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Justice for #AnaLama

The Importance of Zen

Though Buddha might tell you differently, Karim Rahman has had enough of waiting for his good vibes (read: straight-up lies) to manifest into a good life...

There's a Buddhist concept that goes something along the lines of "Act as if, and you will manifest." Basically, it's a belief that revolves around mind over matter; if you act as if you have a successful career, you will manifest it and eventually, end up with a successful career (kind of like The Secret, except shorter and less annoying). While, in theory, this sounds like an endearingly empowering concept, it’s practically the most astounding piece of bullshit I've ever heard in my life. But living in Cairo means your entire life is based upon this maxim; act as if you're happy, act as if you like that person, act as if you're enjoying the party. Hell, you even act as if you're actually going to the damn thing in the first place, when in fact, you're probably going to stay at home and cry.

While it may be a bit unfair of me to generalise (just because I have no life, doesn't mean nobody else does), pretending has become the Cairene's go-to superpower. Eventually though, you start wondering if everything you're doing is make-believe instead of an actual feeling that wasn't forced through means of alcohol and Zen mantras chanted repeatedly in your head. The whole process of pretending brings you down so much, you start losing sight of who/what truly makes you…you.

I'm a huge believer in the whole idea of living a lie: I wouldn't be cunt-y enough to go as far as saying that I pretend to be happy, but I spend the majority of my time making people think that I lead a more glamorous life than I actually do. It's an issue G and I have touched upon one too many times, and how it affects my life in more ways than I can even understand. I always gloss up wherever it is I'm going, or whatever it is I'm doing, by adding meaningless titles and pretentious prefixes that aren't really necessary but make a whole lot of difference. I never Instagram when I'm out, but when I do, I manage to make myself seem like some socialite diva, as opposed to someone who just occasionally happens to stumble upon the glitzy and glamorous part of the Cairo scene, mostly by accident. In fact, I even act as if I have a sex/love life, when in fact, all I have is a long list of people I sext, and a possible fear of intimacy. 

I never truly grasped the extent of my pretending and its impact, however, until last night. While having a conversation with potential-love-interest-but-probably-not no.7894, I was struck with just how deluded that person was about my life. In the span of an hour, I've was described as intimidating, successful, glamorous, gorgeous and other synonyms that imply my having of la dolce vita. While most of these things may not be true (except maybe the gorgeous part), let's act as if they were; let us, for just a minute, pretend that I am indeed all of the above superlatives… Then why do I feel like the most extra of extras, playing jobless, date-less hopeful no.310 in the very bad romantic comedy that is my life? The fact that I don't think these things about myself do not imply that I am humble (for I am rarely ever humble), but however point to the deeper problems I have with my own self-esteem and worth. How can I ever date someone and accept them with all they have to offer, if I can't even accept myself? How can I act as if I am all of the above descriptions, if I don't even think I have what it takes to merely pretendI am all of that? In fact, when does "acting as if" start becoming self-delusion?

Here's the thing: acting as if is great and all and, when needed, can provide one with a very powerful tool against the onslaught of bullshit one has to face on a daily basis from Cairenes and general life in city. But pretending only takes you as far you let it and, when practiced excessively, will only serve to take you down to the deepest depths of introspective thought and self-delusion. The more you pretend, the more you'll end up missing out on actual experiences that might make you actually happy. Screw you, Buddha. Pretending your relationship is great won't fix your problems, and pretending anyone would kill for a chance to date you certainly won't get you any dates. It's a step forward to feeling better about yourself, but then there's that pesky step of actually making things happen instead of letting the universe do all your dirty work (I'm ready to become the next Oprah now).

Or maybe, if you act as if you're not acting as if, then you'll manifest not acting as if? Ponder that while I go act as if I have a life.