2018 was an exciting year for Airdrie Pride and it is safe to say that we have our roots deeply planted in our community with much momentum as we move into 2019. In this week’s blog, I want to recognize all that we have accomplished and how much all of us have to look forward to in the coming year!
However, before the clock chimes marking a new year, we all must first get through the rest of this one. I genuinely appreciate that this time of year for many LGBTQ2S+ individuals can be full of dread, anxiety and stress. With that said, I thought I would first provide a few suggestions on how to weather any storms you may be faced with.
TIPS FOR GETTING THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS
1. SELF CARE IS NOT SELFISH
You don’t have to be “on” all the time, and you deserve to cater to your best interests through this holiday season. Taking care of yourself is not a selfish act, it is a loving one and you deserve to be loved. If you need to disappear and take a break, give yourself that. If you find yourself in a situation that is negative and absent of appropriate validation see #2
2. EXIT STRATEGY
Pre-plan a way out if the situation gets tough. Go for walks, visit friends, escape to a quiet space, read or listen to music. It is a good idea to proactively communicate amongst your family that you have plans to go out at some point during the break. This strategy can often provide you with an easy ‘out’ that you can choose to take if you need it.
Give any negative thoughts a way out of your brain. Let your pen hit some paper and consciously choose things to let go of every day. Then fill this empty mental space with positive affirmations. One of my favourite strategies is to create your very own “Love List.” Before the holiday starts, sit down and fill a page, or multiple pages, with all the things about yourself that you love and are special or unique. If you need ideas or help reach out and asks friends and supportive family. When your list is complete, keep it close and if things get tough, disappear, and read, re-read, and read again. Overwhelm any negative with positive and love.
4. LOGICAL FAMILY
The biggest supporters of your life are not always and don’t have to be your biological family. Just because you are related to them, you don’t have to like them! You can choose whose comments, ideas and opinions you absorb and work to do everything you can to surround yourself with those that support you. Doing this may mean getting yourself out of the house and meeting in person or connecting online with those that validate and love you for you.
5. CONNECT AND CARE
Remember that in all its perceived magic and celebration, this time of year can be very stressful and anxious for many of our friends and peers. Go out of your way to make an effort to check in with each other and be sure to send lots of love and validation to those around you. Don’t assume if you have not heard from a friend that it is because they are having a magical Christmas without you. I guarantee a supportive and loving message will never be unwelcome and you never know when someone may need it.
As 2018 comes to close, I look back with an overflowing heart knowing that Airdrie Pride has successfully begun to plant deep roots in our city and has developed a momentum that can only lead to more positive and extraordinary things in 2019. It is this momentum that gives me unwavering confidence that we have a space for everyone in our community as we move forward.
In 2018 we built four monthly programs in our city. Our PRYSM (PRide Youth Social Movement) will celebrate its one-year anniversary this month! This group of extraordinary youth has built comradery, established deep friendships and we are comforted that so many of them are feeling more connected to the community. Our Community Coffee continues to provide a safe spot for individuals, of any age, to connect with the Airdrie Pride board and peers within their community. Our Parenting with Pride group is successfully bringing support and comfort to parents of children and youth identifying within the LGBTQ2+ spectrum. Lastly, with great excitement, we have launched our monthly Pride In the Pub to connect the adult LGBTQ2S+ community and further increase our presence and support in Airdrie.
Additionally, Airdrie Pride was successfully registered as a Non-Profit Business which opens an incredible potential for grant funding and donor support to grow our program offering. We were delighted and honoured to collaborate with Nose Creek Players on the Laramie Project Show and through that raised money to support our PRYSM group. We built a marvellous Canada Day float which got us nominated as a Canada Day Parade fan favourite! We loved participating in AirdrieFest which allowed us to connect with many new faces in the community. We have published over thirty digital blog post which we hope both provided education and inspiration to all those that connected and took in our words. Additionally, we have built a consistently increasing social media following giving us confidence that we are continuing to reach more and more of our community.
We worked effectively with the City of Airdrie to fly the Pride and Transgender Flag in recognition of Pride Month and Transgender Day of Remembrance. Lastly, and perhaps most exciting, we have been working the City of Airdrie to bring some new and exciting events to Airdrie in 2019. Stay tuned for our announcement in January of 2019!
On behalf of all of us at Airdrie Pride, we wish you and your families (biological and logical) the warmest, safest and happiest holiday season full of love and connection. We love you, we validate you, and most importantly we need you for all that we have planned in 2019!
Much love and warm holiday wishes to all,