On Confusing Heritage : Getting Reacquainted

So seeing that Jason Momoa video also kind of reminded me of an interesting point. Jason Momoa’s step daughter Zoe Kravitz (can’t do accent for some reason) is of mixed heritage. They all are. Zoe’s mother, Lisa Bonet, comes from a Jewish mother and an African American Father. While Lenny Kravitz comes from a Jewish father and an African American mother. Jason Momoa himself is Caucasian and Hawaiian. Putting aside the obvious sub point that most people make that mixed kids are beautiful it reminded of something more personal.

You see, Zoe Kravitz admitted growing up she didn’t have connection to her African American heritage and identified as white. Now, she is interested in reconnecting with that side of her roots. Personally, I think it is a wonderful move on her part, because it is a part of who you are. But it also confuses me. Lenny Kravitz identifies as Christian when it comes to religion. I’m pretty sure Lisa Bonet identifies as spiritual, drawing from all walks of life for inspiration and understanding. But I don’t understand 100% of that decision.

People only like to admit being of Jewish descent in situational moments like this, when they aren’t religiously Jewish in some article. However, the religion of Judaism is separate from the ethnic background. It seems like although raised within the Jewish religion they gave up on their ethnic dies. As Lisa Bonet and Zoe Kravitz are technically by Orthodox standards ‘Truly of Jewish decent’ due to their matrilineal line. So why then is there this seemingly disconnect with that part of their heritage? Sure, in America the Jewish community is looked down upon by other Jewish communities for a lack of spirituality, but we do embrace our ethnic ties in some ways.

It makes me think about my own family. Where things are a little confusing, because it was some secret that wasn’t supposed to be brought up that we weren’t ‘truly of Jewish decent’ based on our religious affiliation. You see my grandmother’s heritage gets very mixed as you go back. You draw in many european and asian ethnic groups such as: Spanish, British, Swedish, German, Mediterranean, a few different Eastern European groups and my favorite the apparent Cossack Russian. I mean my grandmother was only Jewish, because her Swedish Grandmother married a Jew of Spanish/British decent. Her mother then married a Jewish man of seemingly German, Russian and Middle Eastern descent (all Jews claim the traits of their Middle Eastern ancestors sticking within them). My grandmother married my grandfather who was ‘truly Jewish’ by his Austrian and Polish descent. My mom in her rebellion married a Canadian of Scottish, British and French decent (from what I know). Yet, with all of this somehow I was still Jewish. Being Jewish was so hard core pushed on me I found little ways to reject it. I defined it only as my ethnic background, I didn’t go to hebrew school and certainly didn’t join in the community service groups. Temple was an only Yom Kippur thing, because I believed in fasting. Jewish was my ethnicity. It was the only thing I could embrace: not being white. I wasn’t like them. Now, I look back on it like I was even more stupid then people told me.

A couple of years ago, I went to Taiwan to live in a monastery to explore my growing interest in Buddhism. The experience was the best thing in my life so far when it came to becoming a person. It’s funny, the more I involved myself in the community the more I would read books on other Jews who explored Buddhism. One of my favorite authors is a woman by the name of Sylvia Boorstein. Who asserts her Jewish beliefs through Buddhist daily life practices. It was fascinating. The dots of this not connecting until someone who lived with me made an awfully racist comment about Jews. Suddenly, I was compelled to take up arms that I was a Jew and would not tolerate that. Then he pointed out that most of us aren’t ‘truly of Jewish descent’ by our own standards. And gosh dammit, why was he fucking right. Two things happened in that moment: (1) somehow I understood what Sylvia Boorstein was talking about and how I was rediscovering the Jewish religion through the lens of Buddhism and (2) I truly cared about my ethnic ties. It wasn’t just I am not white anymore, because in truth I was.

How could I miss that? I am so far from the Jewish stereotype people still ask me what I am doing for Christmas. Even liking Adam Sandler surprises people. I had to take a hard look at myself, because I lived my whole life by not being another white person. In truth, I don’t think anything I ever did up to that was about the Jewish religion. It was just my cultural upbringing. Then I remembered it wasn’t the only part of it. You see there was a trickle down effect of the smallest things that clung to my family like a desperate plea to remember. Times of Swedish dinners passed down by my great-great grandmother, stories of Norse gods and Russian fairytales, Yiddish and German in the household, and nights going to hockey games because I was Canadian. Looking back on it now I find it funny. It was like I did exactly what young Zoe Kravitz did. I embraced something because that was the environment at the time.

I truly respect her choices when it comes to exploring her heritage, but it still confuses me. It’s like a part of it seems to be overlooked. How could you do that? I mean I had to admit to myself I was a white person. I was mixed, by everyone’s standards. No one said anything about it, because I was pale. Only saying I was annoying, because I suddenly realized I want to identify as mixed. Like the right was not mine to say.

Their comments just made me place more importance in reconnecting to the heritage that was still passed down. It was a part of me that I had to now embrace and accept. I just don’t understand why in her interview with the press that never seemed to come up. Both African American and Jewish ethnic ties are her makeup. Seriously, she runs a high risk of health problems, because of us so it might be wise to know that.

Wonderful choice, but a choice that makes me feel slightly wrong and empty. It was another person not realizing that Jews are an ethnic group and Judaism is a religion. They don’t always go hand in hand. Why not think about that too? I try to now. I left my sheltered South Florida bubble. I wish more people would too, because at the end of the day it’s not about religion. It’s about recognizing who you are and accepting it as a joyful thing. Ethnic descent is a part of that.

Zoe Kravitz brings up my own confusion. Even though I know nothing about her personal journey. She could feel connected to it by all means. Yet, I am confused. If you seemingly deny it then I am just another American talking about not ethnically being American, because my great-great-great-great grandfather was Irish. I mean, ethnically no one is American except actual Native Americans. But I get the whole it’s kind of hypocritically, because we are so patriotic about our countries some times… But I don’t think I am a part of that. Parts of of these ethnic ties did survive in horribly understated cliché ways.

I am figuring out what I am separate of my religion. The food I eat, the stories I am told as a child, the music I listen to in the background, the dances I saw my family dance aren’t about religion. They are the backbones of culture itself. So while I am figuring out this confusion and watching others try to figure it out let me try to have changing opinions of others who may have similar confusion. Maybe let me have a temporary tittle of ‘mixed’ even?

Life is confusing enough now a days. Why make someone else’s life harder by being like that? I just want to figure out what it was like for my grandmother to Move from Sweden to the U.K. How did she bring British culture and Spanish culture into our lives. How did Russian stews survive, a barely spoken European language or a fondness for fermented fish and Lingon berries become an iconic part of who I am. It’s not much. It really is only a trickle down effect.

But in all the confusion I have as a person, I grasp on to it as a lifeline to a steady foundation. It is a part of me…. So Jason Momoa, the Kravitzs and anyone else out there struggling with confusion. Hold on to the confusion, because its changing viewpoints will help you grow I think. You are not one thing or two. You are just the combination of all sorts of things. And you will have a solid foundation at the end of it all.

I am still trying to find answers, but now I understand just a little bit more of myself… Thank You my dear loved ones (´・` )♡ .

I.L. Knight

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German Cradle Song

I am Building My House – Joe Crone

In The People’s Republic of China – Ella Jenkins

Accidental Racist – Brad Paisley Feat LL Cool J

I Cannot Handle Jason Momoa

I cannot handle Jason Momoa sometimes. Every time I hear about something he’s done I wonder how he can exist in a world where everything I know has been twisted at least by one thing. And then I see this:

Jason Momoa Video Project?

I can’t even describe how often I’ve cried over my family. It’s what tears at me the most… And not only is he a funny down to earth guy with wonderfully obnoxious instagram posts of his family, but he is  also a great father. HOW DO HE AND HIS WIFE EXIST? HOW!?!?!

It feels like someone just took what I secretly wished for in a father and put in front of me as a great human being as well. I mean… honestly… I can’t even type out a decent post about it, because I feel my heartstrings being pulled at.

God Bless That Family Forever,

I.L. Knight

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Daughters – Jason Mayer

Should I or Shouldn’t I?

I’ve been wrestling with the idea for years on wether or not I should have a podcast.  On one hand, it is a great platform to talk about my interests and explore areas I never thought I could explore. On the other hand, it is also an activity that challenges my anxieties about using technology, maintaining a schedule and truly promoting a person. It shouldn’t be such a daunting decision, but it feels like with the media relevant day and age we are in that it is a much bigger choice then what it initially lets on. Putting aside the pros of it all I see two major cons: (1)OBS basic software is a challenge for me on it’s own and (2) would anyone watch a podcast without seeing the person’s face. I mean… I would still want to keep that feeling of anonymity. I like following in the footsteps of past female writers. AND I love the fact a pen name gives off the feeling anyone could basically be the writer. A podcast would just destroy that? No?

All that being said…. I did write an intro script and one on Jason Todd (because yea right I would wing it).

SHOULD I? SHOULDN’T I?

I.L. Knight

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Carry On My Wayward Son – Kansas

Upcoming Week Update

As you’ve just seen there’s been a flood of posts. This was due to some pain I was having from a flare up in my joints. But fear not good folks, De pain is…manageable-ish.  Writing updates and websites are scheduled to come in large waves this upcoming week. Because I’ve decided to challenge myself! An actual post a day and one type of other update. AT LEAST! If I’m so scared to return back to school I at least need to be able to do something like this! Right?

A nervously determined,

I.L. Knight

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Defying Gravity – Wicked

A Moment…

When you come home from a long, unproductive but fun day only to realize in that moment the whole reason why you are falling apart. The reason that has always nudged at you, slowly methodically since you were a child. You realize that you are lonely. Not just in the I think I need a bf way, real friends way or even a close family. The kind of lonely that makes you feel like you are an island, drifting alone at sea. John Donne, wrote, “That no man is an island, entire of itself.” It means man is a social creature and is tethered to a rational, happy reality through pure social bonds. When you don’t have those social bonds you become an island alone at sea. That is what draws in the madness, the fear and the tears. Maybe, at the end of the day, the shallow neighbor, the misunderstanding mother and oddly insistent grandmother are right. Maybe the only way to be happy when you reach a certain point of discontent, is to find a person who forces you to love yourself again. Maybe love is actually a strong force. The last resort tether before madness? If my grandma is right, then all I need to do to fix my problems is hit the gym, dress up more, find a boyfriends and go out. The problem is I’ve spent my whole life liking basically one person. Not that I want that one person back. I am finally well over that boat, rationally at least. I just don’t think I’m as over it as I want to be emotionally. I don’t miss him, not in the slightest. I miss what we were sometimes. To me, he was the one person who I knew would never leave me. He was the only assurance I had in a life that meant a lot of fluctuating. He wasn’t ever supposed to leave and he did. He was the one who took those carefree steps away from me. That is an act, I don’t think I can get over. It’s like opening up a wound I didn’t know I had. Now there’s all this bleeding and even if the doctor is telling me he can stitch, I don’t know if I can get the right stitches. I mean, if finding a new love is the answer, I don’t know what to do. I am twenty years old and I’ve never been a date. Never really had to purposely flirt with anyone, try to hookup with anyone; hell, I don’t think I even know how to like someone new or even try to find them. Tinder scares me. I’m the top of person who fails at making a virtual life great. How can I make the real one amazing, if I clearly don’t know the right choices? All I want to do is curl up a couch, switch between pints of Chinese food and Oreos with peanut butter, watch movies and cry. The problem is I don’t have a couch, there’s no one to come be with me when I cry and at the end of the day I think that would just make me feel worse. Even if I know deep down that I need a really good cry. I don’t get what’s wrong with me. Why I can’t every flip the switch and be happy. I’m always stuck in the g-damn dim light setting. I just want out. I want to be this adventurous, fun person I dreamed of being. Someone who made people life, think and try things they wouldn’t necessarily do. Instead, I’m stuck as their go to listener. That’s about it. I mean I’ve moved passed the bro zone in most cases to the you remind me of my mother. I’m twenty, shouldn’t I know be at the Bubbe phase yet?

Lost and Confused,
I.L. Knight
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The Three Fates

Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos
I don’t know what to write about anymore. Thousands of words and ideas just flow through my head trying to distract me from what I don’t want to admit. I feel empty and alone. So much is going on around me and I am not strong enough to stand through it smiling. Steven Tyler said Every life has a measure of sorrow, and sometimes this is what awakens us. If this is true who decides how much sorrow? As I kid I always thought it was the three fates, that Clotho- the spinner-Lachesis- the measurer- and Atropos- who at death with her shears cuts the thread of life- didn’t just measure our lives but what it was filled with. I figured only blind women could decide how much good and bad we’d have. As I grew older I realized it was stupid to think three women who work with mathematical numbers measure out emotion. We all have a fate, but it doesn’t make us follow a strict path like dolls, it is full of bends and twists. Knowing this I can’t blame someone for the turns I’ve chosen but I want to. I want to blame someone for making me feel empty inside. I want to blame everyone else for me not having it easy, but I know I can’t. G-d gives you what he knows you can handle and even though I’m not handling it well now I can’t help but feel I’ll handle it well tomorrow or the next day. I guess I took a few wrong turns and I gave my heart to the wrong person, but little by little I’ll make my way back and little by little I can get my heart back. I don’t want to feel empty and if I can see the way to not feel empty I’m going to try and take it. I don’t want the idle resignation to my wrong choices. I may love them but I want to awaken my happiness. It may be overly optimistic for me but I want to be happy. I deserve it. I’m a child of this new generation. It’s a generation filled with all kinds of emotional chaos and it may not be the bloody war we define as hardship but it is a war. This is a generation of kids who feel empty, dissatisfied, confused and unsure. Children who want to be the opposite of everything they’re taught. Children who want to leave in fantasy of the past and children who want to live in the fantasy of the future. Well, one day I don’t want to feel alone. I want to myself and everyone else of my generation to feel. 

I’m telling you now. We may be empty shells at the moment. We may look for euphoria by cruel methods and we may royally fuck up, but we are not stagnant. I feel empty, but one day I won’t be, because I can still hope and fight for the chance to not be. We are the Indigo children.
 
Sorry Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos I’m not letting you decide how my life will be like and when it will end.
I.L. Knight
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