As I've mentioned previously, I am New Leather and I am aware of this fact. Not only am I aware of it, but I see it as an opportunity.
This does NOT mean that I do not have a great deal of respect and fascination in Old Leather and its traditions and ways.
I've always believed that while we can learn from history's mistakes, we can also learn from its victories. History is neither good nor bad - we can use the information that now have, thanks to history, to build a better present and future. The AIDS crisis of the 70s and 80s has taught us that safer sex really is the best option, for example... but that doesn't mean that we all use condoms all the time. Sometimes, when we have examined the risks and made an informed decision, we do without condoms. We go bareback. And that's okay.
The problems that many perceive as "not taking traditions seriously" or "not caring about our history" is that many people don't examine history before doing things. They do not learn from the past's mistakes and victories. They think they have it figured out by themselves.
Now, sometimes this is true, and sometimes this attitude can build glorious new things. But this type of thinking is the type that leads to "condoms aren't necessary". Carelessness.
The other way can be awkward as well - thinking we MUST do things a certain way because of tradition does not work for everyone. These are the people who know they are both free of STDs and/or not at risk of pregnancy, and do not eroticize safer sex (as I do), but simply use a condom every time because that's what you do. It doesn't hurt anyone, but what if they might enjoy bareback sex? They might never know!
I like informed consent. I like it in all things - sexual, psychological, medical, everything.
I like it in history, too. I learn about our history, I learn about traditions, I learn about protocols and I learn as much as I can about the way people make things work... so that I can make an informed decision about whether that particular thing will work for me.
I am rambling, as I tend to do in this blog sometimes. I will come to the point.
In the last few years, I have been learning as much as I can about Leather and Leather families and households. Partially because I am a huge nerd and I enjoy learning about these things, partially because I have come to identify as a Leather man... but also partially because I feel that a Leather family, a connected tribe who interact with each other via not just talk and love and BDSM and/or sex, but also through protocols and hierarchies, is something that I am increasingly and unavoidably attracted to.
I feel drawn to build my own Leather family.
That is a bold admission. Many Leather families are not born or built, they are joined, or at best they grow slowly. This isn't mutually exclusive with what I am looking to do, it's just that I am being conscious, mindful of what I am slowly building. I am watering the seed in my soul and my life, so that it may grow.
The boy is firmly at my heels on this subject, he too feels the growing desire/need for family.
Now, here's the thing. The way most Leather families work, are built, etc... it's not that I think they're bad or anything, but as they stand, they don't work for me. I'm seeking something... different.
As I have mentioned before, much of who I am is influenced by martial arts. There is no reason that a family that I may be the head of (beneath the late "real" head, I'd say, which would be my Sensei) would not also be influenced by this. This isn't even that far away from the origins of Leather - much of its protocols and traditions are rooted in the military.
But I find myself flandering a little. Learning as much as possible, poaching from many traditions, families, cultures, ways... and incorporating it all into myself, who I am, what I seek, what I offer....
It's very complicated!
It also takes a very long time. This is something I've been thinking about for a year (at least) now, and I am not actually closer to it appearing yet. It is still gestating, a new form, a new life, a new chapter... laying dormant in my mind, waiting to be born.
It will happen. I am patient.
In the meantime, I know that one thing that absolutely WILL be passed to those involved with me is the way I learned how to kneel and bow. It's quite simple and not that different to how most people naturally do it, but it carries so much meaning for me that being able to pass that on is intensely powerful.