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In retrospect...this is interesting especially concerning one of your last posts and comments made at you. I think in the time I've known you...you've grown and changed. I'm happy to call you my friend...and found this post interesting. Why? Because even me...who I guess blends well with the leather community has those moments that I feel I don't fit in...when that happens..I know its me.
I introduce our community in a simple way to those curiously seeking us out. Our community is about brotherhood, honor, and acceptance/respect. Yes, we have a lot of sex of several varieties. But, it was here in our community...I felt free to be a happy gay man. To be who I wanted to be. These men and more and more women of our leather community have been there when I needed it. And I hope I for them.
Each of us in our own way...adds to this community. Thank you for your contribution.
love, leather, and life

David H.

I have to admit that I had much the same feelings about the community when I was first coming out in the early-to-mid-90's, although the interwebs were still very nascent back in those days. So my experiences were formed by in-person experience. Some positive, some not so positive. I think we've all been there at some point. I confronted the same issues you did about the whole "turning into one of them" question - that was always a big worry for me. Of course, in my case, I'd say I achieved that in a physical sense, although certainly not by design. We each take our own journey - that has been part of mine.

I totally get the loneliness you describe. I've been there. Still there, actually. Not sure I've never NOT been there. It's not just about my particular kinks. Or the fact that I went from six-pack to Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Pretty much everything. My compulsion to give until it hurts. My being allowing myself to be thrust into leadership positions when sometimes it was the last thing on Earth that I wanted to do. My having a brain and not being afraid to either use it or show that I have it. I've always felt a distance between me and everyone else in my life, even those that I'm closest to and love the most. I could blame it on being an aloof Aquarian, but I know there's more to it than that.

In my case, it was easy, almost natural or reflexive, to push people away - it's not that I judged or forgot they were people - it's just that I didn't understand them and since THAT freaked me out...well...you can do the math from there. I think a focal point of my life and my sexuality, kink included, is this fundamental paradox. I'm caught between a strong impulse to control a given situation and understand the hell out of it and its characters and the equally-strong impulse to let go, to submit completely and let things proceed as they will. It's the paradox that kept me from expressing or exploring either side of it, at least until the last year or so. But I digress...for now, anyways. ;)

I can't conform. More so, I don't want to. Time and experience have shown that I'm at my best when I'm marching to the beat of my own inner drummer-boy. Even if I resemble a particular stereotype, I'll never BE one. It's not in my nature. I'll take the best attributes of them, sure...if it appeals to me and works with how I work. But at the end of the day it's me we're talking about. So it will be infused with that more than what anyone expects of the stereotype. I guess that's why most people can't figure me out. And why I don't fit in. And probably adds to that distance.

Its taken me a lot of years and a lot of loss and a lot of (unnecessary) drama to finally be comfortable in my own skin - literally and figuratively. The most empowering moment for me was about a year ago (in two weeks, actually), when a switch just flipped in my head and I started "owning myself". I stopped being so damned scared of everything, stopped analyzing everything in my life to death and started to explore things that I hadn't before - my kinks included. There's a story of seeing an indie film I had helped fund and my subsequent first appearance at the Eagle's Underwear Night I'll have to share some time. ;)

Funny thing is, I wouldn't take any of the comparative years of Hell back.

I don't think you should feel shame for having thought what you did at the time (I think it was certainly understandable given where you were physically and in terms of your age). It's not a good use of energy. I could give master sessions on self-flogging via guilt, shame and other wastes of time and psychic energy. You realize it wasn't productive, you looked in the mirror, you changed and embraced that which you previously beheld. You've become better for it. The community, I think, has become better for it, especially when you share parts of yourself like this. It has in my case, certainly, and I am eternally grateful. As we approach Pride season, you should be proud of that, if anything else.

And while we're at it, don't beat yourself up about the decade confusion - I, for one, thought it could have gone either way. ;)


My experience of emerging teenage sexuality was somehow both the same and the opposite: I also felt a sense of alienation and thought I'd never be able to have a bondage experience because I wasn't lean, smooth and thickly coiffed like all the models on BoundAndGagged, CapturedGuys, and Sockgagged. As a result, I resigned myself to a reality that I manufactured in my own head, which was that I might as well not even try to have the kind of sex life I wanted and just stay at home and jerk off to images of other people having that kind of fun. Thankfully, at 22, I met a bear-chaser at a political conference who showed me the light.

All those fundamentalists and feminists who like to criticize porn as detrimental to healthy sexual development are hysterical in general, but I can't help but think that there may be a kernel of truth in their arguments.

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