This page consists of 2 parts. The first part is written by Wim, 1 of our 2 webmasters. He was 18 at the time of writing and he has been straight edge for 2 years. The other part is an article from "Klasse" a magazine for youngsters from secondary school in Belgium. We decided to embed the text because we think it is relevant. Our thanks again to Klasse for the authorization for doing this.
This page contains some personal experiences of mine. If you would like to contact me you can find some information on the about page or
just use the feedback form. This page is meant as an extra dimension to the general things of straight edge.
As there aren't a lot of straight edgers here in Belgium, you get a lot of reactions. The fact of being a straight edger is not something I tell when I meet someone for the first time. Half of the time people don't know what straight edge is and on top of that I don't think it's something essential to tell the first time you meet someone. This does not mean I am ashamed of being a straight edger, on the contrary: I'm proud to be straight edge and when the time is right you'll know I'm straight edge.
Usually straight edge becomes the subject of a conversation when everyone orders a beer and I don't. Then I explain I'm straight edge and that I don't drink. Now I will be able to direct them to this site if they want to hear the full story because most of the time people have a completely wrong image of straight edge if you give them to shortened explanation. They think it's all about the not drinking and not smoking and no drugs. Even a lot of straight edgers today think this but I'm convinced there's more to it. More about that on the ideology page.
I haven't had any negative reactions yet. Even real party animals respect my way of life. Although I have noticed people tend to say other things than what they really think or do. Some people even react with certain unbelief: "Really? Never? Not one drop? I wouldn't be able to do it".
Sometimes people might think you're boring because you're straight edge. In my case it might partially be true because I don't like to go to parties. When I talk to other straight edgers I hear they go out just as much as anyone else and have fun just as much, so it's not because you're straight you can't have fun!
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I used to smoke one cigarette a day when I was 12. I did that for a year. I also had a few beers at that age (the law in Belgium isn't very strict on alcohol). When I decided to quit I went along with a few friends to smoke one joint to end my "smoking-career". I always made sure I could quit anytime I wanted. That might sound a little naíve but when I decided to quit, I quit. I have never regretted smoking even though it did inerasable damage. It has granted me a better knowledge about how hard it is to quit and what makes people so addicted to it.
How nice .. Just when I'm writing this on the train home from school a man who is clearly drunk is stumbling through the train wagon. He's talking to himself and complaining he has to pay 53 euro (around 60 dollar) because he hasn't bought a ticket, which he probably just forget because he's drunk (and the smell...).As you can see Straight Edge is not only healthy it can also save you money!
When I first heard about Hardcore (straight edge music) it didn't interest me much. I still feel that way. Most songs are a little too rough for me, I like the alternative rock sound better, though I would like to see a hardcore group performing live. In my humble opinion Straight edge's music is also one of the less important aspects, even more when compared to other lifestyles (cfr. Hip Hop). The music is it's origin but I don't think it adds more to the evolution of straight edge. As I said before, this is my own personal opinion, a lot of straight edgers might not agree.
Last thing I want to make clear is that Straight edge is not any type of (religious) cult. We do not try to achieve "enlightment" or "salvation" we just try to make life a little easier for everyone.
You might be doubting if I'm really happy like other people. Don't I miss all the fun other people have drinking and thinking less about others. To be honest, I don't think I'm anything different from "regular" people. I have my ups and downs, sometimes I'm very sad, sometimes extremely happy, just like anyone else. But I feel confident to let you know I'm very happy with the way my life is going.
I would love to receive reactions about this text. Comments on the whole site are appreciated but especially about this part because I'm anxious to know how you feel about what I wrote. You can use the contact form we've prepared or just mail me. You can find my email at the about page. Feel free to comment on anything!
TINEKE (17): «At parties I always drink juice or soya milk, never alcohol. I never use any drugs, I never smoke cigarettes and I prefer a long term relationship above one night stands. I have been straight edge for 2 years: I want to live a sober life and make my own decisions with a clear mind.»
Tineke: «Some straight edgers wear a drawn X on their hand. This symbol was originated from England, where every minor visiting a pub was marked with an X on their hand so the bartenders knew they couldn't serve them alcohol. Straight edgers inherited this symbol. We don't only refrain from drinking alcohol, we also try to live a sober life. A lot of us are vegetarian like me, but it's not a rule.»
After extensive search we found out Tineke's history is not all correct. The message behind it still works all the same though. You can read all about it on the history page.
I never wear that X on my hand. I think that's a little to much. You don't have to be ashamed for being straight edge but it's important not to feel any better than anyone else. I wear baggy pants and skate shoes. In a group of teenagers you would never tell I'm a straight edger, except if I'm wearing a typical Straight edge T-shirt. Then you would tell by the text on the shirt. We got something with numbers and symbols. X is the 24th letter of the alphabet, S (from Straight edge) is the 19th and E is the 5th. So when you count S and E you get the X (from sxe). A lot of T-shirts have this kind of symbolism.
There is no real manifest of the straight edger. How you think about the world is your own opinion. As you can image there are a lot of different political opinions in straight edge but extreme-right politics are not part of them. Straight edgers are against racism and all forms of discrimination. Some straight edgers think they're better than someone else, that's bullshit, most of those people became straight edge just because they think it's "cool". After a while they're just tired of it and try something else that's new. True straight edgers are tolerant and open minded. Some may look extreme: tattoos and piercings, but with a soda in their hand they immediately look a lot less dangerous.
A lot of my friends aren't straight edge. You should watch out not to cut yourself from the rest of the world. This is because you need to hear other opinions. That's a warning to all people: you should try to be in a group, but while doing so always maintain a personal opinion.
I often go to live performances and festivals of hardcore bands. I meet Polish, English, Spanish and German people there, and a lot more. I like knowing people from all over Europe. At Hardcore performances there are never barriers to separate the audience and the band. I like that because that symbolizes the equality. A lot of hardcore texts are about vegetarianism, nature, exploitation or against racism. Music with a message. Whether or not you do something for the world is again a personal decision. We organize performances and donate the profit to Amnesty International. We sell vegan burgers for "Animal Truth".
I used to like the taste of meat, but I never liked the feeling: I was always aware I was eating dead animals. When I was a kid I had a friend who lived at a farm. She had a little lam she fed with a bottle. After a few weeks she announced "we're going to eat Bessy". The same thing happened to the little rabbits and other animals at the farm. You could just choose who you were going to eat next week. I find that absurd and shocking. People don't need flesh to survive. There are also straight edgers that are vegans: they don't eat any products from animals like cheese, eggs, butter and milk. Others are fruitarians.
I almost never get negative reactions. That has to do with the way I behave to others. If you feel better, you obviously will get criticized. Some people even think it's a cult, but that's only because they know to little. This is a movement of self-conscious youngsters. Some say living soberly is ridiculous: &you only live once and have to enjoy life". But it's not because I live soberly, I'm not having fun. I love to go out, go hiking with girl scouts and next year I'm going to a university. I skate and soon I'm going snowboarding. I don't have any trouble following the straight edge "rules" it's a lifetime commitment.