Airplane Resolutions

So I’m 6 hours into my 9 hour flight from Honolulu TO Auckland and I realise I’ve probably already caught up on more movies on this plane than I have in months at home. I’ve watched “Stuber”, “Wild”, and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”.
6 hours of comedy, life challenges, and monster movies, and I’ve come to realise some things about my life.
Now, most people like to make new years resolutions…but not me. I like to make long plane ride resolutions. Why, you may ask? Well think about it… What are you most likely to keep a promise to yourself from- A night of drinking, partying, and general debauchery? OR, a really long plane ride where you’ve been forced to TRULY THINK for hours after the boredom of too many movies in a row kicks in?

I faced some really hard realities about myself and my life this decade. I’ve dealt with very difficult situations, and they have taken quite an emotional toll on my mental and physical state across the board.
I won’t share all of them here.
But I will share what going through them has taught me and how it’s helped me move forward in a positive way.

1) I forgive you.
I forgive those who have hurt me. I forgive those who have harmed me physically. I forgive those who have harmed me mentally. I forgive those who have cast me out. I forgive those who have spread lies. I forgive those who hurt me because they hurt themselves. I forgive those who have cheated on me. I forgive those who have wished me harm.
I forgive you.
And I forgive myself for holding onto the hate and dispair that I carried for so long because I could not allow myself to let it go.
But I have… I’ve learned to let it all go.

2) I’m not afraid to be alone.
I’ve spent so many years thinking that the key to my happiness was waiting for me in another person(s). But this decade has taught me that being alone and happy is so much better than being in relationships with the wrong people. Nothing is worth staying in relationships where you are undervalued, abused, disrespected, or manipulated.
I still believe in soul mates. I always have. But I now believe they don’t have to be romantic. And we can have as many as we like. It can be our family members, our friends, and strangers we meet along our journey.
I will never again settle just because I think I’m unworthy of love. I won’t settle just because I’m sick and my mortality scares me. I will be alone as long as I like because I realise I have never been more surrounded with caring people than I am now. Love takes many different forms, and I feel truly relieved to finally realise that.

3) My illness doesn’t define who I am.
It’s been 12 years since I was first diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, and 7 since it turned severe. I’ve been pricked with more needles than someone should in a lifetime. I’ve been prescribed all manners of chemical warfare to irradiate an incurable disease that is destroying me from the inside out. One day, sooner than me hitting old age, I will die from this disease.
But I am an entire person without it.
I am fighting every day to make this life a little bit longer, and every day I succeed just a little bit more. I live for my passion of cooking, and song, and coffee, and cats. I live for my family and for my friends.
I live for myself for as long as I breathe air on this earth. That’s all that matters.

Adventures in bus riding

This morning I took an interesting bus ride to my doctors office downtown. The bus itself was not all that interesting, and just once I’d love to get through one ride without the overwhelming smell of marijuana or bad body odor lingering in the air. I don’t understand why they don’t ventilate city buses better. Come on, it’s common sense. Bus jam packed full of people in various stages of smelliness, no open windows, and very little air conditioning circulating. Not to mention it being a breeding ground for germs due to the elderly and children never covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing. Yuck.

I’ve deviated ..oops.. Back to today..

So I boarded the bus at my regular stop and sat down in the forward facing front seats that are technically in the elderly and disabled section. There weren’t too many seats open in the rest of the bus and I had a right to be there as much as anyone else. Though to avoid confrontation I kept my Disability Bus Pass out so if questioned I’d have proof.

After a few more stops the bus started to fill up even more. The front seats were flooded with elderly, though the seat next to me was taken by a guy who looked to be in his late thirties or early forties. He smiled as he sat, and put a bag underneath his seat and I noticed that he too was holding a Disability Bus Pass. This made me smile. Not because I rejoiced in someone having a disability as well, no one is happy to be sick or in pain, but because this man clearly had an invisible illness like I did. I don’t often see many people when I’m out and about that are like me, well at least not to my knowledge. We don’t wear signs displaying our disabilities and it’s not like there are beacons above our heads like in a Sims game.

After only one more stop along, an elderly gentlemen the who seemed very mobile for his age (he had pep in his step) boarded. He walked right up to the man sitting next to me and asked him to vacate the seat because it was for the elderly only. To be honest, the older man was a bit rude. The younger man next to me showed the older man his bus pass and stated that he was allowed to stay where he was as he was disabled. This clearly upset the older man. Loudly, he proclaimed that he was elderly and this seat was for him. I was quite surprised that he made such a deal out of it. There were more empty seats in the back that he could just as easily have sat in, and the sign above our seats clearly states they are for the elderly and the disabled, not to mention that he was moving quite well and without difficulty.

The man next to me stood his ground and politely refused to give up his seat, stating there were other seats nearby that the man could sit in, and that he was perfectly justified in his seat choice. He then turned to me and said “Our seat choice”, gesturing to the Disability Pass in my hand. I gave it a little wave to the older man and smiled awkwardly. By this time the bus was filling up, and the older man finally conceded and moved to another seat.

While I did feel uncomfortable for having to go through the awkward exchange I also felt liberated. Usually when I deal with people who are upset at the invisibility of my disease it’s alone, I don’t tend to have a partner in crime with me. But today I felt vindicated! Not only was it clear that I was not alone in the fight against invisible illness, but there were also people out there like me, who wouldn’t stand to be pushed around or shamed! Others would stand their ground like I did, like I do, all the time.

The rest of my ride was quite pleasant as the man next to me and I shared our disabilities with each other. He was suffering a head trauma from an accident, and carried a portable chair that folded up into a back pack. What a great invention, I exclaimed! I gotta get one for my growing narcolepsy! He smiled and was genuine and nice. He even pointed to my swollen fingers that not many tend to notice, outside of my doctors and my mom. He asked what type of Arthtitis I had.

When I reached my stop I was in a genuinely good mood. Today the world reminded me that I wasn’t alone. There are others that go through the same struggle as I do, and that its ok to stand up for yourself no matter what.

I’m not alone.

Not at all.




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