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 now living in thebest apartment complex in the whole world, I am sure. I am thoroughly vaccinated (being old has some advantages) and life except for face masks which are rapidly disappearing life is back to normal. I have forty-seven face masks so occasionally don one of them just for a fashion accessory. But back to the history of me.
I first moved to San Francisco from Canada in 1967, the Summer of Love. When I first came back, miraculously filled with a hope and optimism which mirrored my feelings of 1967. It was absolutely essential for me to leave Marin County (1971-2014) for London, 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, 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). Its 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 made on August 18, 2019. Obviously I did survive, but it was a miracle.
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 and now here, safe and sound in Marin. 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. When departing g Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada was reminded of a famous saying by Pierre Burton (a leading and profound Canadian intellectual). “ Vancouver is a not a great city. It is a great place for a city, but not a great city.” It has grown even worse since those words were spoken. Vancouver is corrupt – greed spoils the place and in my brief time there, managed to meet some of the most corrupt and greedy of them all. Such a talent – 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’, and then people in San Francisco. 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. There are a couple of complicating factors to explanations for my behaviour change. I stopped taking antidepressants in April, 2015 after a sentence of about 30 years. I developed a systemic allergy to the brand taken at the time. Moreover, there are often behavioural changes after major head trauma, trauma being hit by the motorcycle on September 13, 2014. Looked the wrong way when crossing a street, day two of my stay in London. I did have post traumatic flashbacks that had been suppressed for years by the antidepressants, so sayeth my doctors. Not fun, but they do pass. But most transformative was the realization that the accident, a near fatality, was actually a near death experience. I view the world differently as a result, in the best way, I live in the present.
My life is blessed in many ways. I have 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.
At this moment I am in heaven, a fab apartment complex, which in the main is populated by the nicest people. Do not drive as I can walk almost everywhere. My Primary Care Physician of approximately forty-three years is two blocks down the street. A perfect place for a retired old lady. Do admit to having Middle East longings and connections, but they are over, thank goodness. I have a wonderful family, they are Vietnamese and am most proud and happy to be educating their amazingly talented 17 year old daughter. A four year school, she has scholarships but there is a short fall. She drives me around, aids and assists me with device control AND does make up. I am not reachable on this bog, on purpose, but am on Instagram: alexismctwit – do not ask me why it is McTwit but it is rather cute.
All this and I am a Muslim too. Who would have guessed?? Soon after my conversion on October 20, 2020 had an appointment with my Primary Care Physician.
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. Do not think that there are many Muslim men in Marin – although one was found for me in Qatar. But, despite my face painting, I am not going there. Too hot! “When you are hot, you are hot! Well I am, even at my ripe old age. I would simply sizzle in Qatar. Recently painted my face as the Scottish flag, this on Instagram and blog. I could perhaps live here if the referendum to Free Scotland is introduced and then passed. Perhaps I do not have to marry a Muslim, will check into it. Very recently met a man and we discussed a honeymoon in Hawaii.
He: Well, usually I do not drink but when in Hawaii I will drink with you.
Me: How sweet! A version of when in Rome, do as the Romans do. You are so charmingly flexible and so funny. Almost as funny as you.
Me: I do not think so! May the best man win. Hahaha
He: I will certainly not have a best man at the wedding then.
Me: Ok. You just won. You are funnier.