"Oh, the mall is open until nine tonight! They put a David's Tea in there, and I need some new tea. I wanna go shopping! Shoooo--ooo-pping! Yeah!"
"Have you ever done a spell?"
That is an actual, honest-to-god conversation I had last Wednesday at work.
The guy I sit next to, who we'll call K, likes to have philosophical conversations with me. Talks about karma, and ethics, and how the universe works. He's a smart and talented dude - he went to Mongolia and shot a documentary there on his own dime - and I enjoy his friendship. But he is king of the non sequitur.
We work in a dark and isolated corner of the studio, so I wasn't overly concerned about people overhearing my answer. But man oh man was I unsure as how to answer that. ...so I called across the desk to my sister, and said, "You know what K just said?!"
Of course, deflection only works for so long.
I'm not ashamed of being a witch, but it's something I don't go around telling people. I've had friends proclaim it to people I've just met, which is always embarrassing - you never know if a person is going to think you're a goddess worshipping hippy, or a bride of Satan. I've had both reactions, and explaining you're something in the middle is not how I like to make my first impression.
I spent my adolescence in the Bible Belt, where a declaration of faith was the norm. People would be very aggressive in trying to convert you, so when you're a surly teenage goth you respond by wearing a pentacle you found in Spencer's gift and bringing your tarot cards to school. You get passive-aggressive about religion. And you know... that's as obnoxious as trumpeting your beliefs. As an adult, I strive not to be that annoying.
The majority of my friends have figured out I have weird hobbies, but remarkably few ask about it outright, and so I don't bring it up. At my housewarming, my friend David flat out inquired if I 'practiced' and I answered in the affirmative.
"Does it work?" Genuine interest.
|I'd hang out with her.|
With friends, I have infinitely more patience when it comes to explaining things if they express interest in knowing more about my practices. When it comes to strangers, I can barely summon enough energy to explain that not all witches are Wiccan. But friends? I'll lecture them on high magic versus low, the practical applications of sugar jars, and who Rosaleen Norton was. If they ask.
That's the crux of the whole matter, to me. When do I fess up to my witchy ways? When someone asks. Otherwise it's a non issue, as far as I'm concerned.
How much a person reveals about themselves - whether in magic or in anything else, really - is up to the individual. I realise some people don't have the luxury of being 'out of the broom closet' and that sucks. But for me? I work in a nerdy industry, I hang out with people who literally shit glitter, and I live on my own. I can do whatever I fucking well like. It's not my job to tell anyone else what they should do, or who they should tell.
(...although we should prrrrrrrrrrrobably all tell boyfriends/girlfriends before the moving-in phae, if only so they don't fuck up the circle and triangle you carefully chalked on the floor...)
There's another level to this whole honesty kick, of course. You admit you're a witch. Bravo. Now... what do you do when people want specifics?
You know what I'm talking about. "Have you ever cursed anyone? Cast a love spell? Seen a ghost/demon/whatever?" Some people aren't content to let their imaginations run amok - they want to know what you DO. Possibly so you can do it for them.
Unless it's a good friend, I generally don't delve too deeply into things. This is partially so people don't think I'm completely unhinged, but also because most people aren't actually all that interested in your motivations and methods. They just want the good stories. When it comes to specifics, I don't lie, but I am less likely to divulge personal details than I am with broad inquiries. I'll redirect with tales not specifically about me, but about magic in general.
...unless I'm drunk. Then everything I've said in this entire post may be ignored.