Last week was Birmingham Pride Week. And even though I’ve known in past years that the it was going on, I’d never slowed down enough to go and support my friends. This year I’ve been working on boundaries though. And with that I mean, taking some time to be able to do things I normally don’t, by turning off work a little more and allowing myself for time to recharge. The first event of the week that I attended was Betty Who at Saturn. She’s a huge supporter of Pride, so the turnout was huge. I left that show with such a good feeling. Everyone who stayed for the encore was dancing and singing their hearts out without a care in the world. No one was watching to see what others were doing. In this moment everyone was their real authentic self. It was such an incredible experience. After the show I ran into 2 friends who I’ve known a long time and probably don’t spend as much time with as I should. Each were vulnerable with me that night, telling me about moments in their life where they were weak, and why being in that room that night made them feel happy or at peace. One of them even went on to tell me that something I needed was vulnerability. Whoa…get outta my head! Right?!? But you know what I thank this person now, for being so real and also for being so dead on. These are the moments where you found out your why, and who’s your tribe.
A few days later it was time for the Pride parade. We had a friend coming in town for dinner, and naturally some of us were running late. But one of my friends said “no matter what, we can’t miss the parade.” After hearing that, I suggested we relocate our dinner plan so we could accommodate that wish. Little did I know we all would get something out of that parade. It was such a fun experience. This parade is about more than homosexuality. It is about loving who you are. Being comfortable in your own skin. Having a feeling of self worth. Knowing that you are in a place where you aren’t rejected for being who you are. It got me thinking a lot! One of the common phrases you see when you think pride is “Love Wins”. As the parade participants walked past, you saw so many happy people, ones who felt like they were in a safe place, and ones that just needed to see that they were loved and supported. After the parade many people stuck around Lakeview. It was good to see so many familiar faces and to see so many people in a great mood because of the huge turnout. The next day a few of my friends even thanked me and the other straight girls for being their allies. At first I did not realize what an honor it was to be called their ally. But now I know this means, that they know that they have our love and support. Many of them have too also had their fair share of rejection and insecurities. And what we all need is to know that there are people out there that do care about you for who you are. Not what others think you should be.
Later that week I went to see the new Elton John movie. Little did I know that it was also going to get me in the feels. I realized something. There are many of us that have felt rejection before. It could be from a number of things: Divorce, a loss of family member, bullying, etc. But as they say in the movie-“You have to kill who you were going to be, to become who you want to be.” Don’t let the rejection you felt in your past define you. Find it within your self to be proud of who you are, and once you get to this point, that my friend is when you finally get to see that “Love wins”. The past year and a half have been a growing experience for me. I had gotten so caught up in doing what I thought was what I had to do with my career. Being too scared and insecure to think I can succeed on my own in real estate etc. I’d had plenty of times of pain and feeling rejection from the time I was little and even in my adult life, that left me feeling like I wasn’t enough. And I always let those insecurities hold me back, from being brave and taking risks. Instead I just kept my walls up. Still working on that….! But what I have learned is to get out of your own way, and to know your own worth and good things can happen. I learned this from my friends. Because even though we’ve faced different types of struggles. They all do stem from some type of rejection. My tribe has been such a huge support to me. They have been there in times where some of my family has let me down. It’s true, friends are the family you choose. And I choose to be there for each and everyone of them, who’s real with me and makes me feel loved. So to all my friends who recognize Pride week, month or any day of the year. I see you as an ally, and I get where you’re coming from. I don’t want you to ever feel rejected and I am here to support you. We will get through our past pains and struggles, and together band together to prove that the world needs less hate and more love.