June is Pride Month. Even though I'm a heterosexual cisgender female, I still believe love is love. Who you love doesn't matter to anyone else except that other person. Period.
Now that I've stood on my soapbox for the day, Pride Month is a time for me to remember how close I came to being a memory. Last week 2 high-profile individuals took their own lives days apart from one another. I know this happens all too often but when it's someone in the spotlight, we seem to collectively sit up and pay more attention to the issue at hand.
I've said this before - we need to not only look out for one another, we also need to take it seriously when someone says they're struggling with issues of any kind. Yes, prayer helps. So does energy healing, life coaching, therapy or just plain being a friend to another human being.
Now is all we have. So now I want to share with you what Pride really means to me.
It was Pride Weekend in Toronto - ten years ago this month. My life had hit somewhere below rock bottom. I had no job, no job prospects, no money to my name. My friends were all "busy" with their lives. No one seemed to have any time for me. Because I had no money and no job, I was losing a lot of weight because I couldn't afford to buy food. My family was convinced I was on drugs. To this day, I'm still confused as to where that even started but now it really doesn't matter. Plus my relationships had all gone to hell.
Living in the 6 was becoming more of a burden than anything else. I was defined by where I worked; where I hung out; the labels on my backside... not for who I was as a person. I was sick of it all. I was convinced that if I vanished off the face of the earth, no one would even notice me because they were too preoccupied with their own lives.
It was a Friday night. I'd spent the day searching fruitlessly for jobs. Trying to put this hopeless feeling into words is actually difficult for me as I write this. I had no hope; nothing to keep me going for just one more day. Knowing that the city was alive with people going out and enjoying themselves in the company of others was just too much for me to bear.
I had this bottle of Tylenol in the bathroom that I'd been eyeing for a few days... wondering what it would be like if I swallowed the whole thing. I knew it meant death but I didn't care. I didn't have anything else anyway.
I didn't have a note - I figured since no one was checking up on me it wouldn't make a difference. I walked into my bathroom, tears streaming down my face. In that moment, I felt like I was just a wasted life - I had so much to give the world but no one wanted a taste of what I had to offer. Just as I was opening the Tylenol bottle, my cell phone rang.
I'd met this lovely gay couple a couple of weeks before at a party. We hit it off right away and exchanged phone numbers with promises to hang out. They were honestly the funniest people I'd met in a long time - we just spent the rest of that party laughing and laughing. Felt good to laugh, to be honest - my life at the time didn't have any real reason to smile.
They called to invite me to a bar at Church & Wellesley that had cheap pitchers to kick off Pride Weekend. Now I'm not a massive beer fan but hey, why not? I had to tell them I didn't have any money to pay for my share but they dismissed it - "who cares? It's Pride!"
That's the first time in my life where I felt seen and heard. Oprah Winfrey has this quote: "You were seen, you were heard, you matter." That's precisely what brought me back from swallowing that entire bottle of Tylenol that night. I quickly flushed all the pills down the toilet, got dressed, grabbed my Metropass and headed for the subway.
That night I had a blast. Surprisingly, those beers went down so easily! The vibe in the Village was so chill yet jubilant. People seemed not to have a care in the world. I wondered if I'd ever feel like that - given that my life was in ruins at the time.
The next day, I met up with this couple again along with one of my girlfriends to go clubbing in the Village. I felt so alive! I danced up a storm the whole night. Then we all met up again to go to the parade. So many colours; love was definitely in the air. Plus there was a bounty of men in assless chaps. Not sure what that has to do with Pride but hey - do whatcha like!
I never saw the gay couple again after that amazing weekend. I'm convinced they were angels sent to save me from myself. I'm forever grateful they did - I wouldn't be here today sharing this story with you if it wasn't for them.
It's a debt that I may be never be able to repay but I can sure as hell pay it forward. That's why I'm offering free coaching to anyone in crisis who needs someone to talk to for the remainder of June.
Click here to book your free session. I'm here to listen; see you; hear you and remind you that you matter.