This is quite a good photo of myself taken earlier tonight, prior to the meeting, sitting outside St. Matthias Church. As usual I got there early, because I received an email saying the floors would be re-polished and please, could I be gentle with the chairs, so as to not scratch the floors.
Ok, can do …
I got my coffee perking and looked down at the floor in the hall and thought to myself, they sure did a shitty job if that’s what the floor looks like post polishing. I gingerly set out all the chairs and went about the business of setting up as usual.
Only to find out that no, the floors won’t be reworked until next week. Gee, don’t I feel stupid now !
Over the last little while I have tired of all the critics, the longer sober critics, who always have to critique me in front of others. And seeing how other long sober men react when they hear admonishment come from one of their own. You know old timers stick together.
Earlier today I was doing step work with a friend and we had a very long conversation about Steps One and Two, sobriety and all things sober. And I said to her that to date, not one old timer ever challenges me when I open my mouth in a meeting. They are openly critical about my wardrobe and my body weight, but when it comes to sobriety, they are all tight and slammed shut like a clam in the ocean.
I don’t know why that is, but it is what it is.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Todd:Read:God.
Late last night, I did some cursory online shopping, looking to get some new hardware. The collar in the photo. Shopping in mainline stores at the mall does not produce the right look, with little choice for hardware.
So last night I went to shop at Home Depot. If you want serious hardware that is right and will seal the deal, that’s where you go.
I had an 11 am appointment this morning for step work uptown on the Orange Line and the Home Depot is also on the Orange line going in the same direction and a short walk from Place St. Henri station, a few stops up from my home station near the apartment.
I got up early, with plenty of time to make that stop, walk to the Depot, get what I wanted, and get back on the train and head farther up the line to Snowden, where my friend lives.
The Collar has a storied past.
In the Leather world, where I was born into when I got sick, working at the Leather Bar in Ft. Lauderdale, relationships were formed on the basis of role. Master/Slave, Dom/sub, Daddy/boy so forth and so on.
It was a huge honor if your Master or Dom or Daddy bought you a collar, because in ritual terms, that kind of seals the deal between us. Meaning that we are now taken, off the proverbial meat market. Untouchable for other men who might see us in a public setting. (i.e. The Bar)
For all intents and purposes, in the most meaningful way, of Love, Dignity and Respect, Todd was many things. God, Man, Master, Boss, Friend.
He was the man who stepped up and claimed me when everybody else tossed me to the curb, alone.
There was nothing I would not do for Todd. And He for me either.
The collar for us subs, is an outward sign of inner devotion to the men who took us in, and protected us. Sadly, during those times, there were men who were up to no good. And many of my brothers in leather, were taken into the world of seedy sex, drugs and alcohol.
All of them are dead. Masters and Boys. Memorialized in the Names Quilt for all of Eternity.
Todd had passed a decree behind my back, making sure every men who frequented the bar, that I was off limits to everyone. That I was not to be approached or touched. But Todd did tell me that as long as I did my job well, I could dress any way I wanted either behind the bar or on the floor if I was not bar tending that night.
Todd knew more about character, love, and devotion, like no other man I know or have known since. Even my husband does not hold that kind of place in my heart. He is a totally different kind of human being to me.
I posted the pic on my Instagram and got many comments about what the meaning of it is, I don’t know if I can adequately explain the fine minutia of a leather relationship to straight men, who could not understand, even if I tried. One of my friends tonight said to me at the meeting that it was good, in his view that he did not know me then, because it looked to him like I was trouble.
How far from the reality he had it.
The outward sign of inward devotion is something I carry within me, it is who I was and who I am, because if it were not for that specific leather community and those who cared for me and the others, sadly, they are all dead, and Mark and myself are the only two survivors from that sinking ship.
Nobody here wants to know that story, or mostly any story about my gay life, and every single gay man I know on the English Side of the Fellowship want nothing to do with me. Sunday past, was the Pride Parade, and they all posted photos of themselves at the parade.
Not one of them thought to call me and invite me along. Not that I was expecting that kind of grace from any of them, but that is what I thought after seeing all the photos in my feed.
You can’t adequately describe the gay subculture to terminally straight people, unless they are open to that kind of radical honesty from me.
Only my closest friends who know me, would need to know, in any case.
We’ll see how that goes.
I’ve kept this portion of my life, the gritty details of it beyond some of the stories I tell in community, close to my chest where only I can see the cards.
And I’ve decided that I’m tired of hiding a crucial part of who I am. My fluid kids are all over the place, and they might get it.
More to come.