This post is written by Matt Lynch, Sanctuary Yoga & Mindfulness teacher, and will likely be less formal than those written previously. He would not presume to speak of others’ experiences, but here he authentically shares his...
The reason we celebrate pride this month, the reason that it is so important, is that we, as queer people, are not always conditioned to celebrate ourselves. Many of us are raised in environments that are not accepting of our true nature. Despite the incredible strides that we have made socially in our country in recent years, it is still not the “normal” narrative. Some of us have easier times than others, but all of us have gone through a struggle to find happiness, and all of us still encounter obstacles every day.
Coming out for me was not a good experience. I felt as though I had the rug pulled out from under me. I was ostracized from my family and friends. At one point I was put in conversion therapy against my will. I was asked not to attend holidays if I was planning on “projecting my life choices to the extended family.” Living as a gay man I have been beaten up, robbed, harassed. At one point in my twenties I spiraled into a deep depression and became crippled with anxiety and addiction. It was at that point in my life I found the practice of yoga, when I needed it most.
The studio became a safe haven for me, when I felt like an outcast everywhere else in my life. Through this practice, slowly but surely, things began to get better. I began practicing twice a week, then three times, before long I was working at the desk to support my practice, which was almost daily. I began teaching and my quality of life continued to improve. My self image improved. The voice inside my head became kinder and more reserved. I believe the practice of yoga saved my life.
We celebrate pride because we had to work for it. We had to learn to love ourselves. We celebrate pride because we are all continuing to grow into who we are becoming. We celebrate pride because not all of us made it this far. Many of our brothers and sisters have been taken by suicide, murder, disease. Many of us almost did not make it this far, and by grace alone are somehow still here. Most importantly, we celebrate pride because we are worth celebrating.
Happy Pride Month.
All of us here at Sanctuary