By Brock Seng
For this week’s Wellness Wednesday post, instead of an alternative way of eating or exercising, it’s an alternative way of living your life. It’s a way of living by cutting out the bad stuff, not sugar and sweets, but the really bad stuff: drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
We all know that alcohol is bad for your liver, drugs are bad for, well, every part of you and tobacco will cause cancer but throughout life we have all been taught the word “moderation.” Today, I’m here not to preach moderation, I’m here to show you there is a way to have none of it. Instead of living with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, it’s a choice to be sober.
It’s called being straight edge.
To be straight edge means to live a sober lifestyle for the rest of your life. That means when you take on the title of being straight edge you’re putting aside all the toxins in your life. You begin to live a life of purity. You are pure in an impure world.
To be straight edge means to live life by the three X’s. That means no drugs, no alcohol and no smoking. There is nothing more to it than that. There is no deep philosophical meaning behind it. It’s just the three X’s.
To be straight edge means to stay true to your beliefs. Stay pure of the toxins this world has to throw at you. All around us it’s clear how messed up this world really is. Kids brag about abusing Adderall in college, when they don’t actually need it, just to “focus” for an upcoming exam. College parties are full of drugs and alcohol.
I, myself, came into college not looking to get drunk or high, but already identifying as straight edge. I was a freshman at the University of Florida and while I was looking to party and have fun, I already knew I was sober for life.
For three years now I’ve identified as straight edge and I’ve come to realize it’s so much more than just not drinking, not smoking and not doing drugs. It’s, in itself, an entire culture and a whole new way of life.
Within all belief systems there is a right of passage. For Christianity, you have baptism. For Judaism, there is the bar mitzvah. For straight edge, there is the tattoo. It’s not really required, but it’s something strong and meaningful. But, by God, you better mean it if you’re going to get one.
My “right of passage” edge tattoo is the three X’s on my right ankle. I have been “marked” by the straight edge life. I am a part of it as it is a part of me. I have been approached by other edge people saying “hey nice edge tat!” It’s an entire culture inside a culture. A “cultureception” of sorts. We are a part of a much bigger culture as a whole. A part of the punk scene.
When punk first began it was all about drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll. Alcohol and drug use ran rampant throughout. Then came the kids who loved the music but wanted a different lifestyle. A sober one. And so straight edge was born.
The sad fact, though, is that straight edge kids get treated like piles of trash at concerts. The non-straight edge will blow weed smoke in your face. They’ll spit in your face. Purposely hit you. Do anything to give this “you don’t belong” vibe.
My worst experience didn’t even come from any fans. It came from Trace Cyrus, lead singer of Ashland High and brother of Miley, here in Gainesville, Fla., at High Dive, then called Double Down Live. He was on stage singing an awful, horrendous excuse for music about popping pills. It was miserable to begin with.
No one in the crowd was paying attention to him. Which lead to him being aggravated with the crowd. Here I was standing and playing on my phone. I was actually tweeting about how excited I was to see Breathe Carolina, who were on next.
I was wearing my “I Am Too SXE For My Shirt” straight edge shirt. Cyrus took offense to this apparently, because he told the crowd to “fuck off,” and proceeded to pour an entire red Solo cup of beer on my head.
The disrespect from Cyrus shows a lack of respect that non-straight edge people still have toward the edge life. It’s not all bad, though.
I have met some edge people at the summer touring metal festival Mayhem Fest. It feels like an instant connection. You have this instant bond already. You are both straight edge. You are sober in a non-sober environment and that is a bond that is unbreakable.
The greatest thing about being straight edge is that your friends understand. You tell people “I don’t smoke, drink or do drugs of any kind” and they think you’re some stuck up, church going, snobby snob-snob. Tell them you’re straight edge and they respect you for it.
None of my friends, including my girlfriend, are straight edge. That’s not a part of what straight edge is. You don’t need to surround yourself with a bunch of straight edge people to live a straight edge life.
You can still attend parties. I do. I just choose to do it sober. My friends still sit around smoking blunt after blunt, night after night. They still get smashed, sometimes literally. I just get all the enjoyment of a party but I get to remember it the next day.
To be straight edge is to completely change your life forever. To be straight edge is to never have alcohol, never have a cigarette, never smoke a blunt with your friends or pop “X” at a concert. To be straight edge is to block all of that from your life and be sober, clean and pure for the rest of your life.
If you find it to be right for you, then go for it. Welcome to the family.
That’s exactly what this is. It’s a family. It’s a home. It’s a safe haven. It’s a culture. It’s a lifestyle. It’s straight edge.