Courtesy: RTMH 1989
This is part of an ongoing story that I have shared here on the blog at great length. I was working at the Stud for a long time. From 1993 to I think maybe 1996. The bar had had it’s day and the crowds used to pack the house night after night. Those were the good old days.
At some point in the timeline, the owner of the bar had lost his partner to AIDS and things began to head south. We worked day and night to keep the bar afloat, but like I have heard it said before, sometimes you get your day and then it is over, and you have to move on to bigger and better things.
Certain people were brought into the organization and I was not very happy about that in no uncertain terms. Ray was his name and he was bad news. He was a man who did nothing to gain my respect, but he muscled his way into the bar and into management – how that happened I can’t remember.
But i was living a parallel life while at the bar. You’d have to know something about living behind the veil of the leather lifestyle. Living in this place for me was safe and secure. i was protected and cared for. And this strange man made his way into the bar and attempted to take over the running of the bar.
And Todd was at a loss to stop this from happening. i did not like this man who came in and he did not like me because my alliances with my Master were absolute. And nobody was going to come between us, come hell or high water.
i went to work on shift one night and things had taken an ominous turn. Ray was sitting in the office and Todd and Roy were collecting their things and were escorted out the door by security. We had been overtaken by forces that we were powerless over.
i did not know what was going on or why? But i had my moment with Todd and he told me to behave and not make waves and to do my job. He walked out of the bar and that was the last time he and Roy set foot in the bar. For a number of days – i don’t think it was very much longer than that that i had had enough and i ended up quitting my job in opt for a new position at another club in Miami. One of the DJ’s that worked with us landed me a good paying job at Ozone.
But before i made that trek south we had to deal with Todd and Roy. There was a secret that my Master never told me about, and i was never invited inside of that secret for some reason. But if you were invited into the dungeon, you did not speak of it to outsiders or anybody else. But i knew one boy who was a friend who shared with me this secret.
Of all the fantasies i had harbored in my heart, none of them came to fruition. While working for Todd and living under the watchful eye of my Master, i was never taken into any man’s lurid world of S&M. Todd knew that i was a hard player and had i ever acted upon any of my fantasies with any chosen man in that club, i could have gotten lost and even hurt.
There were men who abused boys in their charge. And this went on for a long time, and that’s why Todd had his rules about me in regards to other men that came into the bar. If you wanted to get to me, you had to get through my Master first. And nobody i knew of ever asked his permission to claim me. And it was better that way. i could come to work and dress any way i like and even act out all those things going on in my head and what i witnessed on a nightly basis.
But the day came when i was called to my Master’s home for one final job that was entrusted to me alone. He gave me the job of dismantling this secret room. having heard about it in the past and finally setting foot inside of it was a watershed moment for me. Todd had taken me inside the Fidelius charm.
It took me two days to do all the work and it was then that i learned that Todd and Roy were leaving for San Francisco and there was no turning back. I was only 28 years old. i was still young and i had responsibilities that i thought were important. and Todd did not ask me to go with him. i think he thought it was better than i stay where i was. i was sick and i needed the care that was being provided for me by Health Link. i had not ventured south to look for a new doctor to treat me yet. That would come later on.
i lived inside my leather head for so long that i was so used to what was going on that the day that i had to say goodbye to Todd came so suddenly. they packed up the truck and the car and i was standing in the driveway at the house and i was sobbing. i wanted so badly to go with him, but i knew that i could not.
He hugged me and told me to remember all the lessons he taught me and that i knew where he would be. They got in the car and drove off and that was the last time i ever saw my Master as the dust settled behind the car.
i was saying goodbye to the man who saved my life, the man i loved more than anyone else in the entire world. This man took on this monumental task of taking care of me and by extension all the men who worked at the bar. i was his favorite. It was me he chose to save at that time in my life. i lived every day to serve him and by extension the men in the bar. And that life came to a screeching halt and that life i had lived for so long, was over. There was no turning back, i had to go on and find the way to survive without him. And i did that.
i cannot tell you how important a man Todd was to me … suffice to say, no other man has ever taken that spot. Not even my husband. He inhabits another part of my heart in other ways. But there will never be another Todd in my life. i had it for a season or two. And like they say all good things must come to an end.
i had to go back into the world. i packed up my home and headed south to Miami to break into the world there. i had a job at the time and i had found a doctor to treat me. Dr. Jose would be my savior. He had access to drugs and treatments that i could not get in Ft. Lauderdale.
i remember walking around the city by myself trying to figure out how i was going to reintegrate back into the normal world and leave the world that i had lived in for so long behind. Today all it takes is a flip of the switch in my head to travel between my normal life and bottom space. When i tell stories involving this part of my life i revert to lower case i instead of capitol I.
When they moved to the West coast, I knew that I could not follow them, however many of the men who worked at the bar did. Some of them are still alive but a good number of them have long since died. I harbored the fantasy that one day my father would die and I would go back and claim my mother back into my life and that I would remain at her side and take care of her as long as she needed.
But alas, my family never came together, my father did not die and the last time I saw my mother was on New Years Day 2001 for all of 25 minutes on their way back to Sarasota. This is one of those regrets that I have, that I stayed for family and that never came to fruition. Family was a wasted dream of mine.
i don’t know what would have happened had i gone to San Francisco.
We will never know. Because I am here and not there. i do call Todd on the odd occasion just to hear his voice. To keep that connection with the boy i was alive and in my minds eye.
Courtesy: Face your Fate
The past is but a memory and all those memories I want to remember today must be written down. Trying to recall certain memories take more strength and brain power. There are periods of time that have faded from my memory, looking at pictures from my past is difficult because in many of them I am young, before I began to suffer from drugs and alcohol and those snap shots of life tell me about a time before the suffering began.
But the time that stands out in my head most importantly was all the years I spent learning to live and learning about life under the sharp eyes of my Master Todd. Those years at the Stud were very instructive and some of them were downright painful. But I had to learn these lessons or else I would fail at life.
This is where you suspend your morals and think outside the box because the rest of this story falls under the “leather Speak” portion of my story telling. You can stop here or keep reading. but be warned … i move from one space to another quite easily….
For every action and chore ended with a lesson about why I had to do that specific action or chore. It all had to do with some aspect of my life and how I would cope with that specific issue had it arisen later on in my life. If that lesson had to do directly with myself or how I would get along with others and also how possibly others could and probably would treat me. You never knew if you had good people or bad people in your life until it was too late. Sometimes you had to take what you got, and then other times you could pick and choose who would be in your life.
Where we worked – we were hand picked. The entire staff was built from the ground up and we all became family over the fourteen day “build” when we were building the bar from the ground up. We all worked day and night, sometimes without sleep. I paid my dues and proved myself worthy to be part of the team by picking up glasses and bottles and cleaning up after people, through blood sweat and tears I earned my place.
But it was all joy in the beginning. I would hold off on my own tragedy for a while those first few months working at the Stud. I faced my own demons and issues with others in my life. And I was a crash and burn alcoholic by the time that ended. I was drinking myself sick night after night because of what was going on in my life, I tried to drink away the pain.
I had to face my diagnosis with courage. I had my Master who listened to me speak, who cradled my head on his chest as I cried. There was nothing I wouldn’t do for him. But I was still a drunk, I had to complete my journey to death with the drink. And that is what happened.
Then one day I was told a piece of information that I had to take to heart and use every day from that point on. You have a life outside the bar, and you have a life inside this building. What you carry to the door stays at the door when you cross the threshold. Do not bring it in here with you. Leave it outside.
You come to work and you do what you are told without question. Do you understand?
Every night there was something new to be learned. Every week I battled with my demons getting sober and dealing with the cascade of emotions coming from inside of myself. I just did not know what to do with them.
With every shift I worked hand over fist. It was some of the hardest times of my life. I would work happy hour from 5 to 8 p.m. by myself. At eight I would go into the kitchen to change up for the night shift. I was expected to prepare all the wells with beer, ice, liquor, fruit and cups. Then at 8 the bells would ring and the music would begin in the dance hall and the bar would open.
I worked like a dog. Throwing trash, filling buckets of ice, cases of beer and truck a shitload of trash out to the bin every night. And every time I completed a task I went looking for approval. I keep hitting lower case (i’s) i’m in bottom space.
You got to know what that means to understand the speak.
i would seek the approval from my Master to make sure i did something right. And it went on like that for a long time. Todd had them blue eyes like Jesus, that could bore into you from across the room. All i had to do was look at him and i would know what he was saying without a single word. But that was not the end of that. If he got angry his eyes would turn a stormy grey. You knew whether or not to speak to him by the shade of his eyes.
All it took was one look.
At some point, Todd caught on to what i was seeking. and he decided to teach me one of the hardest lessons i ever had to endure, which comes up as the one day that i would return to if i had the chance. i would come on shift and enter the office, kneel and i would get my marching orders for the night. i knew everything that had to be done for a particular shift. i was under Todd’s protection and guidance.
So the work began and the shift would come and go, and Todd and i had a special relationship of love and commitment. i needed him and he knew that i needed him in ways that no mere man would ever need another human being. And i worked for every word of praise and support that i could get. i thrived on that instant gratification. but that would end very quickly.
At one point, Todd took a tack, and did not tell me what was coming next. So i would get to work and work through my shift and the night would come and go, we had the best bar service team that ever was between Kevin, Tom and myself.
At the end of the night i would gather with the rest of the folks in the bar and the first night came as a shock, Todd would not look at me nor would he say a word to me. And that broke my heart. i would go home and sob. If you knew where i was in my head at that time of life, being ignored was detrimental.
The second night i would get to shift and Roy would give me my orders for the night, it was strange that Todd would not give me a word and that went on for days and nights. i knew he was watching me from the sidelines and i was not going to fail at my tasks, i would rather die than be told i did something wrong.
The third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh nights would come in succession and i would work through my tears and the pain that i was living through. This period of time came to pass not long after i was diagnosed.
i was working through all the things that had to be done. And nobody knew what was going on with Todd and myself except Roy. i don’t know if you know what it feels like to work day and night and know that the man you love is ignoring you and you don’t know why, but to complain was not my place. i had to take it like a man and do what i was told to do, no matter what came up. unless i was going to die or something i was never to complain, and i did a lot of complaining until i was back slapped into submission.
Finally the twelfth night came up. I don’t remember what day it was or what date it was, all i know is that i was wearing thin on being ignored by the man who meant everything to me. i would catch him watching me from across the room on several occasions but as soon as he noticed i was watching him watch me he would change tacks.
The shift came to an end and i was besides myself. i had gone twelve nights in a row working like a dog doing everything that i was told to do by any of the bar staff at any hour of the night. To disrespect someone in the bar was to disrespect my Master. That community saved my life and every drop of sweat and tears that i shed were worth every minute of it.
Todd called me into the office and i knelt before him, my head was hanging and i was sobbing. Whenever i would go into the office for shift start my role was boy and i knew my place so on my knees was where i would start.
He knew that i was in pain. He watched me struggle for those twelve nights. It was the harshest lesson he ever taught me. He got up and came round the desk and grabbed my chin with his big hand and raised my eyes to his, i was still sobbing…
“Well Done Little One …”
Those four words were gold.
i broke down and cried like a baby. He hugged me and held me while i cried. i don’t remember how long that lasted but the next thing he said was this …
“do you know why you were taught this lesson? no Sir. Sometimes we seek approval for things that we do and sometime later on in your life you might go to work for someone else who may treat you like shit.”
They may not appreciate the work you do and they may ignore you or treat you less than.
After that teaching, i never sought another word of praise from Todd ever again. i did my work and was proud to have work and a place to call home. The bar remained open for another sweep of seasons and we were all still alive. But people were dying left and right. i worked every night with pride in my heart and love on my lips. You’d have to know something about Leather Pride to understand this aspect of my life and why it was so important to my life.
Just reading this brings tears to my eyes …
I got this image of Barack Obama from a friend who lives in San Francisco.
If you don’t VOTE on Tuesday, then you can’t participate in your Democratic right to be heard. Please, for the Love of God and the hope of the United States of America, GO VOTE …
VOTE for BARACK OBAMA …
Forgive my indiscretion, but this is my blog.
For many years I have navigated the waters between the Sacred and the Profane. I have seen the beauty of man that is Profanely Sacred and I have seen the beauty of God that is the Holy Sacred. Having witnessed both in my life, I can write about them freely without any guilt, remorse or shame. For what more beautiful specimen of man is there than the naked man. In leather of course…
Many years ago in my religious studies with Donald, we explored the Sacred within the leather lifestyle and how man attains the sacred while exploring the profane. It was for me, some of the most intense times of my life, when all of me was in flux and I danced with the profane while navigating my way through my HIV diagnosis. I have a deep respect for my leather upbringing and my Master Todd…
Which brings me to the discussion of this post. Over the last year my prayer life has been ratcheted up quite a bit. Praying for others has become a full time job. Working with others has become a way of life. Living an authentic life from the inside – out, demands that I am aware of my emotions and my feelings. I am acutely aware of every sensation, of and in my body, when I meditate and more when I pray, at any given moment of the day or night.
It happened Monday night, while sitting in class, we were discussing Christian Spirituality and the many ways one might approach spirituality from the many disciplines that are availed to us on any given day. As I listened to the lecture, my thoughts began to circulate and my body reacted to those thoughts of the Sacred, and immediately I felt a longing inside of me that I could not put my finger on, but I felt it. It was an ache that resonated deep within me, a feeling that seemed eerily familiar and oddly profane.
It was as if I sat in the balance between the Sacred and the Profane and I could have ventured into either one at the drop of the hat or the offing of a thought. It wasn’t a purely sexual thought, like I wanted to commit a mortal sin and touch myself, but I was acutely aware of a presence, the presence of something Sacred, something Profane.
And I find that when I am at work, or when I am deep in contemplation or prayer that this feeling arises, and maybe I am a bit more aware of it and I am conscious of it that I can name it, but nonetheless, it is there. So I made this confession to a man that I trust with my deepest secrets and desires tonight. And here I write it for public consumption, my first spiritual confession…
Having known the depths of utter profanity in all its grandeur and also knowing the Sacred leaves me, in what one could construe, as a “tight spot.” I think to myself that I am open to the stirrings of the Sacred equally as I am to the Flesh and the Profane. But again, this feeling does not reside in the sexual center of my being, but it lies at the core of my soul. That place where everything intermingles and where the body feels its most deepest desires and acknowledges that there is a place for every feeling and desire.
That Eros, that Rolheiser writes:
“Our soul is not something that we have, it is more something that we Are. It is the very life-pulse within us, that which makes us alive…The soul is what gives life. Inside it, lies the fire, the EROS, the energy that drives us.”
“The soul has a principle of chaos and a principle of order within it and its health depends upon giving each its due. Too much order and you die of suffocation; too much chaos and you die of dissipation. Every healthy spirituality, therefore, will have to worship at two shrines: the shrines of the God of chaos and the God of order. One God will keep us energized, the other will keep us joined together. these two functions of the soul are always in a creative tension.
That is why we experience such intense struggles sometimes inside of ourselves. Energy and integration, passion and chastity, fire and water, are forever fighting each other, having its own legitimate concerns for our health. Small wonder that living is not a simple task.
Mythically, spirituality is often seen as an interplay between these elements, fire and water. Small wonder. In mythology the soul is forever in a forge, heated and shaped by fire and then cooled off by water.”
That is my spiritual observation for tonight.
And once again, forgive my indiscretion…
[Port Bridge to Dodge Island] Downtown Miami in the background
They say I am just a garden variety drunk, in recovery. That doesn’t make me very different or unique. So let’s look again at the question of definition. A, E, A E I O U- U, and sometimes Y!!! Can you tell I am listening to music at this moment? The Virtual DJ is on the player and I am sitting here trying to put together something witty and smart.
There is a discussion about piercings over on Jonathan’s blog, and I left him a comment about my own. So I guess I am going to talk about body modification. Before you even think about modifying your body in mark or piercing, you really should have a reason to get it done. When I was contemplating my own piercing, my friend David took me to Black Sun Studios where I had it done and I met with the piercer and looked at jewelry. He asked me to meditate on my body piercing because of where I wanted it [my PA].
So I took a month and I meditated on my body modification, I visited the Church of Body Modification and I talked to my friends who had piercings done on themselves. I went as far as to seek knowledge from the Master in modification [Fakir] because that was the extreme body modification site to visit.
My piercing, my first one is connected to my first [sober] anniversary. That was six years ago. It was a religious experience for me. I bathed that day and took myself up to the parlor and I sat and waited for my turn. I was a bit nervous because I had never done anything to my body before, but I was well used to needles and blood. I was taken into the room where I was prepped and the procedure took all of ten minutes.
My 14 gage ring is a theme on the captured ball – it has three [captured balls] instead of one, and cannot be taken out, without a special tool to un-crimp the ring. I haven’t had any reason to take it out, although I have to say that first night, when the anesthesia wore off from down there, I bled like a pig. I thought I was going to die.
Taking care of your piercing is very important, you never want to get an infection because it is extremely painful, depending on the site that is pierced. I cleaned my piercing every day for the first three weeks. Then I moved to a weekly cleaning, which I use a mixture of sea salts, betadyne solution and warm water to soak, to remove gunk and to keep the stainless steel clean. It takes a little work to clean. If you are HIV positive like me, you must keep your piercing clean because God forbid you get an infection that makes you sick, that is dangerous. And cleanliness is next to Godliness.
Before you alter your body, make sure you know why you are doing it and what that modification is going to say about you, to [others] and to [yourself]. Never get bodily modified while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, because once it is done, it is done. You might be able to laze away a tattoo or remove a piercing, but once you’ve done it, your body is changed. So if you are going to spend a [chunk] of money on a tattoo or a piercing, you should have a good idea why you are doing it.
For me, my piercing was an extreme spiritual expression of my submission. It is a marking I carry with me, it keeps me mindful of my sobriety, and of the people who were instrumental in helping me reach the point that I got mine done. Sadly, the people involved in my piercing, David and the other people, have not been in my life for some time, but every time I touch myself or visit the bathroom, I think of him, because he is eternally connected to my in a very emotional and physical way.
Nothing was more funny, when I went to Ottawa one Christmas with my hubby and we visited Parliament Hill and I walked through the metal detector and I set the thing off and the young boy started ‘wanding’ me and asked me where the metal was and I told him and he just about fell over. It was so funny…
We don’t have to run with the crowd, and we don’t have to follow the pack. Don’t change your body to make someone else happy, because whatever change you make to your body, you are going to have to live with for eternity. Not to mention the financial investment you are making in that body modification. Don’t be stupid and do something that you are going to regret. Be smart and make wise decisions. You only have one body, so be good to it. Stay away from drugs and alcohol. If you have sex, do it safely…
In the community [the leather community] a piercing is a marker of position or status. Anything on the left side of the body designates a TOP, and anything on the right side of the body designates a BOTTOM. Like the key code and the hanky code. Everything there has meaning.
And since I was born in a leather bar, I wanted to share this little thought with you, since it means so much to me. I tilt more to the bottom side of life, and I am proud of that designation. Because everyone knows that the BOTTOM controls everything. You might be a top, but unless I give you permission, you aren’t coming close to me or my person. Mu hahahaha….
Last night he sat in the dark weeping
memories of a time long since past haunt him in a good way
yet he still weeps.
Reading some of his writing on that period, he reminisces about how it had been, what happened and what it is like now, and he weeps for the memory and beauty of it all.
It is night, and shift is about to begin, but before that can happen, he must kneel before his Master. Kind in face, warm in spirit and blue of eye, his Master awaits him to present himself for inspection and direction.
“Oh, Master i miss you and your gaze as it had been, Please tell me how to deal with my feelings and emotions.” he hears Him tell him that “all is well and that you remember my words to you…”
“Sometimes people will be unkind and hurtful and you must cope with the silence, remember the lessons I taught you, we cannot please all the people all the time, but we can please some people some of the time, and you must learn to deal with the silence, the best way you can.”
he misses the sacred and the profane, the garden of earthly desire, the cocoon he was one wrapped in safely from the world outside. But he has been out of the cocoon for a long time, yet he longs to climb back into it for some strange reason. The reason is not strange, maybe it is the timing…
he pens a note to his Master, something he doesn’t often do except when he needs to connect to his roots. The exercise of writing ‘the letter’ is emotional and cathartic, because his Master still is the center of his life, and the savior and keeper of his existence.
“i sit here and reread all that i experienced there with you and i weep. All that i am lies in your heart and hands. i find myself wanting to feel your arms around me and seeing your face, and all i have is a memory.
There is no one alive who knows the words that you can speak that can calm my anxious heart. But still to this day my heart beats for you and because of you.”
I just wanted you to know that.
his friends worry, because he has painted a picture that is so different that what people expect. Short strokes of darkness on the canvas tell a much darker tale of life than the light he usually paints.
Nobody really takes the time to read about humanity because he has spent so much of his time writing about divinity that it scares them into believing that something is wrong. But humanity as it is, is wrought with fear and the unknown. He knows differently…
The comfort and security of black leather is his escape, into a world that kept him safe. An oasis of the sacred amid the temptations of the profane. Yet he knows how to go there because it is part of him.It is who he is, it is the root of the tree of his life.
It is time. he opens the door and walks into the space, kneeling on the floor, eyes down cast, hands at station. And he waits…
Moments pass by, the silence is deafening, his heart quickens, his blood pumps and he begins to sweat, waiting for those words he longs to hear from his Master…
He reaches out His hand and cups his chin and raises his eyes to his own, and says
“Well done, Little One, I love you!”
and he weeps once more…