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Shelby : 27 , She/her, Florida

Tell us about you? What do you do for a living? Do you have any pets, hobbies, pet projects?

Shelby- straight edge

I was born and raised in a very small town in upstate New York. After I graduated high school I moved to Florida with my family. I’m currently living with my boyfriend and dog (our fur child). I work at a private country club as a pastry cook and I make celebration cakes as a side hustle. Things I love most are traveling, sushi, ice cream, horror movies, and hoodies.

Favorite straight edge (or non-straight edge) bands?

Edge bands: Have Heart, Harms Way, Minor Threat Non edge: Beach House, Grizzly bear, STRFKR,

What is your definition of straight edge?

Straight edge for me means refraining from drugs, tobacco, alcohol and casual sex.

There’s an ongoing debate on whether one can be straight edge without being a part of the music scene, what are your thoughts on this?

I think anyone can be straight edge. The kind of music you choose to listen to shouldn’t matter. Straight edge is about the commitment you make to yourself. However, I think if you are going to call yourself straight edge I do think it’s important to at least know and acknowledge the importance that the music scene had on the origins of the straight edge community.

What are some funny/common misconceptions people have about you being straight edge?

I feel like people think I’m boring. I’ve had people ask what I do if I don’t go out and party and I say well, pretty much anything besides that!

What are some challenges you have faced when interacting with other people who are also edge? If you haven’t had any challenges, tell us some challenges you’ve faced when interacting with people who are not edge?

I’ve found a lot of non-edge people really just don’t get it. They don’t understand why I won’t just have one drink. I’ve had people try to describe to me how having a couple of drinks won’t hurt. I’ve had people say to me when I was younger that I would change my mind. Also, I’ve never been drunk or high so when people tell me their drunk/High stories I have no idea how to respond!

What’s your straight edge story? Was there a key moment that made you realize straight edge is the way you want to live your life? How old were you? How did you find out about straight edge, was there someone in the community that introduced you, or were you introduced to it through people/bands, etc? What drew you to it?

So I use to buy this magazine called Seventeen. I was 14 years old and reading an issue one day and there was a section I came across about stereotypes. There was a girl explaining that people always stereotype her badly because she has tattoos and wears dark clothing but she is actually straight edge. I was curious, I had never heard the word straight edge before so I googled it and it was like a light bulb went off in my head. I said yes! This is who I am! I am straight edge. I had never done any drugs or alcohol before then and I just knew that I never wanted to in the future.

shelby straight edge

What, if anything, keeps you committed to the straight edge lifestyle?

I’ve never had the urge to try alcohol or drugs so I feel as though it’s such an easy commitment for me. I think I was gifted with a strong mind!

What is something you didn’t think you would struggle with by claiming edge?

I think working in the culinary industry is a bit challenging when you are straight edge. Last year my job flew me to NYC to work in a couple of different restaurants for learning purposes. One day they had everyone come together In the kitchen for a wine tasting and I was the awkward one in the back refusing the wine being passed my way.

What you do for stress relief instead of drinking/drugs, tips for peer pressure?

For stress relief I lift weights and I’m also a big advocate for self-care! Treat yourself as they say. I also love just putting on my sound-canceling headphones and laying outside on the grass being out in nature is so relaxing and music gives me a natural high. I don’t have any tips for peer pressure other than to just surround yourself with people who respect and support your decisions.

How was it being straight edge in this pandemic?

Exactly the same! Nothing has changed.

Have you ever considered breaking edge? What were the circumstances, and what changed your mind?

I have never considered breaking edge seriously and have yet to find any such circumstance!

If you are in a relationship is your partner straight edge, or have you had a previous relationship with someone who was not straight edge? What, if any, challenges have you faced relating to your lifestyle/choices?

My current boyfriend is not straight edge but he accepts My decision to be straight edge and actually really loves the fact that I don’t drink or use drugs. The first time we met was at a party with work friends. I was filling my shot glass with water and he said what are you straight edge? And I was like actually yes! My very first boyfriend was straight edge he introduced me to a lot of punk/hard-core straight edge music we would go to shows it was cool having the same straight edge lifestyle.

Has your family and social life been negatively or positively impacted? Have you faced or are you facing any specific challenges because of your lifestyle choices? If your family/friends are unsupportive, how do you deal?

My family and friends have ways been super supportive. I’m not sure they understand fully why I do this but they support me anyway in my decision.

Some straight edge women/girls I have talked to have told me that they feel isolated and that they find it difficult to relate to people outside of the straight edge scene. Is this something you can relate to?

100%. I think especially when I was younger and everyone was going and partying and smoking, I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere. I drifted away from a lot of people with who I use to be friends just to avoid being around that type of partying lifestyle. But I’d say now that I’m older I don’t care as much I’m very introverted anyway and love only having a small group of friends who I can relate to in other aspects of my life.

How do you explain your lifestyle to others outside of the scene? Do you find it difficult? What’s your elevator pitch?

I don’t really ever feel like I need to explain it because I feel like the majority of people don’t really understand. I usually just say like I don’t drink or do drugs and it ends there.

Please add anything else you think we should know or you would like to share!

I do have a funny “Oops I almost broke edge” story. So I’m taking a nap on my couch and I wake up super thirsty. I see a glass with water in it sitting on the counter. I reach for the glass and go in for a big gulp and it’s at that moment that I realized this was not water this was my boyfriend’s gin that he had set on the coffee table! I ran over to the sink and spit everything out and starting washing my mouth under the faucet. It was the worst experience ever. The taste for me was like pure rubbing alcohol. And it’s things like these that really solidify my choice to stay edge!

Mother, wife, small business owner. www.justbuttons.org

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