"Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself-and be lenient to everybody else.” ― Henry Ward Beecher
From my last post I’m not even sure than EVERYONE who reads this will know what a Leather Run is. What it is, is a gathering of men (and sometimes women depending on the club sponsoring the run) where there is NO contest, NO producer. Often its connected to the clubs anniversary so they are usually once a year. Its full of camaraderie, fun, dancing drinking and generally just having a great time with those who you enjoy sharing good times with. I have been to two in the past several months. I am associate members of both because I do not live close enough to pledge for full membership. The first was the Trident Knights Anniversary run and the other was the First Coast Leather Society Anniversary (FCLS) run. I also want to interject here that there are women events too with leathermen being welcomed such as the Women’s International Leather Fest (WILF) which I have attended and had a wondeful time, just not as many.
I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun I had at both. You are with your chosen leather family and its a long weekend to talk and just have a good time..is there sex? Well DUH..of course..you can have as much or as little as you choose to have. No judgements no drama. I wish more clubs did this instead of focusing their time on expensive contests with HUGE weekends that come with an expensive price tag to attend. BOTH, YES BOTH weekends cost me LESS than 500 dollars. I would go to TEN of these than one LARGE expensive overpriced event where guys are modeling (not wearing) leather and it would still cost me less than one LARGE event where everything you go to is a separate charge. NO thank you!
At the Trident Knights Anniversary Run, which is in August the weekend before Labor day, I was honored with the Associate of the year pin which is the second time. The first was in 2011. There are games and events and many cocktail parties. The theme this year was Hillbillies. The different clubs attending perform skits during the cocktail parties they host. Some of the skits are hilarious and since you are in the host hotel you don’t worry about going anywhere so no driving is involved.
The second event sponsored by the FCLS was also a blast. This happened in September and the hospitality room was exactly that…you are treated like family and the theme this year was Family affair.The scavenger hunt was fun as were the other games. Again you can get all you want in the dungeon that the Tampa Bay leather club set up. There was a bootblack class 101 sponsored by titleholder, Florida Leatherboy, boy Max, and a few others. Not only do you get fed, you drink and have classes and demos. for FREE. WHERE has this gone???
The overhead is low and since there’s no contest there’s no producer and all the headaches that go with trying to drum up contestants. It cost thousands to send contestants to a contest now..BIG business and again as was said in my previous post, that’s NOT what leather is about..it never was it never will be.
Another six months has flown by. I kept to my goal and there’s now a house on the land in north Georgia. I designed it after an 1850’s salt box farmhouse but with all the modern technology and energy saving items in side. Its on 3 levels with 512 square feet per level. ITs a cozy house with maximum use of space to keep the ambient temperature fairly constant inside. It was not an arduous process nor was it difficult. I knew what I wanted and made decisions based on the design and what was in my vision. It was completed on Thanksgiving weekend and I will be heading back up there for awhile to get the interior finished to save a good chunk of money.
I just wanted to come on here and check my mail, approve comments and see what was going on since it has been way too long. I have attended several leather events across Georgia, Florida and Indiana. My greatest joy came about a month ago when I was requested to be on an elders panel of those in the community a very long time. I love sharing my experiences with others; not because I think I’m know it all….because I like to give others information and knowledge about a time that is gone by. If anyone out there tells you that THEIR point of view is the only worthwhile one then steer clear of them. No one can walk a mile in your journey nor has the right to tell you how to walk through it. Steer away from trouble makers, drama creators and those who borrow money and promise to repay it but never do. I know several who have borrowed large sums of money and to this day have never repayed it. Thankfully when I was hit up for it I said NO! I’d still be waiting for it. We have a few of those in the leather community. There are many unscrupulous characters who do for the community at the price of the community being robbed. Many times, Leather has become the cesspool for those who don’t identify as vanilla and these people end up doing a ton of damage. I have met quite a number of mentally unstable guys and some really screwed up dynamics that are destructive, not necessarily to the relationship but to everyone around them. You have to be in a clique and play ball the way you are told other wise you are ostracized.
It does do me a world of good to see my leather family from around the country at these smaller events. You get a chance to bond and connect with them in a way you cant in a large event. I have met some incredible selfless leather men who I connected to and I can say they are my friends now and I look forward to seeing them all again soon. I am surrounding myself with men like this and leaving what is bad a far away from me as I possibly can. I now have quite a number of fantastic leathermen and women in my circle of friends and I am grateful for them all since my family is all dead now. In my mind, I keep thinking of the Disney movie, Meet the Robinson’s. The man theme fo that animated film for those of you who havent seen it; KEEP MOVING FORWARD! With that I am moving myself into bed. Peace to you all and to all a good night!
IT has taken me many months to be able to approach this again. After my last post when my friend died in July, six weeks later my mother died in her sleep at the wonderful age of 95. It was odd because I was driving home from Augusta Georgia from the Trident Knights Leather run and it was late at night while heading south on Interstate 95. Something kept poking me and it was frustrating because I thought it was a mosquito in the car. After 30 minutes of this poking all over I finally blurted out..Mom Stop it…. I thought to myself, Holy crap, shes going to die..shes telling me shes leaving..Three hours after I got in, I got a phone call at 4:15AM and it was the hospice to tell me she slipped away in her sleep.
Dealing with that was complex because of the nature of my relationship to her and her inherent indifference to who I am as a gay man and the abuse I received from her as a child and young teenager. I took care of her, and did my best. Her last wishes (and boy did she have last wishes) were followed to the letter (under threats of her haunting me for the rest of my life). I was in a funk for quite a long while..not because she was gone per se but because I knew now that I was really without family. I realized that 95 is a GREAT age and she died in her sleep…but being alone and now feeling alone got me down.
I am GRATEFUL my friend Kevin who lives with me was there to make me feel less alone and then another guy came into my life who moved into my guest house and got me out of my funk. The guy is only 21 but his energy affection and warmth was just what the doctor ordered. He still lives here and I enjoy every day of him (for the most part).
The holidays were quiet as per my cultures tradition after a parents death, and in Dec I ended up in the hospital for an overnight stay. My heart was racing..all stress related but I am ok now and made up my mind to take better care of myself. My 21 yr old came to the hospital and spent the night in the room with me in my bed. It was quite a scene to have the nurses come in and see him next to me while they drew blood in the middle of the night.
Another birthday passed in January and my friends made it a GREAT time. I just got back from Augusta Georgia and attended the Mr SECC contest and I had a great time. Kevin and my 21 yr old came along with me but before we got to Augusta, we went up to Jasper Georgia in the mountains and I bought a 10.10 acre farm that now has cows on it and a natural spring. I am not sure I want to spend the rest of my life solely in South Florida. My plan is to build a home there and create an artist commune since I have gotten more involved in the art and photographic scene having been a photographer in my youth and living with 2 artists with SIR in that leather commune so many years ago.
So we are now up to date…I hope to write more regularly now. I will be back up in Jasper in 2 weeks to close on the land and begin my new adventure