Selfish or Self-less?

I have been so touched with the amount of wonderful and supportive messages on my journey from strangers around the globe – thank you! I am also so pleased to know that some ExMuslims found it inspirational and I can only hope that reading my experience makes them feel capable of also coming out one day.

I have also, unfortunately, been accused by strangers of tormenting my parents, being selfish person, etc. That hurt. Especially because some people feel reading one blog post gives them an accurate and whole insight into my life. Well, that is far far from the entire truth.

I know I don’t have to justify myself to anyone, but, being accused of being an awful daughter really does hurt me. I feel I should clarify some things so that it is out there in the open. I think people often forget that the coming out process does not occur in one single day, but rather it is a build up of many days and many experiences. It is not black and white, and indeed very grey and yet colourful.

If people knew more about me and my experiences with religion, they would know that I was extremely religious as a young person. I have been radicalised and I have brought myself out of that mindset. I have had a long journey of ten years. The transition from extreme religiosity to secularism and apostasy, has required me to wean my parents off the idea of what their daughter used to be, and what she is today. Yet in the great hope to remind them of the truth – that I am still the same loving daughter they always knew. My thoughts and values may have changed, but foundationally I am the same person. So, no, my parents have not been told this out of the blue. Rather, despite them being accustomed to my changes, the declaration of apostasy is still so potent. Therefore, my parents reaction.

To many I have been horrible to my parents. To them I say, no. I am not in the business of infantalising my parents and I want to give them the respect they deserve. I truly believe that while my parents are currently disappointed, in time they will overcome this because they are wonderfully resilient people who have overcome many trials and tribulations in their lives. So no, I am not as fatalistic as some. Of course, my parents have the right to be upset with me. But, I also have the right as their daughter to remind them of their love. I strongly believe that love can outshine the treachery of a zealous god. Call me naive, but I have a lifetime to wait and see what happens.

Ultimately, my point of sharing my experience, was to highlight the nuances of coming out to parents. We are humans and we feel sorrow and pain like any other. We are trying to navigate our social world with the tools we are given. We are tired of daily performances to keep up appearances. We are trying to make our lives better and be more honest to our loved ones. We want to coexist.

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2 thoughts on “Selfish or Self-less?

  1. abelabelson says:

    Great article. I agree completely.

    A few thoughts on parents’ “right to be upset”. Yes, they have the right to be upset over you leaving a (their) religion. But you also have the right to see things for what they are, and be extremely disappointed in them over their blatant display of lack of true love. That is a bold statement, but it is true.

    If they are upset now, just because you grew out of something, it’s because they “loved” an image of you, a projection of their own minds and desires, which included the characteristic of “being a muslim”. Now that YOU start to differ from that projection, they keep on loving the projection, instead of you. That is not love. True love is unconditional. If they will be able to truly meet you, truly love you one day, time will tell. I hope so, for you, and them. But it’s not certain it will ever happen. Anyway, life goes on, and love can be found everywhere – provided you look in the right place 🙂

    Thank you for writing and publishing this article!

    Like

  2. madhat2014 says:

    I have loved reading your story.

    I am a Christian woman who is married to an atheist. Our children have had the freedom to choose their own path.

    I totally agree with you that we should be able to coexist. The important part is to equip and empower our children to make their own decisions … and to learn to be at peace with whatever they choose.
    Humanism is the best way forward – to respect the humanity in each of us, regardless of religious affiliation (or none)

    I wish you peace and courage on your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

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