If you guys know me at all, you know that over the past two years SoulCycle has become an integral staple in my weekly routine. Of course I love all the efficacious benefits high-intensity cardio entails, however; my true love for SoulCycle stems from its euphoric community. I’ve posted a myriad of moments that I will never forget in SoulCycle—for example, when I balled in the middle of a Beyoncé song. SoulCycle has become a support system for me—I mean, clearly I feel comfortable crying in front of everyone. Being assertive of your identity from a young age, surprisingly, creates a unstable path for self-growth.
As a gay teenager, your identity is delicate and ever-changing. From walking down the school hallway to attending a party, the precariousness of lack of safety always looms. The constant state of hyperawareness is prevalent, despite attempts to be comfortable in your own skin. Entering the bright yellow doors of SoulCycle changes those feelings. Knowing you have a support system of people who will celebrate your differences formulate that in to growth is one of the most rewarding feelings. Being vulnerable in movement, interaction, and thoughts during a class is the epitome of the experience.
Letting go is something I am learning how to do; I know my family at SoulCycle will be there every step of the way on my constant journey to self-improvement and self-love. To illustrate the good-natured environment that is SoulCycle, I asked three instructors what “pride” means to them.
Calpito, creator of Torch’d and celebrity choreographer shares his vulnerable connection to “pride”.
IC: “I have an unsettled relationship with the idea of ‘Pride’. I think it is incredibly personal and unique to everyone. Growing up in an incredibly religious home; going to Catholic School; experiencing emotional and physical abuse at home; never truly feeling safe or protected even through adulthood; facing betrayal from friends and colleagues; lied about; attacked behind my back; being told ‘you’re not loved by the ones who are ‘supposed’ to love you’—all of that chaos and ugliness that we all have experienced one way or another can take a toll on one’s certainty and vigilance in having ‘Pride’. But ultimately, all of those negative experiences are just an illusion and a distraction from what’s really important and lasting. And that is self-love. It’s easier said than done, but if we lift the veils of doubt, pressure, insult, and injury; somewhere deep inside lies our true essence, the pure innocence we feel we may have lost. And that’s what ‘Pride’ means to me. More than just being gay. It’s recognizing my authentic spirit of who I am; to remind myself and whoever else needs to hear it that the light is always there, in fact it never left.”
Braverman, vocalist and glitter-enthusiast shares what “pride” means to her within the walls of SoulCycle.
HB: “From where I ride on the podium, I can see riders really going through things. Sometimes they’re rapping Cardi B loud enough for the whole class to hear—love you David—and sometimes they’re just putting their head down, adding resistance, and suddenly getting emotional. Soul is a special place because we can be there for each other. We can sing loudly and feel ridiculous, but also know when it’s time to turn the lights down and take a moment for ourselves. There is a way that people are allowed to feel, move, sing, breathe, sweat, try, and fail without consequence in that room and the significance and necessity of that is only made more apparent during pride month. It’s a room where we lift each other, with hope and in celebration, always.”
Elias, Insta-foodie and entrepreneur shares her definition of “pride” and its interchangeability with love and acceptance.
ME: “There are so many ways to get trapped in negativity, for example, by ostracizing people for living their lives differently than you. To me, pride is a way of taking all those differences and reframing them. We can celebrate differences our differences by truly loving and accepting each other unconditionally. ‘Pride’ is about embracing the humanity and vibrance of it all — a celebration of love and life. ‘Pride’ is an opportunity to be who you are unapologetically. I’m grateful to be part of a culture that embraces that perspective.”