Tag Archives: community

Just Another Wednesday

Every Wednesday I go to an event called Bondage a Go Go.  I think I may have mentioned it before.

In keeping with my continuing desire and goal to say what I mean rather than couch my insecurities about showing enthusiasm with understatement or otherwise deflect, I’m going to call myself out for saying such things as, “It’s just another Wednesday,” or something similar.  It’s an inside joke, and anyone that I say it to understands that around here, Wednesdays are something special.  But I should just come out and say that.

Wednesdays are special because that is when BaGG happens, and BaGG is the best and longest-running weekly kink-friendly social event ever, anywhere.

Full disclosure – I am a member of the BGG Association that promotes and puts on Bondage a Go Go, but I have no financial stake and all of my efforts to advertise it here or in person are volunteer – because I am an acolyte.

Today is Wednesday, and I am elated – because no matter how bad life gets me down, on Wednesdays I have BaGG, and BaGG is therapy, family, validation, energization, and grounding all rolled into one.  BaGG is where I can be mostly safe in being mostly me, and it is glorious.

“It feels like I’m in a movie.” – F

I still remember the first time that I went to BaGG.  I didn’t know anyone, and I was alone, and it was overwhelming.  It’s really just a bar, but it’s dark inside and people are wearing next to nothing and acting sexy as fuck.  There is a dance floor in the front and two bars along with seating areas, a house masseur, a swag counter, and a dungeon in the back.

The first time you’re seeing something like this, it can be a lot to take in.  Even as a seasoned kinkster, it was more than I expected in some ways and less than I expected in other ways, but one thing became abundantly clear to me within moments.  BaGG is not a place or an event, BaGG is a people.

That first time that I was there, I was not a part of BaGG – I was present, I was physically there and I was watching and I was drinking and I was dancing and I was socializing, but I was not really a part of it.

I was disheartened, and I would leave to go home, knowing that it was something special, but feeling on the outside, and it would be years before I would return.

BaGG is a “kink-friendly take over of a night club” – C

BaGG is really just a weekly party in a bar with kinky themes.  It’s not a BDSM event in the more general sense.  There is not a dungeon floor where people are heard making noises of pleasure and pain surrounded by a wall of silence from the onlookers.  There are not rooms where people can sequester themselves and do nasty, horrible things to each other.  There are no classes or lessons or things to learn.

There is a dungeon, and it is small, and exposed, and your audience will cheer for you as you get beaten.  There is a tradition of very public spanking with the entire bar cheering for you on your birthday or the birthday of your Dominant.  And I will have to tell you, the three young ladies who took my spankings for me and the three Dominants (they were not all male) who delivered them while I stood by and basked in the glow of adoration from the crowd certainly contributed to make my year last year.

The dungeon is great fun, largely underutilized despite the fact that you have to wait for your turn more often than not, and also completely not the point of BaGG.

“I just go for the dancing.” – S

The dance floor at BaGG is amazing.

No where else that I am aware of do you have as many ultra sexy people dancing alongside straight up freaks – and often they are the very same people.

It’s right there in the name – there are Go Go dancers.  You can tip them if you like.  They won’t take off their clothes for you, but they’re not wearing that much to begin with.

The greatest show doesn’t come from the dancers on the stage or in the cage though – it comes from the people on the floor.

I don’t spend nearly enough time on the dance floor at BaGG, but if I don’t get out and dance every once in awhile, I get restless – and I don’t really dance anywhere else.

I’m a terrible dancer – I have to be only part of me to have any rhythm at all, but I don’t really care.   My partners dance, my friends dance, I’ve met people on the dance floor, no one cares that I’m terrible at it – it’s just another part of the wonderful pervasive blanket of love that falls on me when I am there with my people.

“…people generally seem to know each other.” – A

I wasn’t a part of BaGG at first, but I went, and I put myself out there, and I kept going back and talking to the same people and learning that they felt the same way that I do – about politics and kink and love, but most importantly, about BaGG.

It was the piece that was missing for me until I just kept showing up.  I’ve always felt like I could be at home at BaGG, but even still it took time before I felt like I was a part of it.

“How do I become a member?” I asked.

The answer is simple.  Show up.  Talk to people.  Get to know the club and the personalities, let people know who you are, and then when two members in good standing will speak up for you and say, “This guy is not an asshole,” we’ll collect your dues and you will be one of us.

It’s nice to be one of us somewhere.

I’m at BaGG almost every week – it’s rare that I’m not there.

If ever you want to meet me, go to BaGG, look for the guy in a waistcoat and fancy knot in his tie, and you’ll likely find me.

  • Rant

Words have power

My life is awesome.

What appears below the fold, after this entry (and now encapsulated as a part of it), is a piece of writing that I first posted to my fetlife account about five months ago.

In it, I recount a rather simple change in the way that I interact with the world.  I literally changed one phrase that I commonly uttered to another phrase that had exactly the same meaning in my own mind, but where the words that I used to express it were different – in a rather fundamental way.

Think of this as the update that I hinted at with the original fetlife post – and a way for those of you who do not know me on fetlife to catch up to an important change in the ways that I perceive and interact with the world.

Six months ago, when my friends would ask me, “Rant – how are you doing?”  my response would likely have been, “I’m alive.”

Six months ago, when my friends would remark on how well things appeared to be going for me, I would agree with them, but I would say, “Yeah, my life doesn’t suck.”

Six months ago, my trademark method of self-expression was to use understatement as a means of conveying my real feelings.  If I were to ever say something like, “It’s better than a sharp stick in the eye,” what I would really mean is, “It’s fucking amazing.”

It was an inside joke.  It was a ‘clever’ way to express myself without overextending myself.  I felt like those that really knew me would know the difference, and it would mean that I was somehow at least understood a little bit by a small number of people in a way that is not obvious to the uninitiated, and for some reason, that was important to me.

But, fuck, was it a limitation on how awesome my life could really get… and that was something that I completely failed to anticipate.

In the past several months, I’ve taken that narrative and completely rewritten it.

When my friends ask, “Rant – how are you doing?” I emphatically reply, “My life is awesome!”  and I mean it.  

When my friends remark on how well things are going for me, I don’t respond with, “Yeah, my life doesn’t suck.”  Instead, I say, “Yeah, I know! My life is fucking amazing!” and I mean it.

Oh sure, I have off days.  Today is kind of an off day.  Life has been keeping me very busy, and while 90% of those things are wonderful (at least for me) and I would not trade places with anyone I know or even that I know of, not every day is perfect.  

I wish I had more time to write.

I wish I could finish Part 8 of My Personal Journey (and Part 9, and 10, and however many more parts it will take to finish).  I wish I had time to compose the follow-up to my piece on subspace that I’ve been tinkering with for years. I wish I had time to write general responses to some of the questions that I receive in email rather than just barely keeping up with responding within a week or so on an individual basis.  I wish I had time to finish the novel that I have decided to complete and try to get published before the end of next year. But the things that keep me away from doing the things that I want to are just some of the most amazing and wonderful things I could ask for…

I am living a life of embarrassing riches in terms of love and joy.  I have the respect and support of dozens of people in personal, romantic, and professional capacities.  People want to be around me.  

This is not exactly new – but my previous self-deprecating behavior was serving as a barrier to forming new connections and standing in the way of expanding or strengthening those that existed.  My confidence and competence were always there, but my demeanor was standoffish or aloof or even anti-social and it was limiting me in ways that I didn’t even understand.

Words have power.

I’ve known this for a long time.  I’m a writer, after all.  And even before I could recognize that, I always had the capacity to be persuasive and elicit responses in the people with whom I would interact should I choose to make the effort – I just rarely did… and I have no idea why.

Perhaps I was afraid of rejection – that was certainly at least part of the problem.  While I’ve always had reasonably high self esteem – years of social pressure to be like someone I am not turned me into a bitter and angry man at points of my life, and even when I thought I was out from under the weight of those things, when I thought that the stark depression that kept me holed up inside my house for days at a time was gone for good, I was still not realizing my potential because I was holding back.  I was holding back with my actions, and I was holding back with my words, and I was holding back with my emotions.

Deciding to never hold anything back any longer and believing that I have the power to overcome any awful thing that life might throw at me, and then proving it to myself, over and over again, with everyday annoyances and life-shattering realizations, was the thing that opened the world to me.

I am living my on my terms now – and part of the reason for that was really just as simple as choosing more carefully the words that I say.

It’s been awhile since I’ve said it, but I am Rant.

This was neither a rant nor a story nor a lesson, and it may be ultimately nothing more than a piece of mildly masturbatory self-praise, but it is my truth for now, and my life is awesome.

What follows is the text of the original fetlife post.  There are reasons why I won’t link from here to there, but I will likely repost this to fetlife as well and link there to here.  Feel free to drop me an email if you’d like to understand the reasons why or if you’d just like to let me know that personal stories like this are something you actually care to read – or use the comment form below.  

I will find a way to carve out more time for Part 8 soon – do not despair.

Until then – I remain…

 – Rant


My life does not suck.

It’s a mantra… almost a catch-phrase. It’s a common part of my personal vernacular, and it’s undoubtedly true. I use it to express pleasure.

But words have meaning, you know?

My life does not suck is the thing that I tell my friends when I am happy.

I say My life does not suck when I realize that the choices I have made have led me to a place, or a person, or an event where I feel at home.

But a friend recently pointed out to me that there is a kernel buried deep within that phrase – that it conveys doubt or uncertainty.

At first I blew him off – I don’t mean anything bad by the phrase, I see it as a refutation of a state that feels unpleasant. I see it as a positive affirmation of my choices and direction.

But words have meaning, you know?

Yesterday, before meditating, this was one of the last thoughts to pass through my mind. An offhand comment at a party where I had a hard time hearing over the din led to days of percolating thoughts and introspection.

I kind of love it when things like that happen.

They give me a chance to see the things that are hidden from my attention, but that have an effect on me, my presentation to the world, and even how I see myself at a subconscious level.

To say My life does not suck is the bare minimum above My life sucks.

Does this mean that I am afraid, most of the time, that my life does suck?

I do often feel misplaced, like I don’t fit anywhere, like no one will ever really understand me. This community accepts me, but still does not understand me. The moments when I feel like I belong are few and far between, but I fake it as best I can.

Am I contributing to that feeling with the words that I use, even if the meaning is completely distinct in my own mind?

I’m still not sure, but while my life does not suck, from now on I think I am going to say My life is awesome! instead – even when I am not feeling quite that strongly that it does.

We shall soon see what difference, if any, this makes…

 

Help Save Wicked Grounds!

Wicked Grounds is more than just a coffee shop – it’s a destination, it’s a sanctuary, it’s a place to meet people, a place to be surrounded by people of like mind and ambition, it is a staggeringly important venue for dozens of clubs, munches, workshops, and it is an icon all on its own.  It is also the only safe space that a lot of people have.  

And it is closing down.

This is potentially a staggering loss for our community.  There is yet some small glimmer of hope that we can save it, and you can help too if you would like.  The patreon page for Wicked Grounds can be found here.  I’ve contributed and pledged and wish I could do more.

I cannot stress how important this place is to our community.  It is the hub around which all of the other kink activities in San Francisco take place.  It is the kink equivalent of Polaris.

Oftentimes when I’m giving directions to people for various kink related place with references from Wicked Grounds as the starting point.  Need to get to Mr. S?  Go out from Wicked Grounds, turn left, and walk two blocks up 8th street.  Need to get to BaGG?  Go out from Wicked Grounds, turn left, turn left at the corner, and it’s three storefronts down.  

It is much, much more than just a coffee shop that sells some kink-themed things.  It is home to a lot of people in my social circle, and the circles that overlap with my own.

I urge you – if you have the means and the inclination – go to the Patreon page and do what you can.  If you are in the SF Bay Area, go to Wicked Grounds today – it may be the last day that they are open.  If you can’t go and support their business today, go to the party that they will be hosting at the Citadel this Saturday.  I understand that they may not have goods to sell that day, and there may actually be little you can do to help with the actual problems of keeping the business viable, but you can still offer moral support.

I am going to try my best to be there – childcare concerns would be the only thing to keep me away.  I sincerely hope that this is not the last Wicked Grounds party, and that the coffee shop can stay in business for years and years to come – providing the solace and community that it does.

I’m a patron now, and I intend to make it a more frequent place that I hang out as well, assuming that the option remains open to me.  I’d love to see you there sometime.

– Rant

 

Circling the wagons

I am going to abuse my soapbox once more.  Though really, abuse is the wrong term here – I’m merely using this vehicle to raise awareness around something that deserves to be made more visible.

Kinky people need to stick together.  We are a community, and unfortunately there is a bit of us vs. them that happens whenever people of like mind gather.  We try to minimize this and be inclusive, but sometimes when one of our own is hurting, we have to circle the wagons and provide help to that person.  Most often this is emotional support, and my own people have circled around me and given me as much as they possibly can in that vein.  They have literally bled for me in recent days.

Right now one of our own is hurting and in need.  This man is an icon in the local community, and he doesn’t particularly like me, but he is a good man.  He gives more than he takes, he provides a solid backdrop to even more, and he is an ever present force for what is good and right to our people.  He is an amazing example to new folks and the old guard alike.  He is one for whom respect is a meaningful term.

And he is hurting, right now, in such a way that prevents him from realizing his own massive potential.

We may have the ability to fix that for him.

Here is a gofundme page with more information and details.  Please visit it, even if you have nothing to give, but even better – please give something.  Even $5 would be meaningful.  Let’s show him that he is important, that he is loved, and that we will support our own.

Just in case that link was too subtle, here is again: https://www.gofundme.com/mndmmdj7

If gofundme pages are not your thing, there is also going to be a fundraiser event this weekend at the Cat Club on Folsom St in San Francisco this Sunday from 7:00pm until close.   I will be there.  If you would like to meet me, this is a good opportunity to do so.   If you just want something fun to do, this is also a good opportunity for that.

Please make this man feel loved – he deserves it.

 

  • Rant