Ever start digging into your past and, as you discover you might find parts of it, you realize that you’d rather keep the memories — flawed as they are — untainted by the reality of the now?
Tonight was one of those nights. I thought I might start digging around for a few harder-to-find people from my past with the thought that I might reconnect with them. They have no relationships with anyone that I know from elsewhere, it was an insular relationship, kept apart from the people in my other facets of life because that’s what you did back in the 80s with this group of people. People knew I was pagan, hung out with the witches, but they preferred not to know about the who of that association so they could keep that black peaked hat image in their mind, warty nose and green skin. They didn’t want to know those friends of yours and I’m sure a chunk of them prayed I would not hang out with those others as much as they feared I hung out with them.
Things have changed. Somewhat. Some of those critical friends are a little less critical and may have even tried out paganism for size in the time since then and now. But, it’s not like you can look up classmate Joe’s friends on Facebook and see that he hung out with Lindsey, the wiccan priestess in training. There was not that kind of crossover. There were my wiccan/druid/pagan friends, and there was the other side of things. So, while the other side and I have commonalities that no one hides (e.g., school), many older pagans are still in the habit of living in the shadows about their affiliation — either because they remember the harassment we experienced (e.g., losing jobs or being abused at jobs or being threatened with some other kind of punishments), or they moved on. Most of the people I hung out with back then kept such things under wraps for various reasons and don’t seem to be ready to announce it on social media.
So I went off my admittedly faulty memory, trying to remember non-Craft names (first and last) and general locations of living. And then, recall their approximate ages to see if I could find a match. I found one, but she was more an association than a friend, and she’d probably not recall me. I found another, who apparently still lives in the same house we used to do circles in — thirty years later — one that she rented a floor on. But she doesn’t have a presence on social media. The last one I looked up I think I found — right age, still lives in the area, and fits my memory of where she was from and a last name I thought belonged to her… And she had a social media account, but only one picture with a group of people that might be her. Thirty years will change appearances and it kind of looks like her, but I don’t want to contact the person and ask her if she remembers me because she’s not been active since 2019 on the site and I’m a chickenshit about annoying strangers to have them say, “Who the fuck are you?”
And, as I did all of this looking around, I realized that maybe I preferred the memories of these people instead of reconnecting with them. So I didn’t contact the one person who I knew was the person I was associated with in the past, because I preferred to see him when he was younger and more like a father than my real father, and I didn’t attempt the others because the memories were sweeter than the reality of now.