(Broom closet starts with a B, so it still counts!)
Like many, many younger people just starting out on their path, I’m lodged firmly in the broom closet. This means that my family, at least, does not know about my religious affiliations. Actually, it goes further than that: I’m still masquerading as Christian for their sakes. The last time I had someone find out about a major part of my identity, I was kicked out of my house and assaulted–so I don’t see a revelation about my spirituality as going any better.
This is why I’m choosing to stay in the broom closet until further notice–it’ll be easier on my parents and extended family that way. I’m not one for lying, but with college just around the corner and my family already stretched to the brink trying to deal with my grandparents, they really don’t need an added stress. Not to mention, if they were to learn about it, I would most likely be barred from practicing.
My mother is naturally a very controlling person; she likes to know what I’m up to at all times and to control all of my assets and what I do on a daily basis. I doubt she would continue to let me worship my gods or practice witchcraft on a daily basis like I do now in secret. And as I’m still budding in my spirituality, I want to try to learn as much as possible, both by respecting the gods and by forging my own way with magick, as well as seeking guidance from others more experienced than me.
I’d define myself as an eclectic pagan witch, and I highly doubt anyone in my family would have anything positive to say about witches. They weren’t even aware of their existence until I informed them of Wicca. It’s both for their peace of mind and mine.
I suppose it’s difficult to practice when those you may want to tell about spiritual experiences are out of the loop. Then there is the covering up–of my altar, of my candles, why I place fresh water on my shelf top each day, and the general lying. I hate lying, I really do. I’ve lied a lot since I was a child, as a mechanism to ensure my own safety. Living with an emotionally and physically abusive father made it necessary that I learn how to lie, and how to lie well, and keep track of those lies to keep up a strong illusion of what people want to see as opposed to the reality. And I’m still doing that; both with my spirituality, my gender identity, my sexuality, etc. I only do it for my family’s peace of mind. And it feels wrong to me, and I wish I could stop.
But the cold reality is that lying is my way out of a bad situation. If I continue to carry the favor of my mother, then I will have money to pay for some of college, which will eventually carry me out of state. In order to get out, I have to keep living a lie.
Although, perhaps I dug my own grave? If I had not grown so accustomed to lying, to people-pleasing, maybe I would be able to be more honest with my family about who I am and what I do? Although I doubt it, truly. My parents, no matter how much they might be different had I not pretended to be the perfect little girl they wanted me to be, would never have accepted the apparent fate of that little girl: according to their philosophy, I am going to Hell, and that is the worst fate one might imagine for their child. Of course I don’t really believe in the concept of Hell, but in the black-and-white world of fundamentalist Southern Baptist Christianity, they are right, and I am wrong. There is no negotiating.
Then, is the broom closet simply another method of deception in a long line of already existing lies? Yes, it is. But it is a necessary one, no doubt.