Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Evolution of Leather

DaddyJames: Daddy n kitten
By DaddyJames

I haven’t been part of the Leather community as long as some; I have been a part of it a lot longer than others. I have had my pitfalls along the way. I “made my bed”, I have to lie in it. I take responsibility for my actions, and I alone am the only one who makes my choices.

Choices. These things we make daily. Almost every minute of every day we make a choice. How that choice affects the rest of our minutes, hours, days, etc. can be good or bad. The fact is: we make the choice; even if we choose to do nothing. What influences our choices? Our upbringing, knowledge level, and experience do.

Upbringing, knowledge level and experience, are things we gain while walking our Leather (as well as everyday) paths. For some, it is painful and bumpy. For others, it is easier, yet still a trying ride. The fact of the matter is, we CHOOSE to ride. We choose to be what we are, we choose to be Leather.

Leather; the tough, durable, strong, soft, pliable, waterproof (ever see a cow with an umbrella?) protecting, warming, material. This material was used for armor so many years ago. As time evolved, so did armor. As better weapons were made, better armor had to be found to stop (or lessen) the damage caused by those weapons. These weapons keep evolving, and the armor keeps changing, however it is mostly still based on those old Leather creations. The styles, sizes, cuts, shapes are based on those traditional Leather breastplates. Leather protected the heart, and it still does today.

Leather (as a community) is evolving. Just as that armor did, Leather is changing. Is it for the better? It can be. Is it for the worse? Well not all armors worked the first time and that poor schlub who ended up being the crash test dummy for the armor probably wished it to work better, however, through his sacrifice of limb (and sometimes even life) the armor was improved. Therefore society as a whole benefited. The Leather community was created out of necessity. For all the reasons armor is worn by humans, Leather was necessary. Those men needed protection. Those men needed family. Those men needed armor. They were spit on, segregated, beaten and killed for what they were. Is it still happening today? Yes. Is it still happening as much? Statistically, no (although even one is too much) it isn’t. Society is evolving.

As Leather evolves (largely due to the creation of the internet, and the fact that researchable information is now at the fingertips, vs being taught by word of mouth) the people within it need to evolve as well. We need to accept the fact that we don’t HAVE to be in those dark seedy bars anymore. We need to realize that when we walk into a room we do NOT want people to fear us; we want people to want what we have. We want people to be able to approach us and seek out what they are looking for; answers, family, a sense of belonging, protection; all those things that attracted us to Leather.

Is everyone we meet Leather? Well, is everyone we meet Jewish, Buddhist, Catholic, or Agnostic? No. Who decides for them which religion they pick? They do. We as Leatherists, are not elite. We as Leatherists, are not “better than” anyone else. We as Leatherists are not people to idolize. We as Leatherists are not role models simply because we are Leather. We are only role models when we make the right CHOICES. Having said that, we do NOT have the right nor the authority over another person to tell them, “You aren’t Leather.” We are on an evolving journey. We can try to hold on to the past. We can still celebrate the traditions of days of old. It is not disrespectful when we choose to change with our environment. It is survival.

Leather WAS a secret society. Leather WAS secret for a reason. Now, with the internet flood, everyone CAN be Leather, if they choose. It is up to us to make it accessible. It is up to us to help them as we were helped. It is up to us to attempt to strive for living a value filled life everyday. These things are no different then being in any other society on this dust ball called earth. In society, people make errors in judgment, they screw up, they commit crimes, and they make poor choices. How are we as Leatherists any different than them? The difference is our support structure. The family, pack, or tribe we run with. The elders, the seniors, the peers, and the juniors are all part of a network that is there for support and guidance. Recommendations that are sought out, aren’t always the correct answer, however, an answer is given.

As Leatherists, we should no longer be silent; we should no longer be secretive. We should shout to the mountains what we are. What we are, and what we strive to be (everything from a Covered Master to someone who’s kink is to simply give classes on SM subjects) is something to think highly of. Is it a matter of pride? For some (I dare even say most) it is. For some, it is a curse. The curse of a public persona; everyone watching you and judging you (we are humans of course). Celebrating you when you accomplish something; then laughing behind your back when you fail. There are drama lamas among us. These people who simply can’t let go; they can’t see the forest for the trees. They focus on the negative. They thrive on others errors. They walk on the rice paper and don’t leave footprints (in their own minds), of course the rest of us can see the huge holes left in that paper. Everyone makes mistakes. It is how we as a community handle it that makes the difference.

I love being Leather. I love wearing Leather. I would never come out of it if my career permitted. It is sexy, sensual, hot, and smells wonderful. However, Leather is evolving; will you be on the train with others? Will you help to shine the light so others can find themselves as you did? Or are you one that wants to cover it, to hide it, to keep it in those seedy back rooms? Stand up. Be happy with who and what you are. Walk your path, along the way, help others along theirs. Be ready to sacrifice for the greater good.

Leather Pride!!!!

Daddy James ©; 17 February 2009


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