Yes, that’s right, broom closet. Yes, I know it might not be the best term considering I’m not a witch or a Wiccan, but it is still the most commonly used term, so fuck you. This serves as something I can handle with my mind still in cool down mode, so I’m running with it.
Am I out of the closet as far as religion goes? It would not be an entirely accurate way of phrasing things as I was never in a closet to begin with, I was honest about it from the first moment I started doing research. I was not properly socialized when I was growing up and while I know for the most part my lack of social skills has probably not served me well, I remain glad that I never learned how to be a chameleon, to lie and hide myself behind shiny masks so people will think I’m something wonderful when I’m not. I am always, for better or worse, very much myself; I don’t really know how to pretend things and when I try it doesn’t go over well (and mostly it doesn’t even occur to me to do so). Again, I like that about me, I prefer people that are bullshit free, and I would, as the quote goes, rather be hated for what I am than loved for what I’m not.
I’ve honestly never had any bad experiences from that. My family could not care less and even if they did we always had an understanding between us that I am an individual person living my own life and I will make my decision for myself as such regardless of their approval, and they will let me do so regardless of their opinion (though on this front they genuinely do not care). With friends, I have a tendency to only gather people around me that are very similar to me in view point and temperament; if they aren’t Pagan themselves they couldn’t care less what someone is or is not. With strangers where the subject came up, I can say I met people that probably didn’t approve but never aggressively pushed at me. Perhaps I’ve been lucky, perhaps I just have a sort of freak vibe that makes it come as not much of a surprise, I don’t know.
Being open and honest about things like this does not equate to obnoxiously rubbing it in everybody’s face. That I do not do and that is a point I think a lot of people miss. I bring it up when asked, when the conversation veers in the right direction, which for me, with random people, doesn’t happen all that often; I answer questions asked, I don’t give more information than necessary, I’m neither aggressive nor defensive about it, its just a fact not open for debate and I’m beyond uninterested in engaging you in one. What religious jewellery I wear is not obviously so (not a deliberate choice I made, more the nature of what my practice shaped itself to be), and if I’m asked about it I’ll tell you. I’m not confrontational or abrasive about it, I’m not after you to like it your opinion doesn’t matter to me because it has nothing to do with you, so long as you keep it to yourself.
The issue of the closet is one I have softened up on some over the years, I’ll be honest and say that’s something I used to be kind of hard assed about and thought little of people that went out of their way to hide it. It had nothing to do with Pagan Pride or being more holy than thou; I was younger, I was fresh out of abusive situations that pretty much amounted to people that thought I was abnormal and were trying to forcibly reprogram me and I fought them off every step of the way. I was proud of my integrity because I fought so hard and suffered so much for it; so I found the idea of people pretending to be Christian because otherwise their friends and family won’t talk to them anymore just baffling, it didn’t go over well with me.
I was never arrogantly parading that opinion around, though I did hold it privately. And before anybody dog piles on top of me, I did say I have since softened my view. Having met and talked to a few people I have seen how it is, at times, necessary, unfortunately so, especially when dealing with the government, mental health care, court systems, employment; it certainly doesn’t always happen that way, there are sane people that recognize this doesn’t matter in all those places, but you don’t always know what you’re going to get and it can be good to keep on the safe side. I will say I have met plenty of people that I think romanticize the need for secrecy and others who I think have a huge persecution complex that wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if someone wasn’t oppressing them who take this concept and run with it to ridiculous degrees. But I have also met people in situations where it was clearly necessary.
When it comes to maintaining relationships with people who wouldn’t associate with you otherwise, I must admit that I don’t understand that, at all. I’ll repeat again, you can be honest about something without obnoxiously rubbing it in everyone’s face; if you’re pushing it constantly on someone knowing it makes them uncomfortable, you’re the douche and you need to stop that. But for someone to just know that about you, just one fact among many, even if it never otherwise comes up in discussion, I can not for the life of me imagine any situation where that would be a legitimate problem. When you’re going out of your way to pretend to be something you’re not to appease someone else when they would never do the same for you, attending church when you don’t want to to make them happy (when, again, they probably would not do the same for you), or even rearranging your house to remove any Pagan stuff you might have out from their eyesight when they come over to visit (again, it would never happen at their place) – that is a very unbalanced relationship, with someone that is likely frighteningly entitlement minded. Its not on you as a member of a minority religion to make every concession, if you’re not being abrasive about it there isn’t any reason why someone can’t know that about you in the back of their head, can’t go to church without you, can’t notice your shrine out of the corner of their eye and ignore it like we all learn to ignore ugly artwork and decorating in other people’s homes; if they can’t that’s not on you, they are the ones with the problem.
I wonder what it is that someone is getting out of a relationship with one of these people (especially if it is a friend; I personally would imply the same to family as well, but people are generally more willing to let family get away with shit and that’s just the way that goes – on the other hand you absolutely can choose your friends so why put up with anything?). What do they bring into your life that you can’t get anywhere else that is honestly worth all the work you put into it, when they don’t put in the same amount of work and don’t show you the same consideration they demand for themselves? I hope its something really fucking wonderful, I hope they shit gold bricks just for you or breathe rainbows into the air for your enjoyment. I can’t imagine it, I can’t imagine any single human being ever at any point in time so great that I would be willing to put myself through that much just to keep them.
For every decision that you make, there are both benefits and consequences. I can’t be a chameleon, I don’t see the point in lying, and a consequence to that is I will have far fewer friends than people who are willing to play the bullshit games. A benefit to that is the friends I do have are people I can be very honest and completely comfortable with (a wonderful benefit with the anxiety that I have); since I’m very introverted and just not a social person by nature, the consequence is rarely much of one to me, sometimes I wish I knew more people but not that many and not at that cost. Other people, especially very extroverted people, would see that as too great a price to pay, and I have met more than a few people that seem to enjoy existing entirely behind masks. I will never understand it, but its not my choice to make either.