MEMBER ARTICLE: Events mean more than the parties they Provide
15 November 2019
It's Friday before Folsom. I've just landed at Tegel airport, I'm beaming with excitement but as always, I'm running late and in a rush. I'm meant to be at a friend's Pre-Folsom drinks. It's a tradition I look forward to every year. I hop on the first bus I see to Wittenbergplatz, make my way to my hotel, and immediately get changed into gear. I instantly feel better about myself, more confident and excited for the weekend to come. At my friend's drinks I see so many familiar faces and meet a fair number of new ones. From home, from Berlin and from afar. We catch up, laugh, tell stories about sessions and experiences we've had, about the parties we're going to this weekend, what we're wearing and when we're leaving - this last one always seems to be contentious! Although I see most of these friends once or twice in a year, somehow it feels like yesterday was the last time we met. We're all connecting, and the excitement is growing. We also take the traditional tour of our host's grand and ever accumulating playroom, which never ceases to amaze and arouse all us guests. I can't stop smiling, it feels so good to be back here and back with them. After a few more laughs together, it's time for the next moment in this weekend adventure. This moment, which I call the "Calm before the Storm", always has me wagging with excitement.
It's Easter Sunday in Berlin. I'm exhausted, haven't had a proper meal in two days. I crawl out of bed in the late afternoon, check my phone for messages from friends to see if anyone's awake yet. None yet. I hop in the shower, moving my soaked rubber from last night to the side, get dressed in my favorite Gear Berlin shirt, Alpha Industries Bomber, Nasty Pig hat, and I head into town. It's been one hell of a weekend and I can't stop smiling. Looking at photos and recalling memories, my face hurts from smiling. I find some friends in town and we grab our last drink together. Some are from home, some from Berlin, and others from afar. We're all together, in gear and out, sharing this moment just as we shared many moments over the course of a few short, intense days. Its blissful, relaxing and up-lifting. We are all our whole selves. Eventually, even a drink becomes too much for my exhausted body and mind, I head back for one more night's rest. The next morning, I'm off to the airport to go home. This moment, which I call the "Return to Reality", always has me feeling bittersweet.
It's the Sunday after Fetish Week London's Full Fetish. I wake up at home with two good friends laying besides me, having just had some of the best cuddles I've had yet, helping me to feel surprisingly rested. I go to the kitchen, make some coffee, bring to my friends who are just waking up. We make breakfast together, our last meal of the weekend, and reminisce about the moments had and memories made the night before. There are smiles all around. My friends slowly gather their things, a few of us share one final cigarette together, and when the time comes, they make their way out on their own way home. At home, alone, facing another "Return to Reality", I'm feeling bittersweet.
People inside and outside our community ask me often, "Why do you go to so many events? Aren't they just a bunch of big parties with loud music? Aren't they all the same? They look expensive, are they really worth it?" I've just been to my 4th Folsom, and in between then and now, I haven't missed a single Fetish Week London, Darklands in Antwerp, Berlin Folsom, or Easter Berlin. For the foreseeable future, I don't intend to miss any either.
For many, these events are more than just big parties with loud music. They're not all the same - variation is good - and for the ways in which they are the same, the continuity is appreciated. We have a unique community in the sense that what binds us above all is not a common language or geographic location. Rather, it's a sub-culture by which we, from all walks of life, identify and express ourselves. Sure, we can connect online, this is vital. I've met some of my most cherished friends online through different kink related social media accounts. But virtual connections don't bring us physically together, the way humans naturally bond: in person. These events do. They offer our community this platform for convening in person and a gateway for expression and experimentation of our identity. They give us a chance to meet our friends, fans and heroes. They give us an outlet to express ourselves, sexually and non-sexually, together with other likeminded people. They allow us to explore and experiment with our kinks. They give us a chance to break into this community for the first time. They give us space to just be. They give legitimacy to our community and, of course, they're fun. I believe we owe an incredible amount of gratitude to those who make the effort to organize these events, Team Recon, Folsom Europe, Darklands, Manchester Rubbermen, and countless others both big and small. Your efforts do not, and should not, go unnoticed or unappreciated. You offer us these platforms, this legitimacy, and these opportunities to be ourselves and make memories.
In my own experience, I've realised I need these platforms, these outlets, these opportunities. Being with likeminded people, who I can bond so well with, and just be ourselves together, brings me incredible happiness and peace of mind. For me, these events are not just fun, they're therapeutic. They foster confidence in me and help me to see I'm not alone in wanting to be my true self. This is why events matter more to me than the parties that they offer. Even though I leave these events sad that they're over, I'm so happy for having been a part of them, for the memories made, and the fun had. This is what makes them bittersweet, this is what makes them worth it and I can never wait for the next one.
If I could share any advice, it would be this: I broke into this community through these events. All I can say to you is please go, go to an event, reach out to others, explore, and experiment. I could not do it alone or without these spaces and opportunities. You are not alone. Like many others, I am striving to offer the support to those breaking into the scene, that I received myself. If you're curious about attending an event, or want to make new friends, feel free to reach out to me on Recon, I'll be happy to hear from you. Even better, I hope to see you at the next event.
licks and wags
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