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Straight Edge Interview Project: Rosalyn Lincoln || 22 || United States || She/Her

Instagram: Rozzyl_

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

As someone following a vegan straight edge lifestyle, I strongly advocate for the conservation of both wildlife and the environment. While I am currently receiving my Masters of Science in Wildlife Conservation & Biology, I am the founder/CEO of a local conservation group in my area, where I organize community trash cleanups and educate others on the importance of conservation. I have two awesome reptiles as pets; a Crested Gecko and a Kingsnake. As for hobbies, I really enjoy hiking, photography, playing the bass and ukulele, skateboarding, MMA / Jiu-Jitsu, and have recently taken up metal/hardcore vocals!

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

While I am a huge fan of many different bands, some of my favorite straight edge bands are Minor Threat, Magnitude, Inclination, and Dare. As for non-straight edge bands, some of my top favorites are Knocked Loose, Gatecreeper, Vein.fm, Spiritbox, Movements, and Dying Wish.

 What is your definition of straight edge?

Being straight edge to me means making a personal choice to oppose a world of addiction and substance use.

Where do you see the straight edge scene today?

I see the straight edge scene today as a growing movement that has the potential to make a positive impact on the world.

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

Personally, it doesn’t matter to me what others decide to do, whether they are part of the hardcore/punk music scene or not. Claiming edge is a personal choice, and although Minor Threat was the first band to present this movement (accidentally might I add), I don’t think it matters too much whether someone claiming edge is within the music scene or not. Straight edge can be expressed within forms of art, photography, etc., not just through music.

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

A lot of people assume that being straight edge means showing a form of hatred towards those who are currently struggling with addiction or substance abuse. Instead of using sXe as a way to show you are “better” than others or those that may be struggling, I think it is important to rather create a platform to offer a helping hand and show empathy to those who may need it, and advocate for a healthy society and planet.

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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?

People who are not edge often are confused as to why I chose to oppose substance usage. They can’t seem to understand why I wouldn’t want to smoke or drink to “take the edge off”. I have even lost friends and missed out on certain social events due to being edge, which I have accepted as a part of personal growth.

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 actually have been vegan for about 3 years now before I ever even claimed 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?  

Recently, in October 2021, I decided that claiming straight edge was the way I wanted to live my life. After attending some hardcore shows and discovering new straight edge bands, the lyrics just seemed to resonate with me. I came to the conclusion that in order to heal and overcome the internal struggles I was facing, I needed to face them instead of masking them with substances. I wanted to oppose a world where substance abuse and addiction seemed to be so normalized. With a clearer mind and body, I have begun to heal from these internal battles and lived a much healthier lifestyle.

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

To me, straight edge means making a personal choice to oppose to a world of substance use. It has allowed me to face and overcome internal struggles rather than using substances to mask them, and for that I am grateful.

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

I would consider myself an activist when it comes to the conservation of the environment, wildlife, and the planet as a whole, as well as animal rights. Furthering my education in this area and spreading awareness via community outreach, has allowed me to advocate for a cause I feel strongly about. I have also advocated for animal rights since I am very against the exploitation of innocent beings for human consumption and pleasure. Going vegan about 3 years ago was one of the best choices I have made.

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

Having a clear mind and body helps keep me committed to the straight edge lifestyle. I feel the healthiest I have ever been, both physically and mentally.

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

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I was never a huge drinker in the past, so avoiding alcohol has never been an issue for me.

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

Exercise, mediation, and expressing creativity are very important stress relief for me. Without being able to partake in MMA/Jiu-Jitsu, hiking, or rock climbing, I don’t think I would be able to stay sane. As for peer pressure, always stay true to yourself and remember the reason for abstaining from drugs or alcohol. Never feel guilty or bad for being yourself and making your own personal choices.

How was it being straight edge in this pandemic?

It is actually much easier being straight edge during the pandemic since there are fewer social gatherings to attend that may involve being in a situation where drinking or drugs are common.

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

I only considered breaking edge once since it has been such a short time since I’ve claimed, but have not done so and do not plan on it. The situation involved a really bad migraine and finding no relief for it, whereas in the past marijuana may have helped. I changed my mind once reminding myself of the bigger picture and my reason for claiming edge in the first place.

Have you ever stopped being edge for a period of time, 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)?

I haven’t stopped being edge yet, if ever.

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 partner is not straight edge, but he highly supports my personal choice to be. He has never once tried to peer pressure me, and I have never once made him feel guilty for having a drink or smoking weed occasionally. In fact, his use of alcohol and marijuana has reduced drastically since I have claimed edge, mainly due to not being surrounded by it often. Our dynamic works very well and I am grateful for him!

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 is actually very supportive of my lifestyle decision. My social life has definitely changed, but not necessarily negatively. While I am not as social as I used to be, and have lost some friends due to distancing myself from certain situations, I have accepted this as personal growth and do not take offense or hold grudges. We are all on our own paths, and this is mine.

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 can definitely relate to this! There is not a big straight edge/hardcore community (if at all) in my area and I have definitely felt a bit lonely not being able to relate to or bond with other straight edge women.

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

I usually just resort to stating “No thank you!” or “I’m all set, I don’t drink/smoke, but thank you!” when offered something, and people don’t tend to ask why. On the rare occasion someone does, I explain that I’m straight edge and explain my reason for being so.

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 definitely think the straight edge community has been both accepting and rejecting of individuals in recovery. I strongly feel that being straight edge is NOT a platform to put down or create judgment towards individuals in recovery, but should instead be a way to praise others for overcoming their struggles. This community should be all-inclusive and create a community that brings each other up, rather than down, no matter their background or reason for claiming edge.

How do you feel your straight edge commitment plays into the bigger social justice movement for gender equity?

I think a lot of people in the community are very accepting of others, which is amazing! It creates a space for people of any background or gender to express themselves and bond with others.

Have you ever had a negative experience in the scene related to your gender?

Aside from a few mishaps of being a woman in a mosh pit, I haven’t experienced much negativity.

Straight edge and the associated music scene have long been male-dominated.  What do you see as a woman/girls role in the scene? How has this role changed since you have been involved and what changes would you like to see?

I think women/girls should be deemed equal to men in a long male-dominated scene. I have definitely noticed a lot more women claiming edge, which is awesome! I would love to see more and more women or girls joining the movement!

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

There is definitely a little bit of misogyny floating around the scene, but in today’s society, women are becoming more accepted.

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

While a lot has been done, I don’t think there is ever enough done in order to create change. Never stop fighting and standing up for what you believe in.

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Is the scene as inclusive as it likes to think it is? Do you think there’s work to be done? If so, what would you like to see change?

I think a little bit of work could be done, there is definitely more room for positive change.

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

Always be yourself and stand up for what you believe in. Don’t let the opinions of others define you, and embrace your inner weirdo.

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

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