Our thoughts form the world

I arrived home even though Shiyara really wanted us to stay in America. She loved New York.

I would love to live in New York again for a few months at a time but as I told Shiyara, we would still need to go home to Casablanca to at least pack our things.

We returned to our friends who just had their first baby and he is as beautiful as his mother. They confessed they would be going back to America within the year. I will be losing my best friend and it hasn’t let me sleep at all but as I watch MasterChef and drink tea I noticed some words of wisdom written on the paper attached to a string, “Our thoughts are forming the world.” This is what I said to myself an hour earlier as I tossed and turned trying to sleep thinking of my friend leaving.

We can’t control the outcome of most anything in life but we can control how we see the world and it changes everything. This is what I came back to Morocco to do. Finish all that I started and sit with the discomfort of learning what I need to learn, going through the difficulties, be patient so I can move on in due time from this stage of evolution literally and metaphorically. So for tonight I pray that all the things she and I want for our families come true and that no more rest is lost worrying over what may or might arrive because of course no matter how painful or abandoned we will feel, we can handle it.


Pessah in Casablanca

The best part of the seder is being surrounded by family, anyone’s family especially dysfunctional ones. I love the noise and the bustle of children playing and adults chattering and everyone having an opinion and where you don’t need to be polite anymore because you are with your crazy noisy big ridiculous family. I am sitting with an exes family and even though we are finished being a couple, his family to me is not finished. If we married people for their families I would have married lots of men. Families here remind me of my own big family with 5 sisters and an older brother and an aura of beautiful chaos.



The Rabbi's children - Casablanca

Blog, Casablanca, children, culture, Judaism, living abroad, love, Morocco, People, Personal, Photo, Photography, Pictures, Random, reflections, relationships, Travel

The Rabbi’s children – Casablanca

The Rabbi's children - Casablanca


Life: She is my little sister, my little girl. May I always do right by her.

I enter my home and I yell out “Shiyara!!!!” and she yells back “Mama!!” The pitter patter of her running feet match my heart. I wait for her big smile to appear around the corner! I throw my purse down and jump down to kneel on the floor, like I am asking everyday to marry an angel, to open my arms and wait for her to rush in. The seconds don’t race as fast as my heart and it skips…for her. “Come come come!!!!!” She makes it to me and I can only grab on for a split second and then she’s gone.

Without her there would be no home and no where to return to. She is my home.

I went to visit a woman in a beautiful house with a beautiful husband who has done very well in his life. She wants for nothing but I would never switch a day in her shoes for all the wealth in the world. My house has Shiyara and with her all the life and love and fun and warmth that I could have prayed g-d would grant me.

Even as I break in my low moments, even when I scold myself for not being the best mother… my one honest joy no matter the state of the world outside is seeing her in it sleeping beside me…my daughter is a strong willed beauty.

She is my little sister, my little girl. May I always do right by her.


you are my lost lamb and i am the author of sheep

there are lines on my body that one does not cross
and there are lines on my body that tell everything
there are lines that want to become curly
and lines that want to be caressed

you have once crossed
twice read
three times curled
and many times caressed

but i am still a stranger to you
and you an immigrant to me
you with your language
and me with my ridiculous ideas
we have no common reference like sisters or brothers
but you understand me sometimes
like i try to be understood

i am not correct like any equation that makes sense. We are 1 + 1 = 3
but it is not my intention to hurt you
even if you take me as an offense
what do you do when you are misunderstood?
when waiting for the other shoe to drop?
waiting for someone to break your heart?

am i that fragile?
but i have steered my heart to things and people that cannot break me
and i wonder, ‘how long can you deny that you are a creature of habit?’
you love Love
you love

i think of you
and i know you are happy where you are
or at least i want to imagine you so

i imagine you with your life
in your bed
with your one and only
and i say, i know
I want only the best for you
only the best

and i am sorry that it wasn’t me
and that it can’t be
so we will let life finish the story.
make it until the end,
and remember me.

as i remember you
in moments
little moments when i catch your words running through my head
and your friends in front of me shopping at the King’s supermarket, Acima

i remember you as you were
and i love you
it was a little story, a blimp in time but
i never stop loving the ones that have entered into my body
they live in me









there is room for all my mistakes and feelings


“Don’t deny it. Let it go back to where it came from.”

“One person not in life is going to love it and the others are going to hate it. I will disappoint them and disrupt who I am supposed to be for them.”

Before she left to Kuwait she let me film her and speak to her on camera about her mother, her lover, her feelings of leaving home. In the morning I woke up at 6 and sat down stairs listening to her run around quietly. She slipped a bottle of perfume in my bag and kissed me. The rest of the family came to sit with me. The silence was unbearable that I felt only then like I had to keep myself discreet and far from crying. She instantly stood and left the room. I followed and found her in the bathroom already washing her face. She is like a bigger sister, one of my best friends and I have never seen her crying. She hugged me and told me in English that she loved me. I could only say, “One year. It will only be one year.”

She walked into the bedroom where Iklas slept. She laid her head at her feet and cried. I walked away and waited by the door.

Working, traveling ,leaving home, leaving your heart behind. Her image stays with me.


title or description


i need your hands


unconditional surrender

“Exile is the only country without a geography. It has, however, a climate, a culture, an ecology, an archeology and virtually a national smell.”

“The map of the unreal, the imaginary. And it is only then that they express precisely the immeasurable experience of exile.”-Ugresic

Remembrance is possession. Memory is object(s).


Writing on an author for class, I find that against my will i love these writings in The Croatian that are both scholarship and memoir, impersonal facts and personal stories in between record and invention on this feeling of being displaced.

Searching for home, being in love, loss, exile, feeling displaced…has been the subject of my poems since coming to America at ten. It’s the spirit that makes me hunt genealogy records and save all pictures and all my father’s jewelry. When asked why i am this way, why i do these things, i could never explain it well enough.

All the objects, idols, images, tangibles we’re taught to disrespect but whose importance to me all the same is wrapped up in a story i read.

A Bosnian friend remarks that there are two kinds of refugees, “those who have photographs and those who have none.”

On this particular day the Bosnian-Serb general/war criminal by the name of Ratko Mladic noticed that the Sarajevo home of an acquaintance was on his bombardment list. Mladic phoned him to tell him that he had less then five minutes to collect his photographs and leave.

“The general, who had been destroying the city for months, knew precisely how to annihilate memory. That is why he ‘generously’ bestowed on his acquaintance life, with the right to remembrance.”

All photographs are mementos mori. “To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to…relentless melt.” – Susan Sontag

Jerusalem Art Project

remembrance is possession, and i am relentlessly possessed.


transverse unshamed, take it as a souvenir

your toothbrush is resting down the hall
I shut my eyes
entwined in your legs
aware you will be traveling soon.
I find us,
waking up in the dark with
five interwoven parts, persuaded, won over,
seduced, converted, seduced the other way.
in the night praying hands come out of
a wetness on these finger tips,
un-self consciously wandering across your back.
in the night I lay quiet
listening to you speaking in tongues
watching you sleep with me, traveler.
traveling into your dreams
tugging on to kites and hemlines
running through space
where we’re nearing the lighthouse,
I close my eyes
you’re almost at the gate,
I smile, I want to thank you
for this…


Post Script: broke in Rabat

the man outside of L’Belle Vie who was trying to give me directions to go to the Embassy and the Main Bank Au Marque next door couldn’t quite understand why i insisted on walking. “It’s really far Lalla. Just take a taxi it’s only maybe 20dhs.” He is distinctively calm. And unlike most young men from around this way, he has a gentle way of being that never insists that “you must…” He’s young and has the most beautiful eyes I’ve seen on a man. If there is one word I would use to describe him, I might initially say “sweet” but when you say “sweet” you smile and it’s said in the same way that something sweet is consumed–quickly. it’s not that he’s “sweet” or even cute as much as he is soft…like the way you say “soft” quietly, softly, prolonging such a small word.

he’s searching for the reason i really really just want to walk and i’m quick and in contrast to him. “Yes, I want to walk, just tell me how to get there and I’ll find the way.” He tries to explain looking outward to the roads and back to me as I look at him intensely, trying to listen to (his silences)…his directions. After a long five minutes of him slowly trying to explain he says, “but the roads are wild and you will find it hard to get there.” he looks at me with concern and i think i can actually tell this man and i think he will understand. even though we’re the same age he seems so much older than me and even though he’s a man and he’s gorgeous he doesn’t seem to know it/believe it, and even though I’m foreign he doesn’t seem to care. “It’s cheap miss, it’s only 20dhs.” He’s looking at me as if he’s asking and i think i can tell him that, “I have no money to take a taxi” I have to walk. “Not even 20dhs.” I don’t say anything. Not that I gave the last of my cash away to the girl on the bus who needed to get home, thinking i could get more for myself from the ATM later. He’s looking at me with these big eyes that are so concerned. He doesn’t take a second to think this through before he says, “it’s not a problem. here, wait right here, I’ll be back, I’ll give you the money.” “NO!” I stop him from going into the store. “Why? you need it don’t you?” “i don’t want it, i can’t take it, i’ll walk.” “no…i promise this is okay.” He waits outside in the sun with me as a store full of shoppers look on. He’s looking at me, waiting for me, just saying, “it’s okay. it’s really okay. it’s okay.” and with that I breeeeeeath, let my hands fall to my sides and warn him that I think I might cry. he’s quiet, he waits for me there, without saying a word as the tears are now streaming down my face. he’s waiting with me, witnessing me, not saying a word.

He leaves and returns, puts the money in my hand. tells me that if I have a problem with the bank to come back, that he works here as the director. I tell him this is shuumah (shame) for me to take this and he says no. if i want and if i can and only if i would feel better, than pay it back when i can, but if not, it’s not shuumah. He looks at my red cheeks and tells me to wait again. He comes back gives me a bottle of water and tells me that everything will be okay. i get in a cab and cry in silence. he made me cry, but the irony and beauty of this whole thing made me laugh.

“You might as well say goodbye to that money” for the next 2 months as apparently this has happened before to them. Charles gives me 10 bucks at the American Em. His grandmother went to Smith and he tells me, “I hear you’re losing your dining rooms.” How the hell does he know that. “How do you know that?” The Herald Tribune/New York Times and Shirley, the Smith alum who offers to take me in after the feast/holiday here that i am spending with my family. i need to get around still to film so i am resolving the problem:this one anyhow. i wait. ready to laugh that you have inherited me. yes that penguin with wings that can’t fly, flopping about, cute but useless. (a mess)

PS: there is a kid (maybe 4 years old) shouting into the phone in front of me (that he can’t quite reach up to just yet) of the teleboutique. he’s all by himself talking to the person on the phone about his zween girlfriend with all these formal introductions as the old grandfatherish man behind me grumbles into his cell phone!


when i will reach home

life holds your hand and breaks your heart.

it tells you that a broken heart isn’t bad. each break is an opening.

so i put trust in love just as the dream ends, lying in bed touching the one i love. the dream ends and like magic it expands out anew like a sand timer opening up on the other side.


To the girls who cannot sleep

You say you can’t sleep.  you say that you lay on your bed with your eyes open in the dark.  you replay the conversations, you think of the world, big and small, yours and mine…lonely and brillant and sweet. This is you tonight.  i don’t know how to change the night.  but i know that i care about you.  that you are too good to feel crazy like us.   I wish that I could sit up in your bed and keep my fingertips on your hair. tell you that i have your dreams and your fears in my chest. so shhhh… close your eyes. I’m here. go to bed. I’ve got you.


On Cruelty and finding your vulnerabilities

AM 100%

I would not describe myself as a mean person. When I have been it was directed at men that posed a threat to my heart. It generally was slightly mean spirited banter in jest to test the others responses. Would they attack or laugh it off or stand up for themselves and ask me why I would say that?

I have consistently been surprised to discover that the men I meet are great people. They are soft and vulnerable no matter their large towering size. I think it’s a miracle whenever we are confronted with our prejudices and they are systemically proven incorrect. Whenever I am confronted with men I see how misplaced my small expectations of them are…obviously my automatic pilot is rooted in my childhood and it believes that men are to be distrusted, that they lack empathy, that they are hard and violent and dangerous. It surprises me often that these ideas time and again are wrong. There certainly are bad people that include bad men but it can’t be luck that the men I meet continuously across religious lines and borders are all good and nice people. Better people then me.

It takes sometimes meeting the worst to finally see not only how human we all are but how great most people can be.

About four weeks ago I tried a new dating application for people that share my culture and faith. It was highly recommended so out of curiosity I got on it and met a man named Ben. He was wicked smart and able to read me well and within a matter of hours had already deconstructed me. I was impressed.

On my trip to Paris I met another man from a similar site. The nicest man I have ever met. The kind you should marry. The kind that strokes your back when you are telling him a hard story. The one that listens and empathizes with your pain and you find that you are telling him your life despite knowing that there are plenty of people you shouldn’t open up to about it. It was hard to not fall for him. But…as it happens, he is in love with another woman and will be for probably longer than one will ever know. So I took that rejection on the chin and aimed at being friends.

So then there was Ben. We had already had a few misunderstandings in our chats partly because I thought I was rather funny, but he didn’t see the humor.

I asked him one day how he has a personal life as he lives with his parents. He said he has a life: exhibit A) a sex friend and B) has had sex twice last week.

I asked why not just date her? She obviously is putting in the time. He said no it’s not possible for him but didn’t explain why but added that he knows for certain she doesn’t want a relationship with him, a good looking successful young man.

I asked him if he was sure it was her that wanted sex without any relationship. In all my years here I have yet to meet a Moroccan woman that will happily sleep without any exchange on a regular basis. The conversation was from my side just innocent curiosity but for him it imploded into WW3. His anger was probably out of being questioned and shame. Perhaps he felt he had contradictions like many other human beings and sometimes our needs make us ignore others. I gave him the benefit of the doubt he was verbally abusive because he was in pain. I had perhaps triggered something deep without knowing. He went off the map for the next few days.

On going out to a club I accidentally ran into him. He was gracious and invited me to sit with his table of friends. I was drunk and dancing and having fun to the delight of my friends who found me adorable. On his end, his table found me crazy as they all sat squarely in their seats.  He claimed I had been rude (code for not paying enough attention and left too soon) but followed that statement with “but I don’t care”. I told him I was sorry.

The last time we spoke I did with him what I consistently have been doing over the past year with too many men– I ask that they answer me within the same day as they demand from me. If I don’t respond in 5 minutes I get multiple “Hellos” and question marks and exclamation points but these same men let me wait for 24 hours to answer. I expect basic manners or a simple “I am not interested”.

As soon as I stand up for myself, I wait for them to lose their cool which leads to the end of us talking. So with all my year of tried and true experience I waited to see the same effect standing up for myself has on men. He unloaded on me that he was looking for hot girls and I was definitely not his type. I asked why he had bothered talking all these weeks if that was the case as he was still following me on social media.  He repeated a few more times that I was not beautiful enough for him. Then he said I was not normal.

 I agreed that I am indeed not “normal”. I do not “need” a man. I do like sex. No I love sex. I am not interested in money. None of the normal things I should stereotypically want as a woman in a man’s world.

Although he protested about how much he didn’t like me he still asked for me to send him more pictures and more and more.  I observed how he held a mix of desire and rejection for me. He asked about my photos and who had taken them. He was apparently very concerned with a girl he doesn’t like.

He had admitted before he found himself unattractive and shy. He was unsure of himself in many ways and angry although he had everything.  Partly all his aggression and protest made me think he had a point to prove, not so much a truth to tell but the more he barked the more compassion I had even if he hurt my feelings. I realized that he had compared himself to me continually at every turn in our conversations in the last month and now it came to a climax.He was aiming to give me as much pain as he held in him and tried his best with all this cleverness.

He did finally say my pictures were beautiful but followed it with how unique he was, because unlike other men who would love me he feels nothing. He claimed the only reason I was insisting to talk to him is because I could not accept his rejection.

He then followed that with engaging me in questions like: “What do you like in bed?”

 Then he denigrated me for having sex at all. Of course!

I had for duty’s sake, explain to him that I and women in general are not dolls. His future wife and daughter will not be dolls they will be people, who will like sex (or at least I hope his wife does) and bleed and explore so he should leave some room for us to be human.

That of course made him even more angry. (Go figure.)

Instead of answering what I said he repeated that I am not elegant and I am not attractive to Him and he has no envy to know me. Great!

He then angrily expressed that we will never be together. I asked him why he was so angry. He said he wasn’t angry at all. He said he wanted nothing to do with me.   

I fell sick the next day partly from the trip to Fes and partly from this man’s energy. But pain is good. It makes you take time and reflect and I did. I thought about somethings he said. His attack made me ask my self:  Was I trying to save him? Was I trying to prove something to myself, like he said I was, instead of just letting the rejection and the pain go through me. Was I even admitting that he had hurt me?

I think he was right on one point. I was trying to prove that I was valuable and I wanted to help him. I wanted to give him advice and I wanted to love him but where was that coming from? It is not my job to care for every broken man I meet. Why did I want to fix him and be of service? Maybe he was right to say I have no confidence in myself.

From this experience of meeting a broken man, I actually have gratitude for both all the others that have been kind with me and I also appreciate that his hate and aggression have been teachers. I realized how awful I have been in the past to people who were kind with me. How broken I once was too at many moments in my life.

I also had to admit that as strong as I am, I also can feel pain from random acts of violence. I sat with my pain finally and let it do its work. It seeped through me and told me I was honest and strong enough to feel it and admit that someone smaller than me had hurt me and that was okay. Why? Because I am beautiful. More than I even know. I am good as he is good. He is no less than me. He is my broken brother in arms.

I might never know his pains’ origin and it is not my business, but I can understand him, even in just his pain.

Thank goodness I met him, I thought. Thank goodness I met a man that confirmed all my stereotypes but did not let me forget all the beautiful men I have known. I appreciate and love the kindness even more now.


All I Need Is Five Minutes


A year ago I pondered on how I would feel if my imaginary son were to date me.

The idea of a man I would love the most in the world dating me…well I had never thought about it but now that I was thinking about it, it was a definite no way.


I had always thought that of course I was a catch. I must have listed nonsense on my catch list. Because by re-framing it and listing really important qualities I would want in the partner for my future son …well I just didn’t match up.

To be honest it was sort of surprising and enlightening to stand in the streets coming to a full stop thinking about this. It wasn’t that I was a bad person but I wasn’t someone I would want for someone I loved. I thought well maybe I shouldn’t be dating anyone right now. And I did wonder if I would ever date again if my new criteria for dating was being  good enough to date my imaginary son.

Why was I not good enough? I thought. Well I wasn’t fundamentally bad or incorrect but there were some things that weren’t becoming.

I put my finger on somethings I had not ever thought about before…like I was angry most days. And if I didn’t take into account looks or body gymnastics, if you took that all away, there was at the center a jaded heart. I was holding others to account for myself. I was in need and not a separate entity. I was not open with my heart even it looked like it.

Since then I have been rather quiet on this blog. I haven’t spent a lot of time now writing about love or its loss. I am significantly less sentimental. However my love life is actually much more interesting. Somewhere in this time I stopped caring to keep people and defining who I was with who I was with, I started to express my feelings no matter how ugly they looked to me or made me look.

I stopped being cool.

Boys have still come and gone but I am not my traditional self.

I don’t cry or sulk. I don’t blame others for not being where “I think” they should be. And if it is not what I want — open clear and loving – I don’t see the need to be with a man just to be with one so with no drama I state what I feel and exit in a direct way and hope it causes little harm.

This month I met a guy and liked him and wanted to continue. Not long after it started I saw he couldn’t seem to say it was over for him but in every concrete way, he had backed off enough to be distant but held onto me enough to not stop. Now normally this could go on for months or years. I noticed and waited only a day. My friends said give it time and don’t scare him away. But I didn’t get that approach anymore. Scare what away? I am not trying to get something. I am just trying to learn and be a better person in the company of another who is doing the same with me.

So despite my friends advice I initiated a talk and when that didn’t help the day after I instigated the leaving. I left nothing to ambiguity. I sent him a message and explained that we didn’t need to blame each other but we could have been more honest (he could have 😝) with ourselves first. No ones a bad person for changing their mind and we are not bad to know what we want either.

How unusual of me, I thought as I pondered on the quick break up and his happiness and gratitude that I seemed to read his mind and understand.  I didn’t resent him and I know I will have no problem in the future to probably be a good friend to him.

I love people easily but what is love?

I don’t have the full answer but from where I stand today, my exercise in Love is Accepting love. Full of heart. Which had been hard to do. As was understanding when it was love or not. I could give it but had a hard time accepting it back.

Giving is love. This I have some practice with but it’s just that…a practice. If you stop you lose how to do it.

There is no one you love more than you children. You don’t love them at first sight. They make you feel crazy and there are moments when you want to throw them out the window but you come to love them more than anything.

Today when I ask myself if I would let my son date someone like me as I am today to my surprise I say yes. I see myself and say… why not?

I would be happy with that.


I don’t know exactly but I kind of like myself these days. I am sort of proud that I am so badass and it’s 180 degree shift of who I had been my whole life. I voice all the contents of my heart and my vulnerability and I idolize no one.

I like how upfront I am and even if the men that I meet that can’t stay in this country or continue in a couple they tell me repeatedly they love my honesty. I make them laugh. I am not selling a car. I am not selling myself. I don’t worry if they like me. I hope they do and I hope I get them to laugh but I don’t feel it’s the end of the world if we don’t hit it off. And if they like me, it’s a vulnerable funny person who is searching for answers that appears and won’t define herself on them.

I can love people in 5 minutes and I leave in 2 seconds if that’s how it has to be but everyone leaves an impression and helps me learn.

I am happy I didn’t always get what I wanted because what I have is better than what I would have prayed to get for myself.






Repost: Why You Cannot Truly Love If You Are Afraid to Lose…by


By Jamie Varon

The thing about relationships is that you can’t tell the other person the truth until you are no longer afraid of losing them. You have to let go of that pressing need for the other person to be there, that heart-stopping fear that creeps in when you think about your life without them. That has to be gone. You have to sit on the edge of the idea that they could not exist in your life and that fact can sadden you, but the idea of you existing without them cannot make you feel that you will break.
Because, if there’s one thing that true intimacy demands it’s vulnerable, raw, uncomfortable honesty. We think we understand honesty. We really do. We think by saying, “you hurt me when you did that thing last week,” we are being the honest version of ourselves. But, we keep a lot from the person we’re with. We keep those little desires that we think they can’t fulfill. We keep things inside that we think will cause them to run away from us. We do not show our most vulnerable because, simply, we are afraid that at our most raw, we will be left, abandoned.

And, so, we take these little concessions. We say it’s not important that he know the ins and outs of the work we do. We say it’s fine if I’m not having a sexual desire fulfilled. We tell ourselves this is all fine –small or large– because, in our desire to be with them, we can sometimes forget our desire to stay true to ourselves.

We hide our darkness and our fears and our desire, because it’s easier that way. It’s easier than the risk of losing them. But, love demands our vulnerability. In fact, it seems that’s the only thing it truly does demand of us. It demands that we stand in front of the person we love and say, “This is all of me. I don’t know if you will continue to love me after I bring you into the darkened corners of my heart, but I need you to know me, to really know me.”

We say we want to be known, but we do not let ourselves be known. We cannot hold the fear of losing someone with the desire to be known at the same time. Because, no matter who you are, your truth will be filtered through that fear. Your words will be coated with that fear. Everything you say, every truth you think is coming from you, will first be propelled through that fear. It is never a pure truth when it is first tinged and coated and glossed by the fear of abandonment or rejection. It is not until we move directly into that fear and come out the other side of it that we can say our truth, uncoated and pure, to the human we so desperately want to be known by.
Stepping into that fear looks like the edge of a cliff, at least it does in my mind. I think of it as every time I step into my vulnerability and share that with my partner, I am hoping that the next step off that cliff appears, but I am never sure if it will be there. I’m never sure if who I am at the core will be who he wants next to him at night. I can only continue to unveil more of who I am by knowing more of myself and sharing that with him. The moment I begin to worry that he may leave me or this may end or I convince myself that I need him in order to be okay, is when I close my heart and start telling these half-truths. It’s the moment we start to lose each other, when the distance keeps spreading further.

It’s not an easy concept to grasp by any means. But, I can say that, when I am able to feel this way, when I am able to love without overly attaching to needing that love, I feel more intimate and closely-tied to my partner. I am more willing to share who I am and what I desire, because ultimately I am not living under the idea that I cannot, for the sake of myself and my well-being, be without this person. The need to detach from the relationship as something that my survival is contingent upon is truly a way to experience a deeper connection and intimacy and love. Because, I can love from my desire to love, not my need to love, not my need for their presence, not my heart clutching to their heart out of fear. It is a purer, more meaningful love. And, in the end, isn’t that what we all desire? Isn’t that the whole point of this?


Love Them Anyway



By  Stephanie Althoff

They’re funny creatures, people.
They’re going to hurt you. They’re going to let you in and shut you out. They’re going to lie to you. They’re going to manipulate you. They’re going to say things that they simply cannot take back. They’re going to earn your trust and they’re going to betray it. They’re going to confuse you. They’re going to drive you crazy. Love them anyway.

They’re going to surprise you. They’re going to leave you speechless. They’re going to put a smile on your face when you least expect it. They’re going to make you laugh. They’re going to make you cry. Love them anyway.

They aren’t always going to be perfect. They’re going to have bad days, and they might even take it out on you. They’re going to shoot a frown your way, they’re going to follow your car far too closely, and they’re going to conspicuously cut you in line at the grocery store. Love them anyway.

Because people are people. And at their core, there is an inherent vulnerability. We’re vulnerable to bad moments, to bad days, and to bad weeks. We’re vulnerable to taking out our emotions on other people. We’re vulnerable to prejudice, hatred, and bullying. We may be strong enough to work past these vulnerabilities – to not give in to our downfalls. But we’re people. We’re human. And we all have bad days.

A bad moment turns into a bad hour. A bad hour turns into a bad day. And a bad day turns into a bad week. It’s cyclical. It continues. Unless, that is, something breaks the chain.

A smile. A reassuring text message. A tight bear hug to remind us that the world is still full of comfort. Chain breakers. Small, subtle, and instantaneous.

People are going to make you angry, sad, confused, and upset. Don’t fight fire with fire – break the chain. That woman who just gave you the bird on the interstate? Return her gesture with a small smile. It might just make her rethink her afternoon. That man who just cut you in line at the gas station? Cut him some slack. He might have somewhere exponentially important to be. We don’t know everyone’s stories. We won’t ever know everyone’s stories. But we know that everyone struggles and everyone is human. Cut them some slack. Love them anyway.

You’d be surprised at how relaxed your own life can become when you begin to let go of others’ imperfections. There’s no need to get angry about that rude comment someone made or that unsightly gesture. Let it roll. Shake it off. It doesn’t make you a pushover, it makes you strong. Because as soon as you let the negative emotions rise, you’ve continued the chain, and you’ve taken on the hurt and the anger yourself. You let someone else’s bad day become your own. Be confident enough to accept the downfalls of human beings. Be confident enough to accept the downfalls of yourself.

Because you’re a person too. Love yourself anyway.


Sign the Petition Against Anti-Semitism at the Rally this Sunday in Casablanca



Yesterday in my city of Casablanca, thousands of demonstrators attended a rally that has gone viral, where people chanted for martyrdom, held guns to the backs of people dressed up as religious Orthodox Jews, who then proceeded to smash a model of the al-Aksa mosque before being pretend-stabbed and shot. I am not surprised by this but for the few Jews left in Morocco that I have run into, many are shaken by what they heard and saw, as there is no separation between apparently being a Jew and deserving to be executed. While most protests are shut down in Morocco, these sorts of displays are more than welcome. A petition has been set up at Change.org to ask the government to respond to the anti-semitism displayed at the rally.