Yes, yet another post about this. May 2 was Pagan Coming Out Day. Did any of you participate? How did it go? If you didn't (no judging!) why didn't you feel you were ready?
I truly do understand that not everyone thinks they can be out of the broom closet. It's a hard decision to make; knowing that you may lose some friends and family members along the way. In many areas of the world, we who are "out" are still ostracized. There are certain areas of the world where it can be down-right life-threatening to come out of the broom closet.
One of the largest issues with Pagans and Wiccans being in the closet is the perpetuation of stereotypes. That's not to say I think you should come out regardless; If you think your life would be in danger by all means protect your life first. For those of us, though, who would simply be moderately uncomfortable having to explain to a few people what we believe, that step should be taken.
When people hear about something they know nothing about, one thing happens. They look for a way to categorize this new information. In our case, witches, the first thing someone normally thinks of is the green, warty, "traditional" Halloween Witch. Since obviously we don't have green skin or warts on our nose (at least most of us!) that categorization is out. So they move on to the next one, which, depending on their age and media savvy, is either Harry Potter or the 3 Witches of Macbeth. And that, my friends, can go either way depending on the view of the person you've told. Even if you gently explain to them over and over that we don't worship the devil, that we believe in the sacred part of Nature, the duality of deity, etc., some people still will think you are evil. Some people, on the other hand, will say, "Really? Like in Harry Potter?!" and look at you with frightening degrees of both reverence and stalker-ness in their eyes.
So let them. You can't control their reaction. You can only control yours. Those reactions aren't going to change until we educate people on what we truly believe. Does that mean going door to door with pamphlets? No. It just means telling those you care about the truth. Does that make it any easier?
Heck no, it doesn't. There will always be trepidation and fear. The difference is being able to look beyond that fear.
I was talking on Facebook Chat yesterday with a friend from my hometown. I've been friends with her since I was about 6 years old. I never worried about talking to her, because I thought she knew about me being a Witch. After all, she was with me through the whole thing. I remember talking about it to her. Apparently, she either didn't remember or she thought it was just talk.
So talking about it with her yesterday, she asked questions and I explained. We both grew up in the same place, the church on every corner place. I knew that she wasn't the type to call me the devil and run away, but still my hands were shaking as I was typing. You never know how someone will react until they do so. Of course, my initial thought was correct, and she is completely fine with it. That doesn't stop us from being nervous about how people will react. We can control, however, how we react to that nervousness and fear. We can let it stop us from telling people, letting them know what we believe, educating them so they aren't afraid of it. Or we can simply talk with them, and be candid. You don't fear what you understand.
What kind of reactions have you had to your faith? If you had to do it again, what would you do differently?