Tuesday, July 28, 2009

So, You’ve Decided to Come out of the Broom Closet

In yesterdays “Coming out of the Broom Closet”, I talked about some of the outcomes of coming out as a pagan, and how there are different ways of being “out”. Today I’d like to address the actual coming out.
Paganism is about trust in yourself and the world around you. You have to trust in what you do in rituals for it to work, for example. Therefore, the basis for coming out of the broom closet, even just in going to a bookstore to purchase a book instead of ordering online, is trust
So, if you want your family to trust in after or during your coming out, you have to make sure you’re doing trustworthy things. Don’t hide the fact you collect oils or incense; tell your family you are looking into aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is used in spas, so it is less suspicious than hiding about it, or arguing, or straight out lying. Saying you’re using aromatherapy is, at least, somewhat truthful. Though you could argue it is lying by omitting, it’s still a lot less risky. Think of it along the same lines as the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell”.
Safety is the next consideration. Is it safe for you to come out? If you think it is unsafe, then don’t come out, at least not yet. Safety includes protection from physical abuse, but can also include having somewhere to live, or the emotional worry of having people harass you or even attempt to convert you.
The next step is then to try to predict how who you wish to tell will react. Start with one group, like your parents. Will they be understanding? Curious? Supportive? Angry? I do suggest starting with people you live with, because you can predict their behaviour best. Make note of how they act talking about religion in general. This stage might take only a few days to have a general idea of how they will react. It might take several weeks. Be patient, and keep your eyes and ears open.
You may be lucky. Your family may not need your choice explained to them, and they will support you no matter what.
But, if I have learned anything, it’s that never trust luck. Always have an explanation. Make a list of what you like about paganism. Write a little paragraph or two explaining why you converted or are not impressed with more mainstream religions. Also, be sure to plan to explain some of the common misconceptions about paganism.
The trick will be to remain calm. Are you prone to anger very quickly? You’ll have to work on that before even considering coming out. Calmness is key. If you speak calmly and explain your points in a level voice, they will be more prone to listening. To help remain calm, you can really benefit from preparing beforehand. Plan for EVERYTHING you can think of, because it can give you something to refer to, and it will help you keep your thoughts in order.
In many cases, what is known about paganism by the general public (people who haven’t studied it) are the misconceptions and rumours spread by Hollywood and religious bigots. Remember, your parents and friends love you, and want what’s best for you and want to keep you from getting hurt. Reassure them that paganism is not a cult, and that you are educating yourself on all aspects of the religion.
Please be patient with them; it may take them some time and some research of their own to fully accept your actions. Also, use common sense. If they are in a bad mood, don’t bring this up, you can wait until they are in a good and talkative mood.
Who knows, maybe you’ll really pique someone’s interest and aid them on their own spiritual journey.

Tomorrow, part three, How to Deal with Common Misconceptions After you’re out of the Broom Closet.

Source/More information


A lot of my information is directly copy-pasted frm my own Book of Shadows, collected over the past couple of years from a variety of sourses. I try to credit where I can, and I try to paraphrase and change words around without changing meanings as much as I can.
IF YOU SEE YOUR INFORMATION HERE: Please let me know, I'll be more than happy to credit you. The best way to contact me is to leave a comment on the post, and I'll be sure to edit the post as soon as I get the message.