Thoughts on ICBB

Posted: August 3, 2010 in Titleholding

It’s hard to believe it’s only been a little over a week since the 2010 ILSb/ICBB weekend in San Francisco.  It feels like a lifetime ago and yet it also feels like I just got home.  I’ve been working hard to hit the ground running and prepare for all the upcoming events.  In the meantime, I’ve also been catching up on rest and waiting for the reality of being an International Leather titleholder to sink in.

I’m still waiting…

still waiting…

waiting…

It amuses me to no end that people seem to treat me differently than they did a few weeks or months ago.  After all, I’m still the same me I’ve always been.  I feel nothing but gratitude for being chosen as this year’s International Community Bootblack and I plan on working very hard to live up to my title, but I still feel almost like a kid playing dress up in my mantle and medallion.  Part of me keeps waiting for the “real” ICBB to show up behind me and give me a stern talking to and take back everything.

The fact of the matter is that Leather Titleholders are just people.  For the most part, we’re people who want to make a difference and serve our communities.  We did work hard and we did win a contest, but we are here to serve the community, not to be rockstars.  (Although, if I could pull that off, that would be pretty cool, but I think the role of servant fits me much better and I’m more likely to be able to pull that off.)  I don’t want people to feel like they can’t come up to me and talk to me or ask me questions because I have a fancy backpatch.  I would rather they see those trappings as a sign that I’m someone “safe” to talk to and ask questions of.  I don’t want to be put up on a pedestal.  I want to be down in the midst of things, hopefully making a difference.  I certainly don’t want to be called Ma’am.  I’m a slave and very happy to be one!

If I could make just one wish for my title year, it would be that maybe, just maybe, I could reach at least one other person who, like me not long ago, is sitting out there on the fringes of the Leather community looking in.  If they’re like me, they’re intimidated but intrigued.  They’re drawn to this community, yet they don’t know quite why or how to go about moving from the fringes into it.  They aren’t sure if they even fit in, but they’d like to.  If you’re that person, you’re the one I’m looking for.  I want to talk to you.  I want to share where I’ve been and what I’ve learned and I want to hear your story.  I want to hear what myths you’ve been told and what’s been keeping you back.  Who knows?  Perhaps this will be the start of your Leather journey.  My own began with a titleholder taking the time to sit down and talk to me, teaching me to bootblack.  Stranger things have happened.

If there is one word I could use to sum up my feelings over the past week or so, it would be GRATITUDE.  I’ve spent a lot of time thanking individual people and groups in various ways and in various places, but I really just feel like my heart is overflowing with it.  I’m already learning that I have a lot of tough work ahead.  My adventures trying to get home from San Francisco with canceled flights and lost baggage were just a taste of some of the obstacles I will have to overcome this year and battles I will need to fight.  Still, I am grateful for every last bit of it, the amazing, the difficult, the sublime, and the chaos.  It’s as if my life just got switched from black and white to technicolor 3D and I plan on living the heck out of every moment of this wild ride.

My intention, with this blog, is to bring you along for as much of it as my mind can process as well as to write things down before all the miles of travel erase them.

Let’s get ready to ride…

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