The Death of an Enemy and the Ghost of Another

(Note: This was written when I should be sleeping, so please excuse rambling, typos, misspellings, and generally wackiness.  I should probably wait until I sleep to post things, but what would be the fun in that?)

Yesterday was International Pagan Coming Out Day. I was going to talk about it, but between my body declaring it International Stay In Bed Day and all this bin Laden junk I sort of lost sight of where I stand on being out.

It’s funny to me how the whole Pagan Coming Out Day and bin Laden’s death sort of melded together for me into one giant bucket of yuck. I made the personal choice not to draw attention to myself any more than I had to… I’m not exactly in the broom closet, but I wanted to take a moment to let people know what my experience has been like. People who don’t read my blog and probably don’t know it exists. People who are Facebook friends with me…

But then I started reading all the things people were saying about bin Laden. I have my own feelings about the whole deal, but once again I’ve decided that it is easier to just keep my mouth shut while emotions are running high. I will tell you, though, that I am absolutely horrified by the sheer number of times I read “may he rot in hell.”

It’s odd what will re-open old wounds… Apparently for me it was seeing the judging, harsh words of people I have known/know in my life over the death of an enemy.

You see, I was obnoxiously out about my new found religion back in my teenage years. I didn’t have much to lose then, and I was rightfully prone to outrage over people not accepting me for who I was. In a way, that has probably become a piece of my social anxiety. I don’t think I deflected as much as I stored away the bullying and harassment for later in life.

Being out as a teenager didn’t accomplish much of anything… Other than almost 11 years later my high school still has a dress code policy that bans “occult jewelry and make-up.” Way to go, Indianola, Iowa! At some point (when I’m in a better place to revisit the memories), I will talk more about being a Pagan in high school… Today isn’t it.

Today, though, I saw people who battered me with their religious views in the past not practice the compassion their religion asks of them. I saw judgment being passed. I saw lots of God talk. And I don’t know… This little box shoved into the dark corner of my mind was opened, allowing memories of sobbing in anger during the week of graduation, because I simply couldn’t understand how my high school could sanction religious events as a public school while not allowing me to wear a small sign of my faith and being so angry that people were willing to condemn me for my beliefs when I tried my hardest to be a good person.

It’s amazing to realize how much pain is still there for me. Last week, I was told by a spiritual advisor that I needed to let go of the past. I was pretty sure that I had, but apparently I’ve just pushed it pretty deep instead. It kind of makes me nervous to think what else may be lurking underneath the surface.

I’m in an odd place. Knowing that I am walking the path of healing myself so that I may go into ministry without finding myself crumbling, I have to stop and screw up my face over the absolute fear of being judged by people. About a month ago, though, I quietly changed my Facebook religious view statement from Unitarian Universalist to Eclectic Pagan. This may seem slightly minor, but I’m Facebook friends with my grandmother… Who has on more than one occasion said some very, um… Disconcerting things in regards to her totalitarian view of religion… Involving but not limited to my having a hole only Jesus can fill.

I also had the International Pagan Coming Out Day icon as my photo on Facebook for a few days… So right. Not really in the closet for the most part? But I wanted to share a bit more of myself with those willing to pay attention…

You know… Until bin Laden’s death reminded me that sometimes the people I know and/or love can be really judgmental, mean, and lacking in compassionate thinking… Or at the very least lacking in the ability to keep from publicly showing it.

My heart is broken over it all. I think, at least for tonight/today, I’ll blame it on hormones. The block of cheese and half a bag of pretzels I just consumed while writing this, the cramps that are plaguing me, and the fatigue I’m experiencing may very well back me up on this one.

I think all I can do tonight is go to bed, say my prayers and a few extra, and pass out.

(Haha, I said block of cheese and back me up in the same sentence!)

So. That was my International Pagan Coming Out Day… Did you do anything for the day? Did you blog about it – Either in support of or in criticism against it? Please share with me! I’m really curious about how things went and how the entire concept was received by the general populace but also the Pagan community!

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