I spent some if Sunday with my sister and brother-in-law. We, along with husband, went to the Hello Kitty exhibit at a local museum. As a side note, I invited my boyfriend. He declined, saying it might be “awkward.” It may have been. My sister is new the to knowledge about our relationship.
This leads me to thinking about family and secrets. Of my blood family, only my younger sister (and I presume her husband) know that I am poly. Many of my friends don’t know either. Similarly, plenty of pagans chose (or are forced to) stay in the closet. My blood family and I do not have the closest of relationships. While they know I am a pagan, they have very little idea of what that means. For my mother, I’m fairly certain “it’s phase” that “I’ll grow out of.” It’s 21 years, so I’m not sure when she thinks this “grown-up” revelation will happen. My younger sisters, I think, view my faith as another “weird thing” I do. My older sister stopped speaking to me 5 years ago when she became an evangelical Christian. My father likes to pretend – he pretends he doesn’t know most of the time. Although to his credit, once my older sister stopped talking to me, he’s made a point to get a witchy gift at Christmas.
Of course, I tend to keep my both elements of my personal life out of the workplace. I’ve always been private at work, but a select few know about my paganism and even fewer know about my poly-lifestyle.
Often secrecy is considered part of witchcraft, specifically – to know to dare, to keep silent. I can’t imaging sharing details of a ritual or working with anyone (other than my witchy-partner), but somethings there is something very tiring about being closeted. Always having to censor, even what should be the most innocuous information. Wondering how it will be perceived when I’m asked about what I did for Christmas. I have options. I can shrug and say “not much.” I can say “I don’t celebrate Christmas,” which leads to the assumption that I’m an atheist (people assume that about professors a lot). I can say “My solstice celebration was wonderful, how was your Christmas?” Of course, I’m left considering the ramifications. Will this person at some point deny me a job? Will my classes get cut? Will I be supported by my department in other matters?
Secrecy is tiring.