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Author Topic: Forever in The Broom Closet  (Read 3265 times)

NCPilot

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Forever in The Broom Closet
« on: December 25, 2012, 10:57:01 pm »
Well, to family anyways.  All of my friends know of my religious belief but my family still think that I'm just a lapsed Christian.  No one in my neighborhood knows either.  For the record I am 28 years old, I do live on my own and have my own job.  

As to why I keep my pagan belief hidden.  Well mostly because I live in North Carolina, which is part of The Bible Belt.  I also run my own business, and I never ever mix politics, religion and my business together.  The only thing my clients know about me is that I provide a service that they pay for and that's it.

As for why my family doesn't know.  Because honestly I love my family, my mom, dad, brother and my brother's family, and while religion doesn't get brought up very much (once in a blue moon), when it does I play the role of the lapsed Christian.  

Basically my family doesn't know because I love being a part of my family and I do not wish to be disowned.  However, I can't sit in church everyday falsely praying to a god that I disagree with.  

So, has any other adults had this same problem, or am I just a giant wimp?

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Re: Forever in The Broom Closet
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2012, 11:46:23 pm »
Quote from: NCPilot;86758
Basically my family doesn't know because I love being a part of my family and I do not wish to be disowned.  However, I can't sit in church everyday falsely praying to a god that I disagree with.  

So, has any other adults had this same problem, or am I just a giant wimp?

 
Yeah, minus the having to attend church, for the most part. My entire family is made up of lapsed Christians. Only my mother knows I'm a pagan. Relations between us can get . . . tense.

My grandparents would implode if they knew, and I occasionally end up stuck at prayer meetings because I'll never be able to explain myself if I refuse to go. -__-' Imagine being stuck in a prayer circle with a bunch of old people talking about the kingdom of heaven and how close they are. Veeeery awkward.
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NCPilot

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Re: Forever in The Broom Closet
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2012, 11:48:36 pm »
Quote from: Shine;86768
Yeah, minus the having to attend church, for the most part. My entire family is made up of lapsed Christians. Only my mother knows I'm a pagan. Relations between us can get . . . tense.

My grandparents would implode if they knew, and I occasionally end up stuck at prayer meetings because I'll never be able to explain myself if I refuse to go. -__-' Imagine being stuck in a prayer circle with a bunch of old people talking about the kingdom of heaven and how close they are. Veeeery awkward.

 
Yikes...that is awkward.... >.<  I don't go to church (often), luckily my business requires me to work on weekends, so I can use that as an excuse to get out of services.

Lokabrenna

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Re: Forever in The Broom Closet
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2012, 12:25:40 am »
Quote from: NCPilot;86769
Yikes...that is awkward.... >.<  I don't go to church (often), luckily my business requires me to work on weekends, so I can use that as an excuse to get out of services.

 
I hear you, I'm in the same boat. Mu mom would probably still force me to attend church if she wasn't so severely allergic to incense and perfume that she doesn't attend anymore. My mom seems to think that I'm an atheist. She doesn't know what a Pagan is, she just understands "Catholic", "Protestant", "Muslim" (who are all taking over Canada, 'natch) and "atheist/heathen" (not that kind of heathen). She just doesn't get it, she doesn't want to learn, and I want to move out, now.

I mean, I guess she's still trying to understand the whole lesbian thing. No mom, I don't want to "try boys" just in case I might be attracted to them, really.

Snowdrop

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Re: Forever in The Broom Closet
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2012, 12:40:12 am »
Quote from: Lokabrenna;86774
I mean, I guess she's still trying to understand the whole lesbian thing. No mom, I don't want to "try boys" just in case I might be attracted to them, really.

 
B-but they're just like broccoli!  If you try them, you'll love them!

NCPilot

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Re: Forever in The Broom Closet
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2012, 12:50:40 am »
Quote from: Lokabrenna;86774
I hear you, I'm in the same boat. Mu mom would probably still force me to attend church if she wasn't so severely allergic to incense and perfume that she doesn't attend anymore. My mom seems to think that I'm an atheist. She doesn't know what a Pagan is, she just understands "Catholic", "Protestant", "Muslim" (who are all taking over Canada, 'natch) and "atheist/heathen" (not that kind of heathen). She just doesn't get it, she doesn't want to learn, and I want to move out, now.

I mean, I guess she's still trying to understand the whole lesbian thing. No mom, I don't want to "try boys" just in case I might be attracted to them, really.

 
I do feel kinda silly that I'm doing this and I'm 28 years old though, I guess I can rationalize it that I'm choosing and picking my battles, but still.

Lokabrenna

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Re: Forever in The Broom Closet
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2012, 12:57:57 am »
Quote from: Snowdrop;86776
B-but they're just like broccoli!  If you try them, you'll love them!


I hate broccoli. There is no vegetable I hate more than broccoli (except for asparagus and green beans), broccoli can go rot in whatever cesspit it grew out of.

Wait, are we still speaking metaphorically? Just to clarify, I am actually talking about broccoli, not men, but I don't want to sleep with either.

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Re: Forever in The Broom Closet
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2012, 08:30:42 am »
Quote from: NCPilot;86758
So, has any other adults had this same problem, or am I just a giant wimp?

I've known lots of adult Pagans whose family (or certain members thereof) do not know about their religious beliefs.

Personally, my business associates and clients don't know anything about my religious beliefs (and wouldn't no matter what my religion was). Why the heck should they? They don't have any need to know -- any more they they need to know my sex life or what I eat for breakfast.
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Starglade

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Re: Forever in The Broom Closet
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2012, 09:45:10 am »
Quote from: Snowdrop;86776
B-but they're just like broccoli!  If you try them, you'll love them!


I could make a comment about picking things out of one's teeth.

But I won't.

It's in your heads now anyway. Muahahahaaaa.
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Re: Forever in The Broom Closet
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2012, 09:57:00 am »
Quote from: NCPilot;86758


So, has any other adults had this same problem, or am I just a giant wimp?

 
Sort of, but more like lying by ommission than anything else. My in laws are Jewish and have no idea that I'm a Hellenist and, frankly, I don't think they need to know. They know I was raised Catholic but I show up for most high holidays. I don't participate in the ritual for the most part, except during Passover because one of the songs requires everyone to "sing along."

To that, if you keep your politics, religion, and business separate, then I don't really see anything wrong with that. This whole "broom closet" nonsense (I'm not saying you're being nonsensical, I'm just saying in general) is what I call "good manners." I mean why do your neighbors, your hair dresser, your garbage man, that chick you don't like, the guy at the gym who grunts too much, and your dog groomer need to know what religion you are? It's very personal and I've said exactly that when inquiring minds ask me if I have a church home or if I'd consider joining their prayer group or mosque.
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Re: Forever in The Broom Closet
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2012, 11:56:05 am »
Quote from: NCPilot;86758


So, has any other adults had this same problem, or am I just a giant wimp?

 
I'm about half in the closet with my family.  I'm 34 now, married and a mother.  Technically my parents found out about my faith when I was in college.  Two girlfriends and I were renting a house from my grandparents, and my parents were landlords by proxy, so sometimes they would stop by the house.  It wasn't actually my ritual setup they found, but a friend had asked to come and do some work at my house, and he had left an altar set up...which my mom found.

A week later we had the very awkward talk.  My parents are Christian, but somewhat laid back.  They didn't regularly go to church when I was little, but we normally hit up holiday services.  Around high school, my dad would sample churches in our area, so he and I went to quite a few different churches.  They were more confused I think than upset.  

After that one talk, we really haven't talked about it at all.  I don't feel it hurt our relationship at all, but I also don't feel the need to include them in conversations that will make them feel uncomfortable.  Every summer, I go visit with my family, and we all stay at my grandparents house.  I severely limit my activities while there, as I don't want to do things that would make them uncomfortable or strain our relationship.  In some ways I see it as a respect thing....it is their house, so I respect them by not doing things they wouldn't want done in their house.

My hubby's parents (as far as I know) don't know.  As hubby is an atheist, we don't have a ton of stuff out all over the house, but my mother in law has been in our bedroom (which has my altar) and they both have been in the living room (where my computer desk is, which has currently a rune sheet hanging from it).  

I wear my pentacle ring pretty much all the time now, around both sides of the family.  I sort of talk around a lot of things.  I don't feel offended if my mother in law uses the word witch as a substitute for other curse words.

My family is pretty open though.  My parents have been involved with a lot of those business building techniques (which include things like visualization dream-work and affirmations).  My mom's side is Chinese, so there is a lot of tradition that is sort of accepted (though not always practiced).  Certain forms of energy healing, power of magnets and herbal remedies are believed in.

I am also lucky in that attending church never bothered me.  I have no problems anymore with sitting in a church and listening between the lines for the messages that speak to me.  We had some very devout Christian friends a while back (we've since moved, so only really contact them via facebook), and I had a lot of conversations where they would talk about God and I would talk about divinity.  I think it helped that the church my dad really liked when I was in highschool (and just starting my personal path) was aimed at teens and really worked to relate all the sermons to every day principles, so it was very easy to go an walk away with a good message.

I don't think that keeping one's beliefs private is a sign of being weak in any way.  I value the relationship with my family, and if by keeping private about some of the things I do I keep that relationship from being strained, it is worth it.  Most of what I do is private anyways, even in my own home (for sort of similar reasons....practicing in front of a teen and atheist hubby sometimes leads to strange looks and what not....it is often more comfortable for me to do things in the bedroom while they are busy)
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Juniper

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Re: Forever in The Broom Closet
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2012, 03:10:29 pm »
Quote from: NCPilot;86758

So, has any other adults had this same problem, or am I just a giant wimp?


Absolutely. Not in that you're a wimp, but in that I've had the same problem. In fact, I had no trouble with it at all until I got married.

My family are atheist and I even though I went to a Catholic school my mother told me to 'go with the flow and take everything with a pinch of salt' when it came to things like Mass every Friday morning and saying the Hail Mary every morning in class. She continuously told me that she sent me there because of the academic reputation of the school and nothing else.

My husband's family are another matter. Although agnostic himself, my husband's family are Jehovah's Witnesses. Don't get me wrong, they are lovely, kind people--would do anything for you--but boy was I hit hard with it when I was first married. It's only now that I've been married for five years that things have calmed down. I go with them to 'Memorial' every Easter because it keeps the peace, but that's it.

For my mother-in-law it was one thing that I didn't wish to take on her religion, but if I were to admit that I were Pagan...that would be a much bigger issue. That would be a huge issue in fact.

My husband knows though, and that's all that matters to me really. Some close friends know too. It's nobody else's business as far as I'm concerned.
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Siannan

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Re: Forever in The Broom Closet
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2012, 03:13:34 pm »
Quote from: NCPilot;86758

So, has any other adults had this same problem, or am I just a giant wimp?

 
I am a 36 year old wife and mother. My parents are strict Catholics, and my mother goes to church every day.  While they know that I am no longer a praticing Catholic, what I am practicing is never brought up. When I was a teenager, she would get scared when I watched movies like the Craft, and told me she was scared that I was going to go to hell. They are getting up there in age and I don't want this time in our lives to be full of anger and fear. She already prays for me every day, I can't even imagine what she would do if she knew where my beliefs were leading me. Selfish, maybe, but I want to enjoy the time I have with my my parents.

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Re: Forever in The Broom Closet
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2012, 08:26:42 pm »
Quote from: NCPilot;86758
So, has any other adults had this same problem, or am I just a giant wimp?

 
I wouldn't say you're a wimp. It sounds to me more like you know what's appropriate, and you have your priorities in order.

I'm 31, and like you I have my own home and a job. My situation is different in that my mother is pagan, although growing up I'd have described her as 'lapsed Protestant with an interest in the occult'. My father is sort of... white guy Zen Buddhist, married to a Catholic, half-First-Nations woman who studies Judaism. So my family is kinda weird.

Religion typically does not come up with my dad's side of the family, so it's a non-issue. There's never been the, "dad, I'm a witch" talk because it just never seemed worth having. My dad, I think, knows but doesn't mention it, and I'm fine with that.

The only pushback in my family actually comes from my mother's husband. He's not religious, but he is embarrassed by the thought of people thinking he has a 'weird' wife. It's caused some real problems in the past year, but that's not exactly on topic, so.

In my day-to-day life, I am not precisely in the broom closet so much as I just don't offer information about my spiritual and magical practices. People I work with don't need to know, even if I do work in an industry where weirdness is extremely common. (Frankly, my industry could use a little more professionalism...)  People I dance with don't need to know. If they figure it out on their own, that's fine, but I'm not about to volunteer the fact without being prompted. I know some people will - I was at a Christmas party this month and the partner of an acquaintance proclaimed her witchiness pretty loudly (although, you know. Drunk.) - but I just can't be arsed to deal with either a ton of questions or a ton of assumptions.

My house has witchy things in it. There's a cabinet in the sewing area holding a lot of spell candles and all my herbs. My bedroom has another small cabinet filled with oils and more candles, and the bookshelf in the nook behind my door is filled with occult books. If you know what you're looking at, it's pretty obvious what I'm into, but there's not huge Celtic wall hangings or pentagrams or fairies or anything in the decor. (When I was in my early 20s I totally had one of those wall hangings, though, and a bigass altar in the living room. I either mellowed or my taste in decorating just got better.)

I've actually had some conversations with my sister lately about 'how much in the background' our witch stuff is in regard to romantic partners. My sister is perfectly capable of being with someone who is a complete non-believer (her ex was brought up Catholic and could get a bit wigged out) whereas I've come to realise I just could not do that. I don't require someone who believes the same crap I do, but I do require someone who won't question or deride certain habits or oddities. So in that respect, I suppose I can't be in the closet completely.

Overall, though, I see nothing wrong in keeping your spiritual life private. I spent my adolescence in the Bible Belt, and people shoving Jesus in my face got old fast. I can only imagine it's the same with ANY religion.

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Forever in The Broom Closet
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2012, 01:47:32 am »
Quote from: NCPilot;86758
So, has any other adults had this same problem, or am I just a giant wimp?

I'm generally very open about my religion, but there are people I'll never be able to tell (and some that I just don't want to). I can be very open with my parents, who are spiritual-not-religious types, but at the moment I haven't told my sister, who is an evangelical Christian and worries about influences on her children - I don't want to end up not being able to see my nieces. I'm on the way to stay with my in-laws for a week now, who are Jewish and dislike weirdness, and who think I'm Christian. I haven't brought any items from my altar except a few small candles, and I'm feeling a bit bereft - but I think the gods understand these situations. In our modern world, where religion has become (often) personal rather than cultural or tribal, and where Pagan religions are often frowned upon, these are just situations we have to live with. But on the other hand, I don't have to sit through religious services that relate to things I don't believe in. I might think differently if I did.
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