This time I'm seated on a plane that departed Toronto 2 hours ago bound to London. It's the 3rd time I burst into tears today. I must admit I am emotionally really weak. Its so easy to make me cry, and so easy to make me laught, quite easy to hurt, but even easier to make me feel the luckiest man in the world. Beside me, there's a little child, probably 5-6 years old, and his father. Both are looking at me with sympathy, so are the cabin crew passing collecting the trays.they probably don't understand that crying sometimes is good, specially for the fit reasons. Let me explain the last couple of weeks.
It's been such an amazing experience to go back to Chicago and meet my last year brothers and all the people I met. Somehow, it was mind blowing. And thinking about it now its making me more emotional.
A year ago I flew there with lots, lots, and lots of fears. All this was a challenge for me. I remember the days when I used to hate doing sport education at school. As I had to have shower with the guys. I used to stay in the corner and hear everything they had to say (about being gay etc...). I'm not ashamed to say so, I've hated myself so many years till a very traumatic experience and probably in consequence, running to the titles add me realise that everyone is sexy in their own way.
Competing at IML meant so much than a prize for me. It meant self validation. It meant that finally I felt like everyone else, and I wanted no more than that.
This year I had the pleasure of seeing the journey of David and Francisco, the guys representing UK. I won't get into so much details. But all I can say is how proud they've made me. I hope inside them, something lighted up the way something started in me a year ago. I guess every contestant has his inner story, but seeing it from the other perspective has been an adventure. I might add at this point that they reached what they reached by themselves. I only had 2 advices for both of them. Being themselves and enjoying the experience.
I was totally convinced from the beginning both were the right choice. And the titles, for different reasons, were the right choice for them. But the merit is all theirs. I gotta thank them personally for giving such a great impression of the European leather community.
Besides, I was glad few of our friends flew there for UK. And got a glance to see what IML is like from inside. It was nice to live this experience with you guys. Thanks for coming (you know who you are).
Seeing my brothers, and having so many people complimenting David and Frankie, looking at my friends enjoying the weekend as much as I did, it's been very rewarding. I still look back, and I can't believe everything that happened in the last 2 years.
I just thank specially to Gary. He's been there putting up with Frankie and me. I am aware that it must be hard sometimes. But he's never disappointed.
It was amazing to see people even remembered what we said last year during the speeches. Even impressed that people remembered I competed lol. So glad the message was spread. I could not ask for more, And having people complimenting for the pictures they see online, somehow that still brings me to that moment in the showers at school. It's a very weird sensation.
I believe Frankie and David now feel a similar sensation. So are my IML brothers (may I add guys, how amazing has been looking a year back and remembering it all? You rock). I'm very proud of them and can't wait to hear what they have to say.
Toronto has been emotionally draining for me. I was warned I'd love it. But I didn't imagine it'd be so special. There's little details that can touch me big big time. I'm a guy who appreciate little things. I believe little things can make big changes. And Toronto, and the people I met there have touched so many of the little things that move my world.
First I have to thank Tarna and specially Sean. They've been amazing hosts there. Such a pleasant people to meet. Thank you, thank you and thank you so much. Thanks for opening me the doors to your world, for letting me be part of your book. Without entering to name everyone I saw there, guys, you made the trip so much fun!
And Inked Kenny, who gave me the chance to shoot with him. Such a great artist. He has captured things I had in my mind for long time. I feel so lucky that people like him, Matt Spike, House of XY, Richard Yates and mi guapito, Sly Hands, were even interested in taking pics. If someone had told me that 2 years ago, I'd have slapped them as hard as I could. There's moments when I sit down and think "I don't know if this is a dream, I don't know if this will ever end. But if I ever wake up I want to look back at all this, and remember everything".
I really wish I could have stayed longer than 3 days in Toronto. But we'll make it happen...