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.

Support can taste really good

I’ve spent the better part of the last year humbling myself by asking friends, family, and even strangers for support in helping me live. It took a lot intense mental therapy to understand that while I used to be very independent, I now needed help from others to survive. I couldn’t fight this thing alone, not if I wanted to win. After a lot of inner turmoil as my stubbornness fought for control, I finally realized that it was ok to ask for support.

And I’ve realized that support doesn’t just come in the form of financial aid. Yes, I do have a GoFundme donation page that I use to help collect funds so I can continue living comfortably. Yes, I do often ask friends and family for financial support due to my complete lack of income. But money and helping pay the bills is not the only way people can help lend support. I have friends in my life that while they aren’t in a completely similar situation, they do understand what it feels like to live off food stamps, or just from one paycheck to the next. These friends find other ways to lend help, and I often find them to be the most creative and caring.

I’ve had a lot of old friends and acquaintances come out of the woodwork once news of my disease got around. While there are 1 million people living on Oahu, we are still a small community. Word travels fast, especially aided by social media. When I first posted my Life Fund Page on Gofundme I received a lot of donations from people I hadn’t heard from in years. Old friends from high school that I hadn’t spoken to in decades. Family friends who I rarely kept in contact with. Even strangers, whom had read my blog posts on WordPress and Twitter.

Then also offers to help me out in other ways. A lot of people offered me rides to doctors appointments, or aid in picking up groceries and household items. My best friend from high school’s mother invited me to a garage sale and let me have all the items I wanted for free! To this day I still love my kitchen shelves and coffee mugs she gave me, on top of her generous donation.
Her daughter, one of my most cherished friends from my Kaiser High days, took me to lunch last month while she was home for Christmas. Not only did we have a great lunch at CPK while reminiscing about the old days, but afterwards she treated me to a pedicure as well! While we relaxed in the massage chairs at the salon and ooh’d and aahh’d over our foot massages, my friend explained that while supporting someone with money is great, it’s also just as great to do something lovely and meaningful for them too. And I couldn’t agree more.

I don’t need a donation of money to know that my friends and family care. Sure, it is extremely appreciative, and very helpful. But, it’s not necessary to show that they care. Actions speak louder than words, and even money in some cases. Show me that you want to help and I will be grateful for you.

Three or four months ago, I was contacted through social media regarding my blog by a man I’d never met. His email stated how much he appreciated my writing and how it really spoke to him, especially since he had a chronically ill brother, and so understood the struggle. To show support and appreciation he offered to buy me and my mother dinner at a restaurant he ran in town. I was floored! I couldn’t believe a stranger wanted to do something nice for me, to support me. After consideration,my mom and I went down to his restaurant Rijo, down by Honolulu’s waterfront. We really didn’t know what to expect. I figured we would meet the man in person and he’d comp us a glass of wine and some pupu’s.

Wow was I wrong! From start to finish, Mom and I were treated like celebrities. Servers waited on us hand and foot. We ordered delicious entrees, but even more food was brought out for us to “try” while we ate. Appetizers, mains, desserts, coffee, we were stuffed! Our host was so amazingly friendly and gracious, making sure we were taken care of the whole time. And the reason, the only reason, was to show me support. To show that people care, no matter who you are, no matter who they are. It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget, and neither will my mom.

Of course that was an extraordinary circumstance, and I don’t expect such generosity all the time. But it serves my point well, that support comes in many ways. You don’t have to throw money to show that you care. I’m perfectly happy with people coming to visit and say hi, or meeting me for a walk or a cup of coffee. Or like another good friend of mine who takes me to the Humane Society so I can visit the kittens in the Cat House. There’s nothing like a furry bundle of love to kick start happy mental health. Gosh, they are so addicting!

My point to all this is that it doesn’t take a lot to show that you care. Actions speak louder than words, but I’ll accept a quick “checking on you” phone call as well. I appreciate support in all forms. And mostly I appreciate the time taken to give it.




If you would like to help me financially, please visit my donation page. Every little bit helps!

Christine Lilley’s Life Fund

Thank you