Thursday, May 10, 2012

Project 52 (19/52): On Being Straight Edge (And Why I Like It That Way)

.:Project 52 (19/52): On Being Straight Edge (And Why I Like It That Way):.

 If you’re a pro wrestling fan currently, then you have to admit one thing: CM Punk made being straight edge cool. For those of you who are uninitiated, being straight edge means one doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, or do drugs. Often, it’s been ridiculed and poked fun at for being a lifestyle choice for squares, one that is meant for people who just don’t know how to enjoy life.

Let the groans commence.

Quite frankly, they couldn’t be more wrong if they tried.

 Obviously, one doesn’t need to drink, smoke, or do drugs just to have fun. It isn’t about being a square: Hades, some of the hardcore sXe people I know are heavily involved in the rocker lifestyle, and it just so happens that they’re every bit as hip as they are being “square.” I know, shocking. But you’d be surprised how common it actually is, what with quite a notable representation and even an actual community for straight edge people.

 As a straight edge person, I made it my lifestyle choice a long time ago to simply not do these things, and even threw in some other stuff I willingly gave up because I can. People who become straight edge do it for their own reasons, and they can be quite diverse. Some do it for health reasons, some for religious reasons.

Fact of the matter is, the key word is that it’s a choice people make, and it’s every bit as valid as wanting to drink, smoke, or do drugs. I fail to see what’s wrong with not wanting to do any of these things. At times, it does boggle my mind when people look at me in shock and think that I must be stupid or something to not want to, say, drink. I mean, at no point did I ever really force them into my lifestyle, so I’m not particularly stoked about being forced into theirs. It just doesn’t work for me. I never liked the taste of alcohol. I have zero interest in taking drugs. I hate even just the smell of tobacco.

Whenever people ask me how I managed to pull this off, I’m a bit dumbstruck because it’s always been easy for me. It simply is. I have no desire to pontificate and ask people to subscribe to a lifestyle I chose for myself, nor do I so much as believe that I gain any sort of superiority whatsoever by being straight edge, even if it does sound cool to say “I’m straight edge, so I’m better than you.” It’s fine, really. All I’m asking by writing this is for people to simply respect the choice I make and not try to “tempt” me with things that never even appealed to me, to begin with. 

It isn't a big, life-changing event that led me to this decision. It isn't years upon years of indoctrination by my parents that made me feel being straight edge is the way to go. Sure, I've seen my share of cautionary tales to living the life of a junkie, but it's not like every single smoker, drinker, or even drug user is an uncontrollable junkie who has zero self-control. It isn't even that. I'm just simply fine with how I am at this point, when it comes to all this stuff.

Ultimately, it’s all about respecting one’s lifestyle choices, and I’m pretty bloody sure that my lifestyle choice doesn’t hurt anyone at all. It’s not like the alcohol, tobacco, or drug industries are hurting for profit by my lack of contribution to their coffers. I think they’re gonna be juuuust fine.

I’ve never had a problem with people not living a straight edge lifestyle like I do. I didn’t choose this lifestyle to be a role model, either. It simply is a valid way of life, and the sooner people realize that and stop assuming that every straight edge person is a target in need of corrupting, then maybe we’d all live in a slightly better world.

Man, what a crazy week this has been.

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