LIZ VAN PAY

the ramblings of a music journalist and nearly-published author.

I used to be straight edge.

with 3 comments

Growing up, many kids desire a feeling of belonging. A feeling of being a part of something bigger than themselves. For me, that wasn’t being part of the high school Yearbook Club, or the Drama Club… I wanted to go bigger than that. For six years, I considered myself straight edge – abstaining from “the big three” – alcohol, drugs, and promiscuous sex. From age fifteen until age twenty-one, I lived and breathed everything edge. I listened to the music, I went to the shows, hell, I even got three X’s tattooed. As I grew up, things changed. The people changed. The scene changed. When I got into it, edge was something serious. While it wasn’t classified as a gang then as it is now, everyone’s intentions were much purer. Everyone genuinely cared about giving straight edge a good name, instead of beating it to an unrecognizable pulp.

Some have argued with me and said that I only gave up on it because I wanted to drink and do drugs. Not true. As I grew up and spent more years involved in the scene, I realized that upstarts were showing up out of the woodwork. They claimed that they were abstaining from not only alcohol, drugs, and sex, but caffeine, meat, and a myriad of other things – and many of them were selectively so. The boys would abstain from alcohol and drugs, but still bang everything on two legs. Straight edge became more of a joke than a serious movement. As I grew up, I also realized that I didn’t want to live my life with boundaries – even self-inflicted ones. One thing had to go, and it was my straight edge lifestyle. While I still feel passionate about the time I spent, I couldn’t feel good about continuing. Straight edge was turning into something it was never meant to be. The straight edge movement I became a part of at age fifteen is something completely different than what it’s turned into. In recent years, it has been considered a gang instead of a movement. I couldn’t be a part of it then, and could never be now.

This is not to say that straight edge is entirely flawed. I know many people who have been edge for five, ten years, or their entire lifetime. They still carry the original beliefs of the movement, and I have no problem with that whatsoever. I would never do anything but commend those who have stuck with their original decision.

Before I broke edge, I questioned my family and closest friends, asking if their opinions of me would be different based on my decision. Their answer? “We love you no matter what you want to be.” Their blessing was important to me. I have never been and will never be a selfish person, and I want my family and friends to be part of any big decisions I make – especially the life-altering ones.

Just because straight edge changed, I am not blaming others for my decision. Straight edge is a very personal decision, and it just didn’t fit me anymore. Looking back after nearly four years, I can say that I wouldn’t change a thing. I still have family and friends who are proud of my accomplishments, and am still proud of myself. I volunteer on a weekly basis, and I work a full-time job. Just because I decided to break edge, I did not decide to become a terrible person. If anything, I’ve become a better one.

A variation of this post was originally written for iusedtobestraightedge.com several months ago, but was not selected for posting.

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Written by Liz Van Pay

April 27, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Posted in 2010, personal, random

Tagged with ,

3 Responses

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  1. Couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s like I wrote wrote this lol.
    I feel like the people who pulled me into straight edge when I was 17, they helped me. They saved me. They took me from drug addiction to straight edge. One end of the spectrum to the other. But the people who helped me then… would probably kick my ass now. It’s changed. There’s “politics” and so much other bullshit involved. Whatever happened to Posi? Whatever happened to Good Clean Fun?

    Tiffany

    April 27, 2010 at 5:09 pm

  2. I would like to further expand on my point… by posting my favorite Good Clean Fun lyrics:

    GOOD CLEAN FUN
    This story starts in ’85
    When posi-core was young and alive
    And the world seemed to say
    “It’s up to you?
    So many things to make us shout
    We knew what it was all about
    We wanted to change things
    And we still do
    I always knew I’d never follow
    A man with a bottle
    Because a bottle makes a man
    A baby not a role model
    So I took the time to sit and think
    I knew I’d never have a drink
    I’ll always be clear
    To see it through

    So many people wonder
    What they need to do in life
    It’s time to end all this confusion
    And find a new solution
    We can always use another way
    To create communication
    And with three simple words
    We can always try to do what’s right

    Tell me what you want to be…GOOD!
    Tell me what you want to stay…CLEAN!
    Tell me what you want to have…FUN!
    GOOD CLEAN FUN!

    The current date is ’98
    Twelve years now that I’ve been straight
    Positive living from day one
    When Ian and Kevin had their say
    They influenced what we are today
    Made an impression on all we’ve done
    We’ll never let the skeptic hands
    Keep us from all the things we plan
    All our ideas became direction
    And so we started the band
    If you wonder what we’re fighting for
    It’s to change the world with posi-core
    All I want to see is Good Clean Fun

    So many people wonder
    What they need to do in life
    It’s time to end all this confusion
    And find a new solution
    We can always use another way
    To create communication
    And with three simple words
    We can always try to do what’s right

    Tell me what you want to be…GOOD!
    Tell me what you want to stay…CLEAN!
    Tell me what you want to have…FUN!

    You know, there are three things that are so important in the whole world
    Whether I’m having intercourse or whether I’m playing golf.
    I just wanna have GOOD CLEAN FUN
    I just wanna have GOOD CLEAN FUN, For everyone!
    Just GOOD CLEAN FUN
    I just wanna have GOOD CLEAN FUN for everyone
    I just wanna have GOOD CLEAN FUN
    I just wanna have GOOD CLEAN FUN for everyone.

    Tiffany

    April 27, 2010 at 5:17 pm

  3. Nicely said, straight edge is a lifestyle that I will always envy and be respectful of even though I’m not one. Kiddos on your decision.

    trustyouenough

    May 3, 2010 at 9:38 am


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