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Straight Edge Interview Project: Ingrid Devi Dasi, 25, the PNW, She/They

Instagram: earthy.redhead
Facebook: Ingríðr Devi Dasi

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

I’m currently a full-time student, transferring to a university focusing on my B.A. in Psychology. I pursue Psychology in order to further help addicts & alcoholics in a more professional way. I love going to shows, be it at a shitty dive bar or an opera hall and everything in between. For leisure, I watch Occult documentaries, B-tier horror films, playing video games, and hiking! Nature is my home, it is a desert or the forest, I always find a way to make it homey.

Often while watching movies, I work on my DIY projects, be it patched vests or shorts(full of crust and black metal!). Sobriety means to me much more than just putting the plug in the jug. It means taking care of my body, from eating healthier foods to working out and putting myself around people who are supportive. I also attend AA meetings and I hold various commitments. This pandemic has taught me that it is up to me to take care of myself, but I should take action for my community. Be it in recovery, the music scene, friends, and family.

I also have a pet Tarantula that I hold dear to my heart, her name is Tarantulina Jolie.

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

Rot//Woven – Anarcho crust punk band

Feminazgûl – Feminist, LOTR inspired Black Metal!

What is your definition of straight edge?

Straight Edge for me is about hardcore music that promotes a sober lifestyle. A 180* to the thrashers that knock themselves up with 40z. Its an alternative. But it also means living a sober lifestyle while also being present in the hardcore/metal/punk scene.

Where do you see the straight edge scene today?

In Portland, the East Coast, maybe Seattle in LA. Definitely not in Orange County.

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?

Being straight edge is a state of mind, but it heavily relies on its musical aspect to separate from “Sober”, as in AA sober or Smart recovery. Straight Edge has music, the latter do not.

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

That straight edge is violent. Jocks from Orange County have damaged straight edge scenes as these people used it as an excuse to beat up in Hardcore shows. And we ain’t about that violent life. Unless if someone tries to impose alcohol on us.

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 being weirded out why I am not drinking or why I don’t do lines with them. It broke up some “friendships”, nonetheless being edge/sober has impacted my social 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?

My diet has changed. I’ve become vegan & I harm reduce when I can. I have no issue cooking non vegan foods for other people.

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?

My straight Edge story begins in my teens, when I discovered Minor Threat and Guerilla Biscuits, I shaved my head and “aggressively” quitted drinking. I stayed edge for months but then I relapsed, I gave in to my temptations. I started abusing coke during punk shows, even snorted caffeine once, lol.

But the drinking was the main part of my problem. I came for the drinks, not the show. If I wasn’t buzzed after 3 beers I’d skedaddle away. I stole, I damaged, ruined relationships and friendships. Even tried to kill myself multiple. After multiple music festivals that were a drunk mass. The key moment that me want to become edge again was almost dying 5 times several during one night at a show in Canada. I know something had to be done, but I didn’t know what. Ever since, my drinking gradually declined but I’ve started smoking weed.

After a year of using weed and doing coke(again…) I finally hit my rock bottom. I went to my 1st AA meeting, which was a life changer. BUT! I rediscovered straight edge music, with Guerilla Biscuits my favorites.

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

A way of life.

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

I’m an activist of sobriety, emotional and physical sobriety. Be it through constantly recommending Guerilla Biscuits or taking active commitments in AA meetings.

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

How it has improved my emotional, physical and spiritual life. Alongside the fellowship and friendships that being sober has provided me.

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

People who I thought were friends were just drinking / snorting buddies.

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

Hare Krishna prayer, breathwork & the serenity prayer.

How was it being straight edge in this pandemic?

Tough! but online zoom meetings and focusing on hobbies and studies has helped me

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

Yeah, temptation.

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 stopped being edge for 4 years until I entered AA.

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?

They’ve been supportive and positive. They’ve saw how I’ve become a better version of me.

If you are single, have you found it difficult to date?

Yes and no. I’m willing to date someone who smokes. But drinks are no go.

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

“Active recovery”

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?

Positive feelings! I’m from recovery originally 🙂

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

As recovery is overly represented by Cis white men.

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

Toxic masculinity from cis white dudes, saying I’m only doing it to “sleep with them”

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’d love to see more women and non binary folks in the SXE sxen

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

Getting sexually harassed and doubted.

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?

There is work to be done. To included non White, non gender conforming folks.

Mother, wife, small business owner.

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