The Pink Adventures of the Drift Bunny

The Pink Adventures of the Drift Bunny

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Cat Laser

Going to pick up the prescription refills I am informed to bring paper towels, popcorn, and some cat toys. CVS should cover those bases, I reassured my tired self. I found the last cat laser and knew this would keep Hope and Yukio busy and entertained. The joy and fascination of them both was the best part of the hectic day. I can't begin to describe how big both our smiles were. It's always worth it to see him smile. I hope they play with that all day today, I really do. Laughter is one of the best medicines.

This made me realize the importance of my job as a caregiver. Not only to provide care for someone who can't care for themselves, but also love and happiness. I love that fucking laser and cat. Best decisions made. Another decision that brings much relief was shutting down Facebook and Instagram (because I'm a sociopath apparently, remember? lol). It was interesting and awkward at first to not see EVERYTHING and "be in the loop". However, it feels about 100x times better to be out of a toxic environment. An environment where cheap, cryptic shots are taken at me; It's all shit no matter how you slice it. Why talk about it then? Because I am human in this situation too, and it is unacceptable how certain situations have been handled.

One of Yukio's dearest friends from the Subaru club created a really awesome website for him. There, I will be posting weekly/bi weekly updates and short videos on Yukio's recovery. I am so happy to say that he has had a good 4 weeks with a new found sense of motivation. We are also starting a video project with some talented videographers showcasing what life is like after stroke. It will give Yukio a chance to express himself and show his story, especially since it was never my place to tell it.

I hope what can be taken away from this project is that a stroke doesn't care who you are, what you do, or what your plans were. One as devastating as Yukio's, ripped him from the fabric of his life and tossed it upside down. He is a survivor, not a statistic, and I can't wait to give Yukio the chance to show a small slice into his beautiful road recovery. One of the last conversations I had with Yukio, I told him "life is not black and white, it is colorful. It is beautiful". He now lives that every day.

Monday, October 12, 2015


Well, we did it. Yukio had a goal to make it for Irwindale and he achieved his goal. In the beginning, his condition was horrendous and heartbreaking. Someone had visited him early on and said he was happy and doing great, which was farthest thing from the truth. He was 99% dependent and could barely say yes or no. Fast forward to 5 months later, he is smiley (no more facial droop yay!) vibrant and embracing life. Words can't describe how proud I am of how far he came. The original prognosis was a minimum of 6 months in a rehabilitation facility. He completely smashed the expectations. He went from having less independence than a one year old to being able to feed his new cat on his own. For a stroke patient, this is equivalent to training and completing a half marathon.

From the darkest pits of depression, to letting everyone know he is "doing fine". The day before was a reunion for the rehab at Company of Mary. One of the best rehabs in the country, we shared our story amongst other survivors and their families. His therapists and nurses were so amazed to see how he was progressing and wished us well. We are looking forward to outpatient there, wouldn't go anywhere else.

Despite the record breaking heat, we managed to go around the paddock twice with one of Yukio's closest friend. I know there are handfuls of people we were unable to see, but I tried to bring him everywhere. About 4 hours in, he realized that he wouldn't make it the whole night and preferred to get a burrito instead. We ended up at curry house, go figure!

Although I know I am not very welcome, it was not as bad as I thought. Only two or three people were cold or nasty, but not as bad as anticipated. I realized for every one negative and ignorant person, there are three or four friends that were very supportive. It was then I realized that is how you have to view life; focus on the positive. You attract what you put out there, karma comes around, so always find the light. My focus right now is creating a cushy life and stable recovery for my best friend. For now, the battle continues with insurance hurdles and a constant flow of therapy. His speech has dramatically improved the past few weeks, so much so that he has learned to tell me what he wants; cable.

He even told me he wants HBO and 200+ channels. Anything for you, my love.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Wednesday Practice

Yukio and I were invited to a practice yesterday at Irwindale Speedway. The place where I experience my very first Formula Drift 9 years ago, where we first met two years ago. I thought it would be a good trial run to see how difficult it was with a wheelchair. It's not easy (no shit Emma). Seeing that smile and hearing that "OH NO!" when he saw some of his friends made everything worth it. It always does, it's indescribable how much joy I feel to see another human that I love so ecstatic. The feeling of being unwelcome is definitely overshadowed but Yukio's smile, it always is. There are not enough adjectives in the two and a half languages I know that can describe how his happiness melts the world away when Yukio smiles and says "thank you".

Being on the track was emotional for me (selfish statements coming, watch out). I've been raised to have an unbiased compassion for everyone I meet, which is why I have always tried to be friendly with everyone. Unfortunately, when you hold people to your standards, you will constantly be disappointed and stressed. So let it go. When we were at Care Meridian, we had talked about whether or not we should or should not go to this event. We decided that we would stand together and go. The past few months have flown by, but felt like years to get to that point yesterday. Again, seeing his smile made the time and the bullshit stand still.

I'm very proud of my partner for not giving up. We have traveled so many highs and lows, but he never gave up. He is still embarrassed by how his stroke has left him, but I always remind him to embrace what is now apart of him. I always told him "if you give up, I will drag you to the finish line. I'm not going to let you give up on yourself". For someone who was at the more dependent state of existence to now, it makes me wonder the story he'll tell one day.

I hope that one day we will be old together in the garage, working on the Subaru, and talking about how we made it against all the odds. But one thing I have learned, is that life is uncertain, it is unpredictable. One thing I do know, is that no matter what we will always love each other deeply. Life is not black and white, it is beautifully colorful.

Thank you team Achilles for making Yukio feel so special yesterday.

Monday, September 28, 2015

9-28-15 Dear Blogger

This weekend was a little more restful than most. We had few visitors come over to spend time with Yukio for a bit and some people come over to talk about our big project that we are going to start creating soon.

Oddly enough, I really enjoy being at work, like to the point where I look forward to coming back after the weekend. I've started a kick boxing class to get my stress out and even decided on going to a concert in December as a Christmas gift to myself . These things make me feel selfish; backwards, I know. I hear it all the time "take care of yourself", but when I decide to do so, I get criticized for it. Solution? In the words of the great Dillon Francis; IDGAFOS.

Like I said in the last post, I have started to like myself again. Over the last year or so I have definitely lost myself a bit. It's odd that during such a confusing and scary time, I found myself and my voice again. While so many tend to relish in the shit pile, I get told that I can't stand up for myself. Out of all the documents I have signed over the past 4.5 months, not one has said that I have to cater to anyone but my partner. Not one document has ever said I have to validate myself to anyone. I do the very best I can with no help (myself being the only person to handle the bulk of things) and for being 24. I am still growing and learning life. One thing that I have learned, is that you can only count on one hand those who truly have your back always.

So are there any other young caregivers such as myself in a parallel or similar situation? In the sense that we are young and taking care of our partners? I'd like to hear stories of how you guys get through the challenges, take care of yourselves, and just everything in general. Again, broken record here, does anyone feel guilty for making yourselves happy? When you buy a nice blouse or the newest Two Faced bronzer, does anyone feel like it's not deserved? I hope this sounding board can comfort someone in knowing that they are not alone in this difficult battle.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Just Tired.

With everything going, I like maybe I should be writing everything down. Up until Yukio came home, I didn't want to post about the shit I had to deal with because it was heavy stuff. I will say, some of Yukio's "friends" turned out to be complete pieces of shit and try to tear me down with spreading the bad times that we had in our relationship to try and make ME look bad. Congratulations! You just made Yukio look bad also, good job being a "friend".

In all honesty, I did feel really sorry for myself in the beginning. I was depressed, I was alone, and I had more than what I've told few going on. I've heard and had people ask when Yukio was going to recover because they need a turbo for their SEMA build. Fuck you all and your worthless cars. The hardest thing for myself is that I am a very private person. Yukio loved being public, so now everyone feels a sense of ownership and entitlement to every little detail of his health. I promise you all, I will not give that to you, especially not publicly.

It is a problem when someone unrelated by blood takes legal power of someone. I needed to step in the way I have because nothing was getting done for Yukio and I was raised to not just sit on the sidelines. The whole situation is very sad, especially since he does have a willing and able brother. Unfortunately, dedicating his life or even being around, or even texting me once in a blue moon is wishful thinking on my end. I had a little chat with him last night and hopefully that will make him realize that sometimes being emotionally involved is better than the logistics of things.

Surprisingly, I seem to be thriving under pressure and been taking good care of myself. I have been juicing, eating healthy, and taking my vitamins. All this has been making me loose weight, which makes me extra happy! I would love to work out to actually look better, but there are literally not enough hours in the day. Maybe one day. I am also lucky to have my best friend Katrina who has been supportive to me through thick and thin. Everyone along the way has also helped and been good pillars to lean on, which I love you all for.

My biggest challenge now is to keep on top of the caregivers. They are all really sweet, but one messed up a dose of medicine, another has a suspended driver's license and couldn't take Yukio to the doctors, and the one we really liked is not comfortable because she is so tiny. Oh, and the first two like to eat my food and not bring their lunch. This all may seem like bitching and moaning, but trust me, at 24 years old, I didn't expect to be so responsible and such a hard ass. However, someone has to.

I am hoping that things get settled soon, I really do enjoy having Yukio back home with me, although it is extremely tiring. I love seeing him happy, his smile makes my days worth it.

Again, I do not feel like I need to disclose more than the good times, so enjoy what I write, and we are looking forward to seeing some of you back on the track one day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Welcome Back

It feels weird to be back behind the keyboard writing on this. I know a lot of you have flocked to my blog to see if there were any updates regarding Yukio's condition. The past few months have been incredibly challenging, but have matured me into a responsible adult. I want to set the record straight on a few things, but I just am not sure it is quite time to.

What many of you need to understand is that in all reality, Yukio's medical condition is none of anyone's business. This is not an "industry thing" not a "oh, am I cool enough to visit" type deal. This is a human being who is ill. Some people have gone as far as to ask when he is coming back to work so your stupid projects can get a turbo; a week after his stroke. I hope all of you who fall into that category feel the disgust I have for you and hope we never cross paths in person.

Yukio chose to have a very public life, and now I am giving him what he has needed; privacy. Yes, I brought him home and he is starting to improve faster. Right now, I do enjoy sharing some of our good moments in the privacy of our home. He is happy, improving slowly, and we take life day by day. I do not plan on making public much besides that, especially the extent of his injuries and general health.

I have been, from the start, taking care of everything. I am his medical power of attorney and legal guardian, so I am the point of contact when it comes to medical information and treatment. This is how it has been since day one and I just wanted to clear that up. It was only a few weeks ago we had the official paperwork executed with two witnesses. I also want to address the whole Turbo by Garrett/Workman's Comp/Cigna questions people ask and want to answer; it is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. What Honeywell has to do, they are doing, what Cigna has to do, they are doing. I have heard many things from people that assume what is going on because "oh well Honeywell is a big company". Don't worry about, not your place to know any of that information.

I will continue as much as I can to update from my perspective as his guardian and how my life is. Every day is a challenge that I accept with open arms and hopefully handle gracefully. Handful of people don't like me for what they think they know and that's okay. Hi, hello, keep letting it dig in your mind that I am not going anywhere. Eventually one day I will set the record straight, but that won't be for a long time.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Adam VS Eve

I felt compelled to write at pm at night after about 3 hours in a marketing class. But when inspiration hits, you just have to run with it. 

On Facebook, there is a female empower/group thing that I was added to long ago. It was neat getting to see fellow female automotive enthusiast in the area and connect with them on there. Eventually, as I assumed, it turned very cliqueish, like the girls I did not get along with in High School for being a Drift nut. I noticed very slowly the focus became more of a "women against men in the industry" kind of feel to it. To me, it just was weird and did not feel right. I have had my fair share of difficult times in the industry, but I never really took too much emphasis on the fact that it came from males.

I guess I didn't care? Seeing as I was responsible for my own actions and how I came off to people, and the fact I've always been one of the youngest, that was how I was going to be treated. Again, I never felt like it was focused on the fact that I don't have a peen. 

I don't understand these women that really aren't anything much in the industry, or performance oriented that get so offended or post ridiculous anti male/pro female propaganda. Hello?! This is a MALE DOMINATED industry, and that isn't going to change any time soon. Why do you think the few women in power now are considered "bitches" and are tough as fucking nails? Because they don't sit around and complain that men could possibly be "intimidated" by us, or anything of that sort. No. They are busy getting shit done and biting the bullet. That is the type of woman I want to become.

I started this Drift Bunny project to really have a meaning, to have a purpose. Her purpose is to stand for who we are, male or female. To be against the status quo in the strongest and more positive way. I would like to hope and think that I am helping to pave the way for female photojournalists out there or young women who want to do what I do in this industry.

I have been around for 9 years now, and never once really ever have to be so defensive for being female. Unfortunately, women majority of the time are materialized due to the model scene. But hey, models make the industry go round, and if you want to be treated with more respect that just a piece of meat, then you need to earn it. Again, 9 years. This will be my 6th year photographing and covering events. 6 years of being the Drift Bunny with the bow on my head and great articles. 6 years of proving myself that I am more than just an object, and guess what girl? I am STILL proving myself, and I know my journey is just beginning.

I feel like these stupid pages that turn into mean girl cliques, with bone stock luxury cars and expensive manicures is fine and dandy. But I wish they would be toned down, because it is pages and things like those that really make us look bad. Offended? Good. I live with a very respected member of this industry, and he does not pout when shit does not go his way.