Saturday, May 5, 2007

Emotional Paralysis

Have you ever reached the stage of Emotional Paralysis?

Symptoms: Indifference, lack of interest in anything, no thrill for new ideas, not sharing your ideas with others...etc

Emotional Paralysis, i believe, comes from too much subjectivity, and complete lack of bias.

When you are always trying to put yourself in the other party's shoes. When you are always trying to understand the reasons behind someone's thoughts and ideoligies. When you are always giving excuses for others ways of analysis. You are being subjective, you think, but in reality, you are leading your soul to Emotional Paralysis.

A lot of us have been suffering from Emotional Paralysis lately. At least I know I am. I have not been expressing my opinions clearly. There is a reason for that, ofcourse. The reason is that our society still has not reached the maturity stage of having healthy arguments. Our society does not value the outcomes of healthy debates.

An Algerian friend once told me: " If a person was explaining an idea to me, and I totally agree with that idea, I will pretend that I do not agree, just to create a debate, and enjoy the thrill of it."

You still find a lot people who get really offended by your opinions just because they are different. They might even withdraw from you just because your "bizarre" ideas might affect them. This negative attitude, ofcourse, kills the thrill of a healthy debate.

In your next debate, not wanting to offend others, you try to be as subjective as possible. By time, you end up not having opinions of your own. You develop a dual vision of the two sides of each argument, and you even become able of arguing to the favor of both sides! You might think that this is smart. But it's not. Because you will end up not knowing what your real opinion is, your ideas and thoughts become numb, i.e: Emotional Paralysis.

In order to overcome Emotional Paralysis, you have to clearly discuss your views, and be proud of them. Listen attentively to the other side, discuss, have a healthy debate, agree on some issues, disagree on others. And if the other side feels offended or even schocked of your ideas, and tries to make you feel guilty about them, then the other side is probably suffering from a worse disease, that I might discuss in another post.

As part of the treatment, I want to ask each one of you to write in the comments an opinion that you always wanted to share, but continously got shut off.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I'm A Boxing Bag.

I'm a boxing bag.
Yes, the bag boxers use to practise on. Other people - non boxers - use it to get rid of their rage.
Well, I don't know what's really wrong with me. I believe i am peaceful. I choose to be peaceful actually. Apparently that is very wrong. Being a democrat is also wrong.
They will always find a way to make your silence appear as "hidden thoughts". Or your democracy as "weakness to face facts".
So what if i hate to take sides? Even if i feel down deep that one of the sides is wrong. I choose to think that maybe there's a fact i failed to consider, and therefore, i again, refuse to take sides.
Paulo Coelho once said: " Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own."
This sentence is a project that i have been trying to apply for a while. But Paulo, this sentense is very tricky. It makes you imagine that if you actually start leading your own life, without interference with others' lives, others will start doing the same. Paulo, you must have been thinking about Utopia.
Apparently speaking out and saying what you feel and what irritates you creates tremendous problems. Humans never seem to forget. If you choose silence, and take the glory of sharing your own thoughts with yourself only, this will create even deeper problems. Apathetic, some people might even call you. If you choose to listen, and only listen, then you are not helping and not making progress. If you choose to contribute with your well ponderred opinion, then this is the real catastrophe. Because you are going to be responsible for this opinion. You will be asked about it, and required to elaborate until you are proven wrong.
My favorite part in most movies, is when the characters suddenly explode and say all what had to be said since the movie started. Wether it was improsined screams, burning love declerations, or tears that have been waiting forever to be shed. This usually hapens in the climax. And after it, all knots are untied.
It's funny i never reached a climax in my life. I always meet new people, new stiuations, new incidents, and there's always a climax that i perfectly draw and practise over and over in my mind. But, I never reach it. Climaxes in real life only tie the knots harder. Climaxes, also, are part of Paulo's Utopia.
So what if I'm a boxing bag? I think it's better to be the boxing bag than being the boxer.
I want to reach my climax now. It is going to be silence. Ultimate silence. And if my climax is going to tie more knots, you are most welcome to beat the boxing bag.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

When You Live Alone

When You Live Alone:

1) Burger King becomes your best friend. You are friends with all the staff.
2) You have numbers of all resturaunts with home delivery.
2) You actually crave for healthy food.
3) Basically, food becomes your only obsession.
4) You develop the habit of talking, negotiationg, fighting, and joking with yourself.
5) You become addicted to blogs, messengers, emails, facebook, and the like.
6) You watch too much T.V and actually become interested in knowing what is happening with Anna Nicole Smith and her poor child.
7) You sleep over and miss your lectures because simply there's no one to wake you up again.
8) You study two days before the exam because there's no one to nag you and give you a very detailed description of your miserable future if you don't study.
9) You learn how to install the gas jar. And it makes you feel proud.
10) Your friends think you are cool and dream of being in your situation.
11) You don't understand why they think you are cool and it makes you cooler.
12) Mess all around the room doesn't bother you.
13) You decide it's cool to stay messy just not to feel guilty.
14) You feel so guilty and become extremely organized for 2 months maximum.
15) Your mom cries and calls every single person you know to make sure you are still alive if you don't answer two SMSs.
16) Your house becomes your friend's hangout place.
17) Your body becomes the jerms' hangout place, and you get sick every 34 days and take an injection because of bad nutrition and too much Burger King.
18) You swear not to eat at Burger King anymore...... and switch to McDonald's.
19) You miss your family so much until you see them, then you want to go back.
20) Your parents become worried because of your "independency".
21) You buy disposable plastic dishes and glasses to eat in and throw once you finish.
22) You wonder why doesn't the laundry look clean and later on you discover that you actually forgot to put soap.
23) You sing outloud in the morning, and become fond of your voice by time.
24) Before you sleep you forget to: turn off the heater, plug off the iron, lock the door, and the only thing that keeps you alive is pure luck and your mom's prayers.
25) Your friends want to get argeeleh to your place and think you are wierd when you say NO!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Who Is a Leader

"The news of the Prophet Mohammed's death came as a stunning shock to everyone. How could it be? He had been ill for some days.... but death??

Things were in this state when Abu Bakr entered the mosque. "O' people! If anyone among you worshipped Mohammed, let him know that Mohammed is dead. But he who worshipped Allah, let him know that Allah lives and will never die. Let all of us recall the words of the Qur'an. It says, (Mohammed is only a messenger of Allah. There have been messengers before him. What then, will you turn back from Islam, if he dies or is killed?)" (*)

It is in the most devastating and confusing times that true leaders rise. Those who tend to collect their shattered souls and gather their frustrated emotions, put them aside, and rise again, blowing life back into those who are still shattered, and making them rise up too. It is a leader who draws a vision that is clear to everyone, plans to achieve it, organizes the steps to be taken, and leads the group into victory.

A leader is always patient, optimistic, and innovative. He is eager to listen to his companions, discuss, and learn from them. A leader is someone you can trust to get you out of the tunnel towards the light. H delegates to his companions, believes in them, and makes them believe in themselves. He's always with them and never on top of them. He's strict and firm in difficult times, yet considerate and compassionat in peaceful times.

A leader builds up a team, believes in teamwork, answers questions, asks his team for help, and makes everyone feel important and effective. He gives unforgettable speeches with words that directly transform into heat that extends into the brains, muscles, and hearts.

A leader is a normal individual who skees for the abnoraml, and gives his maximum efforts. He makes changes and fulfills dreams. Pats shoulders, and whispers "you can do it" into sinking souls.

A leader makes it happen

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ways to Maintain a Healthy Level of Insanity

Everytime i get this email it makes me laugh more. Hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I did not write this, it's an email that has been fwded to me. but let's see if we can come up with some more of our creative creations.

1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on, and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.
2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice.
3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, Ask If They Want Fries with that.
4. Put Your Garbage Can On Your Desk And Label It "In."
5. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks. Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.
6. In The Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write "For Smuggling Diamonds"
7. Finish All Your sentences with "In Accordance With The Prophecy."
8. Don't use any punctuation
9. As Often As Possible, Skip Rather Than Walk.
10. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.
11. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is "To Go."
12. Sing Along At The Opera.
13. Go To A Poetry Recital And Ask Why The Poems Don't Rhyme
14. Put Mosquito Netting Around Your Work Area And Play tropical Sounds All Day.
15. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party Because You're Not In The Mood.
16.When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream "I Won!, I Won!"
17. When Leaving The Zoo, Start Running Towards The Parking lot, Yelling "Run For Your Lives, They're Loose!!"
18. Tell Your Children Over Dinner. "Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go."

Friday, March 16, 2007


They say one person can change you forever, even if they never intend to. And that I am sure of, because Zeid never intended to.

The first time I met Zeid I was so fake. I kept praying he won't feel my forced casual attitude, or my trembling knees.
"Hi Zeid.."
"Oh Hi Dima"
"I'm here to-"
"Oh I know,I've been told, please have a seat"
"Thanks... so.. umm do we start from the beginning...?"
"Yes, please."
I held the thick black book in my hands. I read the title engraved in golden letters out loud. Flipped the cover, and through the first introductory pages, and started reading for fifty-two minutes.

The first day was over, and it was worse than I expected. Why do I always assume I have strength that I don't? Why do I always put myself in situations where I know for sure I will collapse?
The next day I went back, at the same time. I found Zeid sitting patiently, like he always did, in his black jacket, his hands on his lap, his right hand slightly curled over his left. He stared blankly at the floor.
"Good morning Zeid"
"Hey, Dima... I got you the tape recorder and some tapes, can you start recording the first chapter today please?"
"Yes, sure."
Zeid opened his old weary backpack and took out a dark green walkman from it. he held it carefully in his hands, by turn, he started feeling for each button and explaining slowly: " This button is rewind..forward...stop.. pause.. play... and the red one is record"
I thought to myslef... What does red mean to him? Is it any different than yellow, green, purple... Isn't it all just black?
He finished by showing me the eject button and how it opens the tape case. I smiled as I felt him proud to know all those buttons and their functions.
"Did you memorize them or do you want me to repeat them again?"
I smiled again saying: "No Zeid, I think I'll manage" What was silly to me, was considered an accomplishment to him.
"Please use it gently Dima, It's the only recorder I have."
"I will"

Everyday I would go read to Zeid his material. He would listen with the anticipation of all first-year students. And when I go back home, I would start reading and recording my voice on the tapes he gave me, so that Zeid can study by listening to those tapes.

"Zeid, why did you choose to study Islamic Studies?"
"Well, I can't study engineering for sure!" He chuckled. "I had limited choices, and I chose Islamic Studies because it makes me a better person."

I thought the deppression I sank into would fade into the daily routine of having to face Zeid. Only this depression grew deeper. Whatever I did, I felt guilty. Once, I walked him to class, he tripped over a step. I felt guilty, I should've warned him. Another time, he was about to trip when I told him to watch out for the step. I also felt guilty, I probably made him feel weak and helpless. I even felt guilty for just being able to see.

After two weeks Zeid had to take the English level exam. If he fails he will have to take three English courses. If he passes he will take only two. If he passes with a high average, he will have to take only one.
I had to go with him to read him the questions, and click on the answers he chooses.
Zeid was very calm that day. He told me that he was good in English and he is hoping to pass and take only two courses.
The exam started and I read the questions, each twice. Zeid took a lot of time to answer, and ended up giving me wrong answers for most questions. I would click on the wrong answer he chose and move to the next question. I started feeling that Zeid won't pass. There were a lot of questions left and not much time. I started reading three multiple choices instead of five. And yet he would give wrong answers. I started giving only two choices and he got some right. We finished all questions and had four more minutes to review. I looked at Zeid knowing he won't pass. I looked at him in his same black jacket, same white top, and same black shoes. I felt guilty that he will have to pay for three courses instead of two, knowing that to him it makes a big difference.

I remembered when Zeid told me that he is out of empty tapes. And that I should wait until he goes down town to get new tapes. I told him there's a store near university that sells tapes. He grimmaced saying they're too expensive, 20 piastres each.

I went back to the first questions Zeid answered wrong, put the right answers instead, and told him we're done. We waited for the result. He passed. I told him, and he laughed out loud disturbing other students who stared at Zeid and suddenly looked away when they realized he couldn't see.

When we got out he called almost everyone he knows to proudly tell them he passed. He held his cell phone, clicked 6 times on the middle button and counted outloud: "1,2,3,4,5,6. Does the name say Mohammed?" I looked at the cell phone "Yes it does." He pressed call and yelled "I told you I will pass I told you! hahay!". Zeid was so happy like a kid who got a new bike. Only I was almost sure he never got a bike. I even didn't help but to laugh at how he teased his friends and told them "And you said I won't pass!! Well you all owe me one JD!!!"
At this moment also, I felt guilty. I wanted him to know that I answered at least ten questions for him which he got wrong. But I knew I would kill his pride, the most special thing about Zeid. I also knew I would feel worse if I didn't tell him. " You know Zeid I helped you a lot, you really need to study for this course, you don't want to fail it."
"I know Dima, I know" was all he said.

We later became good friends. I would go to the center everyday, read to him and give him pop quizes which he hated the most. And I would get angry at him for not studying. I looked at him as a younger brother and somehow felt very responsible for him. He even taught me how to read and write alphabets and numbers using Prill's method. He explained to me the different tools he uses in writing. He always talked about this new special typewriter he heard about, which some of his friends at the center bought.
"It is very efficient, if I use it, it will take half the time to do my homework!"
"So why don't you buy it?"
"Well, it is very expensive, around 200 JD"
Again, I felt guilty.

In Eid I told a group of my friends that we should all gather money and get it to Zeid as a Eid gift. But I changed my mind at the last minute, knowing that Zeid's pride will refuse it and I will feel guilty for making him feel needy.

The semester was over. At the beginning of the second semester I called Zeid to arrange a time for reading. He told me that this semester he only wants me to record tapes, and a new volunteer, a guy, will read to him in the center. When I aksed why, embarrassed,He told me that he is an Islamic Studies student and it is better if a guy reads to him. This semester I haven't heard of him, neither tried calling him. Not wanting to embarrass him.

Zeid changed me a lot. He did really - like they say- see with his heart. He was always proud of his accomplishments. He never said 'I can't'. He was very independent. At the end of the first semester he knew the university by heart and never tripped on steps anymore. He never complained. Even when I overslept and missed the reading sessions. Even when I was late in recording him the tapes and gave the lamest excuses. He never complained. He was good at everything. But most of all, he was best at listening. His special disability of not seeing gave him the rare ability of true listening, analyzing personalities depending on their voices, ideas, and thoughts, without having to face all barriers of the deceiving outer looks, that we, normal people, judge others upon.
I miss him a lot.