A notification flashed across my phone, and I look down at this long url of an invite. The Women of Drummer logo is sitting there with a message that read “If we drive down on Friday, we would miss the meet and greet but we would get there for the rest of the stuff”.  My first thought was “Fuck yeah! Let’s go” A road trip with a beautiful soul, what more could I ask for!  Wait… What? We are going to Atlanta for a get together? What is this Women of Drummer thing? I mean I have seen it on facebook and Instagram but no one has really been talking about it. Is this the new fight club or something?”  At this point I was stoked just to go on an adventure with my friend. We are gonna have fun and do all the leather things,and I get to show her the Eagle’s Bootblack chair!   What more could this Bootblack want?

As plans were being made, the group was getting bigger and my urge to stay home growing but I knew I couldn’t allow myself to miss this opportunity to help my friend fulfill a small dream of hers. My friend’s Leather Journey started with DNA and Women of Drummer was kinda completing a circle of sorts.  So three humans, and a cat, pile into the car and off to Atlanta we go!  Now if you have ever driven anywhere in Florida, two things are always true- traffic, and it takes forever to get anywhere you want to go. We filled the time bonding over our experiences in the community, how our leather journeys are different but still hold commonality.  All the while, I worried that WOD would not be welcoming because I do not see myself as female all the time.

After some confusion around the never before seen road signs we roll up into our Air B&B. We settle in quickly all the while allowing the exhitment of the event to build within us. Again I worry about how I am going to be welcomed. Will I be welcomed? Is this the space for me? Hundreds of questions ran threw my mind as I drifted off to sleep.  The next morning we dawn on our leathers and jump into a Lyft. We visited the Ponce City Market, found wonderful things to eat, and bought some fun things for our friend and family back home before making our trek to the Atlanta Eagle. The trek was longer than I expected and it was getting hot. Not Florida hot but a different kinda hot, still not the kinda hot I wanted to enjoy! We finally made it and was able to enjoy a cold beverage and a great class before having to get ready for the WOD Event.

“Now shit is getting real” I thought while getting ready to meet the Women of Drummer Crew. Some may never know it but it takes a lot for me to socialize and be around folks I don’t know. The social hoops you have to jump through is tiering and I am terribly klutzy and will often times fall on my face when it comes to this kinda stuff. The energy that this group had was felt as soon as you walked into the room! All my worries melted as soon as I received my first hug and smile. There must have been 20 or more women all in a circle sharing tidbits about themselves and bringing up topics that are so important for us. Inclusion, Play, creating safe spaces, and so much more. The round table ended and the Florida gang made their way back to the house, grabbed naps, food and whatever self care we needed from a long day before heading back to play.

Now I don’t want to go into great details into the play but I will say this, Women Play Fiercely!  We know what we want. We know how we want it!  And We love connecting with our fellow women!  Going home was bittersweet for me. I found a kick ass urban area that I love, strong women, and most of all my relationship with the Florida crew was deepened.

~AJ Porter

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