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Evolution not Revolution

May 23, 2010

Over the last 10 years there has been an evolution of self for me. Not just in the leather scene but also in my dance. I think what has been interesting is what has stayed the same and what has changed for me over the years.  What is happening right now for me is I am tired. Tired of being told what is the right way. The one true way. I feel like I have been fighting a sort of Creationism vs Evolution in alot of different areas of my life.

When I started taking dance back in 05 the only classes I could find was at a bellydance school that taught Cabaret style. Not something I was really interested in and the only Tribal was American Tribal Style and that didn’t really work for me. I learned alot in my classes in Cabaret style but when I was asked if I wanted to do a solo I said yes but I wanted to do a tribal fusion piece 3 of the 4 teachers fought me on it. My music had to be approved, my costume had to be approved. My dance had to be seen and approved twice. The other dancers didn’t have to jump thru as many hoops as I did and it angered me. I was still a dancer. I was still taking what they taught me and was just utilizing it differently. Even when I was given the chance to dance American Tribal Style I was not happy with the mold they wanted me to be in. The troupe wanting to embrace their size and was upset that I was working so hard to lose weight when they wanted to do “Pro Fat” events. I couldn’t do it. I found other dancers that accepted me and welcomed me in and I have never forgotten that.  Since that time I now take lessons from a teacher who wants me to express my creativity and sees me as an artist first.  Even in my own dance community I tend to push the envelope and I am very proud of that.

As a bootblack I came across the same thing. If you read my “Finding my Femme Bootblack Side” post you know how I got to where I am today. I was originally terrified of taking the step toward being a femme bootblack. I always thought I had to be butch or identify as boi in order to do it because that was the image that was presented. I remember hesitantly asking people if it would be okay to do it dressed like a girl because frankly….I couldn’t see myself doing it any other way.  Sure I tried doing the dress like a boy thing but even with my hips and chest it doesn’t fly. I am a girl and trying to hide that fact is practically impossible.  I have finally come to love my body and the curves that it has. I don’t want to hide that with baggy jeans and shirt.  I have held onto my identity and I never thought twice about it until recently. Having negative comments from another bootblack on how  I really didn’t know how to bootblack and that people in my chair just stared at my chest and ignored what I was doing to their boots and to have a bootblack tell me the morning after coming to terms of not winning IMsBB that I should consider stop calling myself a “femme” bootblack and just call myself a bootblack so I stop alienating myself from my community all hurt more than any leather bar telling me they didn’t want me to black because these people are supposed to be my peers and my kin. I have decided I’m not going to apologize for who I am. I’m proud of the path I have been walking. It has not been easy and sometimes I feel like just throwing my kit away and saying to hell with it all, but then I get a thank you, start someone on the path, and just feel the glow and excitement I get when I do a kick ass job on a pair of boots.  I never thought I would see myself as someone pushing the definition of bootblack but here we are.

When Pony won International Ms. Bootblack in 2009 and that 3 femme bootblacks total ran for the title that year I found hope. Funny that such an act would create such an emotion but it did. I had hope for my community. That maybe just maybe we had evolved as a community and that Femme Bootblacks were becoming more of a force. When Pony started the Femme Bootblacking list on FetLife and asked me to co-facilitate it I was honored and proud to see how many are in our ranks.  The evolution that started with Michael Ann in 2000 is becoming something larger.  What was sad was when it was my turn to run for IMsBB the number of femmes not just femme bootblacks who came to me excited about me running because then maybe the discrimination against leather femmes would start to decrease.  Leaving California my brain was swimming.  What to do? How to handle it all? Could I just turn away and ignore? When some of the strongest and fiercest women I know were telling me their stories I realized I couldn’t do that. I had to stand proud of who I am.   I’ve been afraid for far too long of making someone upset over what I want to create and share within my communities. Sure I have been getting some negative statements recently but they seem to be one voice in a sea of support. I am very thankful for that.

I see the next year full of excitement and possibilities with some amazing people being a part of it.  To be honest? For the first time I think I have finally come to realize who I am and what I am capable of. I finally realized that I have wings and I really am ready to fly.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 1, 2010 5:26 pm

    Ah, I can’t dance a lick, so hats off to you! I admire those who knows things I don’t.

    Congrats on being in NY Sex Blogger Calendar! Last year I featured models on my site as YATBKs, would you be interested?
    http://thebeautifulkind.com/columns/yatbk

    Let me know!

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