Me.. and my complicated relationship with religion.
I’d like to start off by saying that I, of course, having nothing against Islam or other faiths. In fact, I think it’s beautiful. It’s something that many people feel they can dedicate themselves to entirely. It’s hope, love, salvation.. liberation. Maybe that’s where I went wrong. Personally, I have felt held back, unheard, marginalised, silenced. I know I am not the only one with this experience, but it is indeed unfortunate.
I have been on the sidelines for a while now, unsure where I fit. I am almost entirely sure that I don’t. The alternative paths I’ve been seeking out feel right.. they speak to me.
Ramadan, the holy month. The month where muslims fast thirty days, from sunrise to sunset. Or you know, don’t. I feel that this topic still receives very little coverage. It may not represent the larger population, but there are still groups within who can relate and will benefit from the awareness.
Previously, I have talked about my anorexia story. It was something I put off posting for the longest time. I recognised I was sick, yes, but I thought I wanted to be. Anorexia is probably the only illness that will make you think that way. It distorts your perception of everything. Warps you. An appropriate analogy would be to compare having anorexia to being seduced by a killer. There is the infatuation stage. Everything looks shiny and way too easy. Just cut down a bit. Get a step tracker. Is that water? if not, put it down. Then there’s the falling hard. You feel yourself getting sucked in. You might feel hopelessly infatuated. Trust me, you are. Then it’s late.. maybe too late. I think the denial stage lasted the longest for me. I had myself convinced that I needed anorexia when in reality, just like a toxic relationship with a dangerous individual, it needed me.
It’s almost impossible to miss the irony in having anorexia. An illness that requires you make yourself smaller and smaller for a happiness exchange. The only way to combat it is to eat. It’s cruel because many people, stuck in the deep dark clutches of anorexia, would choose death in a heartbeat. It is an obvious choice.. just not in the way you’d think.
One day I woke up and realised that I had not been given anything. It was a losing battle, right from the start. Did I really want to spend the rest of my life feeling like this? No, I may never look the way I desperately want to, but I’d be silly not to choose life.. and to do so right in this very moment. Why delay living any longer?
Last year was the first time I felt as if I’d made real progress in terms of healing from my eating disorder. This month, once Ramadan came around, I listened a bit closer. Wanted to pay attention to my inner dialogue. It was pitiful- “Look.. here’s an opportunity not to eat!”
I noticed this thought and chose instead to eat. I don’t want to feed my unhealthy behaviours or unnecessarily expose myself to triggers. My health always has to come first. I am happy to say that Islam recognises that there are reasons one may not always be able to observe the fast. The people in it, maybe not so much. A lot don’t consider my reasons valid. I’ve been told to fast anyway and even been ignored when I’ve explained my reasons for eating. The truth of the matter is that we should allow ourselves the freedom to do what we feel is best for our health.