Tig Natious: Ms. SouthEast LeatherFest 2016
Tig Natious is a self-proclaimed child of the internet, which led her to discover the world of kink at a young age. A pansexual, polyamorous switch, she joined the North Carolina scene in 2007, then later went on to discover the world of Leather in 2011 when she had the honor of being Ms North Carolina that year. A founder of Greensboro's Kinklings and an affiliate member of Tarheel Leather Club, Tig's passions and interest run deep and varied. A proud geek of many colors, Tig has had the pleasure of being able to combine all of her interests and teach others about kink and how to do it safely.
Calendar of Events
Oct 2016 Column
Wow, what a whirlwind it’s been since that amazing Saturday night in August. Where do I even start?
Winning the Ms SouthEast LeatherFest title for me is something that, quite frankly, I’m not sure has fully sunk in yet. I originally was planning to run for this title a few years ago, but things happened and I was never able to make it happen. Honestly, I was worried that I was going to lose momentum and not ever get back to doing the title run for a while. So for me, winning SELF is a bit of a major battle won in my life for so many different reasons that I won’t delve into; that’s a few stories for another time. I didn’t think I would ever do it, but here I am and I have done it and I couldn’t be more excited about it.
I hit the ground running back into the real world and life immediately after SELF ended as well as jumping right into as many events as I could make.
First up I had South Carolina Pride in Leather in Columbia, SC.
Tom and Peach put on an amazing event! In addition to their contest, which featured the new title of South Carolina Leather Ambassador, it was like being at a Leather run, with parties and cocktail hours running seemingly nonstop. It was amazing to be there and I seriously suggest putting it on your calendars for next year. LE, American Leatherwoman 2015, did a special showing of High Shine - Fifteen Years of International Ms Boothblack, a documentary about the history behind the Ms Bootblack title, and just wow. If you love bootblacks, are a bootblack, or just want to learn more about an important piece of our culture and history, do yourself a favor and make sure you watch this amazing film. It was an amazing start to my title year to spend the weekend with most of my sash family, Tori, Bella, rooks, and Timothy, in addition to sash-mom Jennifer.
The highlight of the weekend was being able to watch two incredible people compete for the new title. It was nail biting to watch two people have the same message and drive but from two different angles. There was no clear winner and I know I wasn’t the only one watching on the edge of my seat wondering who was going to win. But the judges and producers made an unprecedented decision to award the title to both contestants. Troy and Jay, I am so excited and proud of you both! Congratulations again you two, I look forward to watching you both over this next year.
Almost right after SC Pride in Leather I took off to head up North for the next few weeks for work. I’m in an around the Mid-Atlantic area for most of the next several months through Christmas. While I miss being in the South and all the amazing events going on at home, I have been more than excited to meet a whole new group of people up here and experience their events.
This past Saturday was my first Philadelphia Leather event at Philadelphia Leather Pride Night. Now for those of you who don’t know me, I grew up in the Philadelphia area, but as soon as I turned legal I ran away to the South for college. So even though I’m from here and always have a soft spot in my heart for the city of brotherly love, I have never made it to any kind of event here.
And just wow. The Philadelphia community is incredible! Everyone there welcomed me with open arms and even let me jump right in and help out with the biggest charity event of the year. Seriously, I am still processing this event, but it is definitely one that I want to go back to every year. The love and sense of community and belonging is exactly what you’d expect, and it didn’t matter that they’d never met me before, I was welcomed and loved unconditionally by everyone who I met there. I am doing a terrible job of describing it, but this event was incredible. I was also fortunate enough to get to spend the evening with Timothy and Lady Catherine, so even though we were all far from home, we still had our family.
It’s surprised me just how supportive really can be. Perhaps I just have this bad habit of not asking for help or merely expecting people to not want to help or be supportive, but at times it has been overwhelming for me at seeing just how many people have offered up support for me after what feels like only knowing them for a short time. It’s humbling, honestly. But it’s taught me that Leather is really where the heart is since home is where the heart is.
As for goals for this year? Right now I want to keep spreading my wings and making all these amazing connections. I really enjoy volunteering at events and helping out, it’s one of those ways where I instantly know that I’ve done something. Maybe I’m just a volunteer-slut. I also am excited about teaching more this year and have all ready been asked by several groups to come and teach, in addition to reaching out past my home area and my comfort zone. As soon as I know dates and final details, you’ll know too!
In the end, I’m excited for the time I get to spend representing SouthEast LeatherFest over the next several months. I’m excited for all the new opportunities I have, to make new connections, and to further grow as a person myself.
January 2017 Column
It's hard to believe that it's a new year all ready and just about half way through my title year.
So where have I been? Man, I've been everywhere it seems. I spent most of the past few months up in the north east for work, but I was able to attend several events while I was there.
I pulled double duty first, working at New York Comic Con during the day and then at night I was making it out to the first Northeast Puppy and Handler Contest. This was my first time going to an event where I knew no one in attendance. I learned about the event from Erick, International Mr Bootblack 2016, and we've talked online a bit, but I didn't have any one who was part of my community with me. NYC Puppies and Handler were so welcoming to this southern girl! They immediately made me feel welcomed and like I was home even though they'd never met me before. It was wonderful to watch Damien become the first Northeast Handler and Vidhra the first Northeast Puppy. NYC-PAH did such a great job with this contest for their first year. Little did I know that this was going to be such a gateway moment for me into the world of puppies and handlers.
The following weekend I was just going to go to the meet and greet for the Mid-Atlantic Puppy and Handler Contest. I grabbed Damien at the bus stop in Philadelphia and we headed down to Pup Indigo’s, Mid-Atlantic Drummer Boy 2016, and I ended up spending the entire weekend at the contest. It was such an amazing weekend and I got to spend more time around puppies and attended my first puppy mosh in addition to being able to help out with Puppymon Go, a puppy obstacle course designed by Indigo. I never expected to find myself in the role of being a handler, but the sheer fun and joy of it softened the shock of discovering something new about myself. Long story short, puppies make me happy and I am so excited to explore this new part of myself. Saturday night, Mika aka Pup Ruckus, was named the new Mid-Atlantic Puppy. He is such a sweet and wonderful person, I know he'll do great this year with the title.
There doesn't seem to be any rest for the wicked, and at the last minute I decided to go to my third event in a row and attend New Jersey Leather Weekend, home of the New Jersey Leather Contest. Nikki, Ms New Jersey Leather 2014, was a wonderful host and it was so great to see her again after meeting her at NEPAH Contest two weeks prior. I finally got to meet people who I'd only interacted with online in addition to seeing people I hadn't seen since Philadelphia Leather Pride Night. I even got to spend the weekend with the amazing Timothy again. Seriously, a girl could not ask for a more supportive and caring sash husband. The weekend was amazing, with various classes and great social moments, it was like this huge reunion of puppies, Leathermen, Leatherwomen, and everyone inbetween. You can tell that the New Jersey Leather community is a close one, family is definitely a value that they hold dear. Saturday night the contest culminated with Richard and Velvet Storm being named the new Mr and Ms New Jersey Leather.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time up North. It allowed me to spread my wings in a way and further explore what Leather means to me on a personal level while getting to experience a different Leather culture than the one I’ve grown up in. There really is no one and only way to do what we do. We are all a tribe of sorts and within the larger picture, each region has its own values and traditions that it seems to place in different orders than the other areas. It’s exciting, being able to see values of my own reflected in someone else despite us coming from two different backgrounds and regions. I really do look forward to traveling to new areas that I’ve never been to before and, hopefully, getting involved with the Leather community there. It sounds sappy, I know, but this title has given me a chance to explore this world of ours more, and I feel a bit like Belle when she first steps into the Beast’s library, wide eyed and excited.
I want to keep growing, learning, teaching, and experiencing over this next year. Even after I step down I want to keep doing whatever it is that I can do to help others learn, grow, and experience. Soon I’ll be turning 28, and I never thought I would be exactly where I am today. Despite all the reasons that we have to be afraid in the next year or more, I’m excited about all the good things that are still to come and being able to take more steps on my journey.
A big thank you to Indigo, Nikki, and Amanda, Florida Community Bootblack 2016. Thank you and your houses for housing me and taking care of me when I’ve stayed with you. You all are truly amazing people and I’m so glad that our paths crossed and that I have had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with all of you.
March 2017 Column
I know I’ve said this a lot, but I can hardly believe that I have sixteen weeks left in being the Ms SouthEast LeatherFest. I really don’t know where the time has gone.
So where have I been since we left off?
In January I celebrated my 28th birthday, and rather than stay at home where there was a looming threat of snow, I boogied on down to Florida for Kinky Camp Out in Palm City. It was amazing event, very small and intimate, on one of the most beautiful camp grounds I have ever seen. I got to see a lot of people who I hadn’t seen since SELF, and it was really great to be able to spend some one on one time and be able to get to know people better than I could while competing. It was so great to spend time with Amanda, Florida Community Bootblack 2016, even as we sat huddled around camp fires in the cold and then listened to the rain and thunder in our tents. I wouldn’t trade that weekend for the world because I also got to educate, and hopefully light a spark in, people about Leather and what it means to me. I got to talk to people about bootblacking and what exactly a contest was, and they had never heard of Leather before or had very little knowledge of it. Those moments are still with me and I hope I never forget them. A big thank you to Daddy Joe and Ember for letting me share your tent with you and helping me make these memories!
The following weekend I was honored to present my intro to polyamory class in Spartanburg, South Carolina with Piedmont Area Kinksters. The class went over really well and I did my best to cover topics that I wish someone had talked to me about when I first started practicing ethical non-monogamy. From types of relationships, to communication, to problem solving scenarios from questions asked by the class, it really was a great night and I am so glad that they invited me to teach. Thank you, Carlton!
The first weekend in February I got to pop back into The Woodshed in Charlotte, NC to see the ever wonderful Charlotte Tradesmen. It was a quiet night, my first time back to a bar night since August. I am so fortunate to have such an amazing group of people in one place, and getting to spend some “down” time in my home area was really invigorating.
After that I put a few hundred more miles on my car again and drove back up to Philadelphia to attend several events going on for the Mr and Ms Philadelphia Leather Contest. Friday night I attended Clutch/the send off party for Rudy and Alaina, Mr and Ms Philadelphia Leather 2016 respectively. To say that I got to spend time with old friends and new is an understatement as so many of my new connections from the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast area were there, it was like coming home for me now as opposed to a few months ago when I first came to the area knowing almost no one. That Saturday I spent the day at the Puppy and Handler Social that was hosted by Northeast Pup and Handler 2017, Vidhra and Sir Damien, and Mid-Atlantic Puppy 2017, Rukus. There was such a great turn out for that social! I really have learned to value the time I get in such intimate settings with people. Often times I feel like I miss the chance to really have deep, meaningful connections and conversations, so getting to be at an event where I get to have those moments has become one of my favorite things. That night we were back at The Bike Stop for the contest. A big congratulations again to Nick and Heather on becoming Mr and Ms Philadelphia Leather 2017! I stuck around afterwards for a bit to meet people who’d I’d only connected online previously before. Alaina was gracious enough to open her home to a few of us that night, and the discussions and conversations over the best pho delivery are some I will cherish forever. Thank you for allowing that to happen, Alaina!
My trip north didn’t last long, I left to go to DC to work, then I hopped over immediately to Chattanooga for work again, though this time I got to reunite with my extended sash family, Autumn. While I was at Connooga for work, Autumn and I found out that the con was having a charity auction and we put together a basket for them. I am proud to say that ours was one of the most successful and brought in a sizable donation for the con! Not only that, but I was also asked to not only sit on, but lead an advanced BDSM panel Saturday night at con. I am still incredibly floored and honored at being asked to do so. The discussion that my three other panelists and I had was incredibly informative and productive, all of us trying to make sure that we covered the things that we wished we had heard sooner in the lifestyle rather than having to learn it the hard way. Advanced BDSM is such a wide topic, but I feel like we all did a great job that night.
And that leads us to March. Phew. Every time I wonder what have I done, I write one of these blogs and I realize that I have been a lot of places in a short amount of time. I have taught classes, welcomed new titleholders, and yet I’m still not done yet.
This first weekend of March I’ll be at Bluegrass Leather Pride in Louisville, Kentucky. I am so excited to be attending and glad that I could work it into my schedule.
I also just launched a fundraiser for Bootblack Nona. If you haven’t heard of her before, she is the first bootblack titleholder for South Africa. She was given her first kit in 2014 and since then has been learning the art and skill of being a bootblack via Skype with her mentor. That level of determination is admirable. In December of 2016, she competed and won the title of SA Bootblack 2017. She’s going to represent her title at International Ms Bootblack in San Jose, California this year, but unfortunately her club and travel fund cannot cover the expense of traveling across the globe to represent. So in an effort to help, I designed a t-shirt inspired by the musical Hamilton, a show that has made it’s own mark in history, much like Nona has. The campaign will be running until March 23rd, and you can find it here. (https://teespring.com/sa-bootblack-2017-imsbb-fund#pid=2&cid=2397&sid=front)
I don’t think I can ever say it enough, but thank you to all of those who have helped me. Thank you for being supportive of me, thank you for opening your homes to me, thank you for the smiles, hugs, and love. I don’t know what I would be without you, but I am better because of you.
Until next time!
June 2017 Column