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I converted to Islam 5 1/2 years ago at the age of 19, while studying Islamic World Studies at DePaul University in Chicago. I was the first person in the US to receive my undergrad in Islamic Studies. Ramadan has always been a challenge for me. My non-Muslim family thought I had an eating disorder. I had to fight with my parents about the mental, spiritual and emotional virtues associated with fasting while always trying to include some kind of a "its good for you, like a detox" spin on why it was physically healthy for me. I am addicted to coffee. I was addicted to cigarettes. The splitting headaches that you get when you are first fasting are debilitating. I have had to learn craniosacral massage techniques to get through the pain and caffine, nicotene withdrawls that accompany the fasting.

This year I start my first year of law school in fort lauderdale the same week Ramadan starts. I live alone, and will be starting and breaking my fast without the support of my Muslim friends who are all in Chicago, and without my non-Muslim family to eat with. I am hoping that although I will be doing this at the most intense, and important time of my life, and although I will be doing it all alone, like I never have before, I can make this Ramadan particularly special and show myself what kind of discipline I can have when I have no spiritual support around me.