It has been a month since the International Ms Leather contest. One month ago today, I was in a dazed haze, worrying about the opening number, freaking out about the interview, praying I wouldn’t completely melt down before the weekend was over.
Thanks to Glenda, tomo, Ms. Rhonda and Levi for pulling together a stellar group of people to make this event happen.
Thanks to my friend Tee, for pulling it (and me) all together.
Thank you, Patti for anchoring me backstage.
Endless thanks to everyone who donated to help IMsL’s silent auction.
Thanks to Lamalani and Pony, for setting the stage and showing us how that shit is DONE. Thank you to the Judges. I hope to live up to the honor I have been given.
Thank you to Janet Hardy of Greenery Press, to Lance Holman, Mr. SF Leather 2009, To Liza and Jody of the the Ms. SF Leather Competition, to Crowded Fire, to Tess & Diva of Tied-Up Events, Â to The Exiles, San Francisco and to Lolita Wolf, for your visible and humbling adverts in the IMsL Program! Holy cow, did that make me cry. But I’m a weepy bitch. It isÂ whatÂ I do.
Thank you everyone who hugged me, gave me a thumbs up, or wished me well throughout the weekend.
Thanks to the fucking RAD Â Den Crew, who herded all of us Contestant typesÂ around and about and kept us as sane as could possibly be imagined. To Daddy Faye and Uncle Eddie, for bed checks. Â To Jim Deuder and Bijkka Amy, for those little smiles and hugs that meant so very, very much, and for dragging…er…showing us a great time all over SF. ;-) You are are full of endless WIN.
Thank you stage crew. You had mighty challenges, and you stepped up.
Thank you each and every volunteer. You work your fucking asses off, and I appreciate you.
Thank you, to all of the IMsL graduates who were there to offer such fantastic advice and to serve as role-models for all of us in the running.
Thank you to my (inexplicable) Doppelganger and brother-in-spirit Q, for being there, for capturing my “Fantasy,” and for bouncing The Hungarian. Nothing is as gratifying as a former bouncer being bounced!
Thank you to the IMsL Class of 2010.
One might expect me to say that the highlight of my weekend at International Ms Leather was being given the honor of wearing the sash for the next year. And that is, in fact, completely amazing. Yet, the moment that touched me the most was the point where I really saw the “Sisterhood” that people describe among those running for titles. My Tee, Â my Wrangler, was stuck in a traffic jam and couldn’t make it to the hotel in time to help me set up my silent auction table. I had already compromised my time by attending a Recovery Meeting that ate into my allocated slot, so the prospect of having only half the time to now do twice as much work all alone freaked me out. As I was racing to try to get my items in order, the otherÂ contestants, seeing my stress about getting my table together, came over to help. Without asking, they stepped up to the plate. Asked what was needed, offered hugs and calming words once all of the work was allocated.I was very much humbled by their generosity, their spirit, their caring. It was the final moment where I let go of any expectation and knew I was in the company of truly Amazing Women. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
In the weeks following the contest, I haven’t had much of a break! I went to Florida for Beyond Leather, which was my first official event as IMsL. Talk about hitting the ground running! There were so many Titleholders, there, and as well, it is a Title Run event, so the excitement never ever flagged. Â I received a very warm welcome, met some new friends, reconnected with some old friends, and was so grateful to have a kick-ass entryway to my title year. I wasÂ thrilledÂ to be able to meet Master Obsidian andÂ SlaveÂ Namaste, ourÂ InternationalÂ Master & Slave 2010. It really defies words how proud I am to see people of color stepping to the plate and being given the honor of Â doing service as Titleholders in the Leather Community.
I returned from Beyond Leather, took half a breath and went to San Jose…a little closer yet still not “home,” for the Northwest Leather Celebration. Â I was blessed to be able to reunite with a friend of many years acquaintance, Kyrana, who was kind enough to let me crash in her room. And thank Ganesha for that! I was running on fumes and being able to take a moment here and there to rest, refresh, and gather my energy was an ineffable blessing.
At this event, I held my step-down for Ms. San Francisco Leather. This was a bit of a surprise for many, and some folks might not even know it happened! To clear up any residual confusion:Â initially, upon being awarded the International Ms Leather Sash, I assumed I would be stepping down. However, there are no clear-cut rules for how Titles are held or relinquished. I was assured, at IMsL, that I shouldÂ absolutelyÂ keep both titles, and so was informing folks of this decision. Subsequently, the owners of the SF Leather title shifted their stance and said that yes, they did want the title to go to Tracy Wolf, the first runner up. Best of luck to Tracy Wolf, and I know she will bring pride and honor to the Ms SF Leather Title!
I can’t tell you how it felt to stand in solidarity when, at the Northwest Leather Celebration, the call came for all current Titleholders to stand, to lookÂ aroundÂ and see myself, Namaste,Â ObsidianÂ and Lance standing. Four Black people, proudly serving.Â WhatÂ a sight.Â WhatÂ a sight.
I have been thrilled to have had the opportunity to speak with folks from different segments of the media. I was interviewed for Playboy Radio’s The Playboy Advisor (albeitÂ before IMsL, but it broadcast thereafter) and for Bitch magazine! Keep an eye out for me in their Fall issue. Did I mention I’m on the poster for the Folsom Street Fair 2010? Squeeek! Yeah, I’m stoked about that. :-)
Many thinks to Sigma, one of my long-time heroes of the Leather Community, as well as one of my Judges at IMsL, for permitting me the opportunity to share some of myself in an article he put together for the Gay & Lesbian Times. Thanks to Leatherati forÂ theirÂ coverage! The Bay Area Reporter was in the house as well!
SO much is happening. I am, even as I type, juggling a calendar that already looks impossible, but so very, very exciting. I’m getting ready to perform a re-mount of 69Stories: One Pervert’s Tale,Â May 21st – 23rd, as a benefit performance for my Official Charity: Crowded Fire Theater Company.
Tomorrow, I have a book signing, too! Yep, kind of lost in the IMsL shuffle is the fact that my book, The Toybag Guide: Taboo Play was justÂ released. If you’re in San Francisco, come over to Wicked Grounds between 5:00 PM & 7:00 PM! The book’s a steal for $10!
The week after the 69Stories run, I’m off to Chicago to take part in the International Mr. Leather festivities. This will be my very first trip to IML, and though it kind of rolled over my being able to fully participate in Shibaricon (where I will be presenting a class!) I am so proud to be the latest IMsL to represent the long and illustrious line of Leatherwomen who have gone before me.
Well, that’s a wrap for my first in a series of Monthly Reports I will be giving on my Year As International Ms Leather.
Follow me on Twitter for a low-level feed of IMsL2010 tweets! Thank you for reading! Peace.
Mollena (Mo) Williams
International Ms Leather 2010 Ms. SF Leather 2009 Delicate, TremblingÂ FlowerÂ of Submission, andÂ Executive Pervert