I know that I haven’t been posting a lot of things that aren’t reviews for a long time. I’ve been more active on tumblr as of late. (My main tumblog is answersfromvanaheim.)
One thing that I’ve been struggling with lately is burnout. There are days where I check tumblr or facebook and I see Heathens posting some really gross things and I just don’t know why I even bother doing anything to try and make things a bit more welcoming for newcomers. It helps that Vanatruar are generally more easygoing, but there really aren’t that many of us, and it’s much easier to poke at someone who is being gross when there aren’t that many of you.
To be honest, sometimes I wonder why I bother pointing out all the racism, the sexism, the queerphobia, the toxic behaviour, and any number of gross things that pop up in communities who claim to honour my deities. On some level, I realize that these problems have been in Heathenry a long time, have been in society a long time, and they’re not just going to be fixed overnight (if, indeed, it is possible to fix them).
It’s especially disheartening because I was once one of those newcomers that was scared away from Heathenry because of the crappy attitudes, and when I hear stories about others who are going through the exact same thing or who automatically equate Heathenry with racism and other gross shit I can’t help but think that something’s broken when it comes to Heathenry.
Seriously, when your religious community has a culture that actively scares away newbies, it’s broken, it’s broken and you need to fix it.
And no, you don’t get to say “grow a thicker skin” or “but I’m just being blunt because that’s what my ANCESTORS would do” because plenty of other traditions are just as committed to doing things the way they did in antiquity WITHOUT being assholes about it. Being an asshole should not be a requirement for practicing a religion.
And then people wonder where all the newcomers are, or why there aren’t more women in Heathenry, or why everyone seems to equate Heathenry with grossness.
Here’s a tip: look in the mirror. Take a good long look.