The internet runs on an interesting mixture of transparency and secrecy. Some of us tell all, and others build identities behind which to hide.
Some of us do a little of both.
I began writing under the name Teo Bishop in 2009 in order to provide me with the safe space to explore my evolving religious identity. My given name was wrapped up in other things, like this:
And even this:
Before I was a blogger named Teo Bishop, I was an artist named Matt Morris.
I’ve been doing music since I was a little kid, been a pro since I was a teenager, and up until the last year or two, I’ve done little else. Music has been my mainstay, my bread and butter, my life-long career.
But then I discover through writing this blog, and through all of the work I’ve done in dialogue about matters of religion, faith, and practice, that there are many means for being expressive outside of music. My non-musical work fulfills me in ways that the business of music never has. I love writing for Patheos and HuffPost Religion, and I’m developing new ideas about how I might be able to contribute to the betterment of the Pagan Community at large, and my religious community of ADF in particular.
I also love to write songs. When my blog goes quiet for a few weeks, that’s usually what I’m doing. My Indiegogo Campaign, which closed this last week, was an attempt to reintroduce and re-prioritize music in my life, and while it may not have succeeded in raising the funds, it was certainly successful in reminding me how important a role music plays in my life.
At some point, we must all come out. We must all be honest about how we’ve compartmentalized to excess, how we’ve created new masks — either out of fear or in an attempt to approximate privacy in a increasingly non-private society. We must recognize when it is time to integrate all of our disparate parts (T. Thorn Coyle might say that it is always time to integrate).
While my situation may look rather extreme — my relative fame in the music world necessitating a new name, a new series of URL’s and social network profiles in order to grow in my religious practice — I don’t think I’m the only one who has gone to such measures in order to explore the subtleties and complexities of their identity. We’re living in a rather strange time; one in which many, if not all of us are negotiating our identities for public consumption. Every status update is a mini-press release; every tweet a soundbite. Some of us apply a kind of close-scrutiny about what messages we broadcast to the world in a way that was once reserved only for major public figures and celebrities.
It’s all very bizarre, when you take a moment to think about it.
But my coming out is not simply an act of confession about another online identity. I’m choosing transparency at this time because I believe doing so may be the only way I can move forward in both my music and my writing. I was never two people — I was always, only one. There’s no sense in pretending otherwise. My nom de plum has become my legal name, and my given name a stage name, but the person beneath has remained throughout the process.
Teo Bishop has always been Matt Morris, and Matt Morris has always been Teo Bishop.
I offer this up to you, my loyal, inquisitive, insightful readership. I share these heretofore hidden parts of myself, trusting that you’ll likely google up a good bit more (it’s all there on the interwebs, after all). I trust that the act of being honest with you is worth whatever risk comes with it.
And I leave you with the song I’m perhaps most proud of, Eternity; a song which affirms that I am — we are — all of the identities that have ever been, that are ever being, and that ever will be. From the song:
“I’m telling you / with sincerity / that what you do / and what you be / is go’n follow you / like it follow me / and be with you for / eternity.”
93 responses to “Semi-famous Pagan Blogger / Semi-famous Recording Artist”
Well met, Matt 🙂
Gotta say, you’re still “my druid friend Teo” to me.
And that is how I shall remain.
Just because I don’t comment doesn’t mean I don’t totally enjoy your blog, I’m just one that doesn’t comment much. I have enjoyed reading what you write I may or may not agree but that doesn’t change the fact that I really enjoy reading your blog. Saying that I will tell you what I told a good friend when he came out to me “your telling me this? does it change who you are? NO? you are still the person I loved five mins ago and nothing else has changed.” We all have “other identities” in our lives even if we don’t mean to have them. people at work would never know who I am at home, even my personality changes, I don’t mean it to be that way but it just is. I’m also Mom, grandma, sister, daughter, friend, co-worker, neighbor and this is all without mentioning what path I follow. Every person who meets you knows you as someone different. Everyone views you (me, whoever) from their prospective. You give of yourself differently to everyone. What you are meant to pass on to others will be…and I think that’s what our “other identities” are for. I don’t think they are really identities that we are hiding behind as I said I think it’s just the way others perceive us. I’m not sure it’s really important that it all be integrated, just so
you are honest with the people you deal with and most importantly
yourself. If you think about it you are different when you are with your siblings than when you are out with your friends, and different with a boss than you would be with a co-worker. I don’t even know if any of this has made any sense. And I really didn’t mean to sound preachy but I felt I had to say it. Blessings on you always
It has made sense, June, and I don’t take it as preachy. I appreciate you sharing your perspective on this, and I’m glad that the post inspired these thoughts in you. The point of this blog is to create dialogue; to inspire people to speak their own truths as I seek to speak mine. You’ve done that here, and I hope you come back to do it again!
Thank you for sharing your voice!
Hmm, I suppose this officially makes you even more interesting than we thought, eh? 🙂
I started using my real name everywhere online a while back–partly for some of the desire-to-integrate reasons you mentioned, though in my case it’s more of a work persona/online-personal-life-persona split. But I also wanted to start doing some Pagan writing/blogging and maybe publish something one of these days and decided it was just easier to be myself across the board and “connect with Facebook” on sites like this to make getting to know people online (and locally, interestingly enough) easier. I suppose I can always go to the Pagan Name Generator if I ever need to be incognito again. 😉
Ok, so now that I’ve actually watched the videos–wow. 🙂 Helluva voice dude. Nice to have “all” of you here!
There are gifts, I think, that come with greater transparency, as there are also risks. This is something that LGBTQ people consider every time we come out, and there is a strong parallel in the Pagan Community.
I hope that you experienced the up-sides of transparency when you began to write under your given name, and that decision continues to serve you well. And this Pagan Name Generator — you’re going to have to share that!!
Peace to you, Nicole.
Right back atcha. It occurs to me that one of the things I’ve always enjoyed about your blog is how you take the time to respond to everyone who comments and ask us questions in return etc–it’s an actual dialog and that makes it very enjoyable.
I completely agree with June, every single person who interacts with us knows us in a different way. Even with working to integrate different aspects of ourselves, even if we don’t work to compartmentalise, each person’s experience of us is framed with the weight of previous experience, expectations, context, and everything else that makes up that unique relationship.
I hope that this path of integration leads you to what you seek. It is my fervent and heartfelt prayer that both your spiritual progress and your musical progress benefit from this and that you are able to move forward freely in both.
Also, thank you for introducing me to your music! 🙂
It’s my pleasure, Áine, and thank you for being so supportive. My prayer is that we may all come to move more freely in our being, integrated — as Thorn says — in all that we do. I’m not sure where this leads, but I’m not convinced that that is even the point. The experience of transparency can be its own reward, I think.
As always, I’m grateful to have you be a part of this dialogue, and I look forward to more great exchanges to come!
Okay, you just completely freaked me out. As a Texas native, I’m very familiar with your father, lol. And I actually watched you on a Haiti telethon (Charlie Sexton!! /fangirl).
That’s a pretty huge out there, Teo. =D
Thanks, Kris, you video-pusher, you. 🙂
I love this — “a pretty huge out there.”
I might have to borrow that term.
As soon as I read you’d been on MMC, there was no stopping my need to youtube. I admit to a fairly huge case of the giggles watching you sing “Two Princes” with JC Chasez, lol!
I thought you looked familiar, but it makes no difference. You’re still the Teo I enjoy reading and now I know you’re the Matt I’ve enjoyed listening to…seems all good to me. Peace on Your Path…and I still look forward to meeting you at Eight-Winds next year.
Thank you, Patrick. You’ve articulated quite simply how I see this whole situation. We are always more than one thing, and I’m grateful that I can provide you with writing and music that you appreciate. I hope it continues to be so.
I look forward to meeting you, too!
Oh my goodness, I used to watch you on MMC! You were one of my favourites! I am pretty sure somewhere in the pit of my closet are all my old VHS copies of the show from when I used to tape it everyday! I am having a serious mind blown moment here on a level I most assuredly was not expecting when I loaded this up in my reader. Wow. Hngh. HNGH.
That being said coming out as Matt Morris or Teo Bishop, you’re still you you know? Your words haven’t changed, your feelings haven’t changed, your Gods haven’t changed. Still awesome either way!
(Although I gotta admit 12 year old me is slightly flailing XD)
I’m convinced that all of us are still 12 deep down inside. 🙂
Thanks for sharing the memories of VHS, and for your support. It is much appreciated.
No man thank you! This actually inspired me to write a quick post about it, my first non-moon one in ages 🙂
This just tells you either how out-of-touch I am, or how important context is: I had to stop for a moment and think “What does Teo have to do with Maiden-Mother-Crone?” Then I went, Oh, THAT OTHER MMC! 😉
HAHAHA!!! I don’t know so much if it’s an out-of-touch thing so much as an age thing really. If you’re younger then say 30 you probably won’t remember? Or if you didn’t have cable or wasn’t obsessed with Disney in general 🙂
It was a “premium” channel back then, so we didn’t have it and I never saw it. (And, honestly, I didn’t really know it existed until my sister was dating T. J. Fantini briefly…then I heard about Britney, Justin, Christina, and so forth…)
As I’m only just over three years older than Teo himself, I really hope it’s not an age thing…!?! 😉
pretty cool but it was no secret you are a good person , sincerly hope you continue to do both Matt/Teo
That’s very kind of you to say, Larry. Thank you for the comment. I intend to continue writing here and at HuffPost, and music will continue to play a role. It’s all a part of me, and there are ways that both creative acts are ways in which I can be of service to my community, and to my own soul.
Again, thank you for sharing your kind words.
Does this mean Matt Morris will make Sacred Electric Grove for us? That would be cool.
Does this mean Matt Morris will make Sacred Electric Grove for us? That would be cool.
(And your voice is gorgeous. I’m glad to meet this part of you.)
Thanks, Thorn. I’m glad to finally introduce this part of me to you. 🙂
I’m not sure what the next steps will be. I feel like the music from that EP has a place in the world, and there are other music projects that I’m interested in pursuing as well. I’ll be spending some time with all these ideas in the weeks ahead.
>>>I feel like the music from that EP has a place in the world<<<
I sure hope so. That music we tried to fund through Indiegogo was soul weaving in its sound.
[…] as Mary Jane and Lois Lane: Teo Bishop is Matt MorrisJuly 12, 2012 By Star Foster Leave a CommentTeo Bishop has come out as popular recording artist Matt Morris. I’m not merely surprised, I’m downright speechless. To echo my friend David Salisbury: […]
Hell, I didn’t even know who Matt Morris is, but I sure like Teo Bishop! LOL 🙂 So, to me, this doesn’t change a thing, it just means you is purtay wail known! I commend you, by the way. Not everyone could have pulled this off. 😉
Thank you, April. I appreciate the support.
Love ‘Eternity’ ! I’ve been writing and blogging under AmethJera for over a decade, it’s my religious name….but I have never stopped being Kate Dennis, I’ve never been in the ‘broom closet as it were’, and yet I have people on my FB friend list who haven’t connected the two, LOL. So much for branding, I guess. Your writing is such a catalyst for self-examination and I value you as a go-to person in the community.
By the way…I worked a couple shows with your Dad back in the day when I was a production assistant with John Denver….the world is very small indeed!
Thank you, Kate. I’m glad that the song speaks to you. I’m glad, also, that my writing has been of service to you somehow. I hope it continues to be so.
Small world, indeed! It never ceases to amaze me the ways in which we are all connected.
Peace to you.
I’m with Thorn, still hoping to see some part of Sacred Electric Grove happen!
And I believe it will, George. Just gotta have some time with the *how*.
Thanks for contributing your comment here. I’m glad that you’re a part of the conversation.
Wow. You are even more awesome than previously suspected, Teo. What a huge step; thank you for sharing it with us. You give me the courage to take further steps toward transparency in my own life; thanks for the inspiration. 🙂
Thanks, Caitlin. It feels like the right step, and the right time.
I hope that you move forward in the pace that feels right for you, and remember that transparency to the world is not as important as transparency and alignment within yourself. It has to start with you, I think.
Peace to you.
I have to second this, Teo. Far more awesome than previously suspected.
Nice post. Something that I battle with… to integrate or not to integrate! (Hm…that sounds Shakespearean)
The longer you spend broken, the further the pieces float apart and harder it becomes to re-integrate. May this post inspire many (including myself) to be feel free to exist as varied and multi-faceted beings without being broken into multiple people.
Blessings! Insightful work all around.
Wow, incredibly brave of you Teo, I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and have always found a lot of comfort in your honesty. As for myself, I’m still ‘in the broom closet’ as it were. There are a few who know but not many. I’ve always feared the social stigma and especially have feared for my job.
Anyways, your move is really inspiring and it would seem that you have a lot more to lose than the likes of me. You’ve given me something to think about. Thanks.
I knew you were talented. I just didn’t realize how big the scope of your talent actually is.
As nice as it is that “Matt Morris” has come out as a Druid, I worry about my friend, Teo Bishop. May your being out bring you much joy and as little sorrow as possible.
Well done, indeed.
I THOUGHT those mixes sounded awfully nice. 🙂 LOL.
What you might find funny is that I have no idea who “Matt Morris” is. You must have been big during a time when I wasn’t paying any attention to the music scene. Not that I really have ever paid much attention to the music scene. I burned out on contemporary music trends after the Monkees. Had a friend in grade school who went on to be a radio DJ, so we’d hang and listen to all the 45 singles. Once I hit Junior High, I fell in love with classical music and never really looked back. 🙂
I was given the name Themon by one of my grove members — it’s close to an anagram of my last name — and I took it on as a pen-name. I thought it might be amusing to have two on-line identities to blog with: Themon the Bard, and Bardley Whiplash. One would be a raging liberal, the other would be a conservative curmudgeon. But I found that I just couldn’t do a convincing Bardley, and didn’t even have fun pretending. And then the US shifted so far to the crazy right that I found my formerly “centrist” self standing on Commie-Liberal soil. Who knew?
I personally find that having two identities is kind of a pain.
Anyway, congratulations on your self-re-integration! You might try the Indiegogo thing again. I suspect you’ll have better luck….
Ooops! I guess STILL big! (as of 2010, according to Wikipedia). 🙂
Eternity — very nice!
So much yes.
I’ve recently been going through something similar. I’ve never had a high public profile like yours, but it’s taken me a long time to integrate all my public parts, and all the previously private parts which wanted to be public. (Gosh, that sounds rude!)
I’m approaching my 42nd birthday, and have finally reached the stage where I honestly don’t give a toss what ‘the world’ makes of me. My calling card now says “Priestess ~ Scholar ~ Poet”, and I can look at it and think, “Yes, that’s me.”
[…] will continue to follow this story as it develops.The Tale of Teo Bishop and Matt Morris: Today, on his blog Bishop in the Grove, Teo Bishop revealed that he was known to the world by another name, Matt Morris. This isn’t […]
I admit, I never heard of Matt Morris, and even the quick googling I did this morning didn’t make any real connections for me. However, I think I do know Teo Bishop, who is a a talented, kind, charismatic knitter who asks thoughful and probing questions that inspire us all. Boulder and Tucson aren’t THAT far apart, are they? Hope we run into other aagain and again. (And I promise I’ll show you the boneyard scarf I make from the pattern you suggested!)
Hey, Teo, remember this post:
This kind of puts that in a whole new light. *L*
“While my situation may look rather extreme — my relative fame in the music world necessitating a new name, a new series of URL’s and social network profiles in order to grow in my religious practice — I don’t think I’m the only one who has gone to such measures in order to explore the subtleties and complexities of their identity.”
You’re not. I’m not even known at all outside of a very, very tiny academic community, but I still didn’t want my identities to mix (and really, it was more about the personal side of community – not wanting to explore certain spiritual paths in the full sight of people who knew me as someone else). I created (well, resurrected) my Sophia Catherine identity just over a year ago for the purposes of exploring Paganism, and I’m very glad I did. Questions of how to reintegrate do keep coming up, though. Thanks for your bold, brave and thought-provoking example of ‘going public’ and closing the gap. You’re always a real inspiration, Teo – and you do keep making me think, damn you! 😉
And as I’ve said before, I’d still like to see Sacred Electric Grove happen, too. Looking forward to it when it does.
As a man who tries to segregate Sean the Druid with Sean Harbaugh in his everyday life, this is very inspiring to me. It really does boil down to being true to ourselves. I know it must have been a difficult decision. You’ll still be my ADF brother from CO with that amazing voice that inspires me.
I had no idea who Matt Morris was – yet another sign I’m getting old. But as someone who has maintained alter egos at times (though never to this degree!) I appreciate the need to separate and the desire to integrate.
You’ve shown us your soul on this blog – thanks for connecting the names that go with it. May you continue to be filled with Awen.
Welcome to the sacred fire.
Congrats for the coming out and for sharing this with the rest of us. A few years ago, I did my own soul-searching with a secret identity and a blog. Of course, I’m not a recording artist, but I did want my privacy, like you. And then worlds started colliding, and it all became too difficult to continue. So I gradually came out spiritually, and I guess I’m still coming out. There’s still things I don’t say and things I keep private, and that’s getting on my nerves.
And now, I’m recovering from recently losing my partner, and I’m rebuilding my life which has been on hold for many reasons. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say that–this IS my life. I’ve just been caring for someone very close to me. Anyway, you’ve got me thinking about “coming out” again, and it dovetails with all the questions currently swirling in my head, unsure of who I am now that I’m no longer in a long-term relationship. Thanks, and great to know a little more about Teo!
So, craziness, my friend…
Since I did meet you in-person at PantheaCon for a few seconds, that means I’m only two degrees of separation from Justin, Christina, Britney, and Ryan now, huh? I used to be three, because my sister briefly dated T. J. Fantini back in the late 90s; his family is local to me, and while I saw him in a few drama performances around town, I never met him “officially,” even for a few seconds. Fascinating!
Also, I noticed a few months back that Tony Lucca was wearing a hat on The Voice that was very similar to yours, and I thought “It’s weird that Tony seems to be borrowing hats from Teo.” Do you still share a wardrobe with him? 😉
Unfortunately, I’m still not in a position to unite my various public personae at present. I have provisional employment with several places that don’t need to cite a reason for not giving me a further short-term (i.e. two month) contract for teaching, and one of them has already decided to not opt to re-hire me, and there’s nothing I can do about it. There are two things that need to happen before I can consider doing that (and permanent contracted employment actually isn’t one of them, but anyway…), and I’m moving towards doing so, and thus hope to have made those moves in the next two to three years. We shall see how things go.
Teo, I have known you a long time, and you are the same wonderful soul with both names. I am so very proud of you for your accomplishments in all areas of your life. You have always had your priorities right, and this life is a journey full of changes. I’m so glad to watch you go through all of these changes with integrity and honesty. It is who you are at your core, and who you are is someone I’m blessed to have in my life. Your words will help others be honest with themselves who is the most important person we need to be honest with.
You’ll always be Teo to me, the cute, polite, insightful Pagan that I respect and look forward to corresponding and/or speaking with. Lady Bless 🙂
[…] So Teo Bishop has an announcement of sorts. […]
Teo, you really are full of surprises. This, I guess to me is just another facet of you being a very talented, thoughtful, and honest individual and my favorite blogger at patheos (with no offense to the other fine bloggers here that I also follow and enjoy! ) I hope this reintegration doesn’t change the easy, introspective conversations that have taken place here since I started reading, and that it does bring you the forward motion in your path that you are seeking. Best of luck, though I can’t imagine you changing much, even if you do come under a bit of a spotlight for a while. 🙂
Thank you for having the courage to bring your full self out to all the communities you are a part of. That is a powerful kind of courage. I’m looking forward to reading even more of your journey, even if I don’t comment a lot.
Thank you, Teo. Gods bless.
all i can say is YAY!!!!!!
While I love your music, I have to confess that what really excited me was finding out that you’re a knitter.
HOLY CATS, AND HE KNITS, TOO?!
I admit to not being familiar with your other self, but I will sure be checking it out. Thank you for sharing this. Several years ago I began to integrate both my online and real world personas. I’m so glad I have. I think it frees me to be authentic and as a result I find I’m much happier and thriving in ways I haven’t done since I adopted a corporate shell so many years ago. While I don’t outright announce everything about me, my beliefs, etc. I don’t hide them either. And now that all my online selfs are linked in some way, any one who is really that interested can easily find the “whole me”. Maybe an official public acknowledge of all my selves will be in order shortly. I’ve been considering it. So thanks again for sharing this.
Back when I was a newb to the pagan scene many moons ago, I pondered whether to assume an alter ego. I decided not to, because so many of the names I was seeing at the time were right out of the Pagan Name Generator (it was the 90s) and I couldn’t bring myself to go there. I also entertained vague notions that I would go through a formal initiation in one tradition or another, and get a craft name. It didn’t work out that way. (As Groucho Marx said, I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.)
Teo/Matt (geddit?), you’ve made me think about the road I never took. Part of me is quite content that I never had an alter, but another part of me wishes I had given myself that experience of holding two separate identities, at least for a time.
Prudence is one reason to assume an alter-ego in the pagan scene, and I would never begrudge anyone that choice, having seen a satanic panic in my local area up close – but another is the opportunity to create oneself anew in relationship to the world. What an intoxicating prospect that could be!
I wish you well in this alchemical work of identity, Teo/Matt. Yes, you are the same person by either name (entirely too thoughtful and reasonable for a pagan, much less a music celebrity IMO 😉 ) and I am sure you didn’t take this decision lightly. You will see the world seeing you a bit (or a lot) differently with two personae revealed as one. As within, so without, eh?
Thank you for sharing this with us Teo, it was a big brave step and I’m so happy you took it! Fanboy gushiness aside (for both the blogger AND the musician now), I am thankful to you for sharing your thoughts and talent with us. You touch our lives with your words, you touch our minds and help us introspect, and I just feel honored to know a little bit more about all of you. Blessings and Harmony to you!
Welcome “out”! Blessings to your work. *smile*
You are an Inspiration, Teo. 🙂 Thank you! May Brigit guide, guard and ever bless your ways. It’s time for me to hatch, too.
When I first began exploring paganism, I took the name “Drudonn Thorn,” which is the name I used when I joined ADF last week. I have *2* drag characters–Indigo Celeste, and Tallulah Darling–but I am and shall (probably) always be Will Dees.
You have inspired me to simplify my identity and cast aside the “Drudonn Thorn” nom de plume. If I’m going to worship the gods seriously, I’m going to do it as myself. The gods know I have too many identities already.
I love reading your blog, and you are an inspiration. Rock on.
bee-tee-dubs, love hearing your music.
Thank you for sharing this. For a long time, I’ve been ‘out’ as a pagan to most people who know me, but when I went back to school for my degree in Interior Design, all of a sudden I found myself keeping that part of me hidden from professors and classmates. It’s not as if there’s a burning need to share one’s religious views with them, in principal, but when you’re in intensive studios with each other at least two days a week, often more, some of these people become like family.
Interior design, at least in Atlanta, is also a fairly conservative community. Some folks are quite snooty. Others, though… not so much. But it does make me wonder how much some of *them* are hiding parts of themselves as well, simply out of a desire to seem ‘professional’ to one’s peers.
Within the past year, though, I’ve come to the conclusion that I do need to be ‘out’ to these folks. I’ll be working with them a lot, to one degree or another, and for those whom I’ll be working with a lot, it seems dishonest to keep this hidden from them. There’s also the fact that a lot of my beliefs really do inform my design work and design choices, such as sustainability and biophilic design. I feel that understanding my design process is to understand me and my beliefs. Integration, here, has become important to me. The ‘how’ of it, well, I’m struggling but I figure I’ll get there eventually.
Watched all the vid’s of you and I have to say that you are truly gifted in the singing. Now I will look for your blog and start reading it. Who knew that people listening to your music would be drawn to your blog? Blessed Be Matt/Teo
Teo, It was nice of you to share your secret and legal name with us. I completely understand wanting to keep them separate. I briefly toyed with using a different name when posting on line, but then, I don’t use my full name. I was briefly hoping to be a writer and planned to use my maiden [Isn’t that an awful word?] name just to keep things from getting crazy. Now I confess that I sell jewelry under a business name, but that’s a whole different thing.
But the idea of introducing myself in a coven/circle as Moonbeam just seemed silly. I think that If you’re going to use a psudonum that’s your choice, but if you are speaking publically about your spiritual beliefs use your legal name. It makes us seem more real to outsiders. I don’t think any other belief system uses imaginary names for their followers. How about if we start keeping our names mundane, Maybe then we’ll seem like less of a threat. But then again how threatening could a Moonbeam be?
Your reasons for keeping your mundane name separate were logical. There are lots of writers who use pen names. Essentially that’s what you did. Coming out as Matt to us was kind of you and I’m sure it has helped other with that choice.
Is this your second coming out? Is it easier this time? [only half kidding on this part]
and another thing – ‘Those who matter don’t mind; those who mind don’t matter’ Theodore Geissel – Dr. Suess
Congratulations on coming out! I think its the right thing to do, especially if we as a community are to move forward. As someone who’s been out for a long time under my own name, I can safely say that it can bring about some challenges, but it also educates people around you. I live a bit of a dual identity myself, albeit with one name and its interesting to see how people react when they discover that I’m pagan…most times they handle it well.
Thank you for your courage in coming out. I admit I have not closely followed your blog (I don’t closely follow anyone’s blogs really, just relevent articles that are linked to) however I have enjoyed your thoughtful posts on the ADF lists. Similarly I’d someone mentioned the name Matt Morris to me it wouldn’t register, but I thoroughly enjoyed your performance of Hallelujah in the Hope for Haiti benefit concert, it is one of my all time favorite songs and came up in a YouTube search some time ago when I was searching for Jeff Buckley’s version. I just listened to Eterenity last night and the theme really does resonate with me.
I can definitely relate to the name identity issues. I am currently visiting my inlaws and here I am known as Aunt Alyssa, whereas to everyone in ADF, my former co-workers at Teavana and everyone knew I meet I am Autumn. The former is my given name that no teacher or professional can pronounce as my mother had intended once they see it written. The latter is my legal and spiritual name that I chose when my husband and I got married and chose to create our own surname (Aelwyd, Welsh for Hearth, though I had planned on changing it since high school). Everyone who has known me for the majority of my life or just recently says it fits me very well. However I do not expect my family and long time friends to stop calling me Alyssa, it is what they are comfortable with and they can pronounce it. However I have reintroduced myself as Autumn to the folks at my mom’s UU church who always butchered my name. My parents are supportive, but it’s not always easy socially and beuerucratically. Still I don’t miss being called Uh-lis-uh (it’s Lisa with an a in front of it) plus it solves the problem of choosing a pagan name that would likely be Gaelic and impossible to pronounce. And this why we named our son Rowan. But enough of my ramblings, well met Teo, blessings on all your upcoming projects and on your path!
I said this over at Star’s blog, but I thought I ought to come post it here. A little while back I happened to be home on a weekday. Before I quit my job, this was uncommon. I rarely got to watch daytime TV but that day I was watching Ellen and there was a performer named Matt Morris. I didn’t know who this person was and I’m probably about 10 years beyond the target demographic, but I really liked the performance and I thought the dude on TV had a fabulously jaunty knit cap.
And even crazier – I knew you then. I knew Teo Bishop then…and well, that’s the same thing. I have mad respect for you and your decisions. You are my new hero.
Hunh! Who knew?
I’ve always enjoyed your writing here and I doubt that will change. We just know a little more about you now.
If I told you my name is really Jess Matz, it wouldn’t mean very much, but it’s a terrifying thing to be out of the broom closet, as they say. Maybe it’s “out of the woods” for a Druid? (Maybe not.) Anyway, whenever we’re out, we’re being out for those who can’t be for whatever reason. For my own part, I’ll continue to say “I’m a Pagan” until there’s nobody who fears saying those words. It still scares me, though, and I feel like I’m having heart palpitations every time. It can be dangerous business ’round these parts if you’re not a Christian and it’s not unreasonable to expect vandalism or violence.
What I’m trying to say is that, for what it’s worth, I’m proud of you for being who you are and for being honest and out there with it. It takes chutzpah to do this and I hope this helps someone down the road who might have some fear about being out.
ETA: I find that you’re also a knitter to be much bigger news than the fact you do a little singing on the side 😉
I’m sorry, Teo, I don’t think I can keep associating with someone who’s a blatant tenor. 😉 Love and support from your Anglican choirgirl druid friend.
Teo, Matt we all have a few online identities i personaly have 2 . One my pagan and Druid side this and another i present to the rest of the world .The other SN is for people i don’t want to / or those who don’t need to know i’m a pagan . My business dealings and others who needent know this side of me .Altho i don’t have a blog , this SN is used as you use your Teo side .And just for the record the pagan side of me is more active online these days , and thank you i do enjoy Bishop in the Grove and will continue to do so. contiued success my freind . Kilm
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I trust that the act of being honest with you is worth whatever risk comes with it.”
I came out to my family and career associates over a year ago after more than 30 years of keeping it all compartmentalized and private. In the end, I was just too hard to keep it separate… who knows? who doesn’t? … I couldn’t keep track. The older you get, the more stuff you have to jam into that ol’ noggen. So I reintegrated everything and let the cards fall where they may.
The risk, is not something to be triffled with, that is for sure, but your trust is not misplaced. The rewards far outweigh them as you will discover first hand. And while it helps to have a community (local as well as removed) that supports you in indescribable ways, even the formerly ignorant community was much more supportive than I ever imagined. People are incredibly resilient an loving in my estimation. And those that can’t be, for whatever reason drift away like chaff from wheat.
Some will say that they would have really wanted to remain ignorant of your identity. They will say, that “…it is self indulgent – why couldn’t you let sleeping dogs lie?”.
But the opposite is true. By coming out and integrating, you have removed one more person in the world with weird bottled up emotions. You have provided to those that didn’t know, an up-close and personal real-life-example of how a virtuous life can be lived while adhering to non-traditional spiritual beliefs. And that benefits us all because eventually it will break the bonds of oppression that keep free people down.
Coming out should be a blessed sacrament, if we have such a thing.
Congratulations, and a warm “Blessed Be” and welcome from this stranger.
Major props to you, Teo! Both for having the courage and clarity of mind to explore a different aspect of yourself unencumbered by your past, and for having the courage and wisdom to reintegrate the threads and own who you are, publicly, for all to see. I’ve always liked you, and now I like you even better. 🙂
Thank you, Elysia.
I just want to say Thank You. 🙂
You’re quite welcome, Helen. Thank you for being here.
What an absolutely inspirational post!! I try always to be open and honest about my faith to even those that I’ve just met and I find that all I ever get are kind, understanding and accepting responses (which is refreshing down here in Deep South Georgia). The world and society are changing everyday and despite what we see of bigotry and hatred in the media, let me tell you that these are only on the surface of humanity. The youth of America are becoming increasingly more loving and even curious of other’s faith and I pray that you receive the same love the Universe has sent my way! Keep changing the world one blog post (and song) at a time!
Thank you, Gwendolynn. I’ll do my best, and I appreciate the support.
I’m completely blown away. After reading I had to ask my son why your given name sounded so familiar to me, I couldn’t make the connection. He rolls his eyes and brings up Infatuation with his classic ‘Duh’ look. We loved you before, but thank you so much for trusting us with your name.
Thank you for your kindness and acceptance, Tamara.
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