Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Letter From My Future Self

I know that I am not the only one who has gone through trying times.  I know that people have it much worse than I, and I know that I am probably worse off than others.  However, I do not think that that changes the fact that when we hurt, or are stressed, that we all feel it one way or another.  Pain is pain.  Many times, it seems like it will never get better.  I myself have been saying for years every New Years that “this year is going to be great!  Fuck you (insert previous year)!  You can take all the shit you have flung my way and bake it into a shit pie and eat it!  And then I hope you step on a Lego!”  But you know what happened?  The upcoming year sucked more hairy balls than the previous in one form or another or a combination of the two, and it was as though I was stepping on proverbial Lego's.  

I always remained positive, saying things happen for a reason, and things are going to get better, and that if this didn’t happen, then it wouldn’t have led to this which then led to that which was possibly a good thing.  However, then the thing that I thought was so great ended up being shitty, to which I then said “this is happening for a reason,” and in other instances, “this is a lesson learned.”  Honestly, the only lesson I have learned time and again in the past several years is that I am a complete idiot.  

No really, I am.  I have made some seriously poor choices in so many aspects of my life that if I were a prisoner, the acts of idiotic recidivism would have caused me to violate the Three Strikes rule tenfold causing me to suffer a life sentence in a corner with a dunce hat having to repeat over and over “I’m a bad girl.”  I am not sure why I do such things.  Am I a masochist?  Do I secretly like to suffer?  Was it because my brother and sister dropped me on my head on a concrete floor when I was a baby (true story)?  Did I sniff too much rubber cement and markers in elementary school?  There could be a number of reasons.  Or, as I have previously pointed out, I am just an idiot.

So, I have decided to try to give myself a little encouragement in the continued time of confusion and heartache.  To help assuage the fact that my life is not where it was supposed to be at this point, and give me strength now that I am finally growing out of a stage of arrested development.  And that despite my idiotic life choices, I have to somehow have faith that things are going to get better.  So, I am going to be showing you a letter to me from my future self to help get me through these trying times.  I hope that maybe something there will help you.  It turns out, I’m pretty awesome, and so is my life.

Dear Yasmine,

This is your future self.  I am writing to tell you to hang in there.  I know things have been really tough, and that sometimes you just want to run away and go back to mom and dad and feel safe again, or even sometimes thinking about just ending things.  I am telling you, DO NOT, under any circumstances, do any of those.  I know it’s tough, trust me, I went through it (duh) a few years ago.  But I swear to you, it’s going to get so much better.  Let me just tell you about your life. 

First, you’re married to the most wonderful guy, Joe M.  I can’t say his last name for privacy because I know you are going to post this on your blog.  He’s smart, funny, TALL, kind, caring, generous, and loves you more than anything in the world.  We are each others lives.  He makes you so happy that sometimes you think it’s a dream.  But it’s not.  It’s your life.  No one has ever been as good to you as Joe has been.  You never fight, but argue over little things and you always end up laughing about it.  Life is easy with him.  Love is easy with him.  He is so incredibly supportive in every way possible.  When you met him, all the bad things went away.  Even your friends noticed how “light” you became almost overnight.  He made you trust again, and you have never shed one tear with him, other than tears from laughing so freaking hard.  You should see the way he looks at you.  He tells you that you are beautiful every day, and loves your body no matter if you are in shape or not.  He just loves you and everything about you, and you him.  Trust me when I say that you are so lucky that it never worked out with anyone else.  He is also an incredible father.

Yes, you are a mommy.  You have three beautiful kids.  They are all tall, and too smart for their own good.  It’s as though you never really had a life before you had them.  It was more like they were taking a nap, and they finally woke up.  They bring so much joy to you and Joe, and they are so loved by the two of you.  They never go one day without a countless number of hugs and kisses, and hear that you love them every day.  They are just really great kids.  Don’t be scared, you are a really great mom, and Joe thinks so too.

I also want to tell you not to beat yourself up about your looks.  I swear to you, you are beautiful.  I know your confidence has been shot lately and you don’t feel it, but you are.  I hate to say it, but you are only going to get older, and you will never look as good as you do at this age.  So enjoy it.  Don’t get me wrong, you still look great for your age now, but still, time catches up with you.  I know you will start to believe it soon, because when I look back at pictures now, I don’t think “I wish I appreciated how I looked then.”  So good job on getting over that, and don’t let what anyone says get to you.  It is only their insecurities being projected towards you.  Be confident, hell, be arrogant if you have to.  Fuck them, you’re a sexy beast.  Just because a few people don’t see you that way, doesn’t mean the majority of people don’t either.   

Now about what you do for work.  You don’t work anymore, you have a paid hobby.  You sold the show you are writing right now not long after you finished it, which then led to you selling the show that you had written with Louie a few years ago.  You became a show runner for both, but took some time off when you got pregnant with your first baby.  You also wrote your two novels, which are both best sellers, and are both being turned into feature films.  Since you are a mom first, you have taken a step back from being too involved in all those projects, but you are a producer on them.  You are doing what makes you happy, and that is creating.

I don’t want to give too much away, because I want to leave you with a lot of surprises.  Just know though, you have traveled the world, you have amazing friends and family in your life.  You have made some amazing memories, and you are still making more.  You have scrapbooks filled with amazing times and some great stories that you tell your children.  Most of all, you need to know this, you are happy, truly and utterly happy.  You have never felt that before, however, time wise, you are not far from it.  And believe it or not, it just seems to get better every day.  All your dreams have come true, even ones you didn't know you had.  Just hang in there.  Don’t give up.  You’re not broken.  It’s going to get better very soon.  Trust me.  You’re not an idiot, and everything does happen for a reason.  

Your Future Self

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I write, therefore I am. Lately, I am nothing.

Writer’s block is a bitch.  I am supposedly a writer, yet I cannot for the life of me get words out of my muddled brain.  So, I thought I would write about not being able to write.  Maybe this will get me out of my writing funk.  So here goes it.

I am not sure if I can explain just how frustrating it is to not be able to write, when that is the ultimate career I wish to pursue.  It’s like a basketball player not being able to shoot a damn ball.  So, I sit at the computer day after day, with ideas in my head, but no words or story to follow.  It’s creative purgatory, just staring at a blank screen with nothing being written.  Even now, it has taken me the better part of 20 minutes just to write what you have thus far read.  Bloody hell.

My brain is foggy is the problem.  When my brain is foggy due to the stressors of life, my creativity is stifled.  If I told you what has happened to me in the past 12 months, you would understand.  I’m lost creatively, lost career wise, lost love life wise, just lost in general.  So through all the worry, concern (although I am somehow rather happy), my creativity is stifled.  What is one to do? 

I would love to go on vacation, but haven’t the funds.  I would love to get a new job, but don’t have much of a passion for much, nor the skills to command a six-figure salary at the moment.  I want a new car, a new home, a facial, a massage, and shoes, but cannot make those things happen at the moment.

I need a muse.  I am not quite sure how to go about doing that.  I am not sure what it is going to take to light a fire under my ass to finally get things moving.  I need to write damn it!  This is going to be my bread and butter.  My rapier wit and funny persiflage is going to fill my bank account and allow me to fly first class so my long legs have somewhere to go without fear of blood clots.  My sarcasm is going to win me awards and get me on the red carpet.  My inappropriate humor will ensure my retirement.  Damn it, I must write!!  My damn life and future depends on it. 

So, what should I do I ask you?  Here I am, asking for your opinion.  Help a girl out.  I would love to write more than one blog a year, and I have a couple books and a screenplay in my head, lock safe without a key.  I just can’t figure it out. 

I have heard, “just write.”  So that is what I did today.  I wrote.  It’s not my best or funniest thing I have ever written, however I am trying to get out of my funk.  So, I wrote, and I will, I must, continue to write.  Maybe that is all it is, I’m just out of practice.  Just as with anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.  So, here I go again…

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another Excursion Around the Sun

First, I must address the change in the title of this blog.  If you have read the previous blog regarding my hair, you are well apprised that I no longer have a fro’ due to a tragic flat iron incident about this time last year.  A moment of silence please for my fallen fro’.  Also, let us face it, even when I did have a fro’ I did not have a picture of myself with one.  So this blog name is now accurate.  I feel lighter now that I got that off my chest, even though I wish I were a few pounds of fluff lighter, but that is subject matter better left to a future blog.  However, we now return to the original blog at hand.

So, here I am, encroaching upon yet another birthday.  One more trip around the sun on this journey that began many years ago, even though I have somehow managed to look like I have not taken that many voyages around that golden orb that warms our planet.  So at least I have that much going for me, which is nice.  Otherwise, I am not looking forward to it.

I have never really liked my birthday.  Most of the memorable ones have been for tragically embarrassing reasons.  Let us not forget the car accident on my 16th birthday DURING my driver’s license road test, and the infamous breakdown on my 22nd birthday.  I do not think I will ever live that down, but at least I got it out of my system then rather than at an older age where such behavior would really be embarrassing.  I will blame it on my immature youth and alcohol.  Mostly alcohol.  For sure the alcohol.  Damn alcohol. 

Really, the top two birthdays happened in the past two years.  Two years ago, I spent my birthday in Safad, my mother’s Palestinian hometown in what is now Israel.  I saw my mother’s home that my grandfather built for his family; I touched the stones, sat on the steps, walked the streets, and picked lemons from the lemon tree that was in the backyard.  I also took back the knocker and handle from the back gate.  Those were my family's, and I gave them to my mom, their rightful owner, as gifts.   I almost missed that chance because we did not know where the exact house was, and as my hosts and I were in the car ready to leave, in my head I had wished that for my birthday I could see my mother’s home.  Not one minute later, we were stopped by the historian of Safad, and he knew the house and took me there.

Last year, I got to spend my birthday with my family.  My mom, dad, sister, brother and I have not been alone together as a family like that in almost 20 years.  We all met in Washington D.C. in honor of my brother, an FBI Special Agent, who was accepting the Attorney General’s Award for a case he had worked on involving cybercrime.  I could not have asked for a better birthday than to spend it with my family to celebrate my brother’s accomplishment.

Now here I am again, but with nothing monumental happening.  No Oscar wins, or Nobel Prizes.  I cannot even claim a new car.  Man, I really want a new car.  But I digress.  I do not know why my birthday puts me in such a mood.  I have had a wonderful past six months and have no reason to be bummed.  I have made an amazing new friend that I always hangout with, as well as a new group of friends that I see and spend time with often.  Despite a rocky start, this has truly been the best year of my time here in L.A. emotionally and socially.  I have some great people in my life, have been to some great events that some people would kill to have gone to, and despite a recently acquired new job that I do not like that makes me cry often, I have never been happier.  Yet I feel sad.  Mostly due to the job that makes me cry, a lot, and because I want a new car and shoes, but also because of my birthday.  Stupid job and birthday, making me blue.  I need a shame shower now.

I know this feeling will go away after that fateful day in which I was born to this world (you are welcome) passes, but until then, this feeling will remain.  Sniff.  Even though I have some wonderful people in my life, I feel lonely during this time.  I have no family in L.A., and I know that is one of the reasons behind these feelings of melancholy, and the fact that there is no significant other is another.  I had always thought that at this point in my life that I would have a successful career in entertainment, and be married to Ricky Martin (Read "A Part of me Died on Monday") and getting ready to start a family of half Palestinian and half Puerto Rican children.  They would have been brown and beautiful with rhythm.  A moment of silence please for those children that will never be.

Yet I remain single, I am not even Ricky’s beard, living alone in a one-bedroom condo that granted I own, and doing a job that I do not like that makes me cry, a lot, and is the cause of copious shame showers.  No dreams have come true, and I do not feel that sense of accomplishment I had hoped to have had by this age.  I think those are the real reasons.  Not about getting older or aging, for there are wonderful medical procedures to remedy those problems, it is about just not being where I thought and wanted to be by now.  Ask the chubster teenage Yasmine many moons and pounds ago, and this would not have been her dream life.  Parts of it, for sure, like many of the wonderful experiences I have had, but not all of it. 

I know, I am exactly where I am supposed to be and everything happens for a reason, blah blah and such and such, but something has got to give soon.  I am too old for this shit.  Frankly, I am tired of the struggle.  I know it is not about the destination, but about the journey, but damn it all to hell, I am ready for the journey to be less turbulent and I am tired of the TSA of life asking for and performing a cavity search.  However, despite my whining of which I am told I am annoyingly good at, I am incredibly grateful for the life and opportunities I have which have not gone unnoticed.  I have my health, an amazing family, amazing friends, live in an incredible city, own my own home, have the freedom to do as I please, no roommates, I am super awesome and ridiculously good looking (not in the morning, really, it is quite tragic and unsettling), and really have a lot going for me.  I just do not like my birthday. 

I do not even have anything planned and would honestly be fine just spending it at home eating popcorn (mmmmm, popcorn) and watching a movie.  I just want it to go away.  Unless something super awesome happens, like the windfall I have been wishing for so I can retire early.  That would make life really nice if I did not have to work anymore and were able to buy my dream home.

So as of this writing, I have no bloody idea what I am doing to celebrate the day of my birth 23 years ago (shut up, I know that age is a lie, just go with it damn it.  I also lie about my weight and dye my hair, get over it), but I am sure it will be spent with some amazing people no matter how low key it is and will be filled with much laughter, and they will definitely make me feel good about my birthday even though I am currently not too happy about it.  This is just the same old song and dance I do every year, but hopefully this will be the last year I feel this way.  I am very blessed to be alive, and celebrate my life in different ways everyday, because I truly am grateful for it.  However, if anyone can help me out with that windfall to make my birthday happy, you will really make things great for me and will kindly save me from yet another shame shower.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Where's the Fro?

As many of you maybe wondering, why is it that I have no fro' in my picture although my blog clearly states I am a tall Palestinian who rocks one?  Who am I kidding, none of you are wondering because if you were or any of you were paying any attention I am sure ONE of you would have pointed out the contradiction. 

Well, I thought I should address this, even though I will feel like a traitorous bitch.  I simply look prettier with straight hair, and so my vanity won out over my logic.  There, I said it.  I am vain and I am proud, and one day I will share with you how vanity literally saved my life.  But that is another posting.

Yes, I had super curly hair, and the super curly hair was cute, but that was it.  Just cute.  I do not want to be "cute."  I want to be pretty, beautiful, stunning, earth shattering, I think you get the point here.  I just did not think that cute was working for me.  So I chose a straight haired photo.  However, I also have another confession.  I have relaxed my hair.

Yes, the fro' is pretty much gone, save for very loose curls and some straight bits.  You see, what happened was I bought a wicked strong new flat iron, and that apparently coupled with a heat protector that I used in conjunction with said wicked strong flat iron relaxed part of my hair.  When I say relaxed, it made the hair on the top of my head and what would be considered bangs bone straight.  I have spent YEARS trying to grow my hair out all nice and even, and this freaking happens.  It did not go back to normal, so I had to do something to fix it, so I bought an at home keratin treatment, and relaxed the rest myself.

Now, I am not going to lie, I really really like my hair the way it is now.  It is a little wild, kind of beachy, and a lot less cute.  I still have straight bits, but I guess it kind of looks like I do it on purpose.  You can actually tell my hair is long now, which is what I have been going for for years.  So I hope there is no permanent damage, because I will cry if my hair starts breaking off and I have to start growing it out all over again.  That is not fun considering my hair barely grows half an inch a month.  However, I will go over the roots in a few months to maintain what I have now.  Apparently it is not supposed to be permanent, but who knows.  Until then, I am rocking the new look, but will not change the name of this blog, for I still have a fro' at heart.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Story of Me

May I just tell you how much I hate having writer’s block? I really, really hate it. I mean, it has lasted for way too long and I want my writing mojo back. So here I am resorting to recycling another blog from back in the Myspace day (of which I will continue to do, but hopefully not only because I have no other material). But recycling is good. It helps the planet. The less time I leave my computer on the less my carbon footprint. So really, I am doing my part to save the Earth. You’re welcome.

But seriously though, this blog is a little back story on me. Very limited in information, but enough to let you know where some of my issues come from. Just some. You cannot just learn everything at once. Then what would you have to look forward to? I do have a confession though. For those who are going to expect part two, do not hold your breath. I never wrote it. Blame ADD, writer’s block or just shear laziness, I never really got around to it. Maybe I will now. Maybe my posting this will be the catalyst for me to write something new because I simply must write chapter two lest I let you down.

Who knows, I am not promising anything. All I hope is that you will get a little bit of a laugh, maybe a cry, but really I just hope people are reading this. Please read it. Read all my posts. Pass it along. I need to get a good following so I can get a book deal like Carrie Bradshaw and be able to buy shoes. I really, really want to buy some new shoes, and to be able to pay my mortgage. Not exactly in that order.

The Story of Me: The Life and Times of Palestine's Finest; Chapter One

On a fall night in 19__, in the desert city of Riyadh, just as morning prayers began, a Palestinian Princess was born, and God said the world is right.

Yes, it was I who was born that fateful October morning, and the world has been a better place ever since. Well, not noticeably yet, but it will once I have some power, money, and influence. It was the foreshadowing of good things to come is basically what I am getting at, okay, just work with me here.

Freakishly tall, even at birth, the nurse commented to my mother that I was going to be very tall. It is not every day that a newborn girl comes out a whopping 22 inches, and freakishly tall I became. And might I add, insanely smart and good looking, and not lacking confidence.

However it was not all peaches and cream at first, but what is life without struggle? I first disappointed my family (first in a long line of disappointments) by popping out a girl. They were expecting an Omar, but I came out a Yasmeen. Suckers. I was also, like many a newborn baby, quite ugly. Ugly enough to warrant my sister to tell my mother to take me back. Thankfully, she did no such thing. 22 years later, I grew out of ugly, and turned into the swan I always knew I was. All it took was to stop eating and putting a little makeup on, and getting rid of my glasses, braces, and getting control of my afro courtesy of my dear father's genetics, and a few other little tricks.

Hopes were high for my parents at first. I excelled at things at an early age. I walked and talked early, my mom started teaching me how to read at age one, and I was potty trained at 18 months and would have been sooner had it not been for my grandmothers ailing health that required my mothers attention. Yes, I was to be a writer, or a doctor, or a lawyer even. Something to make my Arab mother proud when she gets to tell people what her daughter does for a living knowing that deep down inside she is saying "my kid is better than yours." So let us just say that she is not so keen on the idea of saying her youngest daughter is an aspiring actor. Especially when other people are saying how their daughters are so successful, and have such a great job, and graduated college, blah blah blah. Now, I am not saying my mom is like that, but more so the Arab culture is like that. You show off through your kids, to show how wonderful you are that you gave birth to that. I am sure many other people relate.

Well, there was another disappointment. I excelled in elementary school in all things academic and artistic, even in P.E., which was one of my favorite classes, although I hate the gym now (more so on the transition later). Then things took a major turn. Junior high. Kids who were your friends were your friends no more, there were more kids who were bigger and meaner, and you were just thrown into it to either sink or swim. And sink I did, as though someone tied an anchor to my feet.

I hated junior high as much as I hate dirty feet (I REALLY hate dirty feet). It sucked major asshole, and the kids sucked more. The cliques were more apparent, and the judgments even worse. So, naturally, the more I sank into my own pit of despair, the peak of which was when one of my best friends was killed in a car accident, the more my grades suffered, and the more my parents were disappointed.

So, the actual confusion lay in the fact that I knew quite a bit of information, did well on tests, and truly was smart, however I never did my homework, and my grades did not reflect my intelligence, even in P.E. I did not do well, which was once one of my favorite classes, but alas, no more.

I had a heart murmur and the hooker of a P.E. teacher I had kept making me run the mile until I did it under 12 minutes. Well, the whole heart condition, which I later grew out of, did not allow for such a thing to happen, and she would not believe me. Until one day in the rain, on yet another attempt to make it under 12 minutes, I hyperventilated so badly I actually threw up. I totally blew chunks in some bushes by the track.  Maybe I should have used that as a lesson to lose weight back then, but I digress.  That was the last straw, and told her what happened: that I was never running again and would like to see her make me. Good times. This is why I hate the gym people, I am still traumatized by that incident. Looking back, I should have sued the school.

The only thing that got me through that hell of a school, and through another hell by the name of Tigard High School, which is another blog in and of itself, was my friend Heather who liked me even though I was fat and ugly and could not run to save my life.  Thank goodness for Heather, for she gave me at least one good reason to actually go to school, and helped me go through high school.  However the high school years will be left for another chapter from "The Story of Me:  The Life and Times of Palestine's Finest." 

Monday, January 17, 2011

An Oldie But a Goodie (First of Many)

Since I have been absent from the blogosphere due to a wicked case of writer's block, I have decided to share with my loyal nine followers some of my old Myspace blogs (do you even remember Myspace?), of which I used to contribute regularly.  Some are dated but funny (at least I would like to think so), but some are still relevant.  I believe that the one below is, because although is was some time ago (I shan't tell you exactly as it would date me), when I read it, it shocked me how my life has not changed in all this time.  I still have the same feelings, the same problems, and the same loneliness.  More so now as my sister moved out of California over two years ago, and my best friend/cousin/bff/soul mate has also moved out of the L.A. area.  If anything, I am even lonelier now because of their leaving, and I thought by this time things would have been better.  But this is life, and although I do not have my loved ones geographically close to me, I know that they are there for me.  So, I thought I would share, and I hope you enjoy some of my earlier work.  Who knows, maybe I can get my followers up to a whopping 10 :)

"2_ and Fabulous, albeit a bit lonely"

Well, it is official. My golden birthday has come and gone, and I am creeping closer and closer to 30 than feels comfortable. But I am okay with that.

One of my friends took pity on me tonight, and took me out for a couple of birthday drinks. I have him to thank for sparing me the actions of downing an entire bottle of Aleve, chased by a bottle of vodka, and then followed by an attempt to take a razor to my arms. Okay, that was a bit dramatic. He really only saved me from watching Ghost Whisperer alone and eating a pint of ice cream. Which I ended up doing when I got home anyway thanks to the wonderful world of DVR. Sans the ice cream however (yes, I watch that show. I like it, and I am not ashamed. And I would kill for Jennifer Love Hewitt’s breasts).

Another realization I had is that now that I am older, I really have to start watching what I eat more closely since I will not be able to burn it off as easily. What the hell am I talking about? I was never able to burn it off, and I am thinner now than I was as a teen. I just cannot eat is basically what I am getting at, because that is how I lost the weight in the first place. Either way, I must stay away from the ice cream. And cake. And cupcakes. And fries. Mmmmm, fries.

Anyway, as I wipe the drool away from my chin and keep wishing for a freakishly fast metabolism, back to the story. I cannot remember what I was getting at, but I think the basic gist was that although I could not see my friends or family, I am glad someone took me out, and showed me they cared. And that is all a girl needs. A phone call and/or a hug.

But this whole ordeal made me realize how much I miss my friends and family. I realize that I have a lot of people that I know, but not many true friends whom I can call and just say "Hey, is it cool to come over and watch "Lost" with you?" I know that some of you who may read this might think I am getting a little touchy, or may get upset because I am not calling you a friend, but I do not mean it as an insult. It is just a fact.

For my own little birthday treat, I went to the Getty Center today. Alone. Do not get me wrong, I really enjoyed my time alone there. I walked around in their garden, took in the view, read on the terrace, and enjoyed multi-million dollar paintings. It was lovely, and I need to do things like that more often. But I could not think of anyone to call though who would have gone with me. So many people are busy, so many people have other lives, and especially in this town, it is hard to become a fixture into those lives. It is an eternal hover on the outskirts. I guess lucky for me, although it kind of sucks sometimes, I can do many things alone. Like going to a museum, movie, mall, or coffee shop alone without feeling judged. However, I miss those times where I would go with a girlfriend and just be able to talk and be girlie and get a yay or nay on an article of clothing, or be able to discuss a movie after having seen it, or talk about a piece of art and take in a view.

The older I get, even though technically I am still quite young, the more I realize how important it is to have people you can call on. It does not have to be a posse of 20, but at least a couple of true, true friends. Ones that will pick you up if you need a ride, someone to count on for a ride to the airport, someone who will bring you soup if you are sick, someone to just be lazy with, and for certain people that will help you move without having to bribe them. True friends like that, which are a rarity.  No matter what, people need others and a human connection, or life is not worth living with no one to share it with.

I am still smart, gorgeous, and fucking fabulous. However, I am for sure more than a little lonely in this City of Angels. Sometimes so lonely it is palpable. It is not enough to make me leave, but enough to make me wish for my mommy and daddy when I am feeling blue to feel that unconditional love that I am missing out here, and so desperately wish I had.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Don't Shoot Puppies in the Face

As we all know, the world in which we live is very diverse; from cultures and geography to cuisine and clothing. Considering that the human population is damn near 7 billion (way too many for the planet. India, China, I’m looking at you), you have to expect a high degree in different beliefs and ways of life. For the most part, a lot of people embrace the beauty different cultures give us. I mean, the different food alone is freaking amazing (if only I could eat), music, film, traditions, customs; it really is a wonderful menagerie of human existence.

One other thing that is as varied and diverse as the cultures are the multitudes of religions and religious beliefs. Hell, there are some 40,000 different denominations of the Christian faith alone. I am not even going to try to get into the different sects of Islam, Judaism, Baha’i, Hinduism, Buddhism etc.; you see what I am getting at. There are a lot of religions and a lot of different ways in which they are practiced, and because of that, there is a lot of infighting, which, call me crazy, sounds counter-intuitive.

The reason why I am getting into trying to breakdown all these different faiths is to show what kind of diversity we have when it comes to faith, belief and religion. It is as varied as Jelly Belly’s, but most of the time, not as sweet. But there are several that I left out, because these are the most feared for some reason: Non-believers.

Now, if you want to know how to freak people out, tell them you are an Agnostic or an Atheist, basically anything that falls into the non-believer category and watch people stare at you like you just shot a puppy in the face. Seriously, shoot a puppy in the face, and then tell someone one that you do not believe in god, and they will be more disgusted that you do not believe in god instead of the fact that you just shot a poor, cute, cuddly wuddly fluff ball of a puppy in the face. I do not know why such a revelation elicits such a reaction, but it does. You could be volunteering in a soup kitchen, just donated a kidney to a dying kid, cured AIDS and cancer together and made world peace a reality, but you are the devil because you question the existence of god. It really freaks people out.

I fall into that category of puppy shooters. I was raised Muslim (which is a degree above puppy shooting non-believers these days), I used to fast during the holy month of Ramadan, toyed with the idea of praying when I got older, and was for the most part, a good Muslim kid. Yup, I was a semi-practicing Muslim all up until a few years ago, when something changed, and I became Agnostic.

Religion no longer made any sense to me. In the end, the basic tenets of religion is to be a good person, don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t screw your neighbor’s significant other and just don’t be an asshole. Those are all really good lessons, but I did not need a religion or “god” to tell me what was right or wrong.  And here is a thought for you, I believe that god is like Santa. He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake, or you are going to go to hell. Where do you think the lump of coal came from? We use Santa to make children behave, but he does not exist. Then does that not make god the adult version of Santa?

The seeds of doubt have always been there. Being Palestinian, I always thought that if there was a god, why would it make my people suffer? Or why would it have let the Holocaust happen? Why would it have George W. Bush be president? TWICE?  Why do good people die all the time and the assholes live, hell even rewarded? What kind of a god would let bad things happen to innocent people?  And why did you give me this hair and a slow metabolism? I have heard the crap of god is testing us, blah blah. Tell that to the poor innocent children being used as sex slaves and dying of AIDS that god loves them and is only testing them. What the hell did they do?

Also, upon taking a mythology class in college, I learned that every single religion out there was recycled from previous polytheistic faiths. Sorry to burst your Noah’s Arc bubble everyone, but that one was copied and just tidied up a bit. As was the virgin birth, creation, Adam and Eve, the commandments and just about everything else. NONE OF IT was original, and that shook my belief system.  It was like someone shot my puppy in the face.  Even before hand, I never believed all those stories to be literal, but dammit, I thought they were at least original! So why would I still believe in a virgin birth, a son of god, a great flood or a prophet that went up to heaven on a rock when all of it was pretty much made up, plagiarized and written by man several times over? I could not any longer.

So you now have the short version of why I drop kicked religion to curb, however, but not a higher power altogether. I am Agnostic. I do not fully believe in the existence, or non-existence of a higher power. I am on the fence. I really, really want there to be one. I really do. But I am not convinced completely that there is one. It does not make sense. There is no proof. And if anyone tells me “that is what faith is” and “god is love,” I will punch you in the throat. You may not be in front of me, but I swear to your dear and fluffy lord, if you tell me god is love one more time, I will hunt you down and punch you in the fucking throat. That is not proof.

Just accept my belief, like I accept yours, even though we do not agree, and do not look at me like I just shot your puppy in the face.  It is none of your business.  No really, it isn't, just walk away. There are many non-believers like myself out there, many of which I honestly believe are still in the closet about being so just because of the stigma and people trying to save them. We do not need saving, and don't judge us, because according to your beliefs, that is your god's job. We are happy. We sleep fine at night, and we are good people. We give to charities, do no harm to others, and do not start holy wars. We are good for the sake of being good, not for fear of going to hell. And if there is a god, when we die, I highly doubt that it would punish us for questioning its existence if we lived a good and honest life, especially if god loves each of its children. I would be more worried about those using its name to do bad things, like war, murder, stealing, and shooting puppies in the face.