Monthly Archives: May 2016

Takers

May 20, 2016

hatecancer

Takers should be considered as bad as haters. Yet, we can hate haters. Let’s also hate takers. Takers, you know, those who make it all about them.
So good, so smooth, so selfish. Take, take, take. Take until there’s nothing left.

And the takers keep taking.
It doesn’t matter how much money you make. What kind of car you drive, how big your house is, what kind of clothes you wear. Whether you are stylish, have a million Instagram followers or use the best face cream known to humankind.
It doesn’t matter if you eat clean, are vegan and don’t Botox.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t smoke, don’t drink or don’t swear.
It doesn’t matter if you are black, white, brown or organic.
It doesn’t matter how much sun cream you’ve applied.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve taken all of your vitamins.
It doesn’t matter if you are the best parent or child.
It doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter if you have tried at all.
Because it’s not about you, not at all.

Cancer, the worst goddamnmotherfuckingsonofabitch taker.

It will take over your life and consume you in ways you never thought possible.
It will take your tears and your laughter.
It will take your youth; your golden years.
It will take your sanity, your strength, your will to live.
It will make near strangers bring you casseroles and baked goods.
It will take your poise and your self-esteem.
It will make you want, panic and try.
It will make you hate.
It will turn your life upside down with guilt, sadness, shame, desperation.
It will try to take you, your wife, your husband, your son, your daughter.

Don’t let it. Take it back. Take the taker.
Focus on survival, not destruction.
Let it give you something it can’t take: hope.

For Alice, Bee, Mick, Ty, Suzanne, and Travis. Sometimes problems need money thrown at them. Cancer is one of those problems. Whatever institute or charity you support, throw more money at it. Help my friends. Help yours. There are people in your life right now who have cancer and don’t even know it yet. Help them. Let’s take it back. Get rid of cancer. Find a cure. Help hope survive.   @macmilliancancer, @CR_UK

Is it just me, or…do atheists get a bum rap?

May 3, 2016

It’s hard to say how many people globally do not believe in any sort of deity, but the recent Pew numbers on China claiming over 60% of its population to be atheists seems like substantial support toward more ‘non-believers’ than believers. Also, the lack of practicing devout subjects in this country alone is staggering. When I took my Life in the UK test a few years ago, Brits who actually go to church each week was at an alarmingly low 17%, and at the same time, the BBC reported that atheism or UK citizens who declared themselves ‘of no religion’ was teetering at a high of over 14 million, a number that had more than doubled in the previous ten years.

I do not begrudge any religion or religious person. I am a huge fan of the Dali Lama ( = no choice, born into the role). And yet I can’t say I understand it, because I just don’t understand faith. But some of the people I love and respect the most are seriously devout. More than anything, I love to question them and also, to argue and debate. It’s the stuff of life that is engaging, exploratory and educational.

However, I’ve noted a few disturbing episodes of discrimination against my child lately (‘Mini Me’ is currently self-proclaimed). Both occurred at what is meant to be a non-denom school. Firstly, in a recent classroom lesson, the teacher asked the kids to raise hands if they were Muslim, Catholic, Jewish, etc. When two of the kids didn’t raise hands (one being my daughter), the teacher inquired and they reported they were atheists. My daughter said her teacher looked at her strangely, and then looked ‘disappointed’. For my 6 year old to clock disappointment means the teacher didn’t do much to veil it.

The second instance was during the recent Passover where they served only matzo sandwiches to ALL of the children during the week. When I inquired as to why there was no choice, the reply from the school was it was easier to accommodate the children observing Passover. Fine, but please provide an alternative. Do not literally shove an organised religion’s practices down my kid’s throat. It’s a violation of her civil rights, and probably against several Department for Education codes. But I said nothing. It was one of those “choose your battles” moments and this one seemed, well, unwinnable. God (!) forbid I even go anywhere near it (we have enough problems fitting in being half-American).

Minor as it might seem, the point is a larger one: there was no choice. I don’t want my daughter practicing your traditions – however harmless they may be, unless she chooses to. We are trying to start our own traditions as atheists, whatever that even really means, which is admittedly hard considering I was reared Catholic and my whole family celebrates Easter, Christmas, First Communions, etc. And yes, I want her to be open to new things and explore different foods, cultures, and theories, but…give her the choice however small it may seem.

There are many parts of organized religion I admire. I respect the intent of good deeds and good will, and I admire the structure it can provide to children, families and communities, especially in times of crisis and even more so in the digital age with the intense loneliness it is creating. But there’s also a lot of hypocrisy around religion and the current problem with people actually confusing the second largest religion in the world for something broken (by Western believers?) and sinister. Also, religious holidays seem to cause people more stress than happiness with all the relatives, food and money wasted on things nobody really seems to need (can you imagine how quickly we could end global poverty if we all diverted our Christmas/Hanukkah/Diwali budgets to end hunger?).

These are some of the reasons why starting our own traditions has been difficult. What does Christmas mean if you don’t believe in Christ, is it hypocritical to celebrate it? Easter just becomes a completely pagan, chocolate guzzling holiday. I’m not one of those atheists who does not support religion, even after 12 years of Catholic school. My Dad self-baptized my daughter when she was born and I have no problem with that if it makes him happy. So with our child, my husband (agnostic) and I decided we would take her to church when she was around 2 years old. She loved it, but mostly we think it was for the biscuits at the end. We had a really good pastor at our local C of E and he did a special family mass that was truly inspirational. But then he left and we lost interest. I’ve also made my step-kids go to this same mass because I think teenagers these days need good lessons in managing boredom, and mass is very boring for a teenager. But it also provides a great opportunity to unplug and organise one’s thoughts as well as meet people from the community (not easy to do in London). And in most cases, it also provides the chance to embrace positivity, of which I am a true believer. The power of positive thinking and the whole #PMA movement are right up my alley.

Whilst I do want my daughter to embrace all religions, I want whatever route she chooses to be her choice, not mine, nor anyone else’s and certainly not her school’s.

May the peace be with you.