On any given day, New York City's Fifth Avenue is a place full of life and works of art.
Like any other day, June 24th was no exception.
Lined along the avenue were proud faces, vibrant colors, and tremendous personalities. They spoke out for what they believed in and wore who they were on the inside, on the outside for others to see. Beautiful and brave, these faces blew me kisses and gave me kisses, all while we exchanged words of adoration and kindness.
As I strutted down the rainbow-like parade route with hundreds of others, it did not matter who I was, it did not matter what I was, and it did not matter where I had come from.
All that mattered is that I was there to accept love and to spread love.
I have always understood what PRIDE means, and have always been accepting of all walks of life. But the truth is, until you experience PRIDE, you can't truly understand that it isn't just a way of life and the way many live their lives, it's a way of feeling, a way of living every day.
Saying that I was feeling chills, deep admiration, and awe would be a complete understatement.
Through seeing others express their true selves on this day, I was feeling a true sense of self.
Sometimes it's scary to be yourself and the thought that people won't accept that self is even scarier. During PRIDE, I saw the opposite of this, courage like never before. Like being naked in front of a crowd (in many cases at pride, this is meant literally), PRIDE supporters and members alike showcased their naked selves, in a world that isn't always welcoming to them. Combatting fear in the best way: through love.
PRIDE is about more than just accepting those who are different and supporting marginalized groups (though both of those things are incredibly important, especially today). PRIDE is about celebrating what makes YOU different, whether that be your sexual orientation, how you identify, or just simply who you are, and never being afraid to express that.
PRIDE is so important because it not only teaches us to love others but to love ourselves as well. This is crucial on a college campus where you're constantly questioning who you are and who you want to be.
To all college kids out there, and even to those younger: remember that who you are is important, that who others are is important, and that having a voice is a right even when the world makes it seem like a privilege. Speak out for yourself, speak out for others, and speak out for the future of this world.
Love is love no matter who you are, and it is our duty to spread that everywhere we go.
I want to hear from you in comments below!
How do you showcase your PRIDE? How do you show your love? What does PRIDE mean to you?