I grew up in a conservative Indian Muslim family and community in South Africa where every day was spent in a hellish madressa and life was governed by absurd and oppressive rules & norms (though at the time, I just absorbed it all fearfully and dutifully). I began rebelling and fighting for my personal freedoms in my teen years and being a girl, I faced a huge amount of backlash and was a source of perennial shame and disappointment to my family and community. Despite pushing the boundaries though, I never got to the point of actually questioning the existence of God. That only happened at some point during my undergraduate studies when I was forced to question and face up to the contradictions and absurdity of it all by my partner at the time. It was a long a tumultuous internal journey but after more than a year, I finally gained clarity and broke free completely. It was only about 5 years later though that I realised how isolating and exhausting the whole process is and how much shame and pain and carried with me from it all. It was at that point that I started trawling the internet for supportive communities and discovered the whole world of ex-Muslims.