Toronto Pride – One Highly Sensitive Introvert’s Perspective

This past week was Pride week in Toronto.  From June 22nd to July 1st there were a lot of official and unofficial events happening in Toronto around Pride.  With so much to do, and so much of it with groups of people, often large groups of people, it is easy to wear oneself out even if one is an extrovert.  My strategy before going to Toronto was to make sure I was mostly relaxed and rested.  I also tried – in vain – to find a comprehensive list or lists of what would be going on during the week.  Knowing what would be going on was the first step in managing energy levels.

With the Trans March on Friday, Dyke March on Saturday and the big Pride Parade on Sunday I knew that the final weekend would involve a lot of people and a lot of noise.  I ended up doing a number of things on the first weekend, but not too much, no events on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday and then the run through the weekend.

Thursday’s events were fairly calm without too many people until later in the evening, and I didn’t stay too late. The highlight of the day was the discussion on Bringing Your Whole Self to Pride. The speaker, Notisha Massaquoi, was fantastic and the discussion after the talk was excellent. The Trans Rally and march on Friday was very well attended and I was able to do things after it, but I was still done before midnight and heading back to quiet space.

The Rally and Dyke March was a bit different for me. I got down to Church St. early to have some time before the rally to do a few things, check out booths and meet up with my mum and my sister.  The weather was bright, sunny and hot – did I mention I don’t do well in hot weather?  After the march there was some down time as we went for a late lunch. I spent the rest of the afternoon checking things out, but I was wiped out by 20:00. Staying longer would have been possible by dipping into reserve energy and not having any energy for Sunday.

Sunday morning I went to church followed by brunch and time on Church St. before the parade.  The Parade was intense. It was my first time being down for the parade at all, let alone participating in the parade. After finishing the parade route I did stick around seeing much of the remainder of the parade. I watched some of the performers, but when two sources of loud music started to conflict with one another my energy level started dropping fast.  When I hit the end of my energy I found a streetcar and headed back to a quiet place to recharge my personal batteries.

Not too long ago I would have pushed myself with events like these and ended up making myself sick or over stressed. This time I planned ahead and had given myself permission to leave when I lost energy or felt overwhelmed.  It made all the difference.  I also planned my time so that I had a travel day before going back to work.  The train trip back from Toronto was time that was spent in relative quiet, enjoying scenery and relaxing so that I would have the benefit of my vacation time when going back to work.

Today I had more than enough energy to get up early and cycle to work and start to get back into the swing of things recharged and ready to move forward. It is possible for those of us who are introverted and / or highly sensitive to go to large events, we just need to be aware of our limits.


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