Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On Earning Leather

I had the realization recently, as I discussed things with my boy over dinner one night, that I'm not sure I will ever buy myself more leather.

Of the leather I own, I own boots and I own a vest. That is all. I do not even own a belt, because I wear rope as a belt - because rope is precious to me and I like to have it on hand at all times. I wear the rope knotted on my left side, so it also functions as a flag.

My vest is incredibly important to me. I wrote about my vest when I bought it.

My vest is a promise, to myself, that I will always strive to be better. My vest is my way of constantly checking that I am on the path I want to be on.

Every time I pull on my vest, I ask myself: am I working towards being the person I want to be? Am I working to be compassionate, generous, kind? Am I working to be thoughtful, courageous, a man of integrity?

If the answer is yes, I wear my vest with pride.

If the answer is no, I take my vest off and it stays off until the answer is yes.

So my vest has incredible meaning for me.

The discussion of chaps came up, and boy expressed a desire to see me in a pair of chaps - and I admitted, somewhat surprised at myself, that I don't think I will be buying myself any more leather.

Earning leather is a tricky thing. On one hand, I think it's a beautiful and incredibly meaningful tradition among Leather people. On the other hand, I can think of many reasons why someone may prefer to buy their own leather rather than earning it - hell, as I said, I bought my own vest, and that doesn't leave it with any less meaning. And of course there will be plenty of Leather people who don't feel their leather needs to have a purpose at all, and buy it just for the look, the smell, the sex appeal.

But for me?

For me, I don't think I'd be comfortable buying any more leather. Perhaps it's a product of my years as a martial artist - but I don't seek to raise my own level, as it were. To me that feels empty.

And for me, I do not have a mentor. Nor do I really have a Leather family - I have my boy and at present it's just the two of us. So there is no one to grant me leather, as it were. Perhaps one day I will be enough a part of the community that it could come from there, but I am not certain that will ever eventuate.

These two facts combine, and it leads to this: I doubt I will ever own any further leather than I already own.

What surprised me is that I'm actually 100% comfortable with this.

I have no desire to be some kind of God of Leather. If I have the respect of my boy and my peers, that is enough for me. If I feel safe and comfortable in the leather I own, that is enough for me.

My journey as a Leather Sir does not rely on me 'levelling up'. It relies on me simply being true to myself.

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