I started drafting a reply to Jen’s comment on yesterday’s post and realised it was turning into a post in it’s own right…
My ‘masquerade’ is part truth, but part self-protection. I am a suburban mum – but that is quite literally only the tip of the iceberg. Yes, about 9/10 of my life lurks beneath the public surface!
The answer is complicated or at least multi-faceted (in no particular order):
Facet 1: My personal history. I used to be an active christian and found paganism via the break-up of an emotional abusive relationship. Many of my christian friends then had enough problems with the marriage break-up without complicating things further!
Facet 2: The area I live in has the highest number of churches per capita in our country. Round here you navigate by denomination (turn left at the Catholics, if you reach the Baptists you’ve gone too far…). If you tell visitors to turn left at the church you might never see them again – although I suppose that could have its uses! So, being wide open about my own beliefs hasn’t felt entirely wise. I do hint, and with people I know I’m quite open about it. But I don’t walk down the street wearing a large pentagram (a discreet-ish goddess pendant, yes).
Facet 3: I don’t actually expect people to be that interested! I figure most of us are quite busy enough getting on with our own lives, and I really don’t like to impose myself on people. I am happy to be cheerful and friendly, but I’m not going to take it further than that without some form of invitation/encouragement.
Facet 4: This stuff is immensely important to me – an intrinsic part of my being. Putting it ‘out there’ for public comment means I risk having something precious to me denigrated.
Facet 5: Keeping quiet has got to be a habit – this is the bit I’m really working on right now. After all, it’s going to be hard to get work as a shaman-healer-counsellor if I don’t admit that what I am!
Facet 6: Over the course of my life, I have put a lot of energy into maintaining a reputation for being calm, etc. The stuff currently bubbling to the service is kinda going to blow that out of the water!
There’s probably more, but that may be enough to digest for now!
Opening up to other people isn’t too big an issue for me – it’s opening up to myself I prefer to avoid. I know once I start opening my heart, there will be no going back and my life may change quite dramatically. That bit doesn’t scare me too much; I’ve already started somewhat through my counselling studies: a dash of feminist theory here, a smattering of anthropology there. Letting myself really feel what I feel (instead of bottling it all) is the scary thing for me. I know it will be a lot better for me – but it still scares me!