Wicked In the West – Lessons and memories.

I was originally going to write yesterday, but as I started typing, I realized the words weren’t coming together in my head well enough to express how I truly felt about the weekend – so as you can tell I needed to process a lot. (as a note I have left most names out and will simply relate my stories with them, as I don’t know how most would feel about fet names out in the world of my wordpress blog, where this will be cross posted.)

A few months ago Myself and my little fae had the absolute pleasure of attending a weekend in the bigger city called “Fantasy”, this time was different though – they turned a portion of the weekend into a conference, and this is where my “Wicked in the West” story begins. One of the presenters especially ( ❤ Cat) is responsible for me (us) making the final commitment to pull the trigger and buy our tickets. A group of lovely people from Edmonton AND Calgary came to that event, and I was overwhelmed at the immediate connection I felt with them. (Truth be told I got home and started following and perving as many folks from that province on fetlife as I could). Up until now I knew in my heart I identified as Leather, I knew what it meant to me, but I had no idea that Leather also felt like coming home to family.

Enter Wicked Weekend.

After a stop overnight to visit some dear friends in Saskatoon (you bastards and your moonshine). We were up early and on our way to Edmonton to do a bit of shopping and check in to the hotel/get registered for the conference. In line to register it was pretty standard, a few people came up and said hi, and it was actually nice to sit back and watch old friends share hugs, smiles and reconnect.

So, with registration done, we realized we hadn’t eaten since very early in the morning, and decided before the opening ceremony we probably should. A part of our Manitoba tribe had been there a day or so already had saved us seats where a bunch of folks had gotten together in the hotel to grab food, so we sat down and braced ourselves to meet a TON of new people. Between trading smart ass comments with a lovely lady in a pink PD kilt next to me, to meeting someone who apparently has fet stalked us as long as I have fet stalked her, I felt very at ease…. and then something happened that blew me away.

We had about an hour for dinner, and ordered quickly, however, our food was not forthcoming. Apparently, the ticket system in the kitchen had broken and our order never printed. I really wasn’t worried about myself, I intermittent fast 18 hours out of the day usually so I can function well on no food. My girl, on the other hand, does not. I was looking at the clock, and wondering if something from the vending machine would be enough to get her through until we could eat. I went out for a vape and came back in to find that two of the volunteers (F-1 and F-2) had given my little fae half of her meal to help her out, likely seeing her face was white and blood sugar was getting low.

That one act from an almost complete stranger (at the time)  meant so much to us both that I really have no words how much it put us at ease being around 90% strangers. So, I didn’t get a chance to say it then, and I will now. Thank you both, it meant a lot to me that you would give selflessly like that to two complete strangers from across the country.

I could go on from here about the Classes we attended, and how amazing they were, the things I learned, and the similarities I saw in them sharing how they play, and how they live. My largest regret of the weekend in that regard is we had to choose what classes to go to. I deeply regret not be able to meet the Fishes, or spend more than a passing conversation with Owner and owned nevermind being able to meet ALL 150+ strong of you that were there.

What I really want to talk about from here on out is what I think Wicked truly offered, and what I am glad I was able to let my guard down enough and be receptive to: The people, the energy, and the open-hearted acceptance.

I remember good morning hugs from some very special ladies (Cat and both of the girls who bleed so pretty, with their giggles and noises). To our breakfast (and more) chat with our MAsT Vancouver Counterparts  (I Promise we’ll keep in touch, and who knows we may be out there sooner than you think. <3), To passing a message to Badasscanes from a mutual friend who had to send her regrets she couldn’t attend. To the gala dinner and really being able to talk to the lady how recieved 6 of TM’s Best, to the moments one particular person in service to the event made time to visit. All of these little interactions, moments and time are more than I can list here – they all built and filled me with such a sense of belonging I can hardly describe how full my heart is and how well fed my soul is.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention my Manitoba tribe.

Originally I didn’t understand what putting that patch on my back was going to mean to me. So to the other 3 of you there, thank you for making me proud to wear the leather bison on my back, I only hope that next time the rest of the Manitoba tribe can join us.

As for the competition portion of the event – I want to thank ALL of the Power Exchange Couples for being courageous enough to stand on that stage and open who you are to us, share, inspire and represent power exchange with so much passion.

To the Bootblacks: although I didn’t get to see near as much as I would have liked, I have to thank you for showing me that leather care is as much love, service and more than I ever thought possible.

To the Organizers Nelson and Impish – Thank you for not only an amazing event, and all the work you’ve obviously done, but thank you for making us feel welcome and part of something bigger.

Oh, One last thing before I end this monstrosity.

Immediately after the Closing ceremonies – I must admit I was hit with a wave of emotion, and for those that know me, I’m not exactly known for that (lol)… So I walked up to find Cat and the ladies with her before they left for Calgary. I was starting to mist up a little, and said as much to her. I will paraphrase a bit, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget her words.

“I understand, it’s hard knowing you’re leaving because you found your people, it’s like being home, I understand too….and you have people, you have me.”

It’s the truth you know.

Thank you Wicked, the organizers, the attendees, and the participants.

You’ve helped drive home something – Leather is tribe, Leather is thicker than blood, and Leather should make you feel like home is wherever Leatherfolk happen to be.

In Leather,

Syn.

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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.

Hetero Leather Culture – In the Spirit of Leather.

I recently finished a fantastic book on Old Guard rituals and protocols. I’m not by any means gay or bisexual as I have mentioned, however it was an excellent accounting of traditions and protocols as he remembered from his time in that era.

I have taken an interest in leather culture, families, and old guard mentality. Being Protocol and etiquette driven , it seems a natural progression in my evolution. My little fae recently surprised me again by  revealing that she was old leather – perhaps not from the 60/70’s but she had involvement with the leather community in the 80’s and beyond. How much I am not sure, as sometimes I have to be very specific in the questions I ask – she has issues just spewing (as she calls it) information about her past.

I have found in my research, that information regarding leather culture is very hard to come by….and that information is divided at best. Add on top of this my desire to learn, and research hetero leather culture and how it relates to Old Guard leather, and I have become…frustrated at best.

I feel personally as though I missed the boat on certain things, and perhaps a bit of an outside looking in mentality… As we get further and further from the 60’s those that remember old guard traditions, and teachings are harder and harder to find. Our community is small, and the neighboring one has a leather family(one that I know of) I have not had the chance to meet yet.

I suppose what will happen is my continued reading of Guy Baldwins material and other respected members of the old guard that still share their knowledge,  Surely out there somewhere is an accounting of how Old guard may have evolved to incorporate hetero additions to the community. I will until then, continue to best carry the spirit of leather, and uphold as many of the values, beliefs, and protocols as I can inside the bounds of what works for our M/s relationship.

 

Regards,

 

Syn