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Straight Edge Interview Project: Sarah, 35, Chicago, she/her

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

I’m a wardrobe supervisor for the Broadway tour of Come From Away. Right now, I’m at home riding out this pandemic and trying to stay sane. I have two dogs, a golden retriever named Lucy and a Cavachon named Larry. I love reading, sewing, and knitting. Right now, I’m teaching a sewing and knitting class to underprivileged kids in LA through zoom.

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

I absolutely adore Brand New and Paramore. Honorable mentions to Jenny Lewis, Rilo Kiley, The Postal Service, Petals for Armor, Cartel, Jack’s Mannequin, Transit, Microwave, Real Friends, Manchester Orchestra and Taylor Swift. 🙂

What is your definition of straight edge?

Abstaining from any mind altering substance. Remaining in control and clean from drugs and alcohol.

Where do you see the straight edge scene today?

I don’t really see it at all anymore. I honestly just get excited when I meet someone who actually knows what it is.

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 used to subscribe to this notion and made myself listen to music I didn’t actually love because I felt like I had to. But, I got older and realized that’s not for me.

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

That I’m religious or a recovering alcoholic.

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?

When I was younger I had guys tell me that girls couldn’t be straight edge. I felt like I belonged to this sub culture before I even knew what it was. Now, it’s only challenging when I meet people who don’t understand no matter how much I try to explain. I especially struggle with people who say oh yeah me too, I don’t drink either and then we go out for dinner and they order wine or a beer. People’s definitions of not drinking seem to be way different from what I’ve subscribed to my whole life.

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

No. I used to be vegetarian and went through a phase of being vegan also but it didn’t work for me. I was doing it because I thought I could change the world and when I realized I wasn’t I was also in poor health. Going back to eating meat is what was best for me

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 subscribed to the notions of straight edge before I knew what they were. I was really into DARE as a kid and never was around any substances. Once I hit high school I wasn’t really friends with kids who went to parties and then I heard Straight Edge by Minor Threat and it spoke to me. I got really into the straight edge hardcore scene in Richmond, VA (which is where I’m from) It sparked my love of music and going to shows.

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

Not drinking, not smoking, not doing any drugs

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

It’s all I’ve ever known.

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

Just explaining it to people

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

Reading, hanging out with my dogs, listening to music, riding my bike. Just remembering who I am and staying in control of my life as much as I can.

How was it being straight edge in this pandemic?

I haven’t felt any difference being straight edge in this. Its stressful as hell for everyone but it hasn’t changed that part of me at all.

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

I’ve given tiny thoughts to it but it just doesn’t seem worth it. I don’t need any of that in my life to be happy.

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)?

nope.

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?

I’m married and my husband is not straight edge. He’s actually the first person I ever dated who wasn’t also straight edge. I haven’t faced any challenges with him drinking. It doesn’t effect me at all.

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?

Yes it is hard to relate to people. It definitely has made me more of a loner and kept me from being social.

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 drink is usually what I say. If they ask why I’ll say that I never have before, I belong to a subculture called straight edge and it means a lot to me. If their eyes haven’t glazed over yet, I’ll explain what edge is.

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 don’t have any feelings either way. I think its a personal thing and if that helps people recover, then I’m all for it.

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

It’s kept me from forming tighter bonds with other females. Its so much easier to be friends with guys, for me. I sometimes miss that bond of female friendships.

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

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  1. Awesome!! Love you sarah ❤️🖤❤️

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    • 🥰🥰🥰

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