I have been asked of late, with all that's been going on, why do I do what I do. Why after all the stress do I still keep fighting for the community. I think its a great time to share more about why.
I have a very strong set of values, forged by a lot of hardship in my life. The ability to explore and express yourself is a great feature the puppy play community has and has helped me and a lot of others as well.
I grew up in a very traditional Mormon family, I wasn't given a chance to express myself or explore myself, this left me not only lacking a lot of social skills when my family threw me out at 17, but also a very confused person with a series of mental health issues. But entering the world, I was not only able to make sense of the world but start working on finding out who I am as a person.
Back then I was someone insanely shy, sat in the corner, felt out of place everywhere, barely talked to anyone and spent at least 6 days a week at home, only to leave to go to the supermarket for supplies. But this wasn't the person I wanted to be and I didn't want to accept that I will always be like this.
Fast forward 14 years to when I actively entered the community and I went to my first mosh and literally regressed back to younger me, sat in the corner, watched, too timid to talk to anyone with my social anxiety raging away.
I know a lot of people see me as this stalwart bastion of confidence but deep down, a part of me is still this quiet introvert. I am both these people, I believe each gives me wisdom, strength and humility to help myself and others.
I know what its like to be bullied, peer pressured and targeted to try to "conform to the norm" I know how that can not only hinder someone finding the person they want to be and I don't wish that on anyone. I want anyone who is open enough to explore themselves to have the opportunity like I did when I entered the pup community.
I have had elitist toxic members in this community try to silence me, try to bring my work into disrepute or frame me as someone controlling. I tend to either laugh it off, or go quiet. I know from experience that the truth comes out in the end and while it may sting to begin with, it'll be worth it in the end.
Who I am as a person, externally, mentally and spiritually has changed a lot since I joined the puppy play community and by my own ethos, if I can explore myself and find who I want to be, so can anyone else. Age doesn't have to restrict you, I'm 32 and I am closer now to who I feel is the person I want to be than ever before.
For many, puppy play is not just a roleplay, a fetish; its an identity, for some its skin deep, some it goes right to their core. I can see from personal experience and those I help that there is many paths and journeys in the community, and as long as your open minded, there is no wrong path to take. Finding out what you don't like is easily as valuable as finding something you do like.
I'm no one special, I honestly believe that. Because anything I can do, so can you, you can be a role model for others, you can be the quiet pup in the corner, you can be the pup who only pups out at home or only at fetish events. What matters to me is you get to be yourself and that is what I believe makes this community awesome.
While there is no legally bound right to freedom of expressing yourself, I try my best to create an environment to allow people to experiment and try things. This is what my work in the community is trying to do in the end. Inspire and help you find what you like and don't like, its not a cure-all but this facet of a personality has helped a lot of pups and handlers blossom their self-confidence and become altruistic and help others in the community and that cant be a bad thing in the end.