We Need to Come Together, Peacefully

I made this post on Writing.com yesterday:

May I be honest? I’m white, but I can say I’m not privileged. Before you call me a racist, let me explain. If I stay silent about my beliefs, sure, I can get the privilege. However, when I was a practicing Muslim, and people knew, nope. I once wore an Iraqi band t-shirt at the air port in Toronto, DHS apprehended me, took my finger prints, tested my hands, all because I had an Arabic t-shirt on. They targeted me when I had my coat on before they knew the shirt. Maybe it was the one way tickets to other cities, but it was weird and had me unsettled.After I passed, I was seated with other Middle Easterners, this happens all the time.

I’m no longer Muslim, but I feel like of you’re not a Christian, there’s a lot of prejudice too. Sure, Christians get it too. Mentally ill people aren’t privileged either. Same with LGBTQIA.

I’ll never know what it is to be black. I’ve never been black and I know all minorities get the worst treatment. I will never know their pain on that level. However, I’ve lived through bigotry and it does hurt. I know you’re hurting and we are all hurting as a global society.

My dad is a deputy and will retire in November. I used to fear him never coming home because there are a lot of people out there who hate “pigs” and they must die. That isn’t right either. Looting and burning down places is wrong too. I get that you’re hurting, but hurting others and destroying your communities won’t help the hurt either.

Someone accused me of white washing Dr. King and he did speak about civil disobedience, but not on the scale of Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. I believe Dr. King meant those words.

Hurt people hurt one another. Let’s come together, let’s heal together , put away the privilege cards, arrest anyone who threatens harm and jail those that harm. Let’s stand up against racism and bigotry because we are all human. We all have the same needs and in the end, we all turn to dust. None of us are better than one another.

But then again, maybe this isn’t a competition. I was taught to treat others the way I want to be treated and I live by the Golden Rule.

Philadelphia has been looting and is being looted. King of Prussia is being looted too. I do not agree with this and I think it’s pointless. It has devolved from police brutality to anarchy. I lost a friend because she thinks I am complicit and don’t get police brutality.

I get it, but at the same time, there are “pig” killers out there who target those in law enforcement. I used to fear for my dad, dad doesn’t arrest, but he serves those being sued or losing property to foreclosure. Those who are in the position to lose things aren’t usually sensible. Killing unarmed black people isn’t right, but killing cops isn’t right either. I’m angry and scared.

I think I also have to remember my experiences are different. Dad is just a really kind, gentle man and tends to befriend people easily. I remember going to a few events and parties from people he met at the job and people trust my dad enough to ask him for advice. He used to educate about fraud and how to avoid victimization. I get not everyone is like that.

I might be taking things too personally. I just don’t want anything to happen to good people. Every one has the right to life and happiness. Also, at least in the states, some LE have been joining in solidarity. I would like to think it’s real. I’ve been getting a lot of downvotes on Reddit because of this. Anna had to say, “remember, people are hurt right now and it’s not really all about you.”

I’ve said some nasty and violent things and I’m sorry. This is what antifa and neo Nazis want. I’m no longer playing into it. I don’t agree with the destruction of homes and businesses, especially in already tough times. These businesses may not come back. No business, no jobs, no jobs, no money, no money, no life. I agree that more needs to be done, but we have to look at injustices done to every community that feels “other.” This can’t sustain us.

Let’s come together, join hand in hand, and arrest anyone who attempts to harm, kill, or make anyone feel less than human.

Thankful Friday 29 May 2020

I feel so verklempt right now. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was able to participate in the improv Zoom on Monday and I only have a pair of really old iPhone headphones and a non working mic. We tried improv via chat, but it was hard and I left early. It was a bummer for all of us. Rachel sent me an e-mail on Tuesday expressing that she was sorry that Monday didn’t quite work out.

Tonight we ordered dinner and when dad collected the food from the front porch, he saw an Amazon box for me. He said, “this is for you.” I was confused because I didn’t order anything. I opened the box and it was a headset! Attached was a note from Rachel, “Since you didn’t have a good set of headphones with a decent speaker, here’s a headset for you! Look forward to seeing you on Monday evenings and future improv meetups.”

I feel so touched right now that I could cry. I sent her a thank you. I’m beyond grateful. Today is also Shavuot, so a beautiful Shavuot gift.

img_20200529_081140_459

Thankful Thursday 28 May 2020

Happy Thursday and the last Thursday in May! It’s hard to believe that we’re done the first five months of 2020 and 2020 has been a doozy so far!

First off, I’m thankful for the kindness that this doozy of a year has produced so far. On Sunday, as I started on my walk I heard a tiny voice call out, “hi Jessica!” It was Paige, the youngest girl that lives behind me. I said, “Hi, Paige! How are you?” “I turned five yesterday!” I asked her if she had a party and she had so much fun telling me about her birthday party. The joy was just so pure. I then chatted with Meg, her mother, for a good ten minutes. It was so nice and it has been so nice to connect with neighbours.

On Memorial Day, as I was ending my walk, I saw an elderly gentleman sitting on his porch. I said, “Happy Memorial Day!” and we started a ten minute conversation about the upcoming summer, changes at the beach and we both laughed at the thought of a nice staycation in the back yard. I think he was happy to have someone to talk to. I’m glad I brightened his day and he brightened mine as well.

I’m going to write about these experiences for a new Happiness Box Initiative newsletter.

This week I feel thankful for family and I’m savouring this time with them. I enjoy eating lunch with dad and the Boy. It’s nice working from home and it’s nice being able to have lunch with dad. I’m also savouring Zoom time with friends. I finally sat in one of the Jewish Improv groups. My headphones didn’t work, so Rachel said she will send me a pair. I’m grateful for that too. I’m thankful for Marsha, Claire, Christina, Jared, Anna, Joe, and my family.

img_20200527_142549

I went through some old SD cards because I wanted to see what pictures we have of my grandparents. I found some of Pop-Pop, some of his old dog, Nemo, his old cat, Cat Wat, I found some of Nan, then trips we took when I was a teenager. Some from Christa’s baby shower in 2006, some of our old cat, Woo. Then I found photos from when we first adopted Olivia and Mimi in 2008. Then a few of me and my second ex, from 2009. Nothing with the first ex. Sadly, I deleted most of those photos because I was heart broken. The second one was rebound, but I dated them before I figured out my asexuality. Yet, we kept 6 photos. I’m going to share some of them with you.

Also, I’m thankful for all the love that was given to me on Wraith’s first Inkday. Between Reddit and this blog, I want to thank you all! My ink is special to me and I’m in love with Wraith. My first is my special. I’m thinking of getting flowers done to accentuate tattoo #2. Christina thinks that would be really pretty. I think so too.

I also got word that my library manager is in hospice. I’m going to send a card, and hold her up in my prayers. Please say a prayer for her and her family. Thank you.

What are you thankful for today?

Happy 1st Inkday, Wraith!

Wraith officially turned 1 year old at 12:40 PM. I had cake this morning (6:46 am) and sang too!

I’m going to include some photos of the Happiness Box 2019 pages from the day. I made the first page last July, wrapped it up, then made the back page when I did May 2019 in April 2020.

Mom and dad dropped me off at Christina’s in West Chester at 10:30 am on Sunday, 26 May 2019. At 11 we walked to Roots Cafe for breakfast, where we had a vegan and gluten-free French toast. I drank plenty of apple juice since that helps the skin. Christina treated me to my pre-tattoo breakfast.

My appointment was for noon, so we walked the five minutes from Roots to X-Treme Ink, Antman was just opening and he took me right back. He placed the outline of Wraith on my skin, asked if that is where I wanted it, I shook my head, and he began. I loved watching the squirrels out the window, my first tattoo on my ribcage didn’t hurt at all. The process was actually relaxing. 40 minutes later, Wraith became my forever friend, my ride or die, who will accompany me throughout all stages of my life. I’m still giddy about my ink.

Happy Inkday, Wraith!

Remembering Our Fallen Heroes on Memorial Day

Yesterday before I typed my entry, I thought about other ways Memorial Day would be different this year. In Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf said no to the Boy Scouts for decorating and honouring the veterans buried at Valley Forge Memorial Gardens. I thought about it and I asked mom if we could go to the cemetery for Memorial Day.

I thought I would pick up some red, white and blue carnations this morning at Wegmans, but they didn’t have any. They only had Patriotic bouquets, so I picked up one for Pop-Pop. Pop-pop, as you might remember, was in the Air Force during Korea and Vietnam. We also bought a flag for him.

Mom and I went over to Valley Forge Memorial Gardens and we visited Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop. We had a moment of silence, then decorated the grave and took photos. We also drove by the veteran section and had a moment of silence too. I was happy to see that there were flags decorating their graves and their loved ones had visited, decorating graves with the same adornments we decorated Pop-Pop’s with. This made me so happy to see; our dead should never be forgotten, regardless of military status or not.

 

Happy Memorial Day to all of my American readers and followers! Happy unofficial start to the summer!

Memorial Day Weekend Re-imagined

Yesterday, dad and I went to his friend’s house to have our hair cut by his wife. I needed a trim, as it has been three months, and my undercut needed to be done, as it’s been two months. Andrea did a lovely job and it felt great spending an hour with her. Dad is quite pleased with his hair too.

For the past two years I’ve been going to Atlantic City on the Saturday before Memorial Day. In 2016, I went to Washington, D.C. and before that, I would just spend the weekend in Philadelphia, going to museums, then spend time at my uncle’s pool.

My aunt and uncle moved to Marco Island, so a swimming pool was out this year too. I remember in 2017, I didn’t do anything because Memorial Day weekend was the weekend that I submitted my residency application to Canada and I needed to make sure I had that $10,000, which I did. However, I had something to look forward to and I ended up going to the beach a few times that summer.

I thought about my sadness of not going swimming this weekend and the sadness of others on Instagram and I thought to myself, “why am I so sad?” While Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer, the true meaning of the holiday is to pay homage to our Service Members and their ultimate sacrifices. We’re still celebrating with bar-b-ques, and why not reach out to military members and thank them?

Here’s a piece I wrote in 2006 for a zine project I did for an English class. I was really into the American Civil War back then and my zine was all about the Civil War. The Real Origins of Memorial Day

We still have the rest of the summer to enjoy. Mom and dad are going to Cape May in June and as Andrea and I were chatting yesterday, staying at an Air bnb or hotel might be the best time this summer with everything sanitized. I thought about it and I was talking to mom earlier, if anything, I would go to Asbury Park towards the end of July and stay with Jim and John if they’re taking reservations. They were meticulous and clean, I could feel safe with them. If not, I would take a day trip to Brighton Beach or a long weekend and maybe stay in Manhattan. I would only be comfortable with 2 or 3 days at the most. The more I think about it, the more I would just take day trips to the beach instead of staying. It would be cheaper too. I’m still on my budget and I’m saving for a new tattoo (upper arm) in the fall or early next year… when it is safe to do so.

Memorial Day weekend and the summer has not been ruined. We can still have fun in the sun, at a distance, and smartly. We may have to change our plans a bit, but we can adjust. Remember that while Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer, why not take a moment to thank our service people.

 

Friday’s Gotham Workshop 22 May 2020

Yesterday, my full-time job gave us half day for the upcoming holiday. I could participate in the earlier Gotham Workshop and I was looking forward to my third workshop.

Lara Ewan was my instructor again and for there were a few of the same people as last week. Some newbies joined us, like Beth from Philadelphia, another in the UK, and a few from India. I love how COVID-19 quarantine is bringing us all together, all over the world.

For the first prompt we had to write about a time machine. This was my story I created in the fifteen minutes I was given:

Prompt: Time Machine

“On the count of five, I will flip this switch and you’ll be transported back to 1861, just as the fort was being bombed. You remember the mission right?” Dr. Claw asked.

Penny and Jack shook their heads vehemently.

“Yes, we have to stop the beginning of the American Civil War,” Penny was excited. Jack on the other hand, was not. Jack loved history and while he knew that Penny loved history as well, he wasn’t quite sure if she knew how one change could effect history and life as they knew it. One ripple 159 years ago could change the motion of time.

“Correct! Are you two ready?” Both shook their heads. As Dr. Claw began to count, Jack had a plan. He wasn’t going to change a thing. There was rope next to him, he could tie up Penny. Penny loved making a name for herself, often ethics didn’t matter to her as long as she had her fifteen minutes of fame.

Yet, Jack didn’t feel right tying Penny up and he knew she would put up a fight. What could he do?

“One…” Dr. Claw began.

Knocking her out would be worse.

“Two…”

“Jack, aren’t you excited?” He gulped, he didn’t know what he was going to do.

“Three…”

Jack didn’t have to participate. He also knew they would be outnumbered and there’s not many ways you can stop an explosion in 1861.

“Two…”

The men would stop Penny and Jack, they were unfamiliar…

“One…”

…unfamiliar and wearing strange clothes. Darkness and sparks of gray surrounded them,

Everyone loved the start of my story, especially how I brought the ethics of time travel into the equation. My workshop liked the descriptions and the character development; they hope I finish it.

For the second prompt, it was “don’t tempt me.” I fictionalized my Brighton Beach trip last year, but I want to rewrite it. Before Laura gave us the prompt, we had a 15 minute back and forth with everyone. She was telling us that since the quarantine, Laura is in Brooklyn, she hasn’t had a cigarette since she doesn’t want to take her mask off outside. She informed us one of her friends made a mask with plastic straws and she quipped, she should make a mask that could hold a cigarette. We all died with laughter, I want to write that story… complete with the smoke wand they used in the 1920s.

2020-05-22

I’m growing with this workshop and I really look forward to next Friday’s class. COVID-19 has been wonderful to me and for that I am thankful. I’m going to sign up for a memoir writing class, but I’ll see how much it costs first. Maybe once we get back to “normal,” I’ll take a trip to NYC.