Guest blog post written by Emily Guth
In 2015, I was working at a running store in the Meatpacking neighborhood, right next to where the Pride Festival is set up. I was working Pride weekend, so I took my lunch break to walk through the festival. I hadn’t come out yet, and it would be another year before I would. I remember wandering through the festival, seeing so many people confident in who they were. I desperately wanted to run up to someone, anyone, and say, “Hi, I think I might be gay, can you help me?” But I wasn’t ready to say that yet, so I didn’t. I got some free rainbow beads and went back to work. Definitely wasn’t feeling ‘proud.’
In 2016, a man walked into a nightclub and killed 49 members of a community that I still hadn’t admitted I was a part of. I was furious, outraged, hurt, upset, scared, and a million other emotions. The next day I took the plunge and tumbled out of the closet, right around the same time Lin-Manuel Miranda gave his “love is love is love” Tony speech (and the inspiration for Friday’s bounce). I received an outpouring of love and support and even a few “yeah, I know” texts. But I wasn’t yet at ‘proud.’
That same year, a few weeks later, I went to my first NYRR Pride Run. I was wearing a rainbow tutu. It was the first time I was stepping out of my house as an “out” member of the LGBTQ community. I was scared to death. What if I had made a mistake by coming out? Maybe I was still confused. I didn’t say much to anyone that morning. I thanked the people that complimented my tutu, got my rainbow bagel, and went home. I was so mad at myself. Where was my ‘pride?’
This went on for a little while longer. The more I said I was gay out loud, the more proud I felt. In 2017, I went to my first parade as a truly proud member of the community. By that point, I felt confident in telling people who I was, I had some truly great queer women come into my life as role models, and I finally felt like I belonged there. It was a great feeling. But that sense of community that I wanted when I came out, I still didn’t have yet.
Fast forward. I’ve been a part of NP for a year and a half now. I like to think that Rob was persistent in his trying to get me to a workout not only because he wanted to be responsible for recruiting a newbie, but because he knew I’d fit in and grow to love this tribe. And lucky for him, he was right. NP is a community where you show up, look around, and the people you’re surrounded by are both just like you and nothing like you at all, and that’s only a small part of what makes it great.
Fast forward again to an NP happy hour not too far in the past. I was asked about co-leading the Pride workout alongside Jeremy and Frankie. I could not have possibly said “yes” faster. As I was walking home that night, my mind was racing. I was equal parts excited and nervous. This was it. Was I finally ‘proud’ enough that I was a role model? I don’t know if that’s the right term, but I was finally a person that other people saw as someone who should be representing the LGBTQ community in a big way.
Turns out it was one of the best mornings of my life. I don’t know what else to say about it. It was a dream come true and we were still so high off the experience that we couldn’t nap after the workout or sleep on Friday night. Thank you November Project NYC, for giving us a safe space to be loud and proud and covered in glitter at 6:28 in the morning.
So now I ask you guys. What have you done today to make you feel ‘proud?’ (You all know the song, or at least just that line). I used to think that ‘proud’ was a feeling that came when you accomplished something major, like a PR or a good test grade. But it’s so much more than that. Every time I show up to a workout, I’m proud to be a part of a community that welcomes everyone regardless of age, race, sexuality, gender, disability, etc. Every time I show up to cheer at a race, I’m proud that my amazing friends got up countless mornings to put in the work to give it their all on race day. I am proud every time I wear a rainbow that I am not scared to be myself anymore.
You have that rainbow tag now, so every time you put it on, remember what you’re proud of. Maybe you’re proud you woke up today. Or maybe you’re proud that it’s your first day of a big promotion, and you’re wearing that tag under your dress shirt for good luck (try it, I bet it works). Whatever it is, don’t forget that you have a community that’s proud of you too.
And if you’re reading this, and you’re not quite ready to admit you’re ‘proud’ yet, take your time, we’ll be waiting for you with open arms when you do.
I love you all more than you can imagine. Thank you for being here! ~Emily GuthShare via socials: