July 30, 2008

Random Reflections – News!

I have decided to boycott all Egyptian newspapers because I couldn’t take how they keep cheering for the current government. I can’t take how those who oppose the government oppose it so I am not into opposition papers too. So that limit my knowledge of the current issues to the few hours I forcefully spend watching the news as my father happily hold the remote.
I do my best to keep myself busy during these couple of hours as I believe that the world news is the shortest way to depression. Natural disasters are everywhere, more innocents are being killed in cold blood all over the world and prices are going sky high with expectations of a world wide starvation. But though I try keeping my safe distance some news makes its way to me. In the last couple of weeks three headlines really made me wonder.

The first one was about a Cambodian man who married two women at the same day. Apparently, he was confused between marrying his current girl friend and his ex girl friend. He loved them both so he married them both. The only thing he worried about was working extra hours to support his two women.
The first thing that came to my mind was “God, I like the guts this man got”. He was stupid enough or may be brave enough to admit that he loved both women equally. He spared himself the hesitation of choice and spared his women the pain of indifference. He married them both because he loved them both. The second thing that came to my mind was “God, that guy proved all my men are lying he married two women in a country that bans polygamy in the time they gave lame excuses in a country where men are saying that God created them to polygamy!! Which led me to wonder what was on these women’s minds when they decided to share a man. I don’t know why I remembered the story of the child and the two mothers. Each of the two women claimed that the child is hers and when the judge ordered to cut the child into half one of them agreed and the other willingly admitted that the child isn’t hers. The judge seeing what the woman who was crying a moment ago claiming that the boy is her son sentenced the boy is hers because only a real mother will never accept to see her kid being cut into half. I bet that both women love the man the same way the other woman did. If any of them really loved him she would have let him go. His happiness would have been her priority but because we are not in a perfect world these women agreed to cut their man into half. I bet he has more things to worry about other than how to support them.

The second thing was the pregnant man. I am a believer that God created us equal but with different jobs. And a woman’s job is to carry babies so knowing about a man who voluntarily gone through the dreadful process of pregnancy was a bit shocking for me. not only because it has messed with all the biology classes that I have had in my life but also because I could never understand how can a man ask to do something that most if not all women hope they will never do. I was enlightened by the fact that he isn’t a real man; he is a transgender who kept his female organs and that’s how he managed to carry and deliver a baby. And that fact explains why he was the ova donor and he had to get sperm from a bank. I am not the type of person who judge people for their sexual orientation but I can’t deny that I can never understand the motives of someone who turned to be a man to do a woman’s job. Only a woman could long to carry a baby in her womb but a man?! Even if he has a womb, God where did all the testosterone go?

Last but not least was the news about the death of the famous Egyptian director Youssef Chahine. Personally, I didn’t understand or like many of his work. But yet I can’t deny that he had a view and that most of the Egyptian Cinematic Masterpieces has his signature. Egypt has lost another man with a view, and people with a view are rare to find these days in Egypt. Whether I agreed with his views or not, the man was a man of opinion. He stood for those opinions regardless how fierce the opposition was. I respect the man though I might not be a dedicated fan. He taught me one thing. When he died my brother said that he can’t understand the reason for all those people mourning a man who made a legend of himself. He, my brother, said that most of Chahine’s work was about himself or how he thinks of life, Egypt and the world. That comment about Chahine reminded me that what really matters was never the world because the world starts from within. May he rest in peace.

A Look onto the Circle

I guess most of you have missed my very first post. I guess I have been telling the very same story about how I started blogging but I always forget to mention that my very first post was to welcome whoever comes across my little space on the cyberspace into my world. From day one it was about me and till now as I am writing the 216th post it is still about me. About my very tight circle that’s formed of many other circles. It is about how I see the world from the very little window I chose to open onto it.

Along comes the question, why a public blog if whatever I am to write isn’t about the public but about myself? I guess my answer will be that I am just like thousands of people who really believe that their ranting is worth the time, the time spent writing it and the time spent reading it. If it doesn’t really worth we wouldn’t have that amazing world of the blogosphere and we wouldn’t have personal diaries on the best sellers. I might not be talented but in my brother’s words who eventually caved to my right to write “even those who can’t write and has nothing to say do it, so keep doing it you are not worse than them”.

Those who knew the little Shimaa at school would have known that she had written short stories, trials to novels, essays and even poetry. Those who knew this little Shimaa knew that her friends and teachers used to call her Socrates because she was the best at debates. Those who knew that girl must have known that she has been writing on a hope that one day she would become a writer, someone who can always add another angle to view a very old thing.

Those who know this Shimaa know that she is keeping the essay that won her the prize on the district competition because it is the only living proof of that dream. Those who know this Shimaa know that she knows that dreams aren’t always meant to become true but even if they were meant only to be dreams we should never stop enjoying them. Only those who know the little girl and the almost 30 years old version of Shimaa know that even she neither has the talent nor the quality thinking she will always keep a scrap of paper at hand because for her the whole world is folded in that scrap.

For me blogging was unfolding that scrap and unleashing the dream. I am writing and I am being read. I am even having instant feedback. Something that I bet Shakespeare would have envied me for.
This very feedback was the reason for changes in the pattern of my writings. It is different to write for yourself than writing knowing that certain people would read. The very same reason those who know me know why I have always chickened out of taking my dream out of the secret drawer. My little scraps of paper have always been the only thing I really did for myself. Having others judging it endangers the whole process of communication between me, myself and the world. So knowing that there is audience who would judge me I started keeping things off and I started looking for more value to add to my nonsense. And as I started doing so I started losing focus. As I opted to impress I forgot my aim. I forgot that it has always been about me and that it is me who only matter. I forgot that dreams are meant to be enjoyed. I forgot that if I was to have audience in the first place it was because I was honestly speaking of myself. It was because I needed to scream certain ideas that have been echoing for long in my head.

I forgot that I didn’t create this blog to entertain the public. I created this blog because certain people push me to certain limits and I have to pour my pain and ideas out else I will explode. I created this blog on the belief that someone out there will hear me screaming.
I can’t believe that I was that close of blowing up the last pleasure I have in this life. I can’t believe that I was that close of being muted forever searching for something deep!!

July 25, 2008

A Tribute to Her

Almost a year ago a sequence of incidents eventually led to burying the woman I used to have inside along with some memories and that sequence of unfortunate incidents in a big black box and throwing this big black box in a big dark sea.

Actually it was the woman’s choice to quit the known world. She preferred to live in a selected solitude where she can watch the things but never interfere. That decision was taken out of guilt and humiliation, feelings that I thought will fade in a year but unfortunately it didn’t. Laying in her chosen grave that woman forgave everyone but herself and forgot everything but the pain she brought onto me.

She can’t forget that she’s placed the wrong bets. She can’t forgive putting everything on stake and eventually losing everything because of a poor instinct. She is still blaming herself for dumping the safe shores of certainty to the blowing winds of uncertainty. She weeps of guilt for my restless nights that was brought with the new set of facts built on the results of her decisions.

It was the woman’s choice to be buried; she wanted to give me the chance for a fresh start. The last thing she said was “tomorrow is always a new day, seize it”. Now I believe that I have done the wrong thing burying the woman. It was never her mistake it has always been mine. She‘d always known, she’d always warned me but it was me who dragged her into everything.
It wasn’t her instinct that failed me, it wasn’t her intelligence and it was never her heart. The heart that was sure about the pull away, the intelligence that was sure it wasn’t a phobic attack and the instinct that just knew. It was her who felt the void and it was me who pushed her away.

I miss her. I miss how she used to know things. I miss how silly she used to unveil her cards. I miss her smart foolishness. I miss her confidence in things and in people. I miss her belief in the goddess inside.

I never thought I will ever miss her, I never thought that one day I will wonder if I buried the wrong person. I never thought that digging her up will be so hard. I never thought that burying her wasn’t the way to free my heart but it was another way for my heart to fail.

July 22, 2008

A Potential Neverland

That place keeps hunting me, I don’t know why I am so much attracted to visit it. but each time I read a book I read the name Cornwall. The other night my happy thought for Sameh was visiting Cornwall and a dinner at Rick Stien’s restaurant. Only when he asked me how did I know such a place I decided to search it up. These were the results I got

So, happy enough ya Samoo7?

July 21, 2008

Alexandria?! Why Not :)

I can’t count the number of weddings that I have attended in my adult life; I am always having an occasion to attend. The other day Brad teased me that I seem to be a marriage registrar because I attend too many weddings!!
I hate weddings part of my hate of unnecessary socialization (look who is talking!!)And because I hate the fact that weddings are organized occasions so that people can have a legal way to show off.
First the couple, the bride shows off her dress and the man who bought it as the groom shows off the beauty he is going to spend the night with. As for the parents, they show off the wonderful kids they brought up and they show off how much they paid in that party. Then comes the guests turn who will happily show off the dresses, the jewelry, the bodies and last but not least the spouses.
I am arrogant but I am not a show off, so I will always try to keep things simple unless provoked by a competitor. But being simple never meant going underdressed, that’s why with each wedding on my calendar my hunt for a new outfit starts. It is my cousin’s turn to tie the knot; he is the second cousin in less than 3 months and the 4th wedding in the same side of the family in a year. If you are familiar with the Egyptian wedding customs you will know that for a single girl like me, I am expected to show up wearing a new dress. So as soon as I remembered the upcoming occasion I started my new hunt for a new outfit.
My plan for this wedding is shocking simplicity, I hate the bride. I won’t even honor her with a post. They won’t be having a typical Egyptian wedding (sigh!) they will be having a formal dinner instead. I am a person who keeps classifying occasions in mind, and this occasion didn’t fit under my definition of a full evening dress so to impress (as my grandma who also hates the bride asked me to do) I got a pure silk blouse by Zara (I never wear silk, that change is impressive enough, huh?!) thinking that it would do the trick but unfortunately my jeans won’t be appropriate for the occasion, so I asked my cousin to hunt for a pair of pants with me.
These shopping sprees resulted in no pants. She got me my first birthday gift for this year, she bought a new bag and a matching pair of shoes and she got her daughters some toys, shirts and shoes too. And as she shopped she started selling a new idea to the open for ideas me. The idea she was selling was a place, Alexandria. She is supposed to be living in Alexandria but she is one of the unsettled souls who keep moving back and forth from one city to the other (her beloved husband is an officer). And as her days in Cairo will be coming to an end in around a year and seems that she could use some family in Alexandria she started tempting me to relocate.
When I pointed to a pair of shoes saying that they look nice, she happily showed off the pair she was wearing saying that she got them for a bargain price in Alexandria. When I was frustrated because I can’t find the pants in the color I am searching for she said that she has seen the pair I have been looking for in Alexandria. And when I finally decided to dump the whole idea of hunting the simple yet impressive outfit she smiled pointing at the set of table cloth that I thought will go well at home saying that this very set is being sold in Alexandria at half price.
I admit her trick worked and I caved saying that I really wish I could live there. I have always wanted to escape busy Cairo and live in a less crowded city. A place with a view, and what’s a better view than the wonderful coastline of the Mediterranean (I can think of a couple of places but won’t ruin the idea *wicked wink*)
Though it is the main summer escape for the Egyptians I am not that familiar with the city. My parents were never Alexandria fans because it is too crowded in summer. I visited the city for a couple of times I hated it in summer but I adored it in winter. I almost hated the city the last time I visited it a couple of months ago. We have better malls in Cairo and we have the same traffic. I liked the sea but I have the mighty Nile cutting through Cairo and I never bother to go enjoy it, I bet if I ever lived in Alexandria I won’t be seeing much of that sea. If Sameh didn’t eventually save the day I was going to get back home hating Alexandria for good. Actually, when Sameh saved the day I loved Sameh I can’t credit the city for the fun I had!
Anyway still, my cousin had a point to make as she believes that I didn’t know the real Alexandria yet and whenever I do I will never stop falling in love with her over and over.
Between you and me I won’t really mind relocating to Alexandria, Alexandrian women are known to be of the Femme Fatal type. Maybe if I moved I would get some of that quality (I need that even more than the outfit!!)
But if I am to be Alexandrian this will be for one reason that I won’t say and will let it for you to guess. LoOOoL

July 18, 2008

A Journey from the Sacred Valley

A little more than a month ago there was a movie playing on MBC2 called Juggernaut. It was about a ship that was about to explode of bombs planted by a smart terrorist (a pre- Qaeda movie). The chief of the bomb squad team was having an interesting conversation with the captain of that ship about life and death. Till they got to the point where he looked the captain into the eyes and asked him “What did the goldfish say?” and as the captain looked puzzled the bomb squad chief completed “There must be a God … I mean who changed the water?!!!”
That goldfish swimming in the tiny tank thinking that it is a whole world was the only picture I had in mind for the past 10 days. The moment I laid feet in Medina and mingled with the crowds I knew that we are just different shaped goldfishes who know that there must be a God because someone keeps changing the water. It wasn’t until I headed to Mecca for Umrah when I knew that it is not about the fact that there must be a God, it is really about how I perceived this fact into my life.
It wasn’t easy for a person like me to perform the Umrah rituals. For someone who weighs actions with commonsense and for a true believer of the Oneness of God performing such rituals of Tawaf & S’ai seemed out of this world. It wasn’t till I laid feet in “Masjid al-Haram” when I really knew that whatever I am going to do is the most honest proof that I do acknowledge that there is a God. I am doing a ritual because it was never about the stone or the ritual itself. It is about letting go and believing that the force does exist. And that there was never a way to run and there will never be a way to hide.
The moment I started circumbating Kaaba and started saying my little prayers I felt that force taking over me. I felt how arrogant and disgraceful a human can be. I felt how tiny a human is. I knew that this hand that keeps changing the water is literally everything and everywhere. By the end of every cycle I learnt something new, by the end of the Tawaf I knew that who ever started it wasn’t the same person who ended it. The new person is someone who learnt to let go and accept whatever that force decide. I was a believer but I guess it wasn’t till I was done with my Tawaf till I exercised that belief.
As a new believer I moved to perform my final ritual of S’ai , where I have to move back and forth between the hills of Safa & Marwa. If Tawaf was the thing that taught me to let go, it was S’ai that let me to discover the need of humans to have a religion & a ritual, a ritual that symbolize things that they know and things that they can’t understand ,a ritual that address the unknown part of the human construction, the soul.

As I stood up the Safa saying what the prophet (PBUH) said at the very same position “I start from where God started “and reciting what God said in Quran “Behold! Safa and Marwa are among the Symbols of Allah. So if those who visit the House in the Season or at other times, should compass them round, it is no sin in them. And if any one obeyeth his own impulse to good,- be sure that Allah is He Who recogniseth and knoweth." I discovered that the soul is like anything else in this life that needs to be maintained in order to fully function. And because the soul is the unexplained part of the human construction, it has always needed some unexplained forms of maintenance that took different forms of rituals over history. Being it a polytheism religion or a monotheism one whether it is a Hindu Circumambulation of a temple or a Jewish weeping on the Wailing Wall. That soul has always needed a way to keep emotional sanity, a ritual to purify and get closer to that invisible hand, the force that keeps changing the water.
I moved back and forth between the two hills and the more tired I got the more I got closer to the core of that ritual. The more tired I got the more I related this ritual with many different rituals that included physical effort, where a person approach different degrees of tiredness. I came to the point where I discovered that this physical tiredness was one of the rarest moments when I managed to stop thinking without falling asleep. I turned to be a tongue that praises God, an eye that sees the way drawn by that invisible hand. It was the unexplainable soul in command of the situation. By the end of the seventh round the fear that got over me with my first steps into the sacred mosque subsided to be a form of satisfaction and a different form of inner peace.
When I finally packed to get back home, I knew that my journey wasn’t a journey to the sacred valley as it was supposed to be. My journey started from that sacred valley, my real journey is a journey to re-discover another sacred valley that resided deep inside me. A sacred valley that resides in each and every one of us, the place where we know that hiding is of no use as God is everywhere, the place where we believe that running is no good as God is everything.
Before leaving I said that I am not the type of person who smiles proposing toasts for ends and new beginnings. I am still that very same person; I didn’t miraculously discover myself, God or even the deepest philosophies of this world. The only difference that I am aware of is that now I know where the sign to the road of letting go is. Now I know that sometimes I can stop thinking without falling asleep. Now I can see the light emerging from me secret sacred valley.
To that light and that goldfish who led the way to believe!

July 02, 2008

The Need for a Cleansing Ritual

Lately I have been telling everyone that I want to be locked in a white room. I need some time to reflect on the little things that have been occupying my mind for the last couple of months.
I need to be locked in a place where there is no sound, no pressure, and no tensed souls. I need a moment alone to enjoy the company of myself.

This white room is my closest idea to the cleansing ritual as my need for a cleansing ritual never included the need to burn little mementos to get over the painful events, I usually know that I am clean when this little things find their way to the shades (expect for that one time when I threw Brad’s roses, it was an important decision if I wanted to keep the friend).

I kept planning an escape, or to be more honest I kept hoping for an escape in the time my father had other plans. He was planning his idea of cleansing, Omra.

I have to admit that I wasn’t as excited as everyone should be. For many reasons, first because it is just another vacation with my family and we happen not to share the same vacation standards. So basically it won’t be as fun as I want it to be. The second reason is that I had plans for a different company to such a spiritual journey. It is not that I hate my current company, but that I had something else in mind. Third is the fact that I didn’t choose the timing. I am not sure that it is the proper time for me to go pay God a visit. For me the timing is like when you go visit an old friend that you have had a recent conflict with, not that I have a conflict with God but that I have had different episodes of impatience. I wanted to long for the visit; I didn’t want to be anxious about it.

Anyway, I will be off for a couple of weeks. I am still a believer that God knows best, so maybe Omra is the white room that I have been longing for. People have been telling me that it will be a new start, which is the reason behind my frustration. I don’t like change; at least I don’t like change that I know nothing about.I am not the type of person who smiles proposing a toast to ends and new beginnings, but I will let go with the flow as God always knows best.

I will miss you all and I will remember you in my prayers. See you in a couple of weeks.

That's Me

Brad said that this song is Shimaa Gamal to him :) It really sounds like me, don't you think so?

Random Scenes

Scene 1

(One of the endless txt talks between Sameh and me)

Me: (Sleepy) Do you know what will make my life great, if I stopped having these little urges. BTW I deeply hate men, not only the ex’s but all men, my dad, my uncles, men in the streets. I hate them all. A happy world will be a men free world, with no control issues and sexual obsessions. But I don’t hate you. You are not as obsessed as they are, are you? Maybe you are the proof of a different man. I am bored. Do you think I have enough experience with men and life?

Sameh: LOL, you can be the female version of Shahryar. Marry a man every night then kill him in the morning. Seriously, you still have a lot to learn about life & men.
Me: What else do you think I should learn about men? Life, I agree. But men?!What else other than being sexually obsessed creatures?

Sameh: They don’t talk a lot, can help around the house, slightly taller and lift heavy things.

Me: Yeah they don’t talk a lot unless it is about bragging how stud they are. If you consider making a mess for me to clean help, so they help. They are not always taller but they could lift heavy things. Hmmm, so I know enough why did you say there is more for me to learn?!

*Sigh … Those midnight thoughts could have killed me if Sameh never found the funny side of the dark joke*


Scene 2

E: So, why do you keep such a relation?

Me: Why not?

E: I guess I should kick you for that *A Big Smile*

Later after few sibs of a cocktail that really tastes like summer

Me: Why should I cut him off?

E: Why not?

Me: Because … Because … Because he will … *Sad look*

E: Because he won’t question your decision?

Me: Yeah … *A big Frown*

Later after a nice walk and a delicious lunch

Me: I would have told you, but I don’t think you would want to know

E: I would have asked if I didn’t know them *giggles both sides*

Later after another walk and over a cup of tea

Me: I just want to meet one of those pro-polygamy guys; I guess I will have a point to make.

E: After many guesses, and what will it be?

Me: “kam wa7ed?” *Laughs* – meaning how many times could that man have sex per day (the joke is related to another x-rated discussion)

*A grateful smile that speak of full satisfaction after spending the day with an amazing friend *


Scene 3

Me holding the pillow I call Brad

Me: God, I miss you so much

Me (imitating Brad): I miss you too Hon

Me: (Holding the pillow tight)Why do I feel that you had a long tensed day

Me(playing Brad again): I have been working too much these days.

Me: (Silently holding the pillow as I try to send some relaxing thoughts to the tensing body in the middle of Africa)

Me: Do you know what I really hate about this trip? I will really miss you.

Me (as Brad): It is the 21st century honey; you can always find a way to contact me.

Me: But what if you came back while I was away, I won’t be the 1st one you call. And probably by the next time you travel you will be married and I won’t be the last one you call before leaving.

Me: (thinking of many things that led to setting the pillow aside turning my back to it) Just sleep, I still can’t believe you are doing it.

Later after one hour of sleep that was interrupted by a surprise phone call from HH

Me (to the Pillow named Brad): You know I settle for nothing, if nothing is the only thing that binds me to you.

Me (holding the pillow tight making a statement that this nothing included many things): Do you know why I have always chosen the friend?

Me (As impatient Brad): Why?

Me: Because he is the one who loved what was unlovable.

*A deep night Sleep*