My Great Pagan Roadtrip by Sage Ambue

[content warning: brief mention of mental health medication]

Ostara, 2007. I was a junior in high school, living in a very small, very conservative town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I was grappling with a growing sense of self that seemed at odds with the world my family and worldview had promised me from the beginning. I was queer, there was no doubt about that, and while I was still years off from realizing I was transgender, I already knew I felt uncomfortable with many of the constraints and expectations associated with my gender. I’d quit God already, quite spectacularly, removing myself from the Christian faith that had raised me from birth. I didn’t know it yet, but I was untreated for depression and anxiety that really should have been medicated. And, at this particular point in time just after sunset, in the privacy and secrecy of my room, I lit candles in front of my first makeshift altar, settled back on my purple yoga mat, and waited.