Tag Archives: life

backlash and progress

Combatting misogyny could be my full time job, but I am glad that it is not.

The United States are currently going through a bit of a re-shuffle with regards to national identity, which is pretty obvious to everyone on the world stage.  We’re kind of like your neighbors who are constantly fighting with each other and you’re never quite sure whether or not to call the cops and report potential domestic abuse.

Just to be clear – if you hear something that you think might be domestic abuse, you should call it in.

I kind of wish someone could call the cops to get us out of our current set of problems.

Anyway – the issue that I want to talk about is the spate of recent revelations in the media about men in positions of power acting badly towards women.

The list of influential men being accused of sexual misconduct seems to grow every day, and my suspicion is that it will continue to do so for some time – at least until the backlash comes.

It seems like every politicized event in US current events eventually results in a backlash.  We’re already seeing some of it with these sexual misconduct allegations – a lot of powerful men who fear reprisals of their own are being silent for the moment, but I predict that they’ll gather around whoever has the audacity to stand up and make the claim that this is reverse discrimination or something else just as silly.

Firstly – this is not an example of reverse discrimination.  Women are not forming mobs and lynching men.  In fact, they’re not even really calling for the lynching of the men who are actually responsible for acting like perverts, which would be mob justice, but still not discrimination.  In most cases, they’re merely coming forward to tell their stories and not calling for any action at all.

Now, I do think that actions should be taken in most of these cases.  However, we’re losing sight of the most important part of what is happening.

In case you missed it – my opinion is that the most important part of this is that women are beginning to come forward and tell their stories.

This is important, because until recently they haven’t felt safe enough to do so, and that represents a huge failure on our part as men who care for women and as a society in general.  We must capitalize on the opportunity that this is affording us.  We must do what we can to prevent the backlash and keep this forward progress.  We must empower every person to tell their story so that we can all learn and grow – together.

Some of these stories are horrible to listen to.  Some of them are just plain weird, and as a self-proclaimed pervert of the highest order, for me to say that is … something.  But no matter whether they are hard to hear or weird or even just ordinary (I’ll leave that word there for a moment…) the fact is that women are finally feeling like the social narrative will permit them to come forward and speak about the things that they have had to endure.  It is long past time that we take such things seriously.

Do I think that every man who has had allegations of sexual misconduct come out is guilty of those things?  No, I do not.  I think that a small percentage of the stories that are coming out are falsified, but I think that is a rare exception rather than the rule as many of these men would like you to believe and as men have insisted is the case since society began to view women as people.

Despite a more receptive climate than in the past, I think it would be a massive stretch of the truth to say that society is open to such things yet.  There is still a strong stigma associated with coming forward with allegations of this type, and the women who do so are courageous and in many cases, desperate.

Part of the blacklash story is that these things happened decades ago and it is not fair to the accused to have to defend their actions from such a long time ago.  There is some small amount of merit to that argument – but only because human memory is fallible.  It is very likely that the facts of an event that happened years or decades ago will become distorted in the memory of those who were involved over time.  This is a proven concept in modern psychology practice – human perception is fallible, and it changes over time.  This is one of the reasons why crimes often have statutes of limitations.

That being said, I think every single case should be investigated – even those that happened 40 years ago.  I think where there is sufficient proof of misconduct that there need to be serious consequences for those involved.  This is how progress is made.  These consequences may only be a loss of social capital in some cases, but in some cases, that may be sufficient.  If you take a man who abuses his power and remove that power from him, he may not be able to continue his abusive practices, or he may learn that his actions – while tolerated in the time when he committed them – were never really acceptable and will be tolerated no longer.

Ignorance of the law is not seen as an excuse for committing a crime, and while I look at the things that some of these men are accused of and wonder how it is possible that they ever felt justified in some of these things, I can kind of see the argument that opinions on what is acceptable have changed over time.  I can maybe see where posing for a photo with your hands someplace they ought not be without consent could be mistaken for humor – because much of the purpose of humor is to make the unbearable, bearable – but I don’t know how anyone ever felt like nonconsensually locking a woman in your office while you jack off is anything but creepy and sad.

Empathy is the thing that would have prevented all of these problems.

Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are interacting with.  Try to understand her motives and fears and then think about what you are about to do.  Just because you might think it would be awesome for a woman to lock you in her office and masturbate while you sit there trapped does not mean that she will feel the same way.   You have to not only put yourself in her place, but you have to put yourself in her mind.

The fact that she is on the other side of the desk means that the right thing for you to do is to go out of your way to be respectful, honest, and engaged.  You have all of the power – don’t abuse it.

Pain and when the fight is over

In October of 2011, I was in a terrible car accident that almost killed me.  I was at a dead stop on the highway and a driver in a work van was not paying attention and struck me at full speed – probably close to 75 miles per hour.

I was physically broken by that accident.  Emergency responders had to cut the door off of my car to get me out.  I was concussed, suffered a minor skull fracture, a fractured clavicle, three fractured ribs, an avulsion fracture of my cervical spine, and countless soft tissue injuries, the scar tissue from which still causes me pain today, almost every day.

I can still count the number of pain-free days that I have had since October 2011 on two hands.

But I don’t have to be pain free to function, and I’ve developed a staggering tolerance for pain.

Recently I was in a conflict where I broke my jaw (hence the photo in my entry from earlier this month) and I walked around with a broken jaw for more than a week before I realized that it was broken.  Sure, it hurt, but nothing more than I go through almost every day.

Physical pain and I have been traveling companions for a long time now.

I am only now beginning to realize that emotional pain and I have been traveling companions for most of my life.

Just in the past two years, I’ve been working hard to peel back the layers of my mind and access the deep hurt that has been buried there.  I have developed emotional scars as well, and where I have learned to tune out the physical pain and walk on in the past 5 years since my car accident, I had also developed ways to tune out the emotional pain, I just didn’t realize it.

This is where things start to cycle back on themselves, and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s helping me to function again, so I’m just going to live with it for now and examine the consequences later.

I can’t take my anxiety medication right now because of my closed jaw.  The capsules cannot be broken and there is no liquid variant available, so my psychiatrist gave me a different liquid medication instead.  It doesn’t really work for me, so I’ve just stopped taking the meds altogether.

This is dangerous, I know.

This is probably not the right way to go about things, I know.

But those wonderful drugs that opened my viewpoint to allow me to experience more of the emotional spectrum and to be more emotionally available to my partner.. they appear to be a crutch, and it’s possible that my already developed and natural coping mechanisms – while not ideal, perhaps – may actually be more effective in letting me live a somewhat normal life than the drugs have been.

I took them, and I went to counseling, all in an effort to save my relationship and fight for the one that I love.  But my counselor betrayed me and my girlfriend left me and now I’m physically broken again, emotionally vulnerable, and heartbroken in a way that I have never been before.  I rarely leave the house, and there are days when I do not speak to anyone.  Not one word.

But you know what – despite that.. despite the depressing canvas that I’m creating upon, despite the lack of medications, the lack of contact, the isolation from my family, the lack of any available friends, the severing of the best and worst relationship that I have ever had… despite all of this – I’m getting better.

I’m hardening again, and that may ultimately not be a good thing, but the funny thing is that I’m finding that the further I hold the world at bay, the easier it is to deal with.

I’ve cocooned the pain away, and it becomes easier and easier to deal with every day.

I was fighting hard for something that was probably hurting me more than helping.

The fight is over for now, and I have to find a new way to move forward in the world.  Oddly enough, pushing away the pain has led me to be more present and patient.  Or maybe it’s the lack of drugs that has restored my patient nature… either way, the fight is over, and I’m finding new ways to deal with the pain.

I am strong like the Oak.  Pretending to be a willow does not suit me.

 

  • Rant

Fighting for the things you love

I am in a relationship. It is a complicated relationship, it is definitely not easy, as no relationships are, but this one is worth fighting for, where I have failed to fight for others in the past.

In the past, I’ve always felt justified in blaming the failure of my relationships on external factors or upon the other person, and yet, I’m almost always the one to call an end to things. Not always, but generally, I’ve been the one to give up.

When my first wife, Sabrina, found religion and started to use it as a weapon against me, I could take it no longer and ended the first real relationship of my life – quickly, mercilessly, and without much regret, but regret and pain are not quite the same thing, and that experience surely did hurt.

I went through a series of short term and nontraditional relationships after that, and in most cases, I was the one to give up when things looked the least bit like they were going to crack, but eventually I was tossed out by Sonia and experienced my first case of being the dumped party. It hurt; it scarred me, and every relationship that I have had since then has had to bear the baggage that came with this event. Every time a relationship came close to ending, I feared the upending of my entire life – being thrown out onto the street has a way of refocusing you though…

Despite being somewhat jaded at this point, I decided to once again try to settle in and live life according to the societal norms. I found a new wife, Madison, and we had children together, and no matter how bad things got, I fought to stay in that relationship for the sake of my children. That relationship ended for reasons that were not my choosing.

Then I did the series of short term and nontraditional relationships again – with the same sorts of results for the most part.

The truth is that in all of those cases, there was always a fear that the other person would abandon me, and in most cases that is what actually happened.

In some cases, I pushed things to that conclusion. Consciously and unconsciously, I worked against my own relationships to break them, so that I didn’t have to be hurt when the inevitable abandonment would occur. I could spin it around and say that it was my choice to leave, and in most cases, that is how it would appear to anyone who was not deep within my mind.

In some cases, it really was the other person’s fault. Kendra, for example, was simply batshit crazy, and after spending tens of thousands of dollars to try to get her help and get her life back on track, I simply could no longer afford to keep it up and I told her so.

But my current relationship is different, and very much worth saving.

This is the first time that my partner refused to hear me when I said that it was over.

She has been the first person to see through my bullshit and my baggage and my fear and anxiety and dread and to hold on to the part of me that really does not want her to go.

She is my lighthouse.

She is the blue canary in the outlet by the light switch who watches over me.

She is the one who I want by my side for the rest of my life. Whatever form that takes, she is the one that I always want to come home to, the one that I want to always protect, the one that I want to always have my back.

But in order to do that, I have to clear out this garbage from my past.

I am confronting things about myself that I buried long ago and never wanted to revisit, but those are parts of me and if I do not acknowledge them, they crawl out on their own anyway.

This is a long, painful, and extremely difficult thing for me to do.

I have nightmares almost daily. Even when I am awake and focused on something entirely different, sometimes when I close my eyes, the images that I see on the inside of my eyelids are of inexplicable and horrifying things. I often lie awake at night in the dark and I can feel the demons trying to infect me again, but I have strength, because she is there, sleeping by my side.

I am fighting against myself. I am fighting against the walls that I placed in my own psyche for very good reason, but those walls have to come down and the elements behind them have to be dealt with. I need to re-incorporate those things into my being again. Until I do that, I won’t be whole, and she deserves so much more than a partial boyfriend.

I will kick my own ass so that she can have more of me than anyone ever has. She deserves it, and I want to give it to her.

But when I started this post, I was only meaning to speak in part about my girl and how much she means to me and how much I want to fight for her, because while she may be the most important thing in my life to fight for right now there are going to be many, many, many things that I will have to fight for in the years to come.

I had briefly considered pulling the white male card and just coasting through, hoping that nothing bad happens and nothing touches me, and I am just fucking spoiled to have that option in the first place and I’m a bit disappointed in myself for ever even half-seriously considering it.

I had considered leaving the country. The incoming administration has no love for people like me and the things I represent, but that would be cowardly as well.

I am extremely fortunate. I am not powerless in this world. I do not have much power, but whatever I have I am going to dedicate to fighting for the things in which I believe.

I am donating money now. I will donate time when I am able. I am going to speak of things in my bully pulpit here for as long as I can.

People are people, and until and unless we can recognize that, we may deserve the environmental catastrophe that is coming for us…

But we can, and should, fight against all of those things until they overwhelm us.

My ancestors long fought against impossible odds, and they usually lost, but they won enough that I stand here today, and they kept enough of their values and culture that it is immediately recognizable the world over.

I stand on the shoulders of giants and I stare down the petty and selfish.

I will continue to fight for as long as I can.

Chemical Control

I am a Dom.  Sometimes I don’t act very Dom-like though, and for the past several months, I’ve been out of control and very rarely Dominant.

The essence of Dominance is Control – control of yourself, control of your environment, control of the scene, control of your submissive.  That is the order and hierarchy that the world should adhere to from the perspective of the Dom in me.  Rant’s rules, distilled to the control elements…

But lately, I have NOT been the one in control – the demons in my mind have been controlling me and therefore everything else in that chain – including my saint of a poor submissive girlfriend.  The fact that she stayed with me through all of this is something for which I shall always be grateful and never fully understand.

But let’s back up a bit…

I live in the United States.  California, to be exact, and the San Francisco Bay Area – which is more tolerant than other places in this country, but we still lag behind in a few areas and one of those is that there is still a stigma attached to mental disorder.  People still seem to think that if you are diagnosed as bipolar or depressed or with general anxiety disorder that there is something fundamentally wrong with you and, perhaps more insidiously, that there is something dangerous about you.

To a certain extent these fears have a basis in reality… as I have personally come to learn in the past several months. But more importantly, these sorts of preconceived notions can affect how one perceives such things, even when one has personal experience.

I have battled depression, and recently, anxiety as well.

I knew the demons of depression, and that was part of the problem with this most recent bout of anxiety.  Anxiety and depression look and feel very different, and yet they can cause a lot of the same sorts of symptoms and problems.

When I was controlled by depression, I wanted to kill myself.  I was overwhelmed with the world and I just couldn’t see any way past the horrible realization that everyone I loved would be better off without me dragging them down.  I was despondent and in pain and sometimes even just breathing seemed to be too much effort.  I wanted out and I could see no other way.

Fortunately for me, I was strong enough to recognize that suicide is ultimately an extremely selfish act, and I chose not to be so selfish and got help.  I pulled out of my depression and I thought that I was cured.

I’ve always been neurologically atypical, but it never even occurred to me that I was suffering from anxiety.  I was stressed out and I couldn’t sleep and I was irritable and short to anger and couldn’t concentrate and had all of the other hallmarks of severe general anxiety disorder, but I was sure that I was “just a little stressed” or that once the current crisis abated that things would get back to normal in short order.

But that was masking the problem.  The current crisis always gave way to the next.  And that’s just how life is.  Life is not easy, and if you let every issue balloon out to the point of crisis, you will be fire-fighting all of the time.  There is no shortage of crises to be found anywhere nowadays.

I started fighting with my girlfriend – daily.  We fought about everything and nothing at all.  We spiraled into the same patterns, over and over again.

But never did it even occur to me that I was the problem.

Even that statement isn’t really fair – the problem wasn’t me, the problem was that I was unable to cope with the level of anxiety that I had in my life.   Once again, I was overwhelmed, but this time instead of forcing that inward and causing myself to be depressed, I pushed it out into the world around me, and I lashed out at the people I loved.  I shut out all emotions and I pushed everything and everyone away.

My girlfriend tried to get me to get help.  And I even went along with it, but I didn’t try very hard.  I saw a doctor and I told him what was going on in the broadest of terms and when he told me that I just needed to deal with it, I took that in stride and just figured that I was facing daily stress like we all do and that better time management or organization would help me.

But no amount of organization or time management can fix a broken mind.

As the anxiety got worse, my symptoms did as well.

I got delusional.

I stopped sleeping almost entirely.

I lost the ability to concentrate, even for minutes at a time.  If not for the reputation that I have developed at work, I would have been fired several times over for being behind in my duties or just plain failing to get things done, and the more I failed to get done, or the more behind I would get, the more anxious I would become.

I felt like I was failing at everything.

I can recall many conversations with my therapist or my girlfriend where I said, “I’m failing at everything,” but it was never enough to clue me into the real problem.

My friends and even my family would tell me that I needed to get help, but I was sure that I knew better.

“I know what depression feels like, and this is not that.” – I would tell them.  And I was right, but I was completely missing the point, it wasn’t depression that was sidelining me, it was something else entirely.

Of course, it took things getting really horrible before I actually took the steps that ameliorated the problem.  My body started objecting in the most amazing ways…

My blood pressure went off the charts…  I’d started dropping a lot of weight.  I was sweating like crazy – so much that even the skin on my palms was beginning to peel…  but even that was not enough.  I didn’t go back to a psychiatrist until I had a panic attack.

I was driving on surface streets and had a panic attack and failed to move when the light changed.  People in cars around me honked and leaned out their windows to yell at me and flip me off and I still couldn’t move.

Eventually I was able to begin breathing again and moved my car.  I got home and resolved right away that I needed chemical help for my anxiety.

I found a new doctor (who is pretty amazing, actually) and started a new treatment program and now, three weeks in, I am in control of myself once again.

The difference is as stark as day and night.

Just a few weeks ago, I doubt very much that I could have managed even to sit still long enough to read a blog post of this length, much less actually write it.

The last time I was taking psychoactive pharmaceuticals, I was worried that I was going to be stuck on them for the rest of my life.

I wasn’t.

I may be on the new meds that I am taking now for years to come, but I don’t care one whit…. I am in control again, and it feels good.

Back at the helm.

I am Rant.

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!

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

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

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

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

Not dead. Yet…

I’m not dead, yet…

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m going to begin a new experiment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Monster Inside

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

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

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

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

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

I miss my girl.

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

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

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

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

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

The Monster.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fuck, I miss her.

I’ll be back with her in a week.

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

A long time coming

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a source of tremendous anxiety for me.

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

But it’s fucking boring.

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

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

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

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

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

I fucked up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

When I broke, she came to help me.

I cannot possibly overstate the significance of that to me.

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

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

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

We struggle with D/s.

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

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

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

More posts will be forthcoming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remembering the low points

We all have low points.

Father’s Day is one of mine…

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

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

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

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

My marriage ended on Father’s Day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I told her not to.

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

I told her to do what she needed to do.

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

She didn’t.

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

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

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

The worst came immediately following that.

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

She woke me to assuage her conscience.

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

Tomorrow is Father’s Day.

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

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

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

There is a dark nostalgia in remembering the low points.

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

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

Remembering the low points, I am Rant.

Tomorrow is the first day of a new era.

And tomorrow always is.

Things that made me hard

Get your mind out of the gutter – that’s not what I’m talking about here.

On second thought, don’t – I like your mind in the gutter.  This is a pretty sinful website, after all, isn’t it?

Anyway – that really isn’t what I’m wanting to talk about today.

There have been a number of events in my life that affected me and the way that I interact with the world.  These are things that have shaped who I am and how I interact with people, places, and things – but most importantly, people.  These are the things that made me a hard man, that gave me an edge, that continue to give me the gravitas and presence that caused one of my former subs to remark, “you read as DOMINANT from about 1000 paces… I kind of went o.O GAH the first time I saw your photo… and you do the Dom voice.”

The funny thing is, I’m kind of moving away from that nowadays, by choice.

For much of my adult life, I’ve been hard like a brick.  I was strong, with edges that were mostly sharp.  But the thing about a brick is that while it’s very strong, if you pound on it long enough or hard enough, it shatters.

I had a real brick-shattering event a few years back, and it left me broken for awhile, but I learned from it, and with some minor stumbles here and there, I’ve come back stronger than I was before.

It sounds a bit arrogant to my ears, but I’d prefer to think that I’m more like water now.  I seamlessly mold myself to my environment, I resist blunt force, and given time I even tear down mountains.

But it took me a long time to get here.

I grew up in a mostly boring home.  I’m caucasian and have lived in California for my entire life.  My father is an attorney and my mother was a stay-at-home housewife.  We lived in the country, on a horse ranch.  My family always seemed to have minor money troubles. My father had a very feast or famine income stream and he did none of the things that one should do to even out such things, so there were always lean times to contend with, but my biggest worries as a young child were never about the necessities of life.  I was fed, clothed, housed, and had adequate medical care.

And yet, I suffered a bit from the problems that are endemic to that sort of life.  My father was absent most of the time.  Even when he was physically present, the power imbalance and lack of communication between my parents made him emotionally distant and my mother lived with a siege mentality.  Her livelihood depended absolutely on this man who was extremely cold, mostly absent, and who derived more enjoyment from his relationships outside of the marriage than with my mother and it terrified her.  She lived in a constant state of fear that he would leave her, and assumed that every relationship that he had with any other woman was a sign of infidelity.  While I don’t know that was ever actually the case, he did eventually leave her, so I could go off on a tangent on the topic of whether or not that was causal or predictive, but I don’t have enough information to talk about it and don’t really care.

I have a sister, and while my strategy to deal with early life hazards and isolation was to take up the family banner and try to show the world that we were a successful family unit – she took the opposite approach, as one might expect.

To borrow from psychology, in the dysfunctional family archetypes, I was the Hero, and she was the Scapegoat.  I did my best to excel in everything, and I achieved most of my goals.  She refused to compete and drew all of the attention she could by acting out and getting into trouble.

And, as the popular adage goes, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil,” and she was certainly a great deal more squeaky than I was.  Despite my accomplishments, within the family I tried to stay mostly invisible, but one can never completely hide from family (or relationship) dysfunction.

On the eve of my first wedding, my father met with me one-on-one and told me that I was a mistake – my mother was not meant to become pregnant when she did, and I was responsible for the misery that followed my father for the rest of his life.  I forced him to abandon his dreams and to instead do the responsible thing and ‘settle down.’

As if this were not enough of a blow on its own, I further led the discussion into tones of denigration when I asked him why he gave so much more attention to my sister than he did to me, and his response was roughly, “You have such a bloated ego of your own, I figured you didn’t need any praise from me.”

Perhaps I can forgive him for failing to recognize how my outward appearance was compensating for a lack of true personal confidence, but to use diction like that with your own child seems to be pretty inexcusable to me.  When he told me, “…you didn’t need any praise from me,” what I heard was, “you don’t deserve any praise from me.”  This is a notion that I do still have trouble with even today, but being aware of it takes most of the strong away.

Parents out there – do not make this mistake, please.  I strive to be certain that I encourage my own children without turning them into narcissists, but I also try very hard to remember that even as young children, the face that they show to the world, the face that they sometimes show even to me, does not always represent their true emotional state.  Children are much better at developing and showing these false fronts than even adults can be.  Love is the currency that they trade in, not dollars.

My father told me that I was a mistake and an egotist and that I didn’t need him so he didn’t either want or need me.  This wasn’t exactly a revelation – after all, he’d been showing me this same behavior for my entire life, making me hard, but that act was the kiln that fired the brick that was my personality.

He repeatedly told me, throughout my youth, that I was doing things wrong, and he seemed to want to compete with me ex post facto for all of my academic and athletic achievements.  Everything that I did was compared to something that he did better.  Every time that I would show initiative or innovation, I was told that I was doing things wrong, if only because I didn’t do them his way.

My mother was only slightly better.  She was effusive with her praise of my accomplishments, but she used my success as a lever against the mothers of the children in my peer group.  For every success that one of my friends would have, something that their parents would show pride in, she would rattle off five things that I had done which were superior.  I knew that she loved me, but I felt that love was always conditional.  I had to continue to succeed or I would lose my vaunted place on the pedestal of achievement.

I was loved, as long as I remained ubermensch.

So I learned that love was dependent upon my supremacy.  I could depend on none but myself.  My place in the world was tenuous, apart, aloof, alone, dependent upon factors that I could not directly control, but oh, how I did try to control them anyway…

I was an arrogant prick in the extreme.  I simply refused to acknowledge any event that did not show my superiority.  I would not even try to do something that I didn’t know I would dominate.  I was hard, but brittle, and my need to dominate things was established, for only through controlling every aspect of every interaction could I be certain that I would not need to depend on anyone but myself, and while I was absolutely certain of my ability to handle a small subset of possible interactions, I was completely incapable of handling anything else at all.

Eventually I came to understand how this was affecting my relationships with others.  I had a few sycophant friends who would follow in my wake, lauding me for my superiority in the things that I chose to take part in, as my ego demanded, but I was completely incapable of forming lasting and meaningful relationships with anyone who refused to admit my rightful place at the top of the order.

Is this my version of 50 Shades of Fucked Up?

No, of course not.  That whole notion is a logical fallacy and merely a straw man argument put forward by a woman who does not even really understand the dynamic that she was trying to portray.  I do not share the bilious contempt for her work that many of my peers do, and while I have suffered events in my past that instilled coping mechanisms in me that are not always the most efficient or beneficial, I am also a reasonable and rational human being who can learn from his mistakes, and I do not think that to be a superhuman feat or that it requires finding a naive virginal personality to fix me.

I choose this lifestyle because it is something that works for me, not because I am trying to compensate for some lack of affection in my youth.  The affection may have been lacking, but I’m not trying to solve the problems of my past any longer.  I look to the future and I look to the things that make me happy.  I look to fulfilling my genuine desires, and while those may have been informed by my past, they are not defined by it.

Of course, I am also motivated by my fears or repeating patterns that did not work for me in the past, even when I am rationally assured that the current reality does not match that old situation, and so, life is a learning process.

I’m still building my circle of friends.  People who respect me for who I am and who I want to be, not people who pity me for who I once was or who want to exploit me to achieve their own goals.

And while I may be more malleable than I was in the past, I am stronger for it, and I can accept the adulation and love that I am worthy of receiving.

I’m still hard, but I’m hard in a way that lends strength rather than projects it.  I am secure in myself and I offer that understanding and security to those that I choose to admit into my life.  Together we are so much more than the sum of our parts.  I don’t need people to be complete, but I can offer much to those that wish to join me.

This world has become hard.  In many ways, the world at large is harder and more brick-like than I ever was.  Just the other day I was walking through a mall and I could not help but notice how people treated each other, how strangers reacted to each other.. each unintentional bump was met with extreme vitriol, each interaction between strangers was tense.  As the population increases, and the economic status of individuals continue to stratify, and the stresses on each person increase, the tension that I can feel emanating from people increases dramatically.

Those in this lifestyle who still react to stresses as I once did, those who feel the need to assert their Dominance in every situation… they are becoming more and more obsolete.

I do not think that this is a sea change, and I do not think that I have all of the perfect answers, but I do think that there is strength in malleability.  There is strength in knowing when to remain silent.  There is strength in seeking harmony.

Each generation says of the next that cynicism is encroaching on our values and making us hate more, that the great reckoning or the great race war or the great revolution is coming, and the fact that this motif repeats itself from generation to generation without great upheaval makes it easy to dismiss, but just because a thing is commonly misunderstood does not make it entirely false.

The songwriter Nick Lowe wrote a song in the 70’s that has come to encompass many of my feelings on this idea.  The song itself has been covered many, many times by many, many artists in different genres.  It’s a meme that holds true and that we can all agree with if we take a moment to lose the veneer of strength that we’re attempting to project.  ‘What’s so funny about peace and understanding?’

If you are aspiring Dominant and you are reading this, know that compassion is a show of strength and Dominance.  Know that you prove your worth by reasoned interactions and that while you may some day be required to hold the line, there is strength in knowing where that line needs to be drawn, and letting people in and holding compassion can be stronger than holding people at a distance.

I’m every bit as strong as I ever was – in many ways I’m much stronger – but I am nowhere near as hard as I once was, and I neither need nor want to be.

I usually think that quoting song lyrics in a blog makes for an uninteresting read, but I’m going to violate my own policy here.  Think of it as poetry.. courtesy of Nick Lowe:

 

As I walk on through this wicked world,
Searching for light in the darkness of insanity,
I ask myself, Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain, and hatred, and misery?

And each time I feel like this inside,
There’s one thing I wanna know,
What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, and understanding?,
What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, and understanding?

And as I walked on through troubled times,
My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes,
So where are the strong?,
And who are the trusted?,
And where is the harmony?,
Sweet harmony

‘Cause each time I feel it slipping away, just makes me wanna cry,
What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, and understanding?,
What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, and understanding?