Wednesday 1 February 2017


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes us who we are, our beliefs, principles, and yes, our politics (which obviously are shaped by our beliefs and principles). In light of what’s going on today (from where I sit within in), I don’t know how to move forward without doing this. I think for most, the recent events have brought up a wide array of emotions and many are struggling to find their way through them… without losing their sh*t or drinking whisky at 9 a.m. But the overreaching realization is that there is a enormous chasm in the world (the size of the Grand Canyon) and we better start looking for solutions, or else.

So, I have always thought that change, or introspection shall we say, begins at home, with that one face you wake up to every single day and have to reconcile with. (Obviously these are not light questions and one can fall down the rabbit hole of what is identity, preconceived notions/ideals vs. reality etc. but you get where I’m going with this). Of late, I’ve been pondering my worldview; what has shaped me, and influenced how I approach and interact with the world around me? I truly urge anyone and everyone to do this, if you’re not deep in this exploration already. They say, the only way to truly understand the people across the proverbial aisle is to understand yourself first, and remember we are all human who have arrived at a belief system, however that was shaped. And trust me, I might not understand your beliefs, or agree with them, but I am going to do my best to understand how they came to be (this is my intention anyway, some days I fail miserably at this). I think if more of us did this, we wouldn’t be in the total sh*t we are in.

So, what has shaped my worldview? Here it goes (keep up, cause I go quickly and jump around)….

I live in one of the most cosmopolitan, diverse cities in the world; I am an immigrant within the country that I live. My flat resides between an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood and a predominantly Muslim area (and yes, we all get along just fine) – yes, I am literally between a temple, a mosque, a park, and a pub… I’m sure there is a joke in there somewhere, but why digress.  I have dated and have friends that span the gamut of religions, races and ethnicities; I am married to a man that is mixed race. I have homosexual friends, heterosexual friends, and even a few transgender. I used to bake cookies with the downstairs neighbor when I was little, living in Idaho. I learned early that it didn’t matter if you loved a man or a woman, if you gave me enough chocolate chips; you were fine in my book. 

I grew up with money, but have never let that define me (or have tried very hard not to). On the contrary, the town where I was raised was a ridiculous disparity between have and have not, and I quickly appreciated and embraced the difference. I am the child of immigrants (Middle Eastern/European, Canadian, British, and so on). I am married to a child of an immigrant (Polish/Caribbean/British)… so in essence, my son is the definition of melting pot. 

I have had more jobs than I can count (that have truly run the gamut, from nanny to PA to someone who threw bagels when angry) and have moved over 19 times (in London alone). I am also a writer, which means that not only does it mean you're open to the world and all it has to offer (everything is a writer's fodder) but your job is never safe or secure (and well, don't get me started on the amount they want you to do for free). If you're not up for the hustle, find another job. 

I grew up in nature, surrounded by the most awe-inspiring vistas that left me with a profound appreciation for the planet. Tree = friend. It's the closest I come to a religion. Just leave me in a forest of Redwoods and it will render me speechless (this is not easy, my friends will tell you). 

I depend on the National Health Service in my country (and love it dearly). When I was in my twenties, I dated a man for over two years who had pre-existing conditions that made him uninsurable from birth. He has had over forty surgeries (the count may be higher, I lost count) and he is in debt up to his eyeballs just to try and maintain some sort of quality of life. I watched his emotional/physical/financial struggle day in and day out as he tried to make a living and not be consumed by the hand that was dealt to him at birth. I also had close friends with many who had to choose between fixing their car and getting a pap smear, in short, their health or their livelihood (without a car, getting to work in LA was not an easy feat).

I have been the victim of assault (to be very clear, not rape, but non consensual, I’m going to take you and kiss you and you have no say in the matter #notmypussy) by a man much older than I was at the time and have been in an abusive relationship where I thought I deserved no better. I have known many who have survived abuse, molestation, rape, and assault (and a few who have not). I have been involved in an incident with a handgun that greatly shaped my formative years considerably (and many around me). I have been robbed, but never mugged.

I have lived in 5 different U.S States and have been lucky enough to travel to many countries around the world and experience different cultures (if you are able to, do it. It's essential in opening your eyes to the world around you). I read voraciously and think everyone should. I am not religious - I was raised Catholic, but left the flock - but do my best to respect the fact that many people are. I believe in your right to choose, express yourself, and live your life how you choose (as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone).... but not to bear arms, because that affects humanity, and I'd like to have a say in whether or not you can have an assault weapon. And admittedly, I am utterly shocked by those who think they can dictate how I should live mine.

So this is me, in a very small nutshell. All of the above has shaped who I am and why I believe what I believe…

My question is:

Who are you, what shaped you? Can you answer that? And when you start to ask yourself questions, if it gets uncomfortable (or more importantly, feels myopic), ask yourself why? Then look outward and ask yourself, these people I fight against, that I don’t understand, who are they? What has shaped them, and most importantly, where is our common ground?

At this point, I am hoping upon hope that we can all find some… 

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