A few minutes ago, I saw that my SS had joined a Facebook page specifically for witches living in the Bible Belt. For a moment, my cursor hovered over the Join button, and then I turned away.
And--finally--I realized what it meant to be "in the broom closet."
For a few weeks now, I've been sort of struggling with this concept, as it seems that being "in the broom closet" means to many Pagans, that they can't wear their pentagrams out in public. The pentagram doesn't resonate with me, and any dove or triskele amulet I might wear would probably be associated with Christianity around these parts. Religion doesn't really come up around here; it's assumed that everybody is a Christian. There's no need for me to discuss my faith. It doesn't come up.
But, lately, I've felt stymied. It started in Jeffrey's taekwondo class.
We were discussing the downfall of cartoons--whatever happened to the Snorks or Smurfs or Scooby Doo? And then somebody brought up the Disney tween programming and a lady said, "Ooh, and those 'Witches of Waverly Place.' We will NOT watch that. I don't need no witchcraft and demons in my house."
Blink. Blink blink.
Because A of all, lady, that isn't witchcraft. It's a goofy little show with magic wands that shoot out lasers and stuff. (Which I love, actually. I admit it. I'm thirty-five-years-old and I love that show.) There's no mention of deity or practice or whatever.
And B, was it possible, ma'am, that you stumbled on a later episode of Buffy? Because I'll buy the demons and witchcraft stuff with that show. (And I'll take a Spike, preferably with his leather coat, while I'm at it.)
Anyway, the other ladies agreed with her and for a few seconds, the conversation drifted into a discussion of Magic that was not really cool with me.
And I sat there. Like a little lump. I wanted to say, "That's not true. That's not right." But I didn't. Finally, the conversation moved on and I could speak again.
Then last week, we were discussing the fact that our state legislature had passed a law to ban the involuntary implantation of humans with microchips. (Yes, that's what I said. They also approved eating roadkill. Our state workers are being flattened by furloughs, our teachers are being fired left and right, our interstates are a mess, and insurance companies can deny children treatment for their behavioral and developmental disorders, but we will spend money so they can protect us from the federal government inserting microchips in our "vaginal-rectum area"s--per a witness' sworn testimony.) And somehow, the same lady, started talking about End Times and how the microchips were the Mark of the Beast and other fun stuff from John's revelation and I just sat there. AGAIN. To be honest, this time I just sat there because I couldn't quite believe the mess coming out of her mouth. It was like a science fiction novel. A BAD science fiction novel.
But the other part of me, the part of me that wanted to say, "Yeah, um, I don't believe in the revelation. I think it's craziness. Also? I've been researching Jewish prophesy because of 'Lost' and I've pretty much figured out why the Jews weren't all down with Jesus, and they're TOTALLY right about that, and...also? Can we discuss the whacko interpretation of the Hebrew that was done by the Catholic church?" Um, yeah. That part just sat there.
So for the first time, I get it. My family knows I'm a Pagan. Some of my more open-minded friends do, as well. Some think this is a phase. Some think that I'm actually a Christian, dallying with something else. No doubt a few believe I'm going to hell, but they won't discuss it. These people LOVE me. But they don't discuss my religion with me most of the time.
It's not these folks I'm worried about. It's the other folks. It's my former coworkers and various members of the community, most of whom I don't call "friend," but who I wave and smile at in HellMart. And there are even a few folks on FB who I DO love, but who I would never just come out and say, "Well, for Beltane this year I..." Because it would freak them the frick out. And they would unfriend me, which would hurt my feelings. Or gossip about me, which could have ramifications for our finances. And I already loathe this place enough that I really need some positive folks in my life and these Christians are good people who care about me. Some of them are family. I don't feel like they would be comfortable with me talking about my religious stuff on Facebook.
So now, I get it. Being in the broom closet isn't about myself. It's about the other folks. I'm essentially being not my full self on Facebook--in my LIFE--because I don't want to be challenged by other people. They have the power in my life. Not me.
And that sucks.
I'm thinking about giving myself a magical name and joining up with Facebook on THAT, using another email address so that I can TALK to people like me around here. I've poked fun of people with magical names, and now, in some small way, I understand it. It doesn't feel authentic to me. It feels like I'm hiding.
Which I guess I am. Here in my broom closet.