Slaying Fear, Being Out & Rise Of The Guardians

It’s not often that I talk about mainstream media artifacts on my blog, but sometimes something catches me so intensely I can’t help it.   Kestryl and I first saw the ads for the Dreamworks movie “Rise of the Guardians” when we were on our Europe Tour – I think it was London or Paris where the tube stations were COVERED in ads for the film (one of these days I’ll do more blogging about how incredible the tour was and all the things that keep flooding through my mind). ANYWAY I was more than a little enamored by the image of a Santa clause with “Naughty” and “Nice” forearm tattoos – perhaps enamored isn’t quite the right word, lets just say that hit just about every one of my kinks, and I knew that it was a film I wanted to see.

Daddy surprised me by taking me to the film on the Friday after Thanksgiving. We’d headed into Manhattan to take a peek at a holiday craft market and were about to head home when we walked past a theater and ze suggested we see if the film was playing, and it was, and we went, and my world was changed.  Ok I know that sounds dramatic, and I know it’s only a cartoon but seriously this film hit all of my buttons in the very best of ways. It was centered around everything that I truly believe in, and was brilliantly crafted without one thing I would have changed.

I don’t want to give too much away because I really think it’s a film worth experiencing in the theater (I skipped the 3D version because that shit gives me a headache). For me the core of the film was about the power of belief, how damaging it can be for you not to be believed in, but also the power of belief itself, and finding and staying true to one’s center- that thing about you that is core and consuming and defines you.  Needless to say, the timing of this film’s release and my watching it couldn’t have been more ideal. I’ve blogged before how I wrote Roving Pack all through what I think were the brutalist waves of my Saturn Return, it was an interesting experience and also a profoundly powerful one and I can’t think of a better time for me to have been writing that book. It was the book I needed to write at that particular moment and  I’m painfully proud not only of it, but of myself and the self-work I did to be able to write the sort of novel I knew Roving Pack had the potential to become.

Related, I’ve been thinking a lot about littleness, the decisions that I’ve made around how public I have or haven’t been about leather in the broadest sense, but then too about what it means for me to identify as little. For a long time there were all these arbitrary lines I drew – saying that I identify as a leather person, but not saying that I was little, all the while posting on my social networking pictures of all kinds of “little things.”  Somewhere along the way (about the time I finished the first major edit of Roving Pack) I stopped being so afraid and came back out of the little closet (what drove me into it again in the first place is a whole different story) and began living more openly. Also central to the plot of Rise of the Guardians is the recognition that fear is the darkest enemy we will ever fight, but that we must fight  – see again, incredibly timely movie. Ultimately, there is no way that I could have moved forward with hiding this piece of who I am – so I stopped trying to and I started talking more openly about my life, my world and that led me to this place of realizing the power and value in naming exactly who and what I am. Although the novel is about so much more than this, I think on a personal level I needed to write Roving Pack in order to claim a public leather identity. By the same hand, I think I needed to edit Leather Ever After to reclaim a public little identity. I don’t believe in accidents. I know that I’m drawn to create certain work that pushes me in the ways I need to be challenged even if I don’t realize it until after the book is finished.

A week ago some dear friends who consider themselves my fairy godmothers mentioned to me a conversation they had with their child.  She’s six and asked her moms why I was “grownup and still played with toys” and “why Santa came to visit” me (they shared these things with her from my facebook).  When I first read that part of their message I panicked a little bit, worried and unsure of what was coming next.  Then,  my fairy godmother told me that she replied that “Sassafras wasn’t really been able to be a kid when ze was growing up, so ze gets to be one now. “ Her daughter – who I think clearly is very wise thought about what her mom had said, and then replied “that it seems fair” to her.

I almost started crying when I read that message because it felt like the most intensely appropriate way for someone to describe me.  Now of course before anyone starts writing an angry comment, I have (and do) offer more complicated analysis about how I don’t see being little as a direct product of abuse. Littleness feels like the most consistent and present part of me, I believe it’s who I would have been no matter what. However, it was a remarkable moment to watch someone outside the leather community really get me, and truly and completely embody what it means to be an ally.

The aspect of the interaction with my Fairy Godmothers was so intense because there was for me the realization that I was truly being seen, without the fetishized assumptions. For me being little isn’t a fetish, nor is it a kink. I bristle at those terms being ascribed to my littleness not because I think there would be something wrong if it was but because for me it isn’t. It’s my core, my center. The Rise Of The Guardians is all about finding who you really are and then understanding and claiming your center – what guides you. Most of all at my core I’m guided by whimsy. In my life that translates into the ability to look at broken glass on the sidewalk and see fairy dust, to believe that all around me is magic, and to constantly seek adventure

I find it so funny when people think living in a 24/7 power dynamic must be some kind of sexual fantasy playground. For me, leather is about many many things – packs, pacts, commitments, community, growth, and magic but rarely sex. I’m in a non-sexual primary relationship. I know that I have the most sexual compatibility with other leather boys, but even that isn’t a regular part of my life (something I never thought would be something that felt good). For me littleness is a way of life, the most authentic part of myself and where I’m most at peace. A couple of weeks ago I wrote on my facebook  “remarkable, is the feeling of being confident in my creative work: past, present, and future. to not just say but know that I’m on the right path- doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and have that coincide with unprecedented silence in the dysphoria department #gender #queer #writing #SaturnReturn”

The last decade + of queerness and leather has been an incredible journey. I don’t pretend I’ve got it all figured out but I really feel that in the past couple of years I’ve done substantial growth and so many puzzle pieces have fallen together, and perhaps even most importantly I’ve stopped being ashamed of my center, stopped wishing I could also want a different (read: boring grownup) kind of relationship stopped wishing I could somehow be different. I can’t wait to keep growing, and seeing what books I’m drawn to create

Also  – you should check out this video where I share my new favorite Christmas book (that we found in Europe on tour) with you:  THE DINOSAUR THAT POOPS CHRISTMAS!