Opacity

My default position on discussion of my spirituality is silence…which is funny when you consider I’ve got this blog thingy, and I’m active on a pagan forum, and I’ve been known to attend a conference or two.  I wouldn’t say I’m in the broom closet so much as actively participating in the pagan equivalent of Need to Know; most people don’t need to know, so I don’t tell them.

This goes against my belief in providing information to people, although I split hairs a little bit by saying that I give information when asked for it – even though people who know me also know that I love to tell people about things.  I get excited about sharing information with others, and learning from them as they (maybe?) learn something from me.  My brain is also the equivalent of the Room of Requirement – it is full of stuff, some of it not remembered until I shine a flashlight on it, and mostly useful for winning Trivial Pursuit.  I have a little bit of knowledge on a lot of topics, and in-depth knowledge on some.  I usually say I know just enough about a number of things to get myself in trouble.

(This is why IT hates it when I call them, by the way.)

So, my natural state is to reveal little while smiling and nodding and encouraging others to continue.  Unfortunately, the more involved I get in the pagan community at large (is there such a thing?), the less value my natural state seems to have and the more I realize that some translucence, if not transparency, might be helpful.  The problem I bump into with this realization is that…I don’t really know what to share.   And so I come back to this blog, and look at the topics I’ve chosen for Pagan Blog Project this year (and last)…and I’m all over the fucking place, aren’t I?

(I’m also using way more words than I probably should for this topic. This is going to be one of those posts.  I can just tell.  *goes to check the Musings box*)

To clear things up a little (pun intended), I typically pick my topics for this blog by writing about whatever pops into my head and, for Pagan Blog Project, this means random words in some sort of alphabetical order.  It amazes me how often they seem to be relevant.  I mean, opacity?  Really?  And yet, the idea of what we share and what we don’t fits in nicely from a FlameKeeping perspective – how open am I?  How open should I be?  When should information be shared, and when should it be held back?  Why do I cringe when I see the word ‘oathbound’?

I have no answers for any of this, honestly, but maybe I’ve started some wheels turning?

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18 responses to “Opacity

  1. THIS, all of THIS. I could ramble on about this whole post, but I think one of the last questions has got me thinking the most clearly at this point.

    I’ve been trying to pinpoint why some usages of words and phrases cause me to have violent emotional responses. With oathbound, it’s a bit tricky. I found that it’s not the word or the concept itself that causes the issue, it’s how the person talking about it uses the concept.

    I’m totally against the concept when someone is trying to use it as a validation tool (Since it’s a mystery, no one can judge me, so I’m always right)or a way to be TDSS (tall, dark, sexy shiny). Having a few things that I don’t and soon can’t openly discuss (here’s the I DON’T REALLY KNOW WHAT AND WHAT NOT), I understand when someone says, “I can’t talk about this”. I just don’t want to be led around in a fashion then left hanging, and I will work on not leaving others hanging myself.

    I can’t seem to think of the other things that bother me about that word right now. I may have something a little later.

    • That’s how I feel about ‘oathbound’, also. I totally get that there are things that can’t be discussed (I have some!) but nothing steams me more than using ‘oathbound’ as a hammer of this-is-why-I-am-so-much-better-than-you…unless, you know, it has to do with words and meaning things. 😉

  2. It is my belief that knowledge should be shared. This does not mean popping off at any point unsolicited, but if someone asks a question or is seeking information, share as much as you can so that they can find their way. I am of the “need to know” sort, but I also help to lead a weekly learning/discussion Circle where we delve into all manner of topics. If there is something of that sort that you can participate in, you can share you knowledge with other Seekers.

    I enjoyed this post. Thank you.

  3. I feel like it’s a tug of war, telling people and having some involved conversation where you usually have to justify your perspective or just remain mute – which is definitely against my normal inclinations.

    • It can be a really difficult thing to balance, although the forums I frequent have helped me enormously when it comes to putting forward a point of view that can be sourced. Still, lining up sources for every day conversation would be exhausting.

  4. I got dragged from the “broom closet”, as it were, in the 8th grade. Since then, I’ve navigated the line of sharing with varying levels of success.

    My difficulty in being open- which I would very much like to be- is that I just don’t have the energy for the judgment it brings out in other people. I am not ashamed of my beliefs, I’m just tired of explaining that no, I am not an irrational freak. And while it’s useful to know who the closed-minded assholes are, for future avoidance, I just run into so many of them that I get depressed and tired. I share in my own space, on my blogs, or somewhere I know I am welcome, like TC, but other than that I mostly keep it to myself these days.

    • I have a feeling that a dragging is coming soon for me, honestly, especially if I end up doing some of the more difficult work I have on my plate. I’m not sure how I feel about it – I’ve an (almost) entire bio-family of very religious Christians who love me but for whom it will be heart-breaking.

      I’m lucky that I’ve also got a chosen family who cares not a whit, as long as I’m happy…many of whom are from TC.

  5. If someone were to directly ask me “are you a Christian?” or “what do you believe?” I’d tell them the truth. If I were to lie, it would say that I’m ashamed of my faith and I’m not.

    • There are plenty of reasons to lie about one’s faith that have nothing to do with shame. Fear and privacy come readily to mind, but they’re hardly the only ones.

    • These things are, like so much else for me, situational. I can’t say I fancy being a martyr if it isn’t needed, f’ex. I mean, I’d love to say I’d be open and honest if asked a direct question, but it depends on who is doing the asking, you know?

      My 90+ year-old grandmother asked me, about a year before she died, directly, if I was still Christian. I told her, “Yes, Grandma.” Why break her heart? It wouldn’t have served any purpose except to harm.

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