I think I was around 28 when I got My tattoo. I was finally tired of hating Myself and hiding who and what I am in the name of social acceptance. I chose My tattoo as a reminder to Myself not to hold back or hide, not to make excuses or concessions. To anyone who knows, My tattoo clearly labels Me as "sexually liberated" as I jokingly say. While the story of the tattoo is its own, the point is that by tattooing a BDSM triskelion on My body, I quite literally painted a target on My back.
The second time I entered the Atlanta Kink Community was after making this commitment to Myself (the first time having been almost ten years before). I remember laughing at people thinking I was "new" even back then... until they saw the tattoo on My back. I pretty quickly found a place amongst the Community by catching the attention of toymakers, board members, photographers, event organizers.... Many of My partners and friends have been heavily involved in the Lifestyle in a very public way. It was liberating for a time to feel free to be Myself and show off My tattoo.
Then the day came, as it does, when a person realizes that Kink-land isn't the welcoming inclusive open-minded place they thought it was. In fact, it is arguably the most judgmental and most intolerant group of folks out there! There is a moment when the reality of just how quickly the "community" will turn on a person hits home. It didn't happen to Me specifically (that time), but it did happen to My porn filming, event hosting partners who are genuinely kind and caring people. And that is when I realized that the more popular or prominent you become, the more you put yourself out there, the bigger a target you present for haters and trolls to tear you down.
It made Me want to run away again and forget the promise of the target I willingly put on My own back and hide My own desires and interests. It made Me want to stay quiet about right and wrong and opinions and beliefs so as not to draw that same negative attention to Myself. I pulled back from My personal involvement in groups. I rescinded My interest in teaching. I stopped volunteering or organizing events. I was disgusted and saddened by... well... all of the dumpster fire drama the Community has to offer.
And this pattern has repeated itself time and again in wave after wave after wave. Not just to Me, but to anyone who finds themselves in a position of attractiveness, popularity, leadership etc. within Kink. Atlanta, North Carolina, Florida... anywhere I've spent time in the community- they all have the same types of stories of the rise and fall of "Fet-lebrities". As soon as someone tries to step up, a host of voices tear them back down. It is no wonder the good people don't want to speak out or step up. It is no wonder that so many people leave the Community. I Myself almost did/tried to several times!
Today, I once more find Myself in a position of power. Not because I wanted it! Ha! The funny truth is, I usually try to avoid it. I avoid it because I do not want to make the target on My back bigger than it already is or increase the chance of emotional ambush. I protect Myself by choosing My battles, My words, My posts... My very involvement in the Lifestyle I love so much. Jumping from Lifestyle to "Pro", I've put Myself out there full blast for potential shame and ridicule, ugliness and spite.
And now I'm magnifying it.
I'm once again taking a step up on the Community ladder. I swore I would never host another event after January of 2020... but as times change, I find Myself a reluctant leader and event organizer. Atlanta, I'm putting My neck out on a chopping block because I love you, believe in you, and want to give back to you. I am doing the thing I swore I would not do- I'm full forward taking on the hits I know will come by voluntarily hosting play parties, classes, and so on. My intentions are genuine, and I go in with eyes open knowing I cannot please everyone.
The target just got bigger. I hope I'm ready for the blows that are sure to follow.