me

Taking a Break from the Democratic Party of Hawaii

I’ve been a member of the Democratic Party of Hawaii (DPH) since 2006. And a member of the State Central Committee (SCC) since 2010.

In all that time, I’ve served in various positions along the DPH strata, from the precinct level to SCC Secretary. Save one, I’ve attended every convention in that time. I was fortunate to be a delegate to the National Convention in 2016.

I became active originally as a member of the now-defunct Progressive Democrats of Hawaii (PDH). An organization that I helped build and led for a time. I was largely welcomed and treated with kindness and respect. Many progressives who became active in the Party after me were not.

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While participating in a national training for progressive campaign managers, I heard for the first time a phrase that clicked a light switch in my head: imposter syndrome. As described during one of the training sessions, imposter syndrome is a feeling that you’re not good enough, qualified enough, or experienced enough to do the work.

What Is It?

As it was described to me, it was like someone had peered into my brain. I had no idea that this feeling I’ve experienced for years, was an actual thing. A thing with a name and a definition. I’ve never really be much moved by the “you’re not alone” sentiment. But knowing that I’m not crazy, at least in one instance, is comforting.

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Author’s Note: The substance of this post was published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on March 23, 2022. Below is the originally drafted, longer commentary.

Recently, as I lay in bed late one night, my brain drifted to frustration over discourse on the minimum wage. The Legislature’s continued deference to the business community and their baseless opposition to increasing the minimum wage in Hawaii. Or really, anywhere.

Whether it’s the Chamber of Commerce, Retail Merchants’ Association, the Restaurant Association, or just about any other staple opponents to the minimum wage, their talking points are tired, rote, and too often contrary to facts.

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I think everyone can agree that 2021, while better than the prior year, was nonetheless a steaming pile.

COVID-19

As the year began and the promise of a vaccine became reality. There was a collective holding of breaths hoping to see an end to the pandemic and a return to normalcy. Well, as we approach the end of the year, case counts in Hawaii reached a new all-time high well over 3,000. Which is approximately double the number of our last peak at the end of August.

“Omicron” is now raging in Hawaii and there appears to be no end in sight. Though Hawaii’s vaccination rate has slowly crept up to just above 74% statewide.

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I’ve struggled with “depression” for most of my life. I'm still struggling.

Dysthymia

I’ve struggled with “depression” for most of my life. As a teenager, when I first became aware that “something was wrong,” I hadn’t a clue and wrote it off as just low self-esteem, or merely teenage angst. In fact, what I most remember about my middle and high school days was not liking myself really at all and wondering what the hell was wrong with me. But I functioned. I had friends and had fun and did normal teenage things. And because of that, I didn’t think I was “sick”.

It wasn’t until I was nearing the end of my time in college that I knew there was something wrong. But I had been triggered by events that shoved me into (what I consider) full-blown depression. I still have vivid memories of not leaving my bed for the better part of a week. In the first half of my last year, I stopped attending classes. My grades tanked and I was at risk of failing out.

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