This is officially a landmark. I’ve now passed the 4th anniversary of my irtidad. Yes, it is now over 4 years since I left Islam!
Allahu la akbar! (Allah is not greatest)
It’s been an extremely eventful four years, especially this past one. So many things I’ve learned, and am still learning, about myself and life. Now that I’ve seen some of the effects of apostatising from Islam or any religion on the lives of other murtadduwn, I hope among my readers there are some who can gain inspiration, consolation, etc. from this post:
- Sometimes I feel Islam has had very little impact on my life, other times it feels like my life has never been anything but the diyn (religion). This is probably normal, and maybe even part of my brain’s autopilot-healing mode. The old crap is being drudged back up to consciousness and processed out one day at a time, one incident at a time, one teaching at a time. I used to want it all gone all in one go otherwise it’ll still be there to fuck up my destiny, now I accept that it’ll take its own pace (which thankfully is a lot faster than I would’ve imagined). I’m learning to forgive myself for it; I was muslim for almost a quarter of a century, which includes all of my most impressionable years. New and better ways of being will solidify themselves in me in good time. Know that.
- Being raised in England has left its own psychic scars, regardless of Islam. As a ‘white’-majority, capitalist, generally unenergetic, pessimism-addicted, alcoholic (but that’s changing!), increasingly technocratic country (not to mention showing the signs of a civilisation nearing its end) it’s not the best at fostering mental health. That’s why loneliness and depression are on the rise, and mental health and domestic violence are being talked about a lot more than even 5 years ago. People are noticing a change, and finally realising the government will do fuck-all to help us. We are the change we seek.
- I’m a LOT more sensitive than I ever knew or would’ve liked to admit. Growing up I saw sensitivity as bad, not because it’s “unmasculine” but because it’s weakening and pointless. It gets you nowhere. It doesn’t empower you. My ex-gf, however, made me understand that sensitivity is not the same as vulnerability or weakness. It means awareness: of what’s good for your body & what’s not, of what your body and mind need & what they don’t, of other people. Since then I’ve decided to take her lessons to heart, and I feel like I’m constantly becoming a better man because of it.
- As a result of that, I’ve learned I do possess a certain Artisan trait: the ability to detect the moods of other people. Even walking through busy streets in London I may pick up people’s annoyance/ boredom/ whatever. Now the phrase “it’s in the air” means something! To most people it seems obvious that you can detect others’ feelings, but as there’s still no scientific explanation I never believed it. But science, as good as it is, can’t know everything – at least not Western reductionist, imperialist & anti-spiritual science.
- The root cause of my lack of self-love is mistrust. Ever since I had the vision of self-hate being a blanket of barbed wire around my brain 8 months ago my brain switched to a subconscious auto-healing mode, and the current stage of healing finally made me understand this. I never trusted myself, I take a bloody long time to trust others no matter how long I’ve gotten on with them, instincts & gut feelings always had to be doubted to ensure validity, and I hated the expression “go with the flow”. And it’s also the reason I don’t like showing my face online (though I have very sporadically done so). As a baby I never received the attention I needed, and now I know I was emotionally neglected and depressed. Yes childhood depression exists, I had almost all the symptoms. As a result I sincerely believed that no-one gave a shit about me, no-one will miss me when I’m gone (missing or dead), and no-one cares about what I cared about so no-one cared about what I had to say about anything so there was no point talking a lot – even though I had a lot to say. Not to mention that I’ve still never seen in real life a healthy functional relationship, and as a firstborn I’m more prone to perfectionism and greater sense of responsibility. No wonder my primary attachment style was dismissive-avoidant.
I used to believe I come from a cursed family – now I know I do, but not in the way I thought. This “curse” is a ragtag amalgamation of incompatible viewpoints and lifestyles and enough emotional scars to make a movie longer than the Naruto series, which is not my fault and no longer my problem.
Though it’s pretty common for ‘blacks’ to believe in intergenerational curses (accounting for the ubiquitous bitch that is Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome), there are some things that are genuinely nothing to do with it. Luckily my self-hate never had anything to do with being ‘black’.
Come to think of it, why do ‘black’ people believe in intergenerational curses so much? Remnant of our Christian background? Maybe something deeper?…
- Resulting from that belief, I saw my nature as inherently flawed and I have to change everything about who I am to get anywhere I want to go in life. Early in my creative journey I realised that I hated my childhood. I used to tell my ex I was making up for lost time, catching up to where I ought to be for my age. And that mentality worked for a long while; it helped me know I want to be a writer & actor and gave me the balls to pursue those aspirations. Even now I feel much happier as an adult than I ever did as a child/ teenager. Only within this past year has it come to mind that I don’t have to force myself to change anymore, it is safe to allow change to happen at its own pace. All I really needed to do with my nature was discover and acknowledge its value.
- I was also very wary about revisiting old memories or old states of being, feeling that evolution is about constantly experiencing new states. Now I realise that isn’t true. There is nothing wrong with revisiting, even reliving, old ways of doing things in and of itself, because there’s nothing good or bad about the past. In fact, if you learned useful skills in the past (even as simple as walking & talking), it makes sense to keep using it. For example, I did Taekwondo as a kid, which was fun but I did get bored at how much it focuses on legwork rather than overall body development. Doesn’t change the fact that I can still kick above my own head height, which is ridiculously useful. Just because I was bored at how I was taught doesn’t stop it being useful. Besides, I’ve now added other martial arts to the mix: Mashufaa, Muay Thai, Wing Chun Kung Fu, Karate & Krav Maga, plus I’m now taking Parkour lessons!
Shit! I’ve done almost as many martial arts as Michael Jai White!!! Watch out brah, man is coming up!
- Another related underlying theme was I believed life is not inherently valuable or important. Apart from self-help books always banging on about “life is what you make of it”, that also came from Islam! Why? Because Islam (due to its Christian & Zoroastrian influence) sees the dunya, this world, as a less important but inevitable phase before the hereafter. Muhammad is reported to have said,
“The world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the unbeliever.”
(Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2956)
That felt true even before I knew those words. That, coupled with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style, would explain why I never understood why suicide is a bad thing. However, over the past 2 weeks something came to mind that really stumped me: I may not know the inherent purpose of life (if there is any), but I also don’t know the opposite! I.e. What is the point of death?!?
- Romance, intimacy, affection, dating, sex and all of that have always felt weird. I’ve said for years that I can’t flirt to save my life, and how the fuck I had a girlfriend for 3 years is still beyond me. Not long ago I realised there are a whole number of things that could’ve caused that; Islam (in case you haven’t noticed, I’m blaming Islam for everything bad in my life), dismissive-avoidant attachment style, being so fussy about which women I like, etc. But it could also be that it’s just an inherently weird concept! It’s an expectation in Western culture that men have to be actively trying to bone every woman we find good-looking. There’s no room to explore or acknowledge different levels of attraction, including lack thereof. For years I’ve known that no matter how pretty women look with make-up & shit, I always prefer natural, and that feeling has only increased over time (and I’m hearing guys complain about ‘fake’ women more and more).
Now it’s come to the point that I don’t like women whose age I can’t tell. I’ve always preferred ones slightly older than me, and now I feel that anyone below 25 is not an adult. Me nuh business wha de law seh, if she under 25 she pickney! So if I meet a woman who’s 40 but looks 14 I’d feel… somewhat put off, to put it mildly.
At this point in time “relationships” aren’t what I really want. Just the word relationship is so loaded with expectations, meanings and behaviours that don’t gel with me. What I want is to consistently meet a woman or women (again a little older than me) who’ll be a positive influence on my life, with similar/ compatible energy levels and aspirations, and whom I will be mutually happy to be around. I want connection, and it’s time to learn how to tell when and how someone would be good for me to connect with.
In the meantime carry on with life.
- Western culture teaches you’re responsible for everything that happens to you, good and bad. It’s up to you to control what goes on in your head; you choose what to think, what to feel, so choose how to deal with them. What if that’s wrong? The mind picks up influences from literally everything: the media, other people, energies in the air around you, the weather, current events, that no-one can be responsible for them all. It’s actually fair to say, and a relief to my firstborn instinct, that I don’t have to take the rap for all my thoughts, beliefs, feelings, etc. because a good majority of them aren’t mine! I can cherry pick what to take responsibility for and lay the blame for everything else on someone/ something else – as long as it’s plausibly their fault of course. As for others’ thoughts, beliefs & opinions I like I am free to adopt voluntarily.
- Damn near all my opinions and experiences on certain topics fly in the face of conventional wisdom, for example:
– You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else: I get the logic behind it, and I don’t deny its applicability. However, experience has taught me that it’s entirely possible to love another without loving yourself at all (even if that love is short-lived). Probably more controversial is the flipside: you have to be loved by another person before you can love yourself. I cannot say how well that works for anyone else, all I know is that’s how it worked for me with my ex.
– You can’t expect your partner to fulfil your unmet intimacy needs, say damn near every relationship expert I’ve read: yet that’s what happened with my ex. I didn’t expect it, that’s just what ended up happening, and I am a better man for it. I learned so much about life, love, women, emotion from her that I can say quite literally that she completed me. It’s true you shouldn’t lay the responsibility for that on a partner, but don’t shun the process if and when it happens because it may be necessary.
– You have to expose your vulnerabilities to other people: it may be just a semantic difference, but it’s always translated in my head as self-martyrdom. Vulnerable literally means able to be wounded, and why should you want to remind yourself of how you’ve been wounded? Takes the focus off healing and preventing further wounds. Maybe a better way of describing it is “bad experiences”? Yeah, go with that.
– Happiness is attained by setting goals and making concerted efforts towards achieving them, then setting goals all over again: That’s true to a degree. However, what MUST MUST MUST also be done is to stop, notice when you’ve achieved a goal and relish it. Enjoy it! Savour it! Do not jump to a new achievement without noticing the first! There are 2 types of happiness, 1 is the excitement of anticipating what you desire, the other is the satisfaction of getting it. Have both.
– This country is a dangerous place as a healthy young ‘black’ man: yet I haven’t been arrested. I’ve never been involved in crime, as a participant or a victim. I’ve never been physically assaulted. Having said that, there is no way I’m going to deny statistics or claim “oh, since I’ve kept out of trouble all my life why can’t these n****s?”
I still know this country is wrong for me and I will leave when I’ve made up my mind on where I want to go. However, always expecting danger at every turn is not the mentally healthiest state to be in.
– Loving yourself or being an optimist is arrogant and foolhardy: A great example of how England loves pessimism. Only by being optimistic and working on the assumption that I can do whatever I’m setting out to have I gotten anywhere. However, it was literally only LAST WEEK that I realised I am a good person. Doing good is nice but it was always based on the assumption that I wasn’t already good, but that’s changing. Maybe it’s true that the older you get the happier you get.
Looking forward to learning – and experiencing – more of life.