If you’re like me, you’re out and about proud, but being loud isn’t really your thing. And as excited as you are about Pride, it also stresses you out a bit.
You’re the person who sits furthest away from the speakers at drag shows, and you’d rather throw your dollars at the queens’ feet as they walk away. You’re the one hiding in the bathroom at the gay club wondering why you let your outgoing friends drag you out of the house at such an ungodly hour (*points to Sam Smith). You’d rather be home reading TJ Klune or Casey McQuiston novels or catching up on “Our Flag Means Death” and “The Golden Girls.”
You are an introvert. I get it because I am too, Henny!
Many of the activities around Pride are geared towards extroverts, which has often made me feel like a bad queer, as I never have as much fun as my screaming, dancing, high-kicking friends. In years past, I would feel guilty about going and then hide in bed the following week. The tricky part is that I had a little fun: the overwhelm hit me faster than a round of applause from Trixie and Katya.
And as much as I don’t want to miss out on Pride celebrations, I’ve had to come up with some workarounds so I can have fun without getting too overstimulated, and over it. Try these tips to practice self-care and make your Pride weekend enjoyable, not just exhausting. No pretending to be an extrovert this year, okay?
Plan, plan, plan.
It’s harder to feel overwhelmed when you know exactly where you’re going, what you’re doing, and how long you’ll be there. I’m talking about planning right down to the last minute, beauties! And rank the ones you want to do in order of most to least important; That way, if something has to be turned down, you can confidently chop it down like that gorgeous lesbian in the woods chopping wood with a broadsword (*cough cough* Nicole Coenen).
Look for smaller parties in clubs and bars so you don’t end up in the hottest spot in town, wondering why there’s a line out the door, and suddenly you have heart palpitations. No matter how big or small the festivities, there’s no shame in pre-playing with a nap. Jamie Lee Curtis goes to bed at 7 pm and she is thriving. #PROSPERATOR.
Even better, see what gay-owned independent coffee shops, bookstores, game cafes, and theaters are doing to celebrate Pride. They probably have some low-key fun or at least some special discounts that will appeal to other LGBTQ+ introverts, at least for a while.
Circle your supportive introverts.
We all have that fabulous group of extrovert friends who will try to get you out any time of the year, so Pride weekend is the perfect time to enjoy the experience with your fellow introverts. You can agree in advance which activities seem most relaxing to you (and what your escape plan is if they’re noisier than you anticipate) and decide what time you expect to want to leave.
Other introverts are more likely to be understanding and not hit you with the old “just one more drink” followed by “just one more dance” right before the classic “but we’re having so much fun!” Because you know that “one more drink” means a whole plate of rainbow shots, “one more dance” means requesting the entire Beyoncé discography, and “but we’re having so much fun” means “we’re not going home until we get kicked.” “. with a shiny boot”.
Plot your exhaust.
If you are in a mixed group of introverts and extroverts or go with all the extroverts, plan your escape. If someone asks if you want to carpool, say, “Not today, Satan!” Carpooling leaves you beholden to someone else’s plans, which can delay your getaway.
Even better, let your friends know what time you plan to leave, that way you don’t feel compelled to chase them in a crowd to say goodbye. Have you ever heard of an Irish goodbye? There’s a reason these people are so lucky, and it has nothing to do with four-leaf clovers. Going out when you feel like it without having to say goodbye to everyone or make an announcement is the dream.
Have some excuses in your back pocket in case you need them. Pretend to be sick if necessary. Pro Tip: People will ask questions if you say something vague like you just don’t feel well, but only the truly brave souls will ask you questions if you tell them you have diarrhea. No judgment, and I won’t say if you don’t. Plus, nervous tummies are real! You can always make a miraculous recovery just in time to do the activity you wanted to do.
Prepare your survival pack.
You’ve planned your weekend, you’ve got your introverted entourage, and you’ve taken your nap before the game, but now you’re actually there at the Pride celebration. Surrounded by people where it is noisy And late at night. Why did you agree to this again?
This year, bring ear plugs. Whether it’s the cheap ones from the pharmacy or the elegant reusable from the barrage of Instagram ads, they really make a difference. They tone down the music just enough to make it tolerable and won’t affect conversations with your friends. I mean, when it’s super loud, people are going to have to yell in your ear to get you to hear anything, anyway. Plus, your ears will thank you when you’re a queer old man trying to listen to tap noise on Grindr.
Consider blue-light blocking glasses if you’re heading to the club. Will they really protect you from the sensory overload of strobe lights? Hell yes I know. It’s like prayer and vitamins: it can’t hurt; could help. Even if they don’t actually do anything, the placebo effect could still be helpful.
If you get nervous in crowds, CBD gummies are your friend. They are potent enough to chill you out, but lack THC which, under overstimulating circumstances, could send your anxiety skyrocketing. Or if gummies aren’t your thing, there’s always good old-fashioned aromatherapy. The scents of lavender and jasmine are said to have calming effects, so keep an essential oil roller in your pocket.