The Reel Story – Team Sea Stars’ Ashley Vox on PRIDE & JOY

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Pride month is over…or is it? As they say, “Time flies by when you’re having fun.” But just because it’s July doesn’t mean pride isn’t celebrated all year round. About 3 years ago I went to my first pride parade. And to me I saw so much freedom and nothing to worry about. PRIDE & JOY really meant so much to me, so I wanted to share a little about myself and about the event itself. Here goes…

I grew up attracted to girls and never truly knew why or how to come about it. I mean who didn’t find the pink ranger hot? Right? Ha! When I was in middle school, I came out to three of my best friends at the time. One of them, just didn’t understand how a girl could be attracted to another girl— I lost someone who I thought was a friend. I was afraid to be fully open after that, especially towards both my parents. I didn’t want to lose them by being disowned. I felt like I could never be myself in front of them, I felt trapped and stuck living a double life.

About three years ago I finally had the courage to come out to my parents— it took me at the age of 26 to finally speak up. It was the scariest thing I ever had to do— and even though they both didn’t want to believe it at first, they’ve come around to accept me.

Like most super heroes, we sometimes hide who we are— because we’re afraid what the world might think. It’s 2019– gay marriage is legal in all fifty states. There is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of. Don’t let uneducated, ignorant people bring you down. Chase what makes you happy— be the happiness because that’s what this world needs, a fucking rainbow! Don’t let one miserable grumpa-lump (yes, that’s a word now) ruin your day or ruin your happiness.

Be yourself— that’s more important then stressing over judgment. Look at yourself in the mirror and be proud of who you are! There is no such thing as “normal.” We are all weird in our own ways— and that’s a good damn thing! I’ve been told many times how I’d go to hell because I was committing a “sin,” or how I needed to be “cured.” It took me years to be comfortable with myself, it’s crazy how long I’ve waited. How much I wished I could’ve just once spoken up in middle school, in high school or during my college years. I felt like I’ve wasted so much time hiding. But things take time and everything happens for a reason— eventually everything falls into place.

RISE – PRIDE & JOY was special. I’ve done a few RISE shows now, but this one to me just meant so much more. I’m just happy I was able to be apart of this show. Share that moment with my Sea Star Delmi who accepted me from the very beginning. Every match I got to watch delivered, the crowd was hot from beginning to end. There were so many flags throughout the venue— so much pride. The main event was unbelievable! That was the first time I got to watch Cassandro el Exotico perform in the ring in person and I literally popped for everything!

The heartfelt speech Mercedes gave out at the end— says a lot on how RISE is developing performers, and not just women athletes but also men. Together we’re all equal. Together we all RISE above the hate.

Thank you Kevin Harvey for putting together such an incredible and meaningful event for all. Until next time RISE, love Ashley Vox