There are times where it is difficult to put into words, either vocally or by way of tangible scribbles on paper, what I feel or even my thoughts. It's as if there is no force in the world that is poetic or strong enough to portray the emotions that I wish to express. So, I remain silent on many things. There is one thing, however, that I can be silent no longer on and though I think there are not enough words to accurately express what I desire, I will go forth and say the words that I know some will not understand:
I am not Christian.
With those four words uttered, I would like to explain that it is not that I don't believe in the teachings and philosophy of Christianity but I have felt that my calling has guided me to a path that many around me would wrongly see as evil. Even as I put into words my reasoning for stepping onto this rarely walked path, I feel a great sadness grip me. It started off as fear, not of the unknown but of how my loved ones would react when they discover what I have done. Only a very close collection of people know (my father, boyfriend, and a selected handful of close friends) and not only accept my new path but are fully supportive of my decision. With family who are Roman Catholic, Mormon, or some other form Christianity, it would be much more acceptable to open up as bisexual or pan-sexual (which I am but that is besides the point) then what I have chosen. It has not helped with the knowledge that older family members have been disowned and not even acknowledged for the simple fact that they were following a belief that the rest did not think was holy. As I thought about my decision more and more, the fear that I felt towards how the rest of my family and friends would react was slowly replaced little by little with confidence. This was greatly aided by the unending love and support that I have been given by those who have stood by me so far.
I am Bruja. I am Vodou.
Looking back at my life, I can see now that I was always meant to walk this path. The hints and callings have always been there but because of the fear I had of how those around me would react, I constantly denied the calling while announcing to others that I wasn't not practicing magic or making altars. I would claim that I just liked decorating or how the light of the candles played on the items that I had strategically placed which I silently found peace in. Each uttered statement of denial left a bitter taste in my mouth, unanswered questions in my mind, and a heartbreaking ache in my chest. As I grew up, I couldn't understand why I felt such things and why each time I said "No I'm not a witch" or "No I'm not practicing --" brought me to tears. It was as if I was destroying myself each time I said it. Still, I stayed silent about the pain I felt. By college, I called myself a 'Naturalistic Christian'. It was a way to rationalize that I still believed that there was a god but incorporated the other various things I believed in while at the same time letting people know that I didn't want to be associated with the bigotry and two-faced people that I kept meeting in the church who claimed to be Christian without actually following the teachings of love, peace and understanding. Looking at those statements now, it was as if I was looking at the other side of the wall through a crack in the stone, fear of what others would say if they knew still gripping me. Would my family disown me? Would my friends think I was just doing something they would consider a fad? And so I continued on, silently hurting. It wasn't until after the passing of my mother two years ago, in my my period of depression, did I start to reanalyze my life. I had become shattered to myself beyond recognition though to others, at a glance, I was alright. My work was affected, my mind left in torment, and my soul was raw. I realized that to rebuild myself and move forward, I needed to figure out what made me 'ME'. So I began to pick up the pieces.
I believe in many things.
As I began to learn and discover myself, I felt a warmth grow inside of me. Something that helped me smile. I have been re-finding my passion and remembering what my original goal for my work. While on this journey, the years of fear and doubt about myself have finally started to be replaced with confidence and love. I know that I'm only at the beginning of my travels along this path and still have much more to discover. With pieces of my broken self being put back together, I finally could truly appreciate kintsugi where Japanese artisans repair broken pottery with gold. I was given a chance to go forth and proudly show my character and what I believed in. Even with this, I am thankful that those who I have opened up to so far about this have been supportive of it. As far as my family, I hold the hope that one day they will celebrate in the joy that I have found. I know that there are so many other things that those around me have been trying to urge me towards, either to fit the preconceived idea they had of me or because they feel that they know best. To those, I can not apologize and have those words actually be meaningful. No longer can I continue trying to please everyone. Not without eliminating the essence of what I hold dear. To those who think I will change, this metamorphosis that I am going through is not something to be feared. Everything will be alright. Why?
I am still and always will be Me.