I recently went to GLLA’s (Great Lakes Leather Alliance) 15th Anniversary in Indianapolis. It’s one of those great events where you can reconnect with friends you haven’t seen in a while, go to the contest, workshops and enjoy the diverse play spaces offered depending on your interests. I’ve attended at least half of their 15-year event history and I keep coming back no matter where I am in my life or in my leather journey which has undergone much change through my 18 plus years. As many of my readers and extended families in and outside the community will attest, it continues to be a struggle balancing the many wondrous interests I have and the stamina it takes to keep it all together, as well as the motivation to remain in service to the community especially when you are no spring chicken. Seems I’m not the only one that has experienced this minor disconnect as I discovered that weekend.
Recent months have found me in uncharted waters trying to find the drive to get out and be seen, something that came so easy to me when I was younger. It’s not that I’ve lost the passion or my interest in leather, but I spent the first 10 years of my journey in service to the community, educating, fundraising and of course, playing in the dungeon spaces in and around the Chicagoland area. Leather was a revelation; it was an epiphany, but lately, when I look into the mirror, that person looking back at me seems un-recognizable. Thankful, GLLA this year offered a really good work shop that was instrumental in getting me on track again.
The work shop was a great way of self-analyzing yourself and looking at the roles that were assigned to you versus the ones you chose and how those roles can change through the years as our needs grow and mature. The class was a reminder that things that motivated you before may not be the same now and it’s okay to feel confused and a little lost, not sure what your next move is. I was able to speak with the presenter after the session which was so helpful as she literally gave me a work assignment to re-invent myself through writing as a vehicle to give back and have an impact on others through my experiences, something that has always motivated me. It’s been missing the last couple of years because the way I did things before are no longer as viable, or simply aren’t working for me at this stage in my life. I know for a fact, many of you out there are feeling the same way and that’s okay, as you are exactly where you need to be at this time. Don’t give up and continue to re-invent yourself as you learn from each experience, good or bad.
Later that evening at the Ash Bash, a young man approached me who was in that same workshop and thanked me for my honesty in standing up and admitting to everyone who attended that I was struggling with not knowing what’s to come next or understanding my needs these days. It seems he has had that same uncertainty in his own journey and hearing my story impacted him. We have all felt this kind of struggle, often times feeling out of touch and not as involved in the service aspect of the community in addition to the play as we once were. That weekend I found myself more of an observer than a participant. As such, I was able to remind myself how much this community means to me and no matter what next choices I make, leather will always be in me and I in it.
My goal for Squire’s Corner is that it will touch all of you out there that may be feeling lost or have questions or anything that you want answers for. This column is your forum; feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will do my best to get your voices heard and offer up some of my own with the hope of impacting your lives in a positive way.