Last year on the first day of Eid, I did something pretty drastic and rather unorthodox. While most people would usually decorate their Facebook timelines with “Eid Mubarak” greetings and all that jazz, I had posted this message status instead:
“Wanna have a peaceful Eid with me? Don’t ever start asking questions, joking, nor making nasty comments about my weight, thank you very much!”
I supposed it worked, because nobody bugged me anymore. Probably they read it and did not want to risk it.
On the same day, a friend texted me: “You’re not alone in this. I had received similar comments about my weight from relatives during Christmas, until my response about how all my boyfriends loved my body anyway shut them up. You know, people will always have something to say about us. As long as you’re confident and happy with the way you look, their opinions shouldn’t matter.”
True, I completely agree with her. Still, it is a lot easier said than done, though. You may keep quiet all you like, but there are people who seem to never know – nor even care – when to shut up. Whether it is about your weight, why you are still single, how many kids they think you should have once you are married, your low-salary job...the list just goes on. It is as if you will never be good enough for any of them. Suddenly, Eid celebration with your family feels more like going into an annual battlefield, their intrusive questions and judgmental comments like bullets you cannot seem to dodge.
But, you may argue:
- “They’re only making a conversation. Don’t be so overly sensitive.”
- “You only see them once a year anyway. Just bear with them.”
- “They care about you, so they want to know more about you.”
And I could easily dismiss those remarks:
- Of all the many existing topics on earth, why do they always have to go there? And please, enough with the superior attitude, minimizing others. Arrogance always feels most sickening when one refuses to validate the (hurt) feelings of others.
- Seriously, do they have to repeat the same old performance every freaking year?
- Sure, they do. Otherwise, they wouldn’t keep on poking into our personal business and pointing at each of our possible ‘flaw’ as if they’ve got none themselves.
Besides, what is so wrong and difficult with a plain, simple “How are you?” Let them tell their stories and please refrain from making negative comments and giving some know-it-all advice. (Believe me, people can tell the difference). When you ask them how they are, do you really want to listen or are you eager to find their faults at things?
Fortunately, many articles, memes, and jokes are informing people of this unacceptable behavior.
Eid Holiday is supposed to be filled with love, appreciation, and sense of gratitude of each other. How does one feel loved and accepted when meeting relatives makes you feel more like attending an appraisal interview to check up on your “accomplishments” and “what should be your next goal(s)”?
Let it go. Let them be. Life is too short to keep on criticizing each other, especially when all they want is to hang out with you without feeling like they have to keep up their appearances and all. Just pray for their well-being. That should not be so hard.
Thankfully, this year my Eid was full of kitchen duties (and I did it for Ma, mind you. Not because I am a woman and people think I should). Luckily, people have stopped asking.
Hopefully, your Eid had been peaceful too. Otherwise, you can start setting a better example on how to be a more pleasant participant for another Eid holiday next year.
Ruby Astari is an English teacher, freelance translator, and freelance writer. Her first novel "Reva's Tale" is already in stores. She enjoys being a sexy chub, hanging out with fellow writers, and wearing froggy shades in public!