Under Your Feet – Stepping Up To The Plate

I know I’ve talked often about the quality of our community and our interaction not just as acquaintances, but as a family.  Being a family means many things – being a family means that we are a support system through times of sorrow, pain, joy, and excitement.  We share in each other’s lives and we help each other to understand the things that we cannot.  However, there is another side to being a family that is not as often discussed.  Being a family means that we should not be afraid to help identify areas where a person may not excel: failure to follow through on plans, disrespect, honesty.  This is a more challenging arena, but it is also extremely important as the Leather community grows that we are held accountable by our brothers and sisters and that we feel comfortable helping them through their walk as well.

Bootblack Bella is International Ms. Bootblack 2013. She enjoys serving as a mentor and educator. She lives in Louisville, Ky., and her column runs monthly.

Bootblack Bella is International Ms. Bootblack 2013. She enjoys serving as a mentor and educator. She lives in Louisville, Ky., and her column runs monthly.

So what is this accountability thing?  Accountability, by definition, is an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.  As a person of Leather, it’s important that we act in a manner which upholds our core values: honor, integrity, respect, service.  Our mission and actions should be transparent, but should a questionable action arise, we should be prepared to either explain our actions and any possible misgivings or to review our actions and accept responsibility of our mistakes.  This can initially be a hard pill to swallow but it is necessary to continue growth on our journey to our happiest self.

Which brings about the next school of thought.  Why should we, as imperfect humans, be asking people to explain their actions?  The key thing to remember in accountability is that we should not actually judge another person.  Differences are natural.  However, if a person is being disrespectful to a group or another person, it’s important to have a conversation with that person about how their actions are perceived by you.  This can allow a conversation about how people from different regions may respond to certain events or phrases and benefit everyone involved with new knowledge.  Keep in mind that this is not an opportunity to teach people the one true way …. we all know that’s a myth and that personal preferences are exactly that, personal.

And finally, it’s important to remember that if you wish to hold others accountable, you must be equally willing to be held accountable for your own actions.  Everyone makes mistakes, everyone has off days but it’s important to remember that gentle reminders that perhaps things are not always received as we intended are not a black mark meant to make us feel as though we’re terrible.  They’re simply reminders that we need to live our lives with an open mind and an open heart for all people.

 

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