PrideFest: The Adult Version

I’ve been counting down the days until PrideFest 2022 and I’m not just saying that as someone on a Capital City Pride committee that has literally been counting down the days until PrideFest. Maybe you are like me, and you have a running countdown on your calendar/phone or maybe you have absolutely no idea what all is taking place this weekend and that is why you are reading this. Either way, I need to ask you a favor before you read any further (you should know up front that I’m a very needy person so do not be surprised if there are a couple of additional requests as you read along).

Okay, here it is. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and picture the first time that you remember feeling like the truest version of yourself. Before that memory goes away, make sure you have proper lighting and take a mental picture, keep that picture in your mind not only as you finish reading this, but also as you prepare for PrideFest this weekend. We will come back to that, but for now… stick with me.

I could make this blog short and sweet and just create a numbered list of the top five events that you should add to your calendar, but what’s the fun in that? Also, I don’t know you or what you do with your life… we probably like totally different things. So, let’s meet in the middle and I’ll tell you how I’m approaching PrideFest 2022 as a young adult, and then you can flex your adulting skills and use the resources (at the end of this blog) to map out what you want your PrideFest 2022 to look like. Cool? I’ll still try to keep it short and sweet… well maybe.

Next, I need to ask you another question. When you think about PrideFest and specifically the word Pride – what is the first word that comes to your mind? Feel free to answer this in your head, this time, or post it on social media to help spread awareness. Now you didn’t ask me, but I am going to tell you my answer anyway. Respect. You may have thought of other words like love; understanding; celebration; happiness; or kindness. There are so many great answers too, but since I’m the one playing the writer here, we are using my word.

Remember that mental picture? Good, turn that brightness up girl.

When you think about that moment that you felt like you for the first time EVER. What was the atmosphere like? Were there other people around you who respected you and who you are? Or were you by yourself because you were too afraid to show those around you the real you? Trick question because I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you’ve unfortunately found yourself in both situations. We’ve all been there, and I wish I could say that one day you will never feel the pressure to worry about what others think of you again. If I did that, we both know that I would be lying because unfortunately, that is just not the world that we live in.

To me, PrideFest is one of the few opportunities throughout the year where I get to authentically and unapologetically be me without having to fear what others think about me. This is where the word respect comes in and why PrideFest is such a positive event in my life. There are few places in this world where you get the opportunity to be around others that whether they are like minded or not, at the end of the day still respect each other. Respect for your story, respect for your personality, and respect for the life that you want to live. Along with so many other things, however, I promised you I was going to keep it on the shorter side.

So, all this rambling is meant to tell you to obviously enjoy PrideFest and all that it has to offer. But also, to remind you not to miss the opportunity to express yourself and more importantly respect yourself. Wear the crop top, meet the new friend in the group, and be the hype girl that everyone needs. We are all in this together and deserve to be happy and respected for being ourselves.

I mean it when I say that I hope this year’s PrideFest is everything that you need and more to feel, love, and be yourself. And know throughout the weekend that these events are meant to create a space for you to express your true self, but ultimately it will be those around you that help you continue to be you the other 361 days of the year and for many more PrideFests to come.

Learn more about Des Moines PrideFest! Also be sure to follow along on the Capital City Pride social media channels to stay up-to-date all weekend long.