Queer: this identity comes to mind very quickly, since I use it very often when describing myself. I am very fortunate to have a (mostly) queer-friendly family, supportive friends, general internet wonderfulness, etc. Since my partner is male and I’m ostensibly female (though really my gender is a big ball of wibbly-wobbly gendery stuff that I haven’t quite worked out yet) I can keep this bit of my identity hidden, though I often feel safe enough not to. I am queer.
Hufflepuff: Yeah. ❤ Hufflepuffs are loyal, patient, hard-working and value fair play. I still maintain that this is a superb thing to aim to be in your life, and I am a proud Hufflepuff.
Pagan: I’m feeling more confident and certain in my identity as a pagan. I’m bringing my faith and my religion into my daily life, into my actions towards others, into my decisions as to my behaviour. I’m becoming the person I want to be. When I’m at work I sing songs to Brigid; I watch birds out of the window; I chat with customers and try to learn about their lives and make their days a little better. I mean, I’m pretty sure I was trying to do this before – to be a good person, be kind, be nice – but this is more driven, more urgent, more determined. I’ve made it a necessary core facet of my being, so I must do my absolute best to be good, kind, compassionate, etc. (Whilst at the same time being compassionate to myself when I struggle or fail!)
I fail at kindness so often. I speak defensively, sarcastically; I realise too late how my words sounded harsh, cruel, rude or unpleasant. I have an anxiety disorder, and consequently suffer with low self esteem, which can make me defensive. I have begun taking steps to work against these negative cycles of behaviour. I apologise, rephrase, clarify, state my actual intents.
On the other hand, I am a human being. I am allowed to mess up, to say the wrong thing, to not be polite every time I interact with someone else. It can just be something to strive for, not something to chastise myself for if I get it wrong. Compassion for myself and for others is key.
I’m trying out being out, seeing what it’s like when people know about my faith. It’s scary being yourself, being vulnerable and out in that respect. I’m gently trying it out on FB, mentioning it to a few family members, seeing if I can handle being open about my beliefs and my religion. I was an atheist for so many years, and most people knew me as an atheist, so it might lead to conversations which I’m not sure how to have. I don’t even know the answers to some of those questions, let alone how to phrase them to other people. I’m not sure how to react if people laugh at [my] faith when it’s people I care about or people I love. It’s one reason I’ve been so gradual and hesitant about coming out, because I don’t want to lose people or have them lose respect for me.
There’s the argument that I shouldn’t have to hide who I am and what I believe, which is nice and ideological but not entirely practical. Then there’s the other side of the argument, that faith is (or at least can be) entirely private. I guess I will carve out some middle ground for myself: something that feels comfortable.