I love my extended family very much. I'm lucky that there is no one in my entire family that I dislike. I'm always excited to spend time with them all.
This weekend my boyfriend and I are in North Carolina, celebrating my brother graduating from college.
I was thinking about having a confrontation with my mom and my dad's extended family here about the Hindu stuff by wearing a bindi, but I called to ask my brother how he felt about it and he asked if I could please not cause drama over his graduation weekend. So that idea is post poned.
I did talk to my dad about it briefly a week or so ago. He accknowledged that he hasn't seen me as a Christian in years, but he still thought of me as an Advaitan. I told him that I am an Advaitan. Advaita is a branch of Hinduism. He's concerned that I'm being too narrowly focused and I need to see the Advaita within Christianity. I just can't do it anymore. I know it's there, but it is burried so deep that I don't see why I shouldn't just follow a religion that has Advaita (non-duality) right on the surface. I know that he doesn't want to deal with his mother finding out about all this. I told him it's going to have to happen at some point (in my mind knowing that that point will probably be when my boyfriend and I decide to get married).
Yesterday I had some alone time with one of my dad's sisters. She is one of my favorite people in the world and someone I really aspire to be like. I realized that I almost never interact with my dad's family without a filter from my mom. She is always there at the same time, and telling me not to say certain things and not to rock the boat. When I was talking to my aunt alone I discovered that some of the things mom has been insistent that I shouldn't talk about, she actually doesn't have a problem with.
I was tremendously tempted to tell my aunt right then and there about my religion. I converted almost seven years ago now and my extended family doesn't know. But I couldn't bring myself to do it.
I'm afraid that it will hurt her and confuse her. This is an area where it is pretty hard to imagine someone being not Christian. In fact, I was talking to my brother's Jewish girlfriend about it and she said when she was growing up here, kids at school didn't know what Hannukah was and asked her if her people were "the ones who killed Jesus." There just isn't much diversity. My family here is quietly and happily Lutheran and I don't know if they've given it much thought.
I decided that I need a reason to bring up this topic with my family and also I promised my brother not to cause trouble during his time. So, my boyfriend and I agreed that when we get engaged, we'll make a trip to North Carolina without my parents and talk to my family here about my conversion and the fact that the wedding will be mostly Hindu (though not completely).
It pains me a lot to think of the years that I might have talked honestly with my beloved aunts and I didn't have that chance because of my mother's fears about what they might think.