I’m a huge fan of Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom. The blog is absolutely great. The author, Mrs. B, put up a prompt last night:
Today, think about what the most frustrating part of being a pagan is. Being "in the broom closet"? The cost of gathering appropriate tools? Finding the time to actually get out in nature? Not being able to find other pagans in your area? Then consider what you can do to change that thing.
I think the most frustrating thing for me is the fact that the other day I realized that I was, indeed, back in the broom closet. I’ve been left longing for the days when I was a teenager and didn’t care what anyone thought about my religion – I was so brave and enthusiastic about teaching others about this great subject I thought I knew everything about.
Last week I asked for Samhain off from work, because I plan on having a giant feast for my mother, boyfriend, and myself. (Fortunately I have a great relationship with my mother and am completely out with her, who raised me with her own brand of Buddhist/Taoist/Pagan/Methodist beliefs.) One of my co-workers was standing there, and asked “Do you have a party to go to that night?”
I was terrified.
“No,” I replied, hoping we could leave it at that.
“Oh, you have kids! You’re going to take them out that night,” she guessed.
“No,” I said. “It’s… Sort of a religious holiday for me.”
I prayed silently that we could leave it at that.
“Well, what kind of religious holiday?”
It was at this point that I was getting more and more worried about what she’d think of me. Of course the smart-alek in me wanted to say, “I’ll sacrifice puppies to my Dark Lord.” I managed to keep myself from saying it.
Instead my mind fortunately jumped to the next (better) answer - One that could easily be written off as Catholic due to All Saints Day or any other possibilities. I found myself explaining as carefully as possible, “I celebrate my ancestors and those that have passed on that night. I hope to have a big dinner that night, so I want the day off to prep for it.”
Thank the Goddess, she didn’t ask any more about my religion! I was so relieved. Instead we went on to talk about dinner parties, then I scurried away to clean out a fitting room.
It was later that evening that the whole situation really started to get to me. I started questioning exactly what it was that made me so nervous about it. Granted, I don’t know the woman very well. We don’t work together all that often. But even my coworkers that I consider friends I don’t feel comfortable telling.
Could it be their crosses that they wear? Why can’t I wear a pentacle without worrying about it?
Could it be that I live in a place where the population is predominately Christian? And what do I even care what they think about me?
Could it be that, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to believe that spirituality and religion, like politics, are personal things that you shouldn’t talk about? No, that couldn’t be it. I love religion and want to hear all about others.
So why, exactly, is it that I’m scared to be out of the broom closet? I do know that I’m annoyed when it’s assumed that I believe in Christianity. I do know that I’m not ashamed to believe in what I do.
I do know that I love my religion and wish more people understood it, but apparently I’d like someone else to do all the teaching to them.
Why is it that on my Facebook page, I have “Unitarian Universalist” as my religious beliefs instead of Pagan?
The fact is that I’m still pondering all of these questions. I’m trying to decide if I’m really truly uncomfortable with being in the broom closet at work or with people in general (many that knew I was a Pagan as a teenager). Maybe I’m not. Maybe my religion has taken a more private place in my life as it’s become more serious.
I still feel like it’s almost a sacred duty to teach others about Paganism. It’s important for others to understand that we aren’t all “sacrificing puppies to the Dark Lord.” But then maybe someone else would be better about it than me.
Me who had a very profound moment in life where I felt the calling towards ministry. Me who loves her religion. Me who actually loves religion in general and wants to know what other people believe, despite the fact that a lot of times they’d think I was going to hell if they knew the truth.
I’m a Pagan. I’m in the broom closet.
I have a lot of thinking to do.