Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Fuck It Threshold



Growing up Arab, you tend to notice how people have an obscene interest in other people's business. Growing up human, you realize there are different motives for such interest. This creates a breeding ground for judgment and criticism, giving a false sense of moral superiority. You are free to disagree, you are free to dislike, but who are you to pass judgement on anyone? People get preoccupied with other people's lives, so much so that they tend to forget to live their own. I was once that person, dismissing anyone who did not think like me, act like me, live like me. It wasn't until I hit a point in my life where none of that mattered anymore. I saw how it broke people apart. I saw how it created such animosity, dividing friends and family even. Rejecting any form of 'other', usually because one doesn't understand the other, is a sad and lonely existence to me. There's such beauty in diversity, and I find normalcy to be so overrated. That's why I said: fuck it! Live and let live!

I found myself choosing to be around people I felt comfortable being myself with. It created a healthy environment for self discovery even. Having people accept me as I am allowed me to become the person that I am in a sense. Over time I would gravitate more towards those who felt the same, and I was better able to understand and coexist with those who didn't. I witnessed how people crossed over from the latter to the former when they reached what I like to call the "Fuck It Threshold". It is a point in someone's life where the magnitude of negativity and animosity that stems from judging others is so intense, it pushes you over the edge. More often than not, it occurs following some form of heart ache; real heart ache can push you to denounce much, and 'people' are usually the first to go. It's when you say to yourself fuck it. Fuck it all. Fuck what everyone says or thinks and take ownership of your life. Life is too precious to waste it hating, scrutinizing, discriminating. I would say it's about concerning yourself less with what people think and say about you and focus more on how they feel. So long as how you choose to exist doesn't hurt anyone's feelings, they can think/say what they want, and you can sleep at night. 

It's such a liberating feeling, you'll find yourself becoming more content with who you are and life becomes so much sweeter. You begin to examine your life, your surroundings, your values, your ideals, your beliefs, your relationships, etc. You focus on you, your life, your present, rather than wasting precious time fretting about what is entirely out of your control; other people's thoughts and actions, past, present or future. All you can do is control your own, so invest in developing your own. 

How and when you reach these glorious gates of self-liberation, of course, is very subjective, but ever so magical nonetheless. I have since tried to find ways to induce that state, or even nudge people over myself. But alas, it does not work that way. Also, I've discovered there's a knock-off threshold that people go through where they talk the talk but secretly still judge you. Those imposters are worse than the judge-y types in my opinion. They give you a false sense of security then throw you under the bus. Whether intentionally or not, it is hurtful nonetheless. I feel they suffer with an inner struggle that usually manifests in the ugliest ways, harming themselves more than anyone. You owe it to yourself to be at peace with who you are, who you want to be, not who you are expected to be. It's your prerogative to dictate what that means exactly, and when you do just own it! 


I really believe when you're sitting on what you believe to be the moral high ground, looking down on others, the harder you fall when you falter. And you are human, so you will falter. And then you will struggle to consolidate what you did with what you believe, or what you think you believe. You will push it to the back of your mind and convince yourself you're case is different. You tell yourself you're not like others who have faltered as you did. Then you tell yourself that it will end there, and you will never falter again. But you are human, so you will falter. And thus begins the duality inside; you don't like the person you are because you will judge yourself as you do others. The solution? Don't be so hard on yourself for starters. And stop comparing yourself to others. Your journey is your own, if you do something, do it with conviction otherwise don't do it at all. Focus on being at peace with yourself and whatever higher power you believe in first and foremost. In essence, you need to learn to b-b-b-block out all the haters!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

We're All a Bunch of Assholes and Psychos

I've come to accept it as fact that all men are assholes. They vary in degrees of severity and perhaps they don't behave as such with everyone, but I firmly believe each and every hot blooded male is an asshole in some way, shape or form. Yes, even our loving fathers can be assholes sometimes, if not to you then surely to others. I think they just have a genetic predisposition, something in the Y chromosome allows for this immense capacity to behave as a total asshole. Accepting it allowed me to accept and love all the men in my life, what I believe it means to love unconditionally; notwithstanding the asshole condition, I am still capable of loving you. Also, accepting that fact allows me to better understand how to better deal with men; I expect them to be assholes and anticipate assholosity. 

What's interesting is the split reaction I get: some men agree without shame and others play the wounded victim while disagreeing. A - mad respect for those who own up to it. B - come here little wounded deer and let's have a chat. 

Oh, women can be assholes too? Yeah, I totally agree, I'm proud to be one. Well, if all men are assholes then all women are bitches? Although they have the capacity to be bitches, I believe - usually - some man/men in their lives pushed them to be that way. Also, no, not all. I can't generalize, you say? Watch me! 

ALL. MEN. ARE. ASSHOLES. 

Dare me to say it again?

For the sake of humanity, and in an effort to try to understand each other in this chronic gender war, can we assume I'm right? Okay, now that we've done that, let me tell you what all women are: all women are bat shit crazy.  They vary in degrees of severity and perhaps they don't behave as such with everyone, but I firmly believe each and every hot blooded female is bat shit crazy in some way, shape or form. Yes, including myself. But here's the thing, it's not our fault, at least not all the time. From the moment a girl hits puberty we start this hormonal roller coaster that lasts decades and we don't really know we're on it either. Once I realized this I was able to understand myself and other women in my life a lot better, and likewise love them unconditionally despite it. Perhaps the asshole thing is hormonal, too? Could be "manstruation" but I don't have any personal experience to base it on. What I can tell you is that I've felt the crazy, though. It's made me second guess everything I decide to do on a whim - from shopping to working to contemplating taking a sledge hammer to his brand new car - and that's mainly because in retrospect, I usually regret such rash decisions more often than not (never regret shopping though, only regret being broke, totally unrelated). But during a bat-shit-crazy spell I manage to have such conviction and somehow firmly believe it is perfectly reasonable to light all his possessions on fire. And again, part of it does usually have to do with men; more often than not the crazy comes along as a reaction to their action(s) or lack thereof. Not pointing fingers or blame, this is the honest truth. You guys drive us insane, sometimes very literally. 



I say all this and share it with you all knowing full well it probably won't be very well received. But I genuinely do believe in it all and it really has allowed me to better understand, accept and love the people in my life of both genders. Go ahead and call me bat-shit-crazy (call me an asshole if you like, too) but do me a favor and pretend I'm right for a second here, try to even believe it for a few days and see if that seemingly negative outlook doesn't positively affect your human relationships. Then and only then can you come back and tell me what I already know: that I'm a bat-shit-crazy asshole that speaks the truth!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bullshit

I've been lying in bed for hours now unable to stop crying. My heart aches. It aches for all the magnificent women I know who have been wronged by assholes, even for those I don't know. My heart aches for every girl who is brought up to believe the only thing she can amount to in life is marriage. It aches for every woman who is oblivious of her own self worth, subjecting herself to the will of a man who sees himself entitled to do as he pleases with no repercussions. It aches for all the smart, capable women robbed of opportunities because society doesn't see it fit for a young lady, as to not be too threatening to potential suitors. It aches for every woman who subjects herself to any kind of abuse because she has nowhere else to turn, because her children depend on it, even worse, because she believes she deserves it.

Living in a patriarchal society, women always get the short end of the stick. Even my own parents, who are relatively exceptional in this regard, I feel view me as an accessory. It doesn't matter what I have done, what I have achieved, what I am capable of. All that matters is that I am appealing. The older I get, the more they give up on the idea. Sometimes I feel like an old dog they don't have the heart to put down, so they just continue to feed and shelter me till I die. My whole life, what I can and can't do, is not dictated by morals or principles but by public opinion. I continue to fight tooth and nail but I am seen as unruly, insolent and impertinent.

Do I forever have to live on the sidelines waiting for someone to finally see me as a suitable mate? Is my life eternally on hold until someone puts a ring on my finger? Is my value forever tied to a man?

I have a coworker who gets really peeved when women demand equal rights and still demand being treated as a lady (as if being polite has always somehow been compensation for the rights we don't have). This topic is always a very heated discussion in the office. I work in a heavily male dominated field and I am not one to shy away from a discussion on women's rights. When I stated that it's not right for a grown woman to go from being the responsibility of her father to the responsibility of the husband as if we are eternally children, another coworker expressed sympathy for the poor schmuck who gets stuck with me.

If I am an adult, I don't need a man to tell me what I can and can't do. So long as I live with my father, he has a say in everything. I'm blessed with a father that does listen to reason - so long as social expectation falls within that reason. Yet if I'm married, it is my husband, and at that point my father supposedly stops caring? I entrust my life, my wellbeing, my future, to someone I barely know and that's okay to people? My father has every right to have a say in my life, he gave me life! What right does this stranger have to do so? Especially when all I see is how incompetent men have become in this aspect. They no longer have much regard to anyone but themselves. They make a call based on convenience and impose it. They no longer take accountability for their actions and expect us to accept that. "I can cheat because I'm a man, and even if I get caught, society will forgive me, she will forgive me, and life goes on". What's that? Children born out of wedlock? Shotgun marriages, and second and third and fourth marriages to cover it up? Oh silly Arab man, you're so silly with your wandering penis and total disregard to anyone other than yourself. But here, take our daughters, break their hearts, beak their spirits, break their bones, and bring them back in pieces so they can spend the rest of their lives undoing this damage only to make her realize too late that she can survive without you.

I explained that I refuse to be treated like a child, and marriage does not mean I surrender myself to a man completely. However one of my coworkers seemed to have a problem with that, as if expecting to have a mature relationship with my husband where we make decisions together and he doesn't decide things for me is a preposterous idea. His response was "God help whoever you end up marrying". I refuse to succumb to the pressures of society. Call it whatever you like, I call bullshit. This is all total bullshit. I will continue to do so until my dying day.

P.S. Anyone planning to hit me with a "not all men are like that" can save their breath. I know they're not, it's only the vast majority I'm talking about here.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Pursuit of Fun

There were many moments in my life where I felt myself in a moral dilemma where my decision did not reflect what I thought right to do. Then I convinced myself that the 'right thing to do' is a concept ingrained in your mind as a result of the environment you grew up in, so just do whatever you want because what you want to do is not wrong, then it must be right. But then again I would ask myself; why do I feel so guilty?

This past weekend I had an epiphany of sorts. I flew out to visit family with my sister. Usually these family visits would include our mother, are almost always very brief and rushed, and I always try to make time to do something that I want to do such as see a friend or go to a particular store or cafe. These side activities I do with at least a cousin so I feel I'm still fulfilling my duty of spending time with family while doing what I want, but in that time I am away from the vast majority I supposedly came to see. Allow me to express that I love my family, from the depths of my heart, regardless of how we may differ. Their joy brings me joy and their grief brings me grief; genuine, no-strings-attached love. I have a character flaw in that I want to do too many things with too many people and I never seem to sort myself out well enough to give everyone their due, but don't you dare decide for me - with force - what to do or who to see. I believe I know well enough to fulfill my duties towards the people in my life, but in reality knowing is not enough. I don't do much of what I know I should do. The thought would cross my mind and at that moment I would just rather be doing something else so I put it in the back of my mind. In the words of Mr. Lamar: Bitch, don't kill my vibe.

I've always asked myself whether I am too preoccupied with the pursuit of fun that I am not able to appreciate other things life has to offer. I don't know what happened this past weekend, but I think I managed to crack the case. I managed to spend quality time with the people I loved and have fun doing it. And true to form it was brief and rushed but at least it happened. I came back home with a euphoric feeling, in addition to missing them all immensely. And I realized what made this trip different was that I was more present; my mind wasn't thinking about being back at work in a couple days or that fight I had with my friend before I left or that thing I had to do for my mom when I got back.

That's when it hit me; the pursuit of fun is merely a distraction. Although it is easy to be present when you are having fun, it's not easy being present all the time or even most of the time, especially during those not-so-pleasant times. It's not that you shouldn't seek to have fun, by all means enjoy yourself! But enjoy the other moments too. Even in times of sorrow, reaching out to someone in their time of need with something as simple as a brief phone call is a moment, enjoy it! Even if you don't know what to say and how to act, be present and let it be genuine, enjoy it! So long as you have the right intentions, I am almost certain whoever is before you will sense that and appreciate it. With every moment, there is potential for connection. Human connection is so vital and we are so starved that we need it from wherever we can find it. Genuine human interactions with genuine emotions. It could be something as simple as complimenting the guy behind the check-out counter on his funky glasses, or laughing with the random woman on the street whose dog decided to sit down in the middle of the road. Just know how much to give to each person.

Don't give too much to those who don't deserve it. Be kind, be polite, be considerate, be friendly, but the real stuff, the go-out-of-your-way-to-make-them-smile stuff is not for everyone. I have reached a point in my life where if I don't believe you deserve certain things of me; I ain't gonna do it. It is such a liberating feeling. And this varies from person to person. One person I would jump through hoops to find the exact kind of chocolate they love, with another person the rope ends at casual conversation when we accidentally bump into each other at the mall. It's nothing personal. All are nice people, but not all nice people deserve my all. Just because I know you and you are a nice person, does not mean I need to remember to wish you a happy birthday every year (for example). Social obligations got too much for me and I could not keep track. So I got sick of feeling guilty for neglecting people in my life who I genuinely did not have the time of day to even think about, nor should I make time! Although I do like these people, and it would please me to see them, I'm just not gonna go out of my way to do it because simply put, I owe them nothing. Others though, I owe them everything. It's a pretty wide spectrum, to the point you could categorize people depending on how close they are. The spectrum is flexible; over time people can move along the spectrum in either direction. It's like a live document that needs regular updating. A good way to look at it is this; if something amazing happened to you, who would you want there to celebrate with you? Even then, who would you want to spend all night on the dance floor with and who do you only want for a dance or two? I genuinely believe that the people who matter in your life most - depending on life circumstances - will almost always be right there for you when it counts, or at least will always want to be there for when life simply does not permit it.


“Don’t sacrifice yourself too much, because if you sacrifice too much there’s nothing else you can give and nobody will care for you.” ― Karl Lagerfeld


Apologies for the digression. Good night for now.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Knight in Shining Armor & the Damsel in Distress

When a certain idea has been continuously shoved at your psyche throughout the years, I can understand how it is difficult to stray from it. The idea of the man being some supreme savior to the poor, helpless woman is one that has been depicted in any and every way, shape and form. It would make sense for both genders to somehow feel obligated to play their respective roles even when it is against their personal nature.

Let's face it, not all men could be classified as a 'knight in shining armor'. They are human, they are flawed, and not each and every man should be expected to somehow fit the bill of the strong protector. And once we all can agree on that, instead of having false expectations of men - and men having false bravado to go with the hardware - we could get along a whole lot better. Likewise, not all women are in need of rescuing, so stop trying to save us. And ladies, stop playing the victim!! Stop waiting around for someone to save you; you are not trapped in a high tower with no way out. You need saving, start by trying to save yourself. Even if you did need saving, and he did save you, he sure as hell doesn't need to know it. You are facing difficulties in your life, as is everyone else, you are an adult and you have learned to deal, and that is what you need to show him. Otherwise, if he has taken you away from a place you do not wish to return, he just might abuse that knowledge and use it against you.

I don't know if it's deliberate, I don't know if it is insecurity, I don't know if it is some unavoidable byproduct of love, but if a man knows he has saved you from what you perceived to be a life of misery, or simply a life you were not too happy with, he somehow will come back around and hang it over your head. Whether directly - in the form of constant reminders - or indirectly - abusing you knowing you have nothing better to go back to - I have seen men use this against women a little too often. Men may do this unknowingly, but it does not make it any less despicable. Regardless of what you did for the person you love, the moment you start keeping score and start resenting your partner for it, you may start saying/doing things you regret.

No one asked you to be the almighty savior, you assigned yourself that role. And if you aren't able to play that part, don't blame it on the damsel. Especially nowadays when damsels are more tolerant to distress and don't need saving as much as before. And ladies don't give yourself entirely to a man expecting he will always put you first, you're just setting yourself up for disappointment.

When you love someone, and you need them, it seems all too dangerous to me. Loving them and wanting them in your life seems to be a safer scenario for me. Expectations need to be managed for sure. Don't rush to give too much of yourself to one person; soon enough you will realize you have no more of yourself to give, and nothing left for yourself either. That person needs to prove they are worthy of your time, effort, affection, compassion, love. Otherwise, the love you give so easily could be taken for granted somehow, someway, someday.

If you have all this pent up love waiting for the right person to just dump it all on, I have a solution for you. Look around. Look at the many people in your life; from family to friends to acquaintances to the guy at Starbucks you see every time you get your morning coffee. All those people won't say no to a little love. So rather than bottling it up for the next girl/guy who holds your hand, spread the love. When I say love here I mean it in the human, universal sense; the kind of love you find in a genuine smile. It is healthier to distribute your love and with it your attention than to have it solely focused on one person. No one person can possibly live up to all that attention without disappointing you and hurting you in the process.

For starter's, you are less likely to scare that person off, not everyone wants to get suffocated like that. Also, you are less likely to get sick of each other. You don't lose touch with the important people already in your life. You don't resent each other down the line when you realize you've been so caught up and cut off that the rest of your world has moved on without you.

A person distracting you from your troubles doesn't spell 'happily ever after' to me. When you're looking for someone to love, try to focus less on the distress and more on finding someone who makes you a better version of yourself, whether directly or indirectly, and for that betterment to be mutual. We are all in need of saving in one way or another, it should not be held against us, ever, least of all by the people we love. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

The XX Supremecy

I'm a believer in Karma, which leads me to believe I must have caused someone severe heart ache for me to be going through it myself right now. The weird thing is it has been broken by someone before it was ever theirs to break.

For well over a year, I've been going through some sort of existential crisis because of this. It hit me way out of left field. I did not want it to happen, I did not enjoy it, I miss the person I was and that person would be disgusted at my current state. It was a bubble of emotional confusion, and I'm still struggling to make sense of it all, even more so to just get over it.

I don't know why or how, but I developed what I assume are feelings for someone. I assume because I can't and don't want to say with absolute certainty that it was so. I had no reason to feel for this person, in the sense that he gave me no window to do so. The sad/odd part is I genuinely didn't expect him to feel the same way; all I wanted was for him to let me care for him even if that meant he didn't care for me, I didn't need him to care. I tried to deny it, resist it, convince myself otherwise, forget about it, resolve it, confront it, hide from it, distract myself, run away, talk about it, cry about it, sing about it, and now I'm writing about it, all in an effort to understand. My friends are more than fed up about it all, I can see it. If only they knew just how exponentially fed up I was about it.

Every time I feel myself getting  better, I spontaneously break down for what usually is no reason at all other than perhaps the sporadic pang of heart ache. I don't know what I could possibly have done to someone to feel this hurt for this long. I don't think I've ever felt so inexplicably drawn to someone yet simultaneously feel so dejected and wildly unwanted by the same person. All the advice I've ever given anyone regarding these issues I know and believe in wholeheartedly yet it won't make the pain go away.

I've struggled spiritually, professionally, socially, mentally, physically, just to try to understand and make sense of how I feel; for starters why him? Why this strong? Why so long? It got to the point where I started to think to myself well maybe it's because I'm not pretty enough or not smart enough or not slim enough or not tall enough or not old enough or too old or not wealthy enough or not fit enough or not white enough or not dark enough.

It was at this point that the words "well, FUCK YOU" exploded out of me. Fuck you for making me feel this way. Fuck you making me doubt my awesomeness. Fuck you for making me feel less than I am. Fuck you for every time I cried over you. Fuck you for every effort I mistakenly made to reach out to you. And fuck me for caring. I stupidly thought it was worth it, that deep down there is a good, honest man, that he was worth it. And I stupidly let him prove to me time and time again that he really isn't worth a fraction of it, yet still I managed to persuade myself by using every possible excuse known to man; he has been deeply hurt, he is deeply stressed, he is deeply depressed, he is recluse, he is shy, he is stupid, he is busy, he is tired, he is sick, he is the Fucking president of the United States deciding the fate of nations while attending a charity event to sponsor those he himself decided to leave in destruction, famine, and turmoil in favor of creating chaos elsewhere to drain their resources while nobody was looking yet where everybody can see!!!

I hate men for this very reason. Listen here gentlemen, don't take a woman's love for granted thinking that you are the shit. All. Women. Settle. At least the ones who are straight. No man is worth half what women are willing and able to give to them, but women give it because they are nurturing by nature, and cannot leave a poor soul - like that of a man - be left to wander alone. But you know what ladies, it's our fault for settling. It's because we've been settling all along, we've been making it too easy for them so they just progressively try less and less. I think it's high time for a revolution ladies, but it will only work if ALL women agree to do this. We must stop settling. We must make the man work to prove himself; work on himself, on his life, on his relationships, on his career, on his health and most importantly on his mind.... everything, to prove he is worthy of our love. No more excuses, no more cutting corners, no more enabling men to be lesser versions of themselves. They. Must. Work! Otherwise I'm gonna dig up my receipt and go straight to the corner store for a refund. We've put up with far more than enough, I imagine. It's high time they step aside and we show them how we, women, run things. We are made to be the weaker, inferior half of society. Bull. Shit. Women are not equal to men at all because they are, in fact, far more superior. We are able to create life inside our own bodies for 9 months; a creature feeding off all our energy and still you see us running around getting shit done just like the men are doing. That ability alone is proof. No need to bring out the list of evidence - long long list I may add-  I believe that alone is enough to win the case.

So ....ladies.....you in? 😁

To be continued.....enough bitter truths for one evening.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Well, Who Are They?

" كلكم لآدم وآدم من تراب "

- النبي محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم

You are all Adam's offspring, and Adam was created from clay
- Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him 
Discrimination, for any reason, is an ugly thing. We are all guilty of believing stereotypes, even creating our own in our minds. It may be true to you, through your narrow experiences, and sometimes difficult to dispute when a lot of evidence seems to support such stereotypes. It is a trap of sorts; some may hate to do it but surely we cannot deny there is some extent of truth, otherwise the correlation would not have existed.

It's difficult to justify to myself when I have fallen victim to this trap countless times. As much as I hate to generalize, I find myself doing so anyhow. For whatever reason, our brains seem to gather the entirety of experience and exposure to categorize people. Perhaps it makes understanding people better, or dealing with people easier, if you are able to classify them to some extent. So would it be wrong then? If it is not meant to pass judgement, merely a benchmark to use in your personal life, is it acceptable then or am I still discriminating?

Is it okay to use your limited life experience with a certain group to describe the entire group? To generalize on a whole group based on the actions of a few? To what extent do we allow such stereotypes to affect how we see an individual?

I'm trying to view this as realistically as I possibly can. Stereotypes - whether predetermined by environment or created on your own accord - are hard to avoid. I would like to say unavoidable because I personally cannot rid my mind of them, but I won't because I still have a sliver of hope in humanity. But I still believe that as unavoidable as it may seem, there are limits as to how far you let that allow you to unfairly pass judgement on people solely based on such stereotypes. No matter how consistently the stereotype has been proven true to you, there will always be exceptions. I do love meeting the exceptions, they are the spice of life. A gentle reminder that you have not seen or heard it all. And if you allow the stereotype to take over you will truly be missing out.

Despite mental predisposition to pass judgement on people based on stereotypes, or even worse based on nothing, no one should see it as okay to impose such views on others. If you want to say everyone is entitled to an opinion, if you want to regard this as an opinion, then fine. But in this case, keep it to yourself please. Don't spread such poisonous thoughts as if it is the word of God. Even worse still when people use the word of God to justify such poisonous thoughts! God is great, he created us all, and I am sure us hating on each other we did purely on our own without the need of divine intervention.

It makes me wonder; as much as cultural differences between people are celebrated, is it not these very differences that cause divisions among people? I personally see cultural differences as a beautiful thing, but people sometimes take their culture as a form of superiority above others, religiously so. Culture slowly becomes some form of dogma for the elite.

Who's to say what is considered superior?! Who gets to decide? Such vain notions will do you no favors. And if these are notions of those around you, they can eat your dust. Why succumb to the insecurities and intolerance of such small-minded people? Don't let it dictate your life; if you do so to please others, they will never be pleased. The sad reality is that people will always find things to criticize, things to talk about, things to misconstrue. What you do to please one group of people, will likely disappoint another. You will never win and only you will ever pay the price for it. Is it worth the sacrifice; jumping through hoops just for the approval of a group of people who are unlikely to have your best interest at heart to begin with? Think of those who actually matter, those whose happiness are directly linked to your own. Those people will want the best of you regardless of whether they agree or not, because they love and support you no matter what.

The truth of the matter is I am no better than any other schmuck, unless he eats babies or something. Everyone walking this Earth has a story that you don't know about, a story that made them who they are, who they will become. Each person's life has formed them as a person, and we must respect that. We are all different in so many ways, but I bet there are a lot more ways we are similar if we think about it. A beautiful initiative started by Brandon Stanton called "Humans of New York" shows exactly that and so much more (now sponsored by the UN on a journey of 10 countries to raise awareness for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals). As hard as it is to respect the difference in those who are very different, I try, knowing full well that I am unlikely to be paid similar respect. At least I can say I tried, and I will continue to try, until someone threatens to eat my babies.