The Seven Most Important Things I’ve Learned From Celebrating Ramadan
Written By: Meredith Snipes
Every year around this time, for about one month, Muslims celebrate “Ramadan.” For all you uncultured commoners out there, that means a month of fasting- no food, no water, no ANYTHING from about 3:00 am to 7:45 pm. The purpose of this month is to “rid man of any bad habits he may have accumulated throughout the year” (I only know because I just Googled it). Many also use it as a time to demonstrate their love for Allah through their sacrifice. I decided to support my Muslim boyfriend this year and try it.
My intent is nothing quite so religious, just something to show my boyfriend that I support him in his religious beliefs. Also, I just thought it would be neat to challenge myself and see if I could actually do it. I do cheat a little though- I drink water and coffee, and once in a while I’ll have a soda. Mostly though, I’ve been successful in my first fasting attempt. Ramadan is now halfway completed, and so far, I’ve learned seven extremely important things:
- The old adage “you want what you can’t have” may not be true for all things, but it’s DEFINITELY true for food. I think about food constantly. When I’m not busy completing a work assignment or some personal task, food is on my mind. I research restaurants, look up pictures of food, think of what I’m going to eat for my next meal, and simply daydream about the moment when food and I will be reunited again. On one occasion, I was speaking to my sister via iMessage, and she told me she was about to order Panera. I was so hungry at that point that I asked her to tell me what she was going to order and to describe it, so that I could pretend I was eating it too. Recently, one of my co-workers went out for dumplings and when she got back I MADE HER LET ME SMELL HER FINGERS. That is not a joke.
- When you’re hungry, everyone else is eating. I smell food constantly. Everyone is cooking all the time. Everywhere I walk, someone is eating something. My mouth is a constant waterfall that I can’t control. Even when I see someone eating something I don’t particularly like, I think to myself, “Oh my god I’m so hungry that I will literally rip that out of your hands… now give it to me!”
- I become a disgusting person when I’m starving. It’s even gotten so bad that I went on someoneatethis.tumblr.com (if you’ve never gone to this website, please do). I was looking through all the pictures thinking to myself, “Yeah, I would totally eat that right now.” EW.
- (Some) Muslims are cheaters. The purpose of fasting for the entire day is to feel the pain, right? Yeah, well a lot of the Muslims that I’ve met just trick the system. They end up sleeping all day and staying up all night eating. What’s the point of that?? My boyfriend, who is a teacher, at least feels the pain a little. He has a day job so he can’t quite reverse his schedule entirely, but he does take 3-6 hour naps at work. If he’s not teaching, he’s sleeping on the floor of his classroom. He’s even fallen asleep while teaching. And here I am, staying awake all day, fired up on four cups of coffee and making food collages.
- Another adage, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” has also proven to be true. I miss pooping. With my measly one meal per day, the BMs just ain’t like they used to be. And dats da troof.
- Food is not only important for your body, but also for your social life. I used to have a great time going out to lunch with my co-workers and, on my days off, my friends. Now, I have to skip out on those lunches for fear I will grab the food from their plates with my hands, Helen Keller style (that’s messed up, yo). These days, I consume most of my meals alone, on my bed, like my stinky freshman year roommate. I’ve become some kind of hermit, and it’s not fun.And yes, there are crumbs in my bed and yes, I did find a cockroach there once.
- Most importantly, I’ve learned that I actually do have self-control. I don’t have self-control for most things in my life. If I’m hungry, I eat, no matter what time it is, where I am, or whose food I’m eating. If I want to shop, I buy anything and everything, whether or not I actually need it or even like it. If I find a good show to watch, I’ll marathon watch it until my eyes bleed. But now, knowing that I can’t eat until the clock strikes 7:45 pm (give or take a few minutes), I don’t even touch food.I think about it, dream about it, smell it, and even cry over it, but I will not eat it.
Now, let’s just see if I can last two more weeks. If you need me, I’ll be in my room, with the lights off, sniffing the crumbs on the floor.
Us happy people gotta stick together.
I depend heavily on my family and my friends who I ask to send anything on happiness, motivation, “making it” and how they find it all in the name of life and being able to live it. I am very grateful to them for their participation. If you’d like to do so please…drop me a line.