Support Isn’t Real, Apparently.

This is what my religious is. Got it?

This is what my religion is. Got it?

Yesterday, I was pretty angry. I thought about blogging about it, but I’ve been paying more attention to that two-response rule that I’ve been mentioning lately. I decided it was more in my best interest to just hold off on off-the-cuff responses (mostly) and think about what I’m going to say. I actually haven’t really thought about how I want to address this, but I do know that I want to at least say something regarding it and then work off of that. So, let’s talk about what went down.

The other day, TH went over to his aunt’s house to help her out with a computer issue. Since her techno-geek son is living in Japan, she relies on TH to get the technology aspect going in her household. While he was there, she was perusing a jewelry site that had to do with Greek and Roman deities or something. (I honestly don’t know.) She was going through the list to TH, who kept shaking his head saying that while the pieces looked pretty, nothing she was talking about was something I had ever mentioned to him before and that he wouldn’t be anything unless he had heard me talk about it. From this, his cousin said, “Well, she changes her religion, like every day, so how do we know?” And TH took the lowest fucking road imaginable: he pumped his fist in the air and said, “YES. I’M GLAD I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO SEES IT! But don’t tell her that.”

So, he told me instead…

… and I just kind of went to a quiet place for a while.

After rehashing this out here, I have to admit that I still don’t really know how to address the aspersions on my character and my religious practices. I know a general way, obviously, is to finally set it down in fucking concrete so that these idiotic miscommunications or misunderstandings really fucking stop. (If that Christian friend of mine is reading this, she’s probably chuckling it up.) But, I’m still really upset and angry with the entire situation. Not only is this another flagrant “I don’t really support you” moment from people who are supposed to care about me in some fashion (more specifically TH here), but after having discussed this before, it feels more along the lines of a betrayal. I’m probably taking this to a place I shouldn’t – betrayal seems a little harsh – but feelings often have a way of blowing themselves out of control without our say so.

I’ve thought about what the core issue could be. I’ve come down to a couple of ideas. I think that it could be because I’m not very loud with my religion, outside of the Internet, it leaves a lot of people confused and uncertain. I think that it could be, too, that I don’t have a concrete indicator of what I do and where I do it and why I do it to point at when people talk to me about it. But, these are all issues that I can rectify and possibly will… I haven’t decided yet. The thing is that I don’t really believe that I’m the only cause of this issue. Sure, I could talk about it more openly instead of shutting those conversations down, but it’s not like they ask for more than entertainment value… so why should I get butt-hurt in front of a group of people who need a monkey to perform for them? And that, I believe, is the very core issue here. I feel that when they ask me about it in such a public setting, they’re asking me to dance for them.

And honey, if I don’t dance for TH, then why the fuck am I going to dance for you?

Since the questions regarding my religious practices do only happen in such a public setting, I end up shutting the conversations down because I’m not comfortable discoursing to a large gathering of people about something of this magnitude. It’s not something minor that I can answer clearly, either. My religious practice(s) are very large and very time-consuming and it could take me, very much, hours to explain the whole shebang to people. But, since they don’t follow up these questions in a private setting, then I don’t feel obligated to continue. If they are truly curious, then I feel that they would seek me out, one-on-one. While obviously something is coming into my life that is going to force this issue (this is a clear indicator, issues with Christian friend are a clear indicator, and other “omens” that I have are clear fucking indicators), I should probably use these public forays on a familial scale as a bouncing off point.

But, I’m just not ready.

(Yeah, yeah, Devo, I know that I will get tossed off the cliff or jump myself, but just not yet.)

Another thing is that they don’t bother to seek out this blog, of which I do not hide in any context, and so therefore, again, they do not make the effort. It would be one thing if an effort was made, but they do not. Instead, they feel the need to, literally, talk shit behind my back. I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t fly with me. I am nice, kind, and very supportive of these people and I feel that it is their fucking responsibility to treat me with like kindness. Call me crazy here, but isn’t there something about treating others the way you want to be treated? Luckily for these people, I don’t follow the same Golden Rules that they do. I treat others respectfully and kindly (for the most part) because it is a core tenet of my belief system. And you know, if you wanted to know that, I could have told you… but again, I guess that means that you need to put me on parade to do it.

A while back, I was having a conversation with TH about how no one, outside of my mini-community online, supports me religiously. I told him that he does, in a way, but aside from the Sister, I have no support. My mother doesn’t ask about it even if I talk about it. Obviously, I did not have real support from my Christian friend. In all honesty, this is a very real indicator that I don’t have anyone’s support in this endeavor and that really bothers me. I guess I feel like this should be reciprocated. I support them in their endeavors, either of a religious or non-religious nature, so why can’t I just be given a little fucking respect here? What do I do that makes it so easy for them to lose the respect? Is it just because I cannot comment in full length easily, as any Christian affiliated religious person would do, or is it merely because they think what I do is silly, fluffy, and unrealistic?

I’m sorry that the answers I could provide, if you took the time to find me and ask anyway, are not as straight-forward and easy. I’m sorry that my religious life isn’t as clear-cut as people would like it to be. Unfortunately, one of the things about paganism is merely that because it is such a large umbrella terminology for a whole slew of religious affiliations, we are more likely to look elsewhere and find comfort in similar practices. Christians rarely flow outside of their box of comfort, going from atheists to agnostics and heading back toward the Big Three often enough. They do not realize that it is not as easy as saying, “Baptist,” or “born-again Christian,” or “Catholic.” Religious practices in the pagan hemisphere are more wide-reaching than just a simple niche that we can easily fulfill.

But beyond all of that, really, it comes down to a simple fucking courtesy. I offer it to them, but I do not get it in return.

And that, right now, is the core problem here. No courtesy; no respect; no support; no nothing.

Even though I do not receive any of these things from my supposed family, who should love and respect my beliefs anyway, I am not going to sacrifice some of the core aspects of my beliefs to give it back to them. I find it very amusing that, in some instances, I am a better Christian than they are… and I’m not even a Christian! I do not judge. I do not talk behind their back. I offer them respect and courtesy, love and support. This is a part of who I am and what my practices are. And I will be the one laughing in the end because I am the one who does not doubt, does not question. My religion is my reality and I live in every day.

And all they can do is talk about people who are sure-footed and aware because they cannot take the time to merely ask.

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9 thoughts on “Support Isn’t Real, Apparently.

  1. FWIW, I don’t have much support out of online, either. My family knows very little about my religious practices. And it turns out that my non-practicing Christian family sorta lost their shit when they realized that I was no longer Christian- even though they still don’t entirely know what I actually *am*. My SO supports me, and that is important to me. But its sorta us against hte world :P At least, IRL. If it weren’t for my online peeps, I’d go insane.

    • Normally, I don’t really desire a supportive safety net. I’m usually fine, doing my thing ans getting going. But after the shit with Christian friend and the revelation that my marriage would have ended anyway because of my religion… It just gets so draining and lonely.

      • Honestly, I don’t know that I could be with someone who belittled my religious practices. I don’t need someone who believes the same as me, per say, but I certainly don’t want someone who thinks lesser of me because of my religion. You know?

  2. I don’t receive much support outside of the online community, either. I have two college friends I can count upon, but they live in other states and we only get to talk so often. My SO has an idea of my religion, but I haven’t sat down with him to explain it yet.

  3. I understand where you are coming from.
    I dislike talking about my practices in detail to people outside the ‘pagan crowd’, partially because I don’t see the point and partially because it takes too long and … it’s personal, the most of it, and I like that way. Yet with family… you do expect at least a minimum of support and acceptance and so you try explaining. I always tried to be honest and invited my mother and brother to ask questions if they wanted. My mother always denied to ask anything and occasionally offered attempts to act supportive (as offering to have a triskele painted in my old bedroom … it has little to do with my pantheon but it was a nice feeling … ) but then she turns around at the oddest times and publicly references to me as ‘someone who became an atheist’, slips in a little condiscendence when I reply I am not.

    Tecnically she is more of an atheist than I am, since she has no whatsoever religious practice but that doesn’t seem to matter when she decides to remind me that mine is something less than a real religion. It always gets me by surprise and I always hate it.

    I think that part of the problem is the fact people from a mainstream spiritual background are not used to the idea of a religious path that evolves over time or that even takes consistent part of one’s time and efforts. It’s hard for them to imagine faith as a serious commitment too, most of time, unless it comes wrapped in a priestly collar because that’s the package they are used to. All that makes easier for people to be jerks.

    And, honestly, I think your TH was being one immature jerk by using a kid’s opinion to trump up his before your eyes. The question is why he felt the need to do that, like he needed showing you ‘i am right and i am not the only one who thinks it’ so he could cement that feeling *for and in himself*. Most likely he feels insecure. I would wonder why.
    *shrugs*
    Just my two cents.

  4. If one explores and dabbles in any other area of his/her life, this is looked upon favorably by others – “oh he’s an avid (fill in the blank) or he has studied (blank) for years! Or she has spent years practicing (this and that.) Or …he/she is SO diverse in his/her study!” But when it comes to religion, we are supposed to be “loyal” and never let our faith waiver – even if that means turning a blind eye to every other spiritual path and culture in the world. Studying and dabbling and mixing and matching is unheard of in a lot of religions. Most religious people demand monogamy. And even pagans often have their opinions to how much mixing and matching we should be allowed to do. While the more organized religions will call this sin, the pagans will call us fluffy. Since I believe that we are all tapping into the same energies, it is not at all unfaithful to explore and to feel drawn to certain representations of this energy/energies. We may even stumbled upon a few new ones along the way. But I think what separates us from the most spiritual people (at least in our part of the world) is that we are walking a path that allows us to explore and to have a personal relationship with the gods, to learn from them – it is a hands on, experience based system. I think that those who are in more conventional religions just don’t get that – and see us as wishy washy all over the place religious weirdos.

    And so what if they do. But yeah the TH thing….I think I’d be more than a little hurt about that – I’d expect him to get me. But. Maybe he was just trying to keep it light around the family?? I mean, if they wouldn’t understand no matter what, why bother…. ?? Just a thought. But I do feel your pain. When I read what he said, I have to say I did inhale sharply.

    • To my mind syncretism and eclecticism are hallmarks of most ancient Pagan cultures/religions. Vikings brought home Buddha statues, Romans adopted Celtic Gods and vice versa, and Greeks accepted damned near any God or Goddess whose culture they came into contact with. Sure, these ancient Pagans may have worshiped these Gods after their own fashion, but they freely adopted others’ Gods.

  5. I completely understand where you are coming from. People don’t offer me much support other then to take the piss, I kind of laugh it off but never get into any useful discussion about my beliefs. Other then the odd interested person. And that’s when I’m happy to answer questions are as a genuine interest is shown. With close friends the subject isn’t brought up. I do have one good friend who I can chat to about this so I’m lucky there. And my husband supports me too. I am very glad of that. But others think whats I do is fluffy and not very realistic as you said in your post. Sometimes it does make me angry and at other times it can get lonely

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