Girl Commando/Andy: SouthEast Bootblack 2008
February 27, 2018
Almost 5 years ago I wrote my last column for my last title year. I spoke of family drama, of times being tough but looking towards the future. I also spoke of title holding and what it meant to me. The years I held my titles were some of the best of my life. I learned more than I ever thought possible and grew in ways I couldn't imagine when I first started on this road.
The first time I stood on a stage was almost a decade ago. I was scared out of my mind. I can still remember standing behind the curtain waiting for the emcee to call my name for the first time. I had only been in the community for about a year. I was taking my first steps down a long and winding road. I had no idea where I would end up. Hell, I barely knew who I was. But, I knew at that moment, when I stepped out on that stage and looked over that crowd of people all watching me, that I wanted to be a person they could be proud of.
10 years later, I believe that I have become that person. I was reading over my speech from 2008 the other day. I spoke of being young leather and what it meant to me. I had a drive and a desire to stay focused and learn from my elders. I desired nothing more than to sit at the knee of every person I could. I have done that, and I will continue to do it for as long as people will tell me their stories. Only now, from time to time, I come across someone who asks to sit at my knee and hear my stories. Talk about mind blowing. My first reaction is always to want to send them to someone more experienced, to tell them that I have nothing to share. But, this isn't true. Yes, I have my stories to share. But, I also have the wisdom and insight that I have learned from my elders to pass on to other generations as well.
As a bootblack, I am one of the physical historians of a leather persons journey. I have hundreds upon hundreds of stories of boots, pants, chaps, and various pieces of leather that I have cared for. I tell those stories often in classes, one on one lessons, and in my chair. I tell the stories of the amazing leather people I have been fortunate enough to have in my chair over the last decade.
I share the stories I have been told about the Sanctuary and the many other bars and clubs that are no longer around. I share stories from and about leather folk we have lost over the years, some I was blessed to hear first hand and some that have been passed down to me through others. I also share my stories about the things I have done and the things I have seen. Being a title holder gives one a unique perspective on the community. We see the best this country and others have to offer. We also sometimes see the worst. We travel to many events and meet many people. We have an opportunity to impact so many lives and journeys. Often more than we realize. Our days of title holding seldom end when we give that step down speech and patch or sash the next person in. There have been many SELF bootblacks and boys both before and after me, but I am the only SELF Bootblack 2008 and SELF Boy 2012. I will always be a part of the amazing family of SELF titleholders.
So, where am I today, 10 years after the first title and 5 years after the second? I am living in Charlotte, North Carolina with my husband and our girl. I'm in service to an amazing leather woman in Atlanta. I still teach when and where I can. I bootblack at events and bar nights in NC and the surrounding areas. I mentor as much as I can. I enjoy traveling whenever possible. I'm still learning every day. I'm still listening more than I speak. I hope I will always be that way.
The thing I will never stop doing is encouraging people to run for titles. It changed my life. It may not be for everyone, but if you think it might be for you, you should reach out to me or anyone of our titleholders. Come on out and join us. You won't regret it!
Thank you so much for reading. Love one another and stay strong.
SELF Bootblack 2008
SELF Boy 2012
Updated with the speech from ICBB in April 2015
Speech given for competition at ICBB
When I need to feel more focused-
I go to the boots.
Hitting my knees working the leather became my classroom. People’s histories and their stories were offered to me and gave me more than I could have imagined 3.5 years ago. Who knew you could mix the raw appeal of leather, sex and learning? The more I learned the less clothes I wore.
Wisdom sat in my chair wearing Corcoran Jump Boots and said the words “earned leather” to me. I took off my vest and my boots that night. In the two years it took to earn those pieces back, I became “young leather.” I’m young by circumstance but I’m leather by my willingness to earn it every day.
When I need to measure the success of my journey—
I go to the boots.
When I offer gratitude for personal histories, personal leather stories— I go to the boots. When I get in touch with the most solid pieces of who I am and connect so deeply to others- I go to the boots.
I don’t know where you’ll choose go- but come by my chair
And I’ll go to the boots (hit your knees) for you.
I go back to the boots. That’s where it all began for me and nothing makes me feel more focused or grounded than sitting in front of someone, sharing stories, and learning their histories. This is how I will help preserve our history.
Usually you don’t look for leather but rather leather finds you. You could be at an event one day and over hear a conversation or meet someone who takes the time to explain leather to you. Suddenly something clicks. You found your leather heart. This happened to me 3 and a half years ago. I was your typical young kinkster. I had the vest and the boots and wore them because they were hot. But, then I overheard the phrase "earned leather." I was curious about this, so I approached the person who said it, they were happy to offer an explanation. It was a brief explanation, but it triggered something deep inside of me. This was what I had been looking for. I took off my boots and my vest that night and didn’t put them back on until I had earned them. Once I discovered leather I never looked back. I soaked up everything I could find and talked to everyone I could. That is how I became Young Leather, one of the next generation. I take this very seriously. I have duties and a legacy to carry on. I have chosen a path that requires work and commitment. I have chosen to carry on long standing leather traditions. Many of you in this room are the ones who cho
se to walk the path before me. Some of you will walk the path after me. I have a responsibility to uphold these leather traditions, not just for me but for all of us
To uphold the leather tradition I must not only learn from my elders, but also pass down what I know to those coming behind me. In this way our history and traditions will survive the test of time.
In addition to the responsibilities I have, I must also be conscious of where my focus is. I am young leather and sometimes that leads me to be impatient and to forget my focus. When this happens,
This is hard work and is very humbling at times. When I step back and see the big picture I am awed. I think of walking down a dirt road. Ahead of me I see the footprints of the people who have forged this road, and behind me I see my footprints over top of those. I can also picture the footprints of the generations to follow. This is my path. I am right where I need to be. I am Young Leather and I am proud.
July 18-22 2008 NLA_CFL in Tampa, Fl
August 7-10 2008 Master/slave Conference in Washington D.C.
Sept. 5 2009 The Red Chair Birmingham Al
September 20 2008 Hickory Playground Gastonia NC
September 26-28 2008 Fetish Fair Fleamarket in Charlotte, NC
Oct. 4 2008 T3WD Vendors Fair Columbia, SC
Oct. 10-12 2008 DomCon Atlanta, GA
November 14-16 2008 SC-Lock Fall Campout Greenville SC
Dec. 31 2008 RSVP Baton Rouge LA
Jan. 17 2009 Bootblacking Day Class Charlotte NC
Jan. 31 2009 Fundraiser for my trip to ICBB at 1763 Atlanta, GA
February 27-March 1 2009 South Plains Leatherfest in Dallas Texas
Feb. 21 2009 Hickory Playground Hickory, SC
March 8 2009 Sunday Service Grover, NC
March 21 2009 North Carolina Leather Contest Raleigh NC
April 3-5 2009 Leather Leadership Conference Atlanta, GA
April 9-12 2009 Frolicon in Atlanta Ga.
April 17-19 2009 NLA-Houston in Houston TX
May 1-3 2009 Submissive Journey Weekend in Pigeon Forge, Tn
June 12-14 2009 Southeast Leatherfest in Atlanta Ga
This year has started out with a bang for me. At DomCon Atlanta in October I made the decision to run for International Community BootBlack. A wonderful gentleman from Atlanta decided to host a fundraiser for me. He worked with Ms. Whip and the people from 1763 and set it up for the end of January. I attended this fundraiser on January 31, 2009. Talk about amazing.
It was 1763’s Stations of the Cross night. We were given a station to bootblack at. He rounded up 6 bootblacks (including myself) and we blacked our hearts and our butts off. 4 hours and our station was never empty. I am proud to say that the bootblacks raised 513 dollars towards my trip to San Francisco. This will pay for my plane ticket and a good portion of my hotel room. Thank you so much Elegant, LB3, BootBrat, Michael, and most especially to the man who put it all together. You were all amazing. I will do my best to make you all proud of me.
I left Atlanta the morning after the fundraiser, made a pit stop in Charlotte to pick up the last of my stuff and then moved my entire life to Durham, NC. Its been a crazy month since then. Adjusting to a new city, starting a new job, learning to live with a new family has all kept me super busy. But, I’m so happy to be here. It was just the change I needed in my life.
Upcoming for me is SPLF, LLC, Frolicon, and NLA-Houston Spring Iniquity. I will also be teaching two classes at Submissive Journey Weekend 2009. This is an event that is near and dear to my heart. I attended the inaugural one last year and its where I met my girlfriend. So how could I not love it. I am glad to be able to give back to them this year. Then I will be attending SELFs Kinky Prom, which promises to be an amazingly fun event. After all that, it will be time to wrap up my year as SELF BootBlack. What an amazing year its been. I can’t wait to see what the next several months hold. Thank you all so much for your continued support of me as I continue on my journey.
SELF Bootblack 2008
Its been a few busy months since my last column. They have been full of fun, friends, new people, and lots and lots of boots. I have traveled from Florida all the way to Louisiana and back. I have had the pleasure of making many new friends along the way.
In July, I flew down to Tampa to present for NLA-CFL. I did a full day presentation on Leather, comprised of the Young Leather round table discussion which is based on my speech from SELF; and then I taught Bootblacking and a short demo on boot worship. I had never done boot worship publicly before and boy was it well received. The people at NLA-CFL were just amazing. I have never been treated so well in my life. I hope I have the opportunity to go down there again someday.
The Fetish Fair Fleamarket-Carolinas was held in September and that was an amazingly fun weekend to work. Cecilia and her crew were top notch. Since the event was held here in Charlotte I got to spend alot of time with local friends. And had a bevy of volunteers for boot worship. It constantly amazes me how many times that class is requested and how much fun it is to teach.
I had the pleasure and honor of working with my very first BDSM group, T3WD, in October. I went and bootblacked for the day at their 4th Annual Vendors fair. I have been wanting to work with them for quite a while now. They are the group that gave me my start in this lifestyle and they are a great group of people.
Also in October I bootblacked at DomCon in Atlanta. This was very special to me because I got to travel with and work with one of my very favorite people in the world, Q-tip. She taught me most of what I know, not to mention pushing me to run for SELF this year. She is an inspiration to me in so many ways. This was my stand out event of the year. I got to meet so many new and fun people. I also got to meet Jay Wiseman at this event. He was such a nice guy.
I finished out my year with attending and teaching a class at the SC-LOCK Midnight Masquerade Campout. I won't divulge details so as to protect the not so innocent. I will just say that no one who was there will soon forget the craziness of that weekend.
I am taking the rest of the year pretty much off. I might make one more trip down to Atlanta, but I'm not sure yet. In January I start the year running with many events, large and small. I can't wait. I have loved my title year so far and am chomping at the bit to get going again.
No column would be complete without a few thank yous:
First, to the SELF staff for their continued support.
To my girl who constantly amazes me and who helps keep my calendar straight.
To Q and Elegant for always answering my questions and helping me on my journey.
To Sir Kris, Leather Mentor extraordinairre. Thank you for working around my crazy schedule
To Wayne for all your help getting me ready for ICBB.
And finally, to everyone I have interacted with over the last 6 months, ya'll are amazing!!
Wow, what a wild few weeks since SELF! It has been great and I am starting to get my feet under me.
The first thing is my thank yous. I did not make it to SELF, nor did i make it through the competition on my own. I had an amazing support system and an amazing group of people spread throughout North and South Carolina and beyond who stepped up and helped out. Thank you to each and every one of you. Your support, donations, love, and willing ears/arms/backs meant the world to me.
Thank you to the SELF Board for producing a fabulous event. I have never felt so loved and cared for as I did while competing for this title. You guys really do know how to take care of your contestants. I would also like to thank the judges. Every interaction I had with each of you led to me taking something away. It was wonderful to get to interact with such a venerable group of ladies and gentlemen.
I have now attended SELF twice and both times have been life changing events for me. I cannot say enough good things about this event and the people who put it on each year. All I can say is if you have stumbled across my column and you have never attended SELF before, make your way to the registration page and sign up as soon as possible. You won't regret it. I have made friends and loved ones through SELF that I likely wouldn't have met otherwise. And that is what it is all about. SELF is a place for family and friends to meet, reconnect, and spend time together.
My schedule has started off with a bang. I taught my first class at my home group, CAPEX (Charlotte Area Power EXchange), this past weekend. I did bootblacking 101. It was a great class with a small group who asked alot of questions and the class was well received. I look forward to the opportunity to present for CAPEX again soon. July 4th weekend will see me in Atlanta volunteering for Atlanta PRIDE weekend. Then I will be flying down to Tampa to present/fundraise with NLA-CFL. I am really excited about this one. Its sure to be a great weekend.
In October i will be flying out to San Francisco to compete for the title of International Community BootBlack. It is going to be a weekend full of fun and some seriously stiff competition. I can't wait.
I have a few dates set up for next year as well. I will be presenting at NLA-Houston in April. I will also be attending South Plains. I have several more offers in the works now and will keep you all up to date.
It is my pleasure and privilege to hold this title. I have never done anything like this before and I am awed by the amount of support and the outpouring of love i have received. I am going to do my best to make you all proud and to be worthy of the faith you have placed in me. Thank you so much.
SouthEast Bootblack 2008
Speech given at SELF
Usually you don't look for leather but rather leather finds you. You
could be at an event one day and over hear a conversation or meet up
with someone who takes the time to explain leather to you. Suddenly
something clicks. You have found your leather heart. This happened to
me about a year and a half ago. I was your typical young kinkster. I
had the vest and the boots and wore them because they were hot. But,
then I overheard the phrase "earned leather." I was curious what this
meant, so I approached the person who had said it and they were more
than happy to offer an explanation. It was a very brief cursory
explanation, but it triggered something deep inside of me. I knew this
was what I had been looking for. I took off my boots and my vest that
night and haven't put them back on since.
Once I discovered leather I never looked back. I soaked up everything
I could find and talked to everyone I could. That is how I became
Young Leather. I am one of the next generations. I take this very
seriously. I have duties and a legacy to carry on. I have chosen a
path that requires work and commitment in addition to the other
responsibilities in my life. I have chosen to carry on these long
standing leather traditions. Many of you in this room are the ones
who chose to walk the path before me. Some of you are the ones who
will walk the path after me. I have a responsibility to uphold these
leather traditions, not just for me but for all of us
To uphold the leather tradition I must keep not only learning from my
elders, but also passing down what I know to the ones coming behind
me. In this way our history and our traditions will survive the test
In addition to the responsibilities I have, I must also be conscious
of where my focus is. I am young leather and sometimes that leads me
to be impatient and to forget my focus. I sometimes forget the
important things in my life. When this happens, I remember a statement
that a good friend of mine made, "Earning leathers is what keeps us
grounded." My focus in my journey right now is earning my leathers.
Through doing this I gain an insight into the past, present, and
future of leather. I have been given assignments that range in focus
from the history of leather folk who have passed on to What earning my
leathers means to me. I look both inside myself and outside into the
leather world for the answers.
This is hard work and it is very humbling at times. When I step back
and see the big picture I am awed. I often think of walking down a
dirt road. Ahead of me I see many sets of footprints. They are the
footprints of the people who have forged this road. If I look behind
me I see my footprints over top of those and I can also picture the
footprints of the next generation coming along after mine. This is my
path. I am right where I need to be. I am Young Leather and I am proud.
This speech was written and given from the heart. I love what i do and
i feel like that showed. Thank you to everyone who expressed interest
in seeing my speech.
SELF Bootblack 2008