Thursday, May 5, 2011

Out of the Broom Closet

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?

Goddess Bless,

Stacy

9 comments:

  1. My favorite reaction - from a customer of mine (I work in a pharmacy and was helping this woman find medicine for her sick child).

    Her: *stares at my Thor's hammer necklace* What's that? I looks like a lighthouse!
    Me: Umm... *blink, blink* ... it's not. It's Thor's hammer.
    Her: What does that *mean* to you?
    Me: Well, I see it as a symbol of strength. It keeps me strong when I'm feeling down.
    Her: Well.... I use to be into all that witchcraft, Gods and Goddesses hooplah, but I found Jesus..
    Me: *groan*
    Her: ... And he saved my life! Girl, you need Jesus, he'll do you wonders. He'll save you... blah, blah blah.

    I handed her the medication and walked away.

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  2. *giggle-snort*. That's priceless. Freckles, I think your reaction was the perfect one!! Especially to someone who had "re-found" Jesus, haha!

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  3. My experience with people has not been positive at all unfortunately. I have been threatened via people who throw stones and hide their hands type of thing. My neighbor who is a detective likes to play little games. He likes to get other neighbors involved and yes the children on this block have rang my bell and ran screaming ding dong the witch is dead.
    For example they are aware of my love for Gaia, the earth mother and I live a very energy conscious life. I shut lights off and am not a wasteful person out of love and respect for her. Yesterday Morning I sat outside and they turned their outside lights on soon as I got out there and left them on all day. Both neighbors on each side of me do that. All day everyday 7 days a week. Yet when I first moved here that was not the case. Now I am not a person who dresses any differently than anyone else. No bell's and whistles. I don't go up and down the street with a marching band screaming I am Pagan! I am a very quiet person. These people have also violated my human rights via eavesdropping. I have also had screws put into my car tires
    and the one neighbors husband was a mechanic and an alcoholic. Some of them have gone to great lengths to interfere with my life. I have also witnessed them using their children to do it. One child won't even look at me and goes into the house if I walk by. My home has been entered without my consent or invitation. Every time I left my home to go somewhere I would come home and my dogs would be acting like they were on a chocolate high. Until one day I came home and my one little dog went into seizures from it. I now have to give her medication for her heart. Yes Chocolate can cause an enlarged heart and seizures in dogs. Now I stay home and don't go anywhere without them and there are no more problems with her. When I have called the police, because they are affiliated and it has been covered up and I been told they cant do anything about it.
    I never did anything to these people or cause them any harm. Those who have chosen to be manipulated by anyone to do harm to me and my family are still responsible for their own actions. I am really not saying everything that has transpired but you get the gist of it. People have tried to make me into something ugly when I know I am not. I am a sweetheart inside and out.
    I love children and animals. I am truly kindhearted. It's such a sad shame that there are those out there who
    for whatever insane reasons would cause harm to a person and their family and try to take their life from them in anyway imaginable. It's not just about being Pagan, this is done to people for whatever reasons they feel justified in blaming others for. This is just about excuses people try to make for themselves judging others when they really know nothing at all.
    Judging me is what they want from me and so they shall have it along with my pity.
    I am a miracle and I am not going to change who I am and what I believe in because I am good and a positive being on this planet.
    Blessed be!
    Liza

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  4. Liza, it's terrible what you have had to go through. Thank you so much for sharing your story, it's incredibly important for all pagans, especially those who are thinking of coming out, to be aware of the possible consequences. You are obviously an incredibly strong woman, and you have such an amazing outlook on life regardless! I think we could all learn a lesson from you.

    Thank you so much!

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  5. I wanted badly to come out to my mother, but I knew doing so would mean real trouble for me, because she is a baptist preacher's daughterand has been misinformed her whole life; finding Wicca and Witchcraft in the highest contempt. So I instead made her a video and put it on YouTube, and when I turn eighteen in two years and have moved out, I'm going to send her the URL. Hopefully by then I'll have broke down a few walls. :)

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  6. That's a great way to do it, I never would have thought of that! I hope you have luck with it, I think you will! Be strong in your faith, no matter what else! ♥

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  7. Hi Stacy,
    I am still living through it now. I just wanted to say to pagans that sometimes people are just that way. If it isnt your pentagram its your hair! Actually it's not so bad because you find the courage to find truths and finding out who people really are and how they live is one of them. You'll also find wonderful supportive people out there who will be there and so one door closes and another opens.
    Thank you for your kindness:D Blessed Be )O(
    Liza

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  8. I'm currently out to... five people, I think (not including my witchy message boards/blog)? No, four. Two online friends, whom I know very well, my best friend, and my fiancee.

    My other two best friends don't know. One just refound Jesus a while back and the other is rather baptist. I don't think either would have a huge problem with it, but it's just a matter of getting up the courage to tell them.

    I'm not ashamed of who I am. I wear a pentacle ring and will explain it to any who ask of me. No one has asked yet. I'm a generally quiet person about my personal life, anyways.

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  9. Thanks, Liza! It is so true, there is just no pleasing some people no matter who you are or what you do, and at the same time some will open their arms no matter what!

    Hailey, That's great! I hope that once your other two best friends find out they will be accepting of you. ♥

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