Do you remember when it was Christmas time and whenever you left the house and went to a friend’s house or the mall or the grocery store or if you were just driving, you could feel the spirit in the air? As if everyone was in a great mood because it was the holiday season and everyone was celebrating. I use to feel that way about Eid. And I’m always excited for Eid. Except this time.
During Ramadan, I would dream about the days to come. The last ten and most holy days of Ramadan and then Eid after that. It was like that this time. I use to enjoy going to the mosque to pray more than I ever would all year. I looked forward to breaking my fasts with my friends because I knew the angels were praying for us because it was a holy gathering. I use to be excited to wake up early on Eid and get dressed up and celebrate and eat but unfortunately, it didn’t feel like it this time around. But it felt more like a chore rather than anything.
Yes, praying more than I am use to does take a toll on the body and usually I would power through it but this time it felt as though I was dragging myself through the motions. My heart wasn’t in it. I’m afraid what my Lord thinks about me after the past Ramadan. People always say that if you haven’t changed after the Holy Month, then it went to waste and was not beneficial. How does that not scare you?
I use to be excited to stay out all night for Mosque programs and Sehri at a restraunt but it felt like something a had to since I’ve always done each year. The moment my friends picked me up, I felt like going back home. Even sitting in the car, I wished I had never gotten out of bed. It was never like this before. I was never like this before. When we went for breakfast, I ate as fast as I could hoping it would end ASAP so that I could go home. What happened to me?
I would be excited to have iftaar with my friends. They would throw the cutest parties but I only went because it felt like I had to go. Like I was begin pressured from an unseen source that not going would be disrespectful. The voice inside my head would say,”You have to go Abeer. If you don’t go, they’ll never invite you to anything again. You have to go or you’ll lose all your friends.” I’m not a very social person to begin with so I don’t know why the voice bothered me so much. This isn’t me.
And most of all, I found Eid a chore. It seemed unnecessary to get up in the morning and get dressed and go to prayer and greet everyone after prayer. It all seemed so unnecesssary. I use to be so excited. I use to have hope for the year to come until the next Ramadan. As I left the mosque after Eid prayer this year, I felt lonely and all of the happiness at the mosque was just an act not just from me but from everyone. I didn’t feel the excitement in the air as I was driving home this time. Maybe because we were hosting Eid at our home this year and there was so much to do. But even when we had finished all the work and everyone began to come, I wasn’t excited, it was just a mask on my face. The smiles and laughs weren’t real and I don’t think anyone noticed which means I did something right.
But I did enjoy two parts of Eid.
Part One: Seeing my nieces and nephew. Having them in my arms and playing with them just makes me feel safe. Maybe cause they aren’t at that age where they understand anything. To them it’s all fun and games and just holiday. With them, I’m just their aunt playing, not a young girl at marriagable age hosting. You can see the hope and innocence in their eyes. I wish I still had it in mine.
Part Two: Dinner at my dad’s silent partner’s house. We go every year. It’s the same people every year. (less people this year though. Just family and us.) Same food every year. Same menu every year. Same dessert every year. Same conversations every year. Different clothes. Maybe I enjoyed it cause it was the only constant from this year. Because all Ramadan, I knew for a fact that I would be at his house for dinner.
This Ramadan, I lost my imagination of the possibilities ahead. I stopped dreaming because everything was suddenly reality. I lost patience this Ramadan and I certainly lost a little bit of my faith everyday. And the only time I ever felt secure and safe and normal was at that Eid dinner. I need to get back to who I was was. Everything is changing and I don’t like it. I’m not done dreaming.