Tag Archives: folsom

Mourning

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Photo by Michael Sundin

I don’t want to be writing this entry.

I had a whole post-Folsom entry planned out.. I was going to power through the last of the “30 Days” questions and then write about consent, and about why it’s such an important part of the D/s dynamic.. How it effects events like Folsom… It was all planned out.

Instead I am writing an incredibly painful entry.

The San Francisco community has lost one of our own own, unexpectedly, during a time in which the Leather and kink communities are usually celebrating the most. We mourn an incredible spirit, one that touched me directly and helped me a great deal when I was going through a very difficult time.

I met SwitchTendencies right after Kane and I truly ended, at the first play party that I was brave enough to go to alone and uncollared. He was the first person I did a scene with, the first person I trusted with causing real physical pain after going through such emotional pain.

I redded out. It was the first scene I’ve ever called “red” on… and even after that, he made me smile. During aftercare we talked and laughed, and I found his smiles and good humor to be truly infectious. His laugh is incredibly distinctive, a deep belly laugh that puts a smile on on my face even during my worst days.

As a Sadist, ST pushed me in the dungeon. Even as he made me cry, he would make me laugh with sarcastic comments as I screamed and squirmed on the cross. He was one of few people that I trusted to play with me but not cross any lines. He listened when I called yellow. He calmed me when I started crying and started each play session with a hug and positive energy. He ended each scene the same way. He loved to play. Loved to spank. Loved to make me and other little girls cry, in the best way possible. I am honored to have been allowed to play with him.

As a friend, he guided me back into a world that I had almost left behind. I will always be submissive. That is a part of my nature, as natural to me as breathing… But loving someone? Diving back into a poly relationship when the incident with Smith still had me burned? Trusting someone again? These were all things I didn’t know that I could do. ST was new to poly and trying to figure it out as well, with a very experienced poly partner that he loves to the moon and back. The mere mention of her and his whole face lights up. She taught him how to navigate poly, and he taught me. He was the first person to hug and congratulate me when he found out I was James’s. The first one to go “I told ya so!” when I said he had agreed to go on the date with me. He listened to me ramble about my crush on my now-Sir and slowly gave me the courage, through thoughtful conversations, hugs, and snuggles, to act when I was terrified of heartbreak again.

ST was part of so much in the Bay Area community. He volunteered whenever he could, went to more parties than I could keep track of, and always did it with a smile on his face. He was a constant figure in almost every area of kink in the Bay Area scene, from Wicked Grounds to the Citadel to groups like Society of Janus. He worked hard to improve himself, and pursued kink with a passion and openness that I envied.

On Saturday, there was a pre-Folsom party at the Citadel. As always, James was taking photos in the back and I was perched beside him to get whacked in between photos. ST came in and took photos, smiling with a partner and being goofy and giggly. Toward the end of the night he came and found me again, still on my perch, and we talked as we often did. He told me about the partner that he was with that evening. I told him about a new job I was starting and plans for Folsom weekend. We snuggled and hugged, both of us tactile and affectionate people. He was excited for Folsom, for being able to work at one of the spanking booths.

Before he left for the evening he hugged me tightly, longer than he usually does, and as he did I told him that I was always there for him, and that I loved him. He said the same back, with a smile on his face that showed his excitement for the coming day. It was to be a weekend of kink, and fun, and community. We were all together for Folsom, to celebrate what we were and what we loved.

My mind cannot process that this smiling soul is gone, so suddenly. When last I saw him he was doing what he loved, spanking pretty girls at one of the booths at Folsom. He was smiling, and laughing, and surrounded by a community he was such a part of.. My heart hurts. It is hard to remember how incredible the weekend was when such a tremendous loss was part of it…

My darling SwitchTendencies, you have left us far too soon. I don’t know what this community will be like without you, but I know that you will be remembered by many, for many reasons. When I think of you, it will always be with a smile… My writing cannot do justice to describing just how much of an impact you had on me, and on the community around you. There are no words to describe it, nor are there any to fully convey the hole that your absence from this earth leaves. Returning to the play spaces I love, knowing that I will no longer see you there… It’s a painful thought. I’m sure it’s a painful thought for many of us right now… You are dear, you are loved, and you are missed.

I don’t have the right words for this.. It is hard for me to write when I am upset, when I am mourning… But ST did so much. He cared so much. He is a good, giving soul… And this world is a little less bright without him in it.

Yours with a heavy heart and tear-filled eyes

-Rene

Please (A Request for Help)

A long time ago, I called myself an artist. My life was in the studio, covered in clay and content. The demons in my mind were quiet because I could express them through my hands. I was content. I was at peace. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Life gets in the way of artist dreams a lot. Student loans soon took priority over studio nights, rent payments becoming more important than food, no matter art supplies..

There are few people that I know that are brave enough to put their artist dreams first and try to live off of what they do.. and few people more talented than the stubborn brute I’m writing about now.

I have seen Michael go days without food in order to put gas in his tank so that he could drive to San Francisco from Napa (where he lives) for a shoot. He shoots at Bondage-a-Go-Go, an event at a club in San Francisco, every week where he will take any pictures anyone asks for, put them up for public use..and doesn’t get paid. He runs on tips for both that and Sinner’s Sanctum, a once-a-month club event in the North Bay. You can also find him shooting at parties at San Francisco’s Citadel, where debauchery is much encouraged..and also tips. Because, again, he doesn’t get paid for what he does.

The man goes above and beyond because he loves what he does. He stays up..and up…and up… putting social life and sleep on hold to edit shoots that have priority (even if it’s for trade and not for pay). He will overdraft his bank account to acquire the proper props requested for shoots, will spend days scouting for the perfect locations, and will put his body at risk (and often push it too far..stubborn bull) to get the perfect shots required.

In summary, the man is damn dedicated to what he does, often to the detriment of his own health, because he loves what he does that much. He doesn’t have much in the way of formal training, but he has what can’t be taught. A good eye and heck of a lot of drive… He reminds me what it’s like to love what you do so much that you live for it, that of course it comes before everything else.

Life gets in the way for people, even people as driven as Michael.. Maybe especially people as driven as him. And so I’m writing here, telling you what this man will go through to do what he loves, and saying that he needs our help and support. This talented man is in a bind, and knowing him he’s doing everything he can to get himself out of it. This means minimal food, driving only when he has to…because gas is an expensive thing…and just planning, and thinking and plotting. Setting up the next shoot. Seeing how on earth he can make what he needs to make the next shoot possible…

Help comes in the form of us, internet peoples. I get that everyone is pinching their purse strings right now. I know this well, and have been doing it myself to a scary degree… But finding someone this damn dedicated to what he does in this day and age is rare.

Please, check out his work: http://www.michaelsundinphotography.com/

…and even more please, check out his gofundme: https://www.gofundme.com/5xkee8

He’s trying to get together $400 more dollars for a photoshoot that would do damn good for his business.. One he’s not getting paid for, but he’s doing for the clients to make them super comfortable before any sort of big paid shoot. I know we’re all pinching pennies.. I’m having to do it to a scary degree myself. This is one of those “anything helps” situations..where that spare $10 would make a huge difference.

If you can, please help support someone who’s a heck of a lot braver than me.

Thanks for your time. Normally scheduled kinky fuckery will resume shortly

-Rene