Why I Decided to Come Out
I was a closet-witch from about the age of 15 or 16. Got married to my first husband at 21 - he found an altar cloth and pentacle when we were moving into our first house and totally freaked out. Thus started a New Bride's promise to attend Church and Not do Freaky Stuff any more. Huge mistake. I spent the next 10 years or so blindly performing actions and saying prayers that I didn't believe in, while still trying to keep my daughter's minds open to other spiritual beliefs. Went back to paganism (back in closet) at around 26, finally came out 5 years ago at age 44, after divorce from said husband :)
What I Said and Did
I told my daughters first....they freaked out. My eldest had just joined a bible study group at college, and my youngest was teaching classes to the little kids at her father's Church. They thought at first that it was some kind of post-divorce Mid-Life Crisis. My eldest especially freaked out, yelled and screamed at me that it was 'evil' and then calmed down and started asking me questions. Unfortunately she didn't like the answers to some of her questions, as they conflicted with what she was being taught in bible study. We did not discuss it for several months afterwards, but apparently she had been researching Paganism, Wicca and Witchcraft on the internet. She started questioning her Bible study classes and left. She states that she is now 'Spiritual' but not religious. She denies being Pagan, but sometimes uses Pagan symbols in her Art. She is now VERY proud that her Mom is Pagan, and tells all her teachers and friends about me, and educates them about Pagan practices and beliefs :)
My youngest daughter still attends and teaches at her Dad's Church, but she also enjoys coming to the local Unitarian Universalist Church with my fiance and I occasionally, and says that she prefers that Church to her Dads, because it's more open and she meets people of different faiths. She enjoys celebrating the Sabbats with us, but does not enter the circle. She comes with me to my group's full moon rituals, but again, sits and observes - then chats with everyone else there after ritual is over. She has one book on Teen Witchcraft that I bought her for fun, and has helped me in a couple of spells ;) She is also very proud of me, and tells all her friends that her Mom is a 'Real Witch' LOL.
Work: I simply bought a Triple Goddess necklace and started to wear it at work. No adverse comments or reactions, so a few months later I bought a silver pentacle necklace and I now wear that openly at work. There are about 5 other Pagans that I know of that work at my hospital in various roles, some are nurses like me, one a pharmacy tech...but we all openly wear our religious jewelry. My work-mates all know I'm a witch now - but I gave them a couple of years to get to know me as a person before I came out of the broom closet at work. My patients never recognise my pentacle - but I have had a few ask me if I'm Jewish ;)
My fiance got to know gradually....first that I was 'spiritual', then Pagan, then a Witch...over a few weeks. He is an open-minded Christian :)
- Have confidence in coming out. The only bad reaction I ever had was from my daughters, and that was very short-lived. Once they knew that I had been Pagan for many, many years and it wasn't just the divorce from their Dad that was making me bat-sh*t crazy, or my age, then they were fine with it.
- Make sure people know that it doesn't change who you are. You are still that caring, compassionate, loving, warm, generous person you have always been.
- Don't force your beliefs on people. Christians don't like being told facts that conflict with what they have been taught, or that stuff has Pagan origins...
What I'd Do Differently
I would NEVER, NEVER try to change my beliefs to please another person EVER again, and I don't expect other people to change their belief systems or religion to please me either. I am a Witch. My fiance is Christian. We get along just fine :)