Written by: Richard
Straight Edge, you all know what it is, but when did you claim it? Why did you claim it? Are you serious and committed to it for the rest of your life? I am, and with every Straight Edger’s claim, comes a story. Mine starts in 2001, though it was not when I claimed Edge, it is where my swearing away from alcohol, drugs, and promiscuous sex begins.
I was 12 and already stayed away from things such as drugs and alcohol, and I was 12, so of course, I was not sexually active. Plus, my mom smoked and I hated the smell of the smoke and already knew the dangers of it, but it wasn’t until my uncle had died from an alcohol-related accident that I told myself I would stay away from alcohol, but as it figures with most teenagers and their curiosity, I did not live up to that in years recent to that accident. It wasn’t until 2005 when I was 15 that I discovered something called Straight Edge.
I had read about the bands, the scene from the early 80’s, and Ian Mackaye of the of the first Straight Edge pioneers, Minor Threat. Though at the time I did not claim it, and a year later when I was 16, I had attended a party, having just been dumped and heartbroken, I decided to drink at that party. I had gone from slightly buzzed to drunk pretty quickly, and although I did not get as far as being completely trashed, I was still ashamed of my actions while I was drunk. There had been an intoxicated young girl, of my same age at that party, during her intoxication she had gotten up on the table and started to strip.
I was usually a respectful person to women and wouldn’t have watched had I been sober, because not only was the girl underage, but she was drunk and didn’t know what she was doing. When she stopped, I had gone upstairs with some other people there, and some remained downstairs in the basement where it had took place. When I arrived upstairs, I saw one male upstairs who was eating snacks, I asked him why he had not come downstairs and told him that he’d missed the show; he looked at me and said “I’m sorry, I didn’t want to take advantage of an underage drunk girl like the rest of you.” That statement right there made me realize what I had become that night, and I didn’t touch the alcohol for the rest of the night.
The next morning when I had arrived at home, I was still feeling horrible about the night before, so I had gone internet surfing to get my mind off of it, and in the process, looked up some more stuff about Straight Edge. I learned a lot, including the history of the X marking, some other bands involved in Edge, such as: SS Decontrol and The Teen Idles, and most important of all, that we always have a choice in life. That following Friday, I had purchased Minor Threat’s first demo at the mall, it was where I first heard the song “Straight Edge” and after reading the lyrics, I took the song to heart, and at that very moment, I had claimed myself as Straight Edge.
The backlash from my friends, classmates, and surprisingly adults wasn’t all positive like I had expected, I thought of Edge as something good and pure, something people can be proud of, but not everyone saw it that way. I had friends who hated the idea of not doing drugs, drinking, smoking cigarettes, and having intercourse with a different girl every week, and wondered how I could do it. Some of them even looked down upon it and ridiculed me like I was doing something wrong.
All of that was ignored easily, and still is, but the problem with adults is all of the horror stories they hear about hard-line Straight Edge gangs. Which as a result, makes them stereotype all of us as violent gang members just like Bloods or Crips, when in reality, not all of us are violent or part of gangs. Actually, the majorities of us go about our own business and let people do what they want. Unfortunately Straight Edge has violent kids who need to assault people who do things we don’t do, as a result, it gets the police involved, which gets parents and teachers involved, and then puts a bad name on Straight Edge.
Luckily there are kids who stick to our roots and let people be in peace. Not the entire backlash was bad, there were some people who were the opposite of Edge and admired me for my self-control. There were some adults who were proud of my choices, especially at a young age. Fortunately, the choice to be Edge sometimes makes as a role model for younger kids, and encourages them to do the same. I have inspired some of my friends and acquaintances to claim Edge, not all of them have stuck with it though, which is expected with some people.
Although sad, it is true that some people do not have the self-control and the commitment abilities to remain Edge for the rest of their lives. Personally, I believe Straight Edge is a very positive commitment and should not be limited and kept to yourself, if you are Straight Edge, you should spread it and try to inspire people to better their lives, but as always, it is their choice to claim it or not, so don’t force it down their throats.
The way Edge effects society can be positive or negative, and it’s up to the person whether they want to affect their society with a positive or negative view of Straight Edge. None of us want a negative view, and some of us look down on the violent types of Straight Edger’s’, but to me, the most important thing in effecting our society with any kind of knowledge that everyone has a choice, is Unity. If all types of Edger’s unite as one, we have a better chance of spreading the word and informing everyone of their choice. Straight Edge effects society in more ways that we think it does, some people see it as a trend or a fad that will die off, and some people see it as a very passionate sub-culture that will last forever. Whatever your choices, beliefs, or opinions on Straight Edge is, one thing remains clear: Straight Edge is here to stay, whether it be through music, the internet, websites, such as xsisterhoodx.com, or just through a passionate Straight Edge kid’s desire to change his or her life for the better, it is clear that Straight Edge has indeed won, and is here to stay, forever.
Mother, wife, small business owner.