Do you know the feeling of being out of place? When you just don’t know where you belong and where you should belong? Everything and everyone feels so distant that you can no longer assess it correctly? This is something that keeps coming back to me since I reverted to Islam…
Asalam Alaykum and welcome!
After a little break (I was preparing for my final university exam that gave me my degree) I am back and trying to jump straight into the blogging routine so without further ado – let’s get to today’s blog post.
Ever since I reverted to Islam I felt like I was being caught in between two separate worlds. I didn’t belong anywhere and I didn’t even know where I want to belong.
On the one hand, I was still me. The same person, the same values, the same experiences. All that’s changed was my religion and if anything – it made me a better person that is more aware of the environment and that wanted to be available for people that before would’ve been ignored. My upbringing didn’t change, my culture didn’t change, my family didn’t change and my personality didn’t change. I was the same person that I was before Islam.
But somehow at the same time I felt distant from the ‘previous me’.
This new person no longer felt attached to the culture and religion of her family or even country that is so strongly connected to the Catholic tradition. I didn’t go to the church. I didn’t really celebrate Christmas the same. I didn’t enjoy the outings with friends that would most certainly end with having alcohol.
This new person felt the urge to meet others, similar to her. People she could talk to on a different level and experience her religion with. This new person needed to connect with someone who would look at the modern world in the same way. Share the same values.
However, apart from the religion she didn’t have much in common with those other people. You can’t make friends with someone only because you believe in the same things. It’s not like I was friends with every other Christian person before. So finding someone who would have the same beliefs system and at the same time would be a good friend that I trust just seemed impossible at that time. And how would they understand the struggles of a revert? They couldn’t, they aren’t obliged to.
I knew that I didn’t fit in the culture or tradition of the people that were born Muslim. Of course, there could be people that were born into Islam and that came from the same culture as mine, but I never met any such person. And even if I did – they wouldn’t be able to fully understand my perspective. It’s so much different than being a revert, someone completely new to this religion. It’s a natural thing and no one is to be blamed – it’s hard for us to wear the shoes of someone else if we’ve never been in a situation similar to theirs.
So here I am. New to Islam, still trying to figure it all out and to not get lost on this new path. My confused mind wanders between the old and new me.
With everything being so new to a revert, this could get overwhelming.
Suddenly you feel lost and left alone. With all the people surrounding you, you’re lonely. Your family loves you but they’re worried. Your friends are here for you but they don’t understand. The born Muslims obviously exist somewhere out there but you’re too shy to reach out. The internet is full of people but it’s never the same and even this might be hard for some people (for example me with my social anxiety).
What do I do then? Do I get back to my old ways? Do I give up? Do I become a loner?
What if I don’t want any of these solutions?
I don’t blame anyone. I don’t want to. But I also wish someone could just reach out to me simply because I’m too shy and don’t like feeling like a burden to others. And I do feel that way, a lot.
It’s a circle that leaves you feeling alone and hopeless at times. You don’t always feel that way but when you do, you FEEL IT, trust me.
The other day I went to a party, my cousin’s 18th birthday party. I went because I couldn’t come up with a good excuse that would justify me not showing up. All my family was going so I had to as well. And I know it’s not a problem to many Muslims, reverted or born. I understand it – not everyone is the same. But these days it’s a difficult situation for me to be in. Almost from the very beginning, the drinking starts. Some have only a bit of alcohol and some have no boundaries. But I don’t recall anyone that wouldn’t drink, maybe except for a few older people. And when you go to a party you can feel how the atmosphere changes, it almost seems like the party is all over the air even. Everyone starts acting… well, partyish (?). And I am just not a fan of all this craze. On top of that, almost everyone comes with a partner, which they can talk to at all times.
And then there is me.
Sitting with everyone but alone. Trying to put a good mask on my face but I struggle. I try talking to others but small talk isn’t my game.
After some time I feel so lonely that I start playing with the kids to kill some time. If I enter the dance floor it’s because one of my cousins forced me and only to leave it after a minute or so. When they eat, I don’t because almost everything involves meat, and it’s not halal. When they drink, they seem to bond with every sip of their alcoholic drink, and I don’t. When they talk, it’s the alcohol speaking through them, making them look like monkey puppets (not to offend anyone). Every single thing about the party screams “you don’t belong here” and every single person seems to find me boring and unnecessary. The next day I’m not only tired but also a little depressed…
I’ve been trying to writ this post since last Thursday (it’s Monday today) and it was much harder than I thought. I don’t really know myself what was the purpose exactly. Do I want to emphasise the necessity of reverts supporting reverts? Do I want to ask for understanding from the born Muslims?
But I think that I just wanted to get it off my chest. I wanted to leave this here for anyone that reads it to realise that we all go through our little hell sometimes. Well maybe hell is the wrong word but I cannot think of anything better now.
We all struggle with something and we all overthink just a bit too much at times. And as cliche as it sounds – I’d like to make it clear that I am here, available to anyone that struggles right now and would like to talk.
Do you also feel distant sometimes?
How do you cope with the occasional loneliness?
Let me know in the comments and until the next post,