After reading this post at Strategic Sorcery, I was reminded of what an Aussie e-friend of mine said on Facebook recently. It was during that Facebook game where you would send someone a number in their inbox, and then they would put that number in their status and say what they really thought of you, so no one else would know who they were talking about. About me, she said that she loved how open and honest I am about my beliefs and said she hoped that she could be like that someday too.
My first thought? "Really? I'm open?!" I guess I am, although it never really occurred to me until she said it. We all normally face a few crazies when we come out of the broom closet. Of course, I came out of the broom closet it was in bible belt Manitoba. I started studying Wicca when I was 13. Strangely enough, it was my Dad who made me aware of it. He used to casually study religion and faith paths, so it really isn't strange if you know him. He had found a page on metaphysical things and at the very bottom there was a link to website about Wicca. The website has since shut down, but I used it for years. I "officially" started practicing when I was 15, I thought I should do more than the year and a day of study since I was so young. I use a self-initiation I found online, because that was the only resource I had. After I told my parents, they responded with a "Yeah, we knew this was coming." I have great parents.
Not everyone is so open minded, though. I never really bothered hiding it, and high school being what it is in a bible town I lost quite a few "friends" over it. One that still sticks out in my mind was a girl that I had been best friends with since grade 1. A few days after I told her, she came up to me and said, "I can't be friends with you anymore. It hurts my soul to be around you and I have to pray to get it to go away." And she promptly walked off. I swear I stood there for 5 minutes afterward, I was so dumbfounded. More recently, a girl I was friends with in school asked me on Facebook what "this Yule thing" was, I'd had in my status about decorating my Yule tree. I explained to her, and she right away asked for my address so she could send me a Christmas Card. She said she wanted to put some Christ back in my Christmas.
I was pretty offended by the first instance, for one because of I was a teenager and for two because it seems to me that most of us get offended by that sort of thing when we first start on the path. As for the second instance, I just thanked her and asked for her address so I could send her a Yule card. I appreciate that she cares about me enough to try and save my soul in her eyes. I've never had to hide it from a workplace, either. Granted, I've never really had a career, so I've never been to worried about it. Most of the people I've worked with become my friends.
I've never really thought of myself as open with my faith. I just was. I think we all put too much emphasis on this broom closet. Why is the first question we ask each other, "do other people know?". Even if it is the human condition, we shouldn't have to be scared to be ourselves. Our children deserve better role models than that. Of course, that said, some people would just have heart attacks if they knew. Those people are just better off not knowing. Hopefully, we can all make the proper judgment in our lives as to who those people are. Everyone has their own reasons. What are yours?