Here’s how awesome Hawaii is: I got up to pee and then couldn’t even justify going back to bed because it’s so beautiful out on the lanai. The coqui frogs are in full co-qui!, the rain is torrentially intermittent (because it’s wintertime now, because seasons — still 79 degrees out), the breeze is tossing the palms, and everyone in the house is deeply asleep. Jackpot!
I really have been remiss on my observations as a new transplant, here. Every day I intend to write them out, but every day the world reimagines what kind of artistic traffic accident it is, which must be stared at, as I drive by slowly.
D’erhmahgerd, it’s raining so hard right now! It’s deafening! It’s scary but absolutely nothing bad is happening to me. Okay.
Anyway, context for new readers: I moved to Hawaii from…basically the cold part of Arizona, long story…about a week and a half ago. I’m from the Southwest and had only been to Hawaii once previously, for two weeks, back in March at the beginning of the lockdown.
I moved here with my boyfriend Nick, our two small dogs, Buffy and Milo, my brother Abe, and my dad, who shall only be referred to as “my dad” but his name is Frank in case that’s helpful. We are renting a 4 bedroom / 2 bath house on the Big Island, which is a bit out in the country but near enough to grocery stores etc to be convenient.
So first off, the house is $3300/mo, in case anyone’s curious. Some people have asked. We *are* near the ocean but we’re *not* near the beach, if that makes sense — a lot of this island’s coast is comprised of lava cliffs, and so we have a little drive in either direction to access the actual beach, which is so far theoretical. That’s right — in a week and a half, I haven’t visited the beach yet. I had some shit come up, whatever.
Anyway, the house is just fantastic! Kudos to my brother, who found it for us. It used to be a community meeting hall, so it’s very spacious in terms of the central area plus kitchen, and then the quirky add-on bedrooms are indeed quirky and indeed add-on. Plenty of room for everyone and everything except my Spell clothing collection, which is inexorably on its way across the ocean, and will have to be dealt with.
The large lanai (Hawaiian for deck or covered porch) is where we mostly live. It feels just like being inside, except breezier. I mean, my brother works from home and literally has his whole-ass work desk and computer out here on the lanai, and does Zoom meetings and stuff. It’s so temperate that this type of thing is not only a reality, but also pragmatic. We don’t have A/C and we don’t need it, imo. We certainly don’t need heat — in fact the idea of a heater hasn’t even occurred to me since we arrived, and that’s really saying something. In my former life, I just basically staggered from one heating source to the next, accomplishing minor things in between.
I feel like I should substantiate that last sentence with three more paragraphs but I’ll lose the scent. Okay staying on track, I will say that it’s possible to be comfortable in a much broader array of fabrics and clothing here, if that makes sense? Anything from fluttery lace to drapey linen to my Walmart sweatpants (yep; brought ‘em) — whatever, it’s all fine. And that’s strange, right? Where I’m from, you feel oppressed by any excess of clothing on hot days, but there just aren’t enough layers in the world to protect you from the cold days.
And it bears mentioning, we are on the northern part of the island, near that jutting peninsula, and apparently our mostly-ignorant locational role of the dice worked — locals have been amazedly congratulating us on our wisdom. Kona, on the west side, is very hot, whereas Hilo on the east side is very rainy, but we’re situated in really the best of both worlds. And yes, the Big Island is big enough to have entire distinct weather regions, albeit within the Hawaiian genre. And that’s a big enough genre for me, I tell you what. The coldest place I’ve been since we got here is the grocery store, and I bring a jacket.
I don’t have some mysterious source of income, like so many of these internet folk. Aren’t you, often, just watching or reading people, and you’re like: how the fuck do you pay your bills?? Maybe scarcity mindset on my part, idk. Anyway, I’m a truck driver by trade, and I’ve been lucky enough to find some lucrative seasonal forms of employment with that, last couple of years, and then I narrate audiobooks for an author who’s a marketing ninja, and I owe a lot of my financial stability to her. I’m focused more on building assets right now and less on prostituting my literal time for literal money; trying to make that shift, you know. And I love to write.
So much of my time and energy has been soaked up, for so many years by — you know — prostituting my literal time for literal money, as one tends to do — that I haven’t been certain what writing represents for me. A huge waste of time, in that context. When you trade time for money, you always have to feel guilty or stressed about whatever remainder of time you hold back for yourself. And it’s also occurred to me that maybe writing is the way I cope with being perma-single, for so many years, or permanently not-quite-happy with what I’m doing for work?
But more recently, I’m very happy in my relationship, and very happy with the work landscape generally, and not only do I still want to write but I actually want to write more, so it’s interesting to feel that emerge. As things get more and more settled, here, I’d like to continue having blog sessions in the am but then book-writing sessions in the afternoon or evening. For most people I know that would be an excruciating amount of writing, but it’s honestly difficult for me not to do. Feels like what I want.
My boyfriend is a barbell strength coach, and he really can’t say shit about my egregious collection of Spell dresses and outfits, because we have to bring a squat rack, a barbell, a bench, and like 565 pounds of weight plates everywhere we go. I’m not fucking kidding. Before our arrival here, we’ve been traveling in one form or another for nine solid months, and do you know how many times I helped him load and unload the weights? Hundreds and hundreds. Seriously like: every day, for the better part of a year, except when we were at a fire camp for a period of time where they could just stay put, behind the trailer.
We have these 55 pound plates that I just prefer not to deal with. I did the math, one day, based on our different bodyweights, and I announced to him that me, picking one of those up, was like him picking up an 80 or 90 pound plate, except without a shit ton of testosterone on board making it feel like a thing I should be doing. And I’d actually gotten up to where I was squatting the 55 pound plates, with some change, so it’s not like I didn’t benefit from having them. I just hate bending down and picking them up and trying to thread them onto the needle of the barbell. It feels like it should be someone else’s problem to move them hither and yon. He’s happy to do it.
So my point with all that was to say, ironically, I’m really feeling able to lean into my writing brain, lately, with all the sedentation that implies, because I’m not reinventing the wheel every day on how to properly exercise my body. I’m not flogging myself around doing this, that, and the other. We have a very straightforward, but highly malleable, squat/push/pull x 2 routine every week, and it gives me all the things I need, physically and hormonally and mentally, and then I’m just infinitely happy to go back to writing and audiobook narrating. So it works really well.
I love walking and jogging too, and splashing around ineffectually in various bodies of water — and dancing, I really miss dancing — but it’s easy, thanks to him, to feel I’m getting all my physical needs met in this really convenient way. If you can call traveling with 565 pounds of bumper plates convenient. Whatever. I’m not the one who needs 565 pounds. I could get away with less than 200, for sure. He’s going to need a different truck if he gets any stronger.
ANYWAY, being on this side of the ordeal, I can definitely say that moving to Hawaii was the smartest thing I’ve ever done. But if I had done it any time before now, I wouldn’t have as many advantages and momentum with the exact things that make it really work…so I can’t say I should have done it before? In fact I was just telling Nick the other day, between sets: I am so, so happy right now, that I honestly wouldn’t change one single shitty thing about my life, just in case it would derail me arriving in this moment, in this way. And that’s a great place to be.
But yes, even having decided to make this move, back in June or July, and adding the additional momentum of my family’s involvement, it still felt like a really daunting thing. An expensive thing, shipping all the vehicles and putting the bureaucratic veterinary armor of God on the dogs! And an honestly scary thing, too, just because if I don’t like it, for some reason, I’m so…here. It’s really hard to make right-now sacrifices towards some future goal that isn’t anchored enough in one’s experience to feel nearly as tangible, yet, as the right-now sacrifices. That’s how people must feel when they’re emigrating to the US. I mean, it felt like an emigration.
And I can tell it’s an unusual thing to have done, simply because people are still asking me, “So how long are you guys vacationing for??” No matter how many times you say, “I’m MOVING to Hawaii”, people still think you’re being fanciful, or figurative. No, like, we literally moved here. Even then I think it makes more sense in people’s minds if you do it when you retire, and obviously I’m never retiring — I don’t even get the concept. I’m just going to spend every day of my life, I hope, doing a little less of the obligatory stuff and a little more of the wild-horses-couldn’t-stop-me stuff, and some day down the road die in the middle of being very interested in what I’m doing, and that’s my plan.
So anyway, you get here and all the road markings are the same and all the grocery stores carry the basic stuff you’re looking for and they sell gas at the gas station and everything is just normal, but it’s all infused into this crazy surreality of the nicest place you’ve ever been on the nicest day you’ve ever been there, and that’s your real life now. Not many things I’ve wanted have made me as happy, in the receiving of them, as I thought they would, but this Hawaii experiment is not only meeting but exceeding all my expectations. I would encourage all my friends and family to just stop what you’re doing and move here immediately. They won’t, but it has to be said.
That unavoidably scary Hawaii awareness — that you’re 2500 miles from the nearest landmass, in the actual middle of an ocean — is feeling more like a pro than a con, right now. Just watching the news and feeling #blessed. 2500 miles of ocean feels like the right amount of buffer, right now. I’m stocked up on beans and rice, so…yeah.
Apropos of nothing, I just have to share this funny thing. One of the girls I’m on a bangin’ thread with had this experience: one of her friends messaged her and basically said, “I’m worried about you and the stuff you’re sharing on social media. You’ve clearly gone off the deep end and are brainwashed by all this Qanon cult and someone has to say it: you’re delusional. And I care enough about you that I’m putting my foot down.” This is a very smart, funny girl, by the way. So she shared their back and forth, which sort of devolved finally into him saying, “We are meat sacks, and we are only meat sacks, and we are stupid enough to look at the sun and worship it as a god.”
I feel like I’ve had several exchanges and, gosh, entire friendships, that have skated along okay for years, with maybe a private and accelerating sense that we each don’t understand each other’s choices or priorities, but whatever, and then finally things come to a head, and it’s always the same shit with these atheists. And you know, or anyone who’s read my blog knows, I’m never gonna beat the drum of an organized religion or any externalized authority on spiritual matters. That is the most personal and subjective choose-your-own-adventure of all time. I just think it’s funny, though, to have one’s thought process and assignment of meaning essentially fact-checked by an atheist who occupies a nihilistic reality, and want to make sure you do, too. I think that the spiritual language barrier is underlining a lot of our most bewildering interactions right now — bewildering on both sides.
And even just stating it clearly like this: applied atheism vs applied “there’s-something-more-idk” — you wouldn’t think it would create that much of a rift. But it does! It makes both parties feel like they’re taking crazy pills. Here’s an interaction I had, that I didn’t even recognize was about this, but turns out it was about this: my friend goes, “I need to be active on social media for professional reasons because job market but I just dislike the experience so I’m torn.”
I was like, “Wow that sucks. Can you just not?” Immediately here’s where my brain goes, and for reasons that I don’t even consciously connect with God or spirituality per se, in the moment: we oughtn’t do things we feel crosswise with. That’s a bad position to put ourselves in. Kind of like squatting heavy weight — either get set up correctly under the bar, or don’t fucking do it, but under no circumstances should anyone un-rack a heavy bar in a physically contorted position. Right? We all need our spines to work. We all need our emotional guidance systems to work. And if we customarily abuse either of them, they stop working So if it feels necessary to do something you don’t want to do — which of course occurs all the time, because life — then it behooves us to massage around in that and see if we can loosen it up a little.
So I’m like, poking around in this, on my friend’s behalf. Surely academia is a big enough genre that people can focus on what they do enjoy, and are good at, and get enough mileage out of it that these boilerplate behavior-isms needn’t be mandatory, while certainly making sense for those who do want to engage that way? Oh no no, it’s definitely something I have to do. No way around that.
Okay — then maybe you can just develop a sort of online persona that checks the boxes, but that feels comfortable, sort of how we all have to develop teaching personas that simultaneously are, and yet are not, our true selves? No, no, there’s no social media persona I’m going to enjoy, because it’s just a traumatic experience from the get-go, definitionally, and there’s zero percent chance of me enjoying any aspect of it.
Okay — maybe you can pay someone a little bit of money to just post shit every now and then, on your behalf, related to your field? Nope, no — and I forget the reason why not on that one, but there was some big reason.
Okay — and here’s where I sensed my friend was getting annoyed with me, but I plowed ahead regardless, like a dummy — maybe you can back up and sort of soften your resistance to the whole subject, by consciously making gratitude lists or appreciation rampages about what an amazing tool of connectivity and personal growth social media can be? Yes, it’s used and abused by many, but there are some truly spectacular voices and perspectives on there, that we all are edified by encountering, and isn’t that nice? No, no, no says my friend. I hate social media so much that the last thing I want to do is spend more of my time thinking about it, when I prefer not to think about it at all.
So then I’m feeling kind of flummoxed, right? And I’m like — well. I just hate to see you telling yourself to do a thing and telling yourself you hate that thing, at the same time. I think that’s very bad for you.
My friend is feeling antagonized by all of this, now, and frankly I relate. Sometimes we want to tell people our pet peeves, and just have them accept that we hate everything about that thing, and move on. So I guess I should have just accepted it. But this is difficult for me. It’s like watching someone eat a bowl of food they hate, they hate it so much they’re crying, and then I try to take it away from them, but they won’t let me. I’m like, my god, stop!
So I tell my friend, I just don’t think that our careers, our partners, our families, our anything, should ever have the power — should ever be given the power — to force us into situations we hate. Acclimating ourselves to that kind of self-abuse is not, ultimately, beneficial, and the vibrational fallout of that discomfort will sabotage the effort in any case, so there’s just no point —
And here, my friend had finally had enough. “I don’t believe all that shit you do, Hannah. I know you think there’s a Law of Attraction and stuff has a vibration and all that, and that’s fine for you, but that’s now how my reality works.”
I was like…Oh. Okay. We’re just meat sacks stupid enough to stare at the sun and call it a god. Got it. Carry on, then.
I tell you what, though — being a meat sack stupid enough to stare at the sun and call it a god did NOT get my ass to Hawaii, and I have ALL the woo woo shit to thank for this miracle.
I’ve observed that a lot of atheistic people — including this friend — are willing to entertain the scientific side of woo woo, to a degree, via the inroads of psychology and neuroplasticity, which is almost the same thing, except when it comes to a choice of forcing yourself to do a horrible thing, I suppose. And that’s the problem, or that’s in the vicinity of the problem. I certainly didn’t wake up in the middle of the night to write a blog singing the praises of spirituality on purpose, here, but I find it bears mentioning, over and over. The problem is, how do you get it, if you just don’t believe it? I’ve encountered this same wall, and it’s a wall I’m personally grateful for, in the course of various religious types attempting to convert me. They’re like, but Jesus! Or, but Allah! Or, but the Buddha!
First of all, the Buddha fucking TOLD you guys not to believe anything he said, but rather to follow your own spirit’s wisdom, so GTFO with that. Also, stop eating meat, you fake Buddhist poseur.
But yeah, relative to whatever religion, they’re like “here’s the answer!,” and I’m like…yeah, but how am I gonna get my big, nice brain squeezed into that little box? How am I gonna literally believe x y z, which is a mandatory part of your faith tradition’s story? How am I even gonna want to? Because I don’t.
So I think this is how people in the meat-sack camp feel, relative to us over here saying stuff like, “the vibrational sabotage that results from you forcing yourself to do something you hate is going to unfortunately short-circuit what you see as being the benefit of doing this thing you hate, so just avoid doing anything from that emotional place.” Right? I realize it’s a tough sell to not do shit you hate for stupid reasons, but here I am, selling it. And the thing that makes it a tough sell is acknowledging that inner reality is as important, or perhaps even more important, than outer reality — and more than that, that inner reality feelings can and do affect outer reality outcomes.
I’m kind of flummoxed, I guess, that something so expansive (there’s an interrelationship between inner and outer realities) could feel, to an atheist, like a narrow little box — the same way having to read the Bible as a dominant form of spiritual insight feels like too little of a box for me — but I guess it does…?
This is why people both love and hate AA. Imagine coming to it as an atheist: I’m an addict because it’s in my brain and there’s nothing I can do about that except resist and scrutinize every impulse I have, for the rest of my life, because my brain is broken, because I’m an addict. AA is like, yes yes, all that is true, but insert some kind of god variable into that. The atheist addict will be like, that’s not true, and oops I died, and no one can disprove the cold hard rationality of what I died from and why. The addict willing to insert the god variable, just a little bit at least, is like: maybe I can live another day. Maybe I can live another day. Maybe I can live another day. This is unbearable for me, but maybe I can turn it over to some god type idea, for just this one day.
So yeah, it’s really helpful, and I don’t understand why people are so adamant that there isn’t any kind of god thing, especially in moments where entertaining the notion stands to take a little pressure off them.
It’s just like believing our animals love us, versus believing they depend on us for food and shelter so they organize their non-sentient, soulless, automaton energies around that, and then we meet them halfway by anthropomorphizing them. I actually know people who believe this. I’m like: dude, it’s no skin off your back to believe your dog loves you. I mean, if there’s no way to prove it or disprove it, why not just…believe your dog loves you? What’s so bad about that?
But they don’t want to be caught looking stupid. Which implies the existence of god after all, but I guess they don’t realize that. God and all the angels, or non-embodied energy forms, none of whom actually exist, are all just standing around laughing at that guy if he slips up. Look! He believes his dog loves him! What a chump! What a maroon!
I mean, that’s the catch-22 right there. If atheists allowed themselves to PRIVATELY entertain the irrational notion that searching for and finding a happy emotional stance was somehow pleasing to the universe and would result in better outcomes, so much so that it should be prioritized, and they turned out to be wrong, only two things would happen: they’d be happier and more pleasant to be around, and the god they don’t believe in would never find out anyway, because it doesn’t exist, so where’s the harm?
People just get a bad taste in their mouth from all the proselytizing, so they wanna go the other way. Nobody likes a proselytizer, but I just have a tough time watching friends make themselves miserable for no good reason, and I guess there’s a fine line.
Anyway: it’s rained off and on this whole time, currently on, and I suppose I’ll go back to bed, ha. Nick woke up a while ago and was like, wow, wtf are you doing at this hour? I was like, wtf you think I’m doing at this hour lol. I’m doing god’s work. Because god’s work is always, at least, making ourselves happy, and that’s plenty!