Outside even when included

Every year my family gets together to celebrate the holidays, Christmas and Thanksgiving. And every year they ask someone to say a prayer. This year they asked me. I said no. I was gracious about it, but I said No.

Because how do I say a prayer when it won’t be to their god. How can I say a prayer when it will first be spoken in the language of my prayers then again in their language. How would I explain that we don’t give thanks for what our god gave us but ask what we can do for our god. Not a god of blessings but one of a deeper path. How do I explain an entire lifetime of belief and structure and obligate choices. How do I even this prayer which is orchestrated would be an affront.

I don’t know. Don’t know how to tell them I’m not like them. In how many ways I’m not like them. And even when they grasp my paganism, they think that yule is a good thing, something similar to a celebration instead of a solemn affair.

It’s exhausting to stay quiet. To not broach subjects. To keep quiet on others. And still, there is always more. Lines that can’t be crossed and words that can’t be said.

My god would say, “The work is the work. You have to act before you can know.” And that’s true but how do you tell them that what they presume, even when told repeatedly otherwise, isn’t true.

It’s an odd feeling. To be included but excluded at the same time. To belong to something but not fit into it. There is a pressure and a sadness there.
I know how easy it would be to give in, to shred my self and conform. To lie and mouth their words in petty forgery of faith.

But then who would I be?