Every day I wake up with a knot in my stomach. I feel anxious and worried. I feel awkward from the weird and obnoxious (yet similar) dreams I saw that night. I feel fearful of my future. After a cup of tea, a check through my emails and a little benign banter with my colleagues, I start to feel a little normal again. The usual trawling through Facebook and Twitter posts keeps me entertained for a bit. A little bit of normality returning to my otherwise disjointed existence. Soon after work, meetings and deadlines takeover. Having to challenge, persuade and convince people for a living makes me feel like perhaps I can do this. I can win at work, so I can win at life as well! Including with my family…! In my ambition to keep myself fully busy and distracted, after work I either go home to my loving partner or meet some friends for company. Seems pleasant, bitter-sweet conversations fill the evening until night time beckons.

Night time. Once a pleasant time of the day, now became a time to avoid. I long to keep the evening going forever. Chit chat and laughter with my partner, watching silly TV shows, ranting on Twitter. I try to keep such happy and comforting moments going on for as long as possible. You see, I’m afraid. I’m afraid to sleep. I’m afraid of what tomorrow will bring. I’m afraid that my mother will die from the grief she feels because of her inability to accept my choices. I feel fear and guilt. I fear that I’ll see a horrible nightmare again. What will it be this time? People dying? Me being unable to escape a maze? My partner cheating on me? My partner and family laughing at me? Being naked and exposed while people laugh at me? Oh it’s endless. Feels totally dramatic and stupid – but – these are all true dreams (or more like nightmares) of the past few weeks. What I struggle suppress and avoid all day, comes to haunt me at night. I have no escape and my unconscious mind takes over and likes to taunt me.

Come Friday, some sanity returns. It’s the weekend, I can rest. I am eagerly awaiting the moment I can just put my feet up and think about nothing. This lasts for a day or so. But, such happiness is temporary. Shortly afterwards on Sunday, I am bitterly upset about having this time to myself. Horrible thoughts and painful experiences with my family come back like a ton of bricks. Even when I want to rest, I seem incapable of it. This leaves me with the burning desire to connect with them. I hesitantly pick up the phone and brace myself for the call. I want to hear their voices – I miss my mum and dad. They answer and all I hear is love with disappointment.

My father has become a broken man. My mother repeats all the time. She doesn’t get it. They don’t get it. Am I being impatient and wanting their acceptance so quickly? Maybe. But, the alternative of waiting around and giving time is most definitely not easy. The phone conversation with my mother is so sad. It’s so hopeless and yet like a ritual I fall into it. We want to embrace the drama and feel the anguish. I grew up in it, it’s no surprise I still seek it out.

It’s been 5 weeks now, but it feels like a very long time to me. Crying over stupid shit just isn’t so great. And the more they try to convince me of their God, the more I hate the idea of any God or religion. Such a terribly futile cycle. The years of indoctrination of religion and a culture influenced by such a religion, leaves me a miserable and guilt-ridden wreck. I feel ashamed of things I shouldn’t. I feel as though I have let down my family. But I know I’m right and I did the right thing. But then, why am I still the one going through this pain? Facing rejection and emotional blackmail because I chose to think for myself? I know I’m right; I’m introspective enough. Yet, the years of my conditioning as a Muslim woman, has left me like this. Social stigma and becoming a social pariah are such horrible punishments passed on women like me. My crime? Leaving Islam and choosing a non-Muslim partner. And yet, it hurts. Yet, I cry. I miss my family. The only family who will know my childhood.

I guess I will do this until one day I don’t. Until that time, this is my life.


3 thoughts on “Repetitions

  1. alanflynn says:

    In terms of understanding your parents’ mindset now, I think it should be borne in mind that the apostasy of one person can act as a challenge to the faith of others. We all look for confirmation of our worldview to those around us. Psychology experiments have shown that people will opt to follow a majority – especially a unanimous – viewpoint which is at odds with their own clear perception. You are possessed with a powerful independence of mind that enabled you to override the unanimity of faith within your family and community to firstly perceive and later proclaim the falsehood of Islam. You have said the unthinkable and now your parents are confronted with something that was hitherto beyond their perception, beyond their imagining.

    Up until now, Jahannam in your mother’s eyes, was a fate that only befell ‘other people’, the kuffar, no one close to her – least of all her children. Now she is staring directly at the horror of her beloved child suffering unimaginable torments on the express orders of Allah – the one to whom she has always and must always prostrate herself five times daily in complete submission.

    As a mischievous aside, in terms of how Allah will fulfil both your own rightful punishment and your mother’s rightful reward, my best guess is that He will create a virtual you who will forever reside alongside your mother in her bliss of Jannah, whilst the real you – of whom your mother is blissfully ignorant – has her skin perpetually burnt and regenerated in the fire seventy times hotter than that of earth in Jahannam. You may or may not choose to share this hypothesis with her.

    You say that your father is a broken man. Is he perhaps at sea, lost between two appalling alternatives – the horror of his continued faith which entails his daughter is doomed to Jahannam, or the horror of a nascent uncertainty or even antagonism toward his own faith?

    Whole societies, whole countries impose this set of silly beliefs on their populations on pain of death because if even one person challenges the very basis of it all, the entire edifice is threatened.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. abelabelson says:

    I just wanted to say this: I think most of us, at some time or another once passed adolescence, have to cope with the fact that our parents simply don’t love us like we/they think/thought they do/did. This is true for most people I know. Parents first and foremost have a lot of personal (one might even say egotistic) plans and projects in which their children play a big role (in your case: the happy full-muslim family, which needs your compliance to work out), a lot of anxieties, and beneath all that, who knows, there may or may not be something worthy of the name “love”. It seems utterly dramatic at the time of discovery, but actually it isn’t. It’s a big world and you’re an adult now, you don’t really need them, not at all as much as you think you do. What you need is love, like we all do, but if it turns out they can’t pass the test and give that to you in a more or less unconditional way, well, so be it, big world, life goes on. You’ll find it elsewhere, as soon as you start looking more and more in the right places, with the right people.
    This is a crisis moment in your family, and lots of truths are coming up. If you don’t want to face them consciously, they’ll come up unconsciously. The truth about your relationship with your parents is in the spotlight now, acerbated (but not changed) by some choices of yours. You are guilty of nothing. Neither are they actually. They are probably simply incapable of making this voyage with you. Maybe you should just accept that incapability, and let it be. My parents don’t understand me either and never will. That’s a truth. Whether I like it or not, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a truth. What’s important, is to get loose of totally unrealistic expectations: expecting something of people of which they are incapable. Then you can start looking for what you need in places where it is to be found. If your parents and family truly love you, they will be happy to see you realized and happy, your way.

    Thank you for sharing your voyage in this blog 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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