About Me

February 17, 2024 

I have decided to change the format of the blog, again adding an About Me banner instead of The Photo. About Me graced the blog for several years, however, was replaced when I became increasingly more political  and more Muslim. I am still both – Free Palestine shall remain as well Quest for Life, for awhile anyway. This will be moved to be a About Me permanent entry. 

This blog has been around for a really long time. The February 7, 2017 blog contained a comment section, it made me laugh.  I really  do wonder if the author is still reading my blogs. She is a Muslim, I was not during out acquaintanceship.  She worked in her brother’s London Dolphin Square grocery store, located in the Arcade. Apparently it has been entirely torn down as the entire complex is being desecrated.  Her comments from those early days..   

Alexis I am enjoying reading your blogs one can never become bored again 😃

First some history about the origins of the blog. This is taken from the Introduction to In Contemplation and in Conversation: Companionship at the Tate Britain, my self published book written, with the assistance of poet Jessica Phibbs  in 2017. 

“This book has an even stranger ending, in a way. In the final days of his work on this book I asked Computer Guru Chris is setting up a blog was a difficult task. “Suer easy,”said he. Two days later I owned alexismcbride.com London and Beyond. It is immensely popular. At this writing it has almost 100,000 hits since January 22, 2017. It was all because of this book. This book rescued me from hopelessness and despair, loneliness and alienation. My creative juices were dried up. I was barren. Now I have a fertile mind, more than ever before. I would like to thank the artists who painted, the Tate Britain that collected, Chris, Jessica , my friends at the Rex Whistler and Lynne. I weep as I write, but not tears of sorrow. (Intro. Pg.4)  

Nowadays, in  order to get some perspective (and some assistance) I typed About Me into the blog’s search engine. Decided to use one as a template – this written on July 21, 2021.  I will begin, as it begins, but it will be altered as everything in my life has, yet again,  rapidly and radically changed. But here we go again, and will again, I am sure.

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 About Me because it remains my motto and the underlying motto and inspiration of this blog. It is a blog that is, one on level, most funny but also extremely serious. (I shall now define and consider serious, this was not done in the prior ‘edition’). Serious synonyms, catching my meaning are : solemn, earnest, thoughtful. meditative,, contemplative, introspective, studious.  The blog can, in equal measure, be serious: lighthearted, cheerful, jovial, the antonyms of serious. 

My writing is most solemn, meditative, and introspective particularly when speaking of my becoming of the Islamic Faith. My reversion to the faith took place on October 20, 2020. The inspiration for my reversion to the faith was Allah’s  (SWT) and the Prophet Muhammed’s (PBUH) treatment of women. They are revered, honored, cherished, considered equal to men.

Back to the July 21, 2021 About Me. 

The photograph that formerly graced the blog, replicated at the conclusion of this blog was taken by an extremely talented friend,Hannah Laycock. We met during my time in London England (beginning in 2014, ending on March 15, 2017). I was forced to leave London upon the expiration of my student visa. I was, ostensibly, in London studying Creative Non-Fiction writing.  The truth of the matter: t I was there because living in London was a dream, one that could be was realized with a student visa, one that impolitely expired. .  

The expiration made it clear that the UK did not want me, both the USA and Canada had no choice, simply because I had dual citizenship. March 15, 2017 found me in Canada, deserted  there fifty years before. I chose Canada for many reasons. One was the desire not to live under the dictates of President Trump. Ironies, upon ironies,  I became the first long term guest (4 months)  in the newly constructed Trump International Hotel and Tower. It was not owned by Trump  (he owns nothing but unruly, dyed hair) but a young multibillionaire (inherited) Joo Kim Tiah. We had a very complicated relationship – uncomplicated by sex, but complicated by everything else. Many months after my termination of the relationship, he and his mother announced the planned construction of an amazing residential complex in Kuala Lumpar Malaysia, the Alix Residences. Alix was a childhood diminutive of Alexis, the overarching and overwhelming theme of the place was Brazenly Authentic. An informal poll taken at that time revealed that EVERYONE thought I was brazenly authentic.  Construction not completed even at this late date, because all of the  the multibillionaires’ companies declared bankruptcy – ostensibly the effects of the coronavirus. Companies were invested heavily in hotels which were actually a front for the laundering of dirty money. Knowledge of that led to an attempt on my life in August of    (More about that at a later time). 

This return to Canada was short lived (3/15/2017-3/2019) In the words of Pierre Burton, a Canadian author and intellectual: “Vancouver is a great place for a city; it is not a great city.” hat was written during its finer hours. Returned to my cherished SF just in time to experience the March 15, 2020 pandemic lockdown. It was living hell. The city was overtaken by marauding  homeless. It has never recovered, this hidden from the world. 

My reversion to the Islamic Faith had nothing to do with the pandemic but it happened during my San Francisco pandemic days. It is a long story, not to be told here, but strangely enough the incentive was learning of the March 6, 2020 British Family Court ruling that the Ruler of Dubai, the Prime Minister of the UAE had, kidnaped and abducted, two of his daughters and mistreated his sixth wife. I had a regular taxi driver, a Pakistani Muslim I asked him, “Is that how Muslims treat women?” He responded: “No ,the opposite.” 

Eager for knowledge I began reading of the Islamic Faith, no other way as mosques were closed, the taxi driver’s knowledge of the faith is practically nonexistent and I knew no other Muslims. I read books downloaded from the Internet and other Internet sites. Found that the taxi driver was absolutely correct. As you shall soon read the status of women was unspeakable  before the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). The Prophet (PBUH) arose as a leader who  fundamentally changed the world. Women for the very first time were valued, by Mohammed (PBUH), receiving his revelations by Allah (SWT). They are  considered to be equal to men, both needed to complete a marriage, to be one under God. Both men and women were to dress modestly. 

I learned in  in some detail,  of the conditions in pre-Islamic times. I was aware, by reading the Quran of the practice of burying girl babies alive but never did I get a picture of the brutality of the situation that was widespread in Arabia before Mohammed (PBUH) 

This from the Quran 16: 58-59 “And they ascribe daughters to God, glory be to Him, and for themselves (they would have) what they desire. And when a daughter is announced to one of them, his face becomes black and he is full of wrath. He hides himself from the people because of the evil of that which is announced to him.  Shall he keep it with disgrace or bury it (alive) in the dust? Now surely evil is what they judge. Then again Quran 17: 31 And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We give them sustenance and yourselves (too); surely to kill them is a great wrong. I reverted to the Islamic Faith two and a half years ago – my devotion based on Allah’s vision of women as being equal to men. 

Do remember that I became of the faith during the pandemic, therefore my practice of the faith began in solitude, and continues in that manner. I am planning to write a book; its title shall be No Mosques for Me. That is because Muslims do not value woman in their every day practices of the faith in most Muslim majority or Muslim minority countries world wide. There are exceptions, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia being two. I did learn the hard way, observing practices during my stay in the UAE, in Canada, the USA, as well as meeting pilgrims from a multitude of  countries during my three month stay in Medina – a ‘stop’ for pilgrims performing their Umrahs and Hajj.

My ‘on the ground’ learning was enhanced by reading. Dr. Azeem in the Epilogue of Islam The Status of Women in Islam.  He begins with the harsh fact, that “Muslim women in the Muslim world do not receive the noble treatment promised by Allah.” Quoting from his book.  I

“it has to be made clear first that the vast differences among Muslim societies make most generalizations too simplistic.. There is a wide spectrum of attitudes toward women in the Muslim world today. Theres attitudes differ from one society to another and within each individual society. …All Muslim societies have, to one degree or another, deviated from the ideas of Islam with respect to the status of women. These deviations have, for the most part, been in one of two opposite directions” 

“The first direction is more conservative, restrictive, and tradition-orientated, while the second is more liberal and Western-orientated.The societies in the first direction treat women according to the customs and traditions inherited from their forebears. Women are deprived of rights granted to them by Islam , treated differently than her male counterparts, less likely to go to school, She is under constant surveillance, has little say in family affairs or community interests.”

But there is the other side to the coin. “There are Muslim societies (or certain classes within some societies that have been swept over by the Western culture and way of life. These societies often imitate unthinkingly whatever they receive from the West and usually end up adopting the worst fruits of Western civilization. A women’s top priority is to look good, to enhance her physical beauty, caring more about her charms than her brains, spending all her time realizing her ‘femininity not her humanity.”

Guess what? I have gotten ahead of myself, yet again. It means one is supposed to take things one step at a time, not being too hasty, not getting carried way. In this chronology I have not become have not even come a Muslim. How can I possibly be complaining about the treatment of women in the Islamic Faith? 

I did get ahead of myself, I will summarize and save more until later. Summary:  The more I learned in 2020, the more I continue to learn about the Prophet Muhammed, (PBUH) honor the words found in the Quran, the Hadiths, the tradition the underlying science the wisdom and the knowledge of the Islamic Faith the stronger and more committed I became and become  to the One God. 

Stay tuned!. The correct phrase is “stay tuned.” “Stay tuned” is an idiom that comes from the world of broadcasting and entertainment. It means to keep watching, listening, or paying attention for further developments or updates.

The photograph which was originally used to grace the blog was framed with an Albert Camus quote: In the Midst of Winter, I Found There Was, Within Me, an Invincible Summer. This quote resonated and has been with me for sixty years, has been in many ways the theme of my life. I have finally learned the entire truth:   The invincible summer within me, is, and always has been,  Allah (SWT) . 

The other photograph will grace the cover of my unwritten book – No Mosques for Me. It was taken in Mecca during my December 2022 Umrah.

Chapter Two of About Me

April 2, 2024 

The inspiration for this continuing saga is inspiring and unusual. It is morning, on Day 21 of Ramadan. I am living in Kohbar, Saudi Arabia, with a view of both the magnificent Kohbar Water Tower and the incredible Ithra (King Abdulaziz Cultural Center) in the distance. 

This morning was carefully planned assuring quiet, contentment and peace of mind enabling the writing of the next ‘episode’ of About Me.  Woke for Fajr prayer followed by a solitary Sahur. Surprisingly fell into a short nap, awakening a bit disorientated. For some reason opened Instagram. 

Weeks ago I had responded to post from a Riyadh Sister who has been informing the world of the educational opportunities available for women at King Saud University. In Riyadh.  I had written: 

Me: Makes me want to go back to school!! But I am 80 and already have four university degrees. Alhamdulillah. I now live in Saudi Arabia. A recent revert. 

I have received a gratifying 820 likes to that Response. This morning a message 

She: Wow. You have lived four times more than I have. How was life? 

I immediately responded. 

Me: In some ways a difficult journey but I have arrived at my destination in safety. Being of the Islamic Faith. Living in Saudi Arabia.  

My goodness what a journey! The journey began in Regina, Saskatchewan, born into a poor Christian family, have now arrived in Saudi Arabia an independent (both financially and emotionally) recent revert to the Islamic Faith. 

What a perfect way to begin the next chapter, seems to be a gift from Allah (SWT).  

You see, wondrously, the blog has been the vehicle, the driving force behind my coming to the faith and then the driving force to my journey to Saudi Arabia where I live as a refugee I laughing say: “Well one with a credit card and a retirement income,. A refugee nevertheless – Islamophobia prevents my return to Canada and the United States. I am a dual citizen. However as a Muslim woman, alone and undefended, I have faced and will always face discrimination and harm in those countries My retirement income is a result of my residency and employment in the County of Marin, California, just over the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge . 

The first chapter of About Me spoke of where I was living on October 20, 2020, mentioned what was my incentive at the time to begin learning of the Islamic Faith. The reason, the impetus and the lure was my lifelong feminism. The come-on was to learn about the role of Muslim women. I am a feminist according to Maria Shear’s definition: “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.”

As an aside, found it amusing to discover  she described herself as a “widely unheralded writer & editor” I was saddened to learn she died in 2017, at the age of 77. 

Me: Maria should have tried blogging, she would not have been unheralded. 

Alter Ego: Maybe blogs were not around at the time. 

Me: They were too! That is the year I began writing mine. 

Alter Ego:Yes! I forgot,  

Back to incentive: a thing that motivates one to do something. I was goaded into reading about the faith by a Muslim taxi drivers saying: 

He: No that is not the way Muslims treat women – it is opposite. 

The actions of the Ruler of Dubai were found to be wrong by the British Family Court, and will be, most certainly, be found evil,  on the Day of Judgment.  

Those words  started my exploration, my journey. The more I read, the more interested I became. I had been an atheist since the age of nineteen but was familiar with religions through academic study – Buddhism, Catholicism, the Protestant faith, Judaism. I had also studied Ikebana for twenty years, achieving spiritual enlightenment from there.  However, knew nothing of the Islamic Faith. 

My solitary studies continued until, at some point,  my Muslim taxi driver decided I was ready. He  set up a telephone call with the Inman of his Richmond,California Mosque.  It was an hour and a half conversation that would change my life forever.

We spoke of many things, he was inquisitive, caring and a great listener. We spoke of my religious practices and education, what I had learned about the Islamic Faith, the sources of my information and, at one point, my blog. At the time, it had readers all over the world, scores of views and viewers. His final instruction:  

He: Continue reading the Quran. You and Allah will decide when you are ready. 

I did, He did. . On October 20, 2020 I, in English, spoke those few well known well chosen words. Later, at the Zahyad Center in Abu Dhabi my faith was formalized – the Arabic words in tears and then laughter. Laughter as I kept mispronouncing the Arabic  words – it probably took about half an hour. Tears of joy mixed with laughter at my tongue tied Arabic.  

Very rarely do I speak of Inman Hamza’s second message. I shall paraphrase his words.

Paraphrase is to express the meaning of (the writer or speaker or something written or spoken) using different words, to achieve greater clarity. 

He: I teach young men of the faith, but only can reach ten or fifteen at a time. You can speak to the whole world. You have been Chosen by Allah (SWT). 

At that time five people agreed that I had been Chosen. The taxi driver was one, two were princesses from the Royal Family of Qatar. Very unlikely that, but true. 

 At the time I was told I was chosen it did have an impact, but it has taken some time and some effort to understand what that means – to grow into it, so to speak. It is now time for me to explore this tremendously important aspect of my life and my faith. 

“Being the chosen one by God means being divinely elected for a specific purpose and assignment. It involves a unique calling to serve God and others, guided by His wisdom and love. This unique relationship brings a sense of fulfillment, spiritual growth, and a responsibility to share God’s message with the world.”

I don’t know the source of those words, found on the Internet a few months ago. I do know the source of some further information, ten signs that you know you are chosen. Strangely, it came from a website called  SpiritualHack. I shall speak of those signs in the next episode.  There is also a long list of personality traits – almost all of which I possess. 

I shall close this ‘segment’ with another Instagram post. “You are born alone, you will be buried alone, you will be resurrected alone. And you will stand before Allah alone. Therefore, prioritize pleasing Allah above else. I responded: 

Me: Thank you endlessly for this reminder. It is most important to constantly and everlastingly to keep our focus on this and not be distracted by the temporary temptations of the world. 

However, at this moment, Instagram is saying they cannot ‘refresh the feed.’ It is apparently a means to silence some speech. I am so thankful to have this blog. Meta Media has no power over me. They do also have WhatsApp under their umbrella but WhatsApp is my place to have fun, to play with my pals. It is necessary, for me anyway, to be able to express both my serious thoughtful self. and also my joyful self.