Shadow's Essays

"Words are loaded pistols."Jean Paul Sartre ~ "The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say." Anais Nin

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Location: San Jose, Ca, United States

Sunday, June 16, 2013

# 123 A Place for Me

Essays on a life of P.E.
by shadow

Have you ever walked into an event- one with friends already there- and looked around at all the people, seeing their dress, watching their smiles, knowing they accept you and love you, but not felt completely "honest" about being there?
I used to have that happen all the time.
It didn't matter how much I did for others, how much money was raised, how good the night was, how deep the bruises, how funny the jokes or sincere the hugs or passionate the tears, there were moments, especially in the last 6 years, when i really wondered if i truly belonged.
Yes, we all know that we are united in kink. But that isn't how i identify.
We all know that the community- local, regional, national- isn't exclusively the real estate of the gay or the macho or the old or the young, but an alternative lifestyle community of many different melting pots nestled together side by side sharing space.
The transsexual people and those who love them next to the gay people and those who love them, next to the kinky people and the BDSM people and the M/s people and the poly people and the energy people and the swinger people and the lesbian people and the Renfaire people and the furry people and the sci-fi/gamer/geek/fantasy/artistic people and the bisexual/asexual/unsexual people and the married people and the parent people and the leather people and the femme people and the gender bender people and the lost people and the business people.
Most of us live with a label of some sort, and within all those groups are folks who reject ALL labels demanding they just *be*.
Good for them- but not good enough for me.
i started wondering about just what *people* i was after filling out the little boxes at the Billy De Frank (local meeting club) center several times. Yes, i was a local people (zip code) and a mixed race people (ethnc) and a bi sexual people and an over (never you mind my age) people, and a poly people. But i was more- and i wanted one over-arching thing to call that.
We would often go around the room at various meetings and people would ask us to describe ourselves in a few words. My default has always been "shadow- fem slave, i identify as meat" and add on as needed.
But how to quantify that?
How do i describe the journey from 50's baby through 60's wild child through 70's lost explorer, heterosexual married apron mommy into dirty back alley sexual freak, danger games, animal woman, naked-on-a-fuck-machine-for-charity, whip throwing, multi-partner loving, sensuous woman lover, teacher, freak, mentor, fundraiser, hand holding, crying at the funerals, laughing in the rain person  have become?
i know i am not 'old leather', although i have friended a few and learned from the past, and i wallow at the 'middle leather' with the indistinct connotations. i don't feel comfortable with just 'leather' either. i DON'T feel like i have enough bones in that world- and i really don't feel the pull to go make more at this stage in my life.
Besides- i always stick out.
I'm the girl that walks into the leather bar in a long leather duster. With peek a boo heels and hairspray covered curls.
I'm the girl that arrives at the BDSM event where everyone is in corsets and naked halters- in a red ballroom dress.
I'm the girl in the black leather skirt and the push up bra with the white silk jacket.
I'm the girl that will fist you with long red nails.
I'm the one you pick out in every picture, remember at every fund raiser, who seems to just be 'one off center'.
I'm not quirky like my friend with the furry head pieces, nor butch like my friend with the dommy personality and the control.
I have no problem bragging on my grown up son, my little house with the picket fence, my Owner with the horse ranch and my 'leather family'- the band of brigands i owe my sanity and my heart to who saw the me and took me into their hearts even when i wasn't sure who *me* was.
i have no problem putting on my gifted leather vest with the MAsT (Masters and slaves Together) backpatch that signifies my deep and abiding pride at being the founder of my county chapter and walking into ten thousand gay men at Folsom. i belong there. i worked for it.
i have no problem crawling naked on my knees across the length of a ballroom to lick the boots of the one that holds my leash and my life, dripping cum and pain and blood if He desires. i belong there, i earned that.
i have no problem standing up and stopping a scene when someone doesn't know what they are doing when i am on a DM shift.  i belong there. i trained for that.
i have no problem going toe to toe and eye to eye with the smartest, richest, most well respected member of the world if i think they are wrong. i belong there. i am an equal.
Yet, for too long, i had that little 'discrepancy' moment in leather. At IMsL, at SWLC, at Renegades.
That moment, from time to time, when i felt like an intruder, or a fake, a guest or a fraud.
Yeah- fraud. There under pretense. Not what i appeared.
i did not feel real.
Years ago (2002) a friend wanted me to run for Miss SCCLA. i declined, mostly because i did not feel like i belonged.
Pitching in didn't matter, being a friend didn't matter, having the same goals and needs and desires and fears didn't matter.
I felt outside the inner circle of belonging. i was not part of that land.
For a long time i wondered- and questioned- if it had something to do with feeling above others, or better than others, or like i was just here temporarily on my path or if i was too new to the scene, or too old for the scene, or too wealthy or too poor or too vanilla or too kinky.
I feared i didn't deserve to be an equal with some of those people who were my friends.
But i could never figure out why. What in HELL was i seeing in myself that did not allow me the luxury of being *there*?
So i started asking people, what they thought 'leather' was about.

That opened the can of worms and it hasn't closed since.
Every time i asked a group to try and define that, no one has. Like pornography and the Supreme Court, you'll know it when you see it, but you won't be able to define it.

Power Exchange
Butch Boys
family Gay men
Alternative Sexuality
Wild Crazy Nights
Pass Code for BDSM
Hidden Secrets
Shared Values
Gun shy

Pick any 26.

Every member of the tribe will tell you something different. Every person on the outside will tell you something else. Every answer will lead to more questions, every smile will hide a bit of doubt about this life. The ones that seem to be the leaders will freely admit they are still learning and that they want to know more as much as the newbie in the door, and the writers will tell you they get their best ideas from the people the talk to.
It is a fluid thing, like love, and faith , and hope.
There is no magic checklist one can accomplish to 'belong' anymore than buying a pair of chaps and fucking in the street- it is not about any concrete thing.
It is about your heart. It is about the compassion and the joy and the selflessness that one comes into over time when you have found it. It is about sex, and power, but mostly about the power of yourself- the power to overcome the fears each and every one of us grows in our souls as we grow up knowing that we are different. Yes, we can put on the suit and show up for family dinner and none of our midwest wholesome family see it. We do not have horns growing out of our heads or a tail. Although some of us want to.
It is about authenticity and honesty with yourself first. Getting comfortable in your own skin. Then getting comfortable showing off some skin. It is about stripping away the judgement and taking your life by the balls and doing a 108 on the hot tarmac of the American Dream because THAT is not the direction that makes you happy.
We have another dream. We dare to follow it, even when it leads to loss and bankruptcy and isolation and panic. It leads us home.
Home in rooms without a monitor on our tongues or an uncomfortable pair of panty hose on our hips.
Home in any Eagle in America or any dungeon in the world.
Home with no one but ourselves and our hearts.
i understood all that. Standing up and saying ' I am leather' however never seemed to fit.
Then, one night about a month ago, i understood why.
In a strange flashback that included the first time i walked into The Outcasts meeting, a trip to a SF leather store, a horror of a night at a public dungeon, and a wet feeling at the smell of leather, it dawned on me.
Leather- in my head- was too masculine for me as a label. It did not seem to fit me personally.
The answer flew up at me in that second as well.

I am lipstick leather. i will never seem butch, never be '3 patch hard', never be whatever it is in my head that i was denying when i put on my leathers and went out with my friends. Not lace either- not some frilly feminine softness that eludes me on my best days and is oh so attractive in my lovers some nights.
Just like me showing up at a kink event in formal wear, i am never- EVER- exactly what people expect, and i have never felt 100% of anything. There is always a touch of me in the mix- a bit of my own brand peeking out.

Maybe it is a need to have 'style'- like the great fashionistas of old, i have a look, a feel about me that i have to express before i feel comfortable and 'whole'.
THAT changes everything, including my joy in my leather. i am lipstick leather, a girl living her life more fully than promise, more openly than possible, more heavily than most.

Because there is one thing about leather that i love more than anything else.
In leather, anything is possible.

Copyright shadow, May 15, 2006 All rights reserved. Please write for permission to repost. All reposts must be complete with copyright and contact info.


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