Tag Archives: D/s

My Personal Journey : Part 5

Part 5: A radioactive spider-bite of BDSM goodness

My previous entry ended with the dissolution of my first marriage, my attempt at nomadic existence, and a mad scramble for how to survive in a world where I did not have a mission any longer.

I was, by this time, a graduate of several bachelors programs and fully qualified to seek employment in several potentially lucrative career paths, but I was aimless and adrift and in need of a way to support myself right now – having never lived with uncertainty before, so I took literally the first job I could find with the notion of finding something better while I was working.  That job happened to be as a server at The Cheesecake Factory in Brentwood, California.  Not the city of Brentwood, which is far to the east of where I live now, but the unincorporated area of Los Angeles referred to as Brentwood that sits between the cities of Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.   To call it an affluent neighborhood would be an understatement.

Surrounded by wealth, living without direction, unsure of where I’d be sleeping for the night and hating the fact that a free meal was one of the major selling points for taking the job, I was desperate to find something that would give meaning to my existence again.  I was enrolled in medical school, but I had stopped attending classes, and having lived with a long runway for my entire life – every step was planned, by my own ambition or by those who would see me fulfill visions of their own – I did not know what to do with myself and I didn’t know how to find my own way.

I worked in the day, drank heavily at night, and I became something of a bar rat.  I hate to admit this about myself, but I started to fall back into old patterns of thought and I started viewing people as a means to an end rather than individuals again.  I used the desperate and lonely as a way to have a place to sleep for the night and not have to sleep in my car yet again.   I began to see society as something that I could exploit and all plans for the future fell away as I started living moment-to-moment, selfish and alone.

And yet – despite the rapidly descendant conditions of living that I was abruptly dropped into, I remained competent, preternaturally charming, and sharp as a bone saw.  This resulted in my rapid advancement to the night shift, which while it did bring in larger tips, somewhat diminished my ability to use my charm and wit to secure lodging, so I was leaning more heavily on friends and that did not sit particularly well with me, though I’m not sure why it should feel worse to stay with people who cared for me than those who did not even know me, but that was where I was at that time.

One evening, I had a table with three older women – I say older women because at the time I was in my early 20’s and they were probably all in their mid to late thirties… I suppose I should properly say that I thought of them as cougars, though the term didn’t have that meaning at the time.  They were into their wine to the tune of a bottle apiece and the actual food that they had consumed was pretty light.  They were quite loose with their volume and the content of their conversation… they were all sharing stories of things that they had recently done with their boy-toys, and regaling in the schadenfreude of doing so right under the noses of their husbands.

My moral compass at the time was a little wonky, and to my mind, the stories that I was hearing sounded drastically more appealing than the life that I was living, so I turned my charm and wit into a weapon once again and I began to shamelessly flirt with the women at that table.  I came back to check on them often, moving closer than was strictly necessary, and inviting the touch that I was sure would come – and I was not disappointed.

It was not long before I was telling them my life story, standing at the side of one who had her arm wrapped around my leg while another patted my abdomen or forearm with every other sentence she spoke and the third just sat across the table from me, easy in her seat, eyes burning a hole in my soul.  They were all attractive, but this woman across the table, Simone, was a goddess.  She had a light olive complexion and stunning ice-blue eyes with pure white, long, straight hair.   Her body was lithe and firm, her tits were clearly fake, but not out of proportion with her frame.  She looked like a Patrick Nagel print in negative, brought to life.  But it was the look she gave me that haunted me.

They all seemed to love to hear the story of the country boy who grew up on horseback who was coming to the big city to go to medical school.  They all seemed to want me, not just for my body -which I was quite proud of at the time – but for my story.  They thought me a wholesome and eager, naive young man.  I did not tell them of the Lodge or the fact that the reason I knew this was a compelling story was because I had been honing it night after night for the past month, going after smaller scores.  But something about Simone struck me, and it’s clear to me now that she saw right through me from the very beginning.

Soon it came time for them to leave, and I was by now dodging the harsh stares of my manager anyway, so I was glad to see that they were wrapping things up, but hopeful that this would not be the last I saw of them.  I prepared the check for them and wrote my first name and phone number on the customer copy, placed it in the folio and then walked to their table.  I did not know who among them was to pay the tab, but I presented it to Simone without hesitation – it was really her that I wanted to see the note I’d left.

She gave me her credit card without looking at the bill, and I suppressed the dejected feeling that I have to admit that I felt and took her card back to run it, putting the original note on top of the receipt for her to sign and her credit card, then returned and handed the closed folio to her.  She accepted it, looked inside, pulled out her card and signed the receipt and then handed it all back to me before I could get away.

Certain that my ploy had failed, I took out the customer copy of the receipt that she’d left behind and I crumpled it into the trash.  I finished up the night without much else to speak of, and then spent the night on my friend’s couch once again, certain that I would never see any of them again but still dreaming of the might-have-beens that came with the idea.

You can imagine my surprise when I received a call the next morning.  This was in an era before smartphones, but caller-id was still ubiquitous on the small displays of cell phones of the time and this showed up as “Silver Screen Partners”.  I had no idea what to expect, but I was not expecting what followed.

“Hello Rant, this is Simone.  Do you know who I am?”

I really was not expecting to hear from her, but I did know – immediately –  so I didn’t hesitate, “Yes, I believe I do.”

“Excellent.  I would like you to come to my office for a job interview this afternoon – can you manage that?”

“Wait – now I’m not so sure I do know…”

“Your hearing is not poor, I assume?”

“No.”

“Then you should not doubt it.  Can you make the meeting?  2pm – ” and she gave me an address.

“Yes. I can do that,” I replied, even though I knew it would mean skipping class yet again.

“Good.  Do not be late, and bring your headshots if you have them.”

Now, I had never had any plans of attempting to be an actor or a model, but I did live in LA and work in a restaurant, so I knew what she was asking for, but I did not have any photos of myself, let alone professional headshots.

“Uh, I don’t have any…”

“That’s fine.  Come anyway.  Dress well.”

“Okay, I will be there.”

“Excellent.”  <click>

There was no click, really… phones don’t do that anymore and didn’t even then, but somehow we still get the foley for it in TV shows…

I did my best to make myself presentable, not knowing what to expect.

I arrived at Simone’s building about 15 minutes early, afraid to be late, and I walked into her office lobby to be greeted by a beautiful young lady with visible tattoos on nearly every inch of skin that I could see, and I could see quite a bit of it.  She instructed me to sit and wait and that she’d take me to see Simone – “when Mistress is ready.”

I was a bit less worried about my appearance after seeing Pepper (whose name I would learn later, but it makes it easier to refer to her as such now) – but I was still a bit concerned about it, it was a cheap two-piece suit that fit me poorly, and I was not very comfortable in nice clothes at that time of my life.

Eventually Pepper asked me to get follow her, so I did.  I walked into Simone’s office for the first time and was greeted by Simone at the front of her desk, wearing a floor-length diaphanous gown with slits in the sleeves and up the legs and nothing else underneath.

I could feel my lower jaw dropping and I’m pretty sure that my eyes sparked into flame.

Simone controlled the room, to be certain. “Thank you, Pepper.  Please make sure that we’re not bothered until I tell you otherwise.” (See – I told you I would learn that later…)

“Yes, Mistress,” Pepper bowed and backed out of the room to turn and walk back to the front of the office.

“Rant.  Thank you for coming.  Please take a seat,” she gestured to one of the chairs in front of her desk and walked around to sit in her chair behind it as I started to sit in the chair that she indicated.  She was completely comfortable, as if she were actually wearing clothes that I could not see right through.

“Have you ever worked in the film industry? Or as a model?”

“No, I haven’t.”

“Would you like to?”

“I suppose so – I hadn’t really thought about it.”

“Well, that is part of what I do here, but only part of it.  What do you know about BDSM?”

I knew a bit, actually, from my earlier experiences with the Lodge and the Rapture group, but I was not confident enough to speak about it, so I responded, “A little bit.  I know what the letters mean, at least.”

“Oh?  Please tell me.”

I responded without really considering it, “Bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism.”

“Ah, yes.   You are correct, but you are omitting the most important part.”

“I am?”

“Dominance and submission.”

“Oh yes, I knew that.”

“I’m sure you did.”

“Tell me, Rant.  Are you single now?”

“Yes.”

“How many girlfriends have you had?”

“One.”

“Really?  Perhaps I should rephrase – you’re clearly not as innocent as you claim – how many women have you had sex with?”

“More than one.”

She smiled at me and I knew it was not a smile of mirth, but it made me swoon regardless.

“Do you like to eat pussy?”

I was a little shocked by this question, I must admit.  It was so abrupt – and women did not act like that, in my experience.

“Yes…” I responded, tentatively.

She got up from her desk and went to go sit on the couch that was along the wall of her office, to the side, and then she laid back a bit, spread her legs, and pulled the parts of her gown aside so that I could plainly see her beautiful pussy near the edge of the couch.  Her eyes were locked on me the entire time, and I’m certain that my own gaze was hungry.

“Would you like to eat my pussy?”

“Yes.”

“Then you may do so,” she said, completely matter-of-fact, fully expecting me to comply, and she was not disappointed.

I got up from my chair, walked over to the edge of the couch between her legs, then sank to my knees before her, knelt even lower, and nuzzled my face into her cunt, and began to lick at her with a tender touch.  She threaded her fingers into the hair at the back of my head and pulled me into her after a moment of this, saying, “More pressure.”

I was only happy to comply.

Eventually I brought my hand up, and began to insert a finger into her pussy when she slapped me hard right across the top of my head, “You will ask before you do something like that!”

“Yes, Mistress,” I said, thinking I was being cheeky, and then went back to what I was doing, without the finger.

“I do believe that you are getting the picture now,” she said and sat up straight, pulling herself away from me, but leaving me kneeling between her legs, cunt juice all over my face.

“Where do you live now?”

“Uhm..” I hesitate, not wanting to reveal the fact that I was essentially homeless at the time, “do you mean – where do I get mail?” I ask, timidly.

“Oh.  I see.  I would not have expected that, but it works to both of our advantage, as it happens.”

“It does?”

“I will give you an apartment to live in, and I will make sure that you have adequate care for your needs, and in return for this you will be mine – my slave – and you will do anything I ask of you without hesitation or question.  Do you agree?”

I was not really taking her seriously – I didn’t really understand what she was asking of me yet – but it sounded hot as hell and the idea of having an apartment provided for me, even if it meant that I’d be eating Simone’s pussy every day – or maybe especially if it meant that I’d be eating Mistress Simone’s pussy every day – that sounded very appealing to the me that I was then…

“I do.”

“Excellent.  Now how shall we begin?”

<to be continued in part 6>

Interlude: Kneel for me

If you know me personally, this is probably not a new piece of writing to you.  I posted this first to my fetlife profile rather than here, about a year ago, but I re-read it myself recently and thought that perhaps it should be cross-posted here as well.

It is short, and while I intended it to be akin to free-verse poetry, it’s really just a short monologue… but I kind of like it.

I hope you do too.


Kneel for me.

Meet my gaze and hold it. Do not look away.

I know it is not easy. Nothing worthwhile is.

Cry for me. Not because you are sad, not because you have lost, not because you are missing someone dear, but because I am asking you to.

Open your heart for me. Pour the blood of your emotion on the floor at my feet and let me sink into its depth.

Sing your song of sorrow until it fills my soul and covers the rough parts, smooths out the edges, fills the gaps of my emotional canvas.

Cry for me. Not because you need to, but because I need for you to.

Lift your heart and mind and soul to the sky and let my love surround you. This is a place of safety and security, you are in my Protection and nothing in the world can harm you right now.

Rage for me. Not because you need to purge the poisonous vapors of mistrust and envy from your mind, but because I feed on your ire.

Scream for me. Not because your voice needs to escape your throat. Not because you have broken through the wall of your pain and anger and the primal need for screaming catharsis is pulling apart the walls of your soul, but because I want you to.

And then do all of those things again for the reasons I told you not to before.

I will hold your heart close and keep it safe while you channel the dark things away and I will eat them for you.

And when you are ready, I will return your heart to you, clean, shiny, and new.

And any time you need me to, I will be here, and you can…

…kneel for me.

The Value of Honesty

Anyone who knows me personally and has interacted with me in the past several months knows that I have a (relatively) new submissive whom I adore.  She is Devoted to me, and I am pledged to her, and I have no intention of changing any of that.

She and I have an open relationship and we are honest with each other about everything that goes on – and more importantly – about how those things make us feel.  We work together to ensure that we have a proper understanding of both the factual and emotional issues that surround anything that may come up – because emotions and facts don’t always correlate well until you take some time to understand how they interact with each other around the particular issue at hand.

And that was a lot of words to say:  she trusts me and I trust her – and the reasons for that are brutal and open honesty coupled with a lot of patience.

I hide nothing from her.  I don’t always tell her everything, because sometimes I don’t think to do so, and sometimes too much information can be hurtful, but I always answer all of her questions and I patiently allow her to feel what she feels and then reinforce the fact that I love her, I cherish her trust, and I am still committed to her.  It isn’t easy, but it is extremely valuable.

I have not always had relationships that ended well.  Heck, I’ve not always had relationships that proceeded well.  However, I am nearly always patient and polite.  No one manages to always be these things, but I do my best, and I usually succeed.  

Yesterday my submissive received some very strange text messages from a woman (or someone claiming to be a woman) who she has never met, but that was put into contact with her some time ago.  This woman resurfaced and started making claims about me – that she ‘catfished me on her behalf’ and claims that I derided her on fetlife and threatened her when she refused to have a skype sex session with me and tried to warn my submissive that I bad-talked my submissive behind her back and that I was a dangerous man.

Now – I am a dangerous man, but not for the reasons that she accuses me.

Anyone who knows me and has tried to get me to agree to a video chat session knows how laughable this is.  I am extremely reluctant to have a video call, and I almost never engage in any sort of sex over the wire.  I don’t enjoy it, and it triggers a few unpleasant memories for me.   If I’m doing it, it’s because I love you very much and I want you to be happy – it’s never something that I would pressure someone into, and I use words like ‘always’ and ‘never’ extremely sparingly.  I don’t even like talking on the phone.  So – on its face this was an amusingly ridiculous accusation, but even the most ridiculous accusations can destroy relationships when there is not trust there to begin with.

I’ve been in relationships where that trust was not solid.  I’ve been in relationships where accusations of infidelity – and actual infidelity – destroyed the relationship, and the reason that happened was because trust was either never fully established, or worn away.  I am certainly not trying to portray myself as always being in the right in these situations – I don’t know that there is always a right to be had – but I do know that I have never acted in the manner for which I was accused.

I honestly have no idea who this person is or what his motives might be.  It’s extremely unlikely that it is one of my exes trying to get at me through her.  It’s equally unlikely that it’s her ex trying to get at her, but the motive of anyone else in this matter just doesn’t seem to add up…

The fact that we can’t find a sensible motive is an any area of consternation to be sure, but sometimes people just like to cause drama, and maybe that’s all this is.

I’ve been in relationships that would be threatened by such a thing, but I am ecstatically happy to not be in one of those now.  

My relationship is as solid as ever, and may even be stronger now for having faced this sort of challenge and walked away unscathed, and we have accomplished this thanks to the intrinsic power and value of honesty, compassion, empathy, and trust.

I love.  I am loved.  We are strong.

I am Rant, and I’m not going anywhere.

 

Master Rant’s 10 Day Intensive

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been host to a friend who I met through this site.  She lives quite far away, but we’ve been in contact off and on through email and other online means for well over a year at this point.  I never thought we would actually meet in person, but she decided that she wanted to take a trip to San Francisco and experience what it is like to live the D/s lifestyle for a short period under my thumb.

This is the account of some of what transpired in those ten days.

I don’t think the experience was what either of us had anticipated, but it was certainly valuable for many reasons and I am thankful for the opportunities that it afforded me to grow as well.

Let us call my friend (and I do hope that she is still a friend after all of this) Nicole.  That is not her name, but my name isn’t really Rant either, so this should not be terribly surprising to any of you.

Nicole had no experience with D/s before meeting me – but she had had some experience with kink and there were several things that she wanted to try while with me.  We got to many, but not all of them.  There were also several aspects of what I consider to be important to D/s that she had no experience with and found surprising.   Those are the sorts of things that I am going to focus on for this entry.

Foremost, and although I have tried to cover this in the past, was the assumption on her part that D/s requires sex.  This is most assuredly not the case.  I know of several D/s relationships where sex does not play into things at all, and while I would not call that sort of complete lack of sexual focus normal, there is also nothing abnormal about a relationship with deep D/s elements that contains no sex at all.

We did have sex while she was here, but I’m certain that it was not entirely what she was expecting, because sex is not the focus of D/s for me.

D/s is about power exchange.  It is about the transfer of personal power from one individual to another.  It is about choices and decisions and actions and who controls them.  Sometimes these choices and actions and decisions have to do with things of a sexual nature, but quite often they are much more mundane.

Nicole is from Europe and many of our conflicts probably would have been a bit smoother or not have occurred at all were it not for cultural differences as well as the very new nature of things D/s for her when she found herself in my space and under my control.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that she felt that I was simultaneously not controlling enough in some areas and far too controlling in others.

Everyone does D/s a little differently and places emphasis on different parts of the equation.   I was brought up under a different paradigm than is the current norm, and the key facets of D/s for me are Respect, Devotion, and Service.

Respect is the cornerstone of D/s in my world.   It is something that I expect to be in place always and transgressions are dealt with swiftly and decisively.  I am not physically violent without a tremendous amount of forecasting, but I can and often do change my body language and verbal tone to be quite severe when I feel like I am personally being disrespected, or my submissive trainee is being disrespectful to my property or friends.  Showing me proper Respect is Rule Zero.  It is something that I expect to not have to talk about, and if I do, there is a high likelihood that I will be lecturing you, not just mentioning it out of hand.

Devotion is where I get my kicks.   It is my single biggest fetish.  It is the reason why I do D/s.   I may have a big ego, but I like being worshiped just a little bit – and for more than my body or skills.  I like being thought of as competent and trustworthy, and being Devoted to me is the best way to show me that.

And last, but not least, is Service.  I expect a certain amount of Service to be rendered unto me.  This does not always have to take the typical forms, and sexual service is only one manner of service, and not nearly the most important to me.   I can be rather particular in the ways that I expect Service to be rendered, and that can also be an area of conflict from time to time.

Pain management is a constant struggle for me, and even in a short term visit like the one that Nicole and I planned and executed I can be sidelined by my physical pain issues.  There was one evening in particular while she was here with me where the pain was extreme enough that even conversation was difficult for me.  That isn’t necessarily normal, but it’s not abnormal either.  I would say that I have at least one day a month where things are that bad.

Nicole is a lovely woman, but I think I disappointed her a bit when I showed her some of the non-sexual aspects of D/s and placed those of higher importance than the sexual ones.

She asked me to be true to my older self and not to soften the edges on my High Protocol nature, so I didn’t.

It caused conflict.

Conflict in any relationship is normal, but most people are so enamored of each other and deep into the throes of NRE that they don’t register conflict right away – and Nicole and I had our first conflict within 24 hours of her arrival.  It was jarring for us both, but more so for her, I think.

I also practice ethical non-monogamy, which made for more conflict, as I had to manage the feelings of my current submissive partner as well as Nicole’s own feelings while hosting Nicole for her visit.  The three-way conflict was very minimal, but present.

All told, Nicole was able to check off some of her bucket-list items while she was here and I learned a few important things about myself:

Most surprising to me: Sex is nowhere near as important to me as it once was – even just a year or two ago.

D/s is much more in line with my lifestyle and the way I want to live my life than I’ve admitted in the past.  It has always informed my choices, but now it is much more of a lifestyle choice that I cannot turn away from.

In particular, Discipline is very important to me where it has not always been.

I’m a very physical person – and while this manifests itself sexually, it also manifests itself in other areas, Discipline being chief among them.

I really enjoy public play.  This has not always been the case.  I’ve taken part in various forms of it over the past couple of decades, but I have historically had a strong preference for private play.   I no longer feel that way.  They are balanced for me now.

I still don’t enjoy meting out punishment.  I do it, because Discipline is important to me, but I can spank pretty hard – especially when using a paddle – and I surprised myself with the ferocity of my flogger strikes this time as well.

I know that Nicole learned a great deal about herself too while she was here – but those thoughts are for her and I would do her a disservice to relay them here without her implicit approval.

I doubt very much that she and I will meet again in person – the distance and cost are just too high to make that tenable – this was more of a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing, and while I know that things did not go exactly the way that she had planned, I do hope that she feels the experience was worth it.

I certainly do.

If ever I found myself with a similar situation in the offering, I would change a few things, but keep most things the same – so I suppose that is as good a measure of the success of things as any other.  I learned and grew and I’m certain that she did too.

I am changing and I continue to change those around me, but I remain Rant.

  • Rant

Control Triptych: Glance

Three Layers of Control: Touch, Voice, Glance

This is the third part in a three part series.  When I am training a new submissive, I rely on three of the five senses to keep her where I want her.  My pieces on Touch and Voice were just previous to this and you may or may not wish to read those before continuing with this.

Glance: a much more subtle approach to the same.

Let me explain a bit about what I mean when I refer to ‘glance’ in this piece.  I really mean any indicator that I give to a submissive that I want her to do something (or not do something) that depends entirely on her seeing me make some sort of visible gesture which is not accompanied by a vocal command or a tactile manipulation.  More often than not, this takes the form of me glancing at her, catching her eye, and then moving my glance towards the position that I wish her to take or the action that I wish her to perform.

This is both the most difficult form of control to get to from a consistency standpoint, and also one of the more dramatic ways to show off the time spent in training and working together.  

Apart from control, which is difficult, the stare can be used to great effect in lots of different ways.  It can be both calming when offered with compassion, or it can ignite the fires of desire if it is made with confidence and intention.

The actual actions involved here are not terribly complex.  In fact, with the right personalities involved, causing action with mere glances is not terribly difficult – it just requires a little bit of mind-reading.

“Saywhatnow?” you ask – I can tell.  

Yes – I am atheist and a technologist and a while there are many other ‘-isms to which I subscribe, I do not believe that actual mind reading is possible.  However, with the right person or the right training or both, you can achieve something that is very close.  The key is to know the person that you are trying to control with your glance.  You can attempt to employ the same techniques against the unknown and they may or may not work – a certain amount of the emotional context with which you will attempt these things is universal – however they will be completely ineffective on the unwilling.  In fact, if you attempt to stare down an unwilling person, you’re more likely to annoy them than anything else.

The idea here is that you need to meet the gaze of your target and do your best to project the thought that you want to convey, and then follow it with some sort of physical cue to reinforce the thought and spur the other party to act.  A stare with no follow up action (which might simply be to briefly look away or smile) will just be interpreted as a stare and is likely to just make people think that you are creepy.

The simplest command that can be issued with the eyes only is the, “come here” or “come hither” stare.  This is more often attributed to women rather than men, and that has a lot to do with the way our society is structured, but I don’t want to be pulled into another feminist rant, so I’ll leave that lay for now.  

The “come hither” stare is exactly what it has been made out to be in popular culture – movies, television shows, and most especially, books.  

Because of this pervasive commonality, a woman can get the attention of nearly any man by simply staring at him, demurely looking away, and then bringing her stare back to the same place.  Most men are going to be almost helpless in their reaction – society has baked this one in for us – at least in the Western world.  They will find themselves compelled to move towards the woman and interact with her.  Depending on the social graces that particular man is endowed with, this may or may not be a good thing.

Again, thanks to the commonality of the above, the reverse is also generally well understood – the ‘go away’ look that can stop a man in his tracks and get him to rethink his move.  

Confident women will often employ both of these together to pick a man out from across the room, hold his attention, and then get him to buy her a drink and try to chat her up.  She’ll pick out the one guy she wants to talk to, give him the ‘come here’ stare, but end up attracting him and both of the guys next to him, necessitating the ‘go away’ stare to the two undesirable candidates.

Most of the glance-based commands that I will give are trained, but they build on the above interactions as a foundation.  The above are things that nearly everyone can understand, and because of that fact, they allow for extension in some ways that are not obvious and many of those things really do feel a bit like mind reading.

The ‘come here’ look has to be modified a bit for my purposes because I’m a man.  I do not think that I am a good enough actor to pull off the demure look-away, but I can do the next best thing… I will lock stares from across the room, hold it for just a bit longer than seems reasonable, and then smile.  Usually that is enough to prompt her to do the demure look-away all on her own.   In the span of mere seconds, without a word, we’ve already begun negotiations.

When I’m working with a submissive who is actually submitting to my Will, I will often employ this to begin – the stare and smile, though sometimes the smile can be a bit more mischievous when given in this context.  I will then follow with a gesture that implies what I desire.

If I look at you, keep my eyes on you, but begin to lower my head – while keeping my my eyes on you – and then nod at the floor in front of me, I expect you to come and stand in front of me.  

If, once you do that, I further nod my head towards the floor at my feet, I expect you kneel for me.

If I glance to my side, I expect you to move to that side of me and lean on me if I’m standing, sit next to me if I’m sitting, or follow me on that side if I’m walking.  If once you reach my side I then nod towards the floor, I will expect you to kneel for me there.  If I nod towards a chair or couch, I expect you to sit there.  If I am sitting and I pat my knee, I expect you to sit on it.

See?  Simple – easy – mostly intuitive.

With some training, it’s easy to cue almost any action with nothing more than a glance.

Even taking things further.. If you are my submissive, I may draw you to me with my eyes, put you on your knees in front of me, and then with a more insistent nod, indicate that I want you to remove my belt, unzip my pants, and start sucking on my cock.

It is quite satisfying to be able to get into someone’s head so much that I can get her to give me a blowjob without ever saying a word, I must admit.

 

Control Triptych: Voice

Three Layers of Control: Touch, Voice, Glance

This is the second part in a three part series.  When I am training a new submissive, I rely on three of the five senses to keep her where I want her.  My first piece on Touch was just previous to this and you may or may not wish to read that before continuing with this.

 

Voice: a (slightly) more subtle approach to the same.

Since I started off talking about senses, I suppose it makes more sense to say that I really mean ‘sound’ when I say ‘voice’ here – but since I don’t use a training whistle, clicker, or anything like that, sound almost always means my voice.  There are some Dominants who do use clickers or whistles or the like, so some of those same concepts probably apply here, but since that is outside of the scope of my experience, this is the only mention I will make of them.

I have three distinct voices that I use with submissives and trainees:

Normal voice:  This is just the voice that I use under normal circumstances – both vanilla and kinky.  I’m told that I have a very soothing voice and that it carries, so I rarely have reason to modify this in normal circumstances.  In normal voice, it is important to pay attention to what I am saying as well as how I am saying it.  This is the voice that I will use to tell you that you are a good girl, but also the voice that I will use when I lean in close beside you and tell you that I’m going to use you until I’m exhausted.  It carries the most variability of intonation and generally the most information, but there is subtlety here that can sometimes be missed, so it is not ideal for situations where more control is required.

Command voice:  This is the voice that I use when I want you to do what I am telling you.  It does not mean that I’m angry with you, but that is how it is most often interpreted at first… I drop my voice by about an octave and a half, so not only is the tone different, but the pitch is as well.  It’s an obvious difference and it follows a convention held by much of society – even in different cultures, I’ve found.  I’ve been told by vanilla friends that this is my ‘serious’ voice or even my “don’t fuck with me” voice.  The timbre won’t change, but I often vary the volume with which I speak in this voice.  It carries very far and I don’t always want to broadcast my intentions.  In this voice it is much more important to pay attention to the content of what I am telling you rather than look for subtlety of meaning.

Crisis voice:  This is the voice that I use when I need to be paid attention to right now – usually for reasons of safety.  The tone is similar to my command voice, but it’s about half an octave higher, so it’s similar in pitch to my normal voice, just a bit deeper and definitely much, much louder, just under a yell.  This is the voice that I will use when you are near to harming yourself, or someone or something else is about to impede upon your physical space, things like that.  This is my, “watch out!” voice.  If I want, I can put a lot of power behind this.  In this voice, there is never any implied subtlety at all – the only important thing is the information that I need you understand and likely act upon right now.

Of course, I can also whisper and use other vocal intonations, but generally those are embellishments on one of the above – things that I can use to subtly change the meaning of the words that I am using, or to impart a particular idea.  I can whisper in Command voice, for example, and sometimes I’m just an asshole and I’ll lower my vocal volume of my Normal voice in an effort to cause someone (not always my sub/trainee) to move closer to me or to pay closer attention to what I’m saying.

Even without me explaining these things, trainees under my care usually come to understand them pretty quickly.  I use facial expression, body language, and sometimes just plain brute force to reinforce the things that I say with my voice and establish a pattern pretty quickly.  It’s difficult to train anyone to do anything without explaining what it is that you want done, and voice is generally the way that I accomplish that – at least in person – and while long distance D/s is something that I have some experience with and am learning much more about as I do it every day, the spoken word has power even in situations like this.  Written text in an email or text message can be extremely descriptive and more detailed than most people can maintain patience for in person, in voice, but the voice, facial expressions, and body language that you can experience in person is a lot more powerful – even more powerful in person than over media like Skype.

More often than not, the things that I will do with my voice are explained by the content of what I am saying when I say it.  For instance, if I say, “bunny, go sit on that chair and hold it for me,” what I mean is literally that I want her to go sit in the chair I indicated and wait for me – it’s not rocket science.  However, sometimes I will use commands that are not obvious, but that actually require training.

I stole this wholesale from Stranger in a Strange Land – one of my favorite books of all time – but on occasion I’ll just blurt out,  “Front!” and I expect my submissive to immediately walk to me, stand in front of me, facing me, place her hands on her lower abdomen with the palms facing her, one over the other, look me in eye briefly and say, “yes, Sir?” and then lower her eyes.  This is not exactly what happens in the book.  In the book, the character who says this is not a Dom – at least not in the overt sense, and not in the typical sense either.  He has three women who serve as his assistants, keeping his books, taking dictation, cooking his meals, etc. – all of the things that one would normally expect of a service submissive, but not any of the physical or sexual aspects of that service.  It’s entirely possible that this novel helped to contribute to my ideals of what a submissive should be like – for me – but I first read it at such a young age and it provided the backdrop to a different phase of my life.  The character in the book, Jubal Harshaw, expects one of his three assistants – on a rotating schedule – to run to him with a notebook and a pen and ready to take notes or instructions when he calls Front.  My requirements are somewhat different and tuned to my own needs, but the call is still similar.

When I say, “present” I expect my submissive to stand in front of me, legs shoulder width apart, hands with fingers interlaced together behind her head, elbows up, head up straight, and chest out.  As with any other command, I expect some sort of verbal acknowledgement as well – a, “yes, Sir” is sufficient.

When I say, “kneel” I expect my submissive to present herself before me as above, and then to drop the her knees in front of me, put her legs and knees together, sit on her feet, put her hands behind her back, palms out, and then after meeting my eyes and acknowledging my command, look at her own navel.  For competition, I’ll have her make a diamond figure with her hands, thumbs out and touching, forefingers touching, and to do all of that silently, but in more common usage, I’m not normally going to walk around behind her to inspect that anyway.  

When I say, “expose” I expect my submissive to be in the kneeling position above or work her way into it through the “present” and “kneel” poses, but to spread her legs out so that her calves are at shoulder-width and straight back behind her, toes pointed back away from her, and then to lock her fingers together and put them behind her head as with the “present” position above.  I expect her to hold her head high and meet my gaze or that of anyone else who happens to be watching nearby.  For competition, this is modified again so that the knees are further apart and the calves need not be so far apart behind her – toes still pointed but without overlapping the feet.

When I say, “move to position,” I expect my submissive to be in kneeling position or to move to it by moving through ‘present’ and ‘kneel’ and then to change the placement of her hands so that her hands are open, palms covering the front of her knees.  Unless she has very long arms, this will result in her leaning slightly forward.  I want her to crane her neck a bit to look up at me, acknowledge my command with a “yes, Sir” or similar, and then to drop her eyes and stare at her own navel, awaiting further command.  I used to call this “position one” but found that numbering positions was a bit more difficult to remember than naming them, so this is merely ‘position’ now.

When I say, “hands and knees” I expect my submissive to drop to her knees, lean forward, keep her legs at hip-width directly beneath her, calves straight back, and toes pointed back behind her.  I expect her to place her hands flat on the surface in front of her, whether that is the floor, bed, couch, whatever.  I expect her to hold her fingers together with the exception of her thumbs, which I want out at a 90 degree angle.  Her fingers should point directly in front of her and her thumbs should point at each other.  I expect her to look up, craning her neck if needed, acknowledge my command, and then drop her head so that her chin rests on her chest and she’s looking back between her own legs.

In private, these are often all that I will say – there is no need to further qualify who I am talking to or about, but in public spaces or even in private places where there are other people about, I will usually modify the above to include a name, but sometimes I expect to be understood anyway.

As an example: in a public dungeon, I might say, “bunny, kneel” and I’ll expect bunny to come over and kneel in front of me, but “Front!” is a special command and I always expect my submissive or submissives – if I’m carrying more than one – to respond, lining up side-by-side in front of me if needed.

There are other commands that I sometimes use as well, as well as some other positions that are specifically for competition, and these are probably what earned me the reputation of being a ‘High Protocol’ Dom, but I’m not convinced that is factual.  I have also become even more lax with protocol as I’ve aged.  I’m a lot more tolerant of ambiguity than I once was, and I’ve worked with submissives in the recent past without using any of these commands – positions are not as important to me as they once were, and in most situations I will just explicitly say what I want, making a need to memorize commands like the above unnecessary.

There is definitely something to be said for having someone instantly react to simple or single word commands though.  It is certainly one of my favorite things, especially when chained together with other more explicit commands.

For instance, ‘kneel’ is often followed by something quite like, “Look at me.  Now reach up and undo my belt…” which, as you can probably imagine, is not where things are meant to end, but often an over-eager submissive in this position will take it as license to do more.  Without an additional command, I would expect her to acknowledge my command with a “yes, Sir,” do as I’ve said – undoing my belt – but to then return her hands behind her back and await further instruction.  

Sometimes I will chain these with other indicators as well.  For instance, “hands and knees – on the bed,” is often a command I might give, in Command voice, to let her know that things are serious and that she needs to respond with vigor.  It lets her know that I want her in the ‘hands and knees’ position, but that I want her on the bed, not necessarily where she is now, which is likely to be standing on the floor.  

It is really not possible to over-communicate, so I’ll often add modifiers like these even when they’re not necessary.  I am not the kind of Dominant to often try to trap my submissive with a command that she cannot easily fulfill – I like to enable success – but I have done so in the past and will likely do so again from time to time in the future.  It is a playful way to push her into a place where she knows that punishment is likely to come, but there is a big difference between playful punishment and correction.  Perhaps that should be the topic of a new post sometime soon, but I still have one more to go in this series before it’s complete.

Next week I will talk about the final means of control – glances.  This is the ultimate level of control in a D/s setting in my opinion.  I like my submissives to learn to anticipate and provide for my needs, but that is not the same thing as control.  I also like my submissives to be autonomous and have their own opinions and ideas, so I have no desire to completely stifle that, but the ability to produce an action or change a behavior with nothing more than a pointed look is the pinnacle of D/s communication and control – in my not-so-very-humble opinion.

I hope this was informative, helpful, and perhaps even a bit titillating.  Come back next week for the final piece in this trilogy and then I’ll give you a story of my own experiences in learning these things at the hand of my brutal and affectionate – if not compassionate – Domme Simone when I was but a young pup myself.

  • Rant

Control Triptych: Touch

Three Layers of Control: Touch, Voice, Glance

This is going to be the first part in a three part series.  When I am training a new submissive, I rely on three of the five senses to keep her where I want her.  The other two senses are certainly involved in everything that we do, but using taste or scent as a means of control is difficult. Scent is much easier to employ than taste, but most of the time the things that evoked by scent are visceral, immediate, and tend to trigger or reinforce memory.  I can use scent to help me get a submissive into subspace, but it’s rarely something that I can use to instruct.

 

Touch: the fast path to victory.

The easiest and most direct way to control my submissive is through touch.  It really requires no finesse at all, it only requires intent and confidence… well, and some physicality.

It also requires virtually no training.  While every person is different, and people act and react during sexual situations or even the non-sexual elements of a scene with different responses, there are some commonalities that I’ve been able to identify and exploit over the years.  While none of these techniques are universal, most of them can be employed to good measure on almost anyone – of either sex, from what I’m led to believe.

Just like with any method of employing force, there are varying ways to use touch to your advantage.  By far the easiest route is simply to employ brute force.

I’m not a small man.  I’m six feet tall and currently weigh in at a slightly overweight but extremely solid 16 stone.  This means that I get to throw my size around quite a bit.  There are very few women that I have met who are anywhere near my size and I have not yet taken a male submissive to this point in my life.  I doubt that I ever will, but if I do, it’s likely going to require me to learn many, many new things.

Beginning in junior high school I started wrestling competitively, both in school sports and freestyle events. In the late 1990’s I was training to be a Pankration fighter.  I was hopeful of snagging a slot on the Olympic team since they were bringing the sport back to the modern Olympics for the first time in Athens – minus the glass shards and all…  While I didn’t get selected, and I had a very abbreviated and not terribly successful run as an MMA fighter, I did learn an awful lot of useful things and I would still venture to say that it makes me a dangerous man.

Apart from bragging a little bit, the purpose of the above statement was to reinforce the fact that I have much experience as as grappler, I have learned basic pressure points, and I know the value of a rapid and not necessarily high-powered strike.  These are definitely things that I employ in scene, but also just when I am having sex.

So – while using physical force is certainly the easiest way to get someone to do what you want them to do, it is definitely not the safest.  Please use caution whenever you play.  Know your strength, know your partner’s signals, have a defined safe word and safe gesture and use them.

While there are gestures that I may perform as part of a command and sometimes those gestures involve touch, when I speak of three different levels of command, and how touch represents the first of these and has the lowest barrier to entry, it is not that sort of touch for which I am speaking.  

It is a much less subtle and more brutal touch that I am talking about here…

Grab her by the throat, step into and behind her to put your calf behind her knee, lift and push and then catch her with your other arm as she’s about to fall.  If you plan this right, she’ll be on her back, preferably on a bed or something else similarly well suited to fucking, with you hovering over her and your hand on her throat.  If you can’t seal the deal at this point, there is no hope for you anywhere.

Of course – you don’t do ANY of that shit if she isn’t expecting you to move on her.  She doesn’t have to know exactly what you have planned, but she does have to know that you’re going to basically attack her.  However, I guarantee you that the results will be better if she doesn’t know exactly what you have planned.  

But it’s not just sex that I’m talking about here… you can use touch – firm or light – as a method of control in almost any D/s situation.

If I want my submissive to kneel for me, and she fails to do so the first time I tell her to, maybe because she didn’t understand that yes, I did in fact expect you to kneel right in the middle of the aisle at Target, or maybe she’s just being bratty, but no matter what her reasons for failing to kneel, I can usually get her to do so without saying another word.  She has to have heard my first command or she’ll just be confused by my actions, but usually if she doesn’t respond to my command, “kneel for me, bunny,” I can put my hands on her shoulders and apply a little bit of pressure and she’ll do what I want.  If that fails and the setting allows for it, I can move behind her and gently apply pressure to the backs of her calves, right below the knee, with my boot.  

This will almost certainly get the point across.

If that still does not produce the desired result, I can grab her hair and increase the pressure that I apply with my boot.  It will cause her to be off balance and bend at the knees as she begins to drop.  I can then use my hand in her hair to guide her slowly to where I want her to be.

And if that still fails to produce the behavior I want, I can move to the front of her, put my right hand on the front of her throat, my left hand on the back of her neck, and stare her in the eyes as I close off her carotids with my thumb and forefinger, which will eventually cause her to become lightheaded or even pass out.  Then I can do whatever I like to her.

This maneuver requires a great deal of trust and training, however, and I would not recommend it to someone who has not seen it demonstrated in person and has had many chances to practice.

But using touch as control does not require overpowering either…  

Occasionally my submissive can be a bit bratty.  When that happens and I’m not feeling like dealing with it, a quick light slap across the face will almost always get my point across.  If I’m a bit more tolerant of the brattiness, I’ll slap her ass instead, but that has a tendency to encourage more brattiness – a reaction that appears to be almost universal among bratty subs, but one that I still don’t completely understand.

So – if you want the brattiness to continue or even intensify – smile and smack her ass.  You don’t have to say a thing.  If you want the brattiness to cease, slap her across the face – lightly.  Too much will encourage a fight or flight response and you’ll have a fight on your hands.

Part of this has to come from experience, unfortunately, and every person is different.  I’m sure that I’ll hear from someone who is going to tell me that slapping her face will increase her brattiness as well as from someone who will tell me that a smack to the ass will pull her out of her bratty tirade.

Touch is most effective in combination with voice and glance as well, but it is the crudest and most easily employed without predefined rules in place.  Like anything in this world though, it will require some practice to get right.

Next week I’ll talk about command voice and how to intone things for maximal effect – employed with some pushing and prodding taken from this post as well, but this post threatens to get too long if I keep talking.

 –  Rant

Doms are people too

I have been putting this post off for a very long time.  Over the course of the couple years that I’ve had this blog, I have received a number of emails from submissives who want to know if a particular pattern of behavior on the part of their chosen Dominants is abusive or if they have done something wrong or something similar to those lines.  I’ve seen it several times, in slightly different permutations, from several different sources, so I want to make it clear that I’m not singling out any particular email that I may have received recently as the source of this piece.

The question is usually of this form:

“I <used my safeword / cried / didn’t want to do something> and now my Dom is acting cold and distant with me.  Did I do something wrong, or is he being abusive?”

The last portion of the question there is sometimes missing, or slightly perturbed, as in “was he abusing me all along and I just now realize it?” etc…

I almost never have enough information from the email that poses this question to make any sort of determination along those lines, but I do always try to be helpful.

One thing that I think a lot of people miss is that D/s relationships are still relationships and relationships are hard.  Dominants are people too, with our own problems, emotional baggage, and deep histories which sometimes include shame and remorse or things that we just wish we’d had the presence of mind to handle differently at the time.

I don’t have a panacea here.  Some of these situations may be actual abuse.  There is certainly a period of NRE that can mask things that are truly bad, but aside from that, if you normally have a communicative relationship where you can talk about things and express your desire to each other, then incidents like this may just be part and parcel of relationships, though they manifest themselves in strange ways in this particular context.

To offer any advice in this context is a bit controversial, if not entirely ill advised… but this is a persistent question I get, so there is clearly a need for information that is not otherwise being met and I will do my best to address the issue.

The key thing to remember here is that a D/s relationship is still a relationship, and as with all relationships, be they romantic, professional, familial, or something that falls outside of all of those buckets, communication is the most important thing into which you can invest time and energy.

How can you tell if it’s really abuse?  That’s not really an easy thing, but generally if you’re talking about a single incident in what is otherwise a good relationship, I would give your partner the benefit of the doubt – he may just be having a bad day, or you may have hit one of his triggers.  However, if something that makes you uncomfortable repeats, there may be an issue, and this is where you may have to force the point and really talk about it.  Even if it is just a single incident, you need to talk about it, but a pattern of behavior is almost always a deeper issue than a single incident.

If you don’t have the sort of relationship where you can talk about these things, then you have deeper problems.  Aftercare is typically the place where you would talk about these things.  Don’t wait weeks or even days to talk about something that went wrong – talk about it right after it happens, find out where the problem came from, let him know that there is a problem (because he might not even realize it,) and do something to either correct or avoid it for the next time.

I fear that I’ve rambled a bit in this post… the point that I’m trying to get across is that Doms are people too – we have bad days, we have emotional triggers, and sometimes something will happen that causes us to have an abnormal reaction.  There have been times when I’ve hit a trigger of my own that causes me to emotionally retreat without even realizing it.  Usually I can come back around and see things for what they are if I’m given enough time, but in almost all of those cases, a few words or questions from my sub would have brought me there a lot more quickly.

A single bad experience may be bad enough to chuck out the whole affair, but probably isn’t unless things aren’t that good to begin with.  A pattern of bad behavior though – that’s something else, and that’s something that you should not continually put up with.

 

A long time coming

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a source of tremendous anxiety for me.

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

But it’s fucking boring.

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

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

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

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

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

I fucked up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

When I broke, she came to help me.

I cannot possibly overstate the significance of that to me.

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

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

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

We struggle with D/s.

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

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

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

More posts will be forthcoming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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