Marjorie Struthers-McLachlan

I’ve mentioned IML several times over the past few months, but for the uninitiated, International Mr. Leather is an annual competition that takes place in Chicago during Memorial Day weekend. There are around 60 contestants every year, and at IML 40, I will be one of them.

I qualified for the contest about a year and a half ago (when I won the title of Mr. Firedancer Dallas, which is worth a story of its own one of these days), and at the time, I was like, “Nifty! I’ma go to IML at some unspecified point in the distant future. That’ll be a hoot.” However, now that the event is 10 weeks away, I’m like, “OMG OMG WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?!” But hey, at least I don’t suffer from any kind of acute mental illness to make the situation even more terrifying, amirite?

[insert visual flashback effect and whimsical chimes here]

Psychiatrist: “So, what brings you in today?”

Me: “I just get a little anxious sometimes.”

Psychiatrist: “Okay, let’s talk about that.”

[flash forward 15 minutes]

Me: “…anyway, it turned out I was hyperventilating, not actually dying. Oh, and I’m afraid of elevators. And my cell phone. And the unstoppable impulsion of time.”

Psychiatrist: “Uh… yeah, your ‘anxiety’ is actually a full-blown panic disorder. But on the bright side, we caught it before agoraphobia kicked in and crippled you.”

Me: “Huzzah?”

[more chimes, aaaand we’re back to the present]

Right. Mental illness. Check.

My Misfit brothers, sensing the mounting tension, are doing their best to contain my inevitable histrionics. “It’ll be fine,” they keep telling me. “Just relax and be yourself.” And I’m like, “I can only do one or the other, so which is it?!” And since I’m aces at stress-related multi-tasking, I’m also freaking out over how I’m going to afford this trip in the first place.

The title I hold does not come with travel reserves, so I’m currently working on raising enough money to cover expenses. And this is where you, my loyal Marjorettes, come in: If you’re able and willing to help, you can donate directly to my travel fund through PayPal, or you can chip in through Ko-fi. Unfortunately, donations won’t be going towards purchase of the IML title itself, but they will be of huge assistance when it comes to flights and not living out of a cardboard box next to the host hotel.

And even if you can’t donate money, emotional support is just as appreciated and infinitely more valuable. So thank you guys in advance for that — I’ll bring you back as many souvenirs as I can fit in my carry-on.

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