(I’ve never shared this story publicly.)
My own coming out story.
Back in 1999 my first book was coming out. With a title of The Virtual Pagan over my mundane name, I could no longer keep my ‘two lives’ separate.Telling my mom was no big deal, nor my sister. They’d grown up with me and heard enough stories about what I was doing that it was more of a confirmation than news. (Complete with “how cool!”)
My father, however, was another matter. Not because he was religious, just the opposite. He was/is a confirmed and articulate atheist and I’d known that most of my three decades of life. All the more so because his wife was also a vocal (scathingly so) atheist. So to tell him that I was not just ‘involved’ in witchcraft but had written a book about it because of my experiences as a leader and therefore was DEEP INTO the spiritual felt incredibly scary.
What would he say? How disappointed would he be? It wouldn’t stop me, but . . . omgoddess I am such a little girl and how can I be a leader when this kind of stuff reduces me to a seven year old . . .
I sat on the stairs of my house and clutched the phoneset tightly as the line rang. . . wanting him not to be there but also desperately needing to get this over with so I could just have it be OVER.
“hey dad. I uh have something to tell you. . . . Um. I ah I just got the news that I book I wrote is going to be published. . . .
yeah, um. It’s not fiction, its non fiction
Its called the Virtual Pagan and its about how to be a pagan — as in witch — online.”
<PAUSE, heart pounding so loud I could barely hear>
“That is fantastic news! What do you mean by witch?”
I stumbled through an explanation about following the seasons, worshiping Deity and that I’d been following this practice for a while.
“Can you send me something to read about this? Or give me a resource to look at?”
This was not what I expected. My world was re-establishing itself all around me based on this new information. I said something about his being an atheist.
“Well yes. But I want to know what interests you.”*
We talked for a little longer, I have no idea what about. Maybe about the writing of the book and a bit more of what it was about?
Coming out is terrifying and liberating and dangerous and fantastic and everything you have ever felt when you revealed a secret.That moment was an evolution in my relationship with my father and taught me a great deal about myself and what I hold sacred as well as what (and who) can be trusted.
Today is National Coming Out day and this is my story.
*I recommend Cunningham’s The Truth About Witchcraft, in case you want a good source to offer your own people.