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Living straight edge and proud of it
Posted April 18, 2008

Rhiannon Mim
Photography Editor

“Why don’t you drink? How are you supposed to have fun?” Just one of the many responses I get when I tell someone that I am straight edge.

Straight edge is a lifestyle that represents no drugs, no alcohol and no smoking. It’s debated as to who actually started this movement but I believe the more important part is that it emerged out of the music scene.

This lifestyle has evolved over the past 30 years and it represents different things to different people.

For me it is not only a title that I am glad to carry, but it also offers me the chance to stand for something that has made a significant difference in my life.

High school is an interesting time as our teenage years begin to unravel. I admit that I made a few bad decisions. I also saw a lot of people around me who were letting drugs and alcohol ruin their lives.

I made the choice to better my life and to work towards becoming the best version of myself.

Next month marks five years since I have claimed straight edge.

When I started off in high school I had a few people tell me that I wouldn’t be straight edge by the time of my 21st birthday.

Well, congratulations to me because I turned 21 in March and I am still standing strong.

When I first announced to my parents that I was straight edge, I remember having to sit down and explain what it all meant. They seemed stunned yet proud of me, I guess nowadays it is rare for a young adult to make this decision.

My good German family still has yet to accept that I don’t drink. They were very disappointed when I turned 21 and I wouldn’t drink with them, yet they had no problem drinking a few in my honor.

My aunt and oma – that’s grandma in German – still offer me chocolates with alcohol, champagne at parties and fruit with rum in it despite continuous explanations as to why I refuse to accept these things.

I still hear, “Well why not?” or “But you can just have a little.” I guess there will always be those who don’t always understand your choices.

Just this week I was eating at Chipotle with my friend, chatting with one of the workers who mentioned going out for some drinks after their shift.

When I said I didn’t drink, his first response was, “Well how old are you?” I replied 21 and a puzzled look comes across his face.

So I mention that I am straight edge and he responded with my favorite response, a long-winded “Ohhhhh.” That kind of response that makes me feel like now any way I act, it can be explained through these two words.

Some people disagree with what I stand for, and I think that’s fine. But because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean that you have to shun it all together.

Like other straight edge kids I know, I am not totally opposed to drinking.

If you want to drink that’s fine.

As I have always been taught, respect is a two-way road: you’ve got to give it to get it. You want to drink then that’s your decision, and I respect that. As long as you respect mine to stay drug free.

I am proud to be straight edge, proud to be part of something that makes me feel stronger as an individual. This is my decision and I stand by it.

Rhiannon Mim, a junior journalism major, is photography editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at rmim@ulv.edu.