Living or Hiding?

The obligations and stresses in my life have recently (finally) reached the long-awaited place of “normalcy”. This has opened so many doors, both personally and professionally, but as I’ve been sharing on Twitter, it’s been rather confusing to figure what to do with a life where I have free time and the privilege of pursuing fun, hobbies, new professional ventures of my choosing, etc.

Yesterday, after a particularly monotonous and frustrating week at work, I found myself on the verge of slipping into a depressive state. Thankfully, after years of struggling with such things, I’ve learned to identify the warning signs and can take measures to head it off, or at least mitigate the impact. I tried going for a walk through my favorite neighborhood, saw the chiropractor over my lunch, took little breaks to chat with my favorite co-workers, took meditation/breathing breaks, etc. I would feel slightly better, able to function, until someone would come in and ask what my plans were for the weekend. I never had an answer, as I truly hadn’t given weekend plans any thought. I eventually realized the negative spiral and feeling anxious was occurring right after these encounters. Why?

There seemed to be no “valid” reason for such melancholy – this weekend is largely mine, with no obligations and little housework to be done. What was I feeling, and why? After digging, and digging, and digging a bit more, (I’m a bit emotionally inept), I began to identify the common themes of what I was feeling: overwhelmed, lonely, and bored.

Overwhelmed and lonely: S is out of town for His 2nd long work trip this month (never happened before), and I don’t have homework, housework, Him, or work of my own to distract myself. My best friend is also out of town, so it’s pretty much me, myself and I this weekend. I don’t even need introvert time this weekend, as I’m now able to come home after work and relax, instead of doing homework until midnight. I’m overwhelmed, because I literally don’t know what to do with myself when all I have to take care of or plan for is…..myself. I don’t know how to have fun….I’m not even really sure what that looks like. What might I enjoy doing? Even thinking about it made me feel anxious, because I had no idea where to even start.

Bored: Long ago, I learned bored is very, very dangerous….and is very easy for me to slip into. Many people find movies, tv, or reading fiction to be entertaining. I rarely find them to be so, and often slip into a melancholy state or phase of depression after “imbibing”. I find them to be “numbing” in a way…they’re an escape that either does nothing to provide the stimulation I need to recharge, or they’re an escape that works so well, I emerge and find myself even more unhappy, because reality is now even less appealing. They put me inside my own head, and what I need is precisely the opposite. I think, process, reflect, and reason enough for an entire village; the last thing I need is activities that foster more of the same. I want to live my life and enjoy it, not hide from it.

Mental and physical stimulation and challenge is something my body, mind, and spirit CRAVE. Generally, I prefer to find most of this in my work, but as work has been far less fulfilling or challenging in recent months, that need is no longer being met there. In my search for a solution, the question shifted: What can I do to meet this need in this new phase of my life?

S gave me some advice last night that worked wonders and sparked the reflections of this morning – “You don’t need to know how to play. Just know how to smile, and do what makes you smile”. Today I slept in (thank heavens for cooler weather and shorter days – finally able to sleep soundly again), played with pup, and sat in bed (a luxury I’ve not allowed myself in months) with coffee, watching Usain Bolt and Chinese gymnast biomechanics analysis videos. Odd to most, perhaps, but about an hour in this morning, I realized I felt more energized and alert than I have in months. I was starting to feel excited…I wanted to be doing something.

Track and gymnastics were my two passions as a young person. The 400 meters was my favorite and best event, largely due to my long stride. There is literally no other feeling in the world like that of getting past the first 100 meters, the anxiety of the beginning of a race gone, and simply letting my legs stretch out longer and longer, gobbling up the track…flying in a way. Everyone always said it looked as if I was gliding. It was never about the other competitors, where they were, or winning….it’s being present in every cell of my body, moving it the way it was designed to be, and feeling its euphoric strength in response. I never remember feeling short of breath or worried about time…it felt like freedom to simply be and fly out there..time simply stopped. I never felt more in my own skin, more beautiful, centered, and powerful, than when I was able to let my crazy long legs out and let them do their thing. Until this morning, I hadn’t realized how profoundly I’ve missed that.

Gymnastics was my other love, which I had to give up at age 12 when my parents got pregnant with my fourth sibling -they simply couldn’t afford it anymore. I was certainly no champion, but I loved it. Again, it was feeling the strength in my body, the focus making you entirely present in every cell, time slowing down as you tweak a single, specific muscle to make yourself fly through air….nirvana.

I found this feeling again in basic training in the Army a decade ago, pushing myself past  what I what I thought my mental and physical limits were…I’ve rarely been more content, or felt more powerful. It was the first time I fully realized my athletic potential and pushed to see just what I could do. Years later, I found it again in weight-lifting and preparing for competitive body-building, which I reluctantly gave up after feeling as if it was causing just as much damage to my body as good. A couple of years ago, I discovered reformer Pilates, and much to my surprise, fell in love with it (and the reemergence of my six pack abs) and quickly landed myself in the advanced classes. I again had to give up my passion when I was laid off from my job last year and had a bout of extended unemployment.

Reflecting on all of this (thinking – it’s what I do best), I’m seeing that I’ve not been challenging myself in the areas I need to be. I’ve not been taking care of myself, feeding myself in the ways I need to be fed. Perhaps I truly wasn’t able to – time, finances, and energy have been a scare commodity for a couple of years. Somehow I suspect otherwise. Running is free, after all. Regardless, I’ve forgotten what excites me – what I love doing. How much more productive would I be at work if I were feeding myself outside of that sphere? How much more would I be able to give those I love if I were fulfilled and had the challenges and stimulation I need? What amazing doors, friendships, and challenges would present themselves if I were out there doing, instead of hiding, trying to recharge in the wrong places?

This has some profound implications when I look at society as a whole, but also those of us in M/s and BDSM as well. How often are we “numbing” ourselves to our lives, to others, from our dreams, by putting our time and energy into things that don’t recharge us, or are in actuality, are a means of hiding ourselves from our reality? It’s easier to hide in fantasy or activities that distract us from what is really going on in our lives, than facing the fear of pursuing the dreams we so deeply desire. How often do we make excuses to not attend events, meet with friends, apply for a better job, or leave relationships that don’t truly make us happy or meet our needs?

Even more interesting, how do we see the line that differentiates escaping from reality , and genuinely pursuing the things we love? One person may use a given activity as an escape, and another may engage in the same activity with a completely different perspective. I’ve heard many fellow masochists describe play as their “escape”, which actually makes a great deal of sense, but for some reason never quite resonated with me. Now I understand why. For me, it’s not an escape from reality…it’s merely a different aspect of reality that brings me closer to myself. It’s a way of spiritually connecting with S, shuts off my constant thinking (mostly), and brings me back into my body, mind, and spirit, so that I can feel again. It brings me back to reality, centers me in my reality, and allows me to fully engage and experience my life again….it’s not an escape or a way to get away from an unhappy reality or my life. Perhaps it does serve another purpose for others, and that’s perfectly valid. The perspective during, the outcome, and the intention behind engaging in an activity is what needs to examined by the individual.

The crux, the end result of the topic is this: We make time for obligations and societal “checkblocks” we loathe. We find the money for movies, alcohol, and new shoes….yet it seems we can’t find the time or money for the things we really want to do: the cool BDSM convention or class, the chiropractor who can help with the chronic neck pain, or the martial arts studio we always dreamed of attending.

It requires a shift in perspective – we can actively pursue our dreams, or we can let them sit there, focusing on the obstacles in the way….because then those dreams sit there, pretty on a shelf, and are “unattainable”. If we view them as unattainable, and continue with such rationalizations, we are never forced to leave our comfort zone, or face the fear or challenges that exist in our reality. We can sit in the same spot, sighing over the same things sitting on the shelf, but never have to take the steps to make them our reality.

Even more frightening for some of us, what happens once those dreams have become our new reality? Often we subconsciously don’t believe we deserve to have our dreams come true (for any number of reasons), or we don’t want to face the fear of making the changes necessary to reach those dreams. Many of us are so used to living lives of chaos, that even though we crave stability and freedom, we secretly fear it, as it is completely unfamiliar, and thus frightening. It is far easier to exist and stay in the environment you are familiar with, rather than one where you don’t know the rules or what to expect, so we often make subconscious excuses, and stay trapped in the same patterns, situations, and behaviors. In other words: self-sabatoge.

KNOCK…THAT…SHIT….OFF.

Seriously. I’m as guilty of it as anyone, but when I find it in my life, I weed it out ruthlessly. Time is precious, life is finite; I’ve no desire to waste my time here pussy-footing around with insecurity or fear. We choose how we spend the time we’re given, and you never know when that time might be up. I refuse to look back and see that I spent my time daydreaming about all the cool things I wanted to do, sitting on the couch intimately learning every episode of numerous shows on Netflix, rather than actually doing the things I’d always wanted to do. Those shoes are pretty and that movie looks cool, but I’d far rather pay for Pilates, BDSM conventions/classes, and being able to travel with S now and then. I’ll gladly give up pleasure and an escape for a few hours, to be able to build a life that makes me feel alive, healthy, and excited every single day.

What is it that you’ve always wanted to do, even if you never admitted it to yourself? What is it you want here? Craving connection and relationships, want to be yourself without fear of judgement, someone to play with, or a deep D/s relationship? Go to a munch and meet kinky fuckers like yourself, take your kinky spouse to a BDSM class or discussion group, stop giving your emotional energy to the online / long-distance Dom that vanishes every other week or will never be able to give you the time you need, and find someone that you can physically touch and be with in your day-to-day life. Better yet, if you haven’t found precisely what you need, be by yourself for awhile, connect with community, and let yourself develop and find a partner organically. Develop friendships with those in your community – connecting with others leads to real growth and change, and in many cases, often leads to finding the best intimate relationships. If you are continually engaging with those who are emotionally or physically unavailable, take a look in the mirror, because you’re opening the door for them, whether you know it or not. Ask yourself WHY you aren’t doing or getting what it is you really want, and then start working on what you find there. Stop seeing the obstacles and hiding – get out there and start DOING.

Today, I’m starting my own new life – figuring what that looks like, what is is that I get to be excited about taking off of my own shelf. I’ve been overwhelmed…because I’m underwhelmed in my life, and was trying to hide from the challenge of facing it. While I work that out…pup and I are going for a run.

What will you do today?

Advertisements

The Return….Of Questions

The long-awaited return blog post…I only wish I had some sort of thought-provoking question or observation to share with all of you.

The past month, I’ve had have to consciously drag myself into a semblance of positivity and engaging in reality. Even more strange, there’s little rational reason for such melancholy or apathy. By nearly any measure, my life is fantastic – there are so many things to be grateful for, especially after the past few years. In recent years, I’ve watched my finances crumble, left an unhappy marriage, moved states, discovered BDSM and M/s, & survived my emotionally damaging first M/s relationship, but also unexpectedly found S, who has shown me more deeply profound love, acceptance, and trust than I could have ever imagined. I discovered I was a masochist around the same time, which also frightened me (for unusual reasons – perhaps a discussion for another time.  Add 5 months of unemployment after my last job ended due to legislative changes, chronic pain due to an old neck injury and a bad year of kidney infections, depression rearing its head again, the usual difficulties of entering a new M/s relationship (particularly after damage has been done in prior relationships), reconciling my rejection of the gender binary with the traditional feminine representation of submission, completing my 2nd degree during unemployment and the first few months of the new, high-pressure job that I was beyond excited about, then turned out to not be what it was promised…..frankly, I’m emotionally burned out beyond belief.

Currently, my struggle is how to maintain my focus, or perhaps I should say, how to determine where my focus is and where it should be applied. I’m almost entirely disengaged at my job at this point, and find myself sitting, staring at my screen for hours. It’s almost as if I’ve reached the other side of these years of struggling and chaos, and I’m only now beginning to process all of it. It’s a struggle to engage in my submission, and even my friendships or all of the things I’ve been so excited about having time for again. There is a seemingly amazing opportunity on the table with another employer, S is moving in next month (which will drastically reduce schedule and financial stress from managing 2 households, and give us more time together), I’m done with classes, fall is coming (hate summer)….and yet I feel overwhelmed and somewhat depressed.

I love working, and I’m very good at anything I put my mind to. I’m very, very good at finding ways to make things better for people, finding creative solutions to issues, managing projects, and training others. My salary is more than I’d ever expected to make in my lifetime….but the reality is that right now, I’m struggling to be happy about what I’ve been given. Again and again, I keep coming back to something S started asking me early in our relationship: If you could do anything you wanted, what would your life look like? What do you envision when you imagine yourself happy and content? The answer right now is….nothing. I don’t know what I want to do, or where I want to be, what I’m looking for, or how that feels. I’m tired…just tired.

While I try not to focus on what it is that makes me unhappy, and instead try to focus on what would make me happy, I’m finding that strategy is starting to make me feel frustrated and is keeping me from finding any answers or exploring possibilities. Today I realized that perhaps I need to spend some time processing what is making me unhappy, and why, in order to be able to consider what it is that I do want to focus on moving forward. Doing that without slipping into rumination and a negative thought spiral is tricky, and not always my strong suit. He’s out of town this week again to boot, and I’m having to fight the temptation to stuff it all in to keep from having to deal with it and feeling alone. Stuffing emotions and expressing them poorly is a particular acquired talent of mine from an early age, but I’ve come too far to do S or myself such a disservice when I’m consciously aware of it. I learned many years ago, though it’s taken over a decade of work for me to break through all of the barriers, that things are never so simple as “I hate commuting”, or “I feel alone”, as seen below. It’s often something else buried underneath that contributes to those feelings, and we merely express it through a scapegoat.

Why does commuting drive me insane to the point of irrational anger?

I don’t enjoy driving, but it’s more than that – why don’t I enjoy driving to such an extreme degree?

Because it feels like wasted time, it’s mentally un-stimulating, and makes me tired, so I get home and have no energy left to spend any time on myself, Him, or things that I enjoy. Then I feel as if I’m on a hamster wheel on weekdays, perpetually bored and un-stimulated, then exhausted. I already feel that way at work, so it never feels like any part of the day is mine – my job sucks away my life on weekdays, and that makes me angry and bitter, because I no longer believe in, or am engaged at this job.

Why does thinking about not having energy or time for the things I enjoy, and    Him/myself make me feel so angry and depressed? Why can’t I just unplug after work or be grateful for a good job and paycheck like so many people?

Because I’ve never been in a life situation that wasn’t completely chaotic and stressful, or that allowed me time to spend with loved ones or doing things I enjoy / recharge. I don’t feel safe to be myself at my current job, and feel underutilized and un-stimulated, which has been a frustration for years at every job I’ve had. I’m burned out on coming into a job, hitting the ground running, and blowing away every challenge available in a few months….then looking around bored and disengaged, noticing all of the flaws and issues in the organization that I’m not allowed to do    anything about. It makes me feel powerless, jaded, and stuck…chained to set working hours and people that I have begun to struggle to respect.

Even in writing this, I’m seeing themes. I’ve known of all of these factors for some time, but seeing them all out on paper helps them to coalesce and presents a more holistic picture that allows me to more readily identify what solutions I should pursue. I still don’t have the answer in this case, but I can more easily identify that I definitely need to be seeking employment where I’m not commuting as far, offers a more flexible schedule, and has people that are passionate about solutions and achieving goals, rather than checking blocks or observing unnecessary rules. Collaboration is something I keenly miss, and being excited about the impact my work can have on others. And fun….I want to do work that can be fun. I love executive environments, wearing a suit, giving presentations…but I also love to have fun, banter, laugh, and have open/frank discussions about all manner of things (kinky fuckery obviously is a favorite). Most of all, right now, I need something where work is not consuming the vast majority of my energy. I need some time for myself – to process where I’ve been and where I am, where I want to be, to recharge from the chaos, fear, and exhaustion of recent years, focus on my submission and Him, garden, hike, get my muscles back again, write, paint, crawl into the books I’ve been waiting to read for years and find some inspiration again, spend time with family and friends, and get re-involved in the BDSM community and activism.

The things that matter most to me are Him, my pup (who is truly a little person), this community, learning, and empowering or giving back to others. Lately, I’ve begun to think I care less about “fixing things” for others, and that I’d love to simply enable others to be themselves – to provide a safe space for people to have fun, even. The world these days is so serious and stressful; bringing fun and joy to others would perhaps be as fulfilling, or even more so. The toughest part is that I don’t know what that looks like – how could I get such time and space to pursue these things and recharge? My finances are still recovering from unemployment and medical bills, and not working at all would make me miserable – I need that continuity and engagement with others. Increasingly, I’m finding myself drawn to working for myself, which I find highly ironic, and a bit odd, as I’ve always sworn I never wanted to be an entrepreneur, nor do I have the slightest clue as to what I could do to bring in a viable income that I would also enjoy doing. It’s reaching the point that I’m not sure I can actually be happy in a traditional environment. I’m a night owl – I’m at my most creative and inspired in the evening/nighttime, and even prefer working out at night. The schedule most office jobs run, requires me to get up far too early to ever feel rested, and forces me to go to bed at the time when I have my most creative ideas and inspiration. Life can be better than constant cycles of exhaustion, feeling chained to rules and schedules that aren’t necessary and keep me from functioning in my natural state.

As I said in the beginning, I wish I had more to offer than this dialogue with myself. I’m finding that so much is only just now coming up mentally and emotionally to be processed, that I have to find an outlet for all of it, or will be non-functional for the foreseeable future. Right now, I need to take one thing at a time, and start trying to devote my energy, even while at work, towards finding ways to set myself up for the feeling that I’m looking for in my life. I need to find some goals, or set some fun things up for myself in both the short and long-term, to have something to look forward to. Maybe I’ll go to San Francisco, explore, and meet up with kinky friends the next time S goes on a work trip out there. Maybe tomorrow night’s meeting with the Director will go beautifully, and I’ll have a better job soon. I’m just grateful to have the time to process and absorb the fact that I have options and the freedom to even consider these things for the first time in my entire life…That is enough for today.

Living

I had forgotten…I am not a warrior of the sword. I wield the sword when I must, & only in the defense of those I love or those who are defenseless. My mission, my weapon, is not anger….it is understanding, love, hope. I am here to heal…to help, to give others a voice, or be their voice when they need one.

After a lifetime of being drained, unsupported, & unaccepted, I had begun to put up some pretty impressive walls. I began tearing them down a few years ago, & when I entered D/s with my first master, I removed them almost completely, believing that I would be able to completely do so with his help & love. When that ended, I felt my submission was rejected. It was as if the innermost part & expression of myself…it felt as if who I AM …me, myself, had been rejected when I had been as open & vulnerable as a person can be. Sadly, I allowed that anger & hurt to quietly poison me. I allowed myself to sink into an abyss of isolation & explained away my loneliness & unhappiness as due to being “different”. I am different…but not so different that I can’t exist here, that I can’t find peace, happiness, & connection with the world & others. The more I focused on my differences, the less able I was to connect to myself, others, & my submission. I fed the hurt, not the love, & yet was foolish enough to despair & wonder why nothing changed…why the good I was so trying to invite into my life, the things I so desperately wanted, weren’t manifesting. I justified it, convinced myself that that I was being smart, practical, & logical…doing all the right things.

As a wise friend recently told me, though, “We must invite in & live by the things that move our hearts, not our eyes”. I had become so wrapped up in myself, in my feelings of isolation, fear that I would never feel safe again – I was literally manifesting negativity into my relationship & slamming the door in the face of the very thing I wanted. Fear…the thing I most speak about & advocate working through, had wrapped itself around my mind & heart….& I just sat there & watched it – perhaps even guarded it against those who loved me & offered their hands in help & in love. I REJECTED him, fought him…& then blamed him for it. He attempted to guide, to show me the love, understanding, & strength I needed…& I ignored it or threw it into his face. I was different…who was he, or anyone else, to understand ME?

If I could make myself so different, then it provided an explanation outside of my control, it was a safety net that allowed me to withhold myself, to brace for rejection that I was sure would eventually come. To accomplish this, I fed my ego, convincing myself I was even more different than I already was. The message I was sending myself was that I was so different, no one would ever be able to understand, love, or really accept me….a defense mechanism of the worst kind. The ego continued to build, to feed on the anger & hurt of an entire lifetime of being unloved & rejected. My feelings towards & unresolved hurt from a lifetime of isolation & loneliness festered, as I wrapped myself in a protective armor of my successes, people’s opinions of me…fueling my ego beyond what is healthy, trying to console myself with my “power”, my “strength” & enabling myself to focus on the past, rather than who I want to be..who I really am. When I came to this, I wanted…I WAS exactly what he wanted, & I allowed pain & fear to disconnect me from that.

I stopped even dreaming…I ceased to think about or seek a future. By living so entirely in a fog of the present & past, but waiting expectantly for this “perfect” future to present itself, I wasn’t experiencing any of them or truly living at all. The future will indeed come….but not if we aren’t living…actively participating in the present.

The shame, this realization of what had done, is something I’m still working through. I can’t wallow in it, I can’t allow myself to regret it. In fact, I’m grateful all of this happened. I never would have seen this without it. It was the catalyst, the wake-up call I needed to start living again, to be ME again. Without this, I would have sat in my apartment for more months & years, not doing anything to reintegrate myself into life & the outside world, even with him there beside me. I NEEDED this. I get to live again. I don’t know exactly what I am going to do, where I’ll end up, what I even want to do…but I’m going to get out there & live while I find it. When I get home next Monday night, I will already have some sort of plan, & things lined up to get me out of the house every day…to meet people, explore new things….existing again. I don’t have all the answers, I’m scared, & sometimes I feel desperately alone…but I’m not. I’m not alone, & the only thing I have to fear….is going back to that place of inaction & apathy. I will find my submission again…it’s already roaring to the surface the more I honestly look at myself & see what I was becoming. I will find peace & happiness again in myself, because finally…I want to live.

Basic Play & Aftercare

Basic Play & Aftercare Tips:

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of questions & discussions online from newcomers to the community. Their questions made me realize there are few resources out there that actually discuss play or aftercare in-depth, or from the perspective of anyone but 20+ year veterans to BDSM (almost always Dominants), who usually engage in lifestyle or practices most people aren’t interested in or can’t relate to….especially for those who have just begun exploring. This is a rough draft of sorts, I suppose. It’s not comprehensive or complete, nor does it begin to even scratch the surface of what could, & probably should be discussed in relation to play & aftercare. This is intended to open the doors to conversation & hopefully provide some information or things to consider. It’s easy even for the experienced to “know the steps”…but sometimes the implementation of those steps can get tricky. Anyone who would like to submit ideas, additional areas/topics they would like to see me add to this list for a future update – all ideas are welcome & open for discussion.

-Don’t throw too many new things at her all at once. It’s easy to get excited when new to BDSM or with a new partner, & want to try everything right away. Take your time. If you’re playing with a new toy that night, don’t also make that the same night you blindfold, tie her to a chair, and gag her for the first time. Even if you have experience, each submissive is different, & you risk the very real danger of accidentally hitting a trigger or landmine with her if you rush too quickly & don’t take the time to carefully learn her as you move into this together. Again: take your time, learn one another, learn what they can handle, what they crave & respond well to, & how they mentally & physically respond to various types of play & implements before you get into anything really intense or risky. This is the responsibility of both partners – it ensures the safety & well-being of both of them, & promotes healthy, open communication from the beginning.

-Have back-up safety plans: If verbal communication is impossible or a struggle for her, or if a gag is incorporated in play, you need to collaborate & find a different method of communication that she is able to use to let you know something is wrong or that she needs help. “Tapping out” is one such option – tapping him on the leg or arm in a predetermined manner can serve as that signal. However, if her hands are restrained, she is gagged, or otherwise unable to make use of her hands, tapping out is not the best option. Find what works for you, & a method that she is able to access & act on when communication abilities are limited. This should be fun & bonding, not something you should walk away from with a vaginal or anal tear, internal organ damage, or feeling abnormal pain (such as pain caused by vaginal dryness & need for more lubrication, or a migraine caused by too much restriction of air, etc).

-Learn to recognize & read her subspace & physical responses: Once she hits subspace, it usually grows harder for her to communicate verbally. Thankfully, when she reaches this point, her physical responses are unfiltered & are not regulated anymore. They can help tell you where she is & how she is doing.

– Learn what she needs for Aftercare: Each submissive experiences things differently & may want/need different things. The type of play & intensity can also affect the kind of aftercare she needs. Example: After a spanking & rough sex, Rebecca needs cuddles. However, after being restrained with chains, fucked, & flogged to her release point (cathartic crying/deep subspace), her needs could include being held, having her back rubbed, being wrapped in a warm blanket, given a glass of water or a snack, or even being allowed to fall asleep.

-Don’t try to make her do something or move around excessively after play when she is in subspace: Trust me, just don’t. It’s jarring in a physical & mental way that is very disorienting, extremely uncomfortable, & can make for a very emotional or grumpy submissive….in a very bad way. If you’re the guy that wants that sandwich from the kitchen after sex – no judgement…but probably best to let the chemicals racing in her brain to stabilize, allow her to enjoy the calm & state of “non-thinking”, & for her body to return to some semblance of its normal state. When her legs have been spread for a half hour, she’s exhausted from play & sex, & is in subspace….even rolling over can take every ounce of strength she has, & requires a great deal of focus & concentration….which can disrupt subspace or make her feel jolted, even uncared for. Again, learn what she is able to do & what she needs.

-Don’t allow her to drive or place her in a risky situation while she is in subspace or immediately following play: Even once she begins to come out of it & is even talking again, her brain & body often take a bit more time to completely reconnect & become present. Does she seem a little detached from her body or what is going on around her? Is she moving slowly? Does she seem noticeably tired or unable to complete a thought? Give her more time. Water, some dark chocolate, ice cream (my personal favorite aftercare treat)…rehydrating & getting something into her system to restore things to their normal levels goes a long way towards helping her recover. Driving in that state is dangerous – there are many stories of submissives who thought they were ok to drive 30-45 minutes after play, who ended up in accidents on their way home.

Real vs. Ideal

Over the course of my time as a submissive, I have inevitably received criticism for some of the things I write about, the opinions I put forth, or the sharing of my feelings & experiences. At times, I’ve even discovered I’ve been blocked by some I admired on Twitter, simply due to the questions I pose, or my sharing of the realities of D/s & life, & they feel to do so is negative. It always surprises me & is a bit disappointing, but they are certainly entitled to choose what they wish to see in their feeds. This criticism has also held true when it comes to expressing my own personal brand of angst, & my struggles as not only a submissive, but a person.

Humanity is something we all share, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. Where my patience begins to run dry is when people begin to criticize not only me, but my relationships, because I dare to be honest about the fact that I struggle at times, & that even in D/s relationships, Dominants/Masters are human, imperfect, & even the best relationships take work. There are those who have chided me for being a poor submissive, or have criticized a Master I am in a relationship with for perceived failure to properly take care of me or make me happy. Here is my response: It is not His job to make me happy. Period. Happiness comes from within, & we must choose to accept it. My choice & manner of existing in this world involves acknowledging the entirety of the human experience, which is not all sunshine & rainbows. The chance & choice to live in vulnerability & hope is what drives me & shapes my existence. It means accepting pain, sacrifice, & having to accept things we don’t understand sometimes…which is HARD, no matter who you are or what you seek.

This does not mean I don’t make mistakes, or that life does not get in the way or pose challenges at times. In my opinion, the potential in D/s relationships to be a place where we can openly acknowledge & accept the other is not perfect, yet remain devoted & passionately connected, is an incredible strength & asset. My personal pursuit & lifestyle in full-time, or “24/7” D/s, is complicated. It takes enormous effort & energy to manage & sustain such full-time, real-life dynamics. That such Dominants/Masters are able & desire to give what they do with the other demands in life often amazes & baffles me.

I am a philosopher & wanderer by nature…angst & desire for endless knowledge & learning is in my blood. When I consider I have been able to reach the level of peace that I have, & managed to keep a small spark of hope alive despite having lived, seen, & felt far too much for my years…it is rather remarkable, in my opinion. What peace I have was hard-won, & the result of endless effort, suffering, & self-exploration…I refuse to not acknowledge the effort & sacrifice it took to get here.

One of the reasons I have tended towards being controversial, or disliked by some, is a simple matter of personality, & what has been called my “strong male energy”. I am aware, & accept that I do not relate to or share many of the common submissive desires or traits, & have publicly posed questions in an attempt to gain insight into some of these things I simply don’t understand. Some of these topics I have indeed tweeted about, such as my lack of connection & desire for ‘femininity’. On other occasions I have offered advice or thoughts based on my personal perspective encouraging others to be open-minded or accepting. Simply because I encourage others to not judge a thing, or to be more open-minded, does not mean that I myself practice or align with that practice, or that I have resolved my own judgements for or against a thing. I may struggle with that very topic myself, & am posting something to remind & push myself as much as anyone else. For example, many submissives view feminine expression as the epitome or even a large part of connecting to their sexuality & pursuing D/s…. but it elicits an adverse reaction in me. Many of these things I find quite interesting, & understand, even appreciate, the value or experiences that they bring, but also find that they simply do not resonate with or work for me. Some I have come to understand why, while others, I am still attempting to uncover the underlying reasons. Perhaps I am a switch…though I struggle with that idea, for reasons I shall perhaps explore here someday. In the end, unless a thing is abusive or damaging psychologically to a submissive, I do not judge it, & in some ways, I envy them in that I cannot share these common desires, & thus those experiences. I may never be able to truly share with them, because I cannot truly experience & understand these things…it is lonely & isolating in many ways.

It has been some time since I was accused of “not practicing what I preach”. Now, as I said then, my intent is never to preach, & if I have ever done so, I extend my sincerest apologies. Please call me out on it if any you ever feel I am. I would ask that you be very specific, so I am able to examine what is driving the behavior, & work to prevent it from happening again. I am not here to present “one true way” or even a particular brand of D/s. Often, my discussions are more about my personal life philosophy than D/s. Who we are as individuals, how we experience the world: it all shapes & affects who we are & how we experience within the lifestyle as well. We are people first. D/s, while it does profoundly impact our lives & who we are to differing degrees, is not the entirety of our selves or who we are. Just like anyone else, I certainly have my own preferences & practices, but the only intent I have here is to share & explore my personal thoughts, which I hope can provide some insight, or give the reader something to consider or discuss, in whatever context or situation they may find it applicable.

This is why I share the joy, the pain, the insights, of not only my submission, but all that I experience & consider as an individual, because whether submissive or dominant, male or female, we are all also individuals, with unique & distinct personalities, experiences, desires, & feelings. We should not feel obligated, nor should we force on others an ideal that makes sharing only the positive or happy experiences appropriate. Positivity is absolutely important, & something we often do not see enough. At times, I catch myself taking a more melancholy turn & bent. Even so, I wrestle with the urge to hide it away, because the human experience, & D/s itself, is fraught with challenges & even sadness at times. If we do not acknowledge that, embrace the vulnerability necessary in so many ways in this lifestyle to share our own struggles with others, we do not truthfully represent ourselves or what it is to be human. We also deprive those around us who face the same struggles of the chance or forum to share their own insights/lessons, or simply seek support. When we close ourselves off & only present a picture of perfection, & discourage others from expressing anything but positivity – we do ourselves & others a gross injustice.

(This is an updated/edited version of a writing I posted here from several months ago – “Value of the Real vs. Ideal”)

Faith

The past month or so has presented some unique changes that are clearly going to shape and change both my present and future in very significant, but as of yet, unknown ways. As is always the case with change, though, challenges are inherent in the process. Those of you who have followed me know I’ve largely spent the past year disconnected from my work and the world around me – that I’ve felt directionless and without motivation to do anything to change it. That has slowly been shifting the past 2-3 months. I’m still not there 100%, but I’ve begun to re-engage in the things that are important. I’m taking classes again in anticipation of either pursuing a PhD program or finding a new job, I’ve begun connecting to and actively participating in my work (good thing, as 12-15 hour days have become more frequent), entered a new relationship and am experiencing having a real family for the first time while also getting enough time to myself, finally organized and unpacked my home after 6 months, have been actively involved in the lives of my much younger siblings, and if I can complete these classes by summer, will be taking classes to become certified to teach yoga this fall. I feel calm…safe…and as though I have more direction and contentedness than I have in a very long time…perhaps ever.

No, I don’t know exactly where I am going or what I want to do in the grand scheme of things. That, I’m ok with at the moment. There are many things I must complete before I can put myself out there and begin looking again. Right now, I’m recharging and regaining the energy I was never able to collect in myself, even as a child.

However, despite all of the positive movement, there is a sad spot for me in all of this: these changes and “recharging” leave almost nothing for my very dear, beloved friends. Most introverts will recognize what I am expressing here – the simple fact that we only have so much energy to funnel outwardly, before we must retreat to recharge. However, in my case, it is much more than simple introversion. I don’t store or retain energy well at all….even when I have alone time to recharge. The best analogy I can think of is an old phone battery. You can plug it in and recharge the phone to 100%, but the second you begin using the phone away from the charger, even if it merely sits on a desk not actively used….that battery rapidly begins to drain and spiral towards zero. That is how I feel when I have a full plate. With everything happening lately, not only have I been burning the candle at both ends simply to keep up, in the rare moments that I have to breathe or don’t need to be actively engaged in something….there is nothing left. I have nothing left to give even something as basic a simple conversation via text. A couple of weeks ago, I began disconnecting even from my phone – the constant pinging and distraction was making it so difficult to focus on work projects, homework, emails….it was just too overwhelming to remember to reply or to coherently respond, let alone carry a conversation, with 1,000 other things needing to be completed within a very short window. The mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion of keeping up and dealing with the changes of late…simply leaves nothing left in the tank.

The past week, I’ve felt guilty, ashamed, and disappointed in myself for not being able to find the energy to interact, and for my schedule, which has a knack for conflicting with others’ availability. Yet, I feel conflicted, because I know it is not a matter of “finding” the energy. One can’t find what isn’t there, nor would it be healthy to push or fake it either. This “recharge” time, this period of preparing myself and completing the tasks that must be done in order for me to re-engage with the world and life again…I need this. I’ve never had this opportunity before. I’ve worked and put aside the things I’ve wanted and needed my entire life. Even as a child, I worked, was the primary caregiver to my siblings, and never had a moment of feeling stable. I’ve given a lot the past few years to others, and right now…..I just need some time for me.

That nasty, nagging little voice we all are brainwashed into absorbing so very early in life, tries to tell me I’m being selfish…and maybe I am a bit. Yet, at the end of the day, this is what I have to do, and what I need to get myself healthy and on my path…so how can that be selfish? That is an inherent, basic human right – to be able to pursue physical, mental, and spiritual well-being and safety.

I’m far from perfect, and indeed I have personal things to work on. Every one of us does. We each have different burdens, dreams, needs, desires, and hurts to heal. I deserve, and will not be made to feel guilty for giving myself what I need for the first time – every single one of us deserves that opportunity. Such opportunity is not merely handed to us, though…it has to be made, and then seized. Part of me wishes that who I am needed or wanted the “glorification of busy” and socializing that seems to fuel, or at least be managed by so many. I used to live that way….and I was miserable, inauthentic, and exhausted. I’ll not visit that road again. I’ll not run myself ragged trying to please everyone by trying to be what everyone needs, or what I think they want. It’s not in me anymore. I haven’t the energy, the time, nor the desire to fake any part of my existence anymore. I MISS my friends, and I love them dearly… if any of them were to need me, I would move mountains to make things work, because that is what we do for those we love. Unfortunately, my reality at the moment is such that I have little to give them in the way of daily or casual social interaction….and for their frustration and disappointment, I am indeed more sorry than I can express.

All I can offer at the moment is a reminder of my love, respect, loyalty, and the integrity and commitment I have always shown them. Sometimes, that is all any of us have to give, whether it is to a job, a loved one, a friend, our family…and that’s ok. We all experience the world differently and thus, exist in it differently. Our heart or our mind may be disconnected or unable to engage as we once did while we handle something else in our lives…but that doesn’t mean we stop showing up, that we care any less or were deceitful. It simply is part of the rhythms of life. Those who ride those rhythms with us & have faith in who we are and what we are doing…those are the people who love you for all of you, without reservation, expectation, or conditions. Relationships aren’t easy…all require sacrifice, communication, and will have ups-and-downs. Without faith, no relationship can survive.

Open Eyes

It seems almost a lifetime ago since I’ve last written anything here, & the past couple of days, I’ve realized how much I’ve missed it. Life has indeed been very busy, but I’ve not felt the inclination or itch to write in some time, either. The reasons are vast and varied, though I couldn’t pinpoint if any one of them was more impactful than the others. The end of a relationship, the unexpected and unsought-for beginning of a new relationship, settling into my new place, and a multitude of work and personal events simply sucked the life out of me for awhile.

When I look back over the changes of recent months, I’m astonished at how much has changed so quickly, and with so little warning. Yet, I am also very much at peace with all of it. In one of my very last writings here, I remember writing how I felt something was on the verge of coming, or changing, & that I was content & willing to wait for whatever it was. Never could I have imagined that these changes would be so numerous or would take the form they did. Even so, despite the incredible highs & lows of the recent months, there is an undeniable sense of rightness & assurance that I am indeed precisely where I am meant to be, & that I have overcome, or moved past some sort of major obstacle or test.

The calm that has descended on my life in the past month or so as a result of all of these changes has been profoundly striking. It is particularly so, as this calm & these changes, don’t frighten me. This calm does not stir fear or doubt in me. It is an entirely new, & quite foreign feeling for me – a sense of safety & stability I’ve never experienced before. The overwhelming gratitude I feel for all I’ve been blessed with is simply beyond words.

It occurs to me that all of this positive change did not happen merely because I embraced change & new possibilities, but because I was willing to open my eyes, my very self, in order to see & freely, openly consider whatever the universe sent my way. If I had not been open to guidance & possibility, if I had been stuck on an internal idea / vision of what I thought I needed & wanted, I wouldn’t be where I am today. We can’t embrace what we aren’t willing to first see & consider.

This makes me wonder: what else have I closed my eyes to & have been able to receive, simply because I’ve decided to dismiss or ignore it? I’m keenly aware at the moment that my own ego & dismissive judgement may well be keeping me from the things I’ve sought so desperately for so long. Potentially even more intriguing: what have I closed my eyes to in myself? Perhaps I’ve not only closed myself off from things on the outside, but I’ve kept things locked away inside myself as well.

Boxes

Recently, I had a conversation with a Dominant I deeply respect, in which we discussed how many in the lifestyle, (often Dominants), tend take submissives that they end up damaging. Rather than being self-aware & responsible enough to acknowledge incompatibility & differences in needs, they often rationalize away the concerns or dangers. Sadly, it’s rarely maliciously or purposely; they simply fail to see submissives as unique individuals who were were not made to simply be temporary objects of entertainment, & the emotional/psychological havoc it can leave in its wake.

It reminded me of an analogy I heard a long time ago, & I realized that an expanded view of this is quite relevant in this particular D/s context. There will be those who will see the beauty of a flower, & their instinct will be to pick it, trying to possess & keep it for themselves…not caring in their selfishness & shortsightedness that they have just killed that beauty for their own momentary pleasure. They are the ones who will throw the flower out after having picked it, as it begins to wilt. Then there are those who see the beauty of a flower, & out of respect, enjoy & appreciate it as it is. They nurture & care for it, allowing it to flourish, knowing that the true beauty & value of it means it must be nurtured & cared for.

There are Dominants who simply don’t understand, or perhaps are unable to see that by viewing a submissive as a commodity, a temporary thing of entertainment or interest, they cheat themselves out of the beauty & full depth a submissive has locked within them to give, & sadly crush/destroy the very beauty they were so drawn to.

One submissive is not like another, just as one Dominant is not like another. Applying blanket statements or judgements to individuals does nothing but promote divisiveness, shaming, & close-mindedness. What D/s is for one person, may mean something else entirely to the person sitting next to you. Those who create rigid “truths” or refuse to deviate from their practices have closed themselves off from not only learning & growing, but from experiencing new things & greater depth in relationships. Putting people in boxes, stereotyping…it does nothing but place those who do so in special boxes of their own.

The ability to say “I was wrong”, or to challenge & question one’s own beliefs is indicative of true leadership & depth. If someone feels threatened or as though their honor would be compromised by admitting wrong or considering something new – think about what that truly says about them. The truly strong bend in the face of the wind – they adapt. Those who stubbornly stand upright, denying or defying what stares them in the face…are destroyed, ripped out of the ground by the roots.

Next time you meet a Dominant who rigidly adheres to a certain “practice” or rules or says all submissives should be ultra-feminine, or a submissive who demands that a Dominant meet certain irrelevant criteria (hot, makes over $80k, loves 50’s household, has no tattoos, doesn’t like anal, over 5’10, etc….) then ask yourself what that says about them, & what they may be missing out on by closing themselves off from genuinely seeing & experiencing many wonderful, beautiful people & things…because the only ones who truly suffer and are restricted by those boxes…is them.

Making Peace with Fear

Today, as I was starting laundry & getting ready to settle in for another day of monotonous work, it dawned on me that something was different. IT was gone….the nameless, inexplicable angst & fear that has all but threatened to consume me at various times in my life. Some of it is the result of my personality & ideals, but aspects of it could be depression rearing its head again, or the struggle to put aside past experiences & fear – the old baggage that we all carry in unique forms of some kind.

This feeling is not unfamiliar. I have felt it before at a few specific, key times in my life, when I finally allow myself to let go of control. It can be a fear, a person, or a hurt; but once the fear, pain, & anger is released, once I face it, & accept what IS, it no longer can rule me. It may pop up now & then, but it no longer controls me or my behavior. Reaching that point feels much like an odd combination of a late stage of grief, & finishing a long race. It is an experience of sheer exhaustion, but a sense of calm & accomplishment, with a quiet knowing that you are on the right path, & that everything will be ok.

Reaching this point is often excruciatingly painful, & at times causes a lot of heartache during the struggle. In an effort to explain, or rationalize things as I always do, I tend to resist putting aside of fear or pain, because I lose sight of the lesson I’ve been shown again & again; we must accept the pain, fear, & what IS, if we wish to not be ruled by them. Ironically, I’ve found that once we do that, the things we hope & dream for, often do become a reality. We can’t accept them, nor can we be ready for them, until we can assimilate them into our being.

You may have noticed that I do not say “move past”, or “conquer” fears or baggage. The reason I do not use that terminology is very simple. We ARE what we have experienced. We may not wish to acknowledge that some experiences have happened to us, or wish that we could forget them. The reality is that they do affect & shape us, whether we want them to or not. To be clear, our experiences alone do not define us completely, but they do indeed shape us, & the way we perceive the world around us from that point forward. It is only through acknowledging our experiences, hurts, & fears, & accepting them as part of who we are, that we can make the conscious decision to take the lessons from those experiences, & consciously choose our future paths.

To reach that point, I often have to face my very darkest demons. I fight them, I resist – forgetting that they are part of me, & that anger will only ever elicit anger in response. Once I approach them with acceptance, openness, & love…they respond in kind. Do they still exist? Absolutely. Will I still feel fear or remember old hurts? Of course. The difference is, once you have made peace with a thing, it can no longer consume you. It may stir an alarm in you at times, but once peace has truly been established, you can quickly identify & guide away a fear consciously, rather than it spiraling out of control & attempting to devour you in a misguided effort of protection.

Are my fears & concerns about my future life valid? Likely not. Are my fears of losing M valid? Likely not. Is there a possibility that I could end up alone someday? Yes. Is there a possibility that I may never find my passion & live an unfulfilled life. Yes. Anything is possible. Yet, I cannot help but feel that such outcomes would only happen if I allowed myself to live a life consumed by fear & worry. Even if I were to end up alone someday, can I control that? No! What I do know, is that life has proven to me again & again, that if I open myself up, & reconcile my fear, it hands me the most incredible things: everything of which I dreamed, & more.

Does all of this mean that I merely sit passively & wait for life or other people to happen? Not at all. Looking to the future is healthy & normal, to some extent. It is when we attempt to control the future or prevent future hurt that we go wrong all too often. There is nothing wrong with wanting particular things for our future selves, or seeking feedback about what a partner wants for their own, & your shared futures. If we only live purely in the moment, it seems inauthentic to me. It misses the nature of the human experience, which is a beautiful collaboration of the past, present, & future. Ignoring any one aspect of the self in any point in time, even if that self & time have not happened yet, causes us to lose balance within the self.

This balance is already so difficult to attain, because logic tries to force us into dichotomies of white & black. A thing is wrong, or it is right. We even rationalize wrong behavior by trying to explain it away with reasons or circumstances that are “unique” to the situation we personally are in, to make it “right”. We try to categorize, explain, & put things into neat little boxes that make us feel comfortable & safe – they give us a map or set way of explaining things that is easy, & does not force us into uncomfortable situations or unfamiliar territory. The problem inevitably comes, though, when we are faced with a gray situation that is so unique, we can’t put it into any of the boxes that we have. It simply doesn’t fit. We may try to force it into one box or another, but only find ourselves more confused & frustrated as we continue to find it will not fit into any of the boxes we have. Some us (personally guilty), may then even attempt to deny that this new thing even exists. We attempt to rationalize it away & convince ourselves that because we cannot make it fit into any of our boxes, it is therefore wrong. The thing itself is flawed & therefore the problem – not our boxes.

When the balance is found, though, & we stop trying to force answers into the boxes we already have or feel threatened by their “differentness”, we can accept things just as they are. That peace is what actually allows us to obtain what we seek. I’ve often said that I sought a passionate life of depth & growth, hopefully with a few very dear friends, & a partner with whom to share it all & grow with. Yet, if I allowed my fear to continue to control me, I would indeed find myself alone & unfulfilled someday.

It is endlessly fascinating to me that peace fuels passion for life. We all too often forget or fail to recognize that we can’t accept or enjoy things when we are constantly trying to catch them. Sometimes we need to stop talking, & once the noise has quieted, can we see what has often been around us all along.

The little whispers of passion are creeping back on the edge of my consciousness again…& I’m content to wait right here for them while they take form. This is a time to recharge, & just enjoy the little things in life. I’ll know when it comes.

My Christmas Wish

It is no big secret that I have been having a rough time lately, & have been struggling. As I’ve said before, I firmly believe that hardships & pain are part of the human experience that should be acknowledged & talked about, not hidden or shamed. The overwhelming support & love I received from so many, was incredibly humbling, & beyond touching. I truly cannot express the depth of my appreciation for all of you – it means far more than you will ever know. Thank you all so very, very, much.

Your support & affirmations were not the response I had expected. In my experience, both as an observer or a receiver, generally people tend send messages such as, “cheer up” or “you don’t have anything to be unhappy about” – all with the best of intentions, but which often serve to make someone who feels alone & misunderstood even more so. Some simply outright judge & label a person who shares such feelings as being “negative”. Don’t misunderstand me, if all someone ever does is express negative feelings, then something is certainly wrong, perhaps on multiple levels. For myself, & the many others like me, who largely view the world with hope & positivity, it can feel incredibly alienating & lonely when others scold us for not being bubbly or positive all the time. (See my post “Real vs. Ideal” for detailed insight into my feelings about only expressing positive things).

The power & warmth of your collective actions yesterday has struck a very deep chord in me. It has rekindled my faith & hope in humanity & shown me that what I do here is indeed valuable & meaningful to some of you. The most invaluable, treasured gift of all from yesterday, though, was the simple fact that not a single one of you judged me, tried to invalidate my feelings, or derided me for sharing my struggles & that I am a flawed human just like everyone else. My dearest friends, M, & all of you…You all reached out yesterday in a spirit of calm warmth, love, & support. It was one of the most incredible & beautiful things I’ve ever experienced. My appreciation & gratitude truly cannot be fully expressed. It has given me hope for many, many things.

In the spirit of yesterday, I have a favor to ask all of you. A (somewhat early) Christmas wish, if you will. I ask that this generous spirit of support & love for those around us be continued. When you see someone struggling, doubting, or simply crying for help, reach out. Just a few words of support, a virtual hug (real is even better!), or listening to someone for a little while…these things can do wonders. The simple little things, those moments of connection with other people are what make life worth living. Sometimes I think we all feel as though we are so surrounded by negativity these days, that we simply begin to tune out or avoid anything or anyone that voices it. This morning, I gained some new perspective on that, thanks to all of you. Negativity can be harmful, & it is draining, but when someone shares feelings of pain or doubt, maybe we shouldn’t immediately throw up our “negativity red flag” & avoid it. I am beginning to feel that perhaps we should view such moments as opportunities to actually create & promote POSITIVITY. The results may not be immediate, but we should never underestimate or forget the power of a simple hug, word of support, or allowing someone to vent without trying to fix or judge them. If we want to see more positivity & love in the world, we must be the ones to create it.

Once again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you all for such a priceless gift.