Why I Am Missing Folsom This Year

Posted: September 24, 2010 in Titleholding

This weekend is the Titleholders Rollcall at the Folsom street fair in San Francisco, along with a lot of other wonderful events.  This weekend, those who have competed and earned titles in our community will stand up and be recognized, first those holding International titles, then National, then Regional, and on down.  It is a time honored tradition that honors those who step forward to serve the Leather Community and something that many who run look forward to all year.

I will not be there.

My Title Sir, Sir Hugh, will be there and I am certain that he will do a fantastic job representing the ILSb/ICBB title family at this very important event as well as have some great stories and pictures to bring back.  I have no doubt that he will show them that our family of titles really are the “players titles” as well as find opportunities to share his wisdom and passion.  We could not ask for a better representative.

Where will I be?

Months ago, when I was still preparing for ICBB and the idea of winning that contest was just a small glimmer in my mind, I told a good friend that, of course, I’d present to his TNG group.  This is a group of people, most of them in their 20’s, and most of them very new to BDSM in general, let alone Leather.  For many of them, they have just started venturing out into the community.  They’ve only been to a few events.  They don’t know what Leather is, let alone what a Leather Titleholder is or does.  Many of them are just beginning to explore their interest in play.  Most probably don’t own a piece of leather or boots.  These are the ones I’m looking to reach in particular, hopefully before they’ve been given the long list of misinformation I was when I was in their shoes.  He invited me to come speak to them and gave me free reign to speak about whatever I wanted.

I jumped at the chance and wrote the date on my calendar without a second thought.

Fast forward a bit and I actually won that contest I’d been preparing for and was asked if I would come to Folsom.  I was thrilled at the idea of attending Folsom for the first time, as a titleholder no less!  I asked what the date was and when it was given and I looked at my calendar, my heart sank.

Folsom was the same weekend that I’d promised to present to the TNG group.  I had to make a choice.

Granted, the group leader was and is a friend of mine.  Chances are, he would have understood if I had needed to reschedule.  I thought long and hard, torn between what I knew would be an amazing weekend in San Francisco and what I felt was my calling.  In the end, I chose to stay.

What does it say about me, as a Leather Titleholder, if I chose what events I attended based on what would bring me the most satisfaction?  Unfortunately, time is a limited commodity and I often have to choose one event over another, with several happening in a single weekend.  By what standard should I make such decisions?  No one gives you a hard set guideline.  In most cases, it is up to the Titleholder.  When I face these kinds of decisions, the thought I fall back on is this…

What impact am I making for the future?

Next year, I will no longer wear my mantle and it will be worn by a new Titleholder.  I will likely fade back into the background and continue the work I was doing in my region.  What will endure after this year are the seeds I manage to plant in others.  Maybe it’s only a conversation with someone that makes them a bit more curious about Leather or bootblacking and starts them on their journey.  Maybe it’s talking about my experiences as a Titleholder that makes someone who hadn’t previously thought of running consider a title run.  Maybe it’s helping one person at an event feel a little bit more comfortable so that they dive a bit deeper into their journey.  Maybe it’s playing in public and helping someone else like me feel a bit more comfortable to do so.  I may never know about the lives I’ve touched or how I’ve touched them, but it is in those small moments that I can often make the most difference.

Those at Folsom have already had those moments.

Like the idea of “preaching to the choir,” it occurred to me that the message I have to share has already been largely heard by those who make the annual pilgrimage to Folsom.  This is where the Leathermen and women gather.  They know about Leather.  Most of them know about bootblacking.  They are the wild, crazy players among us.  While I would have an amazing time being among them, would I be really breaking any new ground with them or making an impact in the ways described above?  I might reach someone there in a way they hadn’t been reached before, but for the TNG group I will be presenting to tomorrow, I am reaching them for the first time.

Trust me, choosing to stay and honor my commitment to this small group was not easy in the face of all Folsom has to offer.  It kills me to think of all I will miss.  Still, I am following my gut and staying where I feel I am needed more.  Rather than enjoying the fruits of my title this weekend, I will be putting in the work I pledged to do when I was up on stage running for it.

…and dreaming of the fun I will have next year at Folsom!

  1. David R. Shorey says:

    You are making the right choice. I wish more titleholders would do what you are doing. Thank you!


    david shorey

  2. icbb2010 says:

    Thank you, David!

    As much fun as I’d have bootblacking with you and all the great bootblacks at Folsom, I’m hoping to spark some of the next generation of bootblacks at events like this TNG one. 🙂

    Each one…teach one.

    Hugs and I hope everyone has a FANTASTIC time!


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