Today, I will be spending a quiet day of healing with my partner Rain. Her long-time mentor and friend, Anita, passed away yesterday. We knew that it was coming, as she was diagnosed with terminal cancer about a year ago. Anita helped Rain to understand herself and her submission and her passion for life in the times when Rain needed it most, and for that, Anita has my eternal gratitude. This world has lost a good person and a wonderful mind.
Thus far, neither of us has been able to manage the thoughts and feelings that have come up since we heard the news well enough to put them into words. Among those thoughts and feelings, for me, was a quiet sort of depression as I thought about how Anita would be remembered.
When I was married last summer, I anguished over my decision not to invite our kinky friends to the wedding. And when I heard this news, one of the thoughts that I had was whether I would make the same decision if, God forbid, something were to happen to my wife. Even as I write this, the thought makes me sick. Most of my dearest friends and closest confidants are my scene friends. I don’t know if I could make it through the loss of my partner, and all the events and protocol that come after, without having them by my side and supporting me.
That thought, that shadow of fear, that gut-wrenching, horrifying notion made work almost unbearable last night. I opened this page four different times to try to write about it and nothing came. But then, one of those wonderful kinky friends of mine wroten essay about that very thing. I told him that I thought he had said it all better than I could and asked him if I could repost it here. As usual, I don’t agree with everything he said, but the spirit of what I had hoped to convey is there.
If you know my wife (or even if you don’t), please send her you good energy as she struggles with the pain of this loss.
“Death of a Kinkster”
By Jeff Jizz
Reposted with Permission
What happens when we die?
I am not referring to the after life per say, but I mean us, as kinksters. Tonight I read that one of my friends lost someone close in the scene, and I am reminded of what a painful year this has been for some of us, including myself.
There seems to have been a lot of death lately. Perhaps I am just feeling that way because it has surrounded me with family members and the recent loss of my best friend. It could also be that our world is just getting smaller and as we meet more people and have more access to each other, the ripples spread a bit further and reach more people. Ah…social networking, a buzzword that I hear every day in my field.
A few years ago I had my first experience with the death of a scene member. I was up in Minnesota and met some crazy guy named “Rebel,” and yes he was absolutely nuts. He was also one of the funniest motherfuckers I have ever met. We sat there in the hot tub on that horse ranch just shooting the shit. Every word out of this guys mouth was funnier than the last. I had not laughed so hard before and I have not laughed so hard since.
I was so looking forward to seeing him on our visit to the ranch the next year, but it would not be. You see, rebel died of cancer. He showed me the cancer in that hot tub the year before. He seemed equally filled with hope that he could beat it as he was accepting of the fact that probably would not. I knew in the back of my mind that this was going to be the only opportunity I had to enjoy what an amazing person this guy was, and perhaps that is why I laughed so hard until I cried from the physical pain in my abdomen. I was equally sad when we returned the next year and his presence was gone.
2010 brought me a lot of personal pain as I have already stated, but it was through my activity feed I saw the pain that it brought others. A pro domme in Chicago, a dungeon operator in LA, and tonight a mentor to one of my friends in the community.
Last week I traveled to another city for work, but also checked out the local scene. My heart was warmed when visiting the local club to see the respect an individual I have never met has within his own community. A leatherman who has been in the scene much longer than I have been alive. Since before the “scene” was a scene. Not in the best of health himself, his community comes together to take care of him the best they can. Luckily, it sounds as if he is going to pull through, but not without a struggle and not without a fight. Yet, everyone is pulling for him. What an amazing person he must be. I may never meet the man myself, but I have met the people he has touched, and they have inspired me.
How many people like this man do we have in the kink world whose outlook is much more grim? What about the people that impact us in our daily lives within our own community? I have no doubt that we are capable of compassion. We are more than willing to come together in time of need when we are suffering. I have seen organizations like “Leather Magick” here in Denver make a serious impact in people’s lives, but that is just it, they are alive.
What happens when we die? Most of us live two very different lives and that means that when we die, we also have two different deaths. It is for very legitimate reason that we keep a level of secrecy within both worlds while we are alive, but most often when someone diesonly one of those worlds gets to say goodbye.
We can’t just show up to their funeral and start telling all their friends and family about the impact they have had on our lives. Perhaps we can from a high level overview, but as soon as we get into specifics, we run the risk of outing them in death, and that is not really fair to their families.
This is a hard one for me. For the most part I have the luxury of my kink life and my vanilla life being as one. By that I mean that my immediate family and my friends all know what I am about. There are others in my family who are more extended who would never understand, but I have come to terms with the fact that if they find out and do not approve, I can let go of those relationships if necessary, so they can hate me in death too if it comes down to it.
When I die, I want my funeral at the local BDSM club in the dungeon where I feel at home. My conservative Christian family (if I do not outlive them) will have to deal with it if they want to attend. I can’t count how many funerals I have attended in a church where I have been preached at and told things I do not believe in which made me uncomfortable.The dungeon is my church, the community is my congregation and hedonism is my religion. Why would I want to be portrayed as anything else.
Not everyone else has this choice though. I do not have kids or the commitments to the vanilla world that many others do. Chances are someone I know who is reading this right now does have these vanilla commitments. There is at least a 50/50 chance that I will outlive them. So yeah I guess that means you too. If you are reading this, there is a very high chance that you will die before me and out of selfishness I am going to be pretty upset if I do not get to grieve like everyone else will get to in your life.
Keep whatever hocus pocus voo doo you may or may not believe in that allows you to grieve others when they pass out of the picture. Whether or not you believe in an afterlife is irrelevant to me. This comes down to psychology and my needs. I already said this is coming from a selfish headspace so get over it.
Yeah, I understand the whole celebrate people while they are here concept. That is not a problem for me. As an athiest I believe today is all we have and appreciate those around me while I have them. That still does not mean that I do not wish that kink was more accepted so that I could attend a funeral of my peer, share with everyone what an impact they had and be specific so that I can let all my sadness out.
These things are important. To be able to say goodbye is something we need. How do we memorialize our peers without jeapordizing the confidentiality we were trusted in life after a life has ended? Again, we cannot show up to a funeral in our leathers and start sharing with everyone how impacted we were by their lives and provide actual examples that would out them. Instead, we can have our separate thing. A scene friendly memorial hidden away from the public so nobody knows. Assuming we even do that. It is still not the same. This living in two separate worlds thing is bullshit if you ask me, but I understand it is necessary.
How many times have you heard about a community member passing and the general consensus is “man that sucks” and we kind of just move on? Doesn’t that kind of make you feel ripped off? I kind of wish we had a scene memorial. A wall in a club or something with the names of people who have impacted our community. So those of us who are left behind can be reminded that they were here and had an impact. We spend so much time under the same roof together on the weekends, yet if someone passes, they usually just kind of disappear without anyone really saying goodbye.