Proud as PRIDE!


"Imagine, the most judged, most demeaned parts of yourself that you and others have spent a lot of time hating with impunity finally fully being embraced with PRIDE and a freakin' parade!" 
-Traci Ruble

Proud As Pride!
by Traci Ruble

Fifteen years ago I moved up to San Francisco from SoCal.  When I arrived I fell in love with this place.  I was smitten with SF like you would be with a new lover.  A poignant moment for me when I turned a corner and a man sweeping his driveway, dread locks hanging down, black skin shining with the sweat of his labored morning said hello.  I don't know who this man was but his face was so utterly peaceful, present, and kind.  He didn't demean the homeless sitting a few yards away nor me because I am white.  He had a vibe that embraced everything and everyone happening around his driveway.    San Francisco, like us people, have so many diverse parts -  perfect and pristine beauty and dark imperfections- out there to be seen, not tucked away into the unconscious like people do.

The massive grooming and plastic surgery that had been done on the town and people from my then home were not evident here. In my experience San Francisco's culture makes it easier to be free - something about the truth of the city and its people leaves its mark as opposed to doctoring everything up to look like Disneyland.  Something about San Francisco, for me at least, teased me on this path of personal discovery because there is more space to discover - dark and light, right or left, gay or straight, Christian or Atheist, homeowner or homeless.  This city hides less than most and is a model for us human animals to not hide any parts of ourselves away no matter how we or others might judge. 

Lucky me, I now work on Market Street in downtown San Francisco.  My office has been here almost 8 years and every year as the rainbow PRIDE flags go up, my heart leaps with joy. Something about PRIDE, for me, doesn't just represent the gay community.  PRIDE represents us all and to me it is a massive celebration of San Francisco as a whole, not just gay people.  

Imagine, the most judged, most demeaned parts of yourself that you and others have spent a lot of time hating with impunity finally fully being embraced with PRIDE and a freakin' parade!  Gay people are forerunners when it comes to self love perhaps because their self hatred was so vicious their invitation to get conscious and take a stand with others and inside with themselves was urgent.  Thank You for making the journey and bringing me along for the ride.  Join in right now.  What would it be like to dress up, dance on a float in a major urban center and declare "I am proud of who I am!".  "I am proud of these parts of me I have demeaned for so long or that you have demeaned for so long."  If you are brave do it right now...stand up where ever you are and throw your hands up in the air and your head back and declare you are proud of who you are, all your bits.  C'mon.  I will do it with you right now.  Ahhh, I caught myself smiling.  I feel really good.  

When you see the PRIDE flags in San Francisco or even in your area, ask yourself, "What parts of my own being am I not able to celebrate?"  "Where is my self hatred insidiously operating outside my awareness?" "Do I surround myself with people who cherish all of who I am?"  "Can I, in this moment, embrace one more thing about myself and my humanity?" What do you choose to embrace and be proud of in this moment?  I hope you have a good PRIDE and I hope you will expand its reach to embrace all of who you are!


Traci Ruble is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist working in downtown San Francisco. She is founder of Psyched in San Francisco.  She specializes working with couples and individual adults working on  depression, anxiety or trauma.  Learn more about her here.  www.traciruble.com or follow her on twitter @TraciRubleMFT


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