This blog has been my closet for two years now. That is, I mostly don't talk about religion anywhere but here. I didn't want to make a big statement and offend half my friends, so I have shared my theological questions and opinions here, in the safety of obscurity. This blog isn't private, but it's read by maybe twenty people and, so far as I know, you're all nice, so I've felt pretty safe being open on here. It's like having a private conversation in a busy restaurant. There are other people there, but they don't care about you enough to listen in.
And it's possible to dig through my facebook account enough to find one's way to this blog and then read back through for several months and get posts that mention my beliefs. I didn't worry about that too much, because I figured nobody cares about me enough to do that kind of digging unless they really like me.
Well, I was wrong. Somebody did care that much. Someone, probably ticked off about my criticism of Christendom's treatment of rape victims, found their way here. He immediately messaged me saying that I owed it to everyone to be public, for fear someone might listen to me or trust me because they thought I was Catholic. Not that I've claimed to be, but people consider it the default because I went to Christendom, so not making my private views public, in his view, amounted to lying.
And because of all that, he gave me a deadline. Make an announcement in a group we're both part of, or he'd do it for me.
It got me really upset. I've had a lot of reasons for keeping my religious beliefs mostly to myself. I don't want it to be a big thing. I don't want to make people think badly of my kids or my husband because of me. I also know that many people take the view that having private opinions is one thing, but making a public statement is formal apostasy and gives scandal. I never wanted to make that kind of gesture. It only upsets people, and who am I to "give people a faith crisis," as my words have been accused of doing? I've warned people off this blog a few times for that reason. If you find I'm scandalizing you, don't read. It's fine. I just didn't want to be accused of throwing my opinions in people's faces.
At the same time, the closet is a smothery place and I've complained about it a bit. Even just being able to talk about stuff here, and nowhere else, is still pretty isolating. I comment a lot on Catholic stuff, and while I never claim to be Catholic, people assume and it's hard to walk the line of saying only things a Catholic would believe, without saying things I don't believe. It's a mental burden to be doing that all the time. I've been looking forward to maybe being a little braver someday.
But it's different to have that forced on me. It's sickening to have someone else have that kind of power over me, to decide what I am allowed to keep private and what I am not. I felt ill about it for a day or so, went back and forth with the guy trying to talk him out of it, but his mind was made up. So I went ahead and posted to the group, while making clear that I was being forced to do it. I don't want to now be punished because I insisted on being public about this. At the same time, I had no interest in stalling for time. The unpleasantness of people's negative responses would be a lot better than the stress of knowing a person who dislikes me was holding that over my head.
I got a lot of supportive messages over it, so that was nice. I know most people aren't that cruel. They might be sad not to share a faith with me anymore, but they also want to condemn that sort of behavior. They agree it was my right to tell or not tell who I wanted.
But of course, there's plenty of negative feedback as well. I commented on a friend's post about gun control today and someone, a stranger to me and not a member of the group I posted in, said that no one should believe me because I "publicly" apostasized. Not that there is a Catholic teaching about gun control, or that I had claimed anything about Catholic teaching, but simply that I existed while not being Catholic. It bothers me that the information is spreading so much. I wonder if my blog is going to get a whole bunch of hits all of a sudden, people eager to pick apart my beliefs and condemn me. To gawk at photos of my kids, sneer at Marko's autism, judge my parenting. I feel like I'm naked in the middle of my college Commons.
Anyway, it's hard to write this post now because I feel I'm no longer just talking to you, my online friends, some of whom I've been interacting with for a decade or more. I'm talking also to enemies, who may or not be reading. But again, I feel that avoiding talking on here just gives those people more power than they deserve. I'm not letting them kill my blog. I'm not the one who has done something to be ashamed of.
Could I get some supportive comments today? I'd like a reminder that people are reading who like me, or who like what I write, and aren't just here to judge me. Even the people who are Catholic aren't the Inquisition. You guys are good people and you're not here to stare .... right?