The Generational Fight For Religion

As none of you may know, one of my many hobbies is genealogy. I find bridging the past to the present absolutely fascinating, and was quite shocked how easily that could be done. My interest started when I decided to research my own family. One side of my family I knew next to nothing about, and the other almost just as little. Once I had started, I realized that many things may actually be nature instead of nurture. Then I began to wonder, what, if anything, do I have in common with my ancestors?

I found that a common theme among both sides of the family was being on the wrong side of religion. Now, before I get into this any further, I should make you all aware that I am an atheist, and with the current climate in the United States, I can also claim the family trait of being on the wrong side.

Two lines of my family both left their home countries in fear of religious persecution. One, being Puritans (and not just any Puritans, but Separatists) in England during the reign of King Charles the first, and the second where Presbyterians Covenanters from Northern Ireland who fled to escape rising rent prices and church burnings in Northern Ireland. The English side arrived in 1632, in Mendon, Massachusetts, and the Irish arrived in 1772 and settled in South Carolina. As you can see, both groups had arrived before the Revolutionary War, with a severe distaste for England, and most notably, the barbaric ways in which religion was forced upon people by the crown.

Eventually, they found themselves fighting against the crown in 1775. 7 of my family members made up the 77 men in Lexington who battled against the British on April 19, 1775, officially starting the American Revolutionary War. Every man of age on both sides took up arms against the crown for their freedom, and I’m sure the stories and experiences of their basic right to faith was never far from their minds in those battlefields. They continued to fight until September 3, 1783, when the  Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the war. Some stood with Washington on the southern shores of Manhattan while he read the Declaration of Independence for the very first time, some traveled endlessly through the colonies, and all of them buried an endless stream of husbands, brothers, uncles, cousins and sons. You see, I’m an Aldrich, and our history fighting for the freedom of this country runs as deep as the roots on the trees they saw when they first landed here.

I look back now at the state of America and wonder, have we all forgotten their fight? Have we all forgotten why 20,000 English men, women and children fled England and gave many of us the opportunity to be born here? To be as they wanted, truly free to live the dream of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”?

I look around now and see the religious climate in this country as something worth cringing over. How dare anyone try to impose religious law on a nation founded on escaping that same right. Now I’m not saying that I have it as bad as they did. I do not have to worry about being put to death for my non belief in a deity. But when did it become right to be so righteous in this country that you feel the law needs to abide by your God’s standards of living?

I will never understand those who praise those amazing 77 men, and the thousands that fought with them as heros who literally fought for our freedom, yet stand on the next breath claim that we need to live our legal lives by their holy book. How dare you disrespect what those men fought, died and shed blood for. How dare you dishonor their fathers, as well as the generation who founded your founding fathers by implying that we cannot as a country live our lives the way we see fit because it’s against your God. How dare you praise men like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington while attempting to eradicate the very freedom they stood for.

The United States was NOT founded as a Christian nation, nor was it found under any other religion. The original settlers came here to escape that very ideal, and simply wanted to practice their faith within their own communities safely, without fear of law forbidding them otherwise. If you want further proof, perhaps you should read Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptists_in_the_history_of_separation_of_church_and_state),  and the NUMEROUS quotes from said founding fathers clearly expressing that church and state should be completely separate, and a relationship with God is a PERSONAL, not legal relationship (http://aattp.org/twenty-quotes-from-the-founding-fathers-on-the-separation-of-church-and-state/). Actually, you can look right to the first line of the constitution, which is the absolute be all and end all on the law of this country

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

Then I realized that not only is standing on the wrong side of religion a common trait, but fighting for the freedom to be there is also something that seems to run literally to my bones, and through my blood.

No, I will not stand by and allow anyone to impose their religious beliefs on me in any way shape or form, but I will fight with everything I have to make sure that you can practice your faith without fear of prosecution, persecution and death

I will not stand by and quietly allow you to sully the plight of my ancestors, who left with nothing and built this country with their sweat and blood while you claim them to be heros of your plight. I will stand with them, and remind you that you are wrong, and to use dead men’s names in vain for your unfounded need for control is exactly what would have your ass stabbed with a bayonet should they have ever been in front of you.

I see many times a lot of the right wing Christians stating “if you cant stand behind our troops, then stand in front of them”. Why does this only apply to present day members of the armed forces (who, I may add, I have an immense respect for, as many of them are my family and friends, and who I would consider brothers)? Why can you not stand behind the man who created your army, and let everyone live in peace?

The basic right to this country was freedom to practice your own faith, without any other law of faith being imposed on you. If your simple argument for why something should or shouldnt be law is simply “because the bible says so”, then your argument is null and void, and perhaps you should visit a few cities in New England to remind yourself why. There are thousands of gravestones you can walk over to remind yourself that the men beneath your feet would call you a traitor and label you a treasonous fuck.

If you care to live in a land where law is dictated by a holy text, perhaps places like Iran, The UAE, or one of the many other Middle Eastern or South Asian countries run by Theocracy. Then you can tell me exactly how it feels to be on the wrong side of religion and be in fear for your life for your own faith. If you can tell me that is what you want the United States  to  be, then I in no way could ever call you a patriot.

You see, I am a patriot. I remember and understand what is in our Constitution, even if I may feel it dosent agree with my personal belief. I understand and know the plight of these immensely brave men and women was meant for equality and non exclusion. I understand that the laws and reasons this country was founded on was to give blanket equality to all men, regardless of faith.

I will continue the generational fight for religion for as long as my body physically lets me. I will continue the fight for both believers and non believers alike, so long as your relationship with your God is left as a personal one, and you clearly understand that your right to swing your fists ends at the next persons nose. I will continue to fight for equality, and the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For only when we are truly free to love our own hearts can we learn to love another’s, regardless of differences

Because, you see, I am the same as those men who fled their homes to come here. I am on the wrong side of religion.

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Racism. And Why You’re a Hypocrite if You’re a Racist

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My twisted obsession with the past recently lead me to have my DNA tested to see exactly what Im made of. I purchased the Nat Geo Geno 2.0 kit, which, tests your DNA to see where your ancestors have traveled since the beginning of time. Results where quite interesting. I’m going to break down a little science here, but bear with me, there’s a point here.

Since I am a woman and I do not carry the Y-DNA, only my mitochondrial DNA can be tested (mothers side, which has found to be a more accurate way to study and find deep ancestry). My results where interesting.

My Halpogroup is H27. H is the MOST COMMON group found from people of European ancestry (keep this in mind), and 27 is a relatively new founding and is still being studied. 

From my DNA, I am found to be 42% Mediterranean, 37% Northern European and 20% Southwest Asian.

But how did this happen from an Irish and Polish mother?

EVERY human being started in one area of Africa, most notably, from one of two tribes (there is scientific evidence to back this up).  My ancestors came out of Africa, then settled into Egypt and the Middle East, then to West Asia and the Caucus region (Turkey, Iran, Georgia, etc) and stayed there for quite awhile, before finally deciding to move onto Europe.

Remember, the H halpogroup is the MOST COMMON halpogroup in Europe and in people of European decent.

My curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to look into the other regions and racial groups they’ve tested. I’ve attached screen shots at the bottom of this so everyone can take a look to see what the average is for your race and ancestor region

The point of all of this? If you’re a racist, you’re hating the same blood that flows through your own veins. What I found the most interesting is it took one person with my DNA-ONE PERSON to say “hey were going north instead of going back to Africa” (which is scientifically documented as well that at the time of the split in Asia, one group went North, the other went back to Africa). THAT has decided the color of my skin. No one, unless you are purely African or Asian, is one sole race.

So go ahead, be a racist bigot, but ask yourself how ok are you to hate whats in your own veins….

 

And now, for the fun. The pics. Find a little bit about yourself!

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The Rise of “Rape Culture’. When caring becomes complacency

I recently came across an article about the infamous “VJ-Day Kiss” in Times Square (http://cratesandribbons.com/2012/09/30/the-kissing-sailor-or-the-selective-blindness-of-rape-culture-vj-day-times-square/#comments), and the facts behind it, and it got me thinking about the ever present “rape culture” that we are now being faced with.

“Rape Culture” dosent just mean accepting of the act of rape itself, but any non wanted action towards a persons body

Now, as a woman, I cannot even fathom the thought that anyone would think if I was attacked it would be my fault. As the mother to a son, it makes my stomach crawl to think that he could ever feel violating a woman in any way was acceptable for any reason. In my home its taught that he does not even have to hug or show affection to another person if he is not comfortable with doing so, or simply dosent feel like it at the time. I never want my child to feel that he has to offer his body for the wants and affections of someone else if he is uncomfortable with it. I also never want him to think he can ever force another human being to do the same.

Yet, the acceptance and victim blaming does happen at alarming rates. The most disturbing study Ive seen was done at a Rape Crisis Center Awareness program, in 1988 about when it is “ok” for a man to force himself on a woman or a woman feeling she needs to oblige his advances (http://articles.latimes.com/1988-05-03/local/me-1925_1_rhode-island).

Thats when it hit me. That survey was done to my generation when we where kids. Its MY generation that is perpetuating this.

Why though? Why is my generation thinking that women need to be completely willing and able to satisfy any physical need of a man, and why are men of my generation thinking its ok to be entitled to that want, even if by force? Even more appalling, why and how has it become ok to blame the victim?

Every generation wants to make it easier and less hard for the future generations. We dont want them to feel hurt, or pain, or rejection. So, in a lot of cases, we shelter the next generation.

Well thats taken one hell of an ugly turn.

Trying to comfort our sons and protect them from hurt has turned into protection from consequences. Many times now, Ive seen parents pass the buck. “My child would never. It has to do with the situation/other person. My child is perfect and needs to be sheltered”. That is the core of the rape culture. It wasnt THEIR son, it was the woman/alcohol/environment, whatever. That has only taught this generation that no matter what you do, you can pass off the blame and misery to someone else and you come out unscathed. There is no compassion, nor is there empathy. You cannot feel an emotion you havent wanted for yourself. No parent wants to ever think they did anything wrong in rearing their children, when in reality we need to face the fact that we fuck up every day, its just the level of how fucked up we are that needs to be controlled.

We also yearn for a time when things where simpler, and when life seemed easier. In our nostalgia, weve forgotten the bad thats come with that. Women where oppressed, and expected to have dinner on the table, a spotless house, children that where seen and not heard and expected to pull it off in a timeless dress and heels. They had no voice, and where expected to bow to their mans every whim and need. Marital rape wasnt even a crime, let alone an abomination. It was an expected duty.

Well, heres your smack of reality.

Teach your fucking kids to be HUMAN, not some gender stereotype. Men do not need to be these stoic power hungry characters, solely defined and excused by their hormones, and women never need to be complacent and abused. A woman is not defined by her clothes, how many men shes slept with, how much shes had to drink, and her worth damn sure isnt determined by the bill for dinner, nor is she owed a tab for said bill.

Stop placing blame elsewhere for your kids actions! You know whats going to happen to poor little Johnny and Jane when the blame for their shit is put on them? They learn. Not just to not do it again, but how to feel want for compassion and understanding.

We do not need to go back to the 1950s when women where nothing but a maid and fuck service and men wielded all the power, both in the board room and at home. We need to go back to the sense of camaraderie and communication, but not at the expense of oppression and abuse.

Why is it that here, in America, a woman can be assaulted or raped, and blame put on her clothing? Yet in tribal nations, women can walk around completely nude and not only be respected, but ADMIRED and not lusted after? Because theyre taught that 1-there is nothing wrong or shameful about the human body and 2-its something to be regarded as a vessel of life and beauty, not your personal toy.

Start taking responsibility for your children and your parenting. Its ok to say “shit, I fucked up, how can I fix this before it changes my childs core being?”. Minus the small percentage that have actual issues dealing with empathy and compassion, YOU have the power to control whether your child becomes a decent human being with love and respect, or a monster whos been taught they can take advantage of everything theyre entitled to without repercussions.

Women, think about this, it was someones SON who may harm you. Men, its someones SON who may blame your daughter for her clothes, friends, perceived reputation, or the fact she accepted a date and ordered something a little more pricey on the menu. Would you turn around and tell yourself or your daughter that yes, it was their fault?

And if you think rape culture dosent exist, turn on any popular show, music video or shit, even watch the news. Youd be shocked at just how prevalent it is when youre aware its happening.

The Greatest Talent of My Generation

(For Nick)

Growing up in NYC gave me an advantage. It allowed me to be exposed to parts of life I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. In my time, I’ve been exposed to some of the greatest artists and creative minds I have ever seen walk this earth. Although unknown, underground and unconventional, these people where born with talent far beyond anything I’ve ever seen in mainstream media.

Maybe people who have a deeper understanding of the arts gravitate towards each other, and that’s why most of my friends all seemed to have fallen into some aspect of creative or performing arts. All I know is, my life is richer for knowing them, and they have educated me far beyond any classroom or textbook should have.

The ones that have always been a step above the rest where the graffiti artist I’ve come to known. Now, I know most people will not agree with my views on their art, and find it as an annoyance, an eyesore, and even criminal. In mine (and their) defenses, you’ve never seen past what you think is scribble on a wall. These are people that you’ve probably walked past, sat next to on a bus or train, may have even worked or gone to school with them. Never would you know who they are unless they told you.

What you don’t see is the intense detail that is put into their pieces. The amazing understanding for color, the steady hands it takes, and their ability to see a blank canvas and fill it with their talents, usually having to be done in under 3 minutes. The dedication it takes to stay with your passion, even when it is illegal and could mean your ass is in jail by the end of the night. Being able to stand quietly even when you hear someone compliment your work. Carrying on day to day as a “normal person”, while there is this whole other identity to you. One that you usually feel is the real you.

This is ART. It’s a concept in someones mind brought to life. Their canvas may not be a traditional one, but, they can make one out of any available surface known to them. It’s an illustration of color techniques and lines created as swiftly as you can turn your head.

It’s these guys that I think about the most. Makes me incredibly sad that they can’t be recognized for their immense talent that the world deserves to see.

Then there’s the music guys/gals. The rappers, singers, producers, writers, and DJ’s who spend hours upon hours on their craft with no pay, and no guarantee any of it will ever pay off in the end. Yet, they stay to it, because they could never imagine themselves doing anything else. This is the talent you never hear on the radio. The REAL talent.  The small studios, the illegal parties, the dark clubs, the nights spent till dawn writing because you can’t sleep with all of it running through your head. Trying anything you can to get your sound, your soul out to anyone in hopes they might pass it along. Listen to these people. While you’re too busy filling your head with radio pop bullshit, it’s them that are bringing a real message. It’s them that should be the industry standard.

The talent that comes from these “underground” performers is worth so much more than anything you can turn your dial, or grab from ITunes. It’s them who are talking about the world we live in. It’s them that you don’t think to glance at while you’re out having drinks with your friends while they’re playing in a booth for hours on end, just to come home and work another 12 hours perfecting their craft. The people you choose to ignore for your mainstream “feel good” are the people who can educate you far beyond anything you learned off a chalk board.

There’s a sense of pride that comes with looking at these people, and the luck I feel to call them friends. Never have I seen anyone work harder, or stay with something that most likely never see mainstream fame. Yet, they still do it. Why? Because they can’t stop. This is who they are, and they will never turn away from it to be everything everyone told them they should. When people say “real recognizes real”, maybe this is why we all gravitate towards each other. You can’t come any realer than these people.

This is the greatest talent of my generation

Goodbye, Dear Friend

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When I first started this, I told myself that I wouldn’t center on any one personal person (politicians and celebs aside). But, tonight, I need to tell the world about my friend.

I met Lauren in either 3rd or 4th grade. She came into the Alpha Class, which was for the absolute smartest kids in the grade. She was smart, funny, and gorgeous. You wanted to be jealous of her, but she was so damn nice you couldn’t be. We became pretty cool right away, and even then she stood out above everyone.

In 6th grade, she started me on what is probably now known as my biggest obsession. She walked into school one day with flared jeans, and the biggest platform shoes I had ever seen. Little did any of us know, she created a complete shoe monster. Even that young, you can tell she had an eye for fashion, that never wavered.

We stayed friends all through Junior High. The friendship weaned a bit in High School, and for some years after, we lost touch. We found each other again around 2007-2008. I had moved down to Tennessee, and she was in NY living the NYC life most of us dreamed of. Jobs at MTV, Journalism degree, she had it all.

Lauren also found out a few years prior to that, that she was sick. She was diagnosed with Scleroderma / Mixed Connective Tissue Disease with an overlap of Lupus and Fibromyalgia. She found out her heart was failing at 25. Instead of allowing this autoimmune disease to swallow her whole, she became determined to heal herself and get better. Shes had so many ups and downs, surgeries, scares, and even then still became determined to heal herself. Pacemaker in, she was doing a damn fine job of it too.

Last Thursday I had a docs appointment. Feeling like shit, I threw on a pair of old navy yoga pants and went looking for a comfortable shirt that 1-wouldnt offend hospital staff in the bible belt should I need to be admitted, and 2-would cover some things this I haven’t quite yet come to terms with on this amazing Mommy Body my son has given me and 3-I wouldn’t feel like I was wrapped in a Campbells soup blanket with the summer heat down here.

And there it was-Old Faithful.

A few years back, Lauren sent me a few shirts. Said I needed some New York Style, and since I couldnt find it here, shed help out. In that box was a yellow burn out style T-shirt, with a giant yellow happy face on it. Old Faithful. Old Faithful has survived through surgeries without binding, a pre pregnancy body and still highlighting my best features, 8 months of a rocky and sometimes downright scary pregnancy and never stretched, and almost 2 years of my new Mommy Body, hides what I need it too, still fits a completely changed body and still feels like a second skin to me.

So Old Faithful and I went to the doctor. And I was completely comfortable enough to take a 2 hour nap in it afterwords.

Every time I put that shirt on, I smile and think of her. Shed probably yell at me for not accessorizing enough with it or wearing flats with it. She knew my crazy shoe obsession.

Lauren died the day after that doctors appointment. Her illness had taken over her heart, and her heart just couldn’t take it anymore. Friday, July 19, 2013, around noon EST, Lauren had lost the hard battle shes fought for so many years.

This isnt fucking fair! Why her? Why does someone who could probably change the entire world on a few words lose her life over people who couldnt give a shit about others? Why did someone with such a huge heart have to have it be so sick when people who seemingly have no heart walk around unscathed with no ill will against them?

This isn’t fucking right, and it dosen’t make sense

She was THE STRONGEST woman, fuck person, I have ever seen in my life. Yet she was so humble and so secure in herself that she kept telling me I was one of the strongest people shes seen. Me? Hardly. She had more strength in the tip of her nose than Ive ever needed to come up against anything in my life.

Im angry. Beyond angry. Im hurt, deeper than I have been in a really really long time. She was fine a few weeks ago! Sounded excited that were trying to make plans to move back to New York. Even talked about play dates with her niece. How the fuck can I walk into that city now and her not be there? Shes as iconic as the Chrysler Building, and even more beautiful. Every building, every street, train station and sound of that city is her.

The only thing I can do is be that strong person she saw in me. Show my son that strength isnt always physical, but mental and spiritual like she was. All I can do is just tell him about her, her struggle, and what shes overcome. How beautiful of a person she is, and what she means to the world.

EVERYONE should know who she was. EVERYONE needs to see what REAL beauty is in this world. After you’re done reading this, head over to her blog SaveLaurensHeart.com and see what a REAL HUMAN BEING is in this world. What REAL STRENGTH, LOVE AND DETERMINATION IS.

I just want my friend back….

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

(Note: This entry isn’t going to be as deep or thoughtful as the last one. I was charged up and feeling more than a bit philosophical last night)

I swear, nothing pulls the train into Crazy Town faster than kids

This blog isn’t going to be about respect for yourself, or your kids, or any of the other Mommy wars bullshit that goes on these days. Its about the infamous line of

“But we’re family”-And the level of disrespect you have to take when this line is tossed around

Express train to Bullshitville anyone?

I do not, in any uncertain terms, tolerate disrespect in the name of “family”. Blood relation dosen’t give you the right to be a fucking douchenozzle without repercussion. If anything, more is expected of you because you’re supposed to be my damn family, and should respect me as such.

Now, what I absolutely do not tolerate, by any fucking means, is disrespect shown to me in front of my child. This “what happens at ___ house stays here” is fucking horseshit. You are not the parent. You had your opportunity, you don’t get the chance to relive it again. And if you disrespect me or my parenting, guess what, you don’t have access to my child.

“But we love the child! You should allow everyone who loves that child into their lives!”

Child molesters love kids too. Should we allow them access to our children?

Yes, love is a wonderful thing. But you cannot raise children on just love alone. The biggest lesson you can ever teach your children is self respect. Children learn by watching. How well are you teaching your child when you allow yourself to be disrespected? How much can you teach your child about rules and authority when they’re being taught that someone else will just give them what they want anyway, and if they find the right avenues, the rules can be bent?

“But I’m (insert relation here). I’m entitled to have access to this child”

FUCK YOU

HARDER THAN A GOAT

ON A LONELY IRISH CLIFF

No one, besides that child’s parents have any entitlement to a child, and even that can be argued depending on what kind of parent this kid was given. Being in a child’s life is a fucking PRIVILEGE. Treat it as such. Is it a great thing for a child to have a huge family? Sure. Will they lack the basic life necessities and lessons without one. Not in the fucking least bit, no matter how important you think you are.

“Its about control. You’re controlling that child”

No, its about respect. Your attempts to undermine a persons parenting and insist your fucking will is about control. And yes, until my child is of legal age, their life is in my hands. I make the decisions on whats going to mold this child into a functioning member of society, and maybe, a great mind of the world. Teaching them that you can be disrespected in the name of “family”, that rules can be broken and their first authority figures can be defied really isn’t the most ideal path for a solid life foundation.

“I’m your elder, you need to respect me and my decisions”

As a child, yes I did. As an adult, were on a level field now. I respect your life experiences, and may even ask or listen to advice if presented in a respectful manner. But don’t think I’m going to automatically respect you because you became a crotch critter a generation before me.

If you find yourself in the situation, where you’re furious or feel disrespected by a family member, ask yourself “would I take this bullshit from some fucking asshat on the street? Would I allow a friend to do it without telling them they’re about as right as flaming unicorn balls rolling down Main Street”. If the answer is no, then its something you  don’t need to tolerate from anyone, family or not. Find your spine and stand up! You’re not teaching your child disrespect, and you’re not doing them a disservice. You’re teaching them that you’re a human being, and should be respected as such

I’m starting to think we’re all a little strange….

So, in light of the obviously high racial, religious and orientation tensions here in the US, I’m really starting to see people for who they are, and what they believe in, no matter what they’ve claimed. Truth be told, it sickens me.

As I sit here listening to Adele, with the Rolling Stones, Onyx and Eric Prydz up next in the play list, Im starting to realize my friends are just as eclectic as my music. Shit my music is probably this eclectic because of my friends.

I’m starting to think the way I grew up was the farthest thing from the norm you could find. I grew up in New York City, the world famous “melting pot”. On top of that, I grew up in an area where being white wasn’t exactly the norm as well.

Now, living in Tennessee, I realize how fucking strange NYC really is.

We never saw each other as Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, etc. We never saw each other as a Catholic, Jew, Muslim or whatever you did or didn’t believe in. We never saw each other as straight, gay, transgender, or whatever sexual and lifestyle preference you had. We where just friend’s, and we loved and looked out for each other. Maybe that’s why I managed to keep the same friend’s for 15-25 years. We all just see each other as human, and remain loyal till given a reason not to.

Yea, as we got older we migrated towards people and ideas that we felt more comfortable with. And many times, its faced opposition with someone else’s views. But at the end of it all, we’ve all thrown it down and said “fuck it, that’s my people right there, and that’s the end of it”.

Case in point. My husband was in the military for 12 years. Over the course of that entire span, he had been deployed 5 times to Arabic nations. Most people placed in that situation would have a severe distaste for anyone who is Muslim, especially after a few of your friends where killed while serving. Yet one of my longest and dearest friends is a wonderful woman, born in Afghanistan and is now a well known Afghan singer. I would meet her at the ends of the earth if she needed me to, and no matter when, if she needs my ears, I’d Picasso them for her. MANY of my friends are Muslim, and never once has my husband’s service, or the experiences I have seen come out of those war torn countries changed my views or love for them.

I guess we may have been raised that there are extremists to every group of people, but by no means are they the majority. At the end of it all, we’re just simply human. Trying to just get by and maybe carve a small corner of the world for ourselves and our future generations. Then again, when you’ve been dragged through the shit of life, who was there for you becomes your family, regardless of how they look, what God they pray to or who they fuck. We pulled each other up out of the shit, and knew to lean on each other when we had to let one fall because they never wanted to leave the shit we where in.

And I’ve got to say how fucking lucky I am to have people of every race, faith, gender and orientation be there for me. Not only did it open my eyes and teach me about every aspect of life, love, struggles and joy, but it restores my faith in humanity daily that maybe, just maybe, there’s hope for us as a collective species after all.

This is why I believe everyone should live in NYC for at least 2 years of their lives. Just to open your fucking eyes to everything and everyone the world has to offer. It’s heartbreaking to me that people with any form of prejudice could shut their hearts to people who could be so loving and so fulfilling.

My friends have made me realize that we never have just one soul mate, because each of them is what makes my soul whole. Each one of them is a part in the huge collective that is me, and what fills me.

Now, onto some “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City”. Wrong my friend. Love is the heart of the city…