This is Pride Month! My wife Jamie and I invite you to come celebrate with the rest of our LGBTQ community.

To celebrate this special month, let’s talk a bit about pride.

What is pride?

Pride frequently gets a bad rap. It’s often confused for arrogance, or egotism. As a result, much of our talk about pride is negative: “Pride goeth before a fall.”

But there are two kinds of pride.

The first kind of pride is based on being better than others, or on getting others’ approval and praise. This kind of pride is tenuous, and can lead to arrogance or insecurity, because it is based on external factors which we can’t control.

What weaver hasn’t been told “I could buy this for a couple bucks at Wal-Mart”? We live in a world that often doesn’t recognize the value of our work or our skills.

Or if you admire the work of others, you might feel self-conscious because (in your eyes) your work isn’t as good yet. Or your equipment might not be as fancy and expensive as that of others’.

This kind of pride – or the lack thereof – can be terribly destructive to us, our creative lives, and the people around us.

The other kind of pride is internally generated – it’s pride in who you are and the choices you make. It’s confidence in who you are, regardless of what others say or do. And it’s essential for a creative life – indeed, for all good living, creative or not.

So what should we take pride in?

Doing our best work

Weavers come in all skill levels and abilities. Comparing your work to that of more experienced weavers, and feeling down because your work isn’t as good yet, is a formula for creative disaster. The answer is not to compare yourself with others, but to ask yourself: Am I doing my best work? Am I working on something that is challenging? Am I striving to create the weaving I want?”

If you are, be proud of that. You’re doing your best, and there’s honor in that, no matter your skill level.

What we’ve learned and our dedication to learning

Weaving takes time and effort to learn. Whether you’re an expert or a beginner, take pride in the skills you’ve developed and the work you’ve put into building them.

Our community and our history

Weaving is one of the most ancient and universal crafts. By weaving, we connect ourselves to an unbroken line of artisans spanning over 20,000 years, from the Paleolithic era to today. Cloth unites all human civilizations – no matter who or where we are, we use textiles to clothe ourselves, to sleep under, and in our homes. And most of that cloth is woven!

Today, our weaving community produces cloth of all sorts – artistic, functional, cutting-edge and traditional. We weave with handspun wool and electronic wire. And we generously share our knowledge and joy in weaving with others, continuing the tradition.

Take pride in the long history of your craft, and your connection to a culture of openness, creativity, and sharing.

Most of all, ourselves as creators

Every weaver is different. We choose a wide variety of equipment, materials, and techniques. We like to weave different things, we have different skills, and we bring different resources to bear on our craft.

All these choices are valid. Real weavers weave on rigid heddle looms, 4-shaft looms, and multi-multi-shaft computer driven looms. They weave towels, clothing, and art pieces. They make everything from simple recipe projects to complex, original designs.

These choices are the creative expression of yourself as a weaver, and you should never apologize for being who and what you are. Regardless of your abilities, materials, or equipment, you have the right to take up creative space and to take pride in your identity – in the many choices that make you creatively unique.

Happy Pride. Go out and celebrate (but you don’t have to dress the way I do!).