Category Archives: life

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!

Well, not really.  First of all, she’s not a witch and secondly, her health is fine, but I’m leaving my horrible job and my horrible boss and moving on to a different startup that is founded and run by people that I know and respect.  It’s a massively good thing and I feel like yelling something upbeat and, “Ding dong the witch is dead!” feels about right.

The past several months have been difficult for me.  The only time that I have made for my blog is to answer the direct questions of readers who email me directly.  I need to do better than that, and now that I feel like I have a little more mental and emotional capacity, I plan to do just that.

I’m skipping Nanowrimo this year, and because I’m starting a new job and there are other life changes in the works that require my attention, I’m probably not going to really make any major commitments to writing or anything else in the short term, but this is massively good news for me and everyone in my life.

I’m beginning yet another new chapter – and this one feels really good.   New places, new expectations, and a chance to start again where I’ve not been ‘outed’ and can be seen for the merit of what I know and do instead of what I do in my private life.

Catching up

It has, once again, been a horribly long time since my last post. Part of the reason for that is simply that I’ve been letting life get in the way again, but part of it is because I have been struggling with how to write this next post, what to include, how much to reveal about myself in it, and also just a certain amount of time waiting to see what would happen.

Shortly after my last post, I was outed at work as kinky by a coworker, which is something that I never expected to happen, or that if it did happen, that it would be something of a non-event.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I work in the tech sector. The former is a well known kink haven and the latter is known to be accepting of all sorts of personality quirks.

So, when there was any reaction at all to my lifestyle choices, I was a bit surprised.

I think that was part of the problem – everyone else was surprised as well – and if there is something that people can almost universally be expected to react poorly to, it is surprises that change fundamental assumptions that we make about some person, place, or thing. I should have expected this and prepared for it a bit better. Perhaps I should not have kept things so compartmentalized in my life, but with a few exceptions, I don’t socialize with my coworkers and even when I do, they tend to fall into the category of ‘vanilla friends’ which makes them a bit easier to hold at arm’s length.

So.. when they found out that I have a ‘secret life’… well… I suddenly became a great deal more interesting.

My role is kind of boring. I’m one of the most senior engineers on my team. I’m a mentor and a role model in some ways. I’m not a manager (though I was once.. it turns out that I am a wonderful leader but a terrible manager) but I am very visible and deal with a lot of different people in my role. It’s been interesting to see how people reacted to the news.

My shrew of a boss either still does not know or is refusing to acknowledge the news. If it is the latter, then she is actually probably a better boss than I give her credit for, but the problem is that I’m pretty sure that she is just so clueless and uninformed that she still doesn’t know and whatever consequences are coming from that vector are still waiting in the wings.

But the more interesting reactions are the ones that I am getting from my peers and from the other cross-functional people that I deal with regularly.

I’ve had some interesting questions posed by a few of the more adventurous of my coworkers, but really nothing too extreme. I wasn’t expecting anyone to say anything though, so that’s an interesting bit of information.

The really surprising thing though is the change in the way that people treat me. It’s a subtle thing, and I have to be very careful when I evaluate such things because my own perception can definitely distort things, but there have been some distinct changes in the way that certain individuals interact with me. Some avoid me more, some act like they know a secret about me and that we’re closer as a result (even though I didn’t divulge the secret myself,) and some act very nervous around me now, like they expect me to pull out a flogger and start wailing on them any minute.

I should have been more careful. I had a headshot as my profile photo on Fetlife. That was how they found me. Someone was trolling Fetlife and saw my picture and went apeshit.

Of course, this means that the person who found me out has to have a Fetlife account as well. I somewhat naively thought that would be some protection – after all, anyone who saw my photo on Fetlife would have to have an account themselves, and would presumably be somewhat discreet as a result, but alas, the world is a bit more complex than such naive assumptions. It turns out that no one cares how I was found out, only that I was… I should have predicted that.

Ultimately, I still don’t know the full impact of the news on my career and work relationships – some of this is still evolving. I’m rarely the object of discrimination, so this has been a new experience for me in some ways. I’ll be sure to post a follow up in a couple of months when the full impact of things is more clear to me, but one thing is absolutely certain. I’m never more sure of my privilege in being born a white male in America as I am now.

Yours in thought,

Rant.

As a postscript and a side-note… I’ve received a few emails lately asking why I don’t allow comments on my posts.   I actually do, and always have, but I set things such that posts older than two weeks old could not be commented on in an effort to avoid necroposting, but since some of my posts are being referenced on other sites now and at the request of those who emailed me, I’ve removed that restriction and you should be able to comment on any post I’ve written.

Posts are still moderated and go through a spam filter, but once you have a post approved, subsequent posts should automatically be approved for you.  Please do not abuse this .

Not dead. Yet…

I’m not dead, yet…

It’s been a shamefully long time since I’ve posted here.  I apologize.

I’m not dead.  I’ve not forgotten this blog.  I’ve not changed my lifestyle – at least not intentionally.  I’ve missed a few emails, and I’ve not been keeping up my normal standard of responses for those that I’ve actually managed to reply to over the past couple of months.

Life gets in the way sometimes, but I’ve let life run over me for long enough and it’s time to start pushing back again.

It’s time to start writing again.  I’ve kept up with reading.  In fact, I’ve read more than 30 books so far this year, and it’s only mid-March.  If I were to devote even just a portion of the time I spend reading, watching TV, or playing video games to writing, I’d easily have 50 more blog entries by now if not a more tangible piece of writing.

Writing is catharsis for me, but I definitely have not spent enough time doing it lately.

In some ways, I feel a bit like a 12-stepper… I keep falling off of the wagon and I keep recommitting myself.  I feel better about it each time, and I stick with it for awhile, but then life gets in the way again.

I’m going to begin a new experiment.

I have nearly a dozen half-finished blog entries on my google drive.  With two notable exceptions, I generally don’t post anything until I’ve reviewed it, edited it, re-reviewed it, and generally feel like it’s both well written and of a reasonable length.  I’ve always been afraid of making too small entries – feeling like people deserve a good chunk of content when they give me their eyeballs for a few minutes.  And in truth, even when writing short pieces like this one, it takes me about ten times as long to write, read, edit, and publish than it does for you to read it.  But I’m going to start trying to be a bit less of a perfectionist.  I’m going to publish more pieces, even if I don’t feel like they’re perfect, and even if I feel like they’re too short or perhaps off topic.

I started this blog as a place to rant about the things that I saw going wrong in my own local BDSM community.  I gave the address to one person and expected my audience to grow to maybe 10 or 20 over time.  I never expected what actually happened, and I didn’t properly set my own expectations.

Eventually this became a place of instruction, and while I enjoyed that for a time, it was too impersonal, too clinical, and too removed from my own feelings on the matter to be compelling.  And then I started to write more personal stories, and that is when I started to find everything a bit overwhelming.  I don’t think even I realized it until now.

Catharsis is difficult to find when the prospect of engaging in your cathartic activity is so daunting, and so I basically quit.

But I’m not really a quitter… and the fact that I haven’t been updating the blog has always stuck in the back of my craw like a … stuck in the back of your craw thing…

So – once more with feeling – I’m back.

You can expect more updates, but they might not be the solid blocks of BDSM University goodness that you’re used to, nor the long winded personal diatribes, but perhaps something more manageable and sustainable.

I’m Rant, I’ve been here all along and I’m not going anywhere, even if I might have been hiding for awhile.

Dividends

Being nice to everyone all of the time is not easy.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that it’s not possible.  I’ve made a conscious effort to be nice to the people that I have the most troubles with, and that’s a bit easier – I’m inclined to be an asshole when I see/hear/interact with these people, and I can use that inclination as a trigger to force myself to act nice.

It’s much more difficult to remember to always be nice to those that I actually like though.

It’s a bit of a paradox, true.  I have reversed my actions, and I’m being nice to people that I dislike 100% of the time, but to those that I actually care about, my actions have been largely unchanged – perhaps even worse for the effort required to be nice to those for whom I carry disdain.

I’m making the effort though.  Most of my interactions are with my family – within which I include my girlfriend – and my coworkers.  Some of my coworkers are friends – some of them I like, but because I see them less frequently, it’s easier to remain nice to them.  It’s really my family, especially my girlfriend, that is suffering from this.

I’ve been doing better this week than I was last week, and I will continue to do better and better as the new forms of action become more commonplace for me, and watching that transformation take place in myself is fascinating.

The dividends are slow in coming though.

My boss is every bit as bad as she has ever been.  If anything, she is still greedily consuming my goodwill and extra effort for her own selfish ends.  She has gone so far as to personally take credit for my work in a couple of cases, which should make me incensed, but I’m able stand apart and realize that this will eventually be her undoing.  Eventually, someone is going to ask her to explain all of this amazing work that she is managing to turn out, and she won’t be able to because she did none of it herself, and does not even understand what it is that I did.  So, her options at that point will either be to give me the credit I really deserve in a rather public assignation, or to bury herself deeper in lies that will eventually end up exposing her.

I suppose I’m giving her all the figurative rope that she can ask for, and she’s tying the noose herself…

But there are some areas of my life that are being improved by this new strategy.

While I’m not as successful as I would like to be in employing these tactics at home, I can think of a couple of recent interactions where I forced myself to say something when I would have normally brooded in silence.  The immediate and short term discomfort that this causes is generally more than offset by the long term gains, but those can sometimes be difficult to foresee.

And yet, I’m often subtly reminded of the improvements that this can bring about in my interactions with strangers…

Today, I decided that I needed to spend some more time at my desk.  I’ve been out of the office a lot lately, and while I am often more productive when I’m not in the office, there is still something of a stigma attached to not be Butt In Seat with middle management.  So – I walked over to Subway to get a sandwich for lunch and with the intent of eating it at my desk.

I’m a bit of a nerd, in case this wasn’t clear by now.  It’s a pet peeve of mine when restaurants charge you tax on transactions that are not legally taxable.  It’s a sneaky practice and it’s illegal and it occasionally makes me angry.  Usually their accounts payable people are smart enough to figure out the discrepancies before they submit their taxes to the state, so it amounts to an extra bonus for the franchise owner – stolen from people who are not awake enough to notice or who don’t know they’re being taken advantage of.

So, back to Subway.  They make sandwiches.  Sometimes they toast them, but I don’t usually like my sandwiches toasted, so I always ask them not to.  The law states that you cannot charge sales tax, eat-in tax, or any other kind of tax on fresh food, prepared without heat, for consumption off of the premises.  I ordered the daily deal sandwich.  It was advertised as $6.00.  I did not get it toasted, and I indicated that I wanted my sandwich, and only the sandwich – no meal deal – to go.

The clerk asked me for $6.52.

Two weeks ago, I would have been belligerent and asked to speak to the manager right away, probably leveled some cold, hard anger at him or her and refused to pay the $0.52 surcharge that was illegally levied at me.

But I didn’t.

I consciously put on my best smile (which isn’t all that great, actually.. I have Resting Bitch Face in spades.. in fact, as a younger man I used to wear glasses with no prescription to the lenses merely to soften the appearance of my face when dealing with people) and I turned it to her in the highest smile power wattage I could manage and said, “I’m sorry, miss, but I believe that you may have made a mistake.  I ordered the daily deal and my transaction should be exactly $6,” just as I handed her a five dollar bill and a single.

She was not quite on the same page that I was with regards to the ideals of being nice to people.

I understand it.  She works in retail with lines of hungry people and was probably suffering from low blood sugar herself, seeing as how this was near the end of the lunch rush, and she probably had to delay her own lunch to take care of all of ours.

Whatever her reasons, her response to me was a bit angry, and while I am paraphrasing, I bet you can get the idea.  “No, dipstick, the sandwich is on special but you still have to pay tax, and you owe me $0.52 or you can’t have your frakking sandwich.”

Apparently she raised her voice enough when she responded to me to attract the attention of the manager, because she started walking towards us as I began my response.

“Gosh, okay… well, this is certainly not worth fighting over and there are others in line here who would probably like to pay for their own sandwiches and get on with their day, but I do feel compelled to inform you that you are breaking the law.  I ordered a sandwich which was not toasted and which I am going to consume off site, so you are not obligated to or allowed to charge me for any tax.”  And as I said this, I handed her another single.

“I didn’t toast it,” was her clipped response as she angrily grabbed at the bill that I was proffering.

“Pardon me?” was my super-eloquent reply, because I didn’t really understand why she was telling me that she didn’t toast my sandwich.  I knew it wasn’t toasted.  I ordered it un-toasted, and I watched the process closely.  In retrospect, I think that she just didn’t understand me and was responding to the one thing that she did understand.

“I said that I didn’t frakking toast your frakking sandwich!”

And then her manager tapped her on the shoulder and told her to go to the back.  The manager gave me back my money, apologized for the behavior of her employee, and stated that I was, of course, correct, and that the cost of my sandwich should have been exactly $6, but that I should take my money and the sandwich with her apologies and hopes that I would return on another occasion.

So I did.

I feel bad for the clerk.  She’s probably going to be dressed down pretty badly, assuming that she gets to keep her job, and it was certainly never my intention that anyone get reprimanded or fired.

If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t say anything at all.  I’d just forfeit the $0.52 and try to maintain harmony as much as possible.  I certainly don’t need the $0.52.  I waste money in other ways that I’m sure drive people around me insane.  To make such a big deal over less than a buck seems like a real travesty, but it’s not the money that was the issue.

The whole unfortunate event occurred because I was raised to be a Libertarian.  I’m not now, and I don’t really identify with that former version of myself in any way, but there was a time when the government represented the biggest obstacle in my life, and the idea of paying a tax that they were not entitled to collect still sticks in my craw sometimes.

With the physical pain and sleep deprivation and emotional agony that I’ve been going through lately, it’s old vestigial instincts like that one that end up derailing my bliss, and it almost happened again, but I avoided it, and I even got a free lunch out of the deal.

But that clerk certainly did not.

I suspect that she was not informed of the distinction between times when one may and when one may not charge tax, so she was probably justified in feeling upset that I was telling her how to do her job, but she did not have to react with the bile that she did, in the very same way that I would be most likely to do myself, if I were in her shoes.

Likewise, if I’d taken my usual approach, I might have been able to get the $0.52 refunded, but I would have ended up in a foul mood and fouling the mood of at least two other people in the process.

It’s perhaps only stepwise progress, but I’ll take it, and hold on to it as evidence that I’m not completely on the wrong path.

I have to be vigilant.  Everything there is will try to steer me back to the old, familiar, and comfortably miserable path that I’ve been on and off of throughout my entire life.

The dividends are here, they’re just hard to see sometimes, and sometimes there is a price to be paid.

I’ll gladly pay the price to be happy when I can though.

Happiness makes everything better.

Enemies

“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.”  — Abraham Lincoln, sort of…

Abraham Lincoln actually did say that – but it’s a bit out of context.  He was responding to a woman who posited that he was not being hard enough on the newly conquered South.  She made the assertion that he should not be attempting to rebuild the South or to refer to southerners as he had – as men who were blinded by circumstance.  He was a learned man – though an autodidact – and he paraphrased the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund.  What Lincoln said in response to her query was, “Why madam, do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”

And so he did.

I’m an extremely fortunate man.  I’ve said this before, and I say it often enough that I would not blame you for thinking that I am trying to convince myself of the truth of the statement through repetition, but it is true.

I’ve been stressed out, tired, grumpy, and unhappy lately.  When this happens to me, my desire is to turtle.  I want to shut out the rest of the world and just sort of lick my wounds until I feel ready to face reality again.  Of course, this manifests itself in even further enhanced grumpiness as every little incursion into my world even from those that I love is an invasion into my need for isolation.  I snap at my kids; I snap at my girlfriend; I snap at my colleagues.

I’ve been doing this all week, since I got back from my trip to the Middle East.

At first I could blame jet lag.  It was almost certainly a factor.  I wasn’t eating, my sleep was off, and I was just generally miserable.  But I think it goes deeper than that…

Everything in my life right now is in flux.  I just settled my accident case – though not satisfactorily – this is one instance where being a Caucasian male definitely works against me.  My project at work is being transferred away, and I’ve been wanting to find a new job for quite some time.

My back was aggravated by the air travel – I can’t sit for long periods of time without it causing my back problems – but it brought one thing into sharp focus.. job stress is FAR more harmful to my health and my back issues than even sitting on a plane in coach for 20 hours.

Job stress is killing me – possibly literally.

I like to think of myself as being reasonably grounded, as being Zen in places where others cannot be.  I like to try to react unemotionally but with empathy, or at least compassion.  I try to be rational in all things, and yet, in this instance, I am most un-rational.

I seem to have an expiration date when jobs are involved.   For the first six months or so in any new job, I am in love all over again.  Even if I’m doing something very similar, I have many new things to learn, new people to meet, new technologies to play with, and new experiences of nearly every type.  Eventually the newness wears off and I develop confident competence – I become an expert and I begin to take on leadership roles, and that works for another year or two.  I invariably come across and begin to resent those that are either not competent or who lack the ethic that I bring to task.  At first I silently compensate for these low performers, but eventually I begin to resent them, and that’s when the downward spiral begins.

In my current job, I’ve been spiraling for a bit more than a year now.  For awhile I was able to achieve some sort of emotional distance, but eventually even this failed me and I find myself where I am now, angry and feeling exploited.  I began to stop compensating for the lack of ability in my peers and rather than reacting as I expect, those further up the corporate totem pole bring their ire to me directly – the things that I was doing to compensate for the lack of ability or focus in others are no longer getting done, and despite the fact that these things were never my responsibility, the fact that I am now no longer doing them becomes my fault and my shortcoming.

The injustice of this only serves to further increase my anger and unhappiness.

And now, recent market changes have made it economically irresponsible for me to leave my job and seek employment elsewhere, so, as you might imagine, I’ve been feeling a bit trapped.

And what do I do when I feel trapped?

I pull in and react to the rest of the world with anger and resentment.

I could rail at the gods.  I could pull back and say to myself and the rest of the universe, “this is unfair! Why me?!”   I could blame others – the colleagues that I have been carrying, the management who is laying the blame at my feet, the Universe itself for being a cold, uncaring place.  I could lament my misfortune and no one would blame me for it.  My friends would support me, “you’re right, that’s unfair!  You deserve better.”  And I would be grateful for their support.

But that’s not the way out of this.

It’s in my nature to take charge of things.  It’s in my nature to automatically pitch in and take over when things are faltering.  It’s part of who I am to sacrifice my own time or my own desires in order to bring the team across the line.  And I do it, over and over again.  And I’m unlikely to stop – and even if I did, that wouldn’t make me happy.

The problem is that I can’t do it forever.  Not without developing resentment.  This is normal.  This is not a violation of Zen principles – to deny my own feelings would be turning a blind eye to the most important thing in my universe – Me.  And while martyrs get nice things written about them more often than not, martyrs also tend to die miserable deaths, and I’m not quite ready to lay down and die yet, so I need to take care of me.

So, how do I get out of this, you ask?

I turn my enemies into friends.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I abhor my boss.  She’s incompetent, lazy, bigoted, and just plain mean at times.  She is not a leader, and in my opinion, does not deserve her position.  She is barely capable of holding on to it, and if I were willing to sacrifice my own position, I could certainly bring her down.  But I won’t do that.

I’m going to make her into my best friend.

I am going to do everything in my power to force her to succeed where she is floundering now.

I am going to change my world.

Now, while this is something of a personal epiphany that I’ve had, and while I’m arrogant enough to think that it might be worthy of reading, it’s really not got anything to do with the focus of this blog, which is BDSM specific – for the most part.

So, to bring things back into focus, I’ll extrapolate from D/s philosophy and put this into terms that almost make sense in that context.

I’ve been beating my head against a brick wall by trying to Dominate my boss and my colleagues.  I’ve been trying to expose – bluntly at times – how fucked they really are if they don’t do as I’ve been suggesting.  I held my head high, knowing that I didn’t create the situation in which they find themselves so thoroughly fucked – I just did nothing to prevent it.

And even though I know better – I tried to pretend that those two things are not the same thing.

Just as a lie of omission is still a lie – to allow something to occur through inaction when I could have prevented it is the same as causing it myself.

And so.. I was Dominating nothing.  I was allowing things to happen when I could have controlled them.  The proper thing to do for me – the proper thing to do to respect my own very nature – is not to get out of the way and let bad things happen, but to control them to create the best possible outcome that I can, and I was not doing that.  So – things were falling apart, and I have been extremely unhappy to watch it unfold.

You’d think that I’d have some sort of schadenfreude inspired glee at watching things fall apart, but really it’s just made me a mess.

No more.

I don’t care who gets credit for things happening as they should – I never really have.  So – I’m going to fix it, and in so doing, fix myself.

 

The Monster Inside

Firstly, before I begin this post, I need to apologize – dear readers.

I promised that I’d be more frequent with the updates, and then life got in the way again.  Even while I was not able to keep up on the blog posts, I have always been responsive to email requests from my readers, until this past week.  I’ve received a few emails that I was not able to respond to for almost a week, and for that I apologize.  I think I’ve responded to all of those that require a response, but if you sent me something that I failed to give an adequate response to, please re-send, I think I might have lost one or two in the process.

I should also apologize for the content of this post – it’s in keeping with blogs in general, but not precisely with the tenor of this blog in particular.  This is a personal piece that has almost nothing to do with my role as Dom…

As I write this, I’m sitting in an outdoor covered patio on a beach on the Mediterranean.  It’s overcast, but warm, and while it rained a bit earlier this morning, it doesn’t seem to be threatening rain now.

You’d think that this would make me happy, but really, I’m rather discontent.  I’m far away from the one that I love, in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language, and in the company of people that seem to not like me.  It’s the sort of thing that makes one angry and pensive – at least when that someone is me.

I miss my girl.

Lately, we’ve both been stressed to the max and it’s boiled over a few times into conflict, but even when things were their worst, this remains the most solid relationship that I’ve ever had – while I still have doubts about myself, and I still wonder how I had the good fortune to find her, I no longer have any doubts about us, and that is really about the only thing that is keeping me sane today.

Anger is just below the surface, and it’s undirected and undirectable (yes, I know that isn’t a word, but you know exactly what I mean by it, so leave off) and it’s become a terrible distraction.  If my girl were here, I could do something about it, but then again, if my girl were here, I would likely not have to…

I’ve spoken about my ‘Aggressive Days‘ before, and this would seem to be quite similar, but whereas I didn’t quite grasp all of the nuance involved in bringing me to this point when I first wrote that entry, I’ve had a bit of a personal revelation since then.  I thought at that time that part of the reason that I was unable to really let myself loose and open up my Primal side was because that wasn’t really part of who I am anymore, or maybe that I was growing too old and the chemistry of my body was different enough that I didn’t feel the same things as intensely as I did, but that’s not actually true.  I think I was just with the wrong girl.  Things have taken a much better turn now… but I want to talk about the past a bit, to where these things began – I think.

When I was a teen boy, not quite a man, but thanks to an early puberty, looking every bit the part, I sort of … broke.

When I picked up the pieces that were left, I was not the same person – or rather, I was not just the same person, there was something else, something new, something that broke off from the main part of what I consider to be me.

The Monster.

One of my favorite novel series is called the Sandman Slim series, written by Richard Kadrey.  Incidentally, Mr. Kadrey is a San Francisco resident, respected fetish photographer, and at least peripherally connected to the same scene to which I am a part, but we’ve never crossed paths that I am aware.  If by some chance Mr. Kadrey or one of his acquaintances happens to be a reader of this blog, I’d very much like to buy him a beer and have a conversation.  I don’t completely relate to every aspect of his antihero protagonist Stark, but I do identify with him to an extent, and one thing that I certainly do understand is the problematic way that broken people (to apply the term loosely) like Stark, and to a lesser extent, myself, deal with other people and the world at large.  There are certainly times when I think that I belong in Hell myself, and there was a time when I was convinced that I should be, or that at the very least I should be isolated from society, so as to not cause any harm to those that I actually care for.

This is not because I like to be alone.  Sure – I need alone time, and I think everyone does, but nothing has gone so far to reinforce the point that I need people too as sitting here, surrounded by people that are in most ways alien to me.  They speak a language that sounds like nothing I can understand.  They live and move and wander around me as if I am not even here.  I sit here, surrounded by people, more alone than I have been in a long time.  I was at a grocery store yesterday to buy some basics, and I completed the entire trip, including purchasing a few sundries, without speaking a single word to anyone.

And so… here I sit.  Pensive.  Angry.  Lonely.  Longing.

And there is a part of me that is raging.  I don’t understand the things around me, and while I can still read the body language and emotional cues of the people I see, I cannot understand them, and that is making me tense.

I don’t do so well when I feel this way.

I grew up in fear.  I let myself be led astray by a man that I respected and he abused me in the worst way that he possibly could have.  I didn’t have any control over my own destiny, and when I managed to pull myself out of that particular situation, I got myself trapped in another.  I think that these things worked together to make me who I am today, and contributed to my need to control everything – including myself.  Which is why the need to channel the scared young man inside of me into physical and emotional actions.  It’s why I want to control every aspect of my life, and it’s why I want to exert control over others.

But my heart is still strong and I’m still a chivalrous man.

I’m beginning to accept and even embrace this side of me.   It’s always been something that scared me in the past.  It was a thing that scared others too.  Simone once told me that she was only in her life ever afraid of two men, her father and me, but she never told me why.  I think I know though.  I’ve always kept the monster caged, and I do again today, but he’s come out a couple of times recently, and I’ve not lost control.

There are two ways you can control a situation, and each has its place.  You can seize control.  You can force your will upon someone, and if you have enough power, you can get them to do what you want.  Or you can accept the burden of the situation.  You can allow yourself to be pulled in, and then with a strong will, you can guide the way to the resolution you desire.  This is not a manipulation, this is a sublimation.  You can give up control in order to get what you want… what you need.  These are the two sides of the D/s coin.  And they both need to be employed to make for a complete life.

In my present situation, I could attempt to seize control.  I could expend my personal power in a number of different ways and force those around me to act how I want them to.  It might even work, contextually.  I could hire an interpreter or guide.  I could only go places where I know that there are people that speak English.  I could only acknowledge the things here that are familiar.  But I choose not to.  I am immersing myself in the world here and now, and it’s quieting the monster.  I am experiencing new things and expanding my horizons, become bigger, better, stronger, more… but I do not think that I could do that by forcing the world to meet me where I am.

It has taken me a terribly long time, and perhaps in some ways my growth in this area was stunted, but I’m learning that extremes have their place, and it’s not sufficient to ride the middle line all the time.

I can let the monster loose when I need him, or when I want him, and I can still be the man I want to be.  I can let him take control when I want to, but I am always still there, watching, making sure that nothing untoward happens.

This is how I can love my girl, even as I choke her until she passes out, or slap her across the face as I fuck her.

Fuck, I miss her.

I’ll be back with her in a week.

I can hardly wait, but I know I am strong enough to manage it.

A long time coming

It has been a very long time since I’ve posted here. I’m sure many of you thought I had abandoned the blog, and effectively I had, but that was never my intent.

I’ve been very busy lately with work and life issues, working on a side project of my own, and playing video games to distract myself, and while I’ve written the starts of several posts at this point, I never managed to press ‘Publish’ because I was discontent with the results.

I’m not gone, and I am beginning a process of refocusing my life and how I live it.

I’ve been complacent in too many areas of my life lately. I’ve been making progress on some things, but for most, I’ve let them slide and just allowed myself to live with things as they are. I resolve to stop that (again) and to take a more active role in my own destiny.

Funny, isn’t it? The big, bad Dom-type was drifting. Isn’t that supposed to be the last thing that a D-type would do?

Each person’s Dominance is unique, and each is a journey. My own journey has taken many turns over the course of the past couple of years – most of which I did not anticipate.

This is a source of tremendous anxiety for me.

I do not fetishize control, but Control is the thing that lets me be a Dom in this world. Control is the thing that reinforces my power, that gives life to my Will. Control is the thing that allows me to tame the chaos of my mind and live a successful life.

But it’s fucking boring.

I’m a dichotomy and I contradict myself all the damned time. I have a consistent set of values and desires, but there are things in my mind that get in the way when I try to enact them sometimes.

Lately, my life has been largely out of my control, and that has been a source of tremendous anxiety for me – but also joy. While control allows me to accurately (for the most part) predict how the events of my life will unfold, it also completely removes the ability for anything to surprise me, and it can be exhausting to try to force things to fit when that is a state to which they do not naturally gravitate.

I’ve had literally weeks where I was almost paralyzed with fear concerning a couple of lawsuits in which I have been involved over the past several years. But I’ve also recently had moments where I was comfortable enough to completely let go and allow the Primal in me to come out – something that has not happened in a decade or more.

Just last night, I attended a kink event with my girlfriend and I made a horrible misjudgment. I think it’s fair to say that I know her better than anyone else, but I erred, and not in a small way.

There are those of you out there who read this and already think that I’m too soft to be a ‘True Dom’ – and this is going to reinforce those beliefs.

I fucked up.

I take responsibility for my lack of preparation, my lack of empathy, and my disturbingly effective emotional distancing coping techniques.

I entered into a highly emotional situation without the ability to access my own emotions or to empathize with my girlfriend, and I made a huge miscalculation.

And that is precisely the correct word to use here, for my actions were calculated and predicated on years of experience that I have and she does not. I embarrassed her in a public setting in front of people that she very much cares for how they view her by treating her as if she should have known things that I never showed her.

And so, the evening fell apart, and when things were at their bleakest, I did too. Spectacularly, and in a way that has not happened for more than decade.

I relived moments that I wish I could forget. I went to the place in my mind where control is fiction and I didn’t possess control even over my own body. I went so deep that I actually caused myself to vomit – no mean feat when I’d not eaten anything all day.

But there is catharsis in surrender – as any s-type can tell you – and as I once lived myself.

When I broke, she came to help me.

I cannot possibly overstate the significance of that to me.

The big, bad, Dom-type was quite literally a blubbering idiot in the corner, and his protective and nurturing and beautiful girlfriend and submissive-in-training took control for a moment and gave me the strength to allow my mind to find the coping mechanisms that evolved in me over the years and Control came back. Briefly, and without form, but it came back.

I wrote once before on this blog that I thought I had finally found the love of my life, but it turned out to be untrue.

I have been reluctant to make the same sorts of claims with this relationship, largely because I did not see it coming the last time, and I didn’t want to jinx this time, but after weathering the battle and experiences of last night, I think it’s safe to say that this is the most stable and mature and balanced relationship that I’ve ever had.

We struggle with D/s.

This is my fault, not hers. She wants it, and I have a very hard time presenting things to her because I do not want to insult her by treating her like she knows nothing, but in so doing, I do her a massive disservice. How can one learn if no one is willing to teach? Sure, books exist, resources are available on the ever-mighty Internet, and there are even classes that you can take, but ultimately, at the end of the day, our D/s is between us, and it’s not every Dom in the world that she needs to cater to, just me. And there is no manual for me on the Internet – the closest you’ll find is this blog, or the defunct one I wrote years and years ago – so how I can I expect her to know what to do if I don’t show her?

This is a journey. I don’t want the same type of D/s that I’ve had in the past, but I haven’t yet formulated what it is that I do want, and until I do that, we’re going to flounder.

So, this is where I cast off the worries of the lawsuits that have since been settled (and very recently – I literally just signed papers to settle one case on Thursday) and I recommit myself to my life, my love, my joy, my friends, my family, and my community.

More posts will be forthcoming.

I threw out the 500 words a day goal when my life became overwhelming a couple of months ago, but I’m reinstating it now.

If I have time to play video games, I have time to write.

NaNoWriMo will be taking a back seat to the other parts of my life this year, but my circle of friends is widening, and my relationship with the woman who I intend to keep for the rest of my life is only beginning to really solidify – despite months of growing and a nearly complete merging of our lives.

I love my girl. I hurt her, and I cast myself into Hell for doing so.

Punishment is always a part of D/s relationships, but last night we both punished ourselves to an extent that I could never replicate. The worst punishments always come from within, don’t they?

Rant is a name that I took when I started this, and it’s not a bad one. It’s short, easy to say and remember, and accurately reflects the mindset that I was in when I began this particular journey, but it doesn’t quite fit any more.

This is not a rant. This is not a lesson. This is a confession and commitment.

I shall return. One small step at a time, I shall return.

Remembering the low points

We all have low points.

Father’s Day is one of mine…

There are multiple reasons for this.  One is the abysmal relationship that I have with my own father, but the magnitude of that in determining my overall feelings about the day pale in comparison to the other thing that always sticks in my craw on this day…

My girlfriend is away for the weekend, which is probably a good thing on balance, but at first it was a bit of blow for me.  We recently had a pretty big fight.  The worst of it is that the fight was almost entirely my fault.  If you’ve been following along, you know that my job situation is a bit tense right now – not that I’m in any danger of losing my job, mind you, just that my boss is unbearable and is doing everything in her power to make my work life miserable.  This is one of those times that I’m happy that I work to live rather than the other way around.. anyway.. I’ve been dealing with a great deal of stress lately.  My girlfriend and I just took a Caribbean cruise, so I was able to unplug for a full week and experience some things that were new to me as well as bringing new experiences to her (which is one of my biggest kinks…) so I was in a pretty good place, until we got back.  Then work started to invade upon my consciousness in both waking and sleeping hours.  I was having more and more difficulty in putting the work things behind me when I went home, and that’s where things exploded.

I’m not going to go into the details, but suffice it to say that every relationship requires work, and my girlfriend and I have learned a few places where we need to communicate better, and we’re now stronger for the experience.  Oddly enough, the problem areas for us are not related to anything else in this post, nor to the reasons why Father’s Day is a hard day for me.

So let’s get to the real story then, shall we?

My marriage ended on Father’s Day.

That’s not exactly the whole truth, and there were lots of things that were going wrong as early as a year prior, but it was Father’s Day, five years ago, when my marriage finally ended for truth.

This is one of the reasons why monogamy makes me so squeamish.  I would have let her have her weekend with her paramour and probably even much more if she had been willing to open up our marriage, but when we’d talked about that as an option she was always against it.  I’m still, to this day, unsure why.

Ultimately, I’m not unhappy with the result, because I would not be where I am today without those experiences, but a repeat of the same thing terrifies me to my bones.

My ex-wife was away on a business trip which she had extended for several days – including over the weekend, which was not entirely necessary for business purposes, but there was someone that she wanted to spend time with on the East coast where her trip was taking her.

I had confronted her about her extramarital relationship about a month prior.  I’m something of a computer security expert and I had gathered evidence of her affair and the man with whom she was cheating on me.  I knew that her trip was going to be taking her to his part of the country, and I knew that they would be spending time together.

Before she left, I had a conversation with her.  I told her that I wanted to stay in the marriage, that I still loved her, that I wanted to preserve our family, and that I would be willing to open the marriage so that she could explore this relationship if that was her choice.  She assured me that she was merely ‘going through a phase’ and that she had not, and would not, actually cheat on me with this other man.

She asked me if she could still go on her trip.  To this day, I’m still not sure why she was asking me for permission.

She told me that she needed to go for work, but that she would not see this man if I told her not to.

So I told her not to.

Then she backpedaled and said that she had to see him because part of her job function depended upon it.

I told her to do what she needed to do.

She assured me that she would not meet him outside of work environs, that she would not pursue the attraction that she felt, and that she would remain faithful.

She didn’t.

Electronic surveillance is wonderful, and it can give you all sorts of soul-crushing information if you’re not careful with it, but it can never give you the full picture.

The details of how I came about the information that I received are not important, but suffice it to say, my reach, especially in those days, was vast.

On Father’s Day, with the father of her two daughters (that would be me) at home, taking care of them in her absence, she spent the entire day entertaining him.  She took him to her hotel room that night after dinner, and being very careful to not have intercourse, she did just about every other sex act possible with him.

The worst came immediately following that.

Her guilt got the better part of her, and at 2am local time, just after she has swallowed his semen and he left her room to go to his own home, she called me on the phone to tell me how much she loved me and missed me and the kids.

She woke me to assuage her conscience.

She had betrayed me before that in her heart, but this was the first act that went against her promise and it was the first for which she felt guilty enough to make the choice to leave me.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day.

I’m home, alone with my daughters, and tomorrow we’re going to have pancakes for breakfast because that is the tradition that I started with them after their mom and I separated.

It began a year after the events that I just related, and it’s always been this way, just them and me.

I don’t want that to always be the case, and I know that it won’t be, but perhaps it’s good that it is for one more year.

There is a dark nostalgia in remembering the low points.

There is a deep desire to wallow in the pain and misery, but that is no longer who I am, and while I can appreciate these feelings, I am no longer overwhelmed by them.

Life is all about love and learning and growing and I hope I never stop any of those things.

Remembering the low points, I am Rant.

Tomorrow is the first day of a new era.

And tomorrow always is.

Tips for dealing with vanilla authorities.

Firstly, let me say that this article is for entertainment purposes.  I’m not a lawyer, I don’t claim to be one, and I am neither qualified to give nor interested in giving actual legal advice.  This article represents my own experiences, most of which fall completely outside of the written law (if not perhaps the spirit of the law.)

Secondly, it’s been almost a month since I added a new post and the last one that I did was pretty shitty, and yet, there are at least a few dedicated people who visit my page every day.  Thank you for your support or curiosity or whatever it is that keeps you coming back.  Believe it or not, it means something.  I appreciate it.

Obviously, with the lack of new content, readership and email volumes go down.  It doesn’t help anything that I was out of the country for a week and could not get or respond to emails, but I have received a relatively large number of emails lately about one topic in particular, and I have been working for some time on a post to address that issue, but this is not that post.  It is coming though.


So, I’ve been involved in kink for quite some time now, and that involves things like air travel with toys, dealing with the cops on unrelated matters while in possession of kink gear, and all sorts of other dealings with vanilla people when they stumble across something that to them is shocking.

The very first thing that I will say about this is quite simple, and I’m going to steal the line from one of my favorite authors (and former humans,) Douglas Adams – “Don’t Panic.”  If you can remember that statement and live by it, you can get through almost anything.  That and, “Always remember where your towel is,” but that’s a separate issue.

If you happen to find yourself in a security inspection line and they start making noise about something that the x-ray shows is in your bag, Don’t Panic.

If you happen to find yourself in a police pat-down and one of the officers starts asking pointed questions about why you have a handcuff key on your keychain, Don’t Panic.

If you happen to be packing up your apartment and your mom starts to lift your mattress off the bed and then notices the nylon webbing restraints under the mattress, Don’t Panic.

I’m a Dominant.  This does not mean that I spend all of my life ordering people around or even that I’m always going to approach every interaction with any person from a position of confidence and authority, but it does help.  I make mistakes, I falter, I even occasionally socially submit when it is appropropriate or when I’m not thinking about it.  Often, this is the right thing to do.  In the case of dealing with authority figures who have an ability to make your life miserable, this is usually the right thing to do, but it doesn’t always have to be a case of purely cow-towing to the cops, or something like that.

I’m also Caucasian.  I’m pretty sure that this is a huge benefit to me when dealing with authority figures.  It’s entirely possible that you may get roughed up for trying some of the things that I’ve done.  You have been warned.

Firstly, and most important, know the law.  Laws vary from country to country, state to state, and even municipality to municipality, and it is important to know what you might be dealing with before you begin.  For instance, in some jurisdictions, the possession of handcuffs, or even handcuff keys, can be legally limited to individuals who have gone through POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) procedures or something similar – this can mean that only cops or security guards are allowed to have them in that jurisdiction.  However, in most jurisdictions, this is not the case, and anyone can possess handcuffs.  Therefore, it’s important to know what applies to you if you’re going to be putting yourself in a position where it might become a question.

Secondly, and nearly as important, realize that authority does not come with knowledge.  Oh, it should, that’s for damned sure, but often the police officer that you are dealing with is going to be more ignorant of the actual laws and statutes covering kink activities or equipment than you are.  This does not give you license to teach them… that was a lesson that I had to learn the hard way…  cops don’t like civilians lecturing them about the law, it tends to piss them off, and then you escalate things, which is something you definitely don’t want.

And finally… be pleasant.  Smile.  Laugh.  Don’t be confrontational.  When you get confrontational, you put the authority figure on the defensive.  They then fall back to their training and try to make sure that everything that they do is, ‘by the book.’  They will literally force down their own humanity and attempt to become robotic, just to make sure that they cover their own ass in case you try to file a complaint or take things to court.  Once they let go of their humanity, the odds of you getting out of the situation without involving the courts drop to almost zero, and no one wants that.

Remember, cops and security guards, like all humans, are inherently lazy people.  They don’t want to do more work.  They want to do a good job, and most of them got into the work that they do because they want to make the world a safer place, so if they feel like you are dangerous, they will arrest you.  It is your job to show them that you are not harming anyone, that you understand the difference between malice and fun, and that you can be trusted to decide how to act for yourself.  If they can be convinced that you are not a threat to anyone (including yourself,) that you understand what you’re doing, and that you are a responsible, well-balanced individual, then the odds are very good that they’re going to simply leave you be.  Arresting you makes more work for them.  They may even have to give up their day off to go to court to testify against you, and they’d much rather just be able to say that they spoke with you and determined that there was nothing illegal happening.

All that being said, some people are just dicks.  Some people get into positions of power because they like abusing that power to make other people uncomfortable.  In those situations, don’t let yourself be victimized, but remember, it’s probably better/cheaper/faster to just let the bastards confiscate your flogger and bear the expense of buying a new one than it is to go through the hassle of dealing with the courts, possibly having to hire a lawyer, and potentially even having to spend time in jail.  If the authority figure is hell-bent on exerting his authority and refuses to act like a human, sometimes the best thing to do is to submit.

Yep – I said it… even as a Dominant, sometimes the best thing to do is to submit.

There is fodder in that statement for a whole philosophical discussion, but not today.

So, to recap, be cool, get out of the way of yourself, and remember, some people are just dicks.

Control

I started writing this piece some time ago, as with many of my entries, but most of the ideas expressed herein remain true to the form they took when I first began to approach the idea.

I suppose that’s a good sign. But things have also evolved a bit, and that’s a good sign as well.

I can also now say that I may finally have arrived as a minor internet celebrity – about a week or so ago I received my first marriage proposal through the blog email address.

I responded to the person with a personal email declining her (or his) very gracious offer, and I won’t further belabor the issue, but I thought it worth mentioning as it has been on my mind when I think of the blog.

The Internet is a strange place…

But this is a piece about control, and the Internet is quite clearly outside of the control of anyone.

Hail Eris!


Part of living in human society means that you have to surrender control of some aspects of your life to other people, processes, governments, corporations… entities beyond your influence.

No matter how much one embodies the qualities of Dominance or how much of the Domliest Dom of them all you may be, there are parts of your life that are not yours to control.

As you might imagine, for a control freak like me, sometimes this causes hiccups for me.

It’s always part of a bargain though… Control is yours, like anything else, and you are coerced, compelled, or even just sometimes asked to trade it away for other things. You trade some of your personal liberties for safety when you agree to abide by the laws that we have in place to prevent crimes of property. I give control over my ability to drive my car when and how I want to in order to have access to the public roadways. These are mostly things that we’re used to and things that don’t intrude upon our thoughts very often, so it’s not as if I feel their loss most of the time.

Right now I’m having a bit of an issue though.

I’m too attached to my job.

One of the ways in which I’ve always been able to exert more control over my life is through practising the concepts of non-attachment. If I don’t become attached to things, people, concepts, preconceived notions.. well, then they can’t be used to control me.
But I’m not perfect.

It’s almost always been the case that I’ve had a great deal of liberty with respect to my job. My skills are in high demand, and there are more jobs to be had for people with my abilities than there are people with my abilities, so I’ve always had the freedom to just quit and find another job – generally equally as good, often actually better.

I don’t even really like my job. It’s not particularly important work that I do, but it pays well, and that’s part of the problem. I could be doing something more meaningful or more interesting, but if I were, I’d have to give up some of the ability to control my own life and choices that I’m provided by having access to more money.

I also have a lot of schedule flexibility with my job. I could take a more interesting job somewhere that would probably pay me as much, or at least a similar enough amount that I wouldn’t feel the loss of the income too acutely, but if I were to do so, I’d lose some of my ability to control my schedule.

On the surface, these are good things. I have the ability to control my schedule and I make enough money at my job that I’m able to finance the things that I want to do when I exercise that schedule flexibility. I can, quite literally, do almost anything that I want to, almost any time that I want.

That is a huge amount of control for one person to have, and I’ve become quite attached to it, and it’s beginning to make my unhappy.

That’s what attachment is, you see – it’s unhappiness. When you become attached to something, you vest your future happiness in having that thing be present, and when that future is threatened, you become paralysed in your attempts to hold on to it.

So – I’m too attached to my job, and this is starting to become a problem because when you fear the loss of something, you will do things that you wouldn’t ordinarily do in order to keep it.

My boss is a particularly loathsome type of individual. She is operating at the level of her incompetence, and because I have held positions in other companies which are directly superior to her current position, because I am older than she is, and because I occupy a higher pay grade than she does, she feels extremely threatened by my existence. I am reasonably certain that she has tried to have me fired or transferred more than once, but unfortunately for her, the company puts as much or more value on me than they do her, so we are stuck at an impasse.

Add to this the fact that she is extremely passive aggressive and completely incapable of dealing with someone who is very open and assertive like myself, and we end up with the situation we have now where she avoids me in person, talks about me behind my back, and attempts to undermine my authority and position through subterfuge.

I must admit, I do experience a small amount of schadenfreude every time I hear about one of her efforts to undermine me going awry, but the fact of the matter is that none of this shit should be happening in the first place. I am her most capable employee, a natural leader who chooses not to lead in the office setting because I have no patience for the political games, and I would be more than happy to let her take credit for all of my successes if she would only get the fuck out of my way and let me succeed.

But… personal success is the only kind she has ever known and she clings to it like sinking ship because she is in charge of too many people and too many projects to actually be able to do the job and I made the mistake of offering to help.

And I really was offering to help.

I do not have to be Dominant in every aspect of my life.

In fact, coming out of a 24/7 TPE relationship that ended and finding myself in one that is more egalitarian, I am finding that I actually like not having to make all of the decisions, not having to lead every charge, not having to always be certain of everything. I still naturally stand in front, and I always (much to the chagrin of those who know me) speak up when I feel that I am right, and these are not things that I can or am willing to change about myself.

And so – every day at my job has become a new alpha contest with my boss.

The worst of it is, I want her to win.

I want her to take control, but I’m not going to just roll over and let her have it.

I recently re-took ‘The BDSM test’ and was slightly surprised to find that alongside the top two categories for which I am rated (Dominance and Bondage-giver) I am also extremely highly rated as Primal(hunter).

I don’t really think of myself in such a way, but when I allow myself to observe my interactions with other people, I can see it.

I naturally stand taller around people when I want them to listen to me.

I have a resonant voice and I’m not afraid to use it.

And, apparently, while I’m willing to acknowledge another as Alpha, I’m not willing to simply roll over and let an unqualified person take the mantle. In this case, the mantle was never mine, and I never (and still don’t) wanted it. She became my manager because my manager left the company, and she inherited me.

I don’t know how this situation will resolve itself.

In the past, being unattached to my job, I would simply leave in a situation like this – washing my hands of the issue, metaphorically speaking, and letting the incompetent lead the incompetent. But now, I’m attached to this job. I am not willing to so easily give it up, and while I do strongly believe that happiness can be achieved through non-attachment, I also believe that some things are worth holding on to and fighting for.

I may be making a terrible decision here, but I’m going to hold on to this job, and I don’t think the intolerable situation between my boss and I will resolve itself until one or the other of us leaves the company through choice or force, and I don’t intend to be the one to flinch here.

I am Rant.

I am usually happy, and I am usually able to let the detritus of life slide off my back, but this time I’m feeling ornery.