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.