Happy Pride, Albany & Boston!

There was a time when I thought that pride was something I could carry in a Louis Vuitton bag or sprinkle out of a Tom Ford Private Blend decanter. I believed that pride could be found in the paisley lining of a Versace coat or the shiny surface of a Gucci loafer. If I could locate the elusive purple croc Hermes tote bag or Jeffrey Scott’s golden winged sneakers then surely I would find it. I thought pride could be bought, like so many baubles and trinkets, wrapped around my head like a pair of trendy sunglasses, encasing my heart like the richest and most-finely embroidered corset. Yet like all tempting ruses, the idea that pride was something that could be appropriated from anywhere other than within was too good to be true.

It turns out that true pride is not something that you can buy and wear on your back. It doesn’t come in a cologne bottle or the hand-stitched finery of the most gorgeous haute couture piece. It cannot be conjured by fashion or looks or beauty, and it’s more than just an attitude or frame of mind. (I used to think that was enough.

My pride was something I had to work to uncover, and it didn’t always come easily. There was no set of instructions on how to access pride, no easy-to-follow list of the steps necessary to bring it into being. Even acting the part and proudly flying my rainbow flag and pink triangle weren’t an authentic rendering of it. It proved elusive, even when I paraded around in Prada and thought I had it all.

My pride was sometimes latent and quiet and covered in shame, but it was always there. The realization of it took some time, and even as I write this I am coming to understand that it’s never really over. Like the best parts of the human condition, it continues to be an ongoing process of acceptance and love and evolution. The difference now is that I’m aware of it. I sense it and it empowers me. You may strip me of my cashmere socks and fancy designer underwear, but you can never strip me of my pride.

It comes from a belief in the dignity of oneself, in the very trust that you are worthy, you are equal, you are all the wonderful things that comprise a human being. When you realize that, the fashionable and the frivolous can be seen and appreciated as aspects of beauty – admirable and noble to a certain extent, but only as an accentuation of what you already are.

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