Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Listen to yourself

Motivational speeches don’t do it for me, although this one will sound like one! Ironic.

If you’re going through a bad marriage or a horrible prolonging divorce, you probably need all the help, advice, and opinions you could get to help you decide or help you have peace with your decision. It’s ok to ask for people’s advice, it’s ok to get all the self-help books you can put your hand on, but for the love of God, don’t let advice or books block your own thoughts and instincts from getting to you.

Listen to yourself. Don’t look for comforts in other people’s words that tell you things you want to believe. Listen to advice, but only do by it when you think you’re ready; otherwise, you’ll never really move on, and your ghosts will keep haunting you and pulling you back from you approval-induced happy place back to your misery.

My dad always says: “la nadema man estashar, wala khaba man istakhar” (or the other way around, it always confuses me) but he also says “nakhod bel asbab”, and no one would know your reasons or understand them more than you.

Sorry if it’s too brief and direct to the extent that it almost feels like a slap on the face, it’s not!! But sometimes it’s better to get things that way to make sure they don’t get confusing or boring.

End of transmission.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pride and Stupid Ego

A couple of weeks back I stumbled on this, and since then, and due to so many things going around, a few thoughts have been coming and going…

When is a marriage not worth fighting for?

In our faiths, marriage is what a couple should fight for, it’s not something a couple should give up on just because they don’t get along; there has to be good substantial reasons for a couple to end the marriage. However, our society makes staying in a marriage –especially a bad one-, a holly mission, for all the wrong reasons! You stay, you’re a martyr… you leave, you’re a coward!

And no one wants to be a coward; we all seek pride in that sacrifice, even if it’s nothing really but stupid ego! That’s why a lot of people in our society never stop to evaluate their decisions, to know if their marriage is working the way it should be or it’s just a futile attempt to keep false pretenses of a good life. Makes me wonder how staying in a bad marriage is supposed to make one a better person when every bit of good dies day after day?!
When a husband says straight forward that he would not grant a divorce, when he abusively threatens to use all his power and authority as a husband to make you miserable if you dare ask for a divorce? Is that a man worth wasting one breath with?! I mean, what kind of life with such a man could possibly be worth living? Marriage is hard, that’s why we’re urged to fight for it, but it has to be worth it, it has to be with a good person who shares it because it just does not need to be any harder.

When a wife uses her own kids to pressure her husband to stay in a marriage of which he has grown tired, does that make her feel loved and wanted? Does that make her feel like a winner that she has a man who would probably end up cheating on her because he can’t leave her? That’s not fighting for a marriage, that’s ruining a marriage and refusing to admit it.

When did people lose sight of that line between pride and stupid ego?! The line was never thin, and pride is something entirely different from stupid ego; if anything, each leads to different consequences. Pride makes you know when you can take no more abuse and walk away with your dignity intact to start a new life, even if against all odds, while stupid ego makes you insist on staying despite all the signs, and sometimes makes you abusive of your spouse making them stay when both of you should know better. When did society promote being egotistic rather than being proud?!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ma bye3rafsh!!

This is where the society plays the selective twisted game of using a "taboo" against men only when it feels like it.

Recently that conversation took place:

Friend - So, after those long years of enduring his abuse i finally had the courage to walk away and I filed for khol3.
Me- I am so sorry to hear that. I had no idea you went through this as you've never showed any signs but then again, who am i to comment on that...i kept my mouth shut for eight years.
Friend- Has he been abusive too " with a horrified look"
Me- Not physically no...It was different but not less destructive.
Friend- Even now you don't want to share.
Me- I had to share one aspect of the problem when i asked for divorce but till this day no one knows another destructive aspect and no one will.
Friend- Aseela...anyway it's hard to speak up in front of people...good that my lawyer has dictated exactly what to say in court.
Me- Oh, and what's that?? I mean, I guess it's enough to say that he was is khol3 anyway and its procedures aren't difficult as ordinary suits.
Friend- Oh, No, the lawyer told me that the judge will ask me why do i want divorce and i should say: akhaf alla 2oqeem 7odood allah!
Me- na3am!!!!!
Friend, while laughing- akhaf alla 2oqeem 7odood Allah means that I fear slipping in adultery but in a legal term the judge knows.
Me- was your husband..mmm...i mean, did he have problems??!!
Friend- Oh No, he was just like a horse!! it is only that this reason isn't discussable nor negotiable!!
Me- eh are willing to accuse your husband of being ma bey3rafsh instead of stating the truth which is horrible enough to get you your divorce....and, this is actually sort of sick funny that the justice crooked system would give women such a tool that simply...I can imagine you standing in front of the judge and when he'd ask you you'd reply in a corny voice: akhaf alla 2oqeem 7odood Allah followed by a wink ;) oo howa yefham ba2a!! heheh enty habla?!!!
Friend- Rasha, if I would say that he used to beat me up and curse my whole family I would have to sustain my claims with witnesses and stories and hear say...but the other thingie would spare me that.
Me- Look, I just state what i think is right...enty 7orra tab3an...but i invite you to consider this: this is a false testimony and you may end up in prison if he - tab3an tab3an- got angry for his machoism and proved you wrong...shahada zoor!!! are you really willing to take that to your grave??!!
Friend- ..................

Now correct me if i am wrong. this is the same society that tames a woman forever for having any mere clear- Natural - sexual desire. this is the society that titles love making" 2elet adab" and this is the same society that treats a woman like a slut if she complained about lack of sexuality and I'm referring to Marriage related subjects not affairs...and this is the same society that allows men to cheat, beat, curse elly khaleffo a wife and tells her she should take it for the kids' sake, her family's sake and elbawab' sake!!

That same society gave women a sharp fake stick to get out of a marriage while it closes every legitimate door to do just that for the right reasons.

I'm puzzled and sick to my stomach from such hypocrisy and fakeness.

Believing in our rights has to go parallel with believing in others' rights or else, that crooked curve will decline sharper every day and sadly by the same hands that It hurts.

I've always believed that any human being is the predator and the prey...both at the same time...just like a chain that will go on from generation to generation...something will hurt my mom and leads her to make some sort of mistake with me and i would carry the hurt and deliver it to my sons and so on and on and on...but, I also believe that founding individual correctness and pure bases mends and adjusts slowly but consistently towards a pain fre society.

Awareness of ones rights along with everyone else in that universal lesson we are sharing is what makes us either a predator or a prey.

Our choice.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

An overdue apology and a comeback!

I admit that I have abandoned this blog for a very long time. For that, I apologize. I have been overwhelmed by how society and the system fail to bring justice to those who need it. I guess for a while there I forgot that the main purpose for that blog was to try and change how unfair society can be and how lame the system is, even if all I did was write words for people to read.

Around a week ago, Jessyz wrote that brilliant post that inspired me and reminded me of this blog and its purpose. Jessy suggested that there should be a better support system for women undergoing divorce to help them out of bad marriages and help them overcome its shocking consequences. A good idea that needs an action plan if I may say; I have to say, it spoke to me and made me more enthusiastic about wanting to make a difference, like when I wrote my very first post on this blog.

Surprisingly, three days ago, a friend I made through blogging contacted me asking for “legal advice” for her friend since I come off as somewhat experienced as far as crappy marriages go! Although my “advice” was barely useful from a legal perspective, my friend said that it had a positive impact on her friend’s mood and that it made her less intimidated by the whole thing. The thought that I had something to do, even as minor as it is made me believe again that there is something that can be done; it somehow retrieved my faith in the power of words, not that I reall lost it.

Last but not the least, my dear friend and blog partner, Rasha, sent me message asking me to stop slacking around and start working with her on that blog. God bless you girl :)

So here are a couple of things I wanted to say as at Jessy’s but I guess I was afraid I would come off as rude to any of her commenters…

Women in our society need a support system, a valid one that makes them feel accepted rather than condemn them for their choice to end a bad marriage. It is quite understandable why any society would frown upon divorce; however, intimidating women and labeling them for wanting a misery-free life is not the answer to happy stable homes. I would like to believe that providing educated unbiased advice would do more good than bad, even if the outcome is “ab3’ad al 7alal”.

A support system does not mean by any chance that women are naturally weak. Women are not weak; it's society that insists on weakening them by locking them in narrow perceptions made by false understandings of how things should be! If anything, women possess more strength than this society gives them credit. Assuming that women are weak, or are constantly seeking sympathy is condescending and demeaning.

Generally all humans tend to seek approval from their peers, and when in pain, some of them find comfort in the average amount of sympathy; nonetheless, at some point sympathy could become the reason why some people would prefer to suffer silently rather than admit their need for support. I believe that some would mistake a constant cry for help, or a need to be understood without being judged as a non-ending thirst for sympathy! It’s not; at least not all the time.

Yes, there are exceptions, but exceptions should never become the norm; we can’t assume that every woman is faking a drama to get attention just because a few other women did! It would be extremely unfair and cruel to deny women in need the help we could possibly give my accepting and supporting them just because we have doubts about their motives. After all, there are ethical norms that should guide each marriage, and each divorce for that matter; and failing to maintain those norms could be the responsibility of both partners, but it is also fairly easy to see when one partner is wronged by the other, genders aside.

That being said, I would like to invite all women, as well as men, who feel that they are stuck in “bad marriages”, who happen to be in the midst of a long divorce procedure, or who have gotten a divorce and have problems adjusting. You’re definitely not alone, and trust me, it’s a phase we all go through day in and day out to survive and it is ok, there are good days just like there are horrible ones. Feel free to share your experience anonymously either on this blog or through email, and be assured that sharing your experience can help others realize that they are not as alone as they might think; perhaps that would be a way to start changing society’s perceptions, who knows!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What is After...

Sometimes the tiniest thing to you is a huge deal to others and it takes only a moment for you to realize you're being looked at in a whole different way than you'd ever imagined.

Because - normally - people differ, after divorce they differ as well; yet I believe every man/ woman who has been struggling to get out of a miserable situation called an unsuccessful marriage or a sad one feels a certain type of if a breakthrough has just been accomplished and as if life has suddenly shaken every cell of them to a new vivid existence.

It's like you've been held captive and suddenly you break the chains and your free.

Some people fall into depression because of fear of the unknown overwhelming upcoming phase or...because they were hesitant and really didn't want a was a pride pit they fell into or they were pushed towards it.

And to take this a little bit further on the personal side, I had experienced the former...and the latter...God, I'm complicated! anyway...All can be handled...with time...except for people.
Especially If you're someone like me who - just a few years ago - began to blabber anything on my mind without thinking who'd say what.

After is gonna be lonely.'re gonna be judged.
After...preassumptions will try to run your life.'re gonna double power to survive.'re gonna miss the simplest things...maybe would look at the empty seat next to you and miss occupying it instead of taking the stirring wheel.'s gonna be cold...and i have no idea why people in my situation tend to deny it than admit their humanity towards it...It's only sensible i think!

masalan, I think it's only natural for a woman who spent years in the company of a man sharing a life (regardless what that man was like) that would feel empty and lonely without a companion...and by "A" i mean the feeling not the person behind he could be a total Jerk yet, and because men give that, give you the sense of, the natural feelings men give women.
I believe it's weired not to miss that...I believe a woman doesn't feel complete without a man and that goes the other way around. so, expressing that - to certain minds - equals and without a doubt that a woman is either a horny bitch or that she still loves her ex and she shouldn't have left him!!

Well, I believe anyone who is deprived intimacy for a long time should be horny...or else something is wrong with them...but it's whether they turn to bitches or not is what counts.

And women/ men who think highly of themselves...respect their feelings...cherish and treasure their bodies and spirits won't be cheap no matter how painful it gets.

Now, it is draining to try to explain myself every second of the day...and, it is contaminating to lock me up inside a cocoon and shut up...push away friends and create barb wires around me just for the fear of saying or doing something "improper".

So, and because we are - supposedly - adults and responsible...let us all be tested...let life teach us to throw away lameness...let my mistakes and other's teach me something more big than what has been said over and over and over for centuries now.

To experience my life and people's lives as they are and maybe, just maybe something richer will blossom in me.

Truth is, I fear people...but that melts away when i let my instinct rule towards someone i feel their goodness and kindness...too bad those - who don't fail that expectation - fail another sometimes.

Still, as universal knowledge...I'll take whatever it long as it's real...

And that should be what is after...

**My posts represent my personal opinions and doesn't necessarily reflect the blog owner's.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's OK

Most Important thing about divorce, given the fact that it's a life changing act of freedom, that is to realize that you have every right - at any point - to change your mind and choose to use your freedom again to weigh everything in the light of the experience and in the light of the little glimpse you've taken during the process...and just say: no, I realize it could work out. or: no, I will pay the price and continue.

It is your right. It is your life. It is your freedom.

And no one has the right to judge you then, just like they had no right to judge you when you wanted out.

It takes steel guts to choose either ways...

Consider only yourself.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

How to twist an arm...bera7ah!

I think anyone who has ever encountered the legal system and our inhuman court houses would have to agree that it's a nasty nasty experience...most likely unjust as well.

And that's regarding marital problems or any other kind of problem.
Bitterness from such experience are often held when u have a right that is so clear and present and for some retarded reason you get a humiliating treatment of being the criminal instead of the victim.

Well, I won't brag about how i saw this coming in my early stages of divorce as i am of a law back ground...only because circumstances helped me a lot and most of all Allah has shown me what was impossible for me to see...

See, back then, i was verbally divorced...yet he returned me to marriage behind my back...he planned - with the help of my brother- to leave the country for years and keep me unmarried/undivorced...only because i was strong enough to say a loud, firm and clear NO to the life of sickness i had endured for eight years.
I was as solid as a rock...i took all the moral abuse from family and friends...90% of people didn't talk to me any more...i was penny less - as i were stupid enough to dedicate my life to him and the kids and had no money of my own...and i won't mention the lost little fortune spent on him - as my dad who has supported me for the first two months cut all resources to pressure me into getting back to him...
I found a humble job...and i kept screaming NO...

The day i knew of the plot and his intention to travel...i had to be fierce...i saw a lawyer who suggested cruel actions that would've dealt with the whole matter in days...but i said no...i won't accuse him of things he didn't do...i won't cheat...
What i would do is use awful things he has already done...truthfully done...
I will twist an arm...bas bera7ah...

See, everyone has a weak spot...EVERYONE...some men fear a shattered social image...some men fear to loose a dime...some men fear the power of the police...everyone fears something...

And he had tons of skeletons in his closet...

He...and his family feared to loose a dime...and he has written my mom a blank check long ago when he ripped her of everything she has in lame trials to make a business out of his dull mind...she and i has forgotten all about that check...till the day my lawyer desperately asked me if i have anything to help him save my freedom before the dude leaves the country...i remembered that peaceful tactic and made him swear not to prosecute...i told him...just wave the court!

In two weeks i was asked by him to meet him at the ma2zoon...

As i cried on my way over there cause i kept imagining my kids growing up without a dad hanging around...i had a big smile when i saw him at the ma2zoon with his new wife...i felt like : I'm absolutely doing the right thing!

I didn't hurt him to get my freedom although i could...FOREVER, I didn't give in to the pressure that drove me insane, i didn't sell my self cheap to his evil plans...I took the right decisions and i was strong enough to end my matters legally in three months!

Our meeting at the ma2zoon and the agreement he tried t make me sign was hilariously painful...but that's another story.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Qanun El A7wal El Sha7’seya!

I was searching the web for an article I heard of to write my next post, when I stumbled upon those two articles here and here about the expected new amendments in The Personal Affairs Law; I had to read it and postpone the post I had in mind for later, after this one!

Having walked an average amount of miles in the shoe of Divorce, I couldn’t help but think that some of those amendments would be great if properly applied. Yes! Sadly, I have forever lost my faith in our system and its ability to stand against unfair manipulations of those who can spot its cracks and take advantage of them!

But before I discuss the proposed amendments, I would like to get something out of my system… THE COMMENTS!! The comments people left after each article either for the writer of the articles or for the general public!! Eh el maskhara de?!!!! Is that how people think, I mean the majority?? Not just that, is that how those who can log on and read online pages of Al Masry Alyoum have to say; offend the writer and offend people whom they cannot even imagine what their lives are like just because they were given a keyboard and the right to free speech??!!! 3amar ya masr!!

Some commented that Egypt will never develop as long as people use development as an excuse to change Islamic practices by changing the legal system!! I tell those people that this country will NEVER develop as long as those like him/her use Islam as a façade to hide behind whenever they fail to explain how so many Muslims do not abide my Islam’s essence, fairness that is!! I also remind them that Islam applies on Muslims, while the legal system needs to apply on all Egyptians, how about some tolerance?!! Islam is also about tolerance, no??? as long as it does not conflict with Islam bardu!

There were comments accusing anyone who legitimizes or regulates personal affairs like people from the NDP of the writer (whom I have no idea of her affiliations) of being Kharabeen beyoot and assuming they were promoting the concept of broken homes just because they had broken homes themselves!! Personal Attacks?? How mature!! I am no NDP fan and I doubt I will ever be, but when someone I dislike says something that makes sense, I shouldn’t just refuse it without being open minded about the general need for it!! Wala lazem masr kolaha tenzel tetlete3 fel ma7akem 3ashan te7es bel mo3anah ya3ne!!!!

I must say, I have never been that much offended reading online comments the way I was earlier today!! Now my own comments…

On raising the age of marriage to be above 18:

Why is it such a bad idea?! Women younger than that age, and even at that age are too young to get married and be responsible for a household!! I got married at the age of 21 and it was not a great experience, how much worse could it be for those who get married at younger than 18 only to get disillusioned, especially that most of those come from poor backgrounds!!

On Limiting/Controlling Polygamy:

It basically suggest that a man must prove his ability to financially support two households; It does not regulate how a man should behave regarding either. I find this beneficial in a sense, which is the man admitting to his real financial status; therefore, in case the first wife demands a divorce (which she is most definitely entitled to in that case) he cannot deny her or the kids –if any- the proper alimony by claiming a less financial status. I understand Islam granted men the right to polygamy; however, evidence shows they have abused that right in so many ways when they ignored the MAIN condition, fairness. I personally don’t believe that we can enforce ethical behavior, but I do believe that when people simply ignore rules that way, they need to have them reinforced in a way. It’s not an attempt from women to control men’s God given right; from where I see it, it’s an attempt to preserve women’s rights that seem to be ignored in this society behind façades of bold titles speaking of feminism and women’s rights!

On legitimizing the rights of the wife and children through 3urfy marriage:

Personally, I am against 3urfy marriage and I have my own opinion that it’s 7aram because it lacks the fundamentals of a proper marriage! But let’s face it, this is a country that has failed to eliminate organized prostitution just because they failed to prohibit consensual sex outside marriage, simply because ethical practices are not to be forced on people!! Nonetheless, it’s a sad fact that a lot of young girls do become victims of 3urfy marriage just because they do not have full understanding of its implications and consequences; therefore, if we can’t teach them early on the difference, an attempt to protect them would not harm. I do however see many people abusing that law simply because it protects a flawed concept, but that’s just my humble opinion.

On Divorce, Reasons and Practices:

Divorce for harm should be based on reasons, not just witnesses’ testimonies, taking into consideration that emotional abuse counts as harm. Do I need to comment on that!! And why on earth is it a problem that divorce procedures should take less time?! What good could possibly be coming from prolonging the process?! Isn’t it draining enough? Also Divorce by Absentia is to be eliminated; however, I do not know what that is!! As for lapsing of Divorce due to the absence of the husband, the duration is to be updated to 1 year of absence at most as grounds for a divorce and in case the husband is absent (not to be found at all) for two years, he’s declared dead! I think it’s fair enough; I mean what good reason would a man have for disappearing that way other than death?! I find amnesia too farfetched for our time!

On Custody Rights:

Mother get custody automatically as long as the kids are underage; they do not lose custody rights as long as it does not conflict with the kids’ best interest, which means custody does not automatically expire due to remarriage. In other cases, the custody could be extended in case any of the kids suffers from a handicap that requires maternal care, since no one other than the mother is capable of enduring that much effort. Fair enough!! More importantly, a father automatically loses custody rights if he fails to and/or refuses to pay his kids’ alimony. Mentioning alimony, kids’ alimony should be separate from any dispute between the to-be-divorced couple. I don’t see how that should be a bad thing!

On Khol3:

There was a part I did not understand about the repayment of dowry, which I will ask about once I get a chance. However, there was a motion to extend khol3 justifications to include cases where the wife discovers “incurable defect” in her husband that she cannot live with, as well as one she had known of but could no longer endure. I really have nothing to say on that matter since I have no definition of “incurable defect”, so I shall leave it for people who know better.

I relize that my comments are more or less affected by my own experience, but I tried to refrain from extreme bias as I was once telling my esteemed partner :)

The cynic in me can see ways in which all those new legal updates could be violated. Let’s face it, we have a corrupted judicial system; or at least ignorant and indifferent at the best!! Moreover, I do admit there are women out there who do abuse their husbands, even with this masculine society that allows more room of abuse for the husbands.

Anyway, before you take the time to comment, I urge you to give it a thought and try to see things from an objective point of view! More importantly, I urge you to remain civil; I wouldn’t have asked that if I hadn’t read the absurd comments! Thanks.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why Divorce?!

I can't start giving my two cents ( or rather two ersh as I'm proud to be a slang Egyptian ) before thanking Divorcette for allowing me to share on this blog.

I think it's a great Idea to support divorced or about to be divorced women...who knows, maybe men too!

The first Question that comes to mind whenever i hear someone saying that they're thinking about divorce or filing for divorce is WHY!

In my opinion it's a life changing step that has to be weighed realistically putting in mind - consciously - the pros and cons especially if kids are involved.

So, here's my list of legitimate reasons in my opinion:

  • Adultery
  • Abuse: constant moral abuse / physical abuse
  • Hate: my test for that one is: If you wish you were dead the moment you hear his keys turn in the door!
  • Drugs : Master of disaster
  • Homosexuality turn ons/ practices
  • Doesn't provide for his kids ( it's always a sign of more sever cheapness )
  • Dead In bed ( In case you're not frigid )

Well, I can go on forever till i end up with the most famous reason to call the whole thing off: You say tomato...he says Oo6ah :D

Never mind girls just trying to lighten up 'cause I started to get a lil' bit anxious.

Please feel free to add...

Bottom line is: Make sure you didn't think of divorce because your not so loving friend fueled you against him or because your best friend is enjoying the Mercedes her husband gave her...That would be a lame answer to the question WHY...and that ain't worth splitting your kids' heart.

In my case, It wasn't just one reason of the mentioned above and that's WHY I stood up against EVERYBODY I know - except for my mom to be accurate - and said NO, I won't take it.

But that's another story....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How to shake off the bad mood…

We all get depressed, be it hormones, or unfortunate events. Hell! Men get depressed.

So there, some things I thought of that could help shake the bad mood off; some may work, some may not, but it won’t get you more depressed, given that you don't go over board. Feel free to try them, woman, man, single, married, divorced… whatever!!

  1. 1- Catch up with an old friend, someone you have not talked to for quite some time! Just try to avoid talking about the things that upset you; keep it strictly catching up.

    2- If you have kids, leave them with someone you can trust, and go catch a movie, or have your favorite drink in your favorite coffee shop… three hours of quality time with your own self is worth it!

    3- Embrace the bad negative feelings; you’re feeling bad, so what, it won’t last… so while you’re thinking things back and forth, take the time to find at least one upside, focus on it for a while and then shake your head and say “alhamdulilah”

    4- You can talk it out with someone you really trust and feel comfortable talking to, someone you would not feel awkward about sharing things with, and most importantly someone who’s wise enough to properly handle your vulnerable emotional state.

    5- Buy yourself something nice, something you always wanted, or treat yourself with one serving of your favorite dessert; more could cause some calorie abuse depending on the dessert and whether you’re on any sort of diet!

    6- If you have kids, buy them something too; going back and giving them whatever you bought, you will see a bright smile and an excited look, your heart will just melt and you’ll feel warm and fuzzy inside :)

    7- Try learning something new; even if it’s so little or trivial, even if it’s just a new route home!

    8- If you have internet access, think of any of your favorite things, google it, and find out some interesting stuff!! It’s cool, trust me ;)

    9- If you have the time, go walk in a poor neighborhood, look at the people with the jaded faces and the less fortunate statuses, you might stumble upon smiling faces nonetheless. If they can smile, the least you should do is smile back… if the are not smiling, all the more reason to smile at them, I find smiling therapeutic. Just avoid suspicious looking people who touch themselves.

    10- If you can’t seem to get out of the black hole on your own, try to spend time with people whom you enjoy their company, people who make you laugh; laughter is contagious, it may not solve your problems, but your heart will feel lighter for a while, why the hell not!!

    11- Do something you like, something that soothes you… take a long drive with good music, a warm bubble bath, cook something nice if you’re into cooking, read a book, watch a movie, go out in the balcony and gaze at the sky, take the time to look at the stars and appreciate their beauty!! Whatever does it for you, just dwell on something positive!!

    12- If you have kids of your own, or there are any at home (younger siblings, nephews, nieces, etc…) call for them and start random conversations; kids can be both brilliant and entertaining, something about their innocence brightens up the heart! And they sense our need for compassion; my almost 1-year-old pats me on the back when I hug him, makes me feel warm.

    13- Do something different about your looks, doesn’t have to be drastic, mildly different is cool! Trim your hair, try out some nail polish even if you remove it later, curl your hair in a funny way or even braid it!! Take photos either you’re looking silly or cute, even if you delete them later, it consumes time rather not wasted in sulking.

    14- You can rearrange the furniture in your room, or your house! Who knows, you may even clean up or fold laundry while listening to music or leaving the tv on, or even chatting with a friend on the phone! You'd be amazed how many annoying chores can be done that way :)

    15- If you’re feeling spiritual, pray, put your heart into a prayer, say all that you want, or not, just think about all that you want, God doesn’t need to hear your spoken words, He senses sincerity… trust Him.

    16- Look in the mirror, find one thing, one thing you like about yourself, not just about your looks, look deeper into your soul, be thankful for it and accept whatever it is you don’t like; we all have flaws, some we should change, and some we should just accept.

    17- Check on a friend you know was going through his/her own set of problems, listen to him/her, and try to give support; you may not have help to offer, or smart advice to give, but you will surely help by making them feel less lonely. It’s rewarding, it helps make you less self centered so you can get away with your selfishness later ;)

    18- Check out a game you like playing, even make up your own!! I used to think of random words that lead me to more random words, you’d be surprised!!

    19- Talk to yourself out loud, people may call you crazy, but thinking out loud helps.

    20- Seek help from a professional if you have doubts about your own sanity, nothing is wrong with that!! If you have a problem, you better start working on it, if you don’t, there, you got assurance, and it will be uplifting to know that for sure.

I’ll post more if I think of any, feel free to add yours… have a good day and God bless :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

On Love, Men, Women, and Generalization

Apparently, love is a universal thing, and it goes without saying that both men and women feel it; isn’t this how they justify a lot of things, especially the irrational ones!! However, I think men and women fall in love and react to it differently. My idea could be some form of generalization; I hate generalization, but let’s admit that it helped a lot of thinkers in figuring out some acknowledged facts about humanity.

I already referred to men before women because of the alphabetical order, but when it comes to my own theories, I will start with women, since I think I know more in this department.

We women build our worlds around our men. Whether we are in love or married, whether we married for love or through arranged marriage, we always priorities them. We stop having our own dreams, and we stop pursuing the plans we once had. WHY?

Is it because this is what society tells us? I know it may sound a little feminist to say that, but I assure you, I am not a feminist!

I can only speak from my own experience here. When I fell in love, I had no eyes for anyone but him; I had no opinions or logic other than his. I chose to make him my eyes and my mind. But when my marriage started falling apart, I questioned my x, I was not afraid of his authority although I was raised by a strict father who allowed no room for me to question his logic or reason, not just because he intimidated me, but also because he provided me a good life, gave me the security and stability I needed. But when the other male figure in my life took away my notion of a good life, shook my stability and ruined my sense of security, I had every reason to rebel against him.

Nonetheless, there was a huge mental and emotional drawback once things started falling apart. It felt like my development had stopped at the age of 19, when I first knew him, and I woke up at the age of 26, wondering where I have been for the past seven years! In addition to my shock, disappointment and confusion, I had to do seven-years worth of catching up. It was painful, and it left me wondering if it was the right thing to do shutting myself away and letting him take full control of my life.

I am not saying we shouldn’t; if some women have done it and found it worth its while, it must leave room for reasonable doubt that nothing is wrong with that. But when it is done for the wrong man, it’s a recipe for failure and a long journey of self doubt, which may not result in self finding.

I wish more women would come and share their experiences, for I spoke of mine, which I found somehow similar to those of some people I know.

Now the men, they never put their women first, NEVER. I have talked to so many of them, and no one, not one said they put his woman first. I know my father never did, I know none of my uncles ever did, I even know my male friends did not, and I am talking about men whom I respect, men who did not fail their families. My x said he put me first all the time, and well, he lied.

The good men say that they put their spouses first by putting their career first, by focusing on providing a better life. I can’t disagree much because I know and understand the burden on men to provide and maintain a stable household. But this leaves the rest of the work to the woman; not just the house responsibilities, but also keeping things alive. It’s a hard job by the way, and if some women lose their heads or fail to keep the marriage interesting, well sorry men, you can try, but I don’t think it will work any better for you.

Yeah, my ideas are too general and not so organized. But isn’t this what we go through in life on daily basis; chaotic general assumptions.

So men, women, tell me… did I make any sense?? If I did not, what makes sense to you??

For the time being, to the women out there, I can only try to give you an educated, yet unbiased advice.

Follow your men, love them, support them, and stand by them… but so not ignore your instincts, do not numb your senses or ignore alarms. Do not stop growing… empower yourselves, educate your selves and make sure you’re walking on solid grounds. Your man can never find that intimidating or threatening, no good man would, whatever a good man is.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

To All the Women... and the Men
I wish I had words that describe this poem, but words fail me!! So all I will say is that it's written by Farida.

في بلادي تبكي النساء
في بلادي النساء تجيد البكاء
و أنا و للأسف أكره طعم الدموع
وأكره نحيب المساء
قبلك كنت عصية الدمع
و معك صرت مثل كل النساء

......في بلادي النساء لاتجيد الرحيل و تدمن البقاء
الشكوى و العويل
أفضل من البعد و الانطواء
و انا عزيزي لا أخشى الرحيل
و لا احب دور شهيدة الشقاء

في بلادي النساء تؤمن بالرجل
ظل و سند وبقاء
و انا أؤمن بالقدر
و في إيماني سلام وصفاء
و كيف أخشى غد أوبشر
و معي الله خالق و رب وقضاء
سأرحل إن أراد لي الرحيل
و لن انظر للوراء

في بلادي النساء تجلد النساء
ألسنة طويله..كذب و افتراء
سأراهم إذا ما استدرت يتهامسون
و سأسمع الكلمات الحمقاء
سيصير جمالي أكبر لعنة
تدفعني للإنزواء
من عيون رجال جائعة
و خوف من ظنها بي قد ساء
لأني حملت لقب مطلقه
و غلالة الهتك صارت رداء

سيقولون تركت ..و يقولون تٌركت
سيقولون خسرت.. و يقولون خٌسرت
و سنصير أحاديث صباح ومساء
كما قالوا في عشقنا قبلا
أساطير تشبه قصص عهد البيداء
ووالله ماصدقونا خبرا
و ماطالنا سوى حسد البغضاء

و هانحن كنا و ياليت ما كنا
و ياليت ماكان قبل الهجر لقاء
لكنني امرأة تؤمن بالقدر
و في إيماني أجمل عزاء
و لقد عشقتك يوم جئت تطلبني
ولست انا ممن تعشق في الخفاء
فالحرة ان أرادت رجلا
سلمته مقاليدها
فأسر زوج خير من حرية البغاء
أردتك و استمتعت بك دهرا
جئتني نعمة و ذهبت عني.. ابتلاء

وفي بلادرمز عزتها شوارب
لنا الله نحن بنات حواء
الرجل لا يخشى هجر خليلة
فكل النساء له سواء
لا يعيبه عمر ..لا يٌنقصه ظرف
و يأخذ عذراء تلو العذراء
أما من مثلي فقدت زهوتها
لزوج ماصان عهد ولا وفاء
فأسلم لها ان ترضى بقسمتها
ففي الغد مجهول يخشاه العقلاء
و الجدات تحكي عن كل من طلبت
سعادة بعد تعاسه و كيف خاب رجاء
و من نعرفه افضل ممن نجهله
و من ترجو خير في الرجال حمقاء

في بلادي مملكة جهل ذكوريه
صنعتها و للأسف.. نساء
فما طالت قامات الرجال إلا عندما ادمن جواريهن الانحناء
و ماشاع بين ذوات الكيد ظلم إلا عندما نسين رب السماء
و انا عزيزي لست بمتمرده
و لا أنا في عهد الأنبياء
و لا أنا كارهة لبني جنسك
و لا أنا اقوى من كل الضعفاء
أنا ببساطة امرأة تؤمن بالقدر
وفي ايماني غاية الاستكفاء
في ايماني غاية الاستكفاء

فريده سعد

Friday, April 11, 2008

Some personal experience

When I started that blog, I knew that at some point I would have to talk about my story, especially if I am expecting other women with similar circumstances to come and share theirs. However, I haven’t yet found a way to say it in short; so until then, I will keep it brief and simple. Who know, perhaps brief and simple is the way to go.

I married for love at a very young age. Getting married was not easy at all given how our families had totally different backgrounds; I mean at first glance you’d think both families share the same social class, but if you take a closer look, you’d see that the social class was not attained the same way. Mind you, I lived every girl’s dream, fell in love with a prince charming and actually married him, yaay me.

It’s fair to say there were good moments; good years to be just. I don’t know what happened then, I am not sure what went wrong and I am not sure where I went wrong. I only know I went wrong because it takes two to tango, and it would be extremely unfair to say that it was all him, despite how much I despise him now.

He fooled around, and when I found out, he turned the tables on me and made me feel inadequate to an extreme that I ended up apologizing. He then made up stories about how I got it all wrong so that when I had time to think things through I wouldn’t catch his bluff; and I believed him, not because he was that good a liar, but because I wanted to believe him. A year later, I found solid proof that he was lying and confronted him, and it simply went down hill from there.

I couldn’t look him in the eye without seeing the person who lied to my face and made me apologize when it was him who was mistaken. I couldn’t trust the person who made me doubt my own senses and logic. I just knew that if I was ever to fall, he won’t be there to catch me.

As it turns out, men sense those kinds of negative feelings, and let’s say I was not even subtle about them. At some point, we simply drifted apart. I sat him down and told him I could no longer feel the warmth I once felt in his arms and asked him to divorce me if he no longer cared for me the way he once did. He wasn’t rational about it and he acted like I was crazy saying that. I wish he really took the time that day to consider an amicable divorce.

He cheated on me; he broke my heart to little pieces when it had not even recovered from losing faith in him. I could feel it from day one; they say a woman knows, and they are right. I asked him over and over, I begged him not to hurt me and to just let me go, but he always accused me of being delusional and turned the table, he was really good, but I had already learnt to trust my instincts more than him.

When his cover was blown, his foolish male ego couldn’t handle my righteousness, and let’s say I did not win that one gracefully. It was simply ugly, but that’s how it felt all along, and that’s what I want to share today.

Being ignored, two timed, or cheated on by a husband is probably the worst thing that can happen to a woman, or at least one of the worst things. When the man you love, the one you chose to spend your best years with forsakes you that way, it makes you feel so worthless. And that’s what I could ever get over since the first time I knew he had eyes for someone else and he actually said the L word to someone else.

Ever since, I always felt like I was missing something, and it dramatically diminished my self worth. I felt ugly, I felt very conscious about my looks and appearance, I no longer had that much faith in my brains and my logic, and I continuously felt inadequate. It took me quite some time to get that out of my system and know who I really am and what I am made of, and most importantly accept and embrace it.

This is what I want to say, to every woman who stumbles upon this:

You are not ugly or stupid or dull, divorce does not make you any of that. The fact that you felt less appealing to your man, does not mean that you are; may be he just lost interest because you’re already there and he misses the action or the extra attention or whatever gets him off. But it is not necessarily you.

Take the time to discover your own beauty, the beauty you know you possess. Go out with your friends and people who actually value you for who you are and I assure you, you will feel beautiful inside out.

Look at your kids, and see how cute they are, well, they are 50% you, so they must have taken some of that cuteness from you.

You’re not inadequate, if you are no longer a “functioning” wife, you are definitely still a woman, and perhaps a mother, and there must be a lot of other good things going for you, so just take the time to recognize them and appreciate them.

God bless.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

So basically our legal system is flawed and our society kind of sucks…

I normally do not follow talk shows, especially Egyptian ones where people simply keep interrupting one another until you get migraines. However, as I mentioned in my previous post, I stumbled upon a rerun about young divorced women in the Egyptian society and how un-accepting society is of them. The show had segments of random people saying how they perceive divorced women and how they would feel if their son/brother decides marrying one.

The guest was a female da3eya who also happens to be lawyer specialized in divorce cases. I am not a big fan of that woman, because I tend to find her way too… unrefined is the word I guess! However, perhaps the topic hit one sore nerve, I sat down and watched.

She said a couple of phrases that I actually liked; this is not the actual quote, but rather the closest translation to it…

Divorcee is a mere description of a status of a person; it does not define the person in any way. It’s a shame that our society treats it like a taboo or a contagious disease when God has intended it to be a relief after the pain and agony of a dead-end marriage!!

Sadly enough, in our society people always assume divorce is the woman’s fault! Perhaps that’s why it has been labeled abghad al halal, because of the negative impact it has on the divorcee; it is bagheed because we make the divorcee feel like a social outcast by rejecting her and denying her the right of dreaming of a better life.

When a young man tells his family that he wishes to marry a divorcee, especially if she has kids, his family’s reaction is most likely to be rejection! All they see is the ‘title’ and they judge her based on that; they disregard her other qualities and deny her the opportunity of a decent life, which may lead to other humiliating alternatives like civil or secret marriage, and sometimes even adultery, not that any of it is justified that way.

And as if that was not enough, the law is not even fair in that department. A divorcee automatically loses her custody rights once she remarries! Custody is transferred to either her mom or the x-husband who could already be absent, only he would use that law to spite and humiliate his x-wife!!

In such a judgmental society, and with such an impotent legal system, what do we expect divorced women to do, how do we expect them to make a decent living for themselves and their children when we start closing all legitimate doors. Divorce has become the new scarlet letter for women in our time of age.

People claim that it is the woman’s job to maintain the household, and to do her sole mission she must endure whatever hardships her husband puts her through; yes, patience is a virtue and God rewards the patient, but sadly, it leaves room for abusive husbands to take their abuse to the next level, and that is plain oppression. I have seen women who endure horrors because they are too afraid of being labeled ‘Divorcee’; how devastating is that? It’s even worse when those very same women are the first to judge their divorced sisters who stood up for their humanity and chose the hard way and chose to support themselves and their kids away from such husbands who normally never take any kind of responsibility, on the contrary they make divorce procedures longer and more expensive.

Again, it’s not just the society, it’s our legal system that makes the vicious circle of abuse continues! The moment any divorced women submits her ID for whatever purpose and people read her marital status as ‘Divorcee’, they start forming an opinion which may affect the way they treat her, it’s just sick and twisted, and unfortunately, it happens every day.

Yep, it was like salt into a wound that has not yet been healed! But seeing that someone out there spoke of what I secretly feared helped a little bit, especially that more segments showed that some people are actually more willing to be tolerant, or at least claimed they were. Some people practically said that they would picture that divorcee as a daughter or a sister, and that such a misfortune was more like an accident; it would only change in a person as much as that person allows it.

It is painfully sad to think, even for a while there, that despite how some people still think positively about the whole thing, and how people do some efforts to channel how unfair our society and legal system are, very little can be really changed. However, who knows, may be if more women start realizing that they are not alone, that some people –even if a few- can give that much acceptance, they would be able to maintain their strength and survive the painful drawbacks of ending a doomed marriage.

*The name of the show ad the guest was not disclosed since no consent was received from their end to publish this material.

**The part in italics is mere translation of my own general understanding of what the guest had said; it is in no way her own words or expressions.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Divorce, What’s Islam’s take?

Divorce is the official end of a marriage. That’s the simplest definition really! No, I haven’t checked a dictionary, I just wrote it off the top of my head.

I don’t know about other religions, I am not even properly educated enough to talk about or represent my own religion. Therefore I have done some online browsing for the proper rules of divorce as per Islam.

It says
here that proper justifications for a divorce could be sterility of either the husband or the wife, either one of them is terminally ill which is negatively affecting his spouse’s life to an unbearable extreme, or the husband could simply be abusive and impossible to live with.

Nonetheless, the drawbacks of divorce cannot be ignored since it has a negative impact on the husband financially, it may cause the wife to suffer both emotionally and financially and could leave her an easy victim to sin, and finally its effect on the children is dramatic! Therefore, it should be limited to cases where the marriage reaches a dead-end.

It was basically a good an informative read despite how confusing it sort of got when it came to how accepted/frowned upon divorce is in Islam; however, I guess it is basically because each and every case has its own context.

My browsing then took me there
where the fatwa says that a woman is completely entitled to getting a divorce from an abusive husband.

I couldn’t help but stop there
because I was too curious to know what the sheikh would say to a woman who has no affection whatsoever towards her husband, actually resents him is more of the word, yet chooses to stay in the marriage for the sake of the kids. I am ashamed to say that I was rather disappointed to read that the fatwa implied that she should be more patient and try to find ways to love her husband and continue living with him, when it was mentioned right here that:

The wife of Thabit ibn Qais ibn Shammas came to the Prophet and said, "O Allah's Messenger! I do not blame Thabit for any defects in his character or his religion, but I am afraid that I (being a Muslim) may become unthankful for Allah's blessings." On that, Allah's Messenger said (to her), "Will you return his garden to him?" She said, "Yes." So she returned his garden to him and the Prophet told him to divorce her. (Al-Bukhari 7:63, no. 199)

It’s fair to say that all these iformation has left me too confused to sleep properly until I had awaken up the next day to stumble into a rerun of a talk show about the same topic from both the religious and the legal points of view!!

But that’s for my next post...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

What is a Good Marriage?

It hit me that before I start talking about divorce, I should first say something about marriage; not so bright after all I guess!!

And because I am such a lazy bum who is too lazy to do the necessary research, I thought I would ask a fairly religious friend of mine who is within the same age category about what good healthy marriage is, from religion’s point of view.

And just to avoid the possibility of him thinking it was the beginning of another cynical rant, I told him about that friend of mine, and how I thought she was miserable, yet I would never share my opinion with her because after all, I do not know what good marriage is.

His reply was so overwhelming, it inspired me to start working on this blog and put it as a first entry, perhaps just to clarify that I am not just another bitter anti-marriage and pro-divorce person… it’s basically an unofficial quote of what a friend of his told him about his own experience as a newly wed. Here it goes

“I thought by getting married, one would be safer from fitna; however, it turned out to be that once you’re married, there is more room for it.

You see, it’s not about flirting with other women and fantasizing them like you would expect; it’s more about how El Shetan bey2assy 2alby 3ala meraty.

Like when I am home late and she’s a bit grumpy and more likely to start an argument, I would feel the unexplainable urge to take the argument to the next level and start a fight, sometimes it even happened!!

But when I took my time to think about it, I came to the realization that I shouldn’t fight with her because she’s upset I am not spending enough time with her… I mean heya leeha meen gheery to keep her company, watch out for her, take good care of her, and protect her… if I start fighting over the smallest of things and saying mean or harsh words that wouldn’t solve our problems, but instead would make her hurt and cry, who would she have to make her feel better… heya fel awel we fel akher amana fe re2abty we mas2oola menny

My friend then explained that if both parties think that way before they start dwelling some more on the fighting, if they just take the time to think of the obligations towards one another rather than their rights, if they yera3o rabena fe ba3d, marriage would be more like what God intended for it to be!!

And this was when my friend told me “oleely enty ba2a, what do YOU think is a good marriage??”… That was one of the few times I was left speechless!!