Tuesday, January 31, 2017

An Open Letter to the Muslim Doctors Who Helped Me

To the Muslim Doctors That Helped Me:

I would like to open this letter with my gratitude. Not only for your service and commitment to science, helping others, and the advancement of technology, but for treating me with compassion during one of the worst personal/medical times in my life.

A year ago, I was in a bad living situation. I was living with bed bugs and mold. Instead of taking care of it, my landlord thought he would run me out. That way he could jack the rent up in my apartment. One which I had lived in without incident for 10 years. When I called The City on him, he proceeded to torment me through the legal system. I was in court once a week with this man. He proceeded to follow me around the neighborhood, until one day he told me that he wouldn't stop until he saw me homeless. While in court, he attempted to burn my apartment down after going through my things. He knew where I was going to be. This was the perfect opportunity for his wish to come true.

Due to the stress I had to endure, my health began to fail. My hair was falling out, and I was so stressed I could not digest my food properly. I could not sleep, and when I did I feared bugs were crawling all over me. Often I was so weak I couldn't make it up the stairs, and routinely fainted/passed out. Not to mention I had problems breathing. Do to the stress and poor diet as well as lack of self-care, a test for cancer came back for a certain virus that causes a certain type of cancer. Often, abnormal tests are triggered by stress and a broken down immune system as was the case in my particular situation.

During my first visit to the doctor, I was scared. You often are when you fear they will find something deathly wrong with you. I told the nurse this. Then you walked in. Yes, my Muslim doctor. You heard I was afraid of doctors, and to put me at ease walked in without your robe. In order to get me to relax, and made me laugh. Then you asked what brought me to you. I told the truth. You listened with compassion, and no judgement. By the way you spoke to me, I could tell you cared. At that point in my life, no one else did. You discussed doing some tests to find out why I was so tired, and you told me regardless of what you found, we were going to design a treatment plan so that I could be healthy again.

My second visit contained my test results. This time I had a second doctor. Another Muslim doctor. This one female. It was because my first was back home to visit his family in his home nation. This young woman was fresh out of medical school, and discussed a treatment plan. She told me I was going to be alright, and suggested vitamin supplements that could help me. She also suggested a higher iron diet, and perhaps moving out of my unhealthy situation. While I didn't walk out of there cured, I had a plan. I was going to be okay.

A year later I am healthy. I am out of my horrific living situation. My hair has grown back. As well, I no longer faint and am running anywhere from 2-5 miles a day, depending. I am also weight training. My diet contains more iron, fruits, and vegetables.

I also want to express gratitude for the fact you saw me as a patient, and did not judge me by the color of my skin. You cared about my well-being as a doctor should. As a matter of fact, I kept my same insurance so I could keep you as my doctors. That being said, I apologize for the closed minded bigotry of the leader our country has picked, and I apologize for the Islamophobia that you have experienced at the hands of others.

I also know that Isis does not speak for all practitioners of your faith, just as Army of God and the KKK do not speak for all Christians, my faith. If you are what we are letting in when Muslims come, I say let more in. You are welcome in the America I know and that I grew up to understand. Thank you for being so willing to contribute, even though so many of us are not so kind back.

This summer in Cleveland I was able to march against Trump when he got his nomination. There were shirts that said, "Muslim Doctors Save Lives." I know this to be true.

Thank you for saving mine.


The Lady and President Tramp
Monday February 20, 2017 7PM
Dont Tell Mama
343 W. 46 Street

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Why I Marched

Last week I went to The Women's March in NYC. I was told by some of the white males in my life that the march was stupid and pointless. Trump was already president. What was done was done. I had to work with it.

The white men are part of the population that is never effected. They win every election. They never have to worry about sexual assault or intimate partner violence. Their reproductive rights are never questioned. Since they are not a part of an ethnic group that has been oppressed, they do not know the discrimination others do.

Instead, although we say The White Man's burden is dead, it is alive and well. And it is feeding the patriarchy that is killing us all.

Truth be told I almost didn't march. What was done was done. Maybe the white males in my life were right. Maybe it was time to accept Trump was president even though the woman I voted for won the popular vote. I and many like myself were angry after the election: that our rights were in danger and our vote didn't count.

Plus I had marched this summer in Cleveland with STAT (Stand Together Against Trump) I spent my days in the square street performing and bringing awareness and finally was at the front of the big march. It was Donald J. Tramp, a bunch of doctors, and myself. They never saw themselves being politically involved let alone being next to a puppet. We even trended on twitter that day. We were heard. Loudly, peacefully.
In the Square, a true protest chick and her puppet

I had done my marching, right?

In the words of our Cheeto in charge, "WRONG!"

I have had a lot of feelings post election. There has been the grief. As if something aka our democracy has died and a dictator has taken over. As if my vote didn't count even though I was one of the 3 million popular votes Hillary won by. Then there was the rage at the people who didn't vote that wanted to complain. There was the pure just ire with the Stein people for voting third party and essentially adding to the Trump tally. And then in part I was pissed with the Trump people, but they turned out and voted. They were a part of our broken system like I was.

Yet at the same time, my candidate had more votes and their man was in. Again, it was the system I was raging at. I pitied them more than anything and still do. They voted with sexism, faith, and fear, a deadly combo where they feared a powerful agnostic woman and instead got a madman who will get their sons blown up in his needless war.

I also wanted to know where the people protesting were in Cleveland. Where were they when we needed people to phone bank? Where were they during the voter drives? Oh I forgot, being apathetic.

Yet I was getting angry. Angry that Trump's picks were anti-woman and anti-LGBTQ. Angry at the thought of a wall as I live in a city where we have many hardworking immigrant families eager to contribute. Angry that the ACA might be repealed and that I'll lose healthcare. Angry that as a woman who was abused by an intimate partner that our commander and chief is a rapist and feels there is nothing wrong with sexual abuse.


Angry that my friends who were HIV positive could be denied health coverage if ACA was repealed. Angry these same friends might have their marriages declared illegal. Angry that a race of people is now being profiled. Angry that young black men are killed by the cops.


I however wasn't going to DC. I had been travelling quite a bit and was tired. So when I heard there was a women's march in NYC I was on the fence. I was angry, but I had done my marching.

My mom changed the tide. A Title IX Crusader, she led a sit in so her winning swim team could get letter jackets just like the men. The captain at the time, just 21, my mom was also the media spokesperson for the cause. All they wanted was to be treated fairly. My mom told me she felt it was important I went. So I did.

It was a warm day, and Donald J. Tramp and I made the trip. Through a strange connection, we ended up behind the banner of the NYCLU. There were 500 K people who turned out in NYC alone. There were marches all around the country. There were marches all around the world. There were people saying no loudly, proudly, and peacefully to injustice. It was just as beautiful as Cleveland.

It wasn't just women. Male allies came out too to march alongside us. Men who understood sexism was wrong. Men who reminded us that while the patriarchy was oppressive, men were not the enemy. While the right would call them Betas that could not have been farther from the truth. Because a real man will march alongside a strong, vocal woman.

Being there felt magical. Being there felt important. Being there was making a statement. Not only was I marching for a cause, but I was marching into history. It was saying perhaps the system told me my vote did not count, but my voice and that of many others damn well did.

Look at me march. Donald J. Tramp is there, too

I instantly made some new friends. And we killed time as the march started an hour and a half late. The late start wasn't because of the disorganization, but because more people than intended turned out. Yes, that many people were willing to take a stand. For many, this was their first protest march. Others had been marching since childhood, even attending their first protest in strollers. There were some cases where whole families marched, children included.

The streets were crowded with people, to the point where we couldn't move. The banner and puppet hurt my arms at times, but it was important I was there behind it. Protecting free speech. Protecting satire. Protecting my right to say something is wrong.

And as we made our way, cramped like ants in an ant farm, people played music and hung flags and banners in support. As we were stopped at an intersection near Grand Central, cars honked. They weren't honking because traffic was jammed but they were rather honking in support. At Trump Towers, people protested into the wee hours of the morning.

As we marched, we didn't just march for women. We marched for young black men like Emmett Till, Yusef Hawkins, Trayvon Martin and Jonny Gammage killed by racism. We marched for immigrants so that they would be safe in our sanctuary city. We marched to let Trump know the country was not behind him. We marched to let him know it wasn't acceptable to appeal ACA. We marched to let him know to profile and ban an ethic group was what Hitler did. We marched to let him know sorry, our taxes would not be paying for the wall. We marched to tell Trump his anti-LGBTQ cabinet was also unacceptable. We marched to let him know maybe he was making our lives hell, but as tax payers we were about to make the next four years for him mightily unpleasant.

On a personal level, I marched for my Nuni (Mom's mom), who got her college diploma at age 68 and became a published poet later in life after raising 6 kids. I marched for Mema Ralph (Dad's mom) who worked in the mills during WWII when the men were away and raised 7 kids on her own after her husband died. I marched continuing the legacy of my mother, the Title IX crusader, who was part of a generation who fought against the establishment and was fearless about crushing the patriarchy. I marched for my sister, an ER doctor, who wanted to attend her local protest but was busy working, saving the lives of others. And I marched for my dad, who was also working, that as a lawyer has taken on sexism in the establishment, defending women filing sexual harassment lawsuits against the Donald Trump's of the world.

I can also say that I had other family members who marched in their cities, my cousin in Atlanta and my cousins gf in Pittsburgh. We marched. We showed up. We were heard. We were counted.

My marching is not done, but rather the protesting is beginning. This is America. It is a melting pot. We are a nation of immigrants. Of all colors. Of women. Contrary to what Trump preaches, we all count.

We said so on all seven continents, even  Antarctica. We have support everywhere.

We are starting the movement. To the protesters at JFK, I was unable to come today but you have my support. Lastly, there have been people wanting to shut down my shows because of my message and my political humor. They are welcome to try. But I am a nasty, nasty woman. I am a nasty woman with a message. The message is always given to the one with a big mouth and my puppet's mouth is huge. I will not go gently into this goodnight, and I will not go quietly either.

There was even a Women's March in Antarctica

The Lady and President Tramp
February 20, 2017 7PM
Dont Tell Mama
343 W 46

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Another Night (Aretha Franklin)

A while back I was talking to someone I consider one of my best friends. He had the opportunity to have revenge sex with his ex-wife's sister soon after the divorce. From what I gather his ex wife wasn't bad, but they were just two people who didn't belong together. His ex wife also seems like a goody goody who was perhaps too nauseating. I dunno, I can only go off of what he says.

Her sister on the other hand, was a big ole pAArty girl with an even bigger coke habit. His ex had a love/hate relationship with her sister. While she was her sister, she disapproved of her fast moving lifestyle. My buddy admitted that the few times his ex's sister tried to quit partying, she was even more annoying sober. Oh isn't that always the fun case. Fun Bobby and Alcoholic Bobby....sigh McSigh Sigh.

Anyway, I said to him, "Dude, the revenge sex was right there, you should have taken it."

"Nah, that would have meant putting up with my sister in law and she annoys the piss outta me. Trust me." My buddy replied.

"Well it would have hit your ex where it hurt." I informed him.

"No, my ex knows her sister can be a bit fast so the joke would be on me." He said.

"That's what you think. Her sister probably always stole guys from her and was prettier and more fun. Trust me, she would have been breaking everything in the room and shaving her head. You should have done it." I insisted. It was true, his ex's sister was pretty. Granted, she looked kind of nuts but she was beautiful. His ex wife was cute......but her sister was drop dead gorgeous in that I'm gonna cut yo dick off kind of way.

"Why, what would I get out of it?" He asked.

"The bitch broke your heart! She made you miserable. Now it was your turn to crush her self-worth." I told him, thinking I was schooling him.

"Nah. I don't want anyone to be with me that doesn't want to be. My heart is fine now that she's gone. I'd be miserable if she was still here."


Fast forward a few weeks later. I was running an errand and was just about done for the day. Glancing across the street I saw a familiar face. I couldn't place them. Whoever it was gained quite a bit of weight. Then I recognized him. It was an ex boyfriend of mine. One who I loved and one who lied. One who crushed my heart after he ripped it out of my chest and pissed on it. Bad heart break.

It was the kind of heart break where there was a time I would have had to fight not to strangle him. It was the kind of heart break where if there was a food item around, it would have probably flown towards him at one point.

It was a WTF moment because I did not intend to see that ex, and actually hadn't thought of him for a while. The last time I got an update was this summer when I saw an old friend who also hates his guts. But after that I forgot. It was the past. Whatever. He was such a bad memory that when the heart break faded I cringe and laugh. But either way, he kind of just popped out of no where.

He gained a ton of weight, and he was someone who was riding that life ruining Casanova ticket to the moon. Either he was on psych meds or God hates the same things I do. I studied him for a brief second. Damn, time had really not been kind to him. To say the boy got ugly was an understatement.

I remembered the lies he told when we were together. I remembered the cheating. I remembered how he sent his lady friends after me to say nasty things. All of it. And then I glanced at him. He was working a dead end job and he was a loser. LOSER. Oh and he also supported Donald Trump I heard. It's been years since we have spoken. But people told me.


What the frekkkk did I see in him? What was I thinking? AHHHHHH!!!!

Then they say they are an ex because you ex them out of your life. I had the opportunity to get with his best friend who annoyed the piss out of me. He also had a brother who was into me. Hell no. I glanced for another second before walking away before he could see me.

I was glad I didn't end up marrying him. He was still no where. Not to mention he was probably still a liar and a cheater. And he had totally gotten ugly. Or maybe his outsides were becoming his insides and he was now the full blown rat he always was.

My buddy's words echoed in my mind. "My heart is fine now that she's gone. I'd be miserable if she was still here."

Then I realized not only was the break up for the best (I already knew that but sometimes you need to be reminded), but I wouldn't slit my wrists without him. I would probably slit my wrists if he returned.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Seasonal Maladjustment and Other Business

If you have ever walked the tight rope known as 12 Step and self-help, you know about HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. They should highlight Tired. I make all my terrible decisions when I am tired. Once when I was tired I withdrew my rent out of the wrong bank account putting myself almost 2 grand in the red. It was bad. I had to call my mom like an asshole.

Yes, nothing says asshole like calling your mom to tell her what a fucktard you have been as an adult. But moms are moms. They are always there like parachutes to rescue and hot air balloons to lift you up.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind.

Work was busy before leaving NYC for Christmas. Then during Christmas my mom was sick, so I couldn't rest as much because she needed the assistance. I would have been a complete asshole if I wouldn't have stepped up. How many times has my mom stepped up for me? Plus the docs feared she had pneumonia which is no joke. Needless to say I didn't get much rest during the holiday.

Then I was in Vegas working and rehearsing for the APAP showcase performance of The Lady and President Tramp. It was rehearse, rewrite, rinse, repeat. In between I was getting threats on twitter and the venue was getting threats too. Never a dull moment.

Then I went to APAP, did some reporting for Clyde Fitch, did my showcase.....success.

However, the next few days were spent trying to recover. I got onstage right away and thought I was okay. But then I couldnt sleep. I tried but my phone buzzed, people called. I found a new Lifetime movie. I was too wired to sleep.

Finally Friday I forgot what time zone I was in. I forgot my groceries at the supermarket. I dropped my keys on my front stoop and left them outside. I got into a fight with someone I care about who's my heart in a lot of ways. When I say fight it was a big fight......so big I didn't know if they would be talking to me the next day.

Luckily Tylenol PM was to the rescue. I slept until almost noon when my landlord woke me up to tell me he made too much coffee. And then he told me about his latest UFO theory. I managed to complete my errands the next day without dying or falling asleep on my feet. Bonus, I knew what time zone it was.

Yesterday, I managed to patch things up with the person I cussed out who compared me to an infant throwing a tantrum.....ouch, and they were even kind enough to laugh me off.

Either way, I got some decent rest this weekend and put in some self-care. Now to get my show back up again, find a pianist, enter it into festivals, and make some videos. Oh you got to eat that elephant one bite at a time. Did I mention I am releasing a calendar and book?

Sigh, no rest for the weary. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Death Threats and Other Things

The Lady and President Tramp had it's New York debut at Don't Tell Mama this past Sunday. LEading up to the show, there had been some fireworks on twitter. A man claiming to be a delegate from Michigan threatened me, and then emailed the venue saying that if they didn't pull my show he would go to the press. This individual who called himself Jack Holmes said he would take me and my message down.

He didn't. The venue didn't pull the show.

However, Don't Tell Mama received several aggressive messages, some death threats, on their facebook page. I didn't know about this until I got to the theatre. To say things were crazy is a complete understatement.

The night of the show was actually successful. At first it didn't look like it was going to be because my tech was a mini disaster. However the show itself was marvelous. The audience LOVED IT! We are even talking about doing a run. Life is good. As a bonus I didn't get shot.

The venue administration was amazing in standing behind me this entire time. When others there were panicked, the owner said the show must go on. It's free expression. It's what America is about.

Now that being said, today I feel a little unimportant. No one is threatening me. I always knew I would be close to a bullet in some way for my outspokenness. This is not the first time. However, it is the first time I could picture the bullet. That in itself was a little scary.

I have a show tonight where I am Lady Gaga. I'm not being political. My mom is relieved.

Someone sent me a message that they saw my show and it wasnt good. This person was a pro-Trumper. Who knows if it's true. People are so tough behind the internet. Either way, it has been an entertaining past few weeks.

Donald J. Tramp and Hillary Clifton debate