from earlier in the morning about being houseless, sleeping in the car, waking up, and managing to slip and fall directly outside of the car, smashing the ‘ukulele that was spent consoling and making beautiful music with. I told Patch that I was Hawaiian, and that I had an ‘ukulele at home that I would bring in to play the following week. As sad as Patch was, Patch managed to crack a smile, and when I brought my instrument in, I had the honor of having Patch play a few tunes. In fact, Patch was so inspired by my Aloha, that Patch offered others to share their musical talent at the Q Center open-mic.

Patch taught me to think outside of the box when it came to gender. It was very complex to wrap my mind around at first, being an agender person, but by the end of the conversation, I was enlightened and wanted to bring more awareness to our society on LGBTQ+ cultural sensitivity like the usage of preferred pronouns and the importance of meeting folks where they’re at; and expressing kindness in a respectful manner. When Patch told me about the preferred pronoun that fit for Patch, it was a testament of how unique and special Patch really was.

Before leaving the Q Center for my job, I was able to recruit Patch as a volunteer to take my place. Patch was a positive contribution to the Q-Center space. As a person with overlapping identities and continuous challenges, Patch was very attuned with services throughout the community, and was able to briefly attend Portland Community College. I was so proud of Patch, as we had both discussed pursuing a goal in higher education; although, I’m not sure Patch was able to finish, I am certain that the learning experiences were enjoyable, and that Patch found them enriching.

Now, I don’t know all of the details of Patch’s passing which seemed to include capitalism induced suicide according to the Memorial for Patch page on Facebook, but what I want people to remember about Patch was that Patch was a complex person, as all of us humans are. Patch was the first person to be recognized in the State of Oregon as agender, and it wasn’t at all an easy fight for Patch, but the legacy left behind provides us encouragement and hope that all folks shall be recognized the way that is most comfortable to that person, regardless of what box society manages to place us in.

I will always remember Patch, and that smile that graced us especially when music’s involved. Patch was a complex person, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Patch was special, and Patch was my friend. May we all learn from Patch, as we continue to rewrite our culture to be more inclusive, supportive, and kind.

Rest in love, Patch. Until we meet again, Aloha.

Mika Mulkey

 

The Official Release of ALOHA…Coming in July 2018

ALOHA: Adult Learning of Hawaiian Attributes will officially be released in July 2018.

As of Thursday (6/14), I have officially completed my graduate program at Portland State University, a goal I’ve been working towards since 2015 (inspired by my first trip to the Rose City in 2014, after graduating from UH Hilo with my Bachelor’s). I am so glad for school to be over; however on a personal level, despite the overwhelming obstacles I’ve had to jump through to get to where I am today, I still wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, I have learned to accept that the journey is the destination, and that life can provide you with a plethora of learning environments and situations, both good and bad, and the educational component is like the glue that holds the pieces of the puzzle together.

This blog was originally started in 2014 under the name: Driven By Aloha, but was never given the time, attention, and aloha needed to move forward, until now; and after proposing a Hawaiian-based intervention by the same name, for my final Master’s project, I was inclined to continue it, and move it forward by way of blog.

I am really looking forward to spending more time writing, course-designing, and finding employment in teaching adult learners preferably at a university or community college, while discovering my new community and home in Nevada. I know that Las Vegas will provide me the opportunities to apply myself, and it seems fitting that after 19 years I am ready and prepared to return to one of the first colleges I’ve attended and managed to drop-out, but this time as an instructor. If not that one, perhaps another one…but it’s been determined that I’m going into teaching adults.

I am currently in Portland, enjoying the time I have left in the City of Roses, before returning to the realities of finding a job in the Silver State, but I just wanted to take the time to, Welcome any newcomers to this blog. If you’re reading this: I encourage you to “follow”, so you won’t miss the official release of my site, coming in July 2018. If not, feel free to join us anytime afterwards, as I intend to teach and share my culture, and inspire the world, on person at a time.

It’s Pride Weekend here, and there are parties everywhere in celebration of the LGBTQ+ rainbow community, and I’m about to take part, so I’ll leave you with this quote from Mama Ru, Rupaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell can you love someone else? Can I get an Amen, up in here?” Aloha Always!

Mahalo Portland, and all those who’ve supported me throughout my journey. I look forward to bringing you more ALOHA coming July. A hui hou kākou (Until we meet again).

Mālama Pono,

Mika Mulkey

4 Learning Outcomes of a 4-year Degree

Embracing the Future

Throughout my journey in college, not only did I learn a wide-range of subject material, but the life skills required to accomplish goals.  Here are four major learning outcomes from my experience:

  • Perseverance – pushing on regardless of life’s circumstances.  By envisioning your goal and having the determination to get there, nothing will stop you on the road to success.  Life undeniably has many obstacles, some of which come without any fair warning (ex: death, loss of job, health, etc.); however, it is beneficial for us to use them as stepping-stones in strengthening our endurance in the end.  Take a moment to catch your breath, handle the situation accordingly, and then get back on track.
  • Vulnerability – living outside of our comfort zone.  I’ve always doubted my abilities to obtain a 4-year degree for many different reasons, but by opening up to its possibilities I’ve allowed myself to learn and grow in the process.  It feels great doing something unfamiliar because it helps us to face our fears, which is one of the biggest challenges that disable us from fulfilling our dreams.
  • Living in the present – being in the here and now.  We can’t predict what the future has in store for us, nor do we have the ability to travel back in time.  What’s done is done and what’s meant to be will eventually come.  The only thing we’re able to control is the present moment.  Cherish it and use it wisely with no regrets.
  • Listening – not only to what is said, but also to what is happening around us.  What is your body trying to say?  The environment? Your professors?  Your co-workers?  Your family and friends? Your pets? The music that’s randomly playing? Learning to listen and trusting our intuition is vital in the success of college and life in general.

I never took these values serious in my early adulthood, but as time passed I began embracing them more.  It took for me to move back to Hawai’i where there are less external noises and influence, to gain the patience for managing my internal voices (i.e. emotions, feelings and such), or it could of just been a sign of maturity. (*Definitely not age!!!)

There’s a Hawaiian proverb that says, E lawe i ke a’o a mālama a e ‘oi mau ka na’auao, which means, Take what you have learned and apply it and your wisdom will increase. Despite everyone’s college experience being different, these main points can be applied universally, and towards your own personal success in the future, whatever goals you’re working towards.

BONUS: Like the knowledge gained through the experience (of the degree), no one can ever take it away!!!

 

Big Island AIDS Walk – Why Do You Walk?

 

On April 12, 2014, a local non-profit dedicated to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS, hosted their 3rd Annual Big Island AIDS Walk at Lili’uokalani Gardens in Hilo. The Hawai’i Island HIV/AIDS Foundation also known as HIHAF offers many services not only for at-risk individuals, but the community at large also. Funded by the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and The State of Hawaii’s Department of Health, the organization works diligently by offering free/confidential rapid testing for HIV and Hepatitis C, while case managing over 300+ clients island-wide.

After speaking with Misty Pacheco, PhD, MHA, the organization’s Executive Director, I learned that the rising rates of newly diagnosed cases are still occurring especially in places that have lower testing rates, which includes rural areas like Hawai’i, where stigmas related to the disease still exist.  Because the U.S. Government now sees this as a managable chronic disease, rather than the epidemic it was once known for in the 1980-90s, a shift in focus has led them to reallocate the funding from prevention to case management.  Fundraising events like these are critical in continuing the free services they provide to the community such as: prevention & education programs, rapid testing, along with providing prophylactics like condoms, lubricants, and dental dams.

This concerned me a lot because if AIDS Service Organization’s like HIHAF receive less funding for preventative services, isn’t it just a matter of time before we see an increase in individuals becoming positive for the HIV-virus here in Hawai’i? And, thanks to the treatment regimens introduced in the early-90’s, PLWHA are living a lot longer; however, this shouldn’t be a reason to no longer make it a part of our curriculum in educational settings and throughout the community. HIV clients pay over $25k a year for their medication. For those who can’t afford it on their own, organizations like HIHAF can help.

Pacheco stated, “We are actually pretty close to finding a cure.” In the meantime most of us can do our part by making safer sex practices a consistent habit. Supporting causes like the Big Island AIDS Walk can make a big difference not only by continuing the programs they provide, but to raise awareness about an issue that affects us all.

 

Originally written and posted by Mika Mulkey on the Team Green Hawaii blog.
References:
Aguirre, J. (n.d.). Cost Of Treatment Still A Challenge For HIV Patients In U.S.. NPR. Retrieved April 14, 2014, from http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/07/27/157499134/cost-of-treatment-still-a-challenge-for-hiv-patients-in-u-s
Pacheco, M. (2014, April 12). Personal interview.