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X Marked Hands and Hardcore Bands- From Straight Edge to Self-Discovery: Navigating Challenges and Breaking Edge

A Life-Altering Decision

October 20th, 2003 was the beginning into a subculture that has changed the course of my life. It was the day that I devoted my life to being Straight Edge. I claimed it and owned, what I thought that meant. I stayed away from drugs and alcohol because I knew if I ventured down that path, I would eventually kill myself. I knew that I would escape the pain that I faced with anything and everything. From a distance, it found comfort in the community that it brought. Even though I was an outcast, I still felt a sense of belonging. I felt more connected than with my own family. Hardcore shows allowed me to get out the anger I felt. I was consumed by the music and I still love listening to those bands that brought me so much joy.

Struggles and Opposition

My parents looked down on me when they found out I was straight edge. My stepfather sat next to me one night and blatantly asked, ‘so were you gang-raped in?’ I was caught off guard because I had no clue he knew I was even straight edge. Both of the parents who raised me were police officers. We moved to Salt Lake City shortly before I chose to live a straight edge lifestyle. Most of the people there who claimed to be straight edge were placed on a gang list because of the history of violence it had. My stepfather was furious. It was a fight that I would have never won with him. He kicked me out in the middle of winter. I had the clothes on my back and a cellphone. I slept in this half-built house for one night in twenty-degree weather until morning came. I eventually crashed at a friend’s house until I felt safe to go back home.

Navigating Double Standards and Self-Discovery

I’ve been punched in the face at shows for being a woman. I’ve been called a whore by plenty of other women because they just assumed they knew me. Very few people know my whole story. Anyone who repeats someone else’s experiences is bound to manipulate their character. Unfortunately, no one truly cared about the truth that I lived.

When I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, I plunged into a new self that I eventually regretted. I felt a small acceptance with the Straight Edge culture, but there was a significant disconnect. I still didn’t really know who I was. If I didn’t talk to certain men then they would harass me. I eventually became sexually destructive. I fought against this double standard that men held so hard in their grasp. Sex was disposable to them, so why can’t women have the same approach. If I saw a ‘conquest’ I wanted to conquer it and fill a need that was supposed to fill a void. I became emotionally detached with my heart from the reality of the life I lived. I may not have done drugs or drank, but I found ways to deal with the pain I was battling. I became the label and lie that everyone claimed I was.

Revisiting the Past and Lessons Learned

I could easily live in the past and dwell on the ‘would haves’ and ‘could haves’. I could be consumed by the shame I felt when I gave up something so important to me for a guy I thought I loved. The best advice I could give is wait to drink alcohol. Allow your brain cells to form enough so you can comprehend who you are as a human being. Each of us were created for something more than what our minds can comprehend and for me, that’s when Christ comes in. The void was filled by a kind of love that cannot be explained. I know what it’s like to resent God. I know what it’s like to want to know answers and latch on to the first one that just sounds good. Christopher Hitchens was my homeboy for a while so I understand the God Free perspective. I may not be a theologian, but believing in your ability is a pretty powerful thing. I had to dive deep within myself and know that I wasn’t going to be an addict. I have that power to say no if I want to. I don’t live in fear of alcohol anymore. The memories I have from the years of being straight edge will always be filled with shenanigans, laughter, and bruises. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

A Message of Support and Resilience

2011 Testimonial with One Life One Chance

Whenever I watch my segment in that video I feel embarrassed. I was diagnosed with severe PTSD three months later and my journey of embracing PMA was one hell of an adventure.

For those of you who share a season of being drug-free and/or claimed to be straight edge and have struggled with the shame of others who judge you for choosing another path, You’re still loved and respected. No one knows your story better than you.

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  1. This was really tight and I appreciate how you put your heart on your sleeve so someone else can take advice and grow from our experiences. Thank you for this really inspiring and uplifting article.

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