Breathing Room, Maybe
I’ve been absent and silent here, but not because I was loafing around, eating bon-bons and catching up on my new season of Sherlock. There has been, in fact, an appalling lack of loafing and bon-bon consumption for the last few months.
I was in San Jose last month, at IMsBB / IMsL, watching one of my titleholders step down from her year as International Ms Bootblack. Many of you who might read this probably know her, or at least know of her. She won the Bluegrass Leather Pride Bootblack title in March of 2015, then won Great Lakes Bootblack in October of 2015, then won the International title in April of 2016.
I’d gone out to see her compete and win, and to visit a friend as well. That IMsL wasn’t a great experience for me in a lot of ways, many of them self-imposed, but watching her win a title I had watched her work towards for the last four years, and worked with her much of that time, too, was the absolute best part of it.
I don’t often go to an event, however far away, where I feel at odds, but I did there. I don’t think I was the only one who came away with mixed feelings. The energy felt off, and I really felt, for the first time in this community, both invisible and unwelcome because of my age.
I ran into people I knew, absolutely, and there were many really enjoyable moments, but it also felt as though anyone whom I didn’t already know simply looked through me, while many others around me had very different experiences. On the whole, beyond the contest and the outcome, it was one of my least pleasant event experiences in 20 years of going to them.
Now that I said all that, let me say this. I had an absolute blast this year. The energy felt much different, much more upbeat and fun, even with the terrible and tough things going on all around us. I didn’t feel invisible, and was also almost as happy this year with the results as I was last.
I watched Girl Complex win the 2017 IMsL sash, and I have chatted with her a bit, I think she’ll be a really energetic IMsL and it’s great to have it on the west coast again. Her fantasy was really great, and I was happy to see her win.
The much more personal moment was seeing the Great Lakes Bootblack, Elisa, do so well. She showed enormous stage presence, and her speech really resonated with me. Her pop question answer was exactly what they should be – funny, while revealing a bit about how someone thinks on their feet, and how their mind works.
It was especially meaningful to me because I knew some of the history. Meghan had competed against Elisa for Great Lakes Bootblack in 2015, and lost to her. As happy as Meghan was to win, I knew it was also hard for her to see Elisa lose, because they were close. Lots of people, myself included, encouraged Elisa to come back, and she did, and Meghan was able to place the Great Lakes sash on her in Indianapolis.
To be able to see that come full circle, to see Meghan give the sash she wore for a year to the woman she had handed the Great Lakes sash too, as well, was my favorite part of the whole weekend. At the end of the weekend, I asked the boi what his favorite moment had been and he said, “Seeing how proud you were when Meghan gave Elisa the sash.”
I also presented this year, and I always do better when I feel like I have a job to do, too, but it genuinely was a lot of fun. I met some folks I’d not formally met before and met others I’d never heard of. I got to hang out with Elisa’s handler, Kenn Kennedy, and that was a lot of fun, too.
Before IMsL, of course, was Bluegrass Leather Pride, which went exceptionally well, and now that I might actually have some time, you might even hear about that soon, too.
I’m also going to make a pitch and a request. I’ve worked with more people on their title runs than I can remember, not just my own contestants, but contestants in this and other areas. I could tell you that the people who listen to me the most closely usually do the best, but that would seem self-serving and egotistical, even if it’s true. 🙂
I have, as you might know, a couple books on Amazon – which you can find here – including one for people considering a title run. If you haven’t bought it, but are thinking about a run, you really probably should, it’s pretty cheap and it will actually help you do better and know what to expect.
Also, if you’re one of those dozens of titleholders I worked with, a review would really be appreciated. Reviews are what puts titles in front of eyes, and that is what sells books. 🙂
Public service announcement over, but bear in mind, I’m going to start bugging you individually soon.