Jonah

I can’t believe it’s only one more week until I get to meet some of the amazing people who’ve been contacting me since I started this project. Each of your stories are deeply personal and familiar to me. I know that they will be read and enjoyed by others going through their own journey. Feel free to share your own if you are so moved to be a part of this.

And so I’d like to introduce you to Jonah, from Maui. His girlfriend Tomiko had found my website and told me their story, which deserves a page of its own. Here’s what Jonah had to say:

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“I’m from Kaupo, Maui, the countryside of Maui. My full name is Jonah Kaulanaokouinoaokalalani Baisa. I am 19 years old, but will be turning 20 this June.

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 My vitiligo started when I was 5. The hardest thing that I had to face was to accept that I had vitiligo because it changed my life; how I thought or interacted, everything just changed. Paddling helped me overcome this, as it was an escape, it allowed me to let go of my self consciousness. I just focused on what I love doing.

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 The moment where I accepted myself with vitiligo was when I had a talk with my girlfriend. She told me, it can be a curse, only if you let it be, but you can take it and use it for something else. She saw it as a way of my true self showing, that I am different and unique, so it shows on the outside and some people just don’t know how to accept it. But don’t get discouraged, because it’s their loss that they are judging a wonderful book by its’ cover; they’ll be missing out. I told her that I never saw it that way before. That’s when I started accepting vitiligo.

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The things that make me the happiest are paddling, playing my ukulele, and working on bikes. I am going to try to keep paddling up in northern California, and I will be going to school for motorcycles. If nothing could hold me back, I would love to travel the world. In my spare time I like to talk to my girlfriend, watch cartoons, listen to music, play my uke, cook food, and if there’s enough time, start making paddles. I am a paniolo, that’s Hawaiian for cowboy. I would ride horses and do rodeos when I was younger.”
motoThank you Jonah and Tomiko!

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