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Straight Edge Interview Project- Rowan TwoSisters, 49 (Gen X represent) Houston, Texas She/Her/They

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

Hottie Hooper Healer, nice to meet ya. Professionally, I am an Urban Curandera. What I mean by that is when growing up in El Paso, I always wanted to be the lady that lives in every neighborhood that had all these magic plants in her yard, that folks went to when things were gritty and hard, and who seemed to be the calm in the storm. I told my mother, who was a professor at UTEP, and she was like, “I don’t even think that’s legal.” HA.

So my meandering path of learning, and then utilizing healing arts skill sets brought me to where I am today, which is a midwife in a birth center for folks who are on Medicaid. It’s important to me to show up where folks usually get marginalized care, and for sure that’s in reproductive health care for Black, Brown and Indigenous pregnant folx. Its a rough gig, many people come in with a health deficit, are under-resourced, and I’m often left feeling like I can’t ever do enough. And the pay is shit.

I’m also a bodyworker with a very narrow yet deep skillset for working on pelvic floor trauma and scar tissue abdominally, cervical, and everywhere really, but especially as it relates to the gift shop.

I have an obnoxious adolescent cat named Cohosh, a smart AF dog named Electra, and 4 chickens. I’m a Punk Rock Hoops instructor and lead a weekly hoop jam named Cool Honey’s Circus. We are on IG @PunkRockHoops.

Favorite straight edge (or non-straight edge) bands? If you have links, please provide them!

Edge: Shelter, Youth of Today, Anything Rollins Related

NonEdge: I’m pretty much down for whatever esp if it comes from a place of heart, expression, and working through something to raise vibration. Hard pass on misogyny or hating or schadenfreude. I was at a birth awhile back and this dude sang this to his wife, it was GOLD.

I’m also a not so closet Taylor Swift fan. And EDM, I can drive for hours listening to that shizzle.

What is your definition of straight edge?

A commitment to a life of not medicating, always seeking to do better, mitigating harm and in general not giving AF about how the general populous perceives that. Hardcore attitude about it all.

Where do you see the straight edge scene today?

Kids, Kids everywhere lol.

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?

Music brought me to edge, it was the vector. And I can find edge in all music, not just The Scene, you know? And I’m not about other people telling me what’s up.

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

I’m not sure many people know, its been a part of me so long, since high school around ’84 maybe? So they see my behaviours which are certainly edge, but maybe don’t know that’s the root of it. For folks that do know, maybe before they interact with me perhaps thinking I’m aggressive? I’m incarnated into an Amazonian size body, esp for a woman/female passing, and I’m pretty hardcore with my boundaries and communication. I have one strike zero shenanigans policy, so maybe that gets me rep as being a hardass. Who cares? Not me.

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?

The misogyny. Lawd. I don’t need another self-important white dude telling me what’s up. The Dunning-Kruger Effect cognitive bias is rampant and exhausting.

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

Yup, totally. I ran an organic raw foods underground co-op in Houston for about 8 years, shout out to Central City Co-op, and currently support local CSA Farmigo. I’m plant-based without hopefully sliding into “that” vegan.

I do have 4 chickens, they eat many of the green leftovers and scraps and are in general my buddies. I’ll eat their eggs if I can find them before the dog does.

I occasionally eat a fish sandwich from Whataburger, other than that I’m gluten and sugar-free as well.

I’ve always been interested in fermenting, nutrition, and kitchen witching.

I use an app called the Daily Dozen to help me monitor if I’m getting all the basic nutritional points.

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 was in highschool, around 84/85 and there was some sort of hard core show where I got introduced to the term. My family was/is chock full of addicts and alcoholics, and I didn’t want to be like that. I also had a trauma hx from when my parents would throw parties, so I associated being out of control to creating unsafe situations for others, and myself. So straight edge was a good fit.

I didn’t really know anyone else who was edge in my high school, so I internalized the belief system and kept living the dream. I’m also SUPER AMBITIOUS and recognized that being edge would keep me on point without wasting financial and energetic resources on shit that didn’t matter.

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

I think it has stayed the same. Don’t medicate, stay straight, strive to do better, lead by example. And by leading I mean do what I need to do to be the best me, and if others want something similar for themselves, they know who to hit up.

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

HELL YESSSSS. Reproductive autonomy as mentioned before, and low tech healing arts that keep the dollars out of the allopathic system (like if your arm is ripped off go to the hospital, but barring acute trauma, is there perhaps an earlier intervention that could address the root of the issue and not the symptom?)

I am also an advocate of love and compassion. And boundaries.

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

I’ve broken edge three times. I can’t do it again. I won’t find my way back. There is no other option.

When I went into midwifery education, my life burned down around me. I always say she is a jealous girlfriend, that midwifery. And DUDE, it was for real a bad country music song. Dog died (RIP Parsley,) I had to shelve my practice because I couldn’t earn and go to school, I lost my cool witch’s house, my mom died, and then my husband that I thought we had been working it out with told me I had been sleeping on his and his new girlfriend’s dirty sheets for six months.

Ashes ashes we all fall down.

I had six years clean at the time, but I feared that seven wasn’t gonna happen. So I made a mother fucking chart and, wasn’t alone for more than an hour and a half. People signed up for shifts, people I don’t even like, and after the three weeks, even though my heart was still pumping shards of glass through my veins, I felt like I could not medicate. That I could gather enough of my other tools to grit through the day maybe.

I was going to any twelve step meeting I could get in the door, those folks also have a commitment to not medicate. Debtors anonymous?! Great. ACA? Sweet. SA? Even better. AA, NA, whatever A, awesome. #himynameisrowan

Around this time I moved into an 72 Airstream, started working on making that an altar I live in, and started embroidering like a mother fucker. Gotta do something with all that sitting in meetings.

Current tools (Covid style) is that I attend an online bhakti study group with the dudes from Shelter, I try and do an online 12 step a couple of days a week, and garden and do other witchy things to help me stay grounded and in the now.

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

Folks who don’t claim edge because of violence perpetrated by or against xvx.

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

I’m pretty structured, I know what I need to do every day (EVERY DAY) to move the needle in the direction of healing, both myself and others. So I have a schedule that I adhere to, with built-in downtime for reading, rest, and repair, but I’m never bored and aimless. That keeps me out of trouble. Mostly.

On managing peer pressure. Over a year ago I found myself at a lunch deal where the booze was flowing, it was the kind of thing I don’t usually go to and I was super uncomfortable and like out of nowhere I was like OH FUCK I gotta get out of here. I usually say I’m gonna head to the bathroom, and then leave. But this was for a new job, and I didn’t want to make a scene so I made a lame excuse, and it just got bigger and messier and more weird and AWKWARD. My advice? 1)Don’t go, or 2) head for the bathroom and keep going. For social events I can’t get out of? Get there early, help set up, etc, and bounce. First in, first out. Handled.

How was it being straight edge in this pandemic?

Pandemic Edge ~ I’m lucky that my family is edge friendly, and my practice partner Mary is also edge. So my people I see the most IRL reinforce this way of life, and with my various online communities, (bhakti, 12 step, The Work Gym, Akimbo workshops) are all also improvement based, so that’s been good.

I’m a fabulous freaking cook, so I took over the cooking for the household, we all went vegan and have lost a few LBs and have improved our fitness.

I’m working more outside the house now, at the birth center, so I’m not cooking quite as much, but still trying to do a food project every Sunday. I feel like making the most out of food and nutrition is edge. It’s respectful.

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)?

Each time was in a place of emotional duress, and lasted for less than three days. I clawed my way back, I’m 100 percent a better person when edge. And better for those around me, and my community. It’s for life.

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?

When my ex-husband told me that he had moved on, I needed a moment and he took the dog for a walk. I knew there was booze in the house, and when he came back I was like, you have to go to get it out of here, I can’t touch it myself. and he said, “You expect me to just throw it away?! That cost money!” I promised myself I’d never be in that situation ever again. Never do that to myself again.

If your partner is edge do you have similar views/outlooks about straight edge? What are some examples of ideas/beliefs that you agree and/or disagree on?

My practice partner Mary is edge, and my sister and brother in law are edge friendly. My partners are either sober like in 12 step, or not addictive in nature and choose not to medicate. (I am emotionally poly, and physically/sexually mono, I decided to diversify after my last marriage crapped) They are all FREAKING GREAT, totally supportive. But I curated this, this didn’t happen on accident. Very intentional.

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?

Family of origin is tricky because they are ALL heavy drinkers, or have all these shitty coping mechanisms. They aren’t terrible people, but not the people I would spend my time with if not the biological situation. So I limit it. And I’m such a black sheep anyway that being edge is last on the list of reasons they don’t like me.

My mom is dead. I miss her, and we had a tense relationship. Alcohol was not her friend.

When people are unsupportive I move the fuck on and find new peeps.z

I would like to say I’m looking for a romantic/sexual partner, currently doing first dates on zoom. And super into someone that doesn’t live local, like let’s do the long-distance thing. I’m busy building an empire of teaching folks to heal themselves, so let’s have our lives, get together to go camping or swimming and or build a deck on the house and get down a bunch and the let the dogs run around while we read our books and then I’ll see you in a few weeks. Sound good? hit me up. ps I’m an all-encompassing queer, so dudes, ladies, non-binaries, heeeeeeeey.

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?

Not really, but I’ve crafted my community very intentionally, and when I built something cool, I’ve infused edge into it. Ex I co-host an event called #HottieHoopCamp and #MeetupInMarfa and all these are minimal booze, vegetarian events, and focused on self-expression and personal development. Build it and they will come.

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

LOL my poor kids. They are all adults, over 25, and some of them have edge congruent behavior, an aversion to self-medication, minimal animal protein, drive for personal development, high values, and standards for themselves, and then some of them are schizophrenic narcissist drug addicts in and out of prison. I always did my best to parent ethically and consistently, role modeling tools and behaviors for optimal mental health. Consistent boundaries, and just tried to be there and real. Some of it took, some of it didn’t. I did my best. I think they know that.

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. I’m just out there being me, handling my shiz. I had a pt with an edge tattoo, I was like heeeey, I’m the #xmidwifex and she almost fell off the exam table.

Mary has an x on her hand, its cool as hell. I might do something similar. Before that I’d like to get a facial tattoo. My dad’s gonna love that lol.

That’s a thing, right? The list of tattoos one wants to get?

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?

HA! No. Edge community, in general, has not been kind to the 12 step folks IMO. But I ended up in 12 steps when edge wasn’t around for me, when the misogyny, condescension, and self-importance in the scene was getting in the way of community. I found myself in gay AA, the Lambda Center in Houston, where a woman could feel relatively safe from some 13th stepper trying to get his dick up in ya. And when I was melting down, when my heart cracked open and I made the chart, I would say in a meeting, so like I have Wednesday at 3 open, and some rando I didn’t know would sign up on my calendar. Even this dude who I loathe, which is reciprocated, said to me. “So, Friday nights at 7-9, I’ll take that.” I’m like, “What?” and he meant, that would be his shift, which he did for two months. to keep me sober and clean and steady. and this dude hates me, but we do what we gotta do.

I didn’t find that in the edge community. I found that in 12 step.

I have many more stories like that, when 20 people showed up to help me move, or 7 people I didn’t know to push an airstream up a driveway, and on on on.

Edge folks have more to gain by accepting 12 step folks than the other way around.

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

My whole professional career is built on getting folks the respectful reproductive and healing arts care that is a basic human right. Autonomy.

And if you don’t want an abortion or a home birth or an epidural then don’t have one.

I also love seeing women and nonbinary edge folx speaking up, taking space, and getting after it. I’m here for it. Let me know how I can help.

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

Yeah, for sure.

White Male Decelaritve Syndrome sucks the air out of the room. Being queer wasn’t super embraced either.

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?

Change is definitely in the air, even as reproductive rights are on the chopping block.

Cats out of the bag now, try and jam the pussy back into the dark and find out what it’s like to lose an eye and get clawed the fuck up.

On a global level, My life was better because of the fight my bra-burning seventies feminist mother fought, and i see that evolution in girls and women my children’s age now. Hopefully, my pts that I love up on and provide the best care I can, supporting them in anatomy.

This progress hasn’t bypassed the scene.

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

That thing where a dude cuts you off to blurt something? Or tells you what you are not finshed saying as if its his idea? UGH.

And I’m here to hear what women have to say. More of that, please.

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

nope, its like it’s not even on the radar. Mary and I talk about it all the time. And there are so few BIPOC peeps in the scene. WTF.

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?

White cis men, stand down. Form a perimeter, craft space to let others speak, and let’s all grow together. I promise you, allowing new ideas to develop and form will be at least as personally enriching as abstaining from numbing substances, Stop stunting your brain and nervous system with mediocrity.

Do you have any questions that you think we should be asking but didn’t?

personal motto?

“I live to be corrected” taught to me by Vaisesika Dasa.

This keeps me out of a shame spiral when I fuck up. I incarnated on this planet to grow and develop and do better. And that doesn’t happen unless I get in the arena, try shit out, fail, hop up again, and recalibrate. Rinse, repeat.

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

Show up in whatever way you can, the #hopepunk attitude is whats up. #Blacklivesmatter #thisiswhathealinglookslike

oh, and consider midwifery.

Mother, wife, small business owner.

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  1. I… thought I was special or something at 38. You are 11 years older than me. And absolutely awesomesauce. <3


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