March 2020 I took a vacation to Senegal to think. I know right, it sounds so simple. But after a trying year and a year of struggle, that was exactly what I needed. 

But knowing exactly who I am, it wasn’t a vacation. It was more like a workcation. But on beautiful evenings as the sunset, it gave me the chance to think about what was important to me. 

After a challenging year in my job, all I needed was time to just have a cleanse and start over. So, this year I decided to do Ramadan with a very good friend of mine from Senegal along with my homegirl Syra. As a Catholic, it might sound mad to be doing something different to what I am used to but I wanted to try and learn something different. So, I did. 

Ramadan – the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The date changes every year, this is because Islam uses a calendar based on the cycles of the Moon. Muslims observe the month of Ramadan, to mark that Allah/ God. During Ramadan, Muslims fast, abstain from pleasures and pray to become closer to God. It is also a time for families to gather and celebrate.

This year,  Ramadan began on Thursday 23 April and ended today Saturday 23 May. After a whole month of learning and doing something different, it has been eye-opening. Over the last thirty days, I have prayed every single morning without fail, fasted every day, exercised twice a day every single day and most importantly, I have spent every single day learning about myself, being grateful for everything, praying for people I don’t even like and asking God for forgiveness in all my wrongs and asking for him to guide me to be better each day. 

A revealing month for me, where I have learnt that I am stronger than I ever thought I was. So many times I have felt so weak in so many situations that at times, I felt disappointed in myself. Fighting myself for most things I don’t achieve and feeling sadness for situations I felt I had no control over. 

This Ramadan has taught me so much more than I bargained for. Even, simple things as giving up sugar, intimacy, and eating better when breaking my fast has been an eye-opener for me. 

I am ending this Ramadan grateful for the opportunity to be part of something that was bigger than me but something that taught me so much more. I am stronger, a survivor, a daily warrior that has come along way, but most importantly learning to forgive myself for things I have been through. 

I am more at peace now than I was going into this. I am truly grateful. Happy Eid Mubarak