My Ramadan Diary #1
I wanted to start off by talking about Ramadan, but the more I wrote about Ramadan as a whole, the more I realized I was trailing off into a educational read instead of an emotional one. I'd love to sit here and talk about what Ramadan is, but I'm assuming if your reading this, your already a bit knowledgeable, more than likely much more than myself.
If you don't know me, my name is Chelsey. I am an American Revert alhumdulillah. I will have been a Muslim four years this August inshAllah. Within my journey to Islam I have had the pleasure of inspiring women all over the world with my YouTube channel where I discuss being a mommy, and a convert. I've read hundreds of emails from converts like myself expressing their anxieties, their difficulties, tragedies. I'm also reminded of their strength, their love and determination for the deen... MashAllah. I hear women's inner most thoughts and emotions, as I try to lend a bit of comfort or even advice as a friend, a woman and fellow revert to Islam. I resignate with these women because we come from many of the same struggles, obstacles in life and in the deen. Being a revert in many ways is a blessing, but this blessing also comes with a lot of emotion, understanding and difficulties.
As a revert, I find myself eager to learn and grow. I'm constantly educating myself and becoming more self aware. I feel like a Muslim, I look like a Muslim, so why when Ramadan comes around, me and many other converts feel sad, lonely or even depressed? For 335 days of the year I am all powerful Muslim hijabi woman, but two days into Ramadan and I'm crying, feeling lonely and even a bit sad. After expressing a bit of my feelings on Snapchat (chelshijablove) I received text after text from other Muslim reverts telling me how they can relate to my emotion. Although the text helped me to feel as if I wasnt alone, it also made me feel as though our blessing comes with more struggles than many think.
Ramadan is about many things, but I think the one thing that many born Muslims enjoy that is difficult for reverts in the sense of family and community. For myself, I come from a Christian family and I do not have one Muslim family member besides my husband, and 16 month old son alhumdulillah. Despite being very active on social media, I don't actually have many friends, and hardly no Muslimah friends. So as born Muslims break their fast with their parents, close friends and family, me and many other reverts break our fast alone, spend all day alone, and even spend Eid alone. We miss out on the community, the excitement and love for tradition, festivities and sense of belonging. For many woman who are married like myself, we also struggle with giving our husbands a nice Ramadan experience. This can be a bit overwhelming as many Muslims have cultural attachments to Ramadan like food. Most of us are ignorant to all of this and start to feel detached from the true meaning of what Ramadan should be.
As reverts we have to pick ourselves up, put a smile on our face and learn to be strong. We must find community in ourselves with Allah swt. So if you are a revert, try to make a new friend this Ramadan. Focus on Quran, learn a new sura, make up your own traditions... (thanks to all my fellow converts this seemed to be a continuous recommendation.) We as converts need to find our place in Ramadan.
Amd to all my born Muslims, show some love to a convert this year. If you see a girl in Mosque that seems alone, give salaams. Step away from your "group" or friends and ask her to join. You wont understand how much that could change someones entire Ramadan.