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Ramadan

Today is the first time I am observing Ramadan from the beginning. It’s the first time i have ever wanted to go through this fast fully. Partly why is because I feel excessive in life (irrational, insane, too much) whether outside or to myself where i always feel that my love for physicality, touch, contact, food, happiness is always too much. But as it was explained to me by a friend better than it ever has been explained before…It’s not just about deprivation, he said, it’s about being conscious of every action that you partake in.

It’s a fasting from speaking ill of others and acting carelessly since everything you do is alerted and taken with a deep awareness. I know this is true because i am conscious of everything my hands touch and everything that comes in contact with them. I feel my body in both its willingness and fatigue.

And just as I am more insular and quiet I also find myself thinking about what other bodies around me are feeling. What my neighbors will have to do, eat or not eat, consider and plan out ahead of time…I feel like i’m looking at everything from the inside of myself and it’s a panoramic view onto the world.

I had a nightmare last night that I forgot it was Ramadan and began eating Moroccan soup with Amanda at a restaurant. When I realized I had forgotten the day, the hour, and the month I was so ashamed. Even in my dreams there is a constant watch of myself that I always remember and i don’t forget where i am and what i am choosing to do.

Last night I had a funny moment with Laila who was sitting with me in my house and wanted to impress upon me that i should eat something now even though it was almost 11pm. She leans in, looks around, and whispers so that no one can hear, “Ramadan ghadda…” (Ramadan is tomorrow) There was a pause and a burst of giggles as if maybe we shouldn’t tell the other to stuff themselves before the day. Laila, who won’t be fasting fully, doesn’t speak any French and only a few words in English so i said in darijja that it was alright because i was full anyhow, “ana shabana debba. makemushkil.” She didn’t think i really understood what i was saying so she pauses and with her eyes and hands she says, “Wait wait!” With her fingers, she goes down the line from 5pm at night, “hamsa”, “sita”, “saba”…until she gets on her fingers to 6 in the morning and says, “sita, saba…Good Morning. [shouts and waves her hands] NO FOOD!!” I am momentarily silent after her plunge towards me with wide eyes and empty hands waving to express the nothingness and shock i’ll be in tomorrow. i can’t help but to burst out laughing until both of us are almost on the floor.

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