You’re reading in the living room, enjoying the story and relaxing, when your mother walks into the room, her face streaked with tears. She’s holding your cauldron in her hands, the pentacle clearly visible. Your heart sinks and you feel sick to your stomach. “What is this?” she demands.
If you’re uneasy just reading that, then you have a lot of work to do. As often as you think about the way you’ll be called out about your faith, and as dreadful as it feels, the reality will likely be totally different than you anticipate. You need to understand—it’s not a question of if you can keep things under the rug; it’s a question of how long. Because you will be found out—or you will get tired of hiding and want to tell your family who you really are. That’s basically what the situation will come down to, when it happens. Are you going to hide, or tell the truth?
You’re probably cringing at one or the other of those options. I know I am. But take a breath, and don’t judge either choice. While telling the truth might seem noble, there might be less pain for everyone if you hide. Understand that if you come out of the broom closet, things are going to be difficult, and probably for a long time. By that same coin though, the longer you internalize, the more frustrated you’re going to become, and the harder it will be to share this piece of yourself.
As I mentioned in the last post, there’s a fine line between being who you are and respecting others around you. Personal experience has taught me that any deviation from my family’s Christian faith is viewed as a failing on my mother’s part to teach me “the right way.” There is no argument I can make at this point in time to convince her otherwise, so it is my responsibility to avoid the subject all together, even though it pains me that I can’t share this part of my life with her. I chose respecting her beliefs over expressing my own. The opposite side of that coin was very well expressed by Cos Wiccan Mom in the comments section of the last point. Coming out of the broom closet will be difficult, but there is merit in being honest. You know your family best, and once you take a step back to truly examine the situation, you might find there are more pros to coming out than cons.
Now on into the actual approaches for hiding and telling the truth.
- That belongs to a friend
Don’t implicate a close friend, or someone your family is likely to encounter, but spin the situation like you are helping a friend in need. This situation can also help you figure out how your parents might react to the idea of you being Wiccan.
- That’s for research for a story
This is the excuse I have at the ready because I’m a pathological writer. For this to make sense in others’ eyes though, you have to be seen as strange enough to have the found item in your possession first. This goes back to painting a picture of yourself and leading others to believe you’re a little eccentric.
- I don’t think this is a conversation we should have right now
It can be hard to lie to the ones you love, so if the first two options don’t suit you, then take this approach. Be honest, but also clear that you don’t want to have this conversation now and/or you’re exploring different things and you’re not ready to have the conversation.
- Stay focused on the object found
If your mother comes to you with your cauldron, explain what it is for, and what you use it for. Use the item as a lead in to the larger picture. Sometimes holding a tangible item can change the way a person thinks.
- Use the item as a way to begin the explanation
Begin with a simple description of what the found object is used for, and then carefully tell what you yourself use it for. After that, go deeper into your own beliefs, or at least what you understand of them so far. If you have a book with good quotes that helps explain your conversion process, or why you chose to believe the way you do, use that book now. The stronger you appear, the less you give the other person to hurt you.
- Failing research, give a generic explanation
“You know, I’m in a phase right now where I want to explore other spiritual options.” Don’t be antagonistic; don’t bash their god, or their faith. They’re people too, and likely they just want to understand in that pivotal moment.
- Be serious; this is important to you
Don’t let your family treat your Wiccan faith like a fad or a phase you’ll grow out of. Don’t let them ridicule you. Be up-front and explain that this is a decision you did not come to lightly, and you’ve done a lot of soul-searching and this is serious. This is who you are. It might change in the future and it might not, but it’s real.
Ways to prepare
I don’t do well in the face of strong emotion, especially if it’s coming from my mom or dad. There’s not a lot of ways around that kind of reaction though, because no matter how you prepare for it, you can’t control their reactions. What I’ve been doing over the past couple of years—yes, years—is trying to gently ease my family into my ideas on things, so that when the truth is set out in the full light of day, it’s not such a shock. I don’t know how well it will work when it happens, but making these little preparations helps stabilize me in the process. I want to express myself, and I feed that need with these tiny occurrences. Because if you can’t out right change someone’s mind, the next best thing is to get them to think. I call this creating rabbit trails—inserting a fun fact or referencing something from “an article you read somewhere” just to get a reaction. Play devil’s advocate, and be obvious about it. You’re not really taking a side; you just want to see what the other person is going to say.
And before I go, I want to thank everyone who left a comment on the previous post with additional suggestions for hiding your Wiccan things. That kind of community effort is magical and totally what I’m going for here. 😀