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Hi I'm Shazie, a mindset + self-love coach ♥ I'm a West Coast-turned-East Coast girl, so naturally I'm conflicted between Dunkin vs Starbs. Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you stick around♥
5 Tips on Setting Boundaries (& Why It's Important!)
Today was my first Eid away from home. I vividly remember as this holiday was getting nearer, I felt myself feeling more distant or disconnected, so to speak. I could not believe I was actually going to be away from home. I wasn’t even in Boston where some of my friends were. My body started shutting down. I was sneezing all day, nose dripping, all that gross stuff in addition to having to make it to work every single day. I even googled flights back home disregarding the fact that I was just home a few weeks ago.
I was in NYC — city full of people, yet I felt alone. Last weekend, I remember crying on the steps of Penn Station because that was the pivotal point where I truly felt solitude. I had missed my mother and sister so much that day, my phone had died, and so did my portable charger. It was a mess — almost to a point where I did not want Eid to come because I did not want to know what a holiday, that is meant to be celebrated in groups, would feel like… alone.
Amid all the sulking, I reached out to my friends over in NJ, CA, MA. I basically sent out an SOS seeking for advice on how to celebrate Eid in a way where I would not feel so lonely. If it weren’t for their words of advice, I probably would not have mastered up the courage to LOOK for Eid events here in NYC. I had forgotten that NYC is home to a large Muslim population. How could I have overlooked that when on every street corner, there were halal food vendors? Or the fact that the city of New York recognizes Eid-al-Fitr as an actual holiday?
Although I was unable to attend the last iftar held at the Islamic Center at NYU, I made a mental note to attend Eid prayers this morning held at Washington Square Park. I had gone on YouTube the night before watching a “how-to” video on how to properly pin a headscarf (I used a bobby pin, shrugs). I started taking baby steps in fully acknowledging that while I was going to be away from family, it does not mean distance had to play a role in the way I celebrated this joyous occasion.
I was still loved and treasured. After all, distance is only a physical measure.
When I showed up this morning to Eid prayers, I was in awe. First of, it was probably my second or third time EVER at Eid prayer. I know I have some work to do in that department, but idk, for the first time, I went because I truly wanted to… because it was a core part of my identity I never truly allowed myself to explore independently. I have always lived within a perspective framed by my family that for the first time, I get to make choices on my faith and really embed myself in this holiday.
I showed up not knowing anyone, yet I felt at home. Idk, maybe I’m biased. NYC has always been one of my favorite cities, and NYU was always a huge contender in my potential grad schools. While I do not have any regrets, NYU will always be a university to me that resonates with me most. It is far more than an institution. At NYU, I feel connected and I feel purposeful.
As I sat down for prayers, I felt my first fall of tears. Weird, I know, but in a sense – it was an emotional downpour of being away from my family yet actually feeling more connected to them. In that moment, I felt peace and I felt whole. I guess that’s what faith does? In addition to faith, I felt a strong sense of community. Literally everyone was from different walks of life. I had someone next to me named Leena from Saudi Arabia whose father and brother came to visit her this Eid as it was her first Eid away from home. Or what about Hamida from Ghana who was also away from her family for the first time?
(Right after Eid Prayer; check out those colors behind me!)
And then it hit me. While we are in a sea full of people, there is always going to be someone out there alone, away from home, with no one physically next to them. Being away has taught me to be more cognizant and to reach out to my neighbor and simply be there for them. I came this morning alone and was not expecting to feel all the vibes the way I did today. I was surprised to have felt more at home here in NYC than anywhere else. In a way, it almost reminded me of Singapore — my actual home.
Right after Eid prayer, we were led to Eid Brunch held at NYU Gould Plaza right by Stern School of Business. It was a beautiful sight. I have no words to be honest. People were generous with their smiles, their desserts, their positive energy. There is something to be said about sharing meals with people you don’t know but somehow still feel like family.
Hamida, the person whom I had met this morning, also thanked me repeatedly for really dragging her out to brunch because at first, she had plans on celebrating Eid at home by herself. And I’m glad the little extroverted side of me came out to play today. We all know I have a habit of going places alone. It is almost addicting.
While holidays often connote a positive atmosphere, they can be a daunting time for some, especially for those alone. So while you’re with your friends and family, reach out to those who are going through a difficult time. Ensure that they have everything they need. Welcome them with open arms… because it was in this moment where I learned that Eid isn’t about the fancy outfits. It is truly about cultivating a sense of community and togetherness — even amongst people whom you do not know.
Because that was what I experienced. I was welcomed into a community where they didn’t even have to know me. It didn’t matter where you were from or where you were going.
Today was a beautiful day, for I am reminded of this part of my identity I am hardly ever vocal about. I am reminded that I am loved and treasured — thanks to my mom and sis for ordering me food from the other side of the country to ensure I felt some festivities. And major thanks to the Islamic Center of NYU and Imam Khalid Latif for fostering one of the most heartfelt experiences I have ever felt.
Today, I celebrated Eid… and I was not alone.
Eid Mubarak, my loves!
Check out my mom, sis, and nephew down below 🙂
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