I don’t know what my life holds for this time next Sunday. My D-Day. I will speak openly to my parents for the first time and tell them about what I am truly and how I wish to lead my life. I don’t know how they will react and I am afraid of the unknown. The anticipation of pain, loss and isolation is immense and crippling. But, the reality of facing the suffocation of lying and hiding is far worse. And there is a glimmer of hope that the unveiling will unburden me and foster courage.
Isn’t it so weird that my parents know only about, say 20%, of my character? All this time I have had to hide so much of myself, my views and my thoughts from my parents. Those who are closest to me truly know the littlest about me. My friends, colleagues, acquaintances, randomers – pretty much all know who I am, what I like, what I dislike, what I do for fun, what my interests are and who I chose to spend the rest of my life with. Such personal things about me are known and I am always flirting with the idea of “coming out”, which is why I’ve been straddling the blurred lines of being an “open” ExMuslim. And yet, my parents and some of my family, know so little about me. I even sometimes fantasise about an accidental unmasking and that my parents will somehow find out about me. Alas, such a fantasy did not come to fruition. Notwithstanding the fact that, I would rather tell my parents myself, than them find out from their community. Such confusion and contradictions. My mind is in chaos about this most of the time.
However what I do know is that enough is enough. I cannot go on like this any longer. The reason I have held back for so long is because a) I love my parents and don’t want to hurt them, b) I am afraid of losing them and the isolation and c) I am afraid of the ostracising that they may face due to my lack of faith. I think doing this for ten years is testament to the fact that my actions have ultimately come from a place of love and care for my parents. Ten years is a long time. I have to face the music now. Time is of the essence.
I wish to look at my reflection in the mirror and feel proud of standing up for myself. Because truly, what is so bad about me? That I’m an ExMuslim? What about the fact that I’m a good, kind and caring person? That I look after my parents when they are in need and spend time with them? That I have a great job and am an educated and independent woman? That I have found a great partner to love and share my life with? That I have great and fulfilling interests to keep myself busy and try to make the world a better place? Is that really so bad? No. I am a good person and I will no longer let my lack of belief is a misogynistic god make me perceive myself through a negative light. The validation which I so badly seek from my parents cannot stop me from moving forward. And, maybe, this is the change my sweet parents need? No doubt it will be hard at first, but surely they are deserving of the truth? And who knows, they might deal with it better than I anticipate.
Amazing how gaining financial independence and stability is much simpler than gaining emotional independence. The chaos in my mind is tiring. Maintaining a balance and keeping sane through this time is difficult. But I don’t think I’m doing such a bad job of it. I hope my coming out will inspire others in my position. We should not have to feel guilty for being ourselves.