By Tiffany Hoang, SPB Intern for AIA
Last Wednesday, I fasted for the first time in my life. Before the day began, I was a little bit nervous, but mostly excited for what the purpose of my day would be –to bring awareness to the violence in Oakland, build peace in solidarity with the youth at Life Academy, and to truly reflect on my I-statement, “To not have negative opinions about myself and value the person I really am: physically, mentally and emotionally.” Since I spent most of my day at Life, fasting wasn’t such a difficult task. Everyone pretty much knew what was up.
The first few hours of my fast went by pretty smoothly. I wasn’t hungry and the sight of food wasn’t as tempting as I thought it would be. It was the thought of not being able to eat for 24 hours that was a little bit scary. I was usually able to brush off the thought by reminding myself, “mind over matter.” The second part of my day was much more difficult. Between 3-6PM I was sitting in on an E-Team cross-site meeting, and they were serving sandwiches and juice. The smell of those sandwiches was so tempting! But whenever I noticed my desire for food, I took a sip of water. It definitely helped to be surrounded by so many strong youth leaders. They shared with me personal stories about their involvement with the Season of Peace-Building Campaign. Their stories became the food for my soul. These young adults reminded me that this was a cause greater than myself. It was a cause that surpassed my mental and physical boundaries.
The final part of my day was the most difficult. Returning home to my apartment, I felt my energy depleting. My head started to hurt, my stomach felt so empty, and I couldn’t think about anything but food! I went to bed really early that night. I had minimal energy to do homework, and since I didn’t have to take out the time to cook and eat dinner, I had almost 2 hours of my night to spare.
I took the time to publicize my fasting experience on Facebook and spread the word about the campaign. I remember going to bed that night, with this obnoxious headache, thinking –how did Gandhi do it? How did Cesar Chavez do it? I was barely able to make it through one day without food. Then I thought about the kids. About the youth who have fasted with such bravery and strength, and those who have fasted more than once –what courage and dedication they had. Then I really started to reflect on the Season of Peace- Building Campaign. I thought about the big picture, and the story that this fasting relay would one day tell. Then my mind started to imagine all the ways that I could continue contributing to the campaign. And from there, my alarming headache suppressed as I dozed off into the night. In the morning, the headache was gone, and the thought of food re-surfaced. I couldn’t wait to break my fast.
When the time came, I realized how much I take food for granted, and how thankful I am that I have the ability and means to eat whenever I am hungry. Fasting has been one of the most intense and challenging experiences I have ever had, but I’m glad that I went through with it.
Please comment on this post if you supported today’s faster or fasted in solidarity with our movement.
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