What exactly is "coming out of the closet"? I guess it is anytime when one feels that their actions or behavior is such that it would embarrass or shame them if those that they are closet to (such as family and friends) knew about it. At least that is what it all boils down too. I understand the need to stay hidden in the closet. Standing up for your beliefs, no matter what they are, can be a very difficult and sacrificing action. Such a decision can change your life overnight simply by the admission or revelation of what you have been keeping secret and behind the closet door.
In regards to my own experience of “coming out” in regards to my spiritual beliefs I am not really sure if I ever would say I was in the closet; although that in itself may be a manner that I use to disguise the fact that I was. I grew up in a small rural town in Oklahoma. The Christian faith was second nature. Much of this was due to the fact that it was rural and there was always a loss for something to do. Although our town held only a population of maybe 1500 there were a total of seven church denominations represented. I was not born or raised in what was and still is called a “Christian home”. My mother was a native of East Germany and after her escape to Berlin; she met my father and eventually came to America. She was raised with the strict regimen of the Lutheran church yet since that was one sect that was not represented in our town she refused to take us. I remember her dislike of the social manner Americans put into church. It was not a place to show off what new clothes or shoes you may have purchased the week before she would always say.
Yet I loved church. I can honestly say that I attended 6 of the 7 churches which stood in our town. It was the Catholic Church which was the one which I refrained from. Yet it was the Catholic church that later led to the beginning of my questions. Seeing a small rural Catholic cemetery one evening driving home I marveled at the statue of Jesus and the lights that shone on it. I told my mother that when I passed I wanted to be buried there. She quickly informed me that this was impossible as I was not Catholic and only Catholics could be there. This answer did not settle well with me thus I started my quest.
Being a child who often sat quietly in the corner and observed her surroundings, I took everything in. I learned at an early age the meaning of the word hypocrite although I had not even heard the word yet. It was something that confused me as a young child. Yet with a dysfunctional home life I had no one to really explain its meaning or reason to me. There were times in my younger life that I was angry for this absence yet when I look back today I am glad. For this is the reason I sought so hard for the answers I am still finding today.
Even when I was quite active in the church, I was still somewhat controversial as my views rarely were toe to toe with those of the denomination I was with at the time. I think that is why I sought so much to find answers. I believed in prayer and still do. And the answers I was getting were not what the other “people” were telling me or attempting to make me believe. For something as important as my spiritual life, I was determined to keep looking until I found that which filled me.
I think it was when I divorced in 97 that I truly began to see the need to look elsewhere. Here I was at a time when there was nothing I could have used more than support and encouragement and I received none. The women of the church shunned me, as I was now a single woman. Rumors and gossip ran rampant and these high and mighty church going individuals followed it with eagerness much like a starving dog to a fresh piece of meat. It was not that I was alone and harbored ill feelings. I had been alone before and listened to the quiet whispers that you hear when you actually really do sit and be still. It was the contradictory in their words and actions that hurt and still even at the age of 35 confused me.
I had always had an interest in the pagan side of religion yet growing up as I did it was not necessarily an option. The internet was not around yet to explore and I daresay the library would have any books that may help out. There were also the constant teachings of my Sunday school teachers; the fact that anyone who even remotely dabbled in such evil would surely be tossed to the far corners of Hell and live in eternal damnation. Yet it still always lingered in the far corners of me, waiting until I finally was at a point where I could embrace its calling.
I have to say that my walk has probably become a run since I rediscovered my husband. With his support and encouragement I have been able to trust myself more and flourish in what I feel most comfortable in. I still very much feel like I am a babe in paganism, yet I have never felt more at home. I do not shout to everyone what I believe, however I was never that kind of person. It is known to most of my family and friends that I am no longer in the church and that my practices have changed. I am open to all who question this area of me yet have not specifically gone to any for the specific reason of telling them. I have always felt that whatever the spiritual path you choose it is a personal journey and unless YOU choose to share there is no reason to. So to the question as to whether or not I have come out of the closet; I think my closet door was always open or at least cracked.