Kindness Out of Hatred

Yet, despite those protesters from the Key of David Christian Church, I found love that day. After the initial meeting, I was so angry that I decided to treat people at the skating rink with kindness. I have Blue Cross insurance and can get in for free, I can get up to four other people in for free as well. I treated a mother and her young son to a day of skating, free of charge. The little boy had to be four or five years old, he thanked me up and down since he was so excited. I saw him throughout the day, he kept waving to me, and said, “thank you again, nice lady. I am having fun!”

Looking back, my heart is melting, but anger from being sick (beginning of the cold) and those hateful people, I didn’t pay that any mind last week. Maybe if I did and maybe if I was not in the throes of illness, it might have prevented me from reacting to when the Key of David people came into the rink to disrupt everyone. I doubt it because I feel strongly about hatred and I will stand up to hatred.  Unfortunately, my ideas of hugging bigots to see the light (I often thought about doing that with ISIS and those who suicide bomb – hug them to stop the attacks, read them Holy Book verses to show them they are wrong in their thinking) and sharing verses won’t work because their ideologies are too twisted. They will have to seek enlightenment on their own if they choose to ever come to the light.

Anyway, at one point I was chatting with a woman about my frustrations and she said, “God is love. At the end of the day, we need to accept people as they are.” Too true. I was raised to love and every day I’m grateful for that. This woman gave me a big hug and reassured me.

 

Despite the darkness, light can come out of it and light can brighten a dark moment.

 

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Oh yes, before I even went to the rink, I have to call out some kindness. On the el, I asked a gentleman in front of me if he had any tissues because my nose was like a sieve. He didn’t, but someone in another seat overheard me and handed me a bunch of napkins. I thanked him. Again, I will choose to focus on these moments going forward.

Thankful Thursday 21 June 2018

First off, I am thankful for feeling better. I caught a summer cold last weekend and was decommissioned from Sunday until yesterday, though I am still not 100%. I will be resting this weekend – I want to thank everyone who sent me well wishes and my parents for providing some care.

Last Saturday I sort of got into a scuffle – I was sick, it was hot, and bigots anger me. This is what I posted on Writing.com:

“Sad event yesterday. The Christian Taliban were protesting a Muslim festival at the skating rink. I fought with them – Jesus would be ashamed of them because Jesus taught love and acceptance. This is why I became a spiritual and decided to leave Islam and organized religion. I quoted the Bible and Jesus’s teachings of love and acceptance, especially the part, “he without sin should cast the first stone.” I was told by the “preacher” that I was ugly, a lesbian, and that is why I’m not submitting to any man – because I’m too repulsive for one. His wife also said, “we don’t have stones, you ugly harlot.” Seems like I struck a chord, I was right and they didn’t want to be told they are wrong and resorted to insults.

Anyway, after I was trying to hug these Christian Taliban members to show them that all people are the same, I had my skates on and rolled into them. Started a big ruckus and I skated back because once people learn to hate, it’s hard to break it.

Last night I did some digging and apparently, this “pastor” was jailed for ponzi schemes and other investment schemes. He attacked people he was protesting against and disrupted Buddhist Temple gatherings, so he is currently under different lawsuits, as well as being investigated for hate crimes. These people sound like losers, losers that hate themselves and want to bring others down with them. I have seen them before, they were at the LGBT parade last week and I’ve seen them around for several years. I was going to preach love to counter them, but if I see them again, I’m just going to start calling them losers, bring up the different FBI files I found, read the articles about them, tell them they are the ones that are going to burn AND they will always be losers, losers, losers. I think that would do the trick more than love since they don’t respond to that. It would also make me feel better calling them big losers.”

On Monday, I was chatting with Kathleen and like some friends on Writing.com, she was concerned for my safety when reading that. Kathleen and Patrece thought I had every right to stand up to hate, but they advised to just ignore them next time because those bigots will never change and they don’t want me to get hurt. As Patrece wrote (which is what Kathleen said): “It is sad, and unjust what you experienced at this gathering, Jessica. But please do use caution in your actions/reactions. Those who thrive on hate are capable of things beyond your imagination.

While I fully believe in standing up for oneself and what is right for them, it is wise to look long and hard at the enemy. You may be faced with much more than cocky insults should you take the approach you shard above. I don’t argue against your rights or the rights of those you were with and support. I just fear for your safety. If those others were so bold, who knows what other ammunition they possess, aside from the words they used to attack this last time. Sometimes it is best to just be the bigger person and spare yourself the possible danger that may lie ahead.”

I am thankful for them both. (Note: I hope no one thinks that I hate Christians and think all Christians are Christian Taliban members. I don’t hate anyone, but I don’t tolerate hate groups or people who spread hate to disrupt others. I will call anyone out on that, even ISIS. I wish no one was ever raised to hate or resorted to hate in economically challenging times.)

I also received a thank you card from Maddie today thanking me for the birthday card and for inducting her into the Sousalarm Club. She can’t wait to receive the certificate. That made me happy and grateful.

What are you thankful for today?

Father’s Day 2018

Happy Father’s Day! I am battling a summer cold, but I still celebrated my dad today. I am thankful for everything my dad has done for me over the years and for accepting me for who I am. I love my dad.

I am taking my dad to the Ravens/Broncos game on 23 September, then we had a surf-and-turf dinner. Dad enjoyed his day.

 

 

Thankful Thursday 14 June 2018

Eid Mubarak! Although I am sending my Muslim friends cards late this year (tomorrow), it’s the thought that counts. I hope everyone has a blessed Eid and even for non-Muslims, I hope that the rest of the year brings you peace and prosperity.

Today is my cousin’s 25th birthday. A few months ago, I requested to induct her into the Sousalarm Club on WRTI, the local classical/jazz music radio station. I requested for either today, Maddie’s birthday, or 30 December, for her first wedding anniversary to her husband. I was late in requesting, so I wasn’t sure. I was surprised when Gregg, my favourite DJ, e-mailed me right away saying he had an opening for June 14 (today). Yesterday, he e-mailed me asking me how I pronounce my last name and how I pronounce Maddie’s last name. I told him and he is so cute when he charms. I have a secret crush on him.

I sent Maddie a card to tell her to listen in – she might have to download the app since she lives in South Carolina now (her hubby is in the Navy) and I sent her a text yesterday to tell her, in case she didn’t get the card. Well, let me tell you, this morning was awesome! Gregg played Stars and Stripes Forever (it’s also Flag Day in the States today) and afterward, he inducted Maddie into the Sousalarm Club with the write-up I wrote.

After it was said and done, Maddie texted me: “Thank you so much Jess! That was great! I never imagined I’d someday be part of the Sousalarm Club!” Who would have thought that such a small gesture (free of charge) would bring so much joy to someone! Maddie used to be in the marching band, she plays instruments, though she is a P.A. (physician assistant) now. Her husband was in the marching band as well, and he used to lead the Naval Academy’s band. They’re both musically inclined and I figured she would like it. I’m thankful she did and I am so happy that being inducted into the Sousalarm Club made her day.

It is also an apology in some way as well. I’ve taken on the more spiritual, I realized that I can’t be part of organized religion because to me it’s too inclusive. I became a Muslim, though I am more interested in Sufism, the more spiritual form of it that Sunnis and Shias don’t recognize – actually, they find Sufis to be heretical. Sufis can be the spiritual portion of any faith. Well, when I was still on Facebook, I was scared that my Muslim friends would call me out for participating with my Catholic and Atheist family members for their events. I didn’t want to go to Maddie’s bridal shower and wedding out of fear.

I did go, most of my true Muslim friends did say that family is more important than religion and they celebrate all of their friends of different faiths by participating, it’s not a sin… I was still worried. Let me tell you, I had a blast. Her shower was secular and her husband is another Christian denomination so her wedding wasn’t Catholic. It was a spiritual wedding that focused on community and bringing others to your table to include them. It was beautiful and being more spiritually inclined, I agreed. When Maddie and her hubby sent me a thank you card, they basically said any time I wanted to visit them in South Carolina, I was welcomed at their table. It was beautiful.

Anyway, I am grateful for the beauty of today. What are you thankful for today?

Pride 2018

This past weekend, cities all over the world held Pride parades to celebrate Pride Month. (Turkey also had a Pride parade, which made me happy to see!) Philadelphia held their parade on Sunday, 10 June 2018 and I am so glad the rain held. The parade was beautiful, I met so many wonderful people, and I was happy that I could celebrate with the LGBT community.

 

 

This group. This group, you guys. ❤ All love. I’m asexual, though it’s not something I admit often because it confuses people. I started chatting and asked if I could get a photo. They asked, “are you bi?” I blushed and said, “No, I’m asexual.” They both smiled and said, “that’s okay. You’re welcomed, everyone is welcomed into our group.” First time in a long time I could feel accepted as I am. So much love yesterday.

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I added photos and the mementos to my Happiness Box as well. The parade made me so happy and the opportunity to connect with others, it just made me feel awesome. I was an ally in college and I found that once an ally, always an ally.

 

 

 

I was chatting with one of my library co-workers and she said, “I think you should create a book with your photos. I think the LGBT Community would be appreciative of it, especially since it is the 30th anniversary.” I think I will.

Pride Month 2018

Here at the Happiness Box Project Initiative, I welcome everyone. Regardless of who you are, you are loved and welcome. June is Pride Month for the LGBT (as well as asexual and questioning) Community and cities around the world are celebrating.

Toronto and the Toronto Blue Jays celebrated last night, as did New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Philadelphia. I didn’t realize Philadelphia was celebrating until I listened to NPR. I decided to check out the block party that the Gayborhood was holding after I finished roller skating.

Let me tell you, I am glad I did! Before I could really enjoy the festivities, I was starving and I needed to eat. I didn’t quite find a gluten-free restaurant, but I thought iCandy could do the trick. They didn’t really have much of a gluten-free selection, but I found something that would hold me over.

What a wonderful meal! Wonderful staff too. A gentleman said to me, “those fries smell good.” I responded, “I hope so. I recently had to go gluten-free, and this is one of the few things I can eat on the menu. I had a salad for lunch.” He empathized and said, “that’s okay. You are strong, and you will adjust in due time.” This kindness made me smile. We chatted for a bit, and he was all kindness.

 

I met a whole bunch of people, chatted with them, and enjoyed the festivities. One couple I met welcomed me to the first Pride event I ever attended not at a university. I danced and even tried to ride a mechanical shark. Staying on the mechanical shark wasn’t successful, though.

 

 

 

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Tomorrow I plan on attending the Pride Parade. I stand with the LBGT Community and everyone else!

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Thankful Thursday 7 June 2018

Happy first week in June! I can’t believe we are half-way through 2018, the year is flying by again!

I am thankful that so far we have been experiencing cooler weather this summer. While the weatherpeople messed up the forecast last week, predicting rain and it not happening, I am glad that the cooler weather makes it more bearable to skate. I didn’t skate last weekend, but I will skate tomorrow. I hope the rain holds off on Sunday. I am thankful I can get one day in per week.

I am also thankful for friends and family. What are you thankful for?

Self-Care During the Summer

On Friday on the Happiness Box Project’s Instagram page, I posted about summer SAD. I  have seasonal affective disorder in the summer and the summer tends to make me depressed. Usually, in the summer I take extra special care so I don’t overspend (like I did this week) and so I don’t stress out about how I feel.

I talk to friends and loved ones, of course, but I also have been scrapbooking Happiness Box 2017. I just finished June 2017; I only have 5.5 months left to complete and I hope to have it done by September or October. I’m not going to rush it, though, it’ll get done when it gets done.

Today I also received a letter from one of my British friends. I am thankful to have friends all over the world.

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Thankful Thursday 31 May 2018

I can’t believe tomorrow will be the first of June already! It feels like yesterday we were welcoming in the new year. It seems like the years fly by each year.

Tomorrow will also be two months since I created this blog. I am thankful for its growth and I am thankful for the Happiness Box initiative’s growth as well. I know I’ve been feeling more cheerful and I know others have been as well. Knowing that makes me a happy Jessica.

I am thankful for people from both jobs. Yesterday, Brijae made me a shirt and Kathleen brought me back a pair of toy clogs from the Netherlands. My heart overflows with gratitude. Today, the library gave me some candy; Mrs. Miraglia and Donna were both appreciative of the postcards I brought them from Atlantic City. Donna was really surprised and seeing her reaction made me so happy. 🙂

What are you thankful for today?

Memories, Stuff, and Finding Balance

As you might remember from last Thursday, I mentioned the memorial for Elaine Baer. I was intrigued how her niece told us that when she was cleaning out her aunt’s house, she found a world map with pins on each place she visited. She also had albums and albums full of photos. They would keep them, but they were looking for a place to store them and how to divide them up (I remember this from Nan – however, since dad was an only child, it was easier).

I could relate to this. I am the princess of travel/concert memorabilia and I’m trying to get myself out of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my memorabilia, but I am finding I just don’t have space for it. I’ve been off for the past two days and think I cleaned out? Nope. Yesterday,  I had lunch with Christina, today I only worked the library and had lunch with Ronald. I try to clean out every few months because each time I donate (or get rid of) new things. Sometimes it pains me to get rid of things and some things I won’t get rid of because it’s sentimental.

Christina and I were chatting about this yesterday. She wants to buy a van and live out of a van. She collects memorabilia too and has been trying to get rid of some of it to make space. We both agreed that it’s a balance – I think memories are more important than stuff. I rather make memories from the experiences than collect stuff. HOWEVER, I do take photos and I do like making scrapbooks. We both agreed that it was important, especially in the future when things go 100% digital and it could be lost forever, where a book would not. A book or album is more than a file. This is where balance comes in. I think it’s great to have scrapbooks and albums, but don’t go overboard.

I am in this process with my Happiness Box slips. I am currently scrapbooking 2017, will scrapbook 2016’s after 2017, and will scrapbook 2018 next year and will be thinking of the space issue as I move forward. I definitely want these slips to look back on these memories and feel good moments, but I will definitely get rid of some things I do not need. I definitely want to include this in my Happiness Box project book.


 

Today, I had lunch with Ronald. It was nice to catch up and share some laughs. Here is the selfie we took in December; it’s in Happiness Box 2017. I think next time we meet up, I might get a picture with Ronald for Happiness Box 2018. Would it be weird?

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I also visited the Connors today. The Connors were Nan’s neighbours and we still keep in touch. Mary and Flo are sisters and today when I visited, Mary was out. I had the chance to catch up with Flo and we took some photos together. The laughs! She enjoyed that!