Defending Your Life.

As anyone who knows me can tell you, I have a very eclectic taste in movies, my top 5 are all over the map. I do want to talk about one in particular. However, the list has an overriding theme that I think will become clear if you are familiar with them.

  1. Fight Club
  2. Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
  3. Tombstone
  4. What Dreams May Come
  5. Defending Your Life

Now if you know all the movies on my list, you get major cinephile cred with me.  That said, I am sure more than a few of you had to click the link for Defending Your Life. It’s major draw in the 90’s was (and would be today) that Meryl Streep was in it. Truth be told this is one of the few movies with her in it I can stomach (and maybe Julie and Julia). That’s neither here nor there, however. Have you figured out the one thread that ties this movie to the others on my list?

They are all about confronting fear or dealing with it.

Albert Brooks wrote this movie and the end premise is about conquering fear and how many times you are fearless quantifying if you are ready to move on to the hereafter.

So what does this have to do with either my journey, or BDSM, or both?

Bear with me, I want to tell you a little story about myself first – we’ll get there, I promise.

When I was in high school, not many people knew, but I LOVED sports – and a few would have agreed I was really good at quite a few of them. I never played on high school teams though.

One afternoon when I was 16 or 17 (grade 11) a bunch of us had a free period and would go fuck around in the gym. Well rather than just shooting hoops by myself, as I did ALL the time at home, and during some free periods, there was a volleyball net set up. You see, my school had one of the best Highschool AAA volleyball teams in the country (for both boys and girls). In my high school, volleyball players were treated with the same reverence some high schools treat their basketball and football players. Well, I couldn’t shoot hoops, but one of the girls I had known since primary school invited me to fill the 6th position on their team, I am sure the rest of the varsity team was salivating at the prospect of spiking a ball directly into my face. You see on a good day back then I was 5’9 and 180 Lbs – Short and built like a beer keg – great for the martial arts I was involved in, not so good for vertical lift.

So, the game begins and I try as hard as I can, I’m diving for digs, and receiving in the back row fairly well.  I Always try as hard as I can, no matter what I’m doing. Suddenly it’s my turn in the front row, now for those who are not familiar the front row is responsible for attacking – Spikes, and blocking spikes – Oh shit. Truth be told I did better than OK, and the Short beer keg looking bastard that I was even managed to get high enough to Spike the ball with a reasonable downward arc.

When we were done and just sitting back on the bleachers waiting for the bell, I had 3 members of the boys and girls varsity teams ask me why I never tried out – in their estimation, I would have made the cut. I never did answer them with more than a smile and a shrug. But I knew the answer clanging around in my head all too well.

I was Scared of Fucking up and being laughed at and ridiculed.

I have no real defense, other than to explain that I was raised that way – my parents were both scared of me getting hurt, or worse if I ever played sports or did anything physical. Even the martial arts I was involved in, I kept MUCH of the physicality of the sparring to myself so that they wouldn’t “convince” me to stop going.

Now that all of that is at least 20+ years behind me, I look back on it and laugh at what a poor mindset that was. I look at my mom who I love dearly and see all the irrational (to me) things she still harbors fear about, I don’t want to end up like that – however it is hard to undo YEARS of growing up with that, much like deprogramming people who are no longer catholic, but will still answer “and also with you” when they hear “may the lord be with you”.

With BDSM, and power exchange, We are all living outside of the norm – most of society would Squirm if they ever witnessed a scene between a sadist and masochist in real time. I remember an incident on fetlife with a face slapping video: someone watched it and because people fear that which is unknown or foreign to them this man threatened to call the police on them for domestic violence. Fear is everywhere, and it can be destructive to not only yourself but others too if you let it leak out.

Many facets of personal growth in the lifestyle can boil down to conquering fears – that is why it’s so important to have a slave or s-type that encourages growth, along with the Master doing the same for the slave. As the Master in the relationship, most will tell you we must have a good handle on our fears,

As the Master in the relationship, most will tell you we must have a good handle on our fears, and truth be told we do, but not as firm a grip as most think. Masters can have fear too – I choose to address mine in many ways, writing here, talking with my little fae, and seeking advice and opinions from people we are close to, and respect.

I’ve made a conscious decision to meet my fears as head on as possible and deal with them if at all possible. I do still have a few that I struggle with daily (and sometimes less frequently) but I will get there eventually – it’s a marathon, not a race.

Bob Diamond: They can make a mistake. You shouldn’t let others get to you like this. Just follow what’s in here.

[points to his heart]

Daniel Miller: [Daniel nods in agreement]

Bob Diamond: Don’t worry, and don’t kick yourself forever. Just take the opportunities when they come.”      – Rip Torn as Bob Diamond, and Albert Brooks as Daniel Miller in Defending Your Life.

I will follow what I want in my heart, and deal with my fears – quite possibly the most imporant thing I can do as a Man, a Master, and someone trapped on this floating rock for a finite period of time.

Regards,

 

Syn.

Leather – Revisiting my Path.

I’ve been thinking and re-reading my old posts a lot lately, and I have to admit I’ve changed my view on quite a few things, my opinions and thoughts have evolved and therefore I think it’s high time I revisited some of my older posts and shared my updated thoughts.

So what’s first you might ask?

A topic near and dear to my heart: Leather.

In the past, I referred to it as Hetero Leather.

I don’t necessarily make that distinction now, and not because I think recognition of Gay and Lesbian Leather cultures detract and are somehow wrong. Just the opposite, in fact, I think recognition of the longstanding traditions and guiding principles are what will help us grow as Leatherfolk on a whole, and because of that, I’d like to think we’re all in this together, orientations are secondary.

I read SO MUCH trying to understand Leather, and it all led back to gay leathermen, and leatherwomen. I automatically assumed that as an (at the time) straight, CIS man there was no inlet for me into Leather culture. What a bunch of bullshit thinking that was.  Thanks to some amazing people and their wisdom I think much differently now.

I’ve spent the majority of my time since then getting to know Leathermen, Leatherwomen, Boy’s, Girls. and all manner of Leatherfolk. One overriding thing I have learned is that Leather is what you make it. Guided by service, respect, honesty, loyalty, integrity and being an open-minded student of life in general.

Leather isn’t about being gifted Leather to wear (although that’s awesome too.)

Leather isn’t about what genitals you have, or what genitals you like to stick your genitals into (or have stuck in you.)

Leather isn’t about status or personal gain.

Leather isn’t something that fits in a nice neat little box.

So, going forward here – what is Leather as far as I am concerned?

Well here is what I consider to be my Leather path.

At its core Leather has close ties to sex, rough Leathersex, S&M, all manner of deviant shit, which I love, however it’s about being unapologetic about loving these things. It is who we are, it’s about wearing whatever gets you hot, and (within limits) Fucking or playing exactly how you want. I Love Beating ass, bruising the hell out of it and listening to the whimpers when I decide to fuck it. End of story, if I find a partner who likes being on the receiving end, and we go make that happen that’s Leather, you need not apologize or feel guilty for any of it.

It’s about being of service, both to people, and to your community. Give back, be an ear for a friend, tell them they’re being an idiot if they need it, buy them a beer, or a place to crash if shit has gone south, teach someone a skill. Give your time to your community, Support local groups, go to fundraising events, offer some time to volunteer. Be of use – Master, slave, it doesn’t matter: The highest form of humbleness comes from being of service to someone or something worthy of your effort.

Respect everyone who deserves respect. From the most wealthy CEO to the bartender keeping you in good booze – We all end up in the same sized box. The true measure of a Leatherperson  is how you treat those who can do absolutely nothing for you. It can be as simple as a please and thank you to the kid at the front counter at McDonald’s, it’s the same please and thank you would give to the guy signing your cheques.

Be honest. Not only with the people you meet, be honest with yourself. Be honest about your strengths, your weaknesses. Be honest about every little part of yourself about who you are, who you want to be, and whether you are living a life that is authentically your own.

Be loyal to the people that deserve loyalty. I have Dot, our Leather family, and another house we are part of who have my implicit loyalty. All they have to do is ask, and if something is in my power it’s theirs. I would defend them to the ends of the earth because I trust they would do the same for me.

Integrity. This one is rather hard to quantify, integrity is different for everyone. Because I believe myself to be a person of integrity – I will do my utmost to conduct myself living as close to my morals, beliefs, and honor as a man of my word, because to me that is integrity.

I will never stop learning, never stop growing, stagnation is a slow death by doing nothing, Always better yourself, and move forward.

That is My Leather path.

In the end, it’s not about clothes or any one sexual orientation.

It’s about being unapologetically you, having a guiding set of principles, and living the fuck out of them every day.

So, here I am two and a half years later.

I have grown.

I have lived authentically.

I have evolved.

I have much still to learn and work on.

I have a Leather Path.

I hope you find yours if you are looking.

In Leather,

 

Syn.