The Struggle of the Holidays Continues
Every year, around the holidays, there are countless social media posts talking about the loneliness many feel during a time that's meant for celebration. This is an amazing step. Something that wasn't as readily available a few years ago. Now, we can find articles about holiday anxiety, loneliness, dieting, and so much more, but only for traditional Western Holidays. When it comes to the less known holidays for other religions, or cultures, there isn't much content about the challenges faced by individuals during the holiday season. Individuals with anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and any mental illness, or challenge, might be feeling left out at a time when everyone is supposed to be there for you.
For the past decade or so, Eid has not been easy for me. For me, Eid turned from a celebration to a day when there are far too many people, far too much touching, and food galore. All things that are incredibly triggering for me. Since I couldn't possibly explain why to every single person, I pulled away from the entire holiday. So much so, that for the past couple of years, I have spent the holiday entirely on my own, withdrawn from the Muslim Community.
Recently, my youngest sister asked me if I had bought Eid clothes? She was incredibly happy with her two new outfits, and wanted to see what I was excited for. I wasn't sure how to tell her that I no longer actually celebrate Eid. This year, I had almost no interaction with Muslims the entire month of Ramadan, and don't have a Muslim community to turn to to celebrate Eid.
Ramadan and Eid are far more than just social celebrations. The communal aspect is so large that you can't help feeling abandoned and alone when you're forgotten. You're forgotten between the crowds you might not be able to navigate, the hugs that might trigger, the new clothes that you might not be able to afford, the gifts that nobody gives you, the sweets that you might not be able to eat, and so much more that I'm missing. Millions of people feel like me. Millions of people feel marginalized during the holidays.
Initially I wanted to write about what you can do to ensure we all feel at home during tough holidays, but the more I think about it the more I want to focus more on sending love to everyone feeling out of place on the days that should be the most magical.
Here are ten things I hope to remember during the tough time:
- We're not alone because we're not enough, unworthy, or anything else. We are loved, surrounded by hundreds of people, or alone.
- We are taught that the best celebrations are shared with loved ones, and yet we can have the grandest of times basking in our light.
- Even if we never feel like a part of a community the only time we truly lose is when we lose ourselves.
- Celebrations come and go, remembering who we really are lasts forever.
- It's not about the people, the food, the clothes, or anything else, it's about you, do you, the little things, the big things, do you, and have the time of your life.
This Eid, remember you. Create your own celebrations, find the holidays in yourself, the world can't define us by the people in our lives if we don't let it.