Category Archives: life

Pain – the nonconsensual kind

Three years ago I was in a car accident.

I was the last car in a line of cars trying to merge from one freeway to another when a guy in Ford Econoline E350 work van was driving along, texting on his cell phone and not paying attention to where he was going.

I was at a dead stop.

He was going 55 miles per hour (that was the CHP estimate, he was probably going faster…) and not looking in front of him.

I saw him coming at me in the rear view mirror.

I saw the back window buckle first.  It sort of got pushed up from the bottom and then it popped.

It’s kind of amazing how your perception of time changes in a moment like that…

I felt the shards of glass hit the back of my neck at about the same time I was aware of being pushed into the car in front of me and then the back of my seat collapsed, fell back, and was pushed up again by the hybrid system battery pack being forced through the seat behind me and pushing the car seat (empty – thank whatever gods there may be) into the back of my seat.

Then I became aware of the noise.

Somehow, the van careened off of the back corner of my vehicle and struck or was struck by a car in the lane to the left of me.  It was that car that t-boned me on the driver’s door.

I was flung forward against my seat belt at an angle and then bounced back to hit the post between the front and back seat with my head.

I don’t remember anything after that for what I’m told was about 35 minutes.

I regained consciousness with paramedics asking me if I could move my arms and legs and whether or not my neck and back hurt.

“Yes,” was my answer to all of the above.

I was proud of my succinctness, and amused but the whole situation.

The next thing I remember is one firefighter talking to another,

“Be careful there, this thing has side airbags.”

“It does?”

“Yeah, I don’t know why they didn’t go off, but you don’t want it breaking your arm if it decides to go off now.”

They decided the only course of action available to them was to cut the doors off and take out the post between the front and back seat.

I didn’t much care, I was just sort of floating there in space and time, aware of most of what was happening, but not really involved.

They tore the car apart, cut the seat belt off of me, cut my shirt off as well (it was wedged in something, I think..) and secured me to a board to carry to the ambulance.

The ride in the ambulance to the trauma center was interesting, but not really worth relating.   You imagine it being a smooth ride at high speed, but it was really mostly stop and very little go.

I had no idea how badly I was injured.  I am lucky to be alive.  I am grateful, every day, that my kids were not in the car with me at the time.  I had recurring nightmares about that for over a year.  I still occasionally do.

I have constant pain from my injuries.  I have not had a day completely free of pain since then, but most of the time it’s pretty manageable.

I broke my collarbone, cracked one of the vertebrae in my neck, broke three ribs, cracked my skull, got knocked unconscious for about half an hour, and suffered tremendous intra-muscular scarring as a result of tensing up right before the impact.

The bones have all healed by now, the soft-tissue and psychological damage remains though.

My car was totaled.  I was out of work for four months.  When I finally did go back, I had to take a different job that was closer to home because I couldn’t handle the commute.  I wasn’t able to pick my kids up for a year.

I’m a different person now.

I have some physical tics.  My back feels like it’s always tense, and that my spine needs to pop.  This causes me to lurch my shoulders and twist my back and neck several times an hour, and much of the time I’m not even aware that I’m doing it.

I get grumpy a lot.  I snap at people for things that don’t merit it sometimes.  Constant pain, even if it’s low-grade and manageable, wears on you like nothing I’ve experienced before.

I was addicted to opiates.

I kicked them, but I’ll always be dependent on over the counter drugs, TENS treatments, physical therapy, or something else in that vein.

I exist in a constant state of conscious suppression of my pain and the emotions that fall in its wake.

Usually, I can ignore it.  I can push past it.  I can act and appear as if it’s not bothering me, but it’s always there.

Patience is one of my super-powers, and without it, I’m certain that I’d be an angry and useless person.  I manage to live mostly in grace and love, and I am grateful for whatever it is within me that makes that possible.

I am stronger than I ever believed I could be, and I’m getting stronger every day.

Today isn’t a good day.  I have a lot of pain, and I’ve retreated into my own mind more than I normally have to, but I am still here, and I’m going to be here tomorrow.

There are people who love me.

There is one who is Devoted to me, and she made me dinner and sits here beside me, wanting to take my pain for me, and though I’m not a Sadist, sometimes I wish I could lend it to her for awhile.

I am fortunate.  I am strong.  I am alive.  I am Adored.

I am Rant.

Fear is the Mind Killer

I have trouble trusting people.

I’m going to write about trusting people, but what I’m really writing about is fear.

I don’t think he intended it to catch on as it did, but Frank Herbert nailed it when he put down the Bene Gesserit litany against fear:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. When it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

I have trouble trusting people because I am afraid.

I trust the wrong people, I trust people with the wrong things, and I don’t trust some of the people that I should with enough..

I deal with emotions differently from most people, but I still feel things.  I have love, I have happiness, I have hurt, I have anger, and I have fear.  I crave love and happiness, I deal with hurt, I address anger, but fear that is the thing that gets me.  Fear paralyses me.

If I can turn fear into anger, I can sit behind my fortress walls and calculate your devastation.  If I can turn fear into hurt, I can cry over it and be done with it in time.  If I can turn fear into happiness, well, I’ve just been on a roller coaster, and that’s pretty awesome.

If I could turn fear into love though… that would be the epiphany to rule my life.

I thought I did.. twice.

I gave my fears to a man who called himself Jubal and he showed me a family.  My own family was broken and my faith was shattered and I had no power to fix it, but I needed that feeling of belonging and he and his followers supplied it for me.  I thought I was a part of something, but in reality, I was objectified and used like any other object, to be tossed aside once I hit my expiration date.  Jubal took away my fears for a time, taking ownership of them as he took ownership of me, without my knowledge or consent about what was being done.  He gave me more things to fear in the end, not less.

I submitted to Simone and I thought that I was turning fear into love, but her betrayal was the hay hook that twisted into my gut and pulled my insides out, metaphorically speaking.  Her tutelage did not come without some benefits, and I cherish the experience she gave me as part of what has made me who I am today, but where she took some fears away, she replaced them with others, and it has taken me quite some time to get clear of those.

In each of these cases, I thought the path to turning fear into love lay at the hands of someone else.  I suspect that this forms the core of many D/s relationships.  I’m not convinced that I was wrong, but I’m not convinced that I was right either.  What I do know is that D/s will ultimately fail without absolute trust and transparency, and those things are difficult when fear is in play.

There are various people in my life that I have no choice in trusting, or that I trust with things to one degree or another, but I may still keep some secrets from.  I dislike secrets, but I’ve come to learn that sometimes keeping secrets protects the person that I’m keeping them from, and the burden of that secret becomes mine to bear.  For this reason I now avoid things that lead to a need to keep secrets at all.

Intimacy is built on trust, and can only be fully realized with someone that you trust completely, someone from whom you hide nothing – this is about transparency more than truth.

I have had my trust broken, as we all have, many times.  This is the thing that I find hardest to let go of, and it is the single largest source of anxiety and depression for me.  I worry about my trust being broken, I worry about my trust being used to take advantage of me, I worry about confiding something in someone and having it used against me by someone else, and when these things happen, because they have all happened to me, I am crushed.  Over and over again.

I think this might be the core reason why I prefer polyamory to monogamy, but that is a treatise for another day.

I spend an inordinate amount of my personal resources worried about a breach of my trust.  Because I tend to carefully choose who I trust and with what I trust them, this is something that happens rarely and something that I should not devote so much thought and energy towards, but I do, and it does happen.

It happened again yesterday.

Yesterday was a weird day.

I was coming down off of an amazing Sunday evening with my partner at a fancy hotel and fancy restaurant, where I had the opportunity to meet some amazing people who are deeply into the local scene and also – and much more importantly, in my opinion – incredibly intelligent and good conversationalists.  My partner and I had the fortune of being upgraded to a two bedroom suite, and since it was just the two of us, we invited a friend to come and use the second bedroom and make herself at home while we were away at dinner.  She’s been unhappy with her living arrangements, so the thought of a clean bed and bath all to herself was something that made her very happy, and I am always a fan of anything that can bring joy to others.

So – I’m coming down off of that great experience, and yesterday morning I also got to briefly see another good friend (who my partner and I will be having dinner with this evening) and everything seemed good with the world.

Then I learned that Robin Williams was dead from an apparent suicide.   He struggled with depression and the other myriad of problems that follow in its wake.  I liked the view of Robin Williams that I saw – I think almost everyone did – and I identified with his struggles to an extent.

I’ve long held that fame is the ultimate mind-fuck, and I don’t know that demon, and I’m glad that I don’t, but I had compassion for him, and his passing, especially in the manner in which it occurred, affected me more than I would have expected it to.

My partner was out of touch for most of the day, having her own things to deal with, and then was dealing with some extreme work-related stress of her own, so we haven’t had a chance yet to talk about my day yesterday and my struggles as I’m moving through today, but I know that we will, and that brings some comfort to me.  Missing her is getting harder as time moves on, and that scares me too.  Funny how that works, isn’t it?

But these things are all minor in contrast to the knife that hit my heart late last night.

I’m a parent.  If you read my About Me page, this is no surprise, but I have custody of my kids half of the time.  In the summer, this can be difficult because they don’t have school, but I still have to work.  This week they are staying with my mom, which is hard enough because I don’t get to see them during the week like I normally do, and I have some issues of trust with both of my parents, but especially with my father.

Before your imagination goes nuts, know that my kids are fine.  They are safe and happy and as far as I can tell, they are completely oblivious to my trust issues.

So – my parents are divorced.  They divorced when I was a freshman in undergrad and chose to hide this fact from me for months – basically until my fees came due (which they had told me that they would pay for me so that I could focus on school) and I called home to ask about them.  That’s when I learned that they would not be making good on their promise to me.  I actually knew about the separation and divorce filing long before they told me, because my sister was still at home at the time, distraught with the news, and reached out to me.  She swore me to secrecy on the point though, stating that they had told her they didn’t want me to know until after my finals.. we fail on communications as a family.

Anyway – the loss of their funding was a tough blow to bear, because while I’d held summer jobs since before I was old enough to drive, I had never been responsible for supporting myself entirely until that moment and it was scary.  But much worse than that, in the ensuing chaos of the separation and divorce and more, my father did something for which I still have not forgiven him, and I’m not sure that I ever will.  He took out student loans in my name – which I had no knowledge of – and kept the money for himself.  I found out about these when I matriculated and was asked to pay them off – a delayed financial blow that caused me extreme personal hardship when I could least afford it.  He refuses to acknowledge that he did this to this day, and has never made any effort at restitution, even attacking me for making the accusation despite confronting him with the paperwork.  So – for that and a plethora of other reasons, my father and I do not get along.

The largest part of this is mine, and I’ll own that.  I don’t trust him.  I don’t trust him to keep his word on anything – he has failed me too many times in the past.  I don’t trust him to even look after himself.  I have not seen him sober in ten years, maybe more.  But he is remarried and has a whole new family of codependent dysfunction, and it is everything he thrives on.  I would be happy for him if it wasn’t so toxic.

My mom is an alcoholic as well.  A high functioning one, perhaps, and generally she has a good heart and makes the right decisions as long as money is not involved, most of the time.  I had some difficulty in trusting her to be the responsible party for caring for my kids for an entire week because of her substance abuse problem, but she is splitting the time with my sister and she promised not to drink while she was the sole caretaker for them – a policy that I keep for myself as well.

My sister is crippled with anxiety and depression.  Where I stare into the abyss and wonder, she is still battling the call.  She is on a myriad of treatment plans, and I know she has a good heart, but she makes some of the worst decisions.. I wish I could empathize with her better to understand her motives sometimes, but I am none of the things that she is.  I am not female, I am not the second child, and I was not actually there when my parents dissolved their relationship.

I love my mom.  I love my sister.  I might love my father – I’m not so sure on that point, but I have always held to the belief that my children have a right to know him, so whenever he remembers that they exist, I try to make it possible for them to see him, but I always control the interaction because I do not trust the man.  I feel like he would look me in the eye, tell me that he loves me, and then literally stab me in the back if there was something in it for him.  I mean that I believe he would literally put a knife in me if there was something in it for him.  I truly think that he is a genuine sociopath, and not just for how he has treated me, but in witnessing his dealings with others for whom he is supposed to care.

So when I received a text message from my mother after 10:00pm last night asking me to call her, I responded quickly.

She had obviously been drinking.  She was not slurring her speech, and she was probably not even aware that she was under the influence, but she talked at me for nearly an hour, going over the same series of events again and again, informing me about how my sister had taken my kids to the park with my father and his new wife (of about 7 years now) without having consulted me on the issue first and lamenting the fact that she was in the middle of all of this.

My mother has never remarried.  She has not even really dated anyone since my father left.  She still – after more than 20 years – fosters a great deal of bitterness towards him and, by extension, his new wife, so I know that a great deal of the motivation behind her drinking and calling me was those feelings that she has not resolved.  She has always thrived on drama, and I think she actually needs it to feel anything at all.  I told her numerous times that I didn’t want her to do anything and that she was only in the middle of things between me and my father because she was putting herself there.  This is not the first time I’ve told her this, and I repeated myself four times again on the phone last night.

This morning, I received a number of irate text messages from my sister telling me all of the things that my mother accused her of after our conversation last night, despite the fact that I told my mother specifically that I would talk to my sister and that I did not want her to say anything to her.

Again… my family fails at communication.

I know that by 22:00 my kids were safely asleep and that even in her influenced state my mother could and would have called 911 if there was some catastrophe that were to emerge in the middle of the night, an event that is highly improbable anyway.  She was almost certainly coherent enough to parent, though probably not legal to drive.

But here I am, confronted by my familial failure at communications and betrayal on multiple fronts, and my first impulse was to hop in the car and retrieve my kids for the rest of the week – work be damned.

My mom should not have been drinking, and she should not have called me to try to pull me into all of this drama.

My sister should not have allowed my father to join them without asking me about it first (I would likely have said yes – provided she agreed to my ground rules – but can I trust her with those now?)

My father should not have solicited my sister to meet with my kids without consulting me about it first, directly.  He knows this, but he hasn’t contacted me in any form in over a year now, not even to talk to them, or to send them birthday cards, or anything like that.

Each of these things, individually, is a breach of my trust.

Each of these things, individually, is a cause for me to fear.

All together, I was nearly overwhelmed and I nearly did jump into the car to go retrieve them.  I’m not altogether certain that I won’t tonight.

And yet…

My kids were never really in any danger.  They are still young, just 6 and 8, but they are old enough to recognize bad situations and mostly to avoid them.  I’ve made certain that they both know my address and phone number, and that they know how to dial both a landline and a cell phone.  They know that they can call me at any time and I will drop everything to get them.

My sister did not leave them under the care of my father – I think that despite her desire to appease him and the secrecy through which she has lived her entire life that she knows if she were to do such a thing that I would find out and when I did find out that it would mean an end to her privilege of seeing my kids entirely.

My father is a coward – as all sociopaths are – and he does not have the courage to even just pick up the phone and ask me about spending time with them because I do not bend to his will like the rest of the sycophants that he surrounds himself with, so this may be the only chance he has to see them until I next decide to reach out, which will be lengthened due to this event, but I always do come around – because I am forever trusting the wrong people with the wrong things and I still occasionally trust him with my emotions.

My kids are fine.  They are having fun and they are not in danger.

My sister and I will have a chat and I’ll talk to her about transparency in the same way that I have done with submissives in the past – not because she is a submissive but because the only thing she understands and takes seriously from me is authority.  My father and I will have a chat and I will explain to him once more that I don’t trust him but that I believe my kids have a right to know their grandfather and I will never deny him the opportunity to see them when it can be arranged, but that he does not get to spend time with them when I am not around.  My mother and I will have a chat where I will explain to her that I want to handle my own relationships with my sister and father and that her counsel is appreciated but her meddling is not.

And nothing will change with any of them.

But maybe I will change.  A little bit.

Last year I would already be back home with my kids after having run off in the middle of the night to retrieve them and probably having some very stern words with my mother.  They would feel like they had done something wrong, and no amount of explanation on my part would completely remove the stain from this experience for them.  It would be a horrific thing for everyone involved.

Last year I would have written off my father completely one more time and written off my sister as well, putting months between any contact with them at all.

Today.. I’m sitting with my thoughts, and trying to let the fear pass over me and through me.

I know the facts and they speak to one course of action.  The mindful course of action is to address the problems I see with a level head and let my kids remain there for the rest of the week where they are having fun and have activities planned and would not be stuck inside while I work from home, feeling like they had done something to deserve being punished.

I know my feelings and they are overwhelmed by fear.  Fear would have me act in a manner which will hurt everyone – myself included.  And though I may be able to turn my fear to anger if I act on that path, and sit high and mighty in my fortress of righteousness, the severed relationships and the message that would give my children would be harmful.

I am going to try something new.

In each of those conversations that I outlined above, I am going to try to start my conversations with love.  It will be most difficult with my father, but I am going to try.

Because, more than anyone else I’ve mentioned here, I love my kids, and I want the best for them, and when I use my logical mind, I can see clearly what that should be.  I just need to get out of the way.

I am Rant, and this was a growth opportunity seized.

 

The Darkness Inside

I have sometimes asked for topic suggestions and questions as starters for posts on this blog, but I don’t solicit feedback for things before I publish them.  There is no editing done by anyone other than me, and I while I will correct typos or passages that are unclear, I don’t edit posts after they’ve been posted, so not all of my posts are perfect, just like I’m not perfect, even if I might sometimes want people who read my writings to think I am.

This is an example of my imperfection.

My partner read my most recent post and she had two constructive comments that stick out with me.  The first thing she said was, “I didn’t expect it to be gendered.”  I was a little surprised by this, not because she’s wrong – it is quite obviously a gendered piece – but because I didn’t really intend for it to be that way when I began writing.  Desperation looks just as bad on women as it does men, or on those who don’t closely identify with either of those gender phenotypes.  But I am a cisgendered heterosexual male, and as much as I strongly believe in the value of any and all gender identifications, I find it very difficult to write from the perspective of someone whose struggles I do not know.  Because of this, the piece probably lost a lot of the power that it could have had.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, she stated that I don’t often put much of myself into my writing, and that it can come across as a bit preachy.   I don’t necessarily mind being thought of as preachy, but when I’m not identifying closely enough with the subject material, I’m doing myself a disservice, so I’m going to do the big scary thing here and open up to the world a little, right now.

About five years ago, I nearly killed myself.

There is within me a deep darkness that shows up every once in a while, ever since I was a teenager.  I have a family history of depression and bipolarism, and whether this is something that would have come out for me if I had not been molested, I do not know, but it is about that time that things started to change for me.

Most of the time I can stare into the abyss and come back, none the worse for the wear, but once it nearly claimed me.

In the years since this incident, I have learned a great deal about myself, and I do not believe that I am really in any danger of going this deep again, but it’s something that I am ever-vigilant about, and I’ve set traps for myself to avoid spiraling too far away.  I am far too smart for my own good sometimes.

I was depressed beyond depression…  I felt hopeless, I wanted a way to stop the pain, and I saw no way to get free of the things that trapped me in that existence.

I took out extra life insurance.  It’s shockingly easy and cheap to get $2 million in life insurance for a healthy, non-smoker at age 34.  I made sure that the plan had a double indemnity for workplace accidents.

I made a plan.

I’m a control freak at times, and I wanted to sure, absolutely sure, that when I did it that I would be gone, not a vegetable in long term care, not maimed and living with physical pain to match my emotional state, and I wanted to be sure that no one I knew would ever know that it was my choice to end my life.  It would look like an accident.  I would leave no note.

I did dry runs of the plan.  I could have actually taken my life at any of those times.  Three times, I did this.  I was ready to do it.

And then my daughter told me that she loved me and she missed me because I had to work late, and my resolve shattered.

I looked back over the months of planning that I’d done and the effort that was involved and I knew that I needed help.

I told my wife (ex-wife now, but I was married at the time).

She didn’t understand.  She thought I was attention seeking, which is exactly the opposite of what I was doing, but it didn’t matter.  In telling her, I’d destroyed my chances for success, and I had to continue down the path of getting help, because my plan was destroyed.  Now she would know.  Now the life insurance company would know, and I’d leave my family with nothing but pain.

I was somehow, miraculously, able to summon the strength to get help on my own.  To this day, I still don’t know how I did it.

I found a psychiatrist.  I made an appointment.  I went to the appointment.

My brain has a chemical imbalance, she told me.

My anhedonia was just a symptom.  My feelings of hopelessness were just symptoms of this problem with the chemicals in my brain.

Here, take these pills, and you’ll feel better, she says.

I took them.

I did not feel better.

Weeks later, I still felt terribly depressed, hopeless, in pain all the time – and this was before I had any physical reasons to feel pain.  Apart from the overwhelming miasma of disharmony that surrounded me, I was completely healthy.

Nothing and no one gave me joy.  Even my children annoyed me and made me feel trapped and alone and responsible for things that I felt were beyond my ability to handle.  I was deeply mired in feelings of inadequacy and failure.  I could do nothing right, nothing I did was ever enough, and no one wanted to be around me.

The truth was, of course, slightly different.  I actually was being shunned a bit by family and friends because I was so far down that I made people uncomfortable just by being around.  They wanted to help and felt helpless to do so, and after a few attempts to cheer me up, they eventually gave up.

My ostracization was complete.  So I came up with a new plan.

That’s right.  I was on SSRIs, I was in behavioral and cognitive therapy with a psychiatrist and a separate therapist.  I was writing about my feelings and thoughts daily.  I was doing everything that you are supposed to do in those types of situations, and it was not enough.  My psychiatrist even put me on MAOIs for a time, hoping that would kick my brain back into ‘normal’ mode.  I was beginning to accept that this was the new normal for me.  And in the midst of all of this, I still had suicidal ideation.  I still wanted to kill myself.  And I came up with a brand new plan for how to do it, and I was hiding the thoughts and plans from my therapists.

At this point, I really should have gone to the hospital.  I should have enrolled in some kind of managed care facility.  I was not safe to be with myself.  I have probably never come closer to dying.

My plan required that I purchase some new equipment, so I did.  When one of the people I was buying this stuff from asked me what I needed it for, I responded, “Oh, I’m going to kill myself.”  She laughed at me and sold it to me anyway, without further comment.

No – I did not buy a gun for this, though I certainly could have.

I wrote a note this time – since it was going to be obvious from the method that I was intending to employ that it was a suicide – but I never sent it.  To this day, it remains a draft item in my gmail account.  I keep it as a reminder of how close I came.

Somehow though, I managed to snap out of it.

I stopped everything, and I managed to step out of my misery and look at myself from the outside.

Perhaps it was an accumulation of drugs in my system that finally set me right, or perhaps there was some other trigger that remains invisible to me, but for whatever reason, I stepped outside of myself and looked back and said, “what the fuck is wrong with you?  You have everything you want and more than you need.   People love you, and what you are contemplating doing is the most petty, selfish, and hurtful thing that you could possibly do to those people.  Sort yourself out.”

And so I did.  Somehow.

I stepped back from the precipice, and I started the process of letting go of expectation, of letting go of the images that I’d overlaid on the world.

When I was in high school, I was unstoppable.  I was athletic, I was brilliant, I was gorgeous, and people followed me around like some kind of rock star or demigod.  In college this continued for a time, and then I went through a bit of a transitional period.  I looked into the abyss for a time as my first marriage ended, but I embraced the darkness inside and became something new.  This time, that did not seem to be an option, so it pulled me further down, but eventually I came to realize that the goals that I had set for myself then were just that, goals – and while I can and should always strive to meet my goals, it is not an indictment of my character when I fail to do so.  So I wasn’t a millionaire.  So what?

I was mortified that I was looking back on my high school days as ‘the best days of my life,’ just exactly like the elders of my home town told me that I would.  I was better than them, wasn’t I?

And I am.  I just needed to let go.

Always afraid of failing or falling, I kept a tight rein on what I did and said and planned and thought.  I tried to take control of everything, and while I succeed in controlling much, no one can control every aspect of his life, and I am no exception.

I let go.  I did not let go of my life like I was thinking in those moments where I stared into the abyss, but I let go of all the things that were pushing me towards the edge.

And then the most amazing things started to happen… oh sure, I had setbacks still, and I still do, but I started to look at the world as if it didn’t owe me anything and that everything I had was a gift.  The abyss has no hold over me any longer.  I still have this darkness inside, and it still must come out from time to time, and I even feel compelled to stare into the abyss from time to time, but I can look and wonder rather than despair.

I am blessed.  I am privileged.  I am powerful.

I am Rant.

Desperate is the Death of Sexy

Sex is a funny thing.  When you’re not getting it, it seems like the best thing in the world.  When you get plenty of it, it’s still pretty fucking wonderful, and when you are having as much as you want, with one partner or ten, people can usually tell.  I’m not sure exactly why, but people who are regularly having sex – not just any sex, but good sex – tend to stand out.

Actually – I’m pretty sure I do know why… it’s all about confidence.

There are several ways to describe the unconfident person, and desperate is often an accurate description.

Desperate is the Death of Sexy.

The intra-sentence capitalization there is a bit hokey, perhaps, but the emphasis is warranted.

Nothing moves you from ‘dark and mysterious’ to ‘lonely and pathetic’ faster than the simple realization on the part of the observer that you are not, in fact, mysterious, but that you are, instead, merely pathetic and some of my more timid friends are in awe of my ability to stay in the ‘dark and mysterious’ camp without having to resort to the ‘douchebag’ camp tactics.

I’m here to tell you that it is entirely possible to be both kind and sexy.  Contrary to the current conventional wisdom, you do not have to be an asshole to get girls to like you.  In fact, you just have to not be a pushover and you have to ask for what you want.  I’m not the most attractive man in the world, but I have no trouble whatsoever in finding sex partners because I am confident, intelligent, kind, and patient.  And by patient, I don’t mean that you stalk the poor woman for four months and hope that she’ll relent and have pity sex with you – the fact that that ever works is a serious detriment to us all, but that’s another rant entirely…

Somewhere in the twentieth century, Western society started to view women as people.  This is an amazing and long overdue accomplishment.  Someday, perhaps we will get to the point where we view women as equals as well, but that is something that I’ve harped on to various degrees in previous posts and won’t get into again here.

Anyway – the reason for mentioning the above is that prior to about a hundred and fifty years or so ago, there wasn’t much of a concept in Western society of consent as being important to the act of having sex.   Women were quite literally the property of their fathers or husbands and it was up to those men to decide when the women in question were allowed to have sex and with whom.   Women were viewed either as assets or liabilities, but never as people.  They were something to be sold away or bargained with.  And once the woman in question was of ‘breeding age’ she would be disposed of by her father and taken possession of by her husband who would then gain exclusive access to her, sexually and in every other way as well.

Fucking barbarian viewpoints if you ask me…

Anyway… somehow we managed to pull our asses out of such depravity and recognize that women have a right to control access to their own bodies.  This gave them the right to say ‘no’ and they often did, because out-of-wedlock children are still viewed with a stigma attached, it’s a very difficult thing for a woman to raise children on her own, and for the first time women were being given a choice about whether or not this was something they wanted to do.

When the birth control pill hit the streets we had a brief period where sex was viewed as something that could be experienced for pleasure alone and without all of the consequences that were commonly part of that equation before.  Women were actually, finally, and for the first time ever, able to choose to have sex for the sake of pleasure alone – something that men have enjoyed since the dawn of time.  The era of ‘free love’ was born and because the impetus was on women to go on the pill – a choice which they alone were empowered to make, reversing the power dynamic on a fundamental human drive for the first time ever – they became the de-facto gatekeepers of sex.

This put the choices that led to ‘consequence free’ sex into the hands of women alone.  Of course, this isn’t completely true – condoms have been around for much longer than the pill – but they require some forethought and for some reason which I cannot understand, are anathema to a lot of people’s enjoyment of sex.

So – the common belief evolved that men always want sex and that it is up to the woman to decide when and where this occurs because the preparation for this is her responsibility.   This is a naive viewpoint, but let’s let it slide for now…

This is a pretty new paradigm shift, but it is at least a couple of generations old now, and pretty firmly entrenched.  When the AIDS epidemic killed ‘free love,’ the changes to the way society views women and sex were already firmly in place, so sex became a lot scarier, and women started to say ‘no’ more often.  This is relaxing a bit now that HIV is treatable, and thus no longer a death sentence, and because infection rates have dropped in most of the world other than sub-Saharan Africa, but it is something that still plagues the minds of those in their 30’s and low 40’s.

So, now women had multiple good reasons to say, ‘no’ more often, and for the first time, the fact that they were saying ‘no’ mattered.

Guys in my generation were raised to respect this.

This is a good thing.

But society is a very poor teacher.  In order for the message to carry through all facets of society, it must be delivered as bluntly as possible and the consequences for failing to meet with expectations must be severe.  The end result was that the message, as delivered, was somewhat emasculating.  It came with the worldview that said, basically, “you can have sex with a woman only if she ‘gives it up to you.’”

This is a dangerous and harmful idea.

Firstly – this makes the assumption, once again, that men want sex with anyone and all of the time.  Secondly – this makes the assumption that women are reluctant to have sex in general, and that you will only succeed in getting into her panties by performing some kind of heroic act for which she is so grateful that she decides to go against her normal nature and allow you to have sex with her.  Implicit in this assumption is that women don’t want to be having sex normally.  And lastly, this also includes the assumption that sex is a taboo topic that should not be discussed openly, and that hurts everyone involved.  My general rule in life is that if I can’t talk about it openly, I should probably not be doing it.

Women like sex every bit as much as men.  Especially with patient, kind, and confident men.  Their tastes with the actual experiences differ considerably from woman to woman, but this is true of men as well.  Some women like to be called dirty names, some are totally turned off by the very thought of that.  Some women like to have their hair pulled or their asses slapped, but others respond only to gentle touch.  It behooves one to learn about what she likes before you start trying to push her into unknown territory.

In my experience, once you earn a woman’s trust (and I’m sure the same goes for men) she’ll be willing to at least try anything you ask her to do.  So if you have a particular kink that she doesn’t share, be patient, be kind, and be confident.  She’ll probably come around, and if she doesn’t you can address that once you know that you’ve at least given it the best possible chance for success.  But if you lose your cool, or you whine at not getting what you want, you can be guaranteed that she won’t even consider it.  She’ll lose respect for you, and if you ever even got into her panties, you probably never will again.  Once the respect is gone, it is extremely difficult to get back.. not impossible, but difficult, and the longer it goes on that way, the harder that climb back uphill becomes.

So – gentlemen of the interwebs – this is my advice to you:  Be calm, be sure, ask for what you want, and respect what she likes.  If you can do those things, you have a much better chance of not only getting what you want, but of getting it often and with enthusiasm.  It doesn’t really matter what you look like, how much money you make, or really any other of the myriad of criteria that society tells you are important.  Of course, it never hurts to be a billionaire Adonis type, but even if you are one, you’re going to get much less actual action if you act like a whiney toad than if you hold your head high, believe that you are valuable, and ask for what you want.

Desperation is the Death of Sexy, and I’m determined to bring Sexy back.

Was this a rant? I’m not sure.

Either way, I am Rant.

Rant off.

The Zen Dom

Over the weekend I ran across this – Letting Go of Attachment – and I recognized in it a philosophy that I have been trying, not always with the greatest of success, to implement for my own life.

I have to wonder how Lori Deschene and Leo Babauta would feel about being linked to a site run by a BDSM Dom who named himself Rant and started this blog as a place to complain about what he saw as problems in a community that he had turned his back on, returned to, and found lacking… but the truth is that I find them to be inspiring, and in the very short time that I’ve been writing I’ve changed my outlook on so many things, just from putting the words out there and listening to the thoughts of others.

You may have some questions about how it’s possible that I, admittedly a Dom, possibly a control freak, could possibly hope to live without attachment.  It seems antithetical to the very mantle which I’ve just taken up, does it not?  I mean, the essence of Domination is control, and my own personal road to happiness was rocky and uncertain until I embraced that mindset for myself again and accepted my Dominant nature.  How could those two things possibly coexist in the same person?

Perhaps they are not as incompatible as they might at first seem…

Ever since I first read Leaves of Grass in high school, this has been a favorite passage of mine, from Song of Myself, by Walt Whitman.

Do I contradict myself?

Very well then, I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Even as a teenager, I understood and related to those words as part of the complex structure that makes up me and I have used them as a balm over the years to quiet my worried mind.

My personal journey to get to where I am in life now has been interesting, but I am finally and quite possibly for the first time in my life, happy.

I’ve studied many religions, practiced several, sought wisdom in self-help books and the writings of others.  I have been through individual therapy, group therapy, couples’ therapy, and psychiatric assistance.  I have used drugs, both natural and synthetic, prescribed for me or found through illicit channels.  I have done yoga, exercise, meditation, hypnosis, and attempted to express myself in art.  I have retreated into virtual worlds and even made my own.  I have worked as a video game programmer, for a private investigator, and even as a sex worker.  I have cleaved to my family and ostracized myself from them.  I have told the fortunes of others and cast rods to divine my own future.  I have been married, twice.  I have had several intimate relationships and lots and lots of sex.  I have driven fast cars and ridden running horses.  I have tried almost everything that anyone has ever suggested to me as a way to become enlightened, to lift my dark spirit and to try to find happiness.  It does not surprise me at all, today, that none of those things worked for me.

I am a Dominant.  I am an atheist.  I am a pacifist.  I am a father and a guide and a feminist.  I am worthy of being loved and I love myself.  I am calm.

Throughout all of those experiences that I detail above I fought my inner self.  I denied my feelings and persecuted myself, borrowing the Catholic guilt that I was raised with to hold my own desires at bay… I told myself that the me who desired to Dominate was wrong.  That each person is his own individual and it was wrong for me to want to have that authority over another.  I found myself submitting to others, not in the BDSM sense, but in a very real-world sense, all of the time.  I did not have the confidence to stand up for my feelings because they were wrong.  I hated myself for these horrible thoughts that I had about what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be.

How did I resolve that with letting go?

I stepped away from myself and looked at the dynamic.

I let go of my self hatred.  I let go of the assumed societal restrictions on permitted thoughts and desires and I accepted myself and my ‘dark’ side.  I have no desire to hurt anyone, quite the opposite, actually.  I have no desire to injure anyone, I have no desire to inflict unwanted pain, but there is also the pain that reminds you that you are alive and the pain the brings with it the intense emotional release that I got when I submitted to Sonia.  There is such a thing as an embrace of pain that frees you from other pains.

I was molested as a young man.  It was no one in my family, and indeed, they still don’t know that it occurred and if this ever gets linked back to me and placed in front of them a great many uncomfortable discussions will likely result, but it happened and it turned me into a brooding, angry, anti-social young man for a long time.  Sonia’s compassionate brutality helped me to face my demons and reclaim for me the things that were taken from me.  Some of them, anyway.

I Dominate those that give themselves to me willingly.  I will not accept submission from someone who is incapable of understanding what they are doing and I will not attempt to hold anyone who does not wish to be with me any longer or even those who can no longer benefit from doing so, whether they choose to see it or not.

This is a very scary thing.

Strong is the impulse to hold on, to claim a lover as mine and mine alone, but I know that I cannot be all things to all people, and no one person can be all things to me.  To truly open my heart, I must accept that now, in this time, at this place, this person is trusting me with herself and the joy that brings me is incomprehensible.  The joy that I feel when given that trust and that submission cannot be measured, and there is nothing wrong with me for feeling that way, just as there is nothing wrong with her for wanting to give herself to me in such a way.  These are maladaptive behaviors, perhaps.  They may be remnants of a primitive psychology, or they may simply be facets of a larger gem, I don’t know, but I want to know, and I will never give up exploring, and yet for now, right now, accepting is good enough.

Yes, I get off on having a pretty girl sit at my feet and lean on my leg and look up at me through long eyelashes with doe eyes and say, “yes, Sir.”  If I believed in any gods, I would invoke them now to prove the conviction behind my thought.  Once I thought that this made me a monster.  Once I thought that this meant that there is something wrong with me, but there is not.

I am a kind Master, and a brutal lover, and a king of my own domain, and the confidence that I have to be those things, and to love myself for them comes from letting go of everything, even those lovers and that domain itself, because wherever I am, it is with me, and whoever they be, I am loved.  And I am happy.

I am Rant.