How to "Come Out of the Broom Closet"

There seem to be many people wondering if there are any tips to make coming out easier or on how to know if you're ready to come out to anyone at all. Indeed there are. My experience of coming out of all sorts of closets has imbued me with wisdom which I hope can help some of you.

1. Consider how long you've been studying. Has it been long enough that you're sure this is the path for you or has this become a very large part of your life that you feel compelled to share with your loved ones? If it's not a huge part of your life, there might not be a reason for them to know. Spirituality is very personal, and many might not see the reason for sharing it. Consider why you want them to know.

2. Make sure you have amassed QUITE A BIT of information so that you'll be able to accurately answer any of the questions they might have. You'll get some random ones too, I'd bet. I know I have when coming out of the broom closet.

3. Find a time when you're not in public, when you parents/friends are in relatively good moods and not distracted, and when you can all sit down face-to-face and talk, but don't try to do it at a family function or time allotted for something else (like Thanksgiving or someone's birthday). Oh, and a safety tip--don't come out in a moving vehicle.

4. Deal with any stereotypes or misinformation they might have toward Pagans fairly soon, but don't turn it into a "Pagans aren't this and this" or "Pagans don't believe..." discussion. They'll figure out what you are by your description not by your denials.

5. Make sure you're ready emotionally, financially, etc. There is a chance that something major might happen, like them disowning you. Can you handle that psychologically? Do you have a place to go/can you afford your bills if this happens?

6. Make sure you're in the right emotional state. Don't do this in anger, as revenge, or as a means to get attention.

7. Offer to help them through this if they appear to be taking it somewhat badly. Offer them books and other resources specifically for parents or relatives of Wiccans/Pagans/witches. There are several. You could also offer to discuss the basics with them more or do a ritual they could observe or take part in (depending on their comfort level).

8. If they do take it badly, respect their feelings and your own. Don't be afraid to walk away if you get upset. Explain that you need time alone to think or cool down and walk away before you say something that could make things worse (like bashing their religion or something). Also don't be unwilling to give them that same right. Don't push your case when they're clearly unreceptive. This goes for more than the coming out process. You might alienate them if you push it and push it when they are clear that it's not something they approve of.

9. Remember they might be surprised or fearful for you. People in this state often say things they don't mean as a jerk reaction. Don't get overly hurt by these. It also might be a case of ignorance of what they're saying; they might not realize it's hurtful.

10. Don't plan to do anything else shortly afterwards. It will take as long as it will take; don't rush it by saying "Mom, Dad, I'm a witch, and I know we're uber conservative Catholics and all that in this house, but deal with it. I have to go see a movie with Susie now. Bye!"

11. And, even if they don't kick you out, have an escape plan ready for the night, some cash, a place to go, etc. You might both need some extra space.

12. If you need to talk to someone, have someone handy, even if it's a complete stranger (like me).

13. Realize this might not be the only time you come out to them. Sometimes it doesn't take the first time, and you'll have to repeat the process.

14. Coming out will not solve all your problems. It might not relieve any weight of feeling like you're hiding something or make you feel better, improve your spiritual connection, etc. Have realistic expectations.

15. They might think it's a phase, so be ready for that. They also might suggest counseling. This might help if it's family counseling and the counselor isn't overtly of another religion. Consider it.

16. Don't expect them to keep it a secret from others. They'll need to talk to people too, and some people tell others about it in shock. I know my mother was guilty of this one. After she called every family friend I'd ever been in contact with, she had a bit of a breakdown at a family gathering for Christmas while offering me some potatoes, shouting "You don't need any of our Christmas food! You're Pagan. I almost forgot!" so that every one of my extended relatives heard.

17. Be honest about the religion, your beliefs, etc. You won't do them any favors by lying to them about it, and they might lose trust in you if they find out you were dishonest.

18. Consider your work situation. Even if you're planning just to come out to a few people, what might happen if your boss "accidentally" found out? (See #16.) On this note, consider anyone you haven't already told. What might happen if Aunty Muriel finds out? What about Grandpa Steve? Are you going to be cut out of wills, publicly humiliated, etc.?

19. Think about how "out" you're going to be after this. Yes, you'll technically be "out" after telling your loved ones, but are you going to attend public events that could land you on the news? Are you going to host circles at a home you share with other non-Pagans? Are you going to discuss religious topics with non-Pagans? Are you going to have a permanent altar or shrine up in your living space that others might see? This might influence when, where, how, why and to whom you come out.

I hope all goes well for you, and (as I said) if you need to talk, I'm here.

Views: 1828

Tags: broom, closet, come, coming, gay, out, parent, witch

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