on community…

I was quiet and contemplative most of the weekend.

I have been to enough leather gatherings that nothing particularly stood out at South Plains Leatherfest, except I was constantly reminded of community and that is, of course, still tied to the raggedy broken place in my chest. Some quality time with my babygirl. She had a Femme fetishwear explosion in my bedroom, and she is so tail-waggy with that big joyful grin when she steps out. Infectious. I enjoyed several conversations with Dossie Easton and always fall heartdeep into her *adorable* girlish energy and profound soulfulness. Volunteering at registration for four hours straight was a small price to pay to attend Midori’s workshop on archetypes. Got to see some of my favorite Butch-Femme folks, which is of course tied to… well, you know.

A bazillion years ago in another life, a power Femme was arguing about something I don’t even remember, and I swooped in all webmasterly and tried to smooth the situation toward tolerance. Peacemaker is the role I play in my bio family and also in my chosen family. But she wasn’t having it. I ended our exchange by telling her to have a good day. Poorly chosen expression in hindsight, but I wasn’t trying to silence her. All I sincerely meant was… peace out, sweet warrior sista, and don’t let the politic infect your happiness. Apparently, in Canada, wishing someone a good day is the ultimate smackdown. This woman has despised me for more than a decade for simply for wishing her peace, and while she was trying to pretend I was invisible, I could feel her seething hate juice all the way across the hotel lobby. The more visible you are in a community, the bigger a target you become, and as a leader you just learn to roll with the misdirected venom. But fuck a bunch of senseless internet misconceptions, right? I went straight up to her and told her she really did misunderstand me that day. She angrily explained that she was trying to take up for older Femmes. I said, "Well, I dearly love Femmes of any age and will always fight for them too." Then her face almost softened and she said, "But I know you’ve had a hard year, Rhon." UHG. Uhg. We haven’t spoken or interacted in any way in a decade. What do you think you know about me or my life? Did you hear some vague rumor that I went "crazy" and Chris had to steal my web site in order to protect our community? That I tried to fight, but she had turned our closest friends into a ‘board of trustees’?

I wanted to tell this woman a bare truth too ugly to speak of. Someone I loved dearly dumped a bucket of piss on me, and now I can’t get the stench of her piss out of my clothes. I have no platform, but if I ever cross your mind, woman, stranger, I wish you and a thousand other strangers just like you could hear one brief announcement … When I look into my closet for something to warm my flesh, "pathetic victim" is NEVER the coat I choose. That lie is not part of the story of survival I have been crafting for 44 years, no matter how many tears I may have yet to spill. Instead, I wished her an enjoyable weekend, but I don’t know how the same sentiment of peace was received a decade later.

At the end of their big brunch rally when all of the keynotes departed and most of the audience had left the room, one of the owners of South Plains stepped down after ten years of community service. I saw him shaking with emotion as he ceremoniously hugged one of the other owners. There were hardly any people left to clap for a man who brought so many people together. Gratitude is not the gift you get in exchange from the people you serve, and I know this well. However, the quiet dignity of his decision was exactly as it should be.

I wrote on my hands again today to try and convince my head in hopes that my heart may soon follow: THE END. On my right hand, I wrote BEGIN AGAIN WITH LOVE. That has been taped to my monitor all year while I’ve applied all kinda salve and bandages on my own bloody hole. I dress the wound daily just as I dress myself, but the loss of my Butch-Femme community is the one gash that seemingly will not stop seeping. And it’s not injustice or covetness or vanity that keeps my heart from healing. It’s the most devout love that I have been left to strangle this past year. I wasn’t yet ready to say goodbye. I don’t feel like my work was done. Even for strangers who believe they know me well enough to despise me, I have a pure love entwined with the most sinewy ropes of my being. It simply refuses to die.

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And yeah, I despise pity, but I could use some encouragement if ya got any to spare. Repose is what I have been seeking amongst all these shards. Acceptance is the final stage of grief, they say. I sure hope so. My biggo heart when broken weighs at least 8 or 9 squillion pounds. Exhausting to carry.

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