It’s easier to wonder about birds and share their secrets than to speak of myself.
In the last couple of years, I have been extremely quiet on the web. I quit facebook (phew, no more scrolling addiction!) and it created for me some space to untether myself from what I often feel like the weight of a life lived before; meaning the 14 years I grew up in Sri Lanka which continue to follow me like a shadow. The weight is that of cultural conditioning, and expectations I believe those who have known me have of me (probably, I am just projecting). The former version of me who was the silent and obedient child that mothers used as a good example for their daughters to become. Now, for the same people, I am the stuff of whispers, a topic marred with shame within my former community – a lesbian.
I used to carry a ton of shame in my being and I am still washing its pervasive presence off my bones. The shame was first handed over to me by my mother and grandmother who brought me up; it was delivered in insults, premonitions of how bad my future is going to be and how I am going to shatter their hearts and their well-preserved social respectability with this thing called shame. In a way, I have.. shattered their world. In a way, my heart was already shattered by their prejudice even before I was sure of who I am.
All I can hope for, is that this shattering was worth it. At least one life was saved from the lifelong misery: mine. Now I need to write, to make this breaking of patterns worth it, so another might be inspired to break free from whatever shame, whatever societal cage they feel stuck in.
And Nature, what wonder! – it offered a rope for me to be tethered to this world, to hold on, when all the connection I had before was only hurting me. People need people and when people turn their backs to you, there’s always nature. When my previous image of family and love started crumbling down, as an extreme introvert who was already so tired of people and their many betrayals, I was not motivated to go out and find myself a new human community. But the birds, the trees and the beautiful credit river, the people who followed this blog, all held me here. If not for thriving, I found enough love for survival.
Most of all, I had a loved one who lived in another country, who communicated love across the distance, allowing me to believe I still had value, even as the people who raised me had already said that I lost it all. When this journey began 8years ago, I was 19 and my self worth was highly dependent on what my family and community thought of me. My self-worth definitely took a hit. I had to learn self-love from scratch and derive validation from inside, the person that I am. This has been a blessing because now I know the skills of putting oneself back together. Now I feel that I can survive, many things. I feel grounded and I do not live for admiration from others but for myself: to live in accordance to my own integrity.
This blog is very much the result of events which followed my coming out to my family, even though there is no mention of these stories written here. For too long, I bit my tongue, posted nature photography and only the most pleasant of my thoughts. I was asked to kindly keep quiet and live my life secretly. On a mission to be patient with those people I loved, who struggled to embrace me, I put a lid on my own voice for a few years. After all, I understood my family’s fear of being ostracized from their own people, because I had already gone through it.
I only spoke of love and light, even as I was quietly fighting hate and darkness. Most of my early inspirational and hopeful thoughts shared gently in this space were outcomes of this personal struggle. But, this was no way to live; I was hiding my own fire, my sacred rage at injustice, my voice.
I eventually began feeling increasingly suffocated by my own silence. So today I am committing a final sin. I am betraying my roots once again (this is not what good Sri Lankan girls do), in order to not betray myself. Being on the other side of my darkest days, my voice is finally setting itself free. It wants to be strong as much as it is gentle. It wants to leave behind hesitation. And it has many stories to tell.
P.S. this blog post was made possible with high levels of anxiety and fear overcome over the years.