I’m the Blue Footed Boobie in the room.
A long time ago, Todd taught me the lesson about approval. In short, the lesson of approval was this … I don’t need approval, (in the context of work) from anyone, if I know I did the best job I could.
Because one day, you might work for an asshole who will abuse you and not respect you, nor say anything nice to you, so you need to learn how to be nice to yourself, in any situation, by doing the best job you can all the time.
That lesson still sticks with me today.
I’ll tell you a story. When I was a kid growing up, my parents were really strict at what I could have and what I could not. For the longest time, while I was an athlete in school, over the years, they did not allow me to have certain clothing items, shoes, cleats for sports. If I bought them, I had to keep them in my locker at school, for safe keeping.
They also kept us on a short leash when it came to clothing. Not that clothing was that big a thing back in the 80’s. I did go through my Duran Duran clothing phase in high school, and that was allowed, but only to a certain degree.
When I moved to this apartment, I became a collector. I love shoes. Especially shoes my parents would never allow me to buy, let alone, wear outside the house. I have a modest shoe collection, for every outfit, I have corresponding shoe color or style. And also several sneakers sets.
A few years ago, when my Diabetes was in good shape and I was loosing weight by the month, I met a few men on Instagram who made clothing. Athleisure tights and shirts. I was like, I could rock that look, and since that time a couple of years ago, I never looked back. My tights collection is quite extensive, and I wear them all year round, even in Winter, with the appropriate under gear, warm base layers beneath.
Like I said I am the Blue Footed Boobie in the room. I see some of my straight friends rock tights, WITH SHORTS on over them, because they would not be caught dead, wearing tights alone, for the “man factor.”
That’s what my friend Jeffrey calls, “the modesty pad” that comes with his clothing line for those men who want to be a bit more discreet, with their packages.
Most men like my clothing, although some crotchety old timer, traditionalist call me the “wearing my underwear in public guy.” They just cannot fathom wearing something like that themselves. I buck the dress code for sure, and some traditionalist think I am a bit irreverent, and non-conformist, and inappropriate for social gathers (read: Meetings).
I’ve learned in sobriety that “What people think of me is none of my business.” However, I do get upset when someone makes an unsolicited comment in the negative to me. I bite my tongue and walk away. I try not to respond. Then I come home and I ruminate over it all that night long. And have conversations in my head about what I would say if I had the balls to say it.
My collar – like a friend said this morning that “It locks me to the most important relationship I have, with (Todd:Read:God). I’ve written about this in another post, but, the collar is a substantial piece of clothing, re/Jewelry that a Dom can give his sub. It marks us a “Taken” “Loved” “Respected.” it is the highest honor a Dom can bestow on his sub, because our Dom’s think us worthy of wearing an item of clothing that links us to our respective Dom, in a way others are not privy to.
When I got my collar, it was just that; a linking back to the time when I was most loved and cared for by the one man who knew me inside and out, good and bad, good kid and trouble maker. He knew I was up for trouble, and so to curb that, He claimed me as His, in the way Doms do.
The Dom/sub relationship is part of the Leather subculture. Folks today, in the rooms, would not get it. The one word I heard from a Lady Friend the other Sunday morning when I was working at the Old Brewery Mission, Homeless shelter was this … she said … “Oh that’s all about BONDAGE.” I did not correct her, because she need not the deep dive story in full.
Leather is not all about bondage, where I come from. it is partly that, but not all that. Where love in concerned, Todd loved me. And I knew that. He took me in and cared for me, and marked me as His, because, for all purposes, I was.
My community was dynamic, while it was still alive and viable. But in the end, only two of us were left standing when everyone else had died. Mark and I are the only two survivors from that sinking ship. If it were not for Todd, I would have been a casualty myself.
I told my friend John, on the way home last night, I don’t know why I lived, because those first two years were hellish and we really did not have the medication to keep us alive. It was all Todd, 100%.
All I had were experimental drugs found in dead folks medicine cabinets, that were passed on to me before I found a doctor in year three. In a different city altogether.
So my collar is a source of consternation, because people have their preconceived notions about it, and some are not shy about sharing those notions with me, even if they are way off base. I do not wear it to wrangle people, I wear it for me, because it keeps me centered on
It keeps me humble and reminiscent of those years that mattered so much to me because:
“IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES AND IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES.”
I don’t tell the entire story to just anyone, because what will they do with it, tell other people, share it behind my back, would they keep my confession confidential and sacred? I don’t think so, because not everybody is steeped in BRENE BROWN and the ANATOMY OF TRUST.
I dress to look good to me, it has nothing to do with outward necessity of approval or consternation. I might not consciously be thinking about approval, but in the background, like a dos program, I might want to hear that “yes, I look damn good in my clothes.” Who does not want to hear “Hey, you look good in that!”
For that momentary rush of satisfaction.
Yes, I can rock that look, because somebody noticed and said something nice. One night I was at a bus stop waiting for a bus, wearing my Flower Basket tights, they are RAD, and a guy driving by, stopped his car in the middle of traffic to say …”Hey, I love your tights man!”
I will never grow up to be an old, miserable, frumpy old man, like many of my friends are. They could never see themselves rocking clothing or jewelry like I do today. And maybe, like I was told earlier this morning, it might spark something within them, not necessarily right now, but maybe farther down the road. I just want to be free to be me, as I am.
I don’t know how much longer I am going to live, so I try to live my best life, for me right now, wearing clothing I like, loving the people I love, and respecting the most important relationship I’ve ever had:
TODD Read GOD.
Yes, this is all about me. And if you came from the world I came from, you’d live for you too. Damn the torpedoes, and full steam ahead …
You might not like, or question my choices, but like Brene Brown says, do not become party to Common Enemy Intimacy .. If you don’t have nothing nice to say, come sit by me …
I don’t tell people everything about my life, because I don’t trust them to keep my words confidential. If I don’t know you and you are not someone I trust, I am not gonna tell you my most intimate secrets and stories, Period!!
So I get rattled when someone says something that just reeks of judgment. it is not very sober behavior on their part. I think people should know better than to shoot off their mouths with me, when those folks who do that, are not “Friends” of mine. They don’t know me, nor do I know them either. They see me in the rooms, and because I am always present they feel they can offer me unsolicited advice, because I guess they feel emboldened to say whatever they feel is appropriate at that moment, feelings be damned.
I’d rather people I am not intimately connected to, to just, “Shut the fuck up and leave me alone.” Keep your shit to yourself.
I’m in a meeting to stay sober, to stay stopped. If you are my friend, all the better for both of us. But I know MANY people, I see MANY people on a nightly basis, for years and years, and people know me for me because I am always reliable and there.
I make the room hum, before anybody sets foot in the room for that first cup of coffee. I know people, I just don’t KNOW many people intimately, except what they tell me in confidence.
My collar is a confidence story.
If I am not confident you will respect my story and hold it respectfully, then I don’t owe you that story. People fear what they don’t know, and they don’t necessarily respect a certain backstory. But my story is also a sober story, so we have that in common.
Just not my Todd Story. That’s mine and mine alone.
Just some thoughts.