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My Story: Why I became a Pagan Liberal

Posted by on Jul. 16, 2013 at 8:18 PM
  • 54 Replies
1 mom liked this

I was a typical girl growing up in a poor Midwest setting.  My father left my mother when I was in kindergarten.  He left her with 2 children, no vehicle and a stack of bills with a zero balance in the bank account.  At the time my mother was jobless since the area I grew up in valued stay at home mothers over those who chose to work outside of the home.  Women were to raise their children in a Godly home with conservative ideals that mirrored generations past.  Sadly this system fell through for my mother, who was blamed when my father left her for another woman.  She was blamed for not being strong enough, not being Christian enough and not doing enough to contribute to the family.  

So my mother turned to the church for help, which shut its doors on her.  Why?  Because divorce is a sin.  Thankfully we lived in a tiny trailer that my grandfather "rented" to my mother.  She took a job at a local nursing home as a nurses assistant.  She worked nights and we spent the night at our grandparents home so that we could get sent off to school in the morning.  Even when she was working it was just minimum wage and with taking care of 2 children on her own and lawyers fees she couldn't make ends meet.  So she did what any woman would do and found as much aid as she could.  She was on food stamps and other welfare programs to help her out as she tried to find better work with hours that would allow her to be home to have dinner with her girls.  Looking back on it now I shake my head because I remember how embarrassed my mom was every time she took out the little paper book of foodstamps that she was given monthly.  I remember the whispers in the line at the checkout counter.  It was horrible for my mom to go through, the judgemental stares and whispers from people that didn't even know the circumstances.

Growing up in the midwest brought many hardships.  I grew up in that little single wide trailer.  I was called trailer trash by the middle and upper class kids in my town who happily toted their parents ideologies in things such as religion and politics.  Their view of the world was narrow for sure, especially considering I only had a graduating class of 32 kids who knew each other since kindergarten.  So I was the outcast, the "welfare kid" who could only afford Walmart clothes. As a teenager I tried to fit in with the views of the people around me.  I tried to be a good Conservative Christian who only voted Republican but things simply didn't fit for me.  I didn't understand why bigotry and hatred was allowed, especially after the events of 9/11.  I didn't agree that all Muslims were stupid "towel heads" that needed to die (yes this was said in a world history class I was taking and the teacher shook his head in agreement and left it at that).

As I grew to understand my views more, which were labeled extreme, I came to find that I was more liberal than those around me.  I agreed with the sentiment that no person should go hungry or cold because they fell on hard times.  I agreed that there should be government plans to help these people.  I agreed that our environment needed to be protected with environmental laws.  All of my views, which I don't have the room to list here, were the polar opposite of what I was raised to believe in my community and even in my own family.  

I did the "right" thing when I was 19 and I married a good Christian man whose family were staunch Republicans.  I fell into the typical role that is desired in my area, that of home maker and the supporter of a man who was going places (he was in the military).  Behind closed doors it was a different story.  After years of abuse I finally worked up the nerve to leave.  From that point on I was ostracized, a complete outcast, to my entire family.  I was the woman who broke up a good marriage to go the "feminist" route and pursue her own dreams and her own career.  I was independent which I was taught was a bad thing since man is the head of the household according to the Bible and a woman needs a man to guide her away from the wickedness of the outside world.  

When I broke free I really came into myself.  I learned what I valued and I what I would not stand for.  No longer was I controlled by the restraints of my families religious and political views.  This is when I made a major decision for myself.  I changed my religion and I changed political views.  

I remember the first time I voted Democrat.  At first I felt like it was wrong, since I had been told all my life that all Democrats are evil and are going to usher in the second coming and the Antichrist.  But when I saw what my elected Congressman did after he was elected I was elated!  THIS was the change I was waiting for and it was a good one!  

From that point on I have been very vocal about my views.  I am a proud Pagan Liberal.  Why?  Because I broke the bonds of sexism, misogyny and bigotry that I was raised with in the Conservative Bible Belt of the Midwest.   I will never turn back.  

If there are any holes in my story or questions feel free to ask.  CM doesn't really allow much space to write a novel.

by on Jul. 16, 2013 at 8:18 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Clairwil
by Platinum Member on Jul. 17, 2013 at 3:53 AM
Quoting blues_pagan:

I did the "right" thing when I was 19 and I married a good Christian man whose family were staunch Republicans.  I fell into the typical role that is desired in my area, that of home maker and the supporter of a man who was going places (he was in the military). 

This it an attitude that I don't understand - that it is more important that a woman get married, than that she wait for someone who is a good match for her (even if that means looking outside her home town).

Why do some parents pressure their children to do that?


blues_pagan
by on Jul. 17, 2013 at 9:58 AM

I grew up being taught that a woman doesn't go far without a strong man standing in front of her.  It was all I knew at the time and I felt like I couldn't go out into the world alone.

Quoting Clairwil:

Quoting blues_pagan:

I did the "right" thing when I was 19 and I married a good Christian man whose family were staunch Republicans.  I fell into the typical role that is desired in my area, that of home maker and the supporter of a man who was going places (he was in the military). 

This it an attitude that I don't understand - that it is more important that a woman get married, than that she wait for someone who is a good match for her (even if that means looking outside her home town).

Why do some parents pressure their children to do that?



Clairwil
by Platinum Member on Jul. 17, 2013 at 10:11 AM
Quoting blues_pagan:

I grew up being taught that a woman doesn't go far without a strong man standing in front of her.  It was all I knew at the time

What type of books did you read, and what TV or films did you watch, when growing up?

Do you think the children living in that town now, still mainly don't get to see alternative models of how to live?

Billiejeens
by Ruby Member on Jul. 17, 2013 at 10:15 AM
3 moms liked this

So failure makes one a Pagan Liberal?

I don't know if I believe that.

KamWorthy
by on Jul. 17, 2013 at 10:47 AM
6 moms liked this
So according to your own words......I'm deciphering that you have abandonment issues, you are scarred by seeing your mother mistreated by a$$Holes, and yet you still tried to imulate them? Then at one point you began to question your own belief system, right? When you did this, you found that you did not agree with the republican/conservative view. Yet you chose to settle in to the role of a good Christian wife. When that marriage subsequently failed, for obvious reasons, you then felt you were finally free. Free from what exactly? Free from the poor choices that you personally had made? You wrote "no longer was I controlled by the restraints of my families religious and political views".....you say your mother was single, and on welfare and mistreated for that, right? How does this mesh with religious constraints? Usually single, poor welfare receiptients lean liberal, no? To me it seems as though you are the victim of your mother. Not a victim of religion, or conservatives. You were raised by a mother who herself made poor choices that is why you made poor choices. You can say you blame living in the Bible belt for your choices, and brainwashing you in to believing that Christians are nothing more than ding-bat extremeists. But the truth is this, you made the choice to believe that because you never felt an intimate connection to God in the first place. Had you, you would have sought out an intimate/personal relationship with God, and others who had the same goals as you. The truth is you just don't believe in God, never have probably and blaming everyone else around you is a way you justify this devoid of belief. I'm not saying that you are wrong, or bad, or anything like that, just pointing out that our upbringing influences us, but it does not define us. We define ourselves and the process to get there is very complex.
numbr1wmn
by Nikki on Jul. 17, 2013 at 11:00 AM
1 mom liked this

Sorry you went through a lot but Nothing is true about what you said on Republicans and Democrats.

blues_pagan
by on Jul. 17, 2013 at 11:21 AM
I was able to have somewhat free access to books and such when I lived with my mom. That is why I questioned so much web I was younger. However at my fathers everything was restricted. If it wasn't a bible or bible study material and school work it didn't come onto the house.

Quoting Clairwil:


Quoting blues_pagan:

I grew up being taught that a woman doesn't go far without a strong man standing in front of her.  It was all I knew at the time

What type of books did you read, and what TV or films did you watch, when growing up?

Do you think the children living in that town now, still mainly don't get to see alternative models of how to live?


numbr1wmn
by Nikki on Jul. 17, 2013 at 11:41 AM

 

What does this have to do with political afflilations?

Quoting blues_pagan:

I was able to have somewhat free access to books and such when I lived with my mom. That is why I questioned so much web I was younger. However at my fathers everything was restricted. If it wasn't a bible or bible study material and school work it didn't come onto the house.

Quoting Clairwil:


Quoting blues_pagan:

I grew up being taught that a woman doesn't go far without a strong man standing in front of her.  It was all I knew at the time

What type of books did you read, and what TV or films did you watch, when growing up?

Do you think the children living in that town now, still mainly don't get to see alternative models of how to live?



 

Clairwil
by Platinum Member on Jul. 17, 2013 at 12:39 PM
Quoting blues_pagan:
Quoting Clairwil:
Quoting blues_pagan:

I grew up being taught that a woman doesn't go far without a strong man standing in front of her.  It was all I knew at the time

What type of books did you read, and what TV or films did you watch, when growing up?

Do you think the children living in that town now, still mainly don't get to see alternative models of how to live?
I was able to have somewhat free access to books and such when I lived with my mom. That is why I questioned so much web I was younger. However at my fathers everything was restricted. If it wasn't a bible or bible study material and school work it didn't come onto the house.

How do you think society, or the laws, would have to change, for a child in your position to receive sufficient exposure to outside influence early enough, that she wouldn't end up trapped in a marriage with an abuser like you did ?

Mandatory religious education lessons, covering multiple religions, so you could have found out about paganism earlier?

School libraries to stock books on feminism and the rights of women?

Clairwil
by Platinum Member on Jul. 17, 2013 at 12:42 PM
Quoting KamWorthy:

The truth is you just don't believe in God, never have probably and blaming everyone else around you is a way you justify this devoid of belief.

I wish there was a religion that advocated not judging others.

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