This is night two of a curfew in the city of Calabasas. I can't fall asleep, and I can't continue watching the news either.
Do I feel worried, anxious, concerned, scared and heart broken as mother, a wife, daughter and a business owner? Absolutely!
But what I am most afraid of is that, we may be approaching the times when each one of us will have to choose between two sides, black or white, women or men, left or right, pro or against, South or North, and moreover, take one side or the other and stand by it, or else ...
I am also slowly coming to the realization that the feeling I am experiencing right now is not new, that this feeling of fear is familiar, but it has been long forgotten over time, until now.
I grew up in the Soviet Union, a country with a rich dramatic past and a great loss of blood and lives throughout its history. I remember asking my father what the meaning of civil war was when I first started learning about it in my history class.
My dad explained to me that it was the worst type of war any country could have. Furthermore, he explained that it's when brothers take up weapons against each other just because they happen to be on opposite sides of the matter.
I never had a sibling of my own, but as a young girl I remember being terrified from just trying to imagine a scene when one man is killing his brother, and right then and there I thought that I would NEVER be able to fight my own sibling if I had one, NO MATTER WHAT!
That feeling sunk deep inside me then; and ever since I haven't been able to take sides, choose one friend over another, pick one group over the other, like someone more while somebody else less. It just feels wrong to me, unnatural even.
All I've wanted is for everyone to have a healthy, happy and productive life because none of us are truly well until all of us are well, and It always takes more effort and resources to fight and compete against each other than to thrive together.
I won't be able to take sides in a conflict between Russia and the United States, should one arise, for example. I am a US citizen and love this country dearly and will be forever grateful for the opportunities it gave me and how much it changed my life. I met my husband here and was able to start a family of my own. My son was born here. However, I am bonded forever with my motherland, and its culture, traditions and heritage will always be a part of me!
In my mind, identifying people by their skin color, ethnicity, nationality, social status and wealth is nothing more that "labeling"and implying that the other person is necessarily inferior to you.
As a fashion designer I strongly feel each person's identity is super important, not only to the people around us, but to each one of us as well. You won't be able to succeed until you know exactly who you are and tell the world how to view you.
Instead, why can't we be identified by our passions and our work, the creations we make, the experiences and knowledge we have to offer, the interests and hobbies we share, the music we love, the art we admire, the books we enjoy and styles we wear? Wouldn't that be wonderful?
If that were so, we all could be identified as just plain Americans, and that should say it all! Until then our country won't be truly united, and we'll be forced to pick sides for years to come.