What It Is Like To Be A Closet Ex-Muslim Woman

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight, not a footprint to be seen.

If you have read my previous blogposts, you would know that I am still a closet Ex Muslim. I have been hiding in this closet for more than 15 months. I still have to carry on with the rituals (albeit all the faking). I still attend Islamic classes occasionally. I still wear the Hijab. I have to listen to the listless Islamic lectures that somehow find their way into my day. The MP3 blares religious lectures, they read from religious books, they quote religious scriptures, they hang religious sayings around the house.

I don’t belong here.

A kingdom of isolation, and it looks like I’m the Queen

“Hijab. Quran. Manzil. Waqt-us-Salah. Hell hell hell. Day of Judgement. Women know your place. Haram Makruh haram. Barakahh ridha sunnah wajib. Allah muhammad allah muhammad.” After a while, it starts to sound like an annoying rap song.

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside

My family members are very particular about the way women are to be dressed because apparently, the amount family honour is directly proportionate to the area of fabric she dons. I have met many closet ex Muslims, but very few of them are still obligated to wear the hijab. Every morning, as I pin my hijab meticulously, I remind the girl in the mirror that she should not let her leash define her or constrain her. I tell her that one day, she will be able to

“Your breast curves are showing. Your top is too tight. Cover it properly or else you will stay at home today.” They order me. I shut the mirror door lackadaisically and I pull myself together. This is another day that has to be surmounted.

Couldn’t keep it in; Heaven knows I’ve tried

They can’t know. They can’t afford to know. I don’t know what they might do to me. I fear my parents might stop my education and enroll me in full time Madrasah, like what happened to my other friends whose apostasy were discovered in a series of unfortunate incidents. My education is my only way out. My education is empowering. My education is liberating. My education is my hope.

I shut out my mind when they start preaching. I carry on with the rituals as their wish. I lie. I cheat. I fake. I don’t question them anymore. I do as they say.

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be

I am losing my memory. I am losing my mind, yet I remain sane. Somehow. My dawns are plagued with anxiety and fear, and my dusks are afflicted with depression.

Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know

As things stand now, I build an ark to get away from this storm one day. I immerse myself with the delights of paintings and literature from distant lands, and my dreams of travelling to those distant lands. I want to be the lotus that survives and thrives in the dirt.

My tears have dried up. But I can’t afford to my spirits to shrivel as well.

Let it go.
Because there will be a tomorrow.

[Follow me on Twitter @ChistaPantea]

Previous post

To the girls in the video on niqab…

Next post

Alia speaks

Don’t Judge a Woman by her Cover: the Hijab and Unethical Judgments | Between a Veil and a Dark Place: Missives of an Ex-Muslim Woman