I’ve had a lot of reasons to reflect on what this day means to me this particular year. I thought about what it was like in the 1980’s when we still had no real idea how AIDS spread, the stereo typing, and the fear and hate that many experienced. I thought about how lucky I have been that I met people who lived through that here in NYC. How living through that era and witnessing what they have has shaped the leather they share today.
I’ve undergone many struggles as of late. My primary relationship ended, I became unemployed, had to give up my housing, and I was nearly homeless. All of this happening while being in a place where I had no real roots, support, family, community, or so I thought. My recent plights turned into blessings and through it, coming out of the storm, what I have noticed is one more way that we experience Leather.
I’m not going to focus on why my relationship ended, became unemployed, or lost my housing, but I want to tell you about AIDS, Leather, and community in my subculture. I will tell you that all three, the relationship, the job, the housing, had to end for physical or good health reasons, but the details are not so important. I will also tell you that these events started in May/June of 2014 and are just now in December seeming to take a final turn out of the darkness and I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel, So, it’s been a small journey getting back on my feet. The getting back on my feet is the part I want to talk about.
This morning I was at The Center for my weekly therapy session that is helping me with the aftermath of the unhealthy relationship I left in June and that is when I saw that today was World AIDS Day. I couldn’t help of think of words my friend Sir Raven told me about living in NYC during the 1980’s when AIDS was spreading wild in the Leather and gay community. She told me about how they took care of their own. I remember her telling me about the butches, dykes, lesbians, and leather women took care of their brothers. That this is what she learned is what we do in leather. Take. Care. Of. Our. Own. And as much as she hates attention I have to say, this is how Sir Raven and her slave jade helped me, when each day brought darker news. They gave me arms, a shoulder, and an ear. They gave me a couch, food, a roof.
Today I am working productively towards healing emotional and psychological damaged caused from an unhealthy relationship, enjoying a better job with good condition and benefits, and on my way to safe housing and being independent. It’s really scary to admit this, but the fact is I could have died 6 months ago. In half a year my life changed from the bleakest of darkness to a world of blessings. I have so much to be grateful for each day. My life is not easy by any means, it is still as struggle and I am often exhausted, but I find my way each day to create space in my life for beautiful happenings. I give credit to myself for doing the internal work daily to make the space, but I give credit to Sir Raven, jade, and a few others who pick me up, brushed off my knees, and helped me take each step one at a time to get to today. This is what leather does. When what we are going through is ugly and the world doesn’t want to see, our leather family doesn’t turn away, they step forward.
This is leather, this is family. I am so blessed to have this Levi-Leather woman in my life and her devoted slave. Thank you for taking care of me when it seems all I had to offer in return was despair and suffering.
Leather. Takes. Care. Of. Its. Own.