Exclusion. The act of being excluded, or kept apart.
You know what one thing I miss about being Christian? The sense of community. Every Sunday, we'd go to church, and socialize with like-minded people whose families all knew each other. There was a sense of community, of family.
Now I'm on the other side of the country, no longer Christian, no longer Republican, and on a military base. So I feel pretty alone. I went to a spouse's meeting last night (only because they were offering passes for an extra day off for the husband!) and walking in, I literally felt like I was walking into enemy territory. I've made friends here - but most of them turned out to be false, treating a mutual friend like crap, only wanting to hang out at candlelite parties or Pampered Chef parties or Tupperware Parties or...well you get the idea. The mutual friend who was treated badly broke up with her girlfriend and moved home to Texas and I miss her dearly. (Yes, she was lesbian, and dating a Marine - probably why she also felt excluded.)
Currently my husband and I have exactly one pair of real friends here - and they're Catholic. But very open-minded Catholics; my husband read their tea leaves at their house after the spouse's meeting, and our friend's response was "You're practicing witchcraft in my house? Ah well, I'm not burning yet, so it must be okay." The standard joke is he's going to burn us, and we're going to feed him to our lion. (ie, our gigantic Maine Coon who will be the subject of next week's post.)
But with the exception of them - it's a lonely place. Our values just simply don't align with most military values. I'm looking forward to getting out of the military in three months and moving to DC - there's the Open Hearth Foundation with a Pagan Community Center that I can't WAIT to explore! But for now, I am stuck. I'll be celebrating Ostara alone, as my husband has to be gone on a Field Exercise. But nobody will be working on Easter Sunday, I guarantee it. Everyone had Christmas off - but he had to work around the Winter Solstice, so we couldn't do the Vigil For the Sun. Now that I think about it, he had duty over Imbolc, too.
This is a large part of why I have such a large presence online. I have a LiveJournal, a Facebook, a Google+, a Pinterest, Goodreads, this blog. (I'm crystallinegirl EVERYWHERE, just let me know you're from PGP) I'm active in my guild in World of Warcraft. I crave socialization, and since I don't get it in real life, I find it online with like-minded people. People who don't think Obama is the anti-christ, or that LGBTQ people have no place in the military, or society at large. People who don't think gay marriage is the moral equivalent of pedophilia. People who don't think a woman's place is in the kitchen with five kids.
That's another thing I've found about the military. Married couples with no kids? That don't plan to have kids in the near future (or at all)? Few and far between. At the "winter holiday party" (they couldn't call it a Christmas party, heh.) they had a raffle. There were about 7-8 prizes for families with children. 3-4 for single Marines. And one, yes ONE prize for married couples without children. I feel a bit like a second-class citizen, because we don't have kids. And don't want them.
I feel excluded here, and I miss the sense of community...but what I've gained in return is something unmeasurable. I've gained a sense of self, a confidence that I never had. I've gained the ability and the motivation to research the truth for myself, instead of just letting it be dictated to me. I've gained independence. I've gained the ability to pick and choose what I want to believe, what works for me. So - it's worth it. And I have hopes that it will get better when we move out of this military town.