Claim Your Damn Joy

Hello Create Change Family,  

So excited I was asked to say some things…

To start: Happy Pride…Or as happy as we can be right now. I know it’s a tough time. Trust me, I get it. It has been a series of ups and downs, starts and stops for me as well. And as much as I’d like to leap out of bed every morning and celebrate who I am and what I believe in, and hell…who I love… I am often faced with real world opposition and resentment and hate on a daily basis.  And it’s super shitty. But what I have learned in my time on this crazy, amazing, dysfunctional, magnificent planet is that I am stronger than the hate. And I have been so lucky to have friends and family to rubber stamp that notion for me… and here’s where you all come in.

You are Loved

The Create Change community is awesome. You all give such tremendous love and support and validation to all who come here. It really is a balm to the soul.

I step out every day and try to present my authentic self to the world (No more hiding for this girl) and I often need that extra boost to stand upright and keep going… as we all do from time to time. And it’s here with you CC folks in abundance.  

For those of you within this community still struggling with who you are and wanting (and let’s be honest) … needing some validation and love and support and just hugs…(virtually at this point) — I hope you know that we are all here for you.  (If you don’t know… Check us out!) I truly believe there is no right or wrong way to BE. No timetable. No judgements here. That is why I love the #wearyourpride campaign. Because it encourages us to do what we want—wear it how we want… in our time… Or not.   

Here for you
#HereForYou

You don’t have to show pride to have pride.  But when you want to… We got you covered — metaphorically and literally!!!

We often hear… Don’t let anyone steal your joy.  And truly, those are words to live by…  And as we celebrate Pride this month (and every month actually) those words should extend to… Don’t let anyone steal your joy… in who you are… or in who you are meant to be. Claim your damn joy!

I love and support and value each and every one of you. And I am so grateful for what you give to me.  And those who know me, know I CANNOT wait to say all this in person.  It will happen, my friends. I know it. We will be together. 

Until then — Hugs. Kisses. (Masked for now) and ALL the love you deserve.  You are so worth it.

Love Is Love
#LoveIsLove
Wear Your Pride 2021
#WearYourPride

—Regina

Can you relate to Regina’s story? What is your PRIDE 2022 story? Please send us your writing submissions #WearYourPride2022 here.

New Joy (Pride Edition) now availabe on the Create Change store.
Calligraphy by Chyler Leigh. Design by Angelo Lagdameo.

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19 Comments
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Riley
5 months ago

Alright… now I’m done crying over how much love is oozing from your words, I’m going to be the one to say ‘Claim Your Damn Joy’ needs to be on a t-shirt.

Ronnie
5 months ago
Reply to  Riley

That would be an awesome slogan for a t-shirt, Riley.

Adrienne
5 months ago
Reply to  Riley

I also vote for this being on a t-shirt

Sophie
5 months ago
Reply to  Riley

Yes!! I agree! I would definitely buy that t-shirt

Buddha_aka_me She/Her
5 months ago

Really can only agree on what Riley said! Plus agree we need that on merch!

Bianca
5 months ago

Thank you for the words of love and affirmation, Regina. Sending you all the virtual hugs <3 Happy Pride!!!

Last edited 5 months ago by Bianca
Ronnie
5 months ago

Simple yet perfect. Thank you for this, Regina. We continue to struggle on a daily basis- whether it’s about who we are, the issues with Covid (it’s not over yet), and now all of this hate over the LGBTQ+ community. And regardless if your life is easy or not, we all need some validation every now and then. Do people have it worse, of course, but that doesn’t make our thoughts and feelings any less valid than the next person beside us. We’ve grown into such a strong and supportive community and continue to welcome others. That’s what makes CC the perfect group. No judgment, we come together with common ground to the point of developing genuine friendships, never mind that they are often online/virtual. Whether part of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally, our voices matter. People tear each other down so much, especially these days, that we need those affirmations of positivity. So Happy Pride to you, Regina, and everyone else in the CC Community. Your voices matter. Sending virtual love and virtual hugs :^D

Adrienne
5 months ago
Reply to  Ronnie

Ronnie,
I couldn’t agree more. Advocacy and validation for everyone is super important. Everyone deserves a voice and it’s so unfortunate that even in 2022, this isn’t occurring and there is still hate being spread. The validation and love for everyone is also why I love the CC community, there’s only kindness and validation for others. Spread kindness not hate is my favourite saying. Everyone deserves to “Claim Their Damn Joy.”

Ronnie
5 months ago
Reply to  Adrienne

That’s what I like about this place too. I still remember at my old job a few years back and I was having a hard time which I mentioned and some co-worker that I did not get along with played the “well others have it worse” card. Personally, I’ve never liked that saying. Sure there always will be but we’re all human so every person’s feelings should matter and mean something. If it’s a big deal to a person then it should matter, even if what may seem like a big deal to one person might not seem like it to another. We all matter, it’s that simple. Our feelings have merit. Sometimes we just have to remind ourselves of that or other people have to remind us too.

Adrienne
5 months ago
Reply to  Ronnie

100%

Jenny
5 months ago

Thank you so much Regina for your words!
Thank you for taking the time to shower all of us with so much love and validation as the community tries to give out every day as well.
Without you I wouldn’t have found this amazing family and I will forever be grateful for that.

It can be so scary to wear your pride and instead of more confident I’ve gotten more cautious as time went by but you are right – we should all claim our damn joy and LIVE.
I owe it to my younger self and all those afraid to come out.

Thank you for that energy boost! Sending all the internet hugs and Happy Pride!

Ronnie
5 months ago
Reply to  Jenny

Jenny, I’m with you, I’ve gotten more cautious, especially now. While I’m proud of being gay, at the same time these days you just can’t be too careful anymore. People are trying to force us back in the closet but the community has been so loud for the past several years that they can try, might even succeed but we have to keep going and find our place in a world that is beginning to tell us we have none.

Kate
5 months ago

This is one damn fantastic piece of work, Regina!!!! I struggled for a long time since I was 15 years old trying for figure out who I am. I came out at 15 but without a clue of where I fit into the community. It took me years to figure it out and with that came fear about backlash and ridicule for my true identity, that I am the L of LGBTQ! I am a proud lesbian and engaged to the most amazing and beautiful woman that I’ve ever laid my eyes on. I am going to have my IUI procedure in August and the one thing I am going to teach my child is the importance of being your true authentic self. That it’s okay to be who you are and love who you want to love, there’s no shame in that. This child will be PRIDE and JOY. Haha! See what I did there!

Celebrate yourself! Celebrate your pride! Celebrate the joy being your true authentic self brings you! Happy Pride friends!

xx Kate

Ronnie
5 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Nicely said Kate. It’s up to us, as the current, and older generation who are allies and part of the community to make sure the next generation, and the young ones now are in a world where there is a sense of Pride no matter who you are or the family you have.

My step-nephew has a congregation of women in his life: his mom, his other mom, his mom’s girlfriend, and his step-mom (my sister) so I can only hope that the kid (who is 7) grows up seeing the value in that instead of being ashamed for the family he comes from.

Adrienne
5 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Kate,
I couldn’t agree more with what you said. As the future of change, I think it’s important for children too learn to be authentic and embrace who they are. There are far to many stigmas and stereotypes and that needs to change.
Also, I’m really proud of you for being your authentic self always and I’m so happy that your dream of becoming a mom is a short trip around the corner.

Adrienne
5 months ago

Regina,
This is so beautiful! Really appreciate the validation and love. As an LGBTQ ally and Early Childhood Educator, I want to teach children how to love each other unconditionally. I want to teach children to live life authentically to express themselves, to love who they love, to be who they are, to “Claim Their Damn Joy” (definitely agree this needs to be on a t-shirt). This is a beautiful reminder to wear our pride and as you say: BE! Sending virtual hugs to everyone in this amazing community. Happy Pride!

Ronnie
5 months ago
Reply to  Adrienne

Nice, Adrienne. I love the idea or even put into practice, teachers and even parents teaching to love others. My step-nephew has 4 female figures in his life: his mom, his mom’s girlfriend, his other mom, and his step-mom (my sister). My hope and dreams for him are that he learns to appreciate his family and not feel ashamed of it. You hear so many cases on the news about students having to do family trees and often the stereotypical trees, especially those that are pre-made with the titles, include a mom and a dad and then everything else. There’s more to family than that and people need to realize it at this point. I can only hope my step-nephew sees his family for what it is: a loving one. And if he gets teased or bullied for it that he learns to stand up for himself and his family.

Of course, this is just my POV when it comes to educating kids on the diversity of family and LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Adrienne
5 months ago
Reply to  Ronnie

Ronnie,
The stereotypical things that are associated with the world are so hard. There needs to be more validation for the different family types that are in existence. Single parents (mom or dad), a mom and a dad, 2 moms, 2 dads, foster/adoptive parents, those grandparents and/or that are the parental figure in their family etc. All family types are valid and I think it’s important for children to grow up learning not to be ashamed of it.

Last edited 5 months ago by Adrienne
Sophie
5 months ago

Regina, this was beautifully written! “Claim your damn joy!” I love the sound of that

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