Thursday, September 12, 2013

Missing Cultural History

Ever since I first came into this life, there has been this hole inside me where my cultural history should be.

I am very young by Leather standards.  Very, very young.   I am 28 years old.  I burst out onto the public kink scene the moment I turned 18, and so I've been around for a decade now, which means something in generic kink circles; but in Leather, it's not much.  I am a baby.

I'm okay with that.  We're all young and new in the beginning.  I'm hardly concerned about that.

But this hole, this hole has been in me from the beginning.  And I've spent the last--well, longer than ten years, I think I first started researching this life when I was 14.  So I've spent the last 14 years, literally half my life, trying to learn about my cultural history.  Trying to learn where people like me came from, what life was like for them, what the world looked like for people like me.

I collect lifestyle books.  I collect queer history books.  Unfortunately I'm not as rich as I'd like, so my collection is still quite small, only about one shelf of books.  But I still collect them, it's my lifetime passion.  I read them passionately, because every word makes me feel a little more connected to those who came before me.

Just before my most recent health crash, I sent a few messages to some of my personal elders, asking if sometime I could come have a cuppa and talk with them about their lives.  Reading books is all well and good but it doesn't have the warmth and the earth of personal experiences.

I want to know my cultural history.  I want to hear it.  I want to hear what worked and what went wrong.  I want to hear the heartbreak, I want to hear the ecstasy.  I want to feel connected to the past, specifically the past of Australian Leather people.  I want to save the history and the knowledge from disappearing from my generation, and those who come after me.

Yesterday I was reminded how important this is to me.  The hole in my heart got a little smaller, and it hurt in that itchy way that healing wounds do.

As I hope my health continues to slowly improve, I need to try and get to those discussions.  It's not just that I want to learn, want to know - I need to.  I need that connection to my past, I need it like I need the air I breathe.

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