I realized that not only have I written a kink-related post in a month, but that I have plenty to write about. My intent was to chronicle my leather journey on this blog, and I’ve hit quite a few milestones in the time I’ve been running it.
So I figured I’d start again with the 10th anniversary of the Denver Boys of Leather building bears at Build-A-Bear Workshop. They host a couple build days each year, one of which is at the Chapel Hills Mall location in Colorado Springs. Anywhere from 60 to 100 bears are built at each event, and all the bears built in the Springs are donated to TESSA, a local confidential services provider for women and children that are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
It was initially a little awkward wearing leather in the mall. It helped that there was a whole contingent of us, but we certainly stuck out among the families and kids rushing their Christmas shopping: a bunch of adults, mostly men pushing middle age, wearing leather boots and vests at a minimum.
Despite all the weird looks people shot at us, the reception was actually quite warm! Apparently the staff at Build-A-Bear fought over this shift; they’re really passionate about groups that made bears for a cause, which made us good in their books. When I was finishing up my haul, a customer approached me completely jazzed about our cause, news of which passed down the line as curious customers struck up conversation with us.
Overall, the energy was insane, and I think that’s because the cause we were building bears for hit so close to home. I still own the stuffed animal I’ve had since I was an infant, and I remember how important it was to me as a kid. I can’t begin to imagine just how powerless and alone a child in an abuse shelter, a hospital, or even out on the streets must feel, but I know first-hand just how powerful the companionship of a stuffed animal can be, especially when you know that someone made it with you in mind. Something like that is a giant morale boost, to know that someone is thinking of you and that everything is going to turn out okay. I’m tearing up just thinking about it!
One of the main tenants of the leather household I’m being mentored by is selfless service, and I like to think I’m doing pretty well in that regard; I’m a board member of the Marquis Lifestyle Center, a member of Voodoo Leatherworks’ leadership team, and a volunteer for the National Coalition of Sexual Freedom.
But the thing is, I’m not bragging here, because I’m not the only one. The leather community has blown me away with how the insane amounts of money and man-hours each individual member give back to the communities in which they reside. The event at Build-A-Bear drove home for me just how positive and far-reaching the impact of our service is. The leather community is a cause I believe in because giving back is one of its core values. And it's my duty to do my part!
Here’s a picture I had taken of me at the event! Notice how I made exclusively hoofed animals, because – as I’ve iterated many times on Twitter – hoofed animals are the best animals.