I’m behind in The Cauldron Blog Project again, and so I am trying to catch up by writing several posts at once. This…is not an easy task, as I’ve been trying to stick to a theme of pop culture paganism this year focusing on The Elder Scrolls, and while the series itself is named with an E, there are no deities in any of the games that also begin with E. And, did I mention that there are 87 total deities in that series? Anyway, now I have to write two posts with the theme of E, and since Paganicon 2015 is winding down and I happen to be in a hotel in Minnesota after attending it, I started trying to think of things that came up during ‘Con that I could address. Which led me to something I saw a lot of this weekend: earnestness.
It’s not easy to be earnest, especially when surrounded by others whose beliefs are different than yours, but the majority of people I met at Paganicon 2015 did it with aplomb. They, as the definition goes, showed depth and sincerity of feeling for their path(s) and practices, and were happy to share what they thought without stomping on the toes of anyone else. Or, if someone was mistakenly stomped, they were happy to apologize in a way that did not lay blame on the other person.
I find the earnest fascinating, mostly because my own inclination is to be, well, not-so-earnest in public. That’s not to say that I hide my beliefs, exactly, or that I am not serious about anything, but I am more likely to hide myself from strangers. I like to be camouflaged to a certain extent – to keep my counsel unless it’s asked for, to put on an outward face that resembles what people expect to see in a given situation. In the case of Paganicon, I’ve been pretty successful so far – I wear what I consider to be ordinary clothing (usually jeans and t-shirts), wear simple devotional jewelry, keep my hair in a basic style, and offer opinions among those I don’t know only when it is appropriate.
I’m completely different among my friends, of course – I am outspoken and forthcoming about what I believe and what I don’t. I don’t know if I’d call it being earnest, though. I can be serious, and I certainly hold serious beliefs and do serious things, but the word earnest has connotations to it that I don’t think are characteristics of myself, and I also don’t think it is one of those words worth reclaiming or slapping with the Words Mean Things label.
(Wow – I never thought I’d say that. Maybe I need to regroup.)
But, anyway, the earnest are fascinating to me because they neither hold anything back, nor try to laugh away their intensity. They’re committed to their path and practices in ways that I admire, and have sometimes wished I could emulate…and it makes for interesting conversation. I always learn something from the earnest, and since learning new things is one of my joys in life, I welcome spending time with those who have this trait even though I know it is likely I’ll never be quite like them.
After all, differences are what make the world go ’round, and that’s a good thing.