Wearing a Cross on Halloween

cross halloween

It’s time to fight the hate.

I urge you:

Act with love.

Speak with kindness.

Wear your hijab.

Confirm your sexual identity.

Walk down any street in America.

Wear your cross.

The first time I ever wore this featured cross in the photo out in public was yesterday. It was Halloween in America. Wearing a cross was a brave act considering that a guy driving a truck killed 8 people in my hometown of New York City.

He has been indicted on charges as a terrorist fueled by ISIS propaganda.

Thus it seems strangely bold and daring that I wore a cross out in public yesterday.

As a Christian wearing a cross, I could’ve been targeted.

It feels like a perverse synchronicity (unbeknownst to me on waking in the morning). I had no idea that later in the day a terrorist act would happen.

I had no idea that wearing the cross would have any significance beyond making a fashion statement.

I pray that haters–in society, in the world, wherever they are–come to their senses and choose love instead of bombs and compassion instead of killing.

Right now wearing a cross could’ve gotten me killed. I had no idea that wearing a cross would turn out to be an unwitting political statement.

People come here from other countries to have rights.

Women come here from the Middle East so they can drive a car. Can you imagine not being allowed to drive a car because you’re a woman? In 2017?

This is why good people come here to raise their sons and daughters.

They’re American now and don’t want to be subjected to “guilt-by-association” any more than I do.

New York City is famously touted as “The Greatest City in the World.”

In all my time here (I was born here and still live here and won’t ever leave) I must have interacted personally one-on-one with thousands of Muslim Americans. I’m confident when I say thousands not just hundreds.

We must stand together now in solidarity to tell the haters:

We will not tolerate your crimes against fellow human beings.

We will not condone your hate. We will not live in fear.

We will live together as one human family on earth.

We will uphold the rights of everyone living in America–and I do mean everyone–regardless of color, creed, sexual preference, mental health diagnosis, and any other thing that has historically marked us as different from each other.

Now you see: why I dare to live my life Left of the Dial.

Why I dare to identify with other people who have mental health challenges.

There can be no shame in being who you are. There can be no shame in living and acting true to yourself. There can be no shame for any of us.

New York City is my hometown. Everyone is welcome here.

It particularly saddens me that 5 tourists–college buddies–from South America were killed.


Countdown to 2016

The end of the year can be blue for a lot of people who feel they have nothing to celebrate.

Again I’m reminded of the lyrics to the All-American Rejects song “Move Along.” It’s true that when it seems like all hope is gone a person has to just move along.

The future can be better. Today is what it is and tomorrow can be different. We do have the power to shift the needle to have an organic and balanced life. It might not all happen at once. It might happen in increments.

I firmly believe that we’re given only what we can carry. And that the goal is to carry our cross with dignity.

I align as a Christian. Though I don’t attend any church and I’m not a member of any organized religion: I align as a  Christian.

Faith in a higher power can carry us through when we don’t have faith in our lives turning around any sooner.

In a book I wrote that I’m no longer going to publish I wrote that an act of faith can simply be walking in a park or around greenery and getting in tune with nature.

I was referred to the Greenpoint Church Hunger Program as a reputable non-profit so I donated money to this effort. The Greenpoint Reformed Church in Brooklyn, NY serves a weekly dinner to anyone who shows up and runs a food pantry with minimal requirements when you go to pick up the food.

Elsewhere I’ve written that buying organic produce and frequenting a food pantry makes sense for a lot of people living on a limited income. Or buying mostly fruits and vegetables and getting other food from a pantry.

One selling point when I was referred to this church was that two married women run it. As in married to each other. I told the person who referred me that I would’ve liked to become a priest if the Catholic Church allowed me to. She told me not to hold my breath.

I was born into a Catholic family and was the only one who attended church often until I went to college. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 I turned away from organized religion for good.

Today I’m still not a fan of the bigotry and violence committed in the name of God or Allah. I don’t think any human being should be standing in judgment of another human being because you think they’ve sinned in the eyes of your God. Jesus loves everyone.

I tend not to judge people and I try my best to refrain from doing this.  It’s true “all you need is love” and two people loving each other shouldn’t be looked down on.

There’s far too much hate and anger and violence and bigotry (including racism and discrimination) that’s still ongoing in the world.

I gave up wanting to be normal in a society where competing against other people in a “rat race” is the norm.

In this holiday season I say: be grateful for what you do have instead of bemoaning or being jealous of what you don’t have.

At HealthCentral years ago I wrote about the recovery strategy of establishing a tradition. So if you don’t have family to celebrate with do something on your own. Be kind to yourself.

Make a charitable donation if you’re able. Or in the New Year see about volunteering your time instead of money to a non-profit whose mission you endorse.

Thank you for reading this blog. I’m grateful for all the readers who tune in. I hope that in the end like the famous quote tells us you don’t think anything is impossible you think: “I’m Possible.”