In the silence and stillness of fasting, many feelings come up.
Without the distractions of food, shopping, music and other forms of entertainment, a space is created. This space is naturally filled with feelings that come up at random or in response to things that happen. For the last few days, I have been thinking a lot about family. I dreamt about my mother too. Ramadaan is a time for togetherness with family and this is the first time in my life that I am not in contact with my mother and father. Although I have lived abroad for many years, I would always have been in contact via messages or phonecalls. This year is very different.
Since I confronted my mother about the sexual abuse I suffered at the hands of my father, she has continued to deny that it happened. This denial is not acceptable to me, and instead of being the good daughter, I have distanced myself completely and blocked her number from my Whats App even though she continues to send me sms messages. I delete them as I receive them as I am not willing to ‘pretend’ anymore and repress the little girl within me who so badly needed expression of her long repressed feelings. This no contact is the kindest thing I could do for myself.
And so… back to Ramadaan, it is supposed to be a time for making amends, forgiving and coming together as a family. But I know God knows and understands why that is not an option for me right now.
Last night after I put my son to bed, I felt a wave of sadness tinged with irritability wash over me. I felt like a girl again, sullen and sulky and I remembered how as a child (after the abuse) I used to sulk a lot. My mother and father would complain to uncles and aunts how sulky and stubborn I was and how they struggled with me.
Last night I understood very deeply why I used to sulk so much. I felt the pain and sadness behind the sulking. I would purse my lips tightly and not want to speak, words were too heavy to release. I would feel bad for feeling that way. It was all the repressed feelings that so badly needed to come out. So to any outsider, I was just a moody child. But really it was the only form of rebellion I used. All the feelings and thoughts I had weighed me down because I had no outlet. They were trapped inside me making my movements and very existence heavy and burdened.
I realised also that I need to revisit later stages of my childhood including me as a teenager, ,me as a young adult and young traveller. Up to now, I have focussed on the five year old me. I have three photos of me as a five year old girl which I keep close. I feel that I need to get photos of me at other ages because it wasn’t just the five year old me that was affected. The effects of the evil that was done to me persisted and could be seen every day of my life after that.
I want to understand ME in the new light of kindness and gentleness that I am cultivating through counselling, friendship and blogging. So in the wee hours of the night, there I was, digging through old photos of me at high school, university and when I first met my husband in London.
I pray that you do the same if you are on the same or similar journey. Be kind and gentle to yourself because you deserve it.