Out – Katie told friends and family on FB
I decided to partake in Pagan Coming Out Day in 2011 after having a couple of Pagan friends “like” the page on Facebook. I checked it out, “liked” it, but wasn’t sure I was ready to do it. My Pagan path was only recently realized prior to PCOD 2011. But it was something I knew in my spirit and my heart was right for me. I had become involved with the local Pagan Pride Day group, and was already attending fundraising events, and other Pagan things, and was growing tired of cleaning up my Facebook feed. My very Christian family members are all Facebook friends of mine, and I didn’t want them to see this before I was ready to come out.
I meditated on the difficult decision to come out. I decided I would go ahead and do it. I wrote a letter to my family and friends, explaining my inner turmoil I’d experienced for quite some time. I told them that no matter what faith we had, we were still the same people. I put a lot of heartfelt sentiments in that letter. But I never sent it to anyone, it still resides on my desktop as a shortcut. What I did do was condense the letter into a Facebook update. All of the people in my life who are/were close to me, true friends and family, are with me on Facebook. I was also “friends” with people from former churches, schools, and co-workers. I figured everyone deserved to know. Some knew me as a Christian, but more recent “friends” didn’t really know me as anything.
I think for me, using Facebook as my coming out tool was not only convenient for everyone to see, but it was also safe. There didn’t have to be awkward silences or gazes. There was no trying to fit it into conversation. It just was.
“Today is an important day for me. I’m officially coming out as Pagan. After much soul searching, researching, reading, & deep meditation, I realized not only was my Christian upbringing unfitting for me, but this is what does fit for me. I have been so much happier & spiritually fulfilled since I became true to myself.” This was the carefully written coming out status I wrote. (This was when FB had limited characters for each status).
As soon as I hit the Post button my heart started racing. I was so afraid I was going to lose my family. We have always been a very tight family, and I didn’t want to lose them. I did want everyone to know though. I started to feel sick to my stomach. But then a Pagan friend a minute later commented, then a co-worker commented, shortly followed by another Pagan friend. They were all supportive comments, reassuring me. But my stomach still had butterflies. I drove over to my favorite metaphysical shop to hang out with the owners, who had recently become friends. I began to chill as I talked to them about their openly Pagan lives.
By the time I got home from there I had 6 more positive comments, and only one “what?” and I felt better.
Then I saw my Christian school teacher uncle sign on. He doesn’t have a huge friends list, so I knew my status would be on his newsfeed. But nothing happened. The next month we all got together for my grandma’s birthday and I felt very strange when the family prayed, but nobody tried to say anything to me.
I began openly wearing my pentacle necklace at work. I had a few people ask me questions about it, and a few people who actually were like-minded. One co-worker saw it, stopped, looked at me, and said, “Blessed Be?” and I looked back at him and smiled, and returned the greeting. He has not come out yet, but he said seeing me being able to be open gave him more confidence. It also gave me a great friend who I otherwise wouldn’t have connected with. I also met some customers who were like-minded. I only recall 2 people who reacted negatively, but I never got anyone crazy.
My mom has made a few jokes about it to me, so that tells me she is not only ok with it, but she loves me no matter what. My grandparents are the only people I’m not open with, because my grandma has Alzheimer’s and I know it would only upset her. I feel in that case it only could cause harm, so I don’t wear anything around her, or talk about anything Pagan related around her.
Currently in my life I’m past the awe and wonder stage. I rarely even think of my pentacle necklace (which only comes off when I have an MRI or if I’m changing pendants) now. I’m not as “in your face” about it as I was initially. I let it go inside my shirt, but if it comes out that’s fine. I have a new job in the community in public service. I have not taken steps either way to be out or closeted. But at the same time, nobody there is proselytizing or wearing a crucifix, cross, star of David, or anything. I see myself now as open, but I don’t feel I have to say something to everyone.
When people who already know you as a good person, a reliable employee, a trusting friend, they probably won’t change their opinion much of you just because you are Pagan. I did have 2 people un-friend me on Facebook, but they were old church friends. Those who want to leave your life because of your beliefs are not really friends to begin with.
If you are coming out, please know there are many Pagans and Pagan-friendly folks who support you and are sending positive energy for you. Blessed Be.