Today is International Pagan Coming Out Day – the day for Pagans to stand together and say “we’re not hiding any more”. Now, I’m not saying that if you don’t come out, you’re wrong. I’ve been a Pagan for nearly 14 years, walking my specific path for 13, write a blog, and am very active in my community – and until today, I was still in the closet with my family. Even my in-laws knew before my family. Because I was afraid of losing them in my life, until I realized I already had. You see, the “life” they see isn’t real – not that I am fake with them, simply, the largest part of my life other than my husband is my faith and they weren’t seeing that. All the decisions I make, all the stands that I take, are influenced by my faith. As much as I may define my faith, my faith defines me. And it was finally time to take that last leap and open myself entirely. I’m tired of censoring the one of the most vivid parts of my life – of mine and Joshwa’s life together – to make us more acceptable to my family; especially when, honestly, it’s not enough.
On my personal Facebook page (and copied to SCL’s Facebook page), I shared the above image and I “came out of the closet”. It was hard, I won’t lie to you. I had a nightmare last night where my favorite aunt – who has withdrawn from me a lot recently – told me plainly that she didn’t want me in her life any more (in the dream it was as much about my political beliefs as my religious ones) and I woke up this morning crying. It was enough that Joshwa woke me up because he heard me crying. And I was stressed after posting it for nearly an hour. But within minutes of posting, my sister-in-law commented with “Congratulations! I support my sis-in-law!” Now, my sister-in-law is as Christian as the rest of our families, but she and my brothers-in-law have been incredibly supportive from nearly day one. My younger brother-in-law – who is currently serving a tour of duty – even stopped by to share some love (well, in the twisted way only brothers can, by offering to tar me before setting me alight, lol). But the outpouring of love from my friends – including my Christian friends – has lightened my heart and reminded me that I know people love me, no matter my faith. And the relief has finally come. Finally getting the weight off my heart. Maybe it’s the lessons from my days in the church, the preacher talking about how you shouldn’t deny Jesus/God any more than you should deny your friends or they won’t be there for you any longer. I just can’t deny my Gods, even by omission – because They are there for me, supporting me, and have been for years.
So let this be your encouragement. If you’ve been thinking about it, do it. If it’s something that you’ve been drawn to, you’ll be given the strength to get through. A friend of mine commented that she wished she could share my story (I think it’s much better written on Facebook) and I told her to go ahead. Same goes for y’all out there. Go read what I shared on Facebook. And if you think it could help someone who is struggling, then share it. (click the share button on the post, not the picture – clicking it on the picture will just share the picture, not my writing – or if you just want to share the IPCOD picture, click the picture and hit share) I’m going to celebrate today, not mourn what may or may not change in my relationship with my family. I’ll be posting some of my favorite Pagan videos from YouTube – a few that I’ve already used for Musical Monday, a few that I plan to use in the future – so swing by my page. Be sure to like my page if you haven’t already!