This weekend, I went to a small group to present. As I packed, I pulled my title vest out of the closet. I hadn’t worn it in months, since April to be more exact. The year before, it was rare a weekend went by that I didn’t wear it. I ran my hands over the leather and lifted it to my face, inhaling the scent of it, feeling the texture of it. My mind flooded with memories, so many memories of so many people and places and intense experiences. I placed the vest in my suitcase and I packed my bootblacking kit.
As I chose what to take and what to leave home, the scent of all my favorite products filled the air. I remembered specific people and their boots and leathers and what they liked used on them. I remembered boot scenes that left me breathing hard and I remembered long days of bootblacking that left me sore. I looked at the tool box I carry my kit in, that served as a carryon on countless flights. It is dinged up and one of the clasps is bent from a particularly rough flight.
On Saturday, I put on my leathers again and felt them fit me like a glove. The chaps were broken in by me and the leather has been cleaned and conditioned countless times, by me or, when I’m lucky, by other bootblacks who gave me a wonderful scene doing it. It is like a second skin. I put on my title vest and remembered who I am. I stood in front of a class and talked about my travels and what I’d learned on them and I did an erotic bootblacking demo and felt that old spark re-ignite the same as it always has.
My Leather had receded back into a deeper part of me, but it never left me. It sustained me through everything I needed to go through this past year. It was a hidden inner strength, but there is something wrong if that inner strength must always be hidden from view. There is something wrong if the parts of me that feel the most natural and the most alive must be buried in order for me to be accepted. There is something wrong if I have to dumb myself down and dull myself down in order to fit in. This weekend was proof of who and what I am and where I belong and that is in my leathers that fit me so well.
I am not a housecat or a tame creature and those who love me best wouldn’t want me to be. I was made to stalk my prey in the dim, smoky light of a leatherbar. I was made to growl and snarl and devour when I make love. I was made to be a wanderer, always seeking the outer edges of what I can feel and experience. Anything else and I’m simply restricting the whole of what I am to fit into a tight little mold that wasn’t made for me.
I am not going back to those restrictions. I am going back to my Leather, where I belong.