In response to the subject (Daily Prompt: Journey) posted by WordPress’ own The Daily Press, namely to write about a physical journey or an emotional one; this very blog itself IS about one such journey. Its very existence and purpose originated from the idea of adventure, which is often referred to as the spice of life. This blog is a diary, a journal, for the sake of understanding into the subject of kink and fetish – you know, those ‘weirdos’ into whips and chains.
Admittedly I am not very adept at writing, the effort counts in the end, and to answer your question a journey is simply an unspoken tale; a story that each person alive has experienced, up until the point of their death, and arguably beyond that. Each person, as an individual, has different experiences that shape and define them, but between two people there are at times certain relevance. It brings everyone together and enables us to relate to one another.
This journey, at present, was originally to explore the fetish communities around North America. To save money, granted that budget is tight, as well as to experience the interactions of the world at large, I opted to walk a good majority of distance across cities; though, to be fair, much of the distance was covered by transit for safety’s sake – not that I would object to walking across an empty road at night, caution and fears aside. It is not for profit or recognition – though, I confess, for honesty’s sake, donations and the slight occasional ego boost is rather refreshing.
The Australians have a term for it: Walkabout. Native Aborigines from that region would undertake a venture into the great outback, pitting themselves against the elements, and upon their safe return would enable them to be considered an adult. Many often do not survive such a journey which, perhaps, is why a walkabout is often associated with fatalistic motivations and outcomes.
People may argue that a journey has roots and personally, my roots stem from having identified as a member of the BDSM/fetish crowd, which continues to experience certain levels of prejudice and misunderstanding from parts of the world. It is a taboo culture within a modern culture that promotes conformity and material wealth, often times considered nothing more than acts of domestic violence in some parts of the world.
What BDSM represents, at least in my opinion, is foreplay for consenting adults.
Often times it seems as if though the attitudes of people in this day and age are based around a self-driven perspective, but an open-mind and the capacity for tolerance is necessary, for the betterment of everyone. In that the neighboring brothers and sisters within the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans communities have since developed to a level of acceptance, via the means of liberal media and culture, perhaps it can be said that tolerance does evolve gradually in time.
However, between the time from then and now, there are numerous stories regarding the journey of progress that these fine men and women (and everyone else inbetween) that vary between both trials and tribulations, often through times of extreme prejudice and bigotry. Each of these individuals, unique in identity, are no different than anyone else, such as you and I.
Their tastes in sexuality may be different yet similarly the differences between people, religion or politics or anything, are entirely subjective and relevant to everyone else; the question is by what right should we judge anyone, an individual, a person with a story, for any one perspective?
In that men and women within the fetish/BDSM community all share similar stories, backgrounds, histories; as individuals, to generalize them to media developed imagery such as fierce and forboding, dominant and uncaring, is absolute drivel. For that purpose, this journey began in March and at the time of this writing, is still continuing, all for the sake of spreading awareness.
The origins of this odyssey have evolved in time, starting first with an urge to escape from personal issues, gradually focused towards proper curiosity to explore, and the eventual realization of these simple irrefutable truths. Wherever it was that I traveled, the stories of those involved in these communities are rich and diverse; the behavior and beliefs of individuals parallel one another at times, conflicted with my own, but as a community – a culture of people – the BDSM scene is no different than everyone else, neither above nor below any culture in itself.
There is a sense of pride from identifying within this community, not for sexuality, but for the sake of relating to everyone, my brothers and sisters, from everywhere around North America and the rest of the world. The risk of outside prejudice has led to much seclusion to the history of the fetish culture, which like the LGBT movement, is never truly definitive. History is not written by one person but an entirety of stories, accounts and witnesses.
There are roots to this culture, considered to be strange and abnormal, when it is that those of us who identify with these activities – based off self perspective – see it as ‘normal’ by definition. There is a communal love and interest for one another, not unlike ‘ordinary’ men and women, a fondness for our fellows throughout. That some of us relate and find love, friendship and support, this culture itself represents a family or brotherhood/sisterhood.
The fetish culture, unique in history and identity, has shared its stories of hardship, like our kin in the LGBT and other lifestyle movements, makes it a worthy journey to experience. Hate and intolerance, I believe, is drawn from ignorance and self-righteousness. As a Canadian, I believe in democracy, the capacity for acceptance and understanding, peace on earth and good will to man – just like anybody else.
Wherever it is that I have traveled, searching and discovering these fellow communities within the BDSM movement, I have carried with me a symbol and flag that represents only a small sub-culture of the fetish lifestyle. The Leather Pride flag is recognized as the sign of the queer leather movement but in contemporary times is seen also as BDSM Pride as well. The flag is flown with immeasurable pride throughout my travels, which not only represents the culture but also to represent a message of support for all the remaining brothers and sisters throughout the world, no matter how oppressed, that they are not alone.
This journey is but a story, about a quest of discovery, by one man within one culture from one small part of the world. You, as an individual, have a journey of your own and a story as well, and in that there is courtesy from strangers along the road, support, this journey is dedicated to them – a walkabout and pilgrimage – throughout some good portion of the United States.
In closing, I wish you the best, that your mind should never be left without imagination; that you find a strength and inspiration that should last, never be left alone to scrutiny. From the BDSM community, at least one small voice within it, greetings and well wishes from afar. May your own journey be as safe, rich and rewarding (and kinky, if that’s your thing too).
Yellow/The Masked Deviant
The quality may be terrible but a $12 buffet is a traveler’s best friend on a budget.