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

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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

Podcasts? Sort of?

So…..I spent my night playing around with OBS software and my vastly underutilized Snowball mic. I have come to a decision…Sort of. This week I will see if I can mange to figure out what sort of Podcast I want to do and actually try try to produce it for viewing on most likely Youtube. I do already have a completely blank Youtube channel. However, check on it periodically next week for updates/official release info. If it happens it will most likely be a WED/FRI night.

Wish me luck,

I.L. Knight

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Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay

The -dere

During my brief and wonderful vacation in Quebec City I had the chance to watch an anime my friend suggested to me- servant x service. It was pretty great. After discussing the anime with the friend and one other friend, who I had passed on the recommendation to watch, I realized that I was using a word they had never hear of. The little nerds never heard of the word Tsundere. A Tsundere in simple terms is an anime character who on the outside is sometimes violent, but it is sweet on the inside. It is the first of the four -dere types of Japanese anime; the other three being: Yandere, Kudere, Dandere. Yandere is the term for someone who is sweet and cute on the outside, but would fuck someone up to keep there partner with them. A Kudere is a character who acts unemotional on the outside, but is secretly sweet on the inside. You know, the emotionless anime character who has a small tear when they pick up a cat left in a box on the side of the road. The last -dere is the Dandere, the character who is shy and/or anti-social and opens up only to very specific people.
If you could meet the friends who I was talking to you you would see why it was hysterical that they didn’t know about the -dere. I received the recommendation from a stereotypical real life Tsundere and passed on the recommendation to the Korean male version of the real life Dandere How could they not know! They where nerds, albeit more popular less stereotypically nerdy nerds then me, but still nerds. 
Explaining it to them was easy, thankfully. What was even weirder was the -dere I was labelled with. THEY SAID I WAS A YANDERE. Images of Yuno from Future Diaries flashing in my mind the rest of the night. I swear, I am not that bad. No, I can’t be that bad. 

A topsy-turvy anime obsessed,
I.L. Knight

P.s. I need to stop teaching friends anime terms. It back fires…

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Hide and Seek- Lizz

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BuzzFeed Quizzes

After endless hours of conversations with friends and Buzzfeed quizzes I have come to the conclusion that I am a pretty weird person. Weird in the sense that I really do seem to like sad things and exhibit eccentric and often random likes for things. I don’t have a problem with this. It’s just…

I don’t know? Maybe I want to fit in a nice neat box. My friends joke that my life is like a drama or a movie. I suppose that would make a lot of people happy, having the extreme ups and downs. For me, I’ve just always wanted to be perfectly average.  Average looks, average intelligence, average social life, career, wants, hopes, dreams and love.

Maybe at the end of the day I feel so meh all the time because I want to be something I’m not. Not that I’m this super special person. I’m just someone who won’t fit in a nice neat box. Coming to terms with that may be the best thing for me.

The problem is, I don’t know how to come to terms with that. How do you see yourself as special when you never wanted to be special?

I mean how do you combine a everything unique about a person into one nice category?

Let’s take my Buzzfeed quiz results for instance:

I am destined to end up with InuYasha.
If I was an anime playing volleyball player I’d be the smart ass Toru Oikawa.
I’m chill like I’m basically a yaoi anime character Haruka Nanase.
I’m as playful as Neko from K Project.
I belong in a Teen Wolf episode.
I am the human form of Lemon Cake.
I am apparently destined to become a Black Lantern.
Also the Joker.
I am apparently as intense as Batman,
And super charged as Wanda Maximoff.
As avoidant of the past as Simba,
and as eccentric as Rafiki.
I’m even apparently working on being as bad ass as Ryuko Matoi.
If giant man eating monsters came alive I’d be Mikasa Ackerman.

How do people take all of these results and make this into one person?

p.s. I know this is a lot of quizzes. It’s just a thing I do with a friend. We compare and laugh. Don’t judge girl bonding time 😛

I.L. Knight

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Getting to Know You – Julie Andrews