Coming out - One Suggestion for Students
Article Specs |
Article ID: 2674
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 5,268
Times Read: 6,617
Author: Stazya [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: February 19th. 2000
Times Viewed: 6,617
We all go through it at one point in our lives. There are few of us who don't know the worry and fear of telling those closest to us that we have chosen a different path. When you're young, that fear can be even greater. If you're a teen, there's fear of alienating parents and friends, of ridicule and even retribution. If you're a college student, you may be depending on these very people to get you through financially and emotionally. But even still, there is a desire, a need even, to let those closest to you know your joy.
I am fortunate enough to have a husband who not only grew up in Massachusetts, but one who, though Christian, contributed Gerald Gardner's The Meaning of Witchcraft to our bookshelves long before he knew I was a Pagan. My best friend of nearly twenty years, however, is devoutly Christian. She rejoiced on the day I married not because I was getting married, but because I would no longer be living in sin. And my mother. My mother is a skeptic who loves a sly comment and shakes her head at your immaturity despite your thirty two years of life. I love them all.
As my college graduation approached, I searched frantically for an "easy" way of telling everyone. We were planning on moving back to my hometown and visions of surprise visits were waking me at night and plaguing me by day. I could just see the look on my friend's face as she wandered into my bedroom moments after I'd bared open a ripe, red pomegranate upon the altar in tribute to Gaia. How do you explain something like that while trying to keep the juice from staining the carpet?
As luck would have it, my husband took only a few moments of gut-turning confession from me. He asked a few questions before nodding his head and saying, "Cool. " I felt rather silly afterward for worrying. A few months passed and the only other person I'd told was my Folklore Professor. I still don't know why I blurted it out to him after class one day. But there it was and he smiled to hear it. He understood the trust I'd instilled in him. We talked about semester projects that could involve Paganism and Witchcraft and he filled the lectures with witch lore and religious syncretism.
It was this that finally inspired my easy way out of the closet. During our discussions, my Professor suggested a questionnaire for the class. In the end, it wasn't feasible, but the idea had been to find out what preconceived notions about Pagans and Witches were prevalent among my peers. It occurred to me that I could apply this same thing to my loved ones. Armed with their preconceptions, I would already know what questions they'd ask, what concerns I'd need to address first.
Under the guise of education, I called my mother and then my friend, asking both if they would help me with a school project. Just fill out a simple questionnaire for me, no big deal really. Both agreed of course, anything to help me graduate. I prepared a list of questions, ranging from feelings about black cats to what do witches do and even included some mumbo-jumbo at the beginning about it being a blind survey designed to test cultural beliefs.
What I got back shocked me.
I was prepared for negative comments. I was prepared for stereotypes. I was prepared for slander. What I wasn't prepared for was the in-depth knowledge that both of these two very dear people had. In answer to the question, "Would you associate with a Witch? " my friend answered, "Yes. I have many Wiccan friends. "
Once I levered my jaw back up from the floor, I sent an email to my friend saying that she could add one more to her many. Her response? I'd been included in that list of Wiccan friends long ago.
My mother claimed her knowledge had been gleaned from books. I was skeptical until I remembered the hard copy of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged I'd given her a few years before to replace her worn paperback. No, not particularly Pagan, but indicative of her literary tastes. Why I was surprised, I'll never know. Upon my revelation, she asked where I thought I'd gotten my love of nature and an affinity for a feminine God? And who had given me my first Anne McCaffrey book anyway? No, she's not a Pagan herself, but she's always suspected God of being a woman.
In the end, my little ruse supplied me with something I never thought I'd have - faith in my loved ones to understand. I discovered something about them that I'd never known, and revealed nothing that they hadn't already suspected. I know that my situation will never be like yours. But I think the premise may still be sound. Discover what people know about Paganism and come armed with that knowledge when you confront them. Don't assume that you already know what they know.
If you're a student, school may offer you the opportunity to educate others. Friends and family outside your classes don't know what you're studying and education can give ample chances to ask questions that may not otherwise be allowed. Perhaps a questionnaire isn't really feasible, but we're a creative lot. Maybe my approach will inspire your own. Though my results were immediate, yours may take months or even years. Whatever you decide, always listen to the butterflies in your stomach. Sometimes, they know more than we do.
Location: Naperville, Illinois
Author's Profile: To learn more about Stazya - Click HERE
Bio: Stazya is one of the luckiest Pagans alive. She has an understanding, if skeptical, family and a husband who loves her. She receives daily snuffles from her dog, Igor, and provides a pleasantly warm lap for her cat, Potato. In her spare time, she is a writer, but managing online communities keeps her family in chocolate. She keeps one leg in the closet, one finger in the cookie jar and her nose out of most peoples' business. It's all about balance.
Other Articles: Stazya has posted 1 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Stazya... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)
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