Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Do We Want?

I always ask myself that every morning.

What do I want?

Do we know what we want? Do we think we know what we want? Do we want what we want because we want it or because we think we should have it?

A friend of mine was chatting with me this morning and telling me that there is this girl whom he just met and thinks she is pretty interesting, and is asking me if he shall pursue it. I reminded him that he has a girlfriend, and this girlfriend has 'everything he ever wanted' according to him.

But apparently; yes, she does have everything he wants (she ticks all the right boxes) but he just can't love her. He keeps telling me how much he is trying to fall in love with her, and he just can't. He claims that she is too good for him. She doesn't 'play games'. His argument is that, all his life he was always attracted to the ones who are not easy to get whenever he is in the hunting game. But this girl, was too easy. Her only crime, is that she is a normal, simple, bubbly girl who likes him and is attracted to him. My friend doesn't want that. He wants someone to neglect his calls and ignore them on purpose. He wants someone who won't fall for him after a couple of dates. He wants someone who will not go the extra mile for him.

Do you think my friend is crazy? You probably do. But I don't. Why?

Because I've been there before. You probably have been too, but you just can't remember.

This gets us to the main question, 'What do you want?'

I believe every single one of us should get a piece of paper, and write down what he is looking for, and most importantly, why is he looking for it?

If you ask a group of single women between the age of 23 and 33, most of them will tell you, 'We want to get married.' Try asking them, 'Why do you want to get married?' and then you will be able to listen to a variety of different answers, and these answers are the ones they, should pay all the importance to it.

We might differ in our beliefs. But I believe each of us should work hard towards those beliefs. A week ago I was talking with a friend of mine who, clearly, is not very happy lately. She is 31. She is still single. She has it all. And when I say she has it all, I mean, 'she ticks all the boxes a lot of guys are looking for'. She was telling me how unhappy she is lately due to problems at work, family, etc. I told her to do something crazy and fun to get her confidence levels back. Something she didn't do before, or something she hasn't done for some time. I was going to give her examples, like going to a karaoke and sing her lungs out, or going to Lebanon for the weekend. But then I told her, 'Why don't you give the guy you like a call and take him out for dinner?' A part of me was being serious and a part of me was trying to cheer her up. I don't even know if she likes someone or not. Anyway, that's not the point, really. It was her reply that was very shocking, and took me a good few minutes to digest it before letting all the rage out. She replied by saying, 'That's a nice idea, but who will pay for the cheque?' I actually re-read her message again and again trying to understand what the hell she was trying to say, because I hoped it wouldn't be what I had in mind, and even though I am sure she meant what I feared, I still asked her, 'What do you mean, I don't get it?' and she said, 'If I take him out to dinner, who will pay for the dinner. Of course I won't pay for dinner, I don't pay for anyone.' I totally raged at her, accusing her of stupidity, and accusing anyone who thinks like that as stupid, and even told her that I am lucky enough that all my girlfriends didn't have her mentality, etc. I even asked her, how come, such an educated person, who is from the circle of the society and same social class I am from thinks like that? This girl is a good friend of mine, but I didn't know her much in the past, we started getting closer over the past year only. I don't know who she dated or how long her relationships lasted. I was sure before that conversation that this girl is not materialistic. I could have sworn on that. She actually got offended when I told her that she is sick and said that I am rude, and told me that she wants someone to take care of her and pamper her, not the opposite. I didn't take the conversation any further.

I hate guys who are stingy. I make fun of guys who are cheap and who make their girls pay. There is no divine saying that guys should pay, but this is a common trait, unspoken, in the world we live in, that we guys, should always pamper our girls. And most of us do that. Most of us pay all the time. But sometimes we don't have money. Sometimes we are broke, and we just stay home. Sometimes our girls just take us out and say, 'It's on me tonight'. If I am a girl, I would actually LOVE calling the guy I like and tell him to get ready because I am taking him out for dinner. I believe any girl in the world would love that. Regardless of the place they end up going to or the amount of money she will pay at the end, but the thought in itself is pure magic, and any guy would be fond and fall for it, just like girls fall for us whenever we do something cute. That girl wouldn't have done it anyway, because she is weak, and she is brought up believing that girls should never approach guys. She believes that when a guy takes a girl out on a date and drops her home, that the girl shouldn't send him a text saying she had fun, and the guy - after that great night that he planned, executed and paid for - should still send her telling her how beautiful and amazing she was.

This is a girl that I would never even date let alone marry. I don't know why that girl is still single, but I am pretty sure she will not find that 'prince charming' anytime soon.

She really pissed me off. Throughout all my life all the girls I dated, I always paid, not because anything but because I like to pamper them. And every now and then the girls wanted to pay, and I let them, to make them feel good about themselves. But those girls used to let me pay because I want to pay, not because they thought that I have to because I am the man. Had they ever talked about me paying because I am the man, and I HAVE to pay, then I would have ended this relationship on the spot.

I don't want to judge the girl, but back to our main topic, this girl knows what she wants. She wants someone to take care of her and pamper her, pays for her and never let worry about anything. Even if I disagree with her ideology but at least she knows what she wants, and maybe that's why she is 31 and still not committed. Maybe because all the guys she met, no matter how nice they are, but still they don't tick her boxes or meet her needs, and this is a girl I respect. If this girl ever ends up with someone 'with my mentality' then I will feel sorry for her, because deep inside she will not be happy. Maybe she will settle for 2nd best when she feels old and her friends are already with two and three babies. Maybe due to the pressure from her family. I don't know, but I hope she finds what she is looking for.

So, what do you want? And, why do you want it?

Let's try this exercise. If I am going to list some of the stuff I want, they will be:

1- I want to change jobs.
2- I want to lose weight.
3- I want to focus more on my religion.
4- I want to keep growing personally.
5- I want to find love, in me, around me, and in the people I deal with.

Now let's find out, why do I specifically want those five things?

1- I want to change jobs, because I don't feel that I am growing anymore. I am not making enough money. In a perfect world, I would never leave my job. I've been here for almost five years. I love the people here, it's like my 2nd home. People complain about the traffic, and they take hours going to work and more hours going back home, while it takes me a six minute walk, I live right in the same street. I love the field, and I am the most experienced and senior person in my department. But I feel that it's not getting me where I want to be. We all thrive for the best. We all want to be making more money. We all want to learn new things and find new challenges. I don't get the excitement I used to get anymore here. I need new things, and I need a fresh start, in the never-ending journey of the corporate life.

2- I want to lose weight, because I was happier when I was thinner. I was more mobile. I was more alert, and I was more punctual. It was easy while I am doing sports, whether it is football or squash, or whether it was walking; everything seemed easy. I am also becoming a health freak, not in the 'gay' sense, but lately, people with strong and perfect health are dying, getting cancer and getting all sorts of problems, and it is really funny, because the more fit you are the higher the chance for you to get sick, but I am not falling for that crap, and I actually believe that the fitter you are, the better you will be.

3- What is religion? Is religion just practicing, or is it learning and understanding? Is religion obedience or is it love? Should we label people as religious by the way they look, or by the way they act? I would be a liar if I answer any of the above. I don't know what is religion to you, and I can't judge how it should be. Even atheists would tell you that if you can find that 'peace' you're looking for in life with religion then keep it. Maybe to some religion is a comfort zone, it is the shell they hide under, and to some it is the love and positivity they need to go on every day in the sophisticated life we live in. That's why I want to focus on religion. I want to know different answers. I want to seek the right answers. I am a strong believer in religion and I want to know more. I am 28 and if one of those atheist friends of mine decides to enter a debate with me on religion, I would probably be puzzled by his answers and I know that I won't be able to answer half of them. Religion is easily felt and harder to be explained. I want to have the knowledge in my religion the same way as I have knowledge in football, music and movies. I want to be able to answer my son when he tells me why do we pray, and deliver a convincing answer to my daughter when she asks me why are women veiled and others with a niqab and the majority showing their hair. I want to have answers to those questions, and to many more. I don't want to be fake, or to fake what I do. I know that I could spend the coming time left in my life searching for the answers without finding them, but when I die, I would know that I have tried. And that, I did exert the effort in trying.

4- Nothing is better than personal growth. Nothing elevates the feeling of self satisfaction. Just like the satisfaction I get from losing weight; growing and nurturing your inner self is a lovable experience. To be in the state of sitting there alone with no regrets, no grudges, nothing. To actually look in the mirror and say, 'I am great.' To be humble yet confident. To be knowledgeable yet a student. To be aware yet an explorer. To be right but not afraid to be mistaken.

5- I hate a lot of things. I will not be able to change the things I hate in people, nor will I try to because I wouldn't like it if someone tries to change anything in me, but I am only going to see the good side in people. I am not going to put myself in a situation to deal with people where I might not be fond of them or that will make me look for reasons not to hang with them. I see a lot of negativity and hatred and pessimism and attack and jealousy and envy in the people I deal with, whether face to face, whether on the internet, it's everywhere. I've always been a criticiser, and opinionated, but lately I am minding my own business. I don't like many things what people say, or many of the things they write. I am shocked at the number of people with really sick mentalities. People who just criticise for the sake of being different or for the sake of attracting attention. People who just sit there not wanting to change, not wanting to become better people, not wanting to amend their lifestyles. Who am I anyway? Am I going to change the world? I have no right to change the people. I have no right to change the world. I don't even have the right to advise them or give them my opinion. I love myself, and I will continue to love myself, and find new ways to love myself more, and this way, I will be able to the good only in people, I am not longer going to see the bad in people, nor will I judge them, they're free to do what they want, write what they feel, befriend whoever they want, etc. I am going to do what I want, what I feel like, and go to places that fills me with joy, and happiness, and makes me content, I am not going to go hang around people just because I 'have to', or go to places just because 'my friends hang there'. If I don't want to go there, I won't go there. If I don't want to see you then I will not see you. I am not going to keep hindering my own progression to please other groups of people. I am going to do what I want, and what I feel is right. The perfect scenario is to go live abroad. I've been open to job offers for the past few years, especially from Dubai, and I never got something concrete, and never got something rewarding that would make me do the move. Lately, that's probably the only thing I want; as mentioned in point number one of the things I want; 'to change jobs' and I believe that getting a job offer abroad is the best thing that could happen to me, especially that I don't fit anymore here. As you probably have seen in my posts, the happiness within me is fading in this country, I no longer fit. I don't fit with most of my friends. I don't fit with the random people on the street, or the loudness and pollution this country is offering. I just only feel safe at home. I don't feel safe when I am out. I don't feel happy when I am out. A change to another country would do me the world of good. It's not that I want to meet new people, because I could do this here. I need a new start. A new life. I want to finish work and go home sit there, read, watch TV, sleep, or go out late at night to have a snack without anyone judging me. I don't want to have commitments to see people I don't want to see, or to do things I don't want to do, I don't want to leave the house and go to that place just because I know that my friends are there. I want to go down not knowing where I am going, but it's my heart that will carry me to that place. I want to be free, and no matter how free I am here, I am still stuck in a cage, with only one exit door, and that exit door, leads to the same places and the same faces that have been there all my life. I don't think that I am getting any offers soon though. It is becoming hard, and lately, most of the people I know who relocated there, actually had to search for job offers while they are there on vacation.

I will break free, one day I will, but till then, I am going to be freeing myself from all the dirt and stains in my life and focus on the current five things I really want. Maybe the moment to break free is delayed so that when it happens, I will not be desperate for it like someone who wants to turn the page, but instead, to colour the existing page I am already writing.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Rise and Fall of the Only Zeek.

I love Hitler. I loved studying him to be precise. I don't care about him as a person, or a leader, but I loved studying him back in school. I remember there was a book titled, 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich', which embodied his life, and hence, the title of this post, The Rise and Fall of the Only Zeek, because there is no first, second or third Zeek. I am only one.

This past month has been a roller-coaster ride. Actually, the whole year has been very intense really. During the process of the book, I didn't have the time to see a lot of people. I used to see my friends more or less once a week. I was more in an isolated cube. My friends were pissed off the fact that I was always 'busy'. No one knew I was working on the book. Even my family, I only told them when the book was about to hit the publishing house like 2 months ago.

Something major is happening in my life. I don't know what is it. But something major is taking place. I am not talking about the book. I am not talking about love. For all I know, I have been single for a long time now, more than I can remember. I just feel that my life is finally taking the shape it should be in. You know, each one of us is destined for something. Just like a football player who is currently playing for a local club, as a supporter, you know that this player is destined to end somewhere else, playing abroad in Europe's top clubs, or on the contrary, ending in a lower division in his country. I don't know what I am destined to or where will I be, but my life is never going to be the same again. I feel that I am going to enter a new challenge. I don't know if it will be here or abroad, but I do feel it in me. I don't know what type of challenge will it be. Maybe, and probably it will be work related. Maybe it will be life related. I don't know anything really, that's why I might not be making any sense.

I want to get away though. I am not into change, nor do I like it, but I can't see myself fitting here anymore. I love my country. I want to stay here. But nothing is working out, really. I love my job, but I am not getting paid enough. I believe in stability and family love, but how will I ever get married if I can barely go 15 days without finishing up my salary? Let alone, that I am not in love anymore. Speaking of love, I feel that there is a part of me that is lost. No more it is there. Maybe because of the numerous relationships I've been in and the one off's I had throughout my life, I don't know really know, but there is nothing that satisfies me. I don't know what I want. No, I actually know what I want, but I don't know if she exists. I am sure she exists. I am even sure we met, talked and could have even been in a relationship before. Maybe. I am sure that if I see her again I will hold on to her no matter what. I don't want to get in relationships now with people who are just 'good enough'. I am not looking for good enough. I am not looking for perfection either. The girl I will end up with will be perfect in my eyes, and that's enough, but how can I like someone who I don't even have the 'TO DIE FOR' thrill when I see her, just because she is good enough?

I am bitterly disappointed in a lot of things. A lot of people. A lot of places. The bar has been raised. When you're a manager, you don't actually think in the same way you used to as an executive. And when you're a director, it will totally feel different and so on. Well, this is how I feel with life. Every passing day, the bar gets raised, and I am no longer satisfied with things that would have satisfied me the day before, and so on. If you have been reading my blog over the year (and I am sure only a few are), you would relate in a way to my pessimistic tone when it comes to disappointment. I am a very optimistic person. Actually I have never met a more optimistic bubbly person than myself. That's a fact. I love life. I love to smile. I live to smile. I enjoy laughing, and I make the world shine on the people around me. This is not the case anymore. My friends are no longer my friends. My best friends are no longer my best friends. Even the stranger do not feel strange anymore. Throughout all my writings, I've also stressed on the importance of my circle of friends. My love for and to them. I always referred to us as ONE. How the importance of the manhood and the man-pact we have. The decline of that empire started taking place a little bit over 3 years ago. And now, it's crumbling.

I have lots of friends, but there are 15 who are really close to my heart, and they are the ones who I would refer to as 'best friend', each in his own way. I am talking about the guys (males). Not all the 15 sit with each other. Actually not all of them even like one another, and that's why, they are divided into 4 groups. Yes, four different groups! One group in particular, is closer to me than the rest of the other 3, because they more or less play in the same circle of life I am in, share the same interests and hobbies. In the past 2 years, my interests and hobbies changed, yet, I still used to favour that group on the rest. They are the first ones who I contact when I decide to go down. They are the first group of people I check their availability before I check with the other groups, because, as mentioned above, the groups don't like each other. When I used to smoke shisha, I was available all the time. I was always available. I used to connect the four different groups together, because I am the focal point in all. After I quit. I stopped going down every day. I have different interests now, and I have a different vision to life, and that's why the four groups cemented their separation. They actually were happy they no longer have to associate with the others. BUT. They missed me. Each group, wanted to see me, daily, and they had all the right in the world, because they love me; but, this doesn't mean that I have to see them every day, does it? They should understand my priorities, and they should understand what's happening in my life, they should understand the change. No offense, but none of my friends lost one of his parents. None of my friends quit smoking, and smoking here is not an activity, it was a lifestyle form and the only thing that I did for the past 14 years of my life, before even knowing many of them. My friends didn't even welcome that change I was in. They didn't try to understand, and even when they did, they still felt selfish. I will never ask them to be in my shoes, because this is not a movie you are going to enter and come out after three hours and say if you like it or not. I can understand my friends' rage and disappointment had I decided to abandon them and stick with one circle of friends from the four, or even decide to have a new group of friends with new hobbies or interests, but this is not the case, and it never have been. Whenever I decide to go out, my friends are the first people I contact, the first ones I thrive to see, and the only people I actually want to see.

I am disappointed. None of my friends knew I was writing a book. Hell, not even my family knew. I only involved two people from those 15, in order to write me a foreword, and the reasons behind picking those two was not out of anything but the fact that that they fit the criteria I was looking for, as I was trying to get different sorts of people (i.e. current smokers, ex smokers, etc.) - and even those two people found out right before I publish the book, so they were not even involved in anything.

Yet, I sensed that my friends got disappointed when they found out I published a book. I didn't see the joy in their faces, or their happiness when they found out about it after I told them. To me, writing a book was probably the most important thing I ever did in my life, and they know quite well that this is not something I usually do (it's not my 10th book, it's my first!) and they know how important this is for me, and I didn't see the excitement, or in other words, didn't feel it. Some of my friends are dying to get married, and some are dying to get out of the country, and some are dying to find a right job, and if any of them come and tell me that he is going to get married - and I know how important this is to him - then hell yeah I am going to be the happiest man in the world, because, one of my friends aka BROTHER is getting his number wish accomplished.

The book has been out for almost a month, and very few people from the 15 bought the book. I got comments by some of them that the only bookshop selling it is far, and they will wait till it is somewhere near. Can you imagine? If a friend of mine invites me to his wedding on the other side of town, will I go or will I not go? We all ditch weddings of people we are not close to, but we will all go to and even travel to weddings of our close and best friends. And that's why most of the 15 people came to my engagement two years ago when it was held in another city (and the ones who couldn't make it were abroad on business). Some of those people even came from abroad where they live to attend my 5 to 6 hour engagement and return back, paying a huge cost of money. Had I released this book two years ago, all of my friends would have bought it on the day of release. The same exact hour. Because back then, they considered me 'one of them'. But now, they don't. To them now, I am just an extra.

I am not directing my words or thoughts to all my 15 brothers, because very few of them proved to me how much I mean to them. Some might say, 'Are you stupid, do you base a friendship on your book purchase?' - and no, I am not stupid enough to do that, even though if I decide to, no one can blame me, but I took a moment back and looked at the wide picture. Those people who actually bought the book are those people who call me because they love me, not because they want a favour. Those people are the same ones who never attacked me when I decided to have my time alone (more or less), and always defended me, those people are the ones who have been with me through thick and thin, who will call me up whenever there is a new girl they met, and even if they haven't seen me for weeks, they will call me up to tell me about it and take my opinion.

You know what's sad? What's sad is that some of those people are people that lately, in the past five years, I haven't been that 'amazing' friend in return. I used to always favour a certain group of people over them, due to my comfort zone and due to the fact that they share more interests with me than the others. And in spite all that, the people I drifted away from didn't treat me differently even though they had all the right to do so. I feel ashamed. I feel pathetic. Really. Last week I was very busy with one of my closest friends ever due to his father's death. A guy who grew up with me and was one day the closest person to me for quite a long time in my life. That guy is included in the list of 15 because of the longevity not because of closeness, because that guy I have seen him only three times in the past five years (one of them was by coincidence in the street). Throughout the last week only I saw him more than three times. This guy was inseparable in my life from 1993 till 2000. He used to be with me daily, he considered my family as his and vice versa. His father may he RIP was like a father to me. He used to depend on me taking care of his son. My friend decided in 2000 that he wants to live another life, a loud life, a partying life, which didn't fit in with mine, and so from 2000 till 2004 we only used to see one another once every other month. We missed each other, but we understood that our lives are different. In the past six years my friend went through a lot of problems, mentally and medically. He suffered a lot of traumas and been into a car accident, and during this time he's been home, rarely going out, on medications, and he gained tremendous amounts of weight (he was the thinnest guy I ever knew).

Throughout last week, I've been doing a lot of thinking while I've been busy with my friend.

I feel more ashamed and more pathetic. How the hell did I leave my friend alone throughout all those years? I knew his fake friends didn't ask about him, and the blame goes out to his original friends, which are me and a couple of other people who were all together from school. The others are living abroad, and they only come here once or twice a year. How didn't I have time for him? A part of me is in denial because I used to check on him through his sister and his father. Another part of me was in the comfort zone, sitting with my other friends. My other friends who didn't even go buy my first book because they are lazy to drive to Nasr City (put in mind that the book is now everywhere, and they still didn't buy it. Put in mind that we had a week long Eid vacation and the streets were empty and they still didn't buy it. Put in mind that many other people who are not even close to me bought it). One of my very good friends, who is not in the list of 15 brothers is the famous actor, Sherif Ramzy. I remember when his first movie was out. We all went to see it the same day it was out. I remember him being pissed off at the people who didn't go watch it on the first day, and when I used to tell him that they will definitely go tomorrow or the day after, he told me that I will never understand how important this is to him. And guess what, now I know, and now I relate to it, and now I feel it. Especially when people I don't know well bought the book, read it, and even sent me their opinion, yet, my friends, the people I picked out of the rest of the entire world to be my friends, still didn't even buy it. Sherif Ramzy acted in a lot of movies. I was there on the first day of the release of the first four movies at least. After that I used to wait a week and go, and his last movie which was released a few months back, I didn't even see it. That's why I said at the beginning that I would have understood my friends' response had this been my 10th book, or even my 3rd or 4th, but no way in hell I thought about the fact that they won't go buy my first, and probably last book).

I am very sorry. This 'Sorry' goes out to my friend. It goes out to all the people, from the 15, and anyone who I didn't treat right, to anyone who didn't get the same treatment and attitude I shared with others. I am going to make amends, and I am now going to show you who the real Zeek is. The old Zeek. The Zeek who was there for everyone. I am sorry I favoured people over you, and I am sorry I was a bad friend. I hope it's never too late. I know you love me inside of you, and I am sure I will win you back.

I started writing this about two weeks ago, and I stopped midway, due to the fact that I was very busy with my friend. My friend's father passed away on the 13th of November. That's why the date of the post will be 9th of November even though we are now the 21st. Just mentioning that in case the sequence of events and writings not making sense due to the date, so in order for you to understand.

The reason I decided to post this now, is that because the country is in chaos, and I don't know if there will be access to the internet in the coming few days or if we will come to work, no one knows what will happen. I am going to leave work now, go home, have a nice meal, and I am heading to Tahrir, even though I am not the biggest fan of what has been happening by the people throughout the past 6 months, but I feel pathetic that people are dying and being shot and this is a time that all of us should be down there helping, just like we did on the 28th of January.

Excuse me if this post might have been offensive to you (I am sure it shouldn't be anyway) and if there are typos or things that didn't make sense, I just don't have time to revise.

Stay safe.

It's time to go save the world. :)
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