What an incredible day. June 30th, 2019.
A feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
Confidence and self-respect as expressed by members of a group, typically one that has been socially marginalized, on the basis of their shared identity, culture, and experience.
Be especially proud of (a particular quality or skill)
These are definitions of PRIDE and as I learned during the huge march down market street, we all have PRIDE. To celebrate this doesn't mean you have to be a member of the LGBT community... In fact, we shall thank the community that opened this up and the "LOVE is LOVE" outlook, because let's be real, this applies to a lot. PRIDE started in commemoration to the Stonewall riots which happened in 1969 in New York (seriously, what a fucking year). Since those moments, PRIDE has experienced vast transformations. From beginning as a solely a political demonstration to voice demands, equal rights, and protections for the LGBT community. Growing and expanding into more political and social demonstrations, 1991 was the beginning of PRIDE resembling what it is today. Clearly, through these kinds of actions and celebrations we have seen many triumphs, women have gained lots of liberation, same sex can get married, and there is more platform to "fight the good fight" NOW more than ever.
As I arrived to the PRIDE alone (as I usually prefer to travel) I was unaware of the connection this march has to so many other things. I was imagining showing up, showing support for the LGBT people spreading their love and that would be it. Surprised to a very late start due to some protesting at the start of the march, blocking the street in show against Google, Corporate sponsorship, and police. Me and everyone around seemed super confused, "Why are they here trying to ruin this march for LGBT equality?" "Tech is ruining the bay, man." (insert LOL). The morale was kind of missing and the crowd I was surrounded by really wasn't pumping out the best energy. I confusingly waited there about an hour, saw the start of the march and decided, okay, I've probably seen enough. Coming from a small town where parades would never really last over an hour, I figured it was almost all done and time to go home. So I moved from my spot on Civic Center and started the trek to find something to eat. Aimlessly walking down Market, I stumble into a Vegetarian Restaurant sign, EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED. Stepped in away from the crazy hustle bustle of the SF streets to a calming, welcoming place filled with many like-minded people in their crazy rainbows and signs for so many issues. I waited a couple minutes and got sat beside two very friendly Bernie supporters, long time Californians, and VEGANS (yay). We began chatting because the sweet little lady commented on my earrings, which opened up a chat about my backpacking trip to India and so on. They were so interested in what I had to say, and I could tell they would be amazing teachers. I expressed my interest in joining the vegan community out here and inquired if they had any connections, and of course, synchronicity, they do. Lindsay, vegan since '91 and long time Bay resident immediately started naming restaurants in the East Bay than I can count and spoke with so much generosity. Wendy, full of wisdom herself, was very open to listening to me and asking me questions, something we can all appreciate when we begin talking, genuine interest and awesome feedback. Before I knew it, I wasn't having a solo lunch at all, I had just met 2 very important people for my journey at the time I needed most. As I mentioned in a post before, I had been down on my luck after the wreck and really second guessing all of my decisions, so running into this pair gave me a little pat on the back and said, "See, keep going." By the end of the meal, we had made a pact to travel down to Beale Street together to line up for the San Francisco based group, Vegans for Social Justice. Here is where I realized what PRIDE meant to me.
PRIDE is all the colors of the rainbow. An explosion of all the achievements and advancements we have made as a human race, but not neglecting all living parts of the world. PRIDE is standing for what you believe in and showing up to realize you are not alone. PRIDE is taking courage to believe in and support things you once didn't know about or have empathy for. PRIDE is celebrating shared beliefs, educating others, and opening the door for others to join, no matter their sexual orientation, race, or cultural background. I found PRIDE, though I've always had it, we all do. With my new friends and everyone on the streets of SF that day (over 1 million people gathered). I joined the march and spread awareness for the vegan community. A community I am very very new to myself, but learning along the way and here, showing up, putting in the work to do my part and that's what matters... SHOWING UP. While my lifestyle is still not 100% vegan, I find it inspiring and helpful to surround myself with people who are maybe a little further along on this path.
Something I am working on in the realm of PRIDE is individuality. It is hard to get wrapped up in listening to the masses, that sometimes, it's hard to listen to ourselves. Something I attribute to yoga, before even stepping on the mat, is listening. Our bodies are our best teachers and no two are alike. So while we can get wrapped up in striving to be a perfect vegan or striving for a six pack or striving to own really nice things, it's important to trust YOU. Trust that your body and subconscious being can guide you. Take PRIDE in that. PRIDE in honoring yourself, not what I tell you, the news tells you, Instagram tells you, or your family tells you. Let the guidance of your body and knowledge from your journeys be the reason you charge forward and own the PRIDE you can, every color of the rainbow inside you. March for that. Don't march because it's the cool thing to do. March like you're charging forward and advancing your life's purpose. Find the people that help you on this journey and maybe inspire a few... BUT ALWAYS do it for YOU.