“Mr. White, you are being charged with drunk… in… publ-ic-kah!” I was like, “Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! I was drunk in a bar. They threw me into pub-lic. I don’t want to be drunk in pub-lic, I want to be drunk in a bar, which is perfectly legal…”
– Ron White, Blue Collar Comedy Tour
So this being public about my path thing? Sometimes it fucking sucks. And I’ve only been doing this for seven months.
But it’s a blog! And it means attention! And attention is good, right?
A week ago I received my first criticism. There were those who piped up directly to that criticism, stating that hey, everything was made very clear, everything was clearly consensual and this is her path and nothing appears to be coerced. There were people who posted wonderful supportive words here (and I thank you all for that). Yet my brain, being what it is, keeps hanging on to other comments: assumptions that I’m mentally ill, brainwashed, dragging my friends into it, and worse.
It shouldn’t matter. These are comments from people who don’t know me, who will never know me, whose opinions, in the long run, will fade from my memory. But it hurt. It still hurts. It makes me angry and sad, to where I want to crawl into a hole and not write anymore.
I’m not the first person to face this. I have friends who have been called all kinds of it awful things, far worse than I’ve experienced so far. This is just the first time; I am absolutely sure that it will not be the last. I will have to learn to defend myself reasonably, and grow a thicker skin. Otherwise I’m going to end up curled up in a ball on my bed, hoping to hide from the world.
So why continue? So many people follow their paths quietly. Why be public at all?
First and foremost, it’s a condition of my collar, my geas. In accepting Cernunnos’ collar, I accepted His edict that my journey would have to be public, shared with friends and strangers alike, the highs and lows documented honestly. I would have buried my reaction to this, pushed away the hurt and anger. Earlier tonight I considered a binding to limit the influence and effect of the criticisms and assumptions, and that was met with a thoughtful but firm No. I have to feel it; I have to experience it; then I have to write about it and post it for all to see.
Such reactions reveal another reason to keep writing, though – the need for dialogue. There is a lot of discussion right now about acceptance, allowing others to live and love and worship as they will. Yet when faced with a path like mine, it seems that all of that talk goes out the window in favor of fear and assumption.
I am a godslave. My husband is a shaman. My former teacher and good friend is a Labyrinth Keeper. Another friend is an atheist. Another is Baptist. That doesn’t stop us from being friends, from loving one another, or discussing our paths without judgment or fear. Yet in the greater community – especially the greater Pagan community – there is this massive divide between different paths. It makes me sad. It makes me angry. It hurts, and all I can do is ask why? (There are a ton of answers to that question, too.)
So here I am, funk in pub-lic.