I haven't gone to PSA this summer, despite the fact that I live right around he corner from where the meetings have been taking place because of several reasons, the first of which is the People.
I don't think I should have to "suck it up" and sit with people who are just going to be negative or talk badly about one another. I missed the first meeting of the summer, got wind of what went on, and didn't feel the need to make an appearance. One of the main reasons I started going to PSA was to meet with people and enjoy hanging out with other open-minded pagans to talk about our beliefs and the way we see the world in relation to whatever aspect of divinity we believe in. Being asked to "suck it up" is to basically tell me to ignore the attitudes of said people and go against my nature while I hear negative things being said about the people I care about. I'm not angry at Liz for saying that people should "suck it up," but I think that maybe she hasn't seen it from an outside point of view. This is my opinion, Liz. I'm not criticizing you.
I think that the original ideal that was set for the club didn't include a lot of the cynicism that is present now. Then again, I'm going from the opinion formed from the club of last semester. I don't know if there have been any changes, but I voiced my opinions at the officers' meeting. I'm not hiding any feelings about things -- I've told you how I feel. After hearing about the summer meetings, I believe I am overdue to leave. Maybe some people can comfortably ignore the negative talk of others, but personally, I prefer to not be subject to it. I'm not saying that the club is a bad thing, just not necessary to my lifestyle. I think that I can grow more away from limiting viewpoints and criticism of my beliefs and the beliefs of others. I'm not going to say that anyone is more right or wrong than anyone else; this is about our religious beliefs and we all believe in different things. Being actively against another belief, however, does not fit into the realm of being open-minded. I can't help but to refer to Jenny's first entrance into the club as a point of reference. No one was asked to believe her, just put enough faith in her to know that she believed enough in it. The criticism of her beliefs dwells in my mind today, despite my attempts to forget. I'm not dragging Jenny into my reasons for leaving, only to state it as an example.
Yes, I had some personal grudges against certain people. I thought I could make a difference and make suggestions to alleviate the feeling I was getting that the club was becoming close-minded. But I'm past that; you cannot change people, only change yourself. I didn't like who I was becoming in order to accept the opinions of others--some things were said that I felt were unwarranted and plain mean. At the core of who I am, that is not something I can agree with, so I feel like it's my time to go back to the way things were before I joined the club. Looking back, I don't think that I've grown as a person, only turned inward and stopped expressing my beliefs. Maybe the club works for some people and not for others. I don't think that anyone should feel pressured into going when they don't feel like it-- it's a club, not a blood pact into a secret society from which you can never leave. I understand that some people feel this pressure and others do not. I suppose it really depends on who you were close with and who you pissed off. In short, I think it really depends on the circumstances that caused a member to leave the club.
I know I speak for many when I say that the club is not what it was.
Some things have gotten better, and some things have gotten worse. But I think the main factor that has caused people to leave has to do with People. Something happened that divided us all, and now there is an air of tension any time we get together. It's not comfortable, so people left.
This started before you were president, Liz. I don't doubt your ability as a leader, but I don't think you can fix the divide that has caused our numbers to diminish. All you can do is try to bring in new members and hope they don't become as jaded as those of us who don't come any longer. While I may stop by from time to time, I wish you luck in your presidential reign and hope that things are resolved and past hurts are healed.
Despite the feeling that I shouldn't get into this, I have a few things to say on the matter.