Just because I keep encountering these particular behaviors/assumptions, I wanted to address them here and now, so it’s in print and spelled out well:
1. If you are Pagan and you change religions, I am not mad at you. If you are Christian, I only hate you when you act like a jerk, which is the same standard I have for everyone of any faith. If you are atheist, I also only have a problem with you when you are a jerk – don’t make God versus not some stupid tug-of-war, and we’re totally cool. My personal religious practice isn’t about trying to “win” and I don’t care about prizes like heaven and punishments like hell.
Yes, in some cases I am sad that I can no longer share this aspect of life with someone who means something to me. But it’s only the end of the relationship if my beliefs are now something that actively disturbs you. I’m very used to not sharing beliefs with people, and these days religion has become like sexual orientation: it’s up to you to figure out what you were born for. It’s out of my hands, and as long as you’re not all “woman, get in yo place!” about it, I’m cool. Just communicate up-front that there are things you want to do differently, or other playmates. We can work out new ways to relate and interact. There’s a great big world to share, and it doesn’t all have to involve spiritual stuff.
2. I honestly don’t give a shit if you go to Doctor Who meetup or not. I nag about the RSVPs because the bar we use cares very much, and really does need to know the numbers before we go. I’ll be annoyed if you RSVP and flake after three requests to update if your plans change because I do face repercussions. Doctor Who is my thing. It is the thing of many members. But any pressure you feel to join is from your own inner voice, and is not coming from me – I really don’t care. If you’d like to hang out with me some other way, I’m sure we can find something.
This reaction to me when people find out I run Doctor Who meetup is totally because of the way enthusiasts act about conventions in the area – the “you have to go!!!!” stuff makes my stomach do unhappy things the same way it does when Jehovah’s Witnesses want to personally discuss the latest issue of the watchtower with me before I’ve had a cup of coffee. I practice a non-conversion religion, and it leaks over into just about everything else I do. I want people to feel welcome, but also completely unpressured. I keep coming across situations where people obviously feel pressured – and it’s not coming from me, but it’s being projected onto me since I’m the face of the organization. Yes, I’m trying to get things done right now.
3. If I am arguing with you, it’s not because I’m trying to win.
I try hard not to get into arguments; I get that people come to their own opinions by their own means, and I can’t travel that path with another person because I’m on my own path. I do find myself arguing when I feel like perception has warped the facts. If you think I’m a hellbound heathen because I’m a babykiller, I’m going to address that. I don’t kill babies, and that perception is NOT fact and needs address, NOW. If, however, you just think I’m hellbound because I’m some sort of Pagan, then fine, that’s your opinion and we’re both going to have to wait. (Of course, if that is your opinion of me, we probably won’t hang out much anyway.)
I just wanted to put this out there. I actually saw very active guilt body language the other night, with people bringing up Doctor Who meetup with me, and that was just weird. All I want is people to be accurate about whether they’re going – I honest to gods don’t care if you don’t go. If it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing. I know I’m kind of intense, but I put a lot of effort into creating laid-back environments for that very reason.