I looked up "pride" in the thesaurus, and found "self-esteem," "self-love," "self-worth."
Pride is also an emotion—the feeling of contentment the shines from somewhere deep inside myself when I know I've done something well. When I follow through, when I help, when I grow, when I say no to what doesn't serve or yes to what does.
I think sometimes I look for worth outside myself. I reflect back everything I find in other places, and wonder if that makes me enough. But it doesn't; it never did. True worth comes from within, and that golden feeling of pride is what happens when I know I'm enough.
I think I've seen myself as easy; easy to get along with. It wasn't always that way, but the walls I built put me in a safe place where I can forget I wasn't seen or heard.
I thought loving myself was easy for me, but maybe it wasn't. It was, and it wasn't.
Pride is the opposite of shame. We took our shame and swished and squashed it in our fingers and re-shaped it into pride. We've known the way shame and pride need each other, felt how the strongest pride creates the strongest shame, and the strongest shame creates the strongest pride.
We've wondered, am I enough? (Am I gay enough? Am I straight enough? Am I queer enough? Am I good enough?)
And where we can, we've found each other. We've wrapped our arms all together, a net of breathing limbs, and held on tight.
We're learning how to be seen and heard.
We're learning how to feel we are enough. (Not how to be enough, because we were enough all along; we're learning how to feel it.)
We're learning what makes us human.
And to anyone who feels threatened by it all: maybe you're jealous of our freedom. Maybe you haven't found your own humanity yet. Maybe you've never been seen or heard. Maybe you've never been hurt for who you are, and not because no one's ever hurt you (I know you've been hurt), but because you don't know who you are.
I know you're scared. We all are. But it's okay to take a look inside yourself and realize that you might not be just what you thought. You might not be normal. You might not be easy.
I've wondered, am I enough? (Am I good enough? Am I queer enough? Do I even belong here?) And maybe that's why I'm so proud that the answer is, "yes!"