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WILL 2015: “A Happy Coincidence”

WILL banner

I recently ran for a Women’s Leather Contest and title and I want to record my experiences and thoughts. I want everyone to think about that simple sentence. How many of you are recording your experiences? It is upon each of us to do our due diligence and preserve our personal histories. I hope you will think about embarking on saving your mementos, images, and stories that have been part of your leather journey.

My running for this title was all a happy coincidence… I smile when I say that as I reflect on Ms. Diana telling me as I interviewed her,

“How I got involved in BDSM was all a happy coincidence.”

Sometimes, because I have held a title and now because I have run for second title, people ask me about what titles and contests are all about and how do they work? There are many ways to answer that. Each title has its own purpose and reason. Continue reading

Parades, Carousels, and Birthdays, Oh My!

20150619_122736What an incredible month in the city with Folsom Street East, The Coney Island Mermaid Parade, carousel hunting, and spending birthdays and happy moments with those close to me. All this and I moved, yet again, but still in “Brooklyn Center of the Universe”! I can’t recall how many times this month I thought about the idea that I really am finally having my NY Adventure that I imagined when I first agreed to move here. The adventures I am having though are nothing like what I planned and neither are my adventures really what I had originally imagined, but life is beautiful that way; it is so unexpected, full of twists and turns, and we adapt and grow in the process. I am more of myself than ever before and that is a beautiful thing.  Continue reading

High Shine

On February 28 I am heading with a group of boot blacks, leather women, leather folk, and friends to see the US Premier of High Shine. It’s a movie documentary about the 15 years of International Ms. Boot Black title and female bodied boot blacks coming into their own in our leather, fetish, and BDSM communities. The movie is being shown by cinekink:nyc, our cities annual film festival that “recognizes and encourages the positive depiction of sexuality and kink in film and television.” Before the movie we will be meeting up to have brunch. I am going to get a chance to meet a lot of women face to face that until now I have only known of by name or images. I feel a little nervous to meet these women that broke the ground for me and paved the way. I’m appreciative of the invitation and grateful for the opportunity to meet women who have inspired me. This movie and gathering coming up has had me thinking about and remembering a lot of memories of how I found, wear, and owned my leather.

I received an email a couple of days ago from a women I am friendly with here in NYC that runs a group called NY female sub/slave forum, and that email has gotten me thinking more about boot blacking. This woman is in my former hometown, south Florida. She mentioned my name at some event and it seems she got a big response when people heard my name. I was on and off involved in my local community in south Florida since I was 28 and up until I left I was regularly attending a group called Women of Leather Florida (WOLF). The owner of the group is Ms. Rae and she runs it with the support of her partner and pet, chris. In the email I received the women from NYC said that chris told her to ask me about how we met. That made me laugh to myself and smile and so I told her the story…

I always like to joke and tell people something like, “I knew chris before she was kinky, when she was vanilla.” And actually that is kind of true. I say kind of, because I think like many of us she knew she was “kinky”, she just wasn’t sharing that information with other people out loud. Chris and I worked together and we pretty much hit off from the start. We had similar work ethics and odd humor. We became closer and were spending our lunch time inside and on occasion outside together. We became close enough that chris felt comfortable confiding to me about her relationship and some unhappiness and problems. I don’t go around calling everyone a “friend”, but chris was someone I definitely came to think of as a friend. One day chris asked me about my license plate on my car, it said, “NAWASHI”. I usually made jokes when vanilla folks asked about it, like, “It means, ‘Me no Washy My Car”. My car was often dirty and need of a wash and it usually got a laugh. Or as in this case with chris, I told her, “I would tell you, but then I would have to kill you after.” After I joked though I paused, and I took a chance and told her the truth. It means one who makes rope or a rope maker. Back in those times I was married, living poly, and owned a girl that I named bijin, who lived in our home. One thing I loved to do with my girl was rope and specifically rope suspension. Chris confided that she had often thought of wanted to experience some s/m in her relationship and had even asked her partner, but had not had any success in getting her to participate or show any interest. I invited chris with her partner to come to a party and the rest and they say is history. I went through some changes in my work and private life and I took time off from the scene.

A few years later, I emerged again and I was looking to reconnect with my south Florida leather community. The first thing I went looking for was a women’s group. Once upon a time a pretty infuckincredible women I met called PeggyO had a women’s group in south Florida called Dykes n’ Dolls. I couldn’t find it and it seemed Peggy had gone and taken off to Colorado, but I found another group, WOLF, on a website called Fetlife. I sent the owner of the group an introduction letter and asked about attending their meetings. What I got back was an email from chris saying something like, “Hey I knew someone like you that I worked with… and “Is that you?” I was shock and thought, “WTF its chris!” and I was so happy. I was home again. I was home at WOLF. I was home with chris and Ms. Rae and all the ladies that make WOLF.

Time went by, I stayed single, but I continued exploring and evolving. I kept hanging out with my WOLF sisters while holding out for someone more than “Mr/Ms Right now”. I mentioned on occasion to chris, a desire to learn new skills and specifically to learn about leather care. I just couldn’t get the motivation to do it based on solely caring for my leather. Then I met someone really cool in south Florida who owned a lot of leather and I thought, “Okay someone who will enjoy and appreciate these skills.” I called chris, who is a boot black title holder (Southeast Community Boot Black 2009) in Florida and had competed for IMsBB and asked her to teach me some basics. I sat in her house and she walked me through basic care and about the basic hard products needed. I started looking for places to ask questions online, I was reading all I could find to learn more about application and materials, and I was thrift shopping for used boots and shoes to practice, practice, practice!  I had the bug. What hooked me was listening to chris tell me stories about her experiences caring for leather. In particular the story she told me about when a certain Sir from our community requested she prepare his leather for a title he was competing for and the joy and tears she felt during that process. And I realize something that day and the many other days since then, about the interactions that happen between two leather people through bootblacking. Bootblacks are more than good listeners, more than story tellers, more than a provider of leather care. We preserve leather history. We connect in a way with people that is personal, intimate, and unlike anything else in leather. And fuck ya it can and often is damn hot too!

Women's Leather Photographic Documentary exhibit @Pleasure Chest NYC

Women’s Leather Photographic Documentary exhibit @Pleasure Chest NYC. That’s a little piece of jade standing beside one of the images of me.

There was a time that I did not allow myself to claim myself as part of the Leather Women pack, but bootblacking help me feel I belonged. A long time ago Sarah Humble was traveling through south Florida and offered to record the history of leather women in our community for the LA&M as part of the Women’s Leather History Project. I passed, because of my ideas, my standards, of what a leather women was. I felt I hadn’t done enough and given enough of myself to my community to be included or have somehow “earned” any right to proclaim myself as a notable leather women. I remember wishing I could be a part of that group that called themselves leather women.  I knew a lot of very incredible women who ran groups, munches, big events, and title holders. I hadn’t done anything like these women and so I didn’t ask to have my history recorded. It seemed wrong in my mind. I wonder how many other women have felt this way? I am sure many just like me. Last year a friend contacted me and said she knew a woman who was doing a Leather Women’s Photographic Documentary and that she had given her my name. There are a few things that happened here, the first was that I was embarrassed after seeing the faces and names of women so far included, and those old feelings of not being worthy to be included. I second thing happened though and that was related to the person saying to me that I should do this, and when someone you respect, admire. and look up to says, “You’re a leather woman. Do this.” You  do.

It was through my bootblacking that I came to own myself and feel myself as a leather woman. I thank chris and credit her often when I speak about “how I feel and wear my leather”. I put myself in the hands of a bootblack and I found myself. I am a leather woman. I am a bootblack.

Making Space for Welcomes

I’ve decided 2015 is the Year of Creating. So, I’ve been busy lately making space for “welcomes” in my life.

rainbow scoutNYC Little Scouts

I’ve recently taken initiative to start a group called NYC Little Scouts Troop 212. The group’s vision is to create a safe, fun, social & educational space for persons, from little – Big, age player and non-age players alike, of any gender, identification, and orientation in the kink subculture. This group is based on a scout troop model, mostly with age players and animal players in mind, with a minor uniform element, earned merit badges, field trips, and regular meetings. What it is not, is that in NO way is this group related or affiliated to Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts of America. It is with great joy that I have begun this undertaking of forming and organizing events for this *little* niche of our kinky subculture. Continue reading

Leather & Unity

Sir Raven and jade with an image of Sir Raven avec leather chaps in the background (flagging black on the left!)

Sir Raven and jade with an image of Sir Raven avec leather chaps in the background (flagging black on the left!)

The words leather and community and their meaning are a source of constant conversation in our subculture. Yesterday, in NYC there were many BDSM events happening throughout the day. Sometimes in a city as big, fast, and kinky as NYC it is difficult to choose. With very little pushing and pleading I managed to get Sir Raven and my leather sister jade to come to CCreaneImages, one night only exhibit of her work, Leather Women’s Photographic Documentary; and then to take a quick jaunt over to the annual Unity Munch. When I think about what leather and community mean to me it made it obvious where my priorities had to be and I wake up this morning knowing I made the right choices. There have been recent times when I thought to go off and move away from my leather roots and thankfully moments like last night with C. Creane and my leather family brings me back and reminds me I am right where I belong.

Jade with "Karida, New York 2014, Leather girl, Bootblack" in background,

Jade with “Karida, New York 2014, Leather girl, Bootblack” in background,

Last night at the Leather Women’s exhibit, on the lower right corner, next to an image was a small tag that said,

Karida

New York 2014

Leather girl

Bootblack

Too many times to count people have asked me what it means to be leather. There is always the disclaimer about “you will get as many different answered as the number of people you ask.” How I feel my leather, how I show my leather, how I share my leather is as unique as I am. Continue reading

Meeting Ms. Davis

One of the nice things about being a single girl again is getting to do things I have been curious about, but was not permitted to do while in a hierarchical relationship. New York has so many things going on every week and month and this past Sunday I scratched off one curiosity from my bucket list. I attended a NY spanking party. Yes, I finally got to meet the legendary Ms. Margaret Davis…schoolgirl

I woke up early Sunday morning and remembered that a Spanking Club of New York (SCONY) party was going to be happening this month, so I logged into FetLife (FL) to check the events page. I discovered that the party was that day at 1pm. I vacillated for a little bit then told myself, “carpe diem.” I have no idea sometimes if I will be in NY for another month and I didn’t want to miss a chance and later feel regret. As an introvert, sometimes it takes a great deal of self-talk, to get my butt out of the house to social events. I got out of my comfort zone, and committed myself by messaging Ms. Davis to give her my RSVP. I let her know I was introverted and that this was my first party. Sending the RSVP with the message helped me feel committed to follow through on attending. I already had it in my mind that I would only be going to check out the party and meet people, not play. I dressed in a pleated crisp black skirt and a white collared long sleeved freshly pressed shirt, matching black & white hounds tooth knee highs, and black patent leather penny loafers. I was nervous and excited. Continue reading

The Pencil

broken pencil

broken pencil

I was heading out to meet with an acquaintance, at Utopia Restaurant a few days ago and I wanted to bring a pen and paper to take notes. I found a notebook and tossed it in my bag, then began to search for my special LLC (Leather Leadership Conference) pen. My pen was not in the usual location and so I started searching throughout my bag to see if I could find something else to use in the meantime. I searched and searched and was rather put out that I didn’t have one other writing instrument in my bag. It’s really an uncommon event to happen. Persistently, I began to dig again and then I felt something. No, I felt some things. I stopped using my hand to look inside blindly and used my eyes to examine what I was touching. What I was holding was the broken pencil that Master Fire Ma’am had given to me at MsC (Master slave Conference). Thoughts of this pencil have been weaving in and out of my conscious stream ever since.

I got this pencil from Master Fire Ma’am at a class I attended about breaking down barriers & social constructs around the phrases “I’m sorry” “Please” and “Thank you.” When Master Fire handed me the pencil I was happy. I like pencils, and well, it was from her 🙂 I thought, “What an awesome class, we get presents.” 😀 Then Master Fire says, “In a moment I am going to ask each of you to break your pencils.” I’m sure that upon hearing this news, I gasped loudly. She stopped and noted the various reactions to her statement and then had us think about our reactions and asked why we did react the way we did. I like writing, so I have positive associations to this item and it has value to me. I am a bit old fashion and sometimes I miss the days of written letters, notes, and good penmanship.  It troubled me and upset me greatly the idea of breaking this pencil. It seemed like a wrong thing to do and made me feel sad. I didn’t want to do that! One by one we each had to break our pencils. She chose an emotion and when a person felt that they could demonstrate that emotion while breaking their pencil they had to stand up in the class and let the rest of the people see what that looks like. Master Fire then went on to ask us how we thought we could repair our broken pencil and that was followed by a talk about throwing it away. My response was to repair it by sharpening it, and Master Fire pointed out that in my solution I focused on sharpening only one half, and it was the half that had the eraser. Throwing it away was not something I felt comfortable with. As you have hopefully figured out there are a lot of ways that these exercises helped us to reflect about how we deal with relationships.

No longer broken

No longer broken

I was shocked to see that after all this time I was still walking around with my pencil. I wondered what it symbolized that I was still holding on to it and that it was not repaired? I write to Master Fire Ma’am and ask her if she had told us to throw away the pencil? I honestly couldn’t remember. I told MFM that I felt it was important to fix the pencil and that I had some plans outside the house that day and the first thing I meant to do was to stop and buy a pencil sharpener. I added that not only did I plan to sharpen the half with the eraser, but that I was also going to sharpen the other end that did not have an eraser. And that I felt that even though the other half was not as useful as the one with the eraser it still had value.

Master Fire Ma’am explained some things to me and ended her reply whimsically by saying,

“As for the other half of the pencil, perhaps it’s meant to be shared. We bet your bunny would love to chew on it. 😉 “

Ginger's chew toy :D

Ginger’s chew toy 😀