#jilliemoon

Hawaii. So far away!  For some reason, I thought this was a place to go with a lover or a spouse. 38 years into my life, without a lover or a spouse, I finally went. I may have a honeymoon someday, but before any more time passed, I was taking myself on a Jilliemoon.

Whenever someone lives in an amazing place and invites me to visit, I jump at the chance. Traveling is something I work hard to do, over-extending myself at times. Thanks to a friend, airline miles and a shitton of overtime shifts, I had an amazing trip to 3 of the islands.

Thankfully, one of my favorite straight guys moved to Hawaii with his girlfriend last year. I tried not too be to anxious to accept an invite, but was promptly flooding his inbox with flights and dates. Living walking distance from Waikiki beaches will get my butt on a plane pretty quickly. I had been saving my points for years to take an amazing trip, so getting to Honolulu was $11.20. My friends know that aside from amazing food and trips, a great deal is equally satisfying to me.

One thing I was immediately struck by-and continued to be throughout the trip-was how kind and patient people were. Granted, I live in NYC, but even still. In a crowded restaurant full of drunk post-brunchers, the wait staff were still smiling and didn’t seem to hate their jobs! It was astounding. And, of course, the natural beauty. My first rainbow and sunset happened within hours of landing, promptly followed by poke and mai tais. My hosts were amazing.

My time on Oahu included a few jogs along the beach, a hike up Diamond Head, an attempt at SUP where I saw my first sea turtle, a drive around the island in a Wrangler (with camoflauge window buttons), fireworks from a catamaran and lots of food and drink. Poke, sushi, acai bowl, a million spam musubi breakfasts, Dole whip, shave ice….I was in heaven. Hawaii foodie heaven.

I had a day trip to The Big Island for a tour of volcanoes. It was my first full day and it made sense to get up at 3AM since I would still be on East Coast time (and am a morning person anyway.) It was a smooth trip and an interesting day, but it was soggy and overcast throughout. I got to walk through a lava tube, see a sea arch and more rainbows, and caught some glimpses of lava flowing through the clouds and raindrops.

Maui was going to be my relaxing “me time” part of the trip ,my last few days. Unfortunately, the winds caused the beach in front of my hotel to be roped off and the pool chairs practically blowing away. I splurged the extra $3/day for a convertible and spent most of my time away from the resort. I enjoyed the stars on top of Haleakala before watching the sunrise. I ate the best salmon roe of my life at a sushi dinner at Morimoto. I SNUBA’d with sea turtles and saw not only a TON of whales, but a mom and her young calf. Watching that sweet baby try and learn how to breach was so sweet. I’ll never forget that.

When I was laying around a hotel pool after a massage in Waikiki, I was observing all of the couples who were likely on their honeymoons. Honestly, I think I had a better time on the trip I designed than I would have if I came with a lover or a spouse. My time with my friends was fun and flexible. My time on my own was soul-feeding and happy-making. And while I love relaxing on a beach or by a pool (and could have used a few days of it at the end of this trip), my loosely packed itinerary gave me the best trip to Hawaii….I’m so thankful.

My belly and soul and spirit are always filled by trips I take. I’m a lucky girl. #jilliemoon

 

 

 

 

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Leaving this in 2016

I’ve said for a long time-I don’t like to discuss politics or religion. These are deep rooted beliefs and the conversations will not change how people think and perhaps will cause negative feelings. I’ve abstained from sharing my feelings on this year’s election for the most part…everything is so heated and it’s been really overwhelming to me. It’s caused trouble sleeping and upset stomachs…and I have to admit that I was incredibly emotional after election night-way more than I anticipated. I stayed home and…mourned. So here are some things I am ready to share and express and try to compartmentalize so 2017 can begin as an optimistic year.

I am told I am way to politically correct. I try not to hurt feelings. Honestly, I just want everyone to be happy. To have their own glitter-shitting unicorn. I think that everyone needs different things to be happy and we are all trying to figure out what that is. And I don’t think my opinions should impact your happiness and vice versa. And we should live in a safe world.

I found myself most sad when blanket statements were made about me. Or my friends. Or strangers. It’s amazing to me that people still believe that a religion, a race, a political party can all be captured by one statement. “Because you’re white.” “Because you’re a woman.” “All muslims are terrorists.” “She’s pretty for a black girl.”  I am an individual. You are an individual. Statements like this make me sad, make me lose faith in humanity and kindness.

My good friends decided to go to Harrisburg to be present at the vote of the electoral college. I was lucky enough to have the day off and have the invitation to go with them. And lucky they waited for me when I overslept (which is a rare event!). They made signs the night before-mine reading a compact version of “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.” I’m still not sure if that was Voltaire or Spiderman, but it’s an important sentiment. We held signs, sang patriotic songs. I observed the protesters chanting and sharing prayer flags. Then we went inside to the gallery to watch the vote of 20 individuals. Parents brought their kids who were supposed to be in school. They felt this was that important.

It’s always interesting to see things you learned about in social studies in real life. Especially since we sat for the rehearsal and it felt a lot like a school play at first. The gallery was full before voting time. Some protesters shouted, “Vote with your conscience.” Some hummed patriotic songs. Some were removed from the gallery. I, of course, follow the rules and wouldn’t do anything that would disrespect anyone or get me tossed out. I’m a nerd that way.

When each of the electors voted, they didn’t check a box or circle a name. They had to write out the entire name. They all smiled for the photo op as they placed their ballot in the box They were proud. They voted for someone different than I did.  Again, I was more emotional than I expected. Kind of like a funeral or a wedding where I’m not crying, but my eyes just won’t stop leaking. After the vote, some folks left immediately. I truly appreciate the stranger who patted my hands as she walked past my seat. A little comfort from a stranger goes a long way.

I don’t think all republicans are ok with the mass shootings that have happened in our country, that they are “okay with” Sandy Hook and the loss of my high school friend’s little girl and all the others that perished that day. I don’t think all of the people who voted for Trump believe that all Americans don’t deserve equal human rights. I don’t think all Trump supporters think we should build a wall or prohibit all muslims from entering the country. I don’t want people to assume that I voted for her because I am a woman. I voted based on my life and my experiences. Please don’t put me in a category.

I went to a congregational church. During confirmation classes I asked how my church felt about homosexuality. I was told that if a person wants God in their life, our God would not turn them away. Religion is a tough subject, but isn’t that sentiment so important?

I have friends who have had to fight for their relationships to be recognized and endure so much based on who they love. I’m a survivor of sexual assault. I am thankful I didn’t have an important decision to make as a result of that-especially if pro-life supporters were going to make that choice for me. I’ve been close to different types of physical and mental health struggles in so many ways for different people. Through my work I have observed how life can start so fragile and with so many challenges on the first day, some having to overcome so much as parents, as children, as friends.

There are things we vote on that impact the lives of others, but do not change ours. I really just want everyone to be happy. It sounds SO silly. But you should be able to live your life to make that happen. I should not make decisions that would impact your happiness.  I still don’t understand why two women or two men shouldn’t get married in some people’s opinions. How does it impact them?

So, I am going into 2017 with some more focused thoughts.

  1. Be happy.
  2. Make others happy.
  3. Focus on individual issues that are important and work to support them, not just vote every 4 years.
  4. Express that I am not easily explained in a category. Nobody is. And feel strength that I can stand up for that. I am an individual. You are an individual.

Do not assume to know me. Get to know me. Be compassionate. Be understanding. Be empathetic. Be kind. And understand that I will surround myself with people who want me to be happy, want to be happy themselves. Let’s all have unicorns.

Scary reality.

It’s not shocking to turn on the news and see that there has been some form of attack and tragedy ensuing the lives of innocent civilians. So sad and scary. And to try and comprehend that these are the actions of a group attempting to honor their beliefs. What kind of spiritual power breeds hate and murder and suffering?

I ended a phone call last night because it was too negative. There are so many negative things around each of us and some of us do our best to turn things around or avoid things or try and make them better. Some of us use them as attention-seeking opportunities and have no other conversation topics than whining, complaining, being mean. I don’t have the bandwidth for this. We all need to vent sometimes. But then, you have to either accept things as they are or do something to change them. I do not have time for you if you pick anything but one of these two choices.  Life is too short. If you are making the choice to live miserably, you will do so without me. Seems like an exhausting way to live.

 

Should I?

I found it interesting when I thought of starting a blog that it made me a little uncomfortable. I always say I’m an open book. Ask me anything! But I guess that’s for the folks I’m in relationships with or attempting to start relationships with. In NYC I don’t know how people can deal with bullshitting. Who has the time or patience? Don’t waste mine and I won’t waste yours.

This is just….out there. Makes a girl feel very exposed.

Also interesting is my use of social media as it stands now is clearly a means of feeling included, mostly when my 37-year-old single ass is cooking a great meal and nobody is there to make yummy noises except me. People know what I’m looking at and eating and they’re nowhere near me.  But it’s obvious that, like a lot of people, I do this to feel connected to other people when I am very much alone.

I have a shark-like life in that I am always moving. Could be I’m afraid to sit still, afraid to miss something. Or it could be that being active lends itself to potentially meeting someone the organic way, as online dating is something that is not for me. If I get more comfortable with the concept of having a blog, maybe I’ll get into that someday.

But it’s through a blog (and some texting, whether she likes it or not) that a friend has been open and shared and been bold and brave. So why can’t I be?