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Anonymous said...

Just came by to say hi!
It's also true that my first comment on the blog was exactly three years ago.

Hope you're doing fantastically well, mademoiselle.

Lama Khayyat said...

Oh hey mister anonymous!

Thanks for stopping by, I made a shout-out to you months ago but you never got back so I thought I had lost my only commentator, but YAY you're back!

Life has been good, moving back and forth between Amman and SF, very unsettled but who says I have to be settled?

I believe your first comment was even before that, because three years ago was when I had first moved back to Amman, and I remember you were commenting before that.

How's life been with you? Hope it's all good :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, you did, and I saw it before you took it down. I was a jerk (still am) and simply kept silent. I don't know why I do this, but it seems I always run away from the things I value. I kept checking the blog regularly, though, so you didn't lose the follower part, for sure.

It's good to know you're doing well. Unsettling is good, too. But who am I to say? At least it's better than settling but practically dying!

It's alright. Three years or not, it's been some time. Let's hope for even better times to come.

And here comes the hardest question: how's life been with me?
Short answer:
Still figuring out my place, if any, in the world!
Long answer:
I'll go for weird. You grow up, discover your inner values, and then you face the world. But then it challenges everything you thought you knew about it. You either push on with blind faith hoping for a better end, or simply conform and accept a life-long misery. It doesn't always have to be this dramatic, but it's never easy. On an optimistic note, I've seen some exceptionally good days.

Thanks for reading my, umm, article!
It's good to be back.

Lama Khayyat said...

I know EXACTLY what you mean when you describe life as being weird.

Growing up does make you feel all sorts of different feelings inside, maybe they were always there but you become more aware of them as you mature. It's an ongoing struggle, but I guess that's just what makes us who we are at our core.

Growing up to me means embracing diversity rather than judging differences. I look at things from a different perspective. I like observing people from a distance, just sit and observe (I try not to make it weird, I hope).

It's easier being honest with myself now, but trying not to be my worst critic at the same time, I cut myself some slack! I've done many idiotic things in a short period of time, which has humbled me. We're all human, we make mistakes, we learn.

I've always enjoyed reading your so-called "articles", what are you a writer? You work at some magazine or something? Forgive my curiosity but I'm always making up stories of you in my head, maybe cause you're so "anonymous" to me (pun intended).

P.S. Yes I did take down the shout-out I gave you, it felt like I was talking to some imaginary character :)

Lama Khayyat said...

Also, speaking of unsettling and the whole uncertainty thing, I love this quote I came across by Voltaire: "Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one". Couldn't have said it better!

Anonymous said...

I agree. Despite everything painful about it, maybe growing up is the best strategy for us to accept who we will eventually become. We seem more comfortable with small steps than big leaps. Looking back, I don't think I would've predicted, let alone accepted who I am now, and I'm sure this applies to who I will be later.

Also true. I've grown to truly tolerate much more than I used to. This doesn't necessarily change my opinion about certain things, but at least I try to be better at seeing where people are coming from(1). I wish most people tried to do the same.

And, did someone just say "observing"? That's like my second favorite hobby (the first being sleeping)! But seriously, I like to observe. In fact, I observe way more than I should. Not just people (who can occasionally be extremely amusing to watch), but all sorts of things, including myself.

I might have issues with the last part. See, it's hard for me not to give myself a hard time when I'm literally living two copies of myself at once(2). My "wiser" self acts, maybe rightly so, like it knows it all. If you were to cut into my head, you'd find a buzzing piece that never ceases to over-think EVERY SINGLE DARN THING. My "other" self is like a teen that hates their parents but knows down deep they're somewhat right. Maybe I should check out some parenting counselor!

I know. It's not fair. I know much more about you than you me. It's funny, though, that this exchange might actually have been giving you a true idea of who I am more than other forms of human contact. Everything else is details. But, no, I'm not a writer. I just write occasionally. No readers (except for you in these article-like comments(3)).

Would it be rude of me to wish to retain my anonymity? I promise not to be creepy as best as I can. But just to give back, apart from being defined by profession, I try to split my time and attention between art and science (and many things in between). Well, that wasn't too helpful, but, hey, I shared something!

P.S. Maybe I am imaginary! No, really, I felt bad when you took it down, because I thought I'd disappointed you. My apologies.

P.P.S. Yes, the uncertainty we're talking about seems more fitting to the overarching theme of life. I may look into more stuff by Voltaire.

(1) A pertinent quote would be the opening lines of The Great Gatsby, a book which I have yet to read.
(2) I'm writing this while thinking, "Dear Cosette, have you been too much on your own?"
(3) Maybe we could make a book out of these comments. I already have a couple of titles in mind!

Anonymous said...

Hi. Please ignore this if you have received my response to your last comment. Don't even reply faster. Just want to make sure my comment was submitted successfully and you're not waiting for it.


Lama Khayyat said...

I did get it but I've been a bit all over the place these past few days, I don't have my phone with me (I'm always logging on my blog through it).

Lama Khayyat said...

That comment about your younger self accepting your future self, I can completely relate to. When we are younger we have all those plans and dreams of how are life is going to unfold, everything will be perfect and life is rosy and bad does not exist, but you grow up and it's 180 degrees shifted from what your younger self had wished for... I do not regret any of my past let me call them "failures" or disappointments, but on some days deep down in my heart I wish things turned out differently, or I wish I knew more at the time. I guess that's when our faith is tested in many ways. I'm learning to let go and see where that will lead me to.

I can't say enough how beautiful this life is and how awful it can be, I believe it depends on circumstances/attitude/belief. From my own (humble) experience, the things I've longed for the most and never got, I know I received something much better and fitting for me instead, it's just having to go through that phase of disappointment till you get the replacement afterwards. Some times it's hard to enjoy all the blessings you have in your life when there's one thing you're missing the most, but I feel that's when we fail in life and succeed in making our own selves miserable.

I believe in a God many people around me have disregarded, I am no preacher when it comes to religion and I don't even consider myself as a religious person - I am hardly a practicing Muslim. BUT, I know that God does exist through many of the situations I have gotten in and out of, good or bad, I have felt his presence. I usually don't like to get into religious discourse, I feel like it's too personal of a subject and I also don't like to get into arguments over something so intangible that only you and your heart know of, so I'm always avoiding that.

And about being too hard on yourself, Don't be (with a capital D). I do feel like I'm the same 21 year old stuck in my *almost* 30 year old body, but only I can feel that, and I think that's how it is with many people, maybe even you! Maybe the idea of growing up is more like the experiences/tolerance/Idunnowhatyouwannacallit that you've accumulated along the years that sit beside your 21 year old self pretending like you've grownup to know more.

And don't feel obliged to unveil your anonymity, if that makes your more comfortable then so be it. I'm not going to pressure you or anything... But I would wonder if I ever drove by you and honked or cursed, or smiled... I guess that's the whole mystery about this thing.

It's always nice chatting with you, even in a little window called my post comments log.

Have a great one Mister A!

Anonymous said...

I think my attempts to make sense of the world have led me down slippery paths. I find myself sounding ungrateful, arrogant, and cold lately. There's no doubt I've had it better than most people, but it's not about what I have or don't. It seems I'm longing for something I myself can't define, and I'm growing to realize that I might've gone too far looking for it.

Please don't be apologetic about religion. Discuss it as you may; I'm all ears. One of our time's saddest facts is that discussing religion has become taboo and believing in God "uncool". I do share your faith. I just try to make readily-given answers more applicable in my daily decisions rather than either completely ignore them or follow them just because. Again, some argue that this goes against the whole idea of "faith", but I think there needs to be some sense to it, and there is. It's just taking me some time to fully and truly embrace it.

I like you're way of describing growing up as being 21 plus experience. I do like the idea that in essence we are ageless. Let's hope our best times are still ahead of us.

For the record, I don't drive. This doesn't exclude the possibility of me being obnoxious on the streets. But if we ever meet, I'll stick to my promise not to be creepy. Let's leave it to time to reveal what shall be revealed.

Thanks for letting me hang out around this little window. These meaningful conversations are hard to get these days.

Have a nice weekend.

Lama Khayyat said...

Questioning religion is necessary for people to understand what the faith they're following dictates and not just follow like cattle; if that was the case then falling out of belief is easy soon as one slips or goes through faith-testing experience. God differentiated us from animals by giving us a brain to put to good use and question our surroundings. I also believe in common sense, some things make sense and most of the time it is the most righteous thing to do.

I hate the fact that some people try to own a religion only because of the way they "think" represents it; either by the way they dress or talk. I especially am revolted by the long-bearded dishdash wearing men; I've personally had bad experience with a few, I have noticed that they're the most judgmental creatures, and many of them look down on women, and that makes me sick to my stomach. I believe that's because that's how they are; it reflects their superficial inner-self and misunderstanding of religion.

I'll tell you a story that happened to me and a friend once. We were heading back to our car after a musical concert, we passed described man above, he looked at us, spat in our direction and said "Astaghfer Allah"! I had rage in me inside I don't often feel (and I'm normally very patient) I felt like I wanted to break that man's face, to me is a bigot woman hating disrespectful pig, he shouldn't even be classified as a human because human means being humane and he had nothing to do with that. Did he judge me for wearing a skirt? YES. Did my laughing with my friend bother him? Absolutely. Does he know who I am? Where I come from? What my inner self reflects and what my thoughts/beliefs/rituals are? NO. Why? because he only judged me on my outer image and made up all those misconceptions and misjudgments. If something like that happened at the time of Prophet Mohammad and he witnessed it I know, no I'm sure that man would be punished.

Our Prophet Mohammad and his caliph Ali treated women equally to men and gave them rights only now women in the 21st century in the West are just starting to enjoy.

I'm getting very flustered only by just remembering this incident. ugh.

Anonymous said...

Many people mistake tolerance and openness for compromise.They think that to understand another is to relinquish one's principles. Not true. Understanding others simply means to look through their lens for a split second. No prejudice. No prejudgement. If this was done genuinely with a good intention, one would no longer be so comfortable sitting in the judge's seat. Again, we're not asking anyone to give up their views here.

Another overlooked point is that some people might lose the argument, even if they are right, just because of their ways. No one likes to be judged, let alone insulted, so the minute they are, nothing else said after that matters on both sides. Emotions kick in. The whole point is lost.

This guy has clearly gotten to you. I'm sure the same would've happened to me. Luckily, you and I can distinguish which parts represent religion and which don't, but I'm afraid not everybody can do the same. This is truly tragic. Still, we need to make sure we don't reciprocate the superficiality we're criticizing by having negative preconceptions about anyone with a certain look. I'm a big advocate of giving every person a chance. Whether they blow it or not afterwards is their problem.

My rationalization might seem like underestimating the problem. It's true I've never had such an experience - only heard about similar ones. In fact, I've even known quite pleasant people that looked like that guy. But let me say it loud and clear: What that guy did was TERRIBLE! Nothing justifies such behavior, especially religion. It's funny and sad how one minute of thinking could've resulted in a completely different outcome.

I'm sorry you've gone through this situation, but I hope talking about it will help you discharge the frustration.

sugih baimbai said...