Essays

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    Bun in the Oven, Pot in the Closet
    The Baby Daddy lived in Hana, Maui, about 600 hairpin turns away from where I lay alone in labor, in a rented house. We had not known each other for long when I got pregnant, and Robby was not keen to complicate his simple jungle lifestyle with another child. He finally arrived at the birth with a carload of freshly harvested ganja, and was torn between babying the buds and birthing and baby.
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    A Good Habit
    My heart cries out to be a nun, a yogini. I feel a deep pull towards the renunciate lifestyle. I crave spiritual discipline. I want to get up at dawn every day to chant and meditate. I want to eat light, high vibration foods. I want to grow my own food. I want my work in the world to be meaningful, to benefit all beings. I want to live a quiet, solitary life. I want to end each day in communion with the divine. I want to spiritualize my sexuality by having only tantric sex with a man who...
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    I Want to be a Pole Dancer
    I have always harbored a secret desire to be a pole dancer. I love dancing, am perpetually broke, and have an insatiable need to have my beauty validated by men. How better to meet these needs than a ritualistic dance where male admirers throw money at you while you spin around a pole? What I didn’t count on was how hard it would be to learn pole dancing at 48 years of age. Read More...
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    Dead Animal, Limp Vegetable, I Need a Miracle
    I was very upset when Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle came out. That was supposed to be my dream, my book, my story. I wanted to live a happy sustainable life with my family, working together to grow food and raise chickens. My story started out with all the right elements—land in Hawaii, strapping young husband, adorable Mowgli-like child—but my dream of a fruitful, happy homestead died on the vine. Even the chickens turned against me.
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    Skype Sex-Veggie Porn
    I used Skype for business calls, but using Skype for virtual sex was a new concept for me. If you are living in the same house with your husband and no one travels, there is no occasion for Skype sex. My husband was a complete Luddite, he barely knew how to use a computer. He had also been seriously ill for a few years and our sex life was non-existent. Which is why I was so surprised when he asked me to have Skype sex, with a vegetable.
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    African Haole
    I don't feel like I fit in—as in really belong—to any culture or community. I don’t identify as Italian or Swedish, as my grandparents did. I left my native New York at age 18, and have been a transplant in Hawaii for 28 years, tolerated, but not assimilated. I had to go back to my African roots, 150,000 years ago, to find a sense of belonging in the world.

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Chela: Notes from my Diary

About

Andrea Dean, MBA is a writer and local foods advocate.

A native New Yorker, Andrea began her professional career in Hawaii in 1989, when she was 23 years old. At that time, she was a part of the nascent Permaculture movement in Hawaii and learned about food self-sufficiency and community organizing from the ground up. Andrea has spearheaded numerous local food and farming projects and has worked as a consultant to NGO’s and businesses under the auspices of her company, Sustainable Initiatives. She is currently Strategic and Community Partnerships Manager at Hōkū Nui Maui, a 258-acre regenerative farming community on Maui.

Andrea’s essays and articles have been published in national and Hawaii-based publications.

Andrea is deeply committed to her spiritual growth and views writing as a way to harvest one’s experiences, and ready the soil for planting new seeds. Dean’s sustainability and spiritual paths converge in her upcoming book God, Sex and Going Green, a collection of essays that tell the story of a New York girl becoming a woman in Hawaii—navigating relationships with men, plants, community, children and chickens—over a span of twenty-five years.