I started this post back in April and couldn’t seem to make it fit in the grand scheme of things. Right now, reflecting on my Olympics consumption, it seems to have resurfaced.
I had started out with the suggestion, “So fire me, I hired a maid.”
I guess I was feeling guilty and a little un-Pagan-like for having hired domestic assistance. The irony is that if I hadn’t had so many income-sources from which to get fired, I wouldn’t have needed a maid.
Why am I defending myself?
It’s like the time when The Bad Husband asked me what I was wearing to an Esbat and I told him, “The black Kenneth Cole shift-dress and my Chinese Laundry boots.” He, still in his Izod polo, linen trousers, and fifty-dollar haircut, laughed and had the nerve to call me, “The Bougie Witch.”
The pot calling the kettle . . .
Again. Why am I defending myself?
Mind you, I was not brought up affluent. I fought for this muthafu-shut-chyo-mouth tooth and nail. I put myself (and The Bad Husband) through college by doing some, um, unsavory – we’ll go with “unsavory” – jobs. I inched my way out of a Chicago South Side neighborhood shooting distance from The Robert Taylor Homes and into a crappy burb (shooting distance from everything else) and into a less crappy burb and into a blue-collar urban neighborhood and – then, from there, to Alabama. First a row-house then a craptastic house with a jungle of a yard and great bones. Paid half what she is now worth.
Now, eight years later, I have an amazing house and a great yard – the part of it we’ve managed to tame, one kid whose sport of choice is Dressage (aka Stephen Colbert’s Sport of the Summer), and another who fences. And a maid. Or had a maid.
My reason for sharing this is was to talk to you about the prospect of un-Paganing my house to avoid being judged by The Majority. You ever have to do that? Like when your in-laws come over for Thanksgiving, when your Evangelical relative shows up unexpectedly, or when some state authority apparatus knocks? I used to do it all the time but do it less and less now. I really only close the door (and curtains) to my altar-room. Everything else stays as-is.
But when The Bad Maid came over, I thought – Hmmmm, pentagrams in teenager’s bedrooms. Might be a sticking point. Then I thought of the grapevine pentagram that used to be on the stone of my fireplace. And the spiral goddess over my sink. And the ancestral shrine. And The Bad Witch’s fairly wicked set of scrying balls. And The Wyrd Sister inventory and … and … and … And so, I said, Fuck-it. Why in God’s 72 names would I “clean up” my own house? And – where would I put it all? It’s not like I can sweep it all under a rug.
Or into a closet.
So I decided, I’ll just tell her up front.
And I did. I said something like, “I know that you are a Christian woman and I just want you to be comfortable in my home. You see, we are not Christian. You will see things in my home that you were likely taught were demonic. They are not. They are simply not Christian.”
Ironically, her reply was: “That’s OK; I don’t judge.”
All I could think was, “How Christian of you.”
Only people who judge tell you that they don’t judge.
It’s like the time a student asked me why I was wearing a “demonic symbol” – and I, in turn, asked her why she was wearing an execution device.
Or the time when I said, in a room full of Southern Baptists, “But I’m not Christian,” and was met with, “Oh, well, that’s OK with us,” as if I needed their consent.
Or the time a fellow-grad-student looked at my white skin and red hair and Ferrigamo’s (bought on eBay, btw) said, “What do you know about being anything but privileged?”
Or the time a student told me that she was dropping my class because she didn’t want to learn about cultural diversity “from the likes of” me. Attendant finger wagging included. I don’t think she meant “little (bougie) white chick.” Though all of that might have served to stand between us far more than religion. My religion anyway.
Why is it that in telling us, “We don’t judge,” there is the nasty after-taste of judgment?
Like, “I’m not racist, I have a black co-worker,” or, “My best friend in high school was gay,” or, “I don’t have a problem with Jews; I love bagels and lox.” So, judgment in the guise of tolerance? Affinity? Or is it judgment as rejection of affinity?
And, again, I ask: “Why am I defending myself?”
Not long ago, my fifteen-year-old son (who, in first grade, decided that Pokémon was “indicative of a very Marxist concept”) came home t’other day and asked me something about being upper-class. I corrected him in my best Eliza Doolittle, “Naaaahhhhhooooooo. We aren’t upper-class, we are very middle-class, Son. Upper-middle at best.”
He corrected me, “Look it up, Mom.”
So, I did.
I am the 2%.
My family has crept from the bottom 30th% to the top 5% while my older brother and sister hover around the 50th% . Even my “really bougie” sister – the one who retired in her early fifties – is only around the 85th%.
Why am I telling you all this?
It’s just to talk about stratification of all sorts. Like the non-Pagans with whom I have recently had run-ins, Pagans can also be pretty judgmental. Having openly talked about my horses, dressage, fencing, my home, my wardrobe, my education, my DVfreakingR, and my vacation has earned me a little bit of backlash from a couple of Pagans who, it seems, expect other Pagans to be perpetually destitute.
But don’t we believe in changing our lives? Changing our destinies? Don’t we believe that we can attract wealth and success into our lives? Or do we think that we are just supposed to believe in all that? And when it actually works out for someone, do we believe that it is a result of some kind of cosmic unfairness? How twisted is that?
I guess my big point is that we don’t like it when non-Pagans judge us for being Pagan. We don’t like to have to un-Pagan our living space when the Christians come to call. But, how do we like it when other Pagans judge us for being “Pagan-but-different”? Do we repurpose our Paganism to fit the expectations of whatever comes a-calling?
And yet. . .
We judge each other for political positions and, in the case of the last PantheaCon, the shape of our genitalia at birth. Are we really going to start judging each other for things like income and education? When we do that, do we stop being Pagan and start being something else entirely?
B, Q, 93,
 But I ended up promptly firing said maid for ineptitude. And for touching the stuff I said not to freaking touch: “Please do not Windex that particular mirror,” “No, no – that’s not dust,” “What do you mean you cleaned off the ‘cluttered table’?!”
 I am loathe to call them all “jobs” as some require little to no “work.”
 Contrary to the belief of some, this – and sometimes a very little circlet – is as close as The Bad Witch gets to “priestess-garb.” Sans underpants is as close as The Bad Witch gets to skyclad.
 Back in my day fencing was not done with a foil but with smoking-hot watches and “Mike from the corner.”
 Which, I assure you, made me stick out like a very sore thumb in my Cherokee-Creek family and my Puerto Rican childhood neighborhood.
 However, as we all know, the difference between me and the 1% is a galaxy.
 Of course they make no mention of charitable donations, contributions made to local households, or the time I make my kids spend in “service” activities with me. Pffft.
 Stratification is stratification. Wiccans to the left; non-Wiccans to the right. Among those, Gardnerians to the left; non-Gards to the right. Ceremonialists to the center; Heathens, take the margin. Fairy-folk, go over there; Native Americans – Oklahoma.