Hey. This is me.
Born Mikaela Ruth Siegel on June 7th, 1983 in St. Louis Park, MN. I spent my whole life in SLP in the same house until I was 18, then I moved to Chicago for college. Growing up, I was raised Catholic (on my mom's side), but I always made sure to tell the priest in Sunday school that my Dad was Jewish (the Catholic Jew aka, Cashew Double Guilt Complex). I went full tilt with the Catholic thing. Baptism-First Communion-Confirmation. I even went to church the first few months I moved to Chicago in September of 2001. After a while, I decided that Catholicism didn't jive with me anymore. And rather than fake it, I left. After that I found improv (a religion unto itself) and sort of fell into the agnostic "ghosts are real" kind of place, floated there for a while (puntastic!). I started hitting full on atheist as I got older. The ghost thing still intrigued me (I love any good ghost story or movie always). Last year, I was in a pretty rough place. I spent a lot of time questioning the after life, and whether or not our soul goes on, or if it all just blinks out, or if we even have a soul at all. Death used to terrify me. Like, wake up in the night, can't breathe, heart pounding terrified (hint, that's a good time to seek out some mental health assistance), but after all this shit and having pain all the time, I just decided it's time to face the topic head on. I started watching videos on what scientists think happens when we die. I wanted a science based answer, even though science can't even prove without a doubt what happens to your consciousness when you die (which is one of the coolest friggin' things about being human - you can believe what ever you want about the afterlife, but it's only a belief. There is no definitive proof, and we all walk around with that in our minds somewhere all day... so trippy). Fast forward to today and what do I believe? I believe that energy doesn't die, only transfers but I don't know where it transfers to. I think that we are all connected by some type of human energy. And when there is suffering anywhere there will be suffering everywhere; we all feel the bad as well as the good. I believe that everyone is equal, should have free healthcare (because being a human inherently means you have a right to it, at no cost, because that's what humans should do: care for each other). I believe you get one fucking chance in life, so you should do what you want to do, not what you think you're supposed to do. I think you should do your best to be as open minded as possible. Do unto others, after all. So; now you know my evolution (Oh, and I'm still not sure about ghosts, but again, open minded). During all of this, I walked around with the moniker Siegel. It wasn't until I did comedy that I was called Jewish all the time by my peers. My hair is curly af and is the hair of my father, a 100% Jewish man. My nose is the nose of my grandmother I call Mina, and her mom, Goldie Pearlman, who married Joe Pearlman, who emigrated as Joe Zimmemberg, a Jew from Russia, and who changed his name when he got to America in the early 1900's. All this time, if you didn't know my spiritual evolution, you'd have no idea that, because my fathers side of the family wasn't practicing, I've never ever been to a sader, I've only been to one Bar Mitzvah, and I attended my first Jewish wedding this year. Oh, and we never did eight nights of Hanukkah. We did one Hanukkah present and it was usually my Christmas Eve outfit.
I have never been a afraid to be who I am, to look like what I look like in this country, until last Friday. Never. I've seen this stuff before; I don't know what shifted last Friday, but it's like something deep down in my DNA activated and I've been nursing a wound for the last week, but it's one I've had my whole life and I'm only now seeing how bad it really is. Last year, I was discrimated against by a doctor who attributed my chronic pain to my Jewish heritage, and told me I never learned how to process pain properly. I had a melt down after that for a few days. My pain was so bad and I sure as shit know how it feels; I am in this body, he is not. I live with this 24/7, he sees me for 30 mins every few months. He has no idea what the fuck my pain feels like, so how can he tell me I'm processing it wrong when my entire body feels on fire and I'm begging him for help? It was the start of a moment of truth I had failed to catch over the years. I never picked up on anti-semitism. I'm a generally jovial and goofy person, and I see the best in people as much as I can, and I think I was naive to it for a very long time.
There's a distinction I need to make. It's not meant to put anyone down for their beliefs because I am a firm believer in the right to practice or not practice a religion (as long as the religion does no harm and does not discriminate, and fuck Scientology). I think life is hard as hell to get through; some people use religion, some wine, some weed, hell sometimes all of the above, to get through the day. We all have shit inside we are afraid to talk about, and we are all just trying to make it home safe and sound at the end of each day. But there's a distinction: you don't choose what body you are born into. You don't. You don't choose your skin color, sexuality, heritage, these are all things you do not choose. You can choose to forget them or run from them, but they are you and will find you. Religion, faith, spirituality, those are beliefs. Those are a choice you make, and continue to make which why it is a belief or a faith: it's what you think is real, but it most likely is not what I think is real. And, gasp, that's actually totally OK. Both of our beliefs can exist side by side. Because the distinction is: you can change a belief. You can, you choose to believe something new, something different. You cannot change your skin color, who you love, or what your heritage is. So, if your religion or politics make you believe that someone is lesser than you because of how they were made, by no choice of their own, and you admonish them for just being themselves, then it's time to change that belief. It's time to believe that skin color doesn't determine someone's worth or social or economic status, or pecking order in some imaginary race war or some other fucked up ideas like that. It's time to believe that people are all just human beings, and that this is an OK fact. It means applying the parts of your beliefs that elevate your fellow humans, rather than tear them down, that you are letting go of oppressive beliefs that harm those whom you should elevate. It's about a greater good, and listening, empathizing and understanding. Its about a life that can be a lot kinder. The energy that connects us all would let go of the heaviness the hate brings to the body, and we'd all be a lot happier with ourselves and with each other. Healing would start. It would mean a more equal existence for all humans. And to me, it's a no brainer.