Siblings can often be your very best friends or your worst enemies. Today I learnt that my eldest sister, whom I looked up to, hurt me in a way I just cannot forgive.
I’ve always felt emotionally attached to my big sister. Even though we are 9 years apart, we’ve always had a connection and a good bond. At least that’s how I felt. Even though we’ve had our differences, I’ve felt able to just call her and tell her how I felt. I knew she would always react quite shockingly (as her natural reaction), but then once would subside she would be a caring and supportive sister. Over a year ago, I felt this pull and one evening at her home I told her about my Ex-Muslim status. She was quite saddened and shocked, and frankly baffled. She kept on questioning how I could not believe at all and that this was so alien to her. She told me how she felt this would break apart our family and that did I not care about the afterlife? I insisted that I had made up my mind after a long, and painful, thought process. That I had left Islam a long time ago but I couldn’t muster the courage to tell anyone properly and totally openly. That night we discussed religion, my life choices, my life aspirations and how we could find a way to coexist. I was tearful as I explained my life’s dilemmas to her. I asked her: “How comes you all (my siblings) are allowed to move ahead with your life with the blessing of my parents? How comes you are allowed to have a partner, a house, beautiful children? Am I not human and do I not desire these? Of course I do. I want the same as you – very basic wants in life. Yet, I feel suffocated and told to hide away. How can I do all this and still retain our parents and family in my life?” She responded by twiddling her thumbs restlessly and with a look of despair. She said she didn’t know how to answer me. That she wanted me to be happy, but, she couldn’t condone me hurting my parents by telling them I was no longer a Muslim. So on, and so forth. In a nutshell, she said she felt my pain, but I guess I couldn’t be afforded the same privileges as her.
The conversation ended there and tearfully I went to bed. She sent me a text that night. She told me she loved me dearly and that no matter what she’ll be by my side and will love me because I am her little sister. Upon reading this, I was filled with joy. I felt so deeply touched that my older sister would stand by me. She may not get it, but she knew I deserved to live and be happy. She requested that I tell her the day I plan to tell my parents so that she may be present and lend support to me and my parents to deal with the news.
Fast forward to 18 months my sister revealed to me another side. A week ago I contacted my sister to inform her of my decision to finally confront my parents about everything and be honest. When she heard this news she instantly became very defensive and tried to persuade me to rethink my decision to avoid hurting my parents. I very clearly explained to her that I loved my parents dearly and that I was not doing this to hurt them. Rather I was doing this because I feel no shame about who I am and I feel no need to hide any more. I wished to display the truthfulness and honesty that our parents taught us. I wished to give them the truth because they deserved to know their real daughter. My sister seemed annoyed and said she would talk to me about it soon. I left it at assuming that as usual my sister does take time to adjust.
Two days ago my sister sent me a message informing me that her and my Islamist sister would like to sit me down and have a discussion as they wanted to stop me from hurting my mother (who had long term illness). Now to someone unfamiliar with my family would think this sounds fairly normal. But no, to me it does not. My sister clearly knows why I am doing what I am doing, and I only told her about the “big reveal” because she asked and I responded respectively. But it seems now she is hell bent on sabotaging this for me. Her and my other sister are camped at my parents awaiting my visit so that they can “protect” my parents from me. Not only this, but she has also told other family members about me and is spreading rumours.
It is so sad and disgusting. How dare my sisters feel they can obstruct me from visiting my parents? They threatened to even call my eldest brother who they feel will block me from visiting my parents! The very sister who promised to support me is now the one sabotaging me. It hurts. Her betrayal will be with me forever.
Nonetheless, I will not give up. If anything, this has made me more eager and stronger. My courage will not falter. And I will remember, happily, that out of my four siblings, at least I have one brother who is my greatest support. I will hold on to those who are honest, truthful and trustworthy.
I am done living in the past by letting the things that happened to me to dictate my life. I am done living in the future by being anxious and frightened about all that may happen. No more. I am living in the present and dealing with life, head on.