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Straight Edge Interview Project: Rebecca, 40, Connecticut, Her/She

Social Media: Instagram: thesnakeandtherose I Facebook: Rebecca Lore

 

I am a mother of four children and we have a ball python at home. Before having a family I enjoyed traveling and experiencing different cultures and places. I used to do this frequently with my previous career in music and theatrical production which involved a lot of touring. Once having my son I made the switch to working for a company that manufactures power distribution for the entertainment, industrial, and military markets. I ended up really enjoying it (even though I said I would never have a desk job) and am still there over 12 years later! 

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

I am the first (and only) female Product Manager at the company I work for. It is a great deal of responsibility in a face-paced, ever-changing environment. I was never one to think of gender when it applied to roles but looking back, I tend to thrive in male-dominated industries. 

Dancing and feeling the music is a passion of mine. It gets deep in the soul and I just have to move! I love ‘night riding’ on my vintage bike which gives a killer leg workout every time. I am also in the process of writing a children’s book. 

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

Saves The Day 

Stretch Arm Strong

Sigur Ros

Evergreen Terrace

Kid Dynamite 

Good Clean Fun

Operation Ivy 

AFI 

BoySetsFire 

Casey Jones

Remembering Never 

Bane 

Poison The Well 

What is your definition of straight edge?

Well, the simple answer when someone asks is no drinking, no smoking, and no drug use. 

Really though it is so much more than that to me but we will get into that a bit later. 

Where do you see the straight edge scene today?

Wow, this is an eye-opening question … I don’t really see it and that is a bit sad. Maybe it is there and I am currently not connected enough to the scene or maybe it has faded. 

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?

By definition of what it means, yes BUT at the same time without any connection to the scene and the roots, I don’t see how someone would really … get it and own it. 

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

I love dancing and have no shame doing it even when no one else is dancing. I have had many times throughout my life where people insist I am on something because of my dancing. Like some needs to be on something to dance freely. 

Years ago when tattoos and piercings were not accepted as they are today, it would be assumed that I did drugs and drank. (I even had a women tell me I was going to have an overdose…) When I would explain that I am Straight Edge and I don’t do those things it would be like I was saying unrecognizable words that could not be believed or understood. It was truly bizarre. 

Overall the main one that most probably hear is about not knowing how to have fun or assumed that I don’t want to hang out because people would be drinking. 

The completely weird one is that now that I am older, when someone hears I don’t do drugs they assume I am in recovery. 

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 always thought it was odd if it seemed like a competition or judging of who was more edge. Some have added additional requirements of what it means to be edge and hold others to that standard. So having someone say you can’t have red wine vinaigrette on your salad because you would be breaking edge or that you have to be vegan and have no medicine is just overboard. 

I prefer that there are the base beliefs and we unite and support each other. 

Is your diet influenced or informed by your choice to be straight edge i.e. organic, antibiotic infused meat, genetically modified foods, vegan, vegetarian?

I am vegetarian and have been since I was about 3 years old. So it ended up being WILDLY convenient when going out to eat to have a whole group of friends that were vegan or vegetarian but I did not become vegetarian because of Straight Edge. 

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?

 I do not believe there was this exact moment or event that made the edge light go on in my head. I do believe that it was a mix of various things. 

  • I was raised in a household where wine or alcohol was only out for a holiday dinner and it was very minimal. My parents also instilled in me how bad smoking is for your health and I recall being told it contributed to my grandfather’s health issues while he was alive. 
  • Even when I was in high school and did drink (sorry mom!) I still was not like really into it. I also for sure was not into the various drugs that people were doing. I even used to break up with my high school boyfriend if he like had chewing tobacco. Which thinking back seems pretty extreme for the time. 
  • I have been drugged three times. All times while drinking water. The first time was before claiming edge. From having those experiences I can tell you FOR SURE I do not like to lose control of my body and mind. It was a terrible feeling and I am lucky that each time I was able to get some sort of help. 
  • I also grew up being someone that could create their own fun. I didn’t need to do or take something. I didn’t yearn for a massive amount of friends. I believe that was important in how this all played out too. 

So all that being said… I kept learning more about edge as my music interest grew in the punk, ska and then into hardcore scene. I was able to meet other people that had claimed edge and all the pieces seemed to just fall in line. The music and the people involved in the music made this sort of chain reaction where I finally found my place. 

So here I am, 20 or so years later truly loving my choice I made back then and am grateful for how I was raised and the people I have met along the way. 

Define what straight edge means to you? Has this changed over the years?

To me, straight edge means being present in every moment of life. Each decision is mine. Every bit of laughter and each drop of tears, I own. 

I love that I don’t need substances to cope or enjoy or just be. I get this is not for everyone. For me, I couldn’t imagine it any other way. 

This has always been my reason for holding onto being EDGE. 

Do you consider yourself an activist? What is/are your cause(s), and how have you been working to advance them?  

No, I am not an activist. 

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

This is just me. It is not a debate that I have with myself or even a question. I just simply live and be without drinking, smoking and drug use. 

Life is not easy that is for sure. But my mind doesn’t think of using as a way out. 

I feel lucky that I have that rooted in me. I believe it has to do it’s how I was raised and grown over the years. 

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

I guess I feel awkward at times when everyone else is drinking and I am just sitting there. For example, at business dinners it could seem rude to not participate. 

I absolutely dislike when people assume that my being edge means that I think I am better or that they are wrong in my eyes, which is far from the truth. 

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

I find release in music, dancing, hooping, riding my bike and watching the sky. heck, even crying it out (especially to music) is such a release. Live music is a great way to be free in the music and refresh your mind! 

I have some pretty great people that support me and help me get through some pretty large life challenges. One of my good friends who is in recovery has offered me this advice that has stuck with me. He said to “do the next right thing”. And WOW, there have been sometimes that have been overwhelming and then I think of what he said and just break it all down to what is the next right thing to do. 

I feel like everyone needs so sort of outlet. I feel lucky in a way for what I have. It is important that each people find and have their release and support. 

You need to find your tribe. Once you have people that get you it is easier but I feel like in order to do that you have to own it yourself first. Then peer pressure seems silly. 

Back in high school when I was not Straight Edge I would be offered a variety for drugs and I would decline. It was more important for me to be true to myself than false to someone else. 

How was it being straight edge in this pandemic?

It was good and slightly annoying when looking online. The pandemic brought on the heightened focus and promotion of “mom life” and somehow “mom life” means being so over your kids and dealing with it by drinking (mainly wine) … like all the time. 

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

I broke it one time 20 years ago when I was under a very extreme situation where I felt like it was something that had to be done. I didn’t want to drink but I to make a giant change/statement. It does seem that I made the right choice because without going into details, things turned out better after that night. 

Have you ever stopped being edge for a period of time, and if so why? Did you regret doing so? What brought you back? If you have come back, how do you view your commitment (i.e. for life, for now)?

My commitment has always been for life because it is me and who I am. 

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.

So history has shown that I tend to alternate between edge and non edge for partners …. No idea why but that literally has happened for 20 something years. 

Depending on what the non edge partner would do it could be extremely challenging. I have been in situations I would have never thought and hope to never be in again. Looking back has really made it clear that I need to own my beliefs more and not allow someone to bring things into my life that is against that. 

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?

The most challenging part I am experiencing is that because I am different from them, they don’t get what I need. Life has thrown some really tough situations my way. I need time and support to be able to have my release and peace within myself. So I am healthier and better for everyone. That seems to be an easier ask when you have a substance to assist with the release. I feel like if someone drank, they would just do that and hang with friends or drink alone and cope (or mask) with what is going on. That would seem normal in a sense. I can’t do that. 

For me and where my life has headed, I need a BIG ONE! I want to go be surrounded by live music and finger point, dance and yell out the lyrics. That is like the best medicine ever! The tricky part is making that happen when you have four kids and the importance seems minimal. 

I have found support and friendship in an online community and in some friends that truly get it. Then I realized that I need to make my own way to get the release that I need. I used to wait and ask permission because I was always thinking of others and making sure everything was taken care of but I need to take care of myself. 

So now I have tickets to shows and it gives me something fantastic to look forward to. A way to connect back to my straight edge and hardcore roots and a way to breathe! 

I know my family loves me and want the best for me. They just don’t get that for me, things are different. 

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?

I don’t see this as an issue besides people thinking it’s weird that I don’t drink. Since having a family I don’t go out much anyway.

If you are straight edge and a parent, how has being straight edge informed how you parent and/or relate to other parents?

I have four kids. The oldest is 13 and the youngest is 2. The 13 year old is the one that really knows and gets what straight edge is and for now he thinks that is cool (fingers crossed it sticks!). I am told often that the kids are going to experiment and I get it. It will most likely happen. So the base of everything that I teach them on this topic is that I do not use drugs, smoke or drink. For them not using is normal. 

Also when we are at that point, I want to make sure they know they can come to me on this topic no matter what they end up trying or situations they get in. 

My parents do not smoke or do drugs. Growing up I would only see them have a drink at a holiday dinner or something like that which helped to shape my views on in. 

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

Depending on how far outside of the scene I would just keep it very simple and just say I don’t drink alcohol, smoke or do drugs. 

Or… I guess I could just show them how many stars I have on my Starbucks account. Ha! (It is ridiculous but not all caffeine if that’s what you are thinking)

Over the past decade or so individuals in recovery have stumbled upon the straight edge lifestyle and it has really spoken to them. Do you feel that the straight edge community has been welcoming to those in recovery? Do you have mixed feelings? Strong Feelings?

I fully back someone wanting to get clean. There are plenty of people that don’t drink, smoke or do drugs but like I mentioned above I feel like when someone calls themself straight edge is it more of a statement. I bet it is helpful if someone is sober and in recovery to have a lifestyle and community with that type of statement. 

I would find it a bit odd for someone to call themselves straight edge when being sober and having nothing to do with the scene ever on their lives. 

What if any challenges have you faced that are specifically related to being a female in a male-dominated scene?

When I was younger and would go to shows there were guys that would specifically target females in the pit area. It seemed like it was a way to say you don’t belong here or you are not tough enough. That was unfortunate because I love getting up there and singing along and two stepping. 

Another downside for larger type shows it was assumed that if you were backstage, you were a groupie. Being a female that worked in production and touring, that was insulting. 

Do you feel the straight edge community has done enough to advance gender/race/social issues?

The way I see it, the growth and involvement of zines like xsisterhoodx are a pathway to get there. We need to raise awareness and make room for all people. It is time to move past the joke of seeing a female wearing a band shirt and telling her she needs to name three songs. 

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

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