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Monday, June 22, 2009

sober pride

i had asked several friends to write something about sober pride. what it is, what it could mean, what is a fantasy. it seems an oxymoron as i got sober in a 12 step environment and that is all about humility and anonymity. so how does pride fit in? and i know this cannot be a singular experience.

i am approaching my 5th year of being completely clean. i won't call myself sober because i cannot presume to view myself the way others see me. and what others think and do is none of my business anyway. but i am comfortable with the term "clean" and will use it.

traditionally, gay pride has been a proverbial visit to sodom in my world. yearly i was presented with a reason to embrace debauchery and over the top behavior. i have ridden on floats, i have gotten loaded, i have watched parades in sydney, san francisco, chicago, new york, la, and colorado springs. on many occasions i have snarfed tricks, ditched unwanted company, bought and sold illicity, and broken hearts and laws and self imposed morals and restrictions year after year after year. all this under the guise of celebrating loosening the chains of self-judgement and bigotry. it was exotic and erotic, freeing and empowering, but with each year it oozed "expected and neurotic" and it soon began to symbolize the antithesis of pride to me.

it's funny, because the more "center" the parades became, the less engaged i became. it's almost as if i didn't recognize these festivals any longer. i am also sure that the "norm" for a parade in denver is very distant from a pride celebration in a larger more metropolitan city. that has contributed a bit to the lack of enchantment that these had become.

however since i got clean, i have tried to revisit my attitude about pride. the traditional method of celebrating self acceptance no longer fits the bill. i have needed to shape a set of rituals that embody the new "clean" me. the first coupla years i wandered through the festival feeling a bit handicapped and outta place. staying only a short while at the brou haha, i found myself drifting back to my nest and hunkering down. the next two years i still have had a need (and a desire) to participate. so i decided if i worked at a vendors booth, i would be a "in it" without feeling separate.

this year brings another shift. i am not volunteering, i have options, but am not sure of how much i will be there - physically. but i know that i will be in synch on a spiritual level. i still find the process of remembering the little big brawls that sparked that roman candle of acceptance that was lit those 40 years ago. the oppression of hatred and fear that embodied homosexuality still takes its toll. gay men (perhaps a generalization here) still struggle with how to love each other. i know that is true for me as well as some of the men i know and work with.

but with each year i find a new level of relevance again with the whole enchilada. we need to work at being ourselves, accepting ourselves, and loving ourselves- and each other..

today's sound choice is one of my favorite remixes... just like pridefest...
nightmares on wax remixing shirley bassey's "easy thing to do"

Easy Thing To Do (Nightmare On Wax) - Shirley Bassey And Nightmare On Wax



Jeremiah Andrews said...

It's really tough going to PRIDE when we first get sober, because we are too fresh to feel comfortable in our own skins. But that changes. When more than one sober person goes to pride it gets easier.

Our PRIDE won't fall until the end of July. Maybe we will go - maybe we won't. It's hard to party with the younger folks and even some of the older folks. the posers, the fakers and the visitors.

This will be for me 7 PLUS years sober and I can take it or leave it. I am from the AIDS generation and the younger folks have no idea what we saw or how we really feel about living and being gay and surviving. The more I think about it the less I want to think about reconciling the two parts of my brain.

Gay Pride in Montreal is a daily event, our village operates 24/7 and we go there now and then. Living in a bilingual city three is a fracture in our gay community between the French and English communities and I would rather not put up with the attitude shit.

The longer you stay sober the more you will grow to appreciate who you are becoming and maybe PRIDE will represent something new to you in years to come. In the U.S. Pride is a show of force. Here in Canada, Pride is something we have by law. We don't need a show of force to be gay here. But it is good to get out and look around and be seen. The more years I Live with AIDS the more I reflect on what we have lost. Pride changes year to year. But so will YOU...


Sheria said...

May I say how cool I think that you are? You speak truth with such simple eloquence. I've made myself laugh because I realize that I don't know what the modern equivalent is for cool. I think that my slang is about 30 years out of date. Hadn't heard this Bassey remix--I like it.

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