free stats Carmen's Web: Ramadan 26
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Ramadan 26
I've been spoiled the past couple of years, Ramadan hitting us during the winter months when the sun set at the wonderfully decent time of 5pm (4 for my brother up in Maine). Ramadaning in winter is always a treat. It's too cold to get too dehydrated and it's just a matter of trekking through the afternoon hours before reward hits you. Even teaching didn't seem that tough last year. Sure I spent the whole day talking (drying up my mouth in the process), but I survived.

But now the sun is choosing to set at 7pm. And I know that's not horrible. I mean, my parents, when they first moved to Germany, fasted till nearly 11pm one Ramadan. So I know 7pm is cupcakes. But it's still no fun.

Ramadan is going to be different and difficult for me this year for many reasons. For starters, I eat when I'm stressed. Comfort food allows me to focus on something other than my problems. You know how people drink away their problems? Well, I don't drink so I needed to find another vice. And let's just say I've gained about fifteen pounds over the summer.

I don't just eat. I binge. My father once caught me doing this. He was shocked by the amount of food on my plate one evening. He was thrown over the edge when, after polishing a plate that would have fed at least three people, I went for seconds.

I feel disgusted with myself after I eat like this. Physically and emotionally disgusted. I get so full that I can't even breathe. Emotionally I'm grossed out at my inability to abstain from making myself feel like this. But when I eat, I'm not thinking about my family problems. I'm not worried about future. And so although I feel disgusted, it at least takes my mind off my bigger issues.

I'm hoping Ramadan this year helps me nip this addiction in the bud. Sure there'll be chances to binge at night, but I'm hoping to keep myself occupied enough to keep me from doing this.

My binging isn't the only reason Ramadan will be different for me this year. This will be my 26th year fasting. I've been fasting religiously since I was five. Never once cheated, never swallowed water by "accident", never took a day off when I was sick. This will, however, be the first year I fast as a doubter.

I've become disenchanted with religion. All religions. Religion makes people judgmental and cruel. Instead of bringing people together, it tears them apart. Mine is better than yours, mine is truer than yours. If you don't follow my way then I can't know you. This is what religion does. It makes one self-righteous. It makes people fight over stupid ideologies.

And yes, I know I'm brining my own baggage into this. My mother still doesn't want to talk to me because she thinks I'm a heretic and my aunt has joined the bandwagon. Auntie continues to bully me into believing in her way. It is religion that is making them do this and it disgusts me.

I'm a doubter. I don't doubt that there's a Creator. I'd like to think that there's something out there, but I firmly believe that no one has gotten "it" right. And in the process of insisting that there is only one truth, we all lose out.

I'm not sure how this is going to affect my Ramadan at all. In all honesty I don't think it'll have much of an effect. I never fasted just because I thought it was religiously required. I did do it to please God, but I also did it because it made me a better person. It showed me that I COULD discipline myself if I wanted to. It forced me to refocus my life, if even just for a month. It slowed me down and I liked it. Still like it. I look forward to Ramadan with much fervor and although being without food or water makes me cranky and irritable, it's also uplifting and centering.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 9:29 PM
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Who: Carmen

xx-something egyptia-yorker who's spent over half her life stuck in two worlds not of her own making. unable and unwilling to fully embrace one identity over the other, she created (is trying to create) her own place in the world where people love each other unconditionally, irrespective of artificial boundaries, and where dancing merengue is as necessary to life as breathing air.

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