Out of the woodwork

Since I posted the ‘Stasis‘ entry, I’ve been receiving an even greater number of emails than usual.

Many of these were queries as to my emotional state – and I appreciate the concern that I’ve been given.  Some were a little more pointed…

Since my latest entry (Expectations…) the number of requests to meet in person and offers for play, both online distance play and in-person local-to-me play have increased dramatically.

I’m grateful for the attention, but I would like to set the record straight on a few notes.

Firstly – though my former primary partner and I ended things, I was not monogamous with her at the time of our split, and I am still not ‘single’ in the traditional sense.  I’ve been free to pursue other relationships for some time, but I am actually not seeking that right now.  Now is a time for reflection and taking things slowly.

I posted that I was going to, over the course of the next year, rekindle relationships that I had left to wither, that I was going to forge new ones, and that I would work to strengthen the ones that I already have.  That remains a true statement, but it seems to have been interpreted by some to mean that I am immediately seeking that, and I am not.

I do not have a specific time frame for this, and I am currently working to simplify things until such a time as I feel that I am emotionally ready for more.  I do not know how long that might be.

It will be some time before I am ready to take on anyone new, or even to seriously rekindle relationships that have faltered.  I am always happy to hear from people from my past, or to provide guidance to people that I have not had contact with before, but I currently require a certain amount of distance for those relationships.

I have one partner with whom I am spending my time right now, and while I work on myself (which is a never-ending process,) together we are beginning the process of working on her and finding the path to what it is that she wants and how that fits in with my desires.

Working with a new submissive requires a significant amount of attention, patience, and time.

I have made the mistake in the past of engaging with other partners while attempting to mentor a new submissive, but it has not worked out as well as it should have, and this is not a mistake that I wish to repeat.

So, while I remain available for advice as always, I am not looking to take on any new trainees, long distance D/s relationships, or even to begin playing with any new partners right now.

I still firmly believe that access to more information, more styles of D/s, and more personalities is a good thing for anyone who is interested in this lifestyle, and to the degree that I have always been available to my readers for such things, I still am.

I just need some more time before I start anything new with anyone, from either my past or future, and I hope that does not offend anyone or turn anyone away from asking me for advice or an opinion.

You readers are the reason that I keep writing here, so please don’t stop the emails or comments (I do have anonymous comments disabled, so if you are afraid of outing yourself as kinky, email is still your best choice) but understand that it may be some time before I agree to more than passing emails back and forth.

I remain yours, and I remain Rant.

Expectations and cutting the path

Expectations…

The root of all evil?

I would make the above a statement rather than a query, but this has been a year for change.

In two days, I’ll be 40 years old.

Given that the average life expectancy for men in this country is currently 72 years, and that I have both a family history of heart disease and a medical history of serious injury, including cranial fractures and multiple concussions, my own life expectancy is likely to be less than that, unless medicine advances to the point where those elements change, which is possible, possibly even likely, but it’s not something that I would bet money upon.

So – taking these things into consideration, it’s reasonable to assume that I’ve lived more than half of my life by this point.

This is the sort of thing that makes one look back over his life and wonder what might have happened differently.

This year has brought change, as every year does, but the end result is not unlike the beginning.

I end the year in much the same state that I began it, having picked up experiences, but tangible change still sits in the wings, waiting for something – I know not what.

Early in the year, I stumbled upon a young and brash new submissive who desperately wanted to push her way into the BDSM world, and I took her under my wing, trying to mold her, to prepare her for the experiences that she would encounter, to introduce her gradually to a world that she ended up jumping into with both feet and outgrowing my influence in short order.  I like to believe that my guidance made her transition easier than it might have been; I suppose only time will tell on that count.  But the world is a different place than it was when I was brought in to it, and her experiences at this point in many ways outstrip my own.

At nearly the same time, I shared a spark with Autumn from servingmaster.com and we melded minds on subjects far and wide.  She started me on the path that this blog has taken, committing my memories and experiences to an ever widening audience, which I suppose is a tangible change for the good, but in the face of what else happened, and then un-happened, this blog seems insignificant.  She and I remain friends and in contact, and I hope that she will remain my friend, supporter, and confidant for years to come, but our relationship has cooled and we both have busy lives.  The spark that ignited between us sits in the ether like the Mithras and is unlikely to ever completely die, but with no new fuel, its flame burns cold.

I reconnected with the woman who I expected to spend the rest of my life with and over the course of this year we had months of glorious joy, many adventures both big and small, and plans for things both near and far, but ultimately that ended not so very long ago.  Our lives were on different paths for longer than I realized, and when push came to shove, I got out of the way.  This is still fresh and new, and we don’t exactly share the same views of what went wrong and why it couldn’t be fixed, but that is normal in breakups, I think.  I sincerely hope that she finds everything that she wants from life, but ultimately, I was not the one to give it to her.

I have made other friends, touched other lives, had other romantic and play partners over the course of the year, not all of which ended the way I would have liked, some of which remain, and others still exist as smoldering embers sewn into the landscape, waiting to be stoked back to life.  There is one relationship here in particular whose ending I grieve still, but the circumstances of the time left me no other choice, or so I believed, in any case.

I enveloped myself in a new circle of friends, most of whom I severed contact with when my partner and I split.  Since they have known her for far longer than I, and are counted among her support structure, I may never interact with them again in any meaningful way, and that makes me sad, but is understood to be a part of life and love.

I am in roughly the same shape, physically, emotionally, and psychologically as I was when this year began.

The majority of my friends are not kinky, not in the scene, and don’t know about this blog or the aspects of my life that it illustrates.

This is not because I am ashamed, but because they have no curiosity about this part of my life.  They live in the vanilla world and find the concepts of nonmonogamy and risk aware consensual kink to be unfathomable, perhaps even disturbing. They are generally tolerant people – I do not generally get along well with those who are not – but they limit their own experiences and exposure by choice, and it is not my desire to force them from that.

My own social support system has contracted.

But I am not alone.

I am never alone.

I am, however, reduced from what I was at the high points of this year.

And I am not convinced that this is a bad thing.

The grief that I feel in each of these cases comes from expectations met and then dashed.

If there is a pervasive theme to this blog, and indeed to the way that I live my life now in a post-nearly-fatal-car-accident world, it is that.  I am happier and more successful when I can live my life without expectations.

When I was a teenager, I looked to the future.  The year 2000 was looming.  I would be 25 when the odometer of life rolled over.  That seemed like such a distant thing, and yet so close.  I was going to be successful by then.  I was going to be married, own my own home, be on the path towards greater things.  Expectations levied upon me by others for the most part, but that I took to be my own.  Expectations that were unrealistic and different from my actual desires, though I had no idea at the time what those might be.

I achieved all of those things.  By the time I was 21, I had nearly all of those things.  I was married.  I owned my own home.  I was accepted into medical school, and I was on track for meeting, even exceeding, all of those expectations.

And I was miserable.

I was quite possibly the unhappiest I had ever been in my life up to that point.  I had everything that I was expected to have.  I had achieved most of it ahead of schedule.  I was always an overachiever, but none of it ever made me happy.

I ended things there.

I started over.

I went deep into the rabbit hole and learned a few things about myself.

I pulled myself back out and put myself back on what turned out to be a very similar path once more.  For a time I was high on life, I was living what I thought I wanted to be, I was meeting the expectations of others and I was a part of the functional cogwheel of society, producing, living in the suburbs, parenting, and trading my time for a paycheck.

And I was miserable.

I was even more miserable than before.

I was not the one to end that relationship, but it followed a similar trajectory.  I dove into the rabbit hole again, learned some more things about myself, and crawled out.  I wandered in the deep woods for awhile, but eventually I found a path, and I started walking it.

This time, the path was less trodden, it was thin in places, and it diverged from the main road in many ways, but it was still a path that others had taken, the expectations levied upon me were still not entirely my own.

This time, the choice to end things was largely my own once again.

I had a partner.

Our dynamic should have preserved my priority.  It should have let me cut the path, and had I been strong enough, it probably would have.  But I am still a product of this society, and I could not, would not, rigidly enforce my will, so the path diverged from where I wanted to go when I chose to allow the choice of direction to follow expectations not my own.

I take responsibility for those actions, but they were not my Will.

In order to remain true to my Will, I had to make the choice to be partnerless again.  To do otherwise would have required crushing the will of my partner, and that is something that I have always been unwilling to do.

I fight to hold the ideal of non attachment.  I fight to hold to the object of no expectations, but these are not tenable long term options.  If you walk where there is no path, you must cut it yourself, and that means that you will not find anyone else there to walk it with you.

But that is what I am trying to do now.

I don’t know if I will succeed.

I don’t know if I can succeed.

I know that my path will intersect others from time to time, so I’ll never be entirely alone, but I am learning that I need time alone, more than I thought I ever did before.  I need to cut my own path, and while others might follow along behind me, the decisions about where to cut and what directions to move in have to be mine alone.

I have relationships with people still.  People that I care about deeply, but I watch, and I cheer success, support setbacks, offer my own experiences, but I don’t follow.

I can’t know what lies ahead of me because no one has ever walked there before.  There are no guides to this trail because there is no trail to guide me upon.

I may be signing up for a very solitary existence in the long term, but that does not frighten me as it once did.

I may attract followers to walk the path that I cut, but I do not expect them.

I have less than half a life to complete at this point, and while I have made mistakes in the past, and I am guaranteed to make more in the future, I have faith in my ability to get through them.

I grow more open and honest with myself and those around me as I continue my journey.  I don’t say ‘as I walk this path’ any longer, because I’ve gone off the path.  I go where my Will points me, and I see nothing but obstacles in the way.  The smooth path is gone from my sight, and there will be trials, but I believe that I am strong enough to face them.

I will rekindle some relationships that were left to wither.

I will start some relationships that I have not made yet.

I will support relationships that are currently in place, but I will not hold on.

I will live my life without attachment or expectation, to the degree with which I am able, and I will not get down on myself for building attachments or having expectations when I do.  For while they always seem to lead to pain, sometimes the pain is worth it.

I will make goals and walk towards them, but if they vanish, I will keep walking, keep cutting the path myself.

I need time alone, but I need people in my life too.  I have my children.  I have my family.  I have those few friends who would take a bullet for me, just as I would for them, but those are always fewer in number than one might think, and levying expectations upon others is something that I specifically intend not to do.

I crave companions, but I do not require them.

I am perfectly capable of cutting this path alone and letting it close behind me if needs be.

If my wisdom is something that you seek, then you know where to find me.

You are welcome to walk this path with me, but make no mistake, this path is mine.

I am evolving.

I am grieving.

I am meeting the rise of the sun with alacrity and hope.  For that is what this time of the year is really about, and I was born at just the moment of Rebirth for the world.

And though grief comes from loss and loss comes from dashed expectations and I will continue to strive against holding those, I acknowledge that life goes on, and so shall I.

I am Rant.

New beginnings are in the wings, and they terrify and electrify me.

 

Stasis

I know, dear reader…

I promised you that December would bring the end of NaNoWriMo and that I would assail you multitudes of new posts, topics ranging wide and that these would assume a more normal cadence once more.

However, life has a way of interrupting our plans, does it not?

I’m living in stasis at the moment, caught between possibilities and unable to move – analysis paralysis is the term most often applied to the same situation in a business setting, I believe.

The situation at hand requires emotional intelligence to resolve, and whenever I bring it to mind, my emotions retreat entirely, leaving me unable to process things.

And so I wait.

I am purposely omitting details, but rest assured that my health is superb, I continue my physical recovery, perhaps even at a quicker pace than before as this event, or impending event, I’m not quite sure which, has nearly sapped my appetite completely and I’m losing weight as I choose to not eat.

But I have the weight to lose – I’m still over my ideal weight as a result of my car accident which is now more than three years past.

My doctor has been after me to lose weight for some time, he thinks it might help with my pain, so he will probably be pleased when next I see him, though I will probably omit for him the reasons as well.

My emotional health is on hold.  I make no progress forward or back, as I am stuck.

But I am still here.

And I am still Rant.

Rant off.

Hurting My little

Before I begin, I’m going to be knocking an important post down by posting this, so if you have not yet, please go read : Practicing What You Preach

Thank you.

********* 

Relationships are hard.

Nonmonogamy is hard.

This seems to be a recurring theme in my life right now.  If you click the links over there to the left where I list ‘Blogs I Read’ you’ll find that the front page posts for two of them deal with variations on this theme.

I am in a nonmonogamous relationship because I do believe that no one person can fill all of the needs of another.  I believe that it is impossible to be everything to someone for the long haul.  In the beginning parts of a relationship, when NRE is strong, you can easily overlook the things that are missing in the light of all of the fantastic that is currently going.

That is a pretty easy concept to embrace when the point is academic, or possibly even when it is you selfishly seeking a need that you aren’t getting met currently, but it’s a bit more of a struggle when you have to realize that it is you who is unable to meet that need in your partner.

I’m in love with my partner.

Nine months ago, I could not say those words, much less write them in a publicly accessible place where anyone from teh interwebs(misspelling intentional) could read them.

It’s true though.  I love her.

And I can’t be everything that she needs.

And intellectually I’m okay with that.

I want her to have other friends, other confidants, other lovers, other play partners.  I want her to be healthy and happy and the best her that she can be. 

I try to help focus her where I can, and while I don’t always succeed, I think on balance I do a decent job.  But she has needs that I cannot satisfy.

I’ve talked a little bit about this before in my post Owning the Object of Your Affection, where I wrote this:

Semantics sorted, we’re left with a modicum of understanding about what this ‘love’ thing is, at least in Rant’s mind.

So – for possibly the first time in Rant’s life, he finds himself in love.

Please forgive that brief and annoying use of the third person to describe myself, but those concepts are so foreign to how I perceived the world a scant few months ago that I find it difficult to express in any other way, but here’s the defining statement for you: I believe that I have found the love of my life.

The emphasis is new, but appropriate.

But it’s been a few months since then and things are coming into short relief right now.

And I do mean right now.

As I write this, she’s out on a date with a guy that I haven’t met, but from everything that I can tell, he’s a great guy.  I’ll meet him someday soon, and I’m sure that when I do, we’ll be fast friends.  My partner has a type, and we’re both slightly different specimens of that type, so either we’ll be great friends or bitter enemies, and I have every incentive to make sure that it comes out the former rather than the latter.  She likes him; she may even love him someday, and I’m intellectually okay with that.

But then there’s the feels.

My partner is my babygirl.  Our dynamic is not one of diapers and age-play in that vein, but she has a naturally bubbly personality and she is happiest when she is channelling her inner child, her little, to use the appropriate nomenclature of the BDSM world.  And I am happiest when I am being Protector and nurturing, so we naturally fall into one of the classic Daddy/babygirl archetypes – of which there are several.

However, when I am in Daddy headspace, I cannot hurt my little.  I simply cannot bring myself to do it.  My body stops.  My mind spirals away into cuckoo land.  My dick goes limp, my limbs get heavy, and I simply can’t lift my twitchy palm.

I love my partner and I have a hard enough time hurting her when I am not in Daddy headspace, but when I’m there, I just can’t do it.  And when she is little, I go into Daddy headspace automatically.

I am not a Sadist, and I never get pleasure from inflicting pain, but sometimes I like to be a Fluffy Service Top(™) and provide pain for those that require it, and when I do, I can be brutal.  I can slap you so hard that you think you left a tooth or an eyeball behind.  I can leave bruises on you that will last for weeks.  I can grind your shoulder into the carpet until it bleeds and seeps for days.  These are not things that I need to do, but they are things that she needs to feel, and I cannot provide them.

And it’s not that I don’t care for the women for whom I am able to provide this service – sometimes I care for them quite deeply, else I’d not put myself into FST mode – but I’m not in Daddy headspace then and I’m not in love.

This other guy can do that for her.

And for that I am grateful.

And I’m also jealous.

And I’m afraid.

And I’m happy too…

Compersion is a weird thing.

So, she is, right now, with this guy, my friend-to-be, getting her needs met, and I’m feeling happy and afraid and jealous all at the same time.

Because I love my partner.

Because I love my little.

Because I cannot hurt my little, but someone else can, and that will help to make her the best her than she can be.

I love you, my sweet angel.

Rant off.

Practicing what you preach

I don’t really use social media.

I don’t have a facebook page.  I don’t have a twitter account.  I don’t routinely contribute to reddit.

My only outlets for getting my opinion to other people are my voice (which I’m told can carry pretty well when I want it to..) my fetlife account, and this blog, which has attracted more readers than I ever thought possible.

So – I’m going to use what little bit of Internet clout that I have to push something.  Forgive me if I offend.

My partner has a friend.  This friend helped her out when she was in a terrible place in her life, and now she needs help herself.

I don’t know this person, and I’m not about to try to relate her story since I don’t know it, but she describes what happened pretty well in her GoFundMe page, so I invite you to read about it there – the link is at the end of this post.

I am extremely fortunate.  I have all that I need and more.  I am not wealthy and I probably never will be, but I firmly believe in sharing what I can with good people, and I think that this qualifies.

I am a father and a feminist and I try to be a good human being.

I donate to charity every year, and my contributions are usually even spaced and well tracked and I can feel good about the dollars that I give to the Red Cross, but that is structured charity and has tax implications and whatnot.. all of the confusing bullshit that gets dragged along with things when we collectively try to destroy graft.

But the true meaning of charity – the one that I really do still believe in, despite being an atheist now – is the one that came from early organized religions.. the sharing of what you have with those in need.  No one should go hungry.  No one should be homeless.  No one should live in fear – of any of these things, or of anything else that can be prevented.

I don’t know Tass.  We’ve never met.  But she helped someone I love when she needed it most, and now she needs help too.

If you can spare anything, even just $5 or $10, I am sure that she would be grateful for the support, and so would I.

You can read all about her here: Keep Momma Tass & Baby LJ Safe

NaNoWriMo

This is not a real blog entry.

This is not the blog entry that you are looking for.

Move along.

Move along.

 

Okay.. well, in all seriousness, I have many things to say, but I don’t have the words to say them right now.  I know you, gentle reader, are probably wondering why I have made so few entries since I gave myself the 500 words per day task and probably think that I have abandoned that ideal completely.

I have not.  I have added some bits to previous writing exercises and created some new things that are not appropriate for the blog, but more importantly, it’s November, and that means NaNoWriMo.

National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated, happens every November, and the participants, myself included, pledge to attempt to write a 50,000 word novel entirely within the month of November.

I’ve been doing it off and on for the past several years, and while I’ve only once (my first year, when my dedication was highest) succeeded in accomplishing the 50,000 word goal, I still give it my best shot.

As of now, I’m about 20,000 words in and about 10,000 words behind schedule.  I have to write considerably more than 500 words per day if I’m going to achieve my goal, and hence – no blog posts since late October.

Fear not though – December will see me clearing the backlog of nearly-complete-but-as-yet-unpublished blog posts and hopefully a return to a more regular writing cadence.

Until then, thank you for keeping me honest.

Rant off.

 

masochism from the Top perspective

I am not a Sadist.

I’ve said that before, and I honestly can’t see how it is likely to change any time in the foreseeable future.

I am also not a masochist.

That isn’t something that I’ve admitted to, but it something that most people tend to assume.  I mean, who ever heard of a masochistic Dom?

They do exist, of course, and I think it might even have been an accurate description for me when I first started to practice as a Dominant.  I had just left a submissive role, after all.  In the beginning of my training I felt like I deserved the pain, that I needed it to make me be who I was supposed to be, but by the end of my training, I no longer felt like I deserved or needed it, but I was determined to face it, and overcome it, no matter what the cost.

Before my car accident, I liked pain.  I still do, sometimes.  One of the issues that I have remaining from the injuries that I sustained then is that I have frequent upper back pain and this often radiates out from the cluster of nerves/muscles that are problematic for me in the center of my upper back, between the shoulder blades, and impacts my shoulders and neck.  When this happens, one of the only things that I can do to combat it is hook myself up to a TENS unit.

If you don’t know what a TENS unit it, TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and the way it works is that you attach electrodes to your skin and then those to a machine that regulates a series of electrical pulses that causes your muscles to twitch.  The sensation itself is not usually painful, but when the muscles under the contacts are already seizing (as is often the case with my back) the feeling can get to be pretty intense.  However, at the end of a timed session, the muscles will be able to relax more than they had prior to the electrical stimulation, and so, I get some relief.

Prior to my car accident, I’d always avoided electro-torture devices.  It was a soft limit of mine.  I didn’t have any information on them apart from word of mouth and misinformation.  I’d been told that it felt like being electrocuted, or that it made one feel nauseated or induced a jelly-like feeling in the muscles.  All of this is bullshit.

In physical therapy after my car accident, the TENS unit was employed quite a lot, and while I both enjoyed the sensation that it invoked and the relief that I had after a session, the biggest gain I think I was able to get from it was the knowledge of what it is really like.  This led me to move on and explore violet wands and other BDSM-specific methods of electro-torture, but it also reawakened the parts of myself that I can recall opening up when I was actually a masochist.

In the intervening time between when I would have described myself as a masochist and when I was reawakened to these thoughts I did quite a bit of research on what makes a masochist a masochist.  I had the perfect platform from which to conduct my research, after all.  As a Dominant, with clients and partners that were masochists in addition to being submissive, I had the perfect opportunity to ask questions, to experiment with different types of pain, different techniques, different sensations… and while I retained the desire to conduct sensation play scenes, I lost the drive to create pain in others.  It’s not that I never feel the urge to hit someone, but it’s a rare thing nowadays.

I asked people, “why are you a masochist,” and not surprisingly, the answer was most often, “I don’t know, I just am.”  But every so often, I would get an answer that was different, and I’ve come to the largely unscientific conclusion that people are masochists for one of two reasons:

  1. Something happened in their lives to cause them to have extremely low self esteem and they feel like they deserve the punishment.  When they receive pain, it allows them to feel the catharsis of paying a debt.  They feel like the pain is the only thing that frees them from the mental torment that they almost always endure surrounding the things for which they feel undeserving or guilty.  They accept the pain as atonement, and the almost religious conversion from pain to elation is palpable, and when you see this type of masochist in scene, you can tell that he is truly flying.
  2. They view it as a challenge.  They feel every ounce of pain, it never gets converted to another type of sensation, but that only intensifies their desire to take on more and more.  They do this for themselves, because they always take the hard path, they feel like they are duty bound to push forward and make it to the next level, or they do it for someone else.  They know that their Dominant Sadist is deriving pleasure from their pain, and that makes them want to take on more, or they feel the energy of the people around them and they want to push even further, to show them all that they can endure anything.

Of these two, I certainly think that the first group have an easier road in the short term, but the second group can bear the long term visible signs with more ease and tend to view them as badges of honor.

At various points in my life, I think I’ve been both of these two. In the beginning, I was ashamed of so much of my life, and I felt, as part of the course of my daily life, that I had to hide it and pretend that it never happened.  The only time I felt like I could be free was when those thoughts were pushed out of my head by pain or booze or the sex drive or something like that.  I was a hedonist and an extremist and to this day I am shocked and amazed that I didn’t end up being hooked on heroin or something similar.  Once my Dominant nature started to come through though, I viewed it as a challenge that must be overcome.  I was better than my Top, and I was going to prove it by forcing her to back down before I did.

As a Dominant, who is not a Sadist, I’ve dealt with both types of masochists, and they must be approached in very different manners.  But in general, and perhaps because I’m not a Sadist, I don’t really enjoy inflicting pain on either type.  If I’m going to be involved in a scene that involves pain, I’d actually much rather do so with someone who is NOT a masochist, and perhaps this is a thing unique to me, but when I’m in scene, I don’t really want to be competing with someone, and there have been a few times when I felt like my bottom was trying to “win the scene,” in some way.  And for the other perspective, while I do enjoy the control aspects of things, and I am always hyper-aware of the physical and emotional states of my bottom, I would very much hate to be wrong and slip past the point where she should have used her safeword and didn’t.

Both of the masochist archetypes that I refer to have their own pitfalls and things to be careful for, but while the motives may be different, the end results are often the same.

The first type can fail to safeword, which is a dangerous thing for a Dominant.  They will let you drive them well beyond their physical capacity to deal with, and they can become injured in the process.  In fact, to properly address their needs, they need to get as close to the failure point as they can, and the headspace that they’re in does not let them see that barrier coming.  The only way to address this, as the Top, is to frequently check in with them, ask them specific questions, sometimes even asking them a specific question about the immediate environment, external to their own bodies, so that they have to come back to ground level for a bit.  Something like, “What color is the floor?” is often enough.  A simple question like that will cause them to become aware of their environment again.  Even if they already know the answer without having to look (though they probably will have to look if they are in an altered head-space) it forces them to think about the floor, which is not a part of their experience right now.

The second type has to be pushed.  It’s what they need most, and they’re going to fight you back for it.  This could take the form of insulting you – telling you that you can’t hit them hard enough, or perhaps that you’re hitting them too hard.  They are very aware, almost hyper-aware, of the safeword, and they will resist using it as long as possible, perhaps even trying to force you to stop before they get there, as a sort of challenge back at you.  Although I’ve never heard of anyone actually thinking this, I can imagine that there are some who would view it as a game, almost as an Alpha contest, to see if they can get you to quit first.  That is no less dangerous than failing to see the safe point pass and not reacting to it for the group described above, but competitive nature will eventually fail, where the first group just doesn’t have anything to react to, so their bodies have to fail first, every time.

This is not to say that it’s impossible for a person to willingly put themselves into injury because they refuse to break down – in fact, that is exactly the sort of thing that I worry about.

I dislike Topping true masochists because when you have a bottom who exhibits behaviors like these, you can never be fully sure that she is going to properly use her safeword, and when I feel like I don’t have a safeword to rely upon, I feel like I’m not in control, and control is why I Top.  I don’t want to give up control, almost ever, in almost any situation, and most certainly not when I should be at pinnacle of my ability to exert control.  I Top because I like it, and when I’m not in control, I’m not even really sure that I’m Top anymore.

Does that make any sense?

Sometimes I’m not sure, and I’ve spent quite a bit of time on these subjects.

I’m not sure what this post is either – I seem to have quite a few of those lately – but I’m still Rant.

Rant off.

Interview with a racist

This post is not even peripherally related to BDSM, but if you have been following along or you know me at all you will see how it is something that I care about, so it kind of fits.  For those of you who were hoping for a juicy story about pain and suffering or another rant about feminism, or even an instructive piece about how shibari can be employed to give an under-the-clothes reminder that is even more intimate than a collar, you might be a little disappointed.  But if want to hear about my weird day today, follow along and be entertained and just a bit frightened.

So – I was in a car accident a few years back.  I’ve mostly healed, but I still have a hard time sitting for long periods of time.  This has led me to the habit of taking a walk in the afternoon every day when it’s not raining outside, and today it’s not raining.

There is a popular cafe downstairs in the building where I work.  It’s right next door to a very popular local and independent bookstore, and pretty close to the Stanford campus as well as lots of businesses, so it’s pretty busy pretty much all of the time.  My walk was well after the lunch rush, and the tables come out onto the common area in front of the building, so there is really no way I cannot walk through the cafe to get to the elevators to go up to my office.

Today as I was passing through, I saw two young men, probably college students, of indeterminate ethnicity take a seat at an empty table next to a table with an older Caucasian woman.  They were being slightly effeminate, and a little bit boisterous, but by no means over-the-top in their behavior.  They were not dressed in rainbow colors and they were not displaying any flags that I could see, but their presence was obviously quite disturbing to the woman at the table next to them.  She put a very intense look of disgust on her face, gathered up her things, and moved to a table three tables distant.

I saw this whole thing go down as I was merely walking through, and had no intent of doing anything in the cafe at all, but I got this mental worm embedded in my head and wondered to myself – is she upset because they’re loud, or is she reacting to their apparent sexuality, or is it their race that has her upset?

Ordinarily, I’d file it away as yet another case of Peninsula old-money conservatism and just keep on going, but for some reason today I decided that I wanted to know what was going on, so I went over to her table, took the seat across from her, and said, “Pardon me, ma’am, but I can’t help but notice that you seemed uncomfortable with those young men over there and felt the need to move away from them, do you mind if I ask why?”

She looked at me over the rim of her reading glasses in a way that I don’t think I’ve seen since my English teacher would do the same thing to me in high school when I was being a smartass.  But eventually she let out a long sigh and answered me.

I wish I had been recording what she said, but I didn’t have the presence of mind to start recording things on my phone, and I didn’t have anything on which to take notes, so I’m relating what she said as best I can, from memory.  I have a very good memory though…

“Well, see, here’s the thing.  The damned gay Mexicans are ruining this country.  Those two are just another part of the problem.  They should be deported back to wherever they came from and leave all of us good folks alone.  I can’t even enjoy my book here anymore without having to hear their squealing and watch them paw each other in public, it’s obscene!”

I should mention at this point that I do not believe that either of the young men in question are of Mexican descent.  I can’t be certain, but they looked more Fillipino to me, not that it matters in the least.  They were acting slightly effeminate and were definitely well dressed, but they could just as easily be metrosexual hipsters as homosexuals; I have no idea.  I was positioned to be able to see them while she spoke at me (as opposed to to me) and I never once saw them touch each other, let alone paw each other.  They were talking in a rather animated fashion, and I could not quite make out what they were saying, but it did not seem to me that they were squealing about cocksucking or anything so interesting – I think they might have been talking about baseball…

“I remember when this area was actually nice,” she continued.  This is Menlo Park, California we’re talking about here.. it’s one of the most affluent communities in the country, and therefore the world.  “People here used to be the right kind of people you know? Like you and me.”  The emphasis was hers.  I felt like I wanted to say something about being the “right kind of people” myself, but before I could get a word in, she was off on her tirade again.

“And I remember when the Mexicans knew their place too!  The only time you would see them is if they were mowing a lawn or going to church, and I bet those gays don’t even go to church, you know, because even the Catholics don’t like ‘em.  And now we even have them in my church! It’s so I don’t even want to go anymore.”

Again, I was about to say something, and she launches into it again.

“Well, except for Margie, who watches my grandkids and helps clean my daughter’s house, she’s good people, Christian, you know.  I’m sure that she wouldn’t let her son be gay.”

I think I was actually sitting there with my mouth open at this point.  This woman was a caricature of a person that I didn’t think existed anymore.  Perhaps I’m too sheltered in my little utopian bubble of acceptance and inclusion, but this woman had no trouble at all spewing vitriol at me, a complete stranger, just because we have the same skin tone.  I wasn’t really sure what to say at this point, and rather regretting sitting down to speak with her at all.

“And that’s not even the worst of it,” she continued.  “They live in all of those new apartments and they get special deals because they’re not white and all the young white kids like my daughter who live in the same complex have to pay three times as much just because she’s white.  It’s not fair!  It’s reverse discrimination is what it is.  Obama is ruining this country and I hope they shoot him before he gets voted out.”

I won’t even go into the factual inaccuracies of that statement, I was pretty well flabbergasted that I was hearing an apparently educated and generally affluent woman condone assassinating a sitting President.  There have been rumors floating about ‘the coming race war’ since the Civil War, but it’s things like this that make me wonder if it might not become reality, and that’s a scary thing.  Mind you, I have not said a word since asking her the initial question yet.

At this point, I was almost afraid to try to say anything, but I waited a few moments, and then when she didn’t launch into another rant, I broke my silence.

“How do you know that I’m not gay?” I asked.

She had the good sense to look at least a little bit embarrassed at this point, but she quickly turned it around and gave me a hard stare, “Well, at least you’re white, and I don’t believe you’re gay anyway, you don’t have the look.”

“I don’t have the look?”

“No, I can tell.”

“You can? Just like you can tell that those young men are Mexican?”

“Well, they might be a different kind of Mexican, maybe they’re from Venezuela, that would be even worse, they might be supporters of that guy, whatshisname..”

“Hugo Chavez,” I supplied.

“Yeah, him.  He’s a communist.”

“He’s dead.”

“Good. That’s a start.”

“Ma’am, I’m going to leave now.  Have a wonderful afternoon.”

“You’re not really gay are you?”

“As far as you are concerned, I am.” I said, though I felt a little bit guilty about the lie almost directly afterwards, but I wanted to shake her confidence in her world view.  It didn’t work.

“Traitor,” she said to my back as I walked to elevator and went back to work.

What a weird day…

It’s been several hours now since that event, and I wonder what I could have, or should have done differently.  I wonder if I should have tried to persuade her to be more tolerant, or if I should have attacked her right back, but I think that perhaps what I did was the best I could have.. I was polite, I let her speak, I didn’t interrupt, but I let her know that I disagreed.  At least, I meant to, but I’m not really sure that I did.

I was off balance the whole time.  These are things that I simply don’t deal with anymore since I’ve ostracized myself from my father and his side of the family.  I feel true compassion for all of the LGBT people in other, less accepting parts of this country and the world in general, who have to put up with this shit on a daily basis.

I’m not sure how to classify this entry, but I’m still Rant.

Rant off.

Existential Crises

When I was 15 years old, I confronted my first existential crisis. It was not my only one, and it is unlikely to be my last, but as far as crises go, it was pretty profound.

This wasn’t a depressive event, and though I did undergo moments of melancholy when I was a teenager, and this particular event caused me to re-examine almost every aspect of my life, I would not learn what the word depression really meant for another two decades.

You see, I was always a bit more mature and thoughtful than I should have been as a kid and still as a teenager. I was raised in a Roman Catholic family and we went to Church every Sunday. I went to CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) classes twice a week after school all through elementary school. In Junior High School I was part of the Church’s Youth Group. I was a leader there. I was a ‘perfect’ child. I never received anything less than an ‘A’ in my classes, I was respectful to my elders, I always practiced my piano, I was in team sports (soccer and baseball until Junior High, then I switched to track in the spring, and in High school I added wrestling for the winter,) I was in student government, I was involved in student service groups, I was a Lieutenant Governor in Key Club, I was Editor-in-Chief of the High School newspaper, I was even lead in the school play…

Much of that was actually after the event that I am about to describe, but it’s still descriptive of how I led my life at that time. I was larger than life. I had everything going for me that a person could hope to have at that point in my life. I got my first paying job at the age of 12 (though it wasn’t strictly legal.. I was doing contract technical writing for Broderbund software with a false SSN and an assumed name… people were so much more trusting back then) and by the time I was 16, I’d saved enough money to buy a car, and I did. When I was 16 I got a part time job writing software and I was suddenly cash flow positive in a very big way. I could pay for my gas and car insurance and still have enough left over to be a stupid teenager.

But I wasn’t.

I was an ‘old soul,’ according to my mom.

I identified strongly with the persona of Yama, the Vedic god of Death. He was old before he was young, and so was I. The fact that I even knew who Yama was at the age of 15, growing up in a rural community and a Catholic family in the pre-Internet era is something of an anomaly itself, in retrospect, but that’s not the the thrust of what I’m after here. It would, however, come to color the events that caused me to change so drastically from the Christian Beaver Cleaver overachiever that I was and become something new and different.

When I was eight or nine, I made friends with a boy who was in my CCD classes. We went to Vacation Bible School together in the summer. It was only a day camp, but it was the first camp I’d ever been to, and the only one that I would attend until I finally went away for my one year of sleep away camp when I was a teenager, but that was after the Transformation.

This boy, who I will refer to as Charlie, though that was not really his name, was not my best friend, as I understood such things to be at that time, but he was a good friend. We would play with Transformer and Gobots together. He even had some of the cool Gundam toys, straight from Japan, that you couldn’t get in the States. I’m still not sure how he got them, but he would always let me play with the one that I liked best, so I didn’t really care.

Charlie was a year older than me, and at that age, that’s a big deal. He still liked to play with me and I thought that was cool. Charlie and I would have playdates (a word which means something very different to me now…) and we would meet before camp and before school, and even though he was a little strange and the other boys didn’t like him, he was my friend.

Charlie’s dad was gay, and I didn’t know what that meant, but it did mean that Charlie’s mom and dad no longer lived together and that Charlie’s dad wasn’t allowed to go to our Church. My parents told me that he was a bad man and that he did things that people are not supposed to do, and that is why God hated him and he wasn’t allowed in our Church. I thought that was wrong, because Charlie’s dad was very nice to me and he got the best toys for Charlie and I never saw him be mean to anyone or even say anything unkind, despite the fact that people were very unkind to him while he was not looking. I had always been told that kind of behavior was wrong, but for some reason, whatever it was that Charlie’s dad had done made it okay to be mean to him.

For a couple years this would go on, and I eventually came to understand what it meant to be gay and what the Church’s stance on this was and I was torn.

I was a true believer.

I believed that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and lived and preached and suffered and died on the Cross for our Sins and that was the only way that any of us would ever make it into Heaven.

Over time I lost touch with Charlie. The year of difference in our ages meant that he left our elementary school and moved on to Junior High before I did, and that year apart, coupled with my own struggles as I approached puberty (which I hit earlier than all of my peers) caused us to drift apart. I was becoming more aloof and socially ostracized as a result of my undiagnosed Aspergers Syndrome, but I was still every bit as much of an overachiever. I was still involved in Church Youth Group, and my Faith was becoming stronger and broader. I would stand toe-to-toe with my Atheist friends and debate them on the logic of Faith. I felt like I would win these arguments, but in retrospect I see the same fallacies in my arguments that I came to disdain.

I made my own path, and it was one of Righteous Indignation and I wore the Cloak of Faith and Righteousness in every act in which I engaged. I was a Paladin and I was going to march right up to the Gates of Hell and take the fight to Lucifer himself.

I still saw Charlie from time to time. He and his sister, who was of an age with and friends with my own younger sister, were friends, and he was in the Church Youth Group, though with split custody and his father’s excommunication (and yes, his father was excommunicated for being gay and having the audacity to donate money to the Church) he was not there every week. He and I were no longer close friends, but I never forgot that he was my friend, even if his father was doomed to spend Eternity in Hell for the things he chose to do (note that I no longer believe that he had a choice in the matter – this is reflective of my ignorance at the time – I was only a child, after all.)

I kept on my merry, ignorant path, and could see no reason why I would not remain so as long as I lived.

When I was 13, the Pastor for our Parish, Father Thomas, would retire. In his place, we were assigned Monsignor Heinz, an extremely intolerant and very powerful (within the Church) man who was tasked with ‘turning our backwater Church around.’

I had no idea that there was any trouble, but apparently our Parish had some of the lowest per-capita tithing of any Church in the Diocese. And not only that, but there were apparently some thinly disguised ‘disreputable elements’ in our Parish.

Monsignor Heinz would have none of that.

He conducted interviews with each family individually. He demanded to see tax returns. He set tithes of at least 20% for each family, and when people would complain that they could not afford such exorbitant tithes, he would send Parish accountants to help them file their taxes and make sure that the Church got it’s pound of flesh.

The secondary purpose of these family interviews was to root out the undesirable elements from the Parish.

My own family was found lacking. My father had not been tithing appropriately, and I was ashamed for this. But at least we were found to be morally sound (which I don’t really understand either, but that’s not the subject of this piece.)

Charlie’s family, however, was not. Charlie’s father was excommunicated, and Charlie himself was found to have gay tendencies and was told not to return to the Church.

This did not compute with me.

Charlie was not gay. (He was, and he is, but at the time, I could not comprehend this.) The Church made a mistake.

I didn’t have the normal social constraints that people around me did, so I confronted Monsignor Heinz about this. Charlie must not be expelled from the Church. Excommunicated or not, this would almost certainly mean that Charlie was being sent to Hell, all because Monsignor Heinz had a feeling about him, a feeling which I was certain was incorrect.

Charlie was a good person.

Charlie was my friend.

By this time I’d read The Bible cover to cover at least twice. This is a very unusual thing for a Catholic to do. Monsignor Heinz quoted Scripture at me, and I quoted contradicting Scripture right back at him. Eventually he started quoting things at me that I had not read.

Where was he getting this information? I had to know, so I shifted my arguments and started asking some very pointed questions. Suddenly, my curiosity and conviction were not the Scourge of the Devil, but they were a Path to the Light. Monsignor Heinz was convinced that I was Destined for the Seminary and would be a Beacon for the Faithful. He told me of the Apocrypha and for a short time my ire was deflected.

Ultimately, however, I could not Rationalize how someone as kind and good and pure as Charlie had to be sacrificed and sent to Hell, and someone like myself, who had begun to have some seriously impious urges concerning girls could be a Paragon of the Light.

I could not bring the two things together in my mind, and I realized that I was the Heretic. Charlie was good, the Church was hiding Secrets from people, and I was being driven to think and feel and act in ways that were un-Godly.

The strain of trying to keep these things consistent in my head eventually broke my Faith.

If Charlie deserved Hell, then surely I deserved something much worse than that. I hated myself. I thought to myself: I will someday die, and when I do, what will my legacy be? I have accomplished nothing. I have lived in the shadow of others, reading the writings of men dead for centuries, and blindly accepting what they said, claiming their ideas as my own and extolling the virtues I was handed, with no free thought of my own. I was not a stupid kid – I did get straight A’s and that included A’s in classes like AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics… I knew the power of the Scientific Method, and I’d been turning a blind eye to it in the name of Faith for years. I was afraid to go against the Church because then I, too, would be Destined for Hell. My Faith was broken, and without that, without the love of Jesus, I would perish in a lake of fire, and yet…

And yet… without a testable hypothesis, and without a fair trial, how could I say for certain that any of these things were true. I had Occam’s Razor, and it cut the fabric right out of my Faith, and yet, I was not yet ready to accept the path of Atheism.

This made me easy prey for Jubal McReady and his gang, but that is a story for another day…

When I was 15, I lost my Faith in God and Jesus and the Trinity. I lost my path to Heaven. I Despaired over the fact that when I die, I’m gone. I will simply cease to exist. At first, this notion was terrifying to me. It caused me to lose sleep. I spent days where I could think of nothing else but the fact that the Universe is cruel and careless.

But today… today, this same thought brings me peace.

When I am gone, I will not have to bear any of this any longer. I will not have to try to be Zen. I will not have to try to live without expectation. Nor will I be a prisoner in some theme-park paradise or for better or worse, some Infernal realm of the Underworld. I will just be done. My work will be complete, and History will judge me as it does. I couldn’t care less. I won’t be here to see it.

This was something of a story and perhaps a bit of an admission.

I am Rant, and this is slice of me.

Rant off.

Hypocrite

I am a hypocrite.

Nearly everyone is a hypocrite, if you look close enough, or pay enough attention, but I have one issue on which I am a planet-sized hypocrite of the worst kind.

Forgiveness.

I preach forgiveness.

I literally proselytize the virtues of forgiveness.  I attempt to convert the unwashed masses to my own personal religion of sorts.  I tell anyone who will listen that the path to happiness can be found by forgiving others and letting go of your own expectations.  I tell people that you can walk the path to happiness by doing your best and then allowing whatever happens to happen without prejudice or expectation.  And as an example of this, I tend to point to myself.

I have all sorts of stresses in my life.  I’m a single parent, I have constant physical pain, I have a career that can be demanding at times, I live in one of the most expensive places to live in the world, and I have relationships with other people, so I am constantly affected by the things that affect them.  Compounded, it would be rather easy to allow these stresses to overwhelm me.  Each individual thing is something easy enough to cope with, but all together, the weight of this burden could crush me.  No one would fault me for wanting to wallow in it, and from time to time I have.

But that is not my hypocrisy.

I point at myself and I say, “I am happier now than I have been at any other time in my life, because I stay in the now and I don’t worry too much about tomorrow.  I plan, I am prepared to deal with eventualities, foreseeable and unforeseen, not because I worry about them, but because I have the basics covered and I believe in my own ability to deal with things as they occur.”

I give myself as an example to others, saying things like, “let go of your expectations and be present in the now and you will be happier for it.”

And yet… forgiveness…

I’ve mostly forgiven or forgotten things that affect me in life.  I’ve forgiven Sonia for tossing me out.  I’ve forgiven my ex-wife for leaving me for another man.  Although I won’t ever forget it, I have forgiven the people that molested me as a teenager.  I have even forgiven my ex-wife’s boyfriend, the guy that she left me for and is still dating, though I did want to ask him for a very long time, “did you know that she was married when you fucked her?”  So… I guess there is a kernel of bitterness there still, but I’ve had a conversation with the man and I didn’t jump down his throat for it, so I think I can safely say that I’m mostly past all of that now.

But my father… him I have not forgiven.  I have not forgotten that he took advantage of me when I was most vulnerable, that he stole from me when I could least afford it, or that he has simply never been there for me except when it served his own narcissistic purposes.  That is my hypocrisy and that is the burden that I can never seem to unload.  And I would really like to…

Most of the time he won’t even admit that he has done anything wrong.  I don’t mean just as it pertains to my life, but in other aspects of his life as well.  He has done criminal things to his friends, he has manufactured issues in order to avoid other problems.  He lies, he cheats, and he steals.  And yet, he lives in total denial of it all, and perhaps that is the most galling thing.  If he would apologize to me, I would forgive him, but I should be able to forgive him without the apology, because I know it will never come.

I know, without a doubt, that the times that I get struck down, the times that I lose sight of my goals and get stuck in problems that I can’t let go, most of those things would disappear or at least be drastically diminished if I could let go of this one last thing… I know that I would be happier and I would be more capable of dealing with the setbacks and holding to my non-attachment practices, if I could just let go of this one. last. thing.

And yet…

And yet, I haven’t been able to do that yet.

I deal with my father when it is required of me.  I am civil to him, if a bit cold.  I make sure that my daughters know him and are involved in his life.  His birthday was this month, and I had them call him to wish him a Happy Birthday, nevermind the fact that he doesn’t do the same.  Without me reminding him about their birthdays, he would forget them completely, and he has, more often than not.  I got used to him forgetting mine, but the way he drifts into and out of my children’s lives bothers me.  It shouldn’t.  I should accept that is how he is, and I should just be grateful for the things that he does remember, but this bitterness will not budge.

And so, I am a hypocrite.

Perhaps someday I shall not be, but for now, I still can’t completely let go.

I am Rant, and maybe someday I will be everything I want to be, but for now, I do the best I can.

Rant off.

 

one Dom's views on life, love, and limerence