This quote, so profound and meaningful was posted on Instagram. “Each time a woman stands up for herself without knowing it, possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women. Maya Angelo.” This is appearing in the About Me as it is my motto and the underlying motto and inspiration of this blog. It is a blog that is, one on level, most funny but also very toward very serious matters. As you will read I became a Muslim, the inspiration for my conversion is Allah’s treatment of women. They are revered, honored and cherished. Western lazy journalists know nothing of the faith – their laziness and lies have cost Muslims their lives. Most recently in Canada, my birth country. London, Ontario, Canada saw the a Muslim family murdered simply because they were Muslims.
The photograph that formerly graced the blog was one taken by an extremely talented friend, Hannah Laycock. I met her during my sojourn in London that began on September 11, 2014 and ended on March 15, 2017. Then I went “home” to Canada, the land of my birth, deserted fifty years before. My return to Canada was actually rather short lived – March 15, 2017 until the end of March 2019. But it did serve a useful purpose as it did serve to make me cherish San Francisco (for awhile) but then along came the pandemic and it became living hell. I could not live in a worse place, even if I tried. It is now a crime ridden desolate place made possible by Gavin the Governor as I can him. The lock down began on March 15, 2020, it was living hell because of inconsistencies and opening and closings, and opening and closing. Then, almost by magic, moved back to Marin County on December 1, 2020 where they had Covid-19 under control, better than any other county in the USA – second in vaccinations and overall control only to Dubai who cleaned up their act because of Expo 2020 – which got moved to Expo 2021 because of the pandemic. But back to the history of me.
I first moved to San Francisco from Canada in 1967, the Summer of Love. When first returning to San Francisco I was miraculously filled with a hope and optimism which mirrored my feelings of 1967, but those dissipated as Covid-19 did in San Francisco, it is now crime ridden and an unsafe place to live, although that fact is suppressed in the Western press.
I look back at my life, moved to Marin County in 1973, remaining there to work and live but it was absolutely essential for me to leave Marin County for London in 2014, to meet my Uncle Dave Dryburgh (1908-1948), and (then rather returning to Marin at Christmas or during school breaks) make pilgrimages to his land of birth, Scotland. A return Canada at the expiration of the student visa, cleverly avoiding Trump but being the first long term guest at a newly opened hotel on West Georgia Street. Name? The Trump International Hotel and Tower, not owned by Trump – he owns nothing but unruly, dyed hair – but a multibillionaire by the name of Joo Kim Tiah. Fast forward – we did have a relationship, uncomplicated by sex. He named a building under construction in my name, Alix Residences (look it up). The completion is rather precarious due to the companies’ bankruptcy, which all rather understandable, given the pandemic (heavily invested in hotels) and the short fall of laundered money which funded it all. Did research while still in Vancouver, but did not comment because I feared for my life. But attempt was made on August 18, 2019, and is chronicled on the blog written from the ‘safety’ of London in November of 2019. . Obviously I did survive, but it was a miracle. I now credit my survival to the intervention of Allah.
But back to Hannah’s Laycock’s incredible photograph which has been replaced by Alexis (aka Alya) the Muslim. When first viewed I wept and occasionally still do. I weep because it captures what I love about myself, my look of hope and optimism, in place despite a life marred by dreadful childhood abuse that left scars, both physically and mentally. I rather feel like a miracle child, well an old child at this point as I was born in 1943. On my good days I spread joy- living well is the best revenge. The joy I feel and spread becomes revenge because of the knowledge that the people who harmed me, their progeny and their progeny’s progeny are not joyful. Living in a state of denial is paralyzing. I no longer see or communicate with my nuclear family – I am under Doctor’s orders not to do so. I always tell the truth – well, sometimes I exaggerate a little- but not in this case. The move to London on September 11, 2014 was enabled by a student visa. A dreadful mind bending school, cruelly administrated by Julie Wheelwright. Left London at the expiration of the student visa, very obediently. This blog contains all of my experiences in the last days of London, in Vancouver, Hayes Valley, San Francisco, Marin and now in the United Arab Emeritus. That is why it is London and Beyond. I am now living in Beyond, but not really as this is where it all began before undertaking this voyage of bravery and discovery. I do laugh, still a look of hope and speak joy. So there! So there! So there!
When I lived in London people met me, scratched their heads and said: “Were you always like this?” I don’t know, underneath perhaps. While there, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, met two strangers, both black. The man said: “Where do you get your energy? You are so creative. “The woman said: “What you exude is confidence. Were you always like this?” I thought as I wandered about the museum, viewing an exhibit on underwear. What is different? What is the same? I am way, way more vulnerable. I am way, way more daring and decisive. I am extremely open and opinionated. I have systematically depopulated my world of negative people, planning to keep all from my life but occasionally not succeeding. Quite frankly been used by people, by families back home, people in Vancouver, several attempts have been made by Instagram ‘friends’, then people in San Francisco, then again people in Marin. I laugh more, early and often. Seriously, tens, if not hundreds, of people comment on my laugh, approvingly. I used to think I had to conquer evil but now I see that this is impossible. Evil plays dirty and the only way you can fight it is to adopt those techniques. Who wants to? All one can do is to step aside. Get out of evil’s clutches and watch them self destruct. It has been such a so difficult to learn as I am a fighter, it is against my nature. But the joy one feels when you step aside, acknowledging defeat is immense. I read somewhere that admitting defeat is energizing. It is. But not only that, Uncle Dave, when I go to the sidelines, they do themselves in.
My has been blessed in many ways. I have had many professionals in my life who are able, competent, helpful, supportive and generally just wonderful. The main man is Chris Jackson, responsible for this blog. Well I do admit that I to the writing, but he posts for me daily and is always there for me. Yeah Chris! This reunion took place in my favourite place in the world: the Rex Whistler Restaurant in the Tate Britain, London England, prepandemic as it is closed at the moment. Chris and I were both amazed at the number of readers, which is the mark of success on a blog.
He: I pave the road. You drive the car.
Is not that a beautiful statement about the power of collaboration?
But again back to the Hannah photograph. I had a poster made with the photograph and a quote from Albert Camus. “In the midst of winter, I found there was within me, an invincible summer.” It describes so perfectly the expression on my face. I weep as I write, but not tears of sorrow but tears of joy.
This quote has been with me, cherished for at least fifty-five years. But at the moment I live in an invincible summer – Abu Dhabi offers invincible summer. The populace never experiences anything resembling the winter of Edmonton, Alberta Canada.
It was during my brief return to Marin (December 1, 2020 to November of 2021) that upon a visit to my Primary Care Physician of approximately forty-three years ( conveniently located two blocks down the street) , that the following conversation took place. I announced that I had become a Muslim.
Me: When you first met me, forty odd years ago – did you think I would become a Muslim.
He: It was the furthest thing from my mind.
He then wandered around the office saying. “No sex? No sex? No sex?” Muslim women are not allowed to have sex without marriage and I am not married (at the moment). I am a Muslim Virgin. There were, of course, not many Muslim men in Marin. That is not the only reason why I have relocated to the Middle East. I suffered horrible prejudice and discrimination being a Muslim woman and learned the fear that blacks must suffer. All lives matter, said I throughout those dismal days but was forced to say that white Muslim women’s lives matter. But fighting it was useless – instead I escaped to a Muslim country where I feel most apt home, supported and accepted by all those of the Muslim faith who are so happy for me.
This About Me was rewritten, the last penned in July of 2021. Absolutely massive changes in my life since then. My goodness, what will the next six months bring? Who knows? Stay tuned.