Posted in Gender and Sexuality

I’m Feelin’ Pan-tastic

Content Note: descriptions of homophobia and bullying

With Pride Month coming to a close, I find it appropriate to reflect on my own sexuality and how important it is to me. The most frequent question I get around Pride month is “Why are you proud of being pansexual? Straight people aren’t proud of being straight.” So hopefully this will clear up that question once and for all.

I first came out as pansexual at some point during my senior year of high school. At the time, only a few of my close friends knew about my sexuality. For years prior, I had always assumed that I was straight and that my attraction to girls and nonbinary people was normal for straight people to have from time to time without making them “not-straight.” But once I started dating, I tended to only ask out men. And while I did enjoy dating men, I couldn’t help but secretly have crushes on girls and nonbinary people. I wanted to date them like I dated guys. So, it wasn’t long before I realized that I wasn’t really as straight as I thought.

Still, I grew up in a pretty conservative town for the area I’m in, so I wasn’t overly eager to tell everyone the truth about my attractions. My parents were extremely accepting of who I am, so I was definitely lucky in that regard, and some of my friends were already out. Still, I couldn’t help but feel something akin to shame about my sexuality at the time. As someone who had been bullied her whole life, I was very conscious about everything that made me different from my peers. And many of my peers were straight and slightly homophobic. They would always joke about the Gay-Straight Alliance or preface compliments with “no homo.” Some would even make openly queer students the targets of direct bullying. I worried that if I came out of the closet that the bullying I already experienced for being biracial and “weird” would only worsen or get violent. So, I kept quiet about it until I graduated.

Everything changed once I got to college. I go to a very prestigious historically women’s college. Approximately 40% of the total population identifies as some type of LGBTQIA+. There are several organizations on campus to support people like me, populated by people who are proud of their gender identities and sexualities. I felt accepted for once in my life. I began to realize that my feelings towards my sexuality were based on the feelings of others. I was not ashamed because being pansexual is wrong, I was ashamed because I believed others would view me as wrong. But they were the wrong ones for judging people based off of who they are. Just like there was nothing wrong with me for being biracial, there was nothing wrong with me for being pansexual. I was done with being afraid.

So why am I proud to be pansexual? Because I spent far too long being ashamed over who I truly am. By embracing my sexuality, I truly began to accept myself.

Question of the Day: How did you celebrate Pride month this year? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Religion

A Hell-enic of a Time

Though it may not be immediately apparent, I’m a highly religious individual. I am a Hellenic polytheist somewhere between being a reconstructionist and a revivalist. What this means is that I worship the Greek gods and combine the traditional practices of the ancient Greeks with my own personal practices. And since my religion is such an important aspect of my identity and personal journey, I figured it would be fitting to write about it in my very first blog post.

I did not grow up a Hellenic polytheist. In fact, I didn’t fully convert to the religion until just a few years ago. I had been familiar with the Greek gods because I went through a phase in elementary and middle school where I was obsessed with mythology, and Greek mythology was always my favorite. I was particularly drawn to the story of Persephone, which I find amazing now that I worship Her. However, it wasn’t until I had joined the witchcraft and paganism side of Tumblr that I realized that worshiping the Theoi (Greek gods) was an option. That was when I began my research into the religion.

It would be an understatement to say that this religion changed my life. Were the changes extremely drastic? Perhaps not, by some standards. It did not cure my mental illness or cause me to suddenly reach enlightenment. What it did do, however, was change my perspective on a lot of things. In Hellenic polytheism, arete, or “excellence of any kind” is highly important. Essentially, in order to be a good person, you need to have excellent moral standing. To be a good person, you need to try your hardest to excel and achieve your dreams. And no, that doesn’t mean you have to be perfect at everything you do. Instead, it means that you should always try your hardest and put your best effort forward. And if you do have a specific talent, you shouldn’t let it fester and rot. You should try your best to always improve until you are the best that you can possibly be. Before, I was very guilty of half-assing things. I didn’t really care to try, most of the time. But since converting, I feel much more motivated. And in turn, I feel much more energized. And even when I fail or don’t do as well as I hoped, at least I can honestly tell myself that I did all that I can do.

My religion has also made me feel more responsible for my actions. When I don’t do my best, I try not to beat myself up over it, but I do take the time to reflect on it and apologize to any affected parties. Before, I’d just shrug it off without thinking about why I didn’t try harder or what the consequences might be.

Lastly, I have become far more resilient. The Theoi have taught me many lessons, and this is the one lesson I shall always be thankful for. I am far more confident in myself and who I am as a person. No matter how difficult things may become, I know that I am a strong and capable human being.

Question of the Day: How has your own religion affected who you are as a person? Let me know in the comments!