Tag Archives: life

My Personal Journey : Part 3

Part 3:  Power corrupts

I am going to stop making promises about how far I will get with this story in each installment – since I quite obviously have more to say on some of these topics as I commit them to the page than I initially thought.  So – from now on, I’ll just keep adding parts of my story to the journey as it unfolds.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that this post took me awhile to get up because of the effects that writing it had on me.  I began by writing about the change of power dynamics in the Lodge, and how that affected me both then and now, but as part of writing that, I began to relate in some detail one of the rituals that I was always the center of attention for, and as I was writing it, I started to re-experience the feelings that I had, and I had to stop.  I have cut most of that, but I’ve left what I can, for now.

One could be excused for thinking that the feelings that bothered me so much were feelings of victimization or exploitation, but that’s not what really bothered me.  I felt megalomaniacal, with delusions of grandeur.  I’ve been having some small amount of difficulty in keeping these feelings from bleeding over into my day-to-day life. , but I think I’ve managed to normalize things at this point.  I am somewhere in the middle of where I want to be: warm and open, honest and bold – and where I was: cold and closed, aloof and narcissistic.  I’m not as open and warm as I was just a few weeks ago, but neither am I as aloof and unconcerned as I was twenty years ago.

But to get back to the story…

My interactions with Joe’s extended family and a few others from the neighboring communities started to have a profound effect on my view of myself as a man over the next couple of years.  I will refer to this extended group of followers from now on as the Lodge (since that was how we referred to ourselves).

My interactions with the Lodge began to take on more and more ritually significant roles, and either by fate or happenstance, this coincided with my own realizations concerning my atypical neurology and how I interacted with the world.  This would prove to have a profound effect on who I became and the decisions that I would make for the next decade.

However, in order to understand how this happened, it is first necessary to explain something about the central concept at the core of our beliefs – the Thelemic concept of True Will.

I could probably write a book on that subject alone, but to provide just a small bit of context so that this makes sense, I will relate the two meanings that the concept of True Will carries.

Firstly, the meaning given to the outer order and the world at large – and the only official definition – is basically this: every person has a ‘best path’ – or True Will – for them to live in this life, and as long as you stay on that path, you will be happy and things will be easy for you.  All of the things that are stressing you out now are things that are happening because you are not aligned with your True Will.  This concept goes a bit further and early induction rituals involve contacting your own personal Holy Guardian Angel to help reveal your True Will, but basically you are told that there are different voices within that speak to you about what you should do, representing different facets of a cognitive being that connects us all, and you need to be able to filter out the voices that do not belong to you and that once you do that, everything will be perfect for you.

Secondarily, there was the meaning given to the inner circle.  This may have been unique to our Lodge and my future interactions with members of the more official Ordo Templi Orientis would indicate that they do not generally acknowledge any other interpretation of True Will.  Whether this facet was a perversion unique to Frater Jubal (for he did claim to have secrets) or a more widespread ‘inner doctrine’ I do not know, but the gist of this facet of True Will is this:  as long as you are aligned with your True Will, you can do no wrong.

That is a very simple statement to encompass a much broader range of things, but that was the justification for every evil thing done by Joe or myself or any other member of the inner circle of the Lodge.  If I am acting on my Will, what I am doing is absolutely – even Divinely – right.

Tying destiny and will together like this is insidious.

And then Joe did something that I’m certain every other Thelemite would balk at – he told me that I had the power to read others’ True Will.

According to everything that I had read, this should not be possible.  One’s own True Will should only be revealed through a few specific rituals or ordeals.  But Joe called me an Ascendant Being and told everyone that I had the ability to read their True Will, putting me in the position of being the Lodge fortune teller, for the most part.

In retrospect, I see it as a cunning move on his part.  He thought he could control me, and he saw the opportunity to use a smart, observant kid to gain even more control over his flock.

I actually have no idea if this was his true motive or not, but it certainly makes a great deal of sense.  By not claiming the power for himself, Joe was being falsely humble, and by telling the members of the Lodge that I had the ability to read their True Will, and then ‘guiding’ me to do so in such a way as to get everyone to do what he wanted them to, Joe was able to elevate himself – and me – from teacher/priest to demigod.  Suddenly, if you had too much difficulty with the initiation rites (which was a very common problem for new acolytes), you had another option – you could just ask me.

This made me indispensable,  and Joe continued to groom me to ascend to leadership positions within the Lodge.

This break from previous teachings actually caused a few people to leave, but those who remained were even more loyal and bound to us.

Ultimately though, this would prove to be the linchpin that gave way and allowed me to escape the Lodge.

As I grew older and more confident in my abilities (and while there was always a part of me that knew that something wasn’t quite right, I was, for the most part, a believer at this point) I began to disagree with Joe.

I can still vividly remember the argument that he and I had after I had read someone’s Will and gave a different pronouncement than Joe had pre-suggested to me that I should tell her.

It was a direct challenge to his authority, and he began as you might expect, by distancing himself from me and pronouncing that I had strayed from the path, appealing to the Lodge to oust me, for the most part.

It worked too – but only because I let it, and realizing that has been one of the biggest events of my life.

He made certain that our argument was very public, and while Joe was a very smart man, he was outclassed in this fight.  He said that I had lost my way and that I would need to do penance to find my way again.  This was not the first time that he suggested that I would need to do penance, but it is the first time that I disagreed.  I took Joe’s own words that he had previously lavished upon me when I was a more timid, more compliant acolyte.  I stopped speaking to Joe, even though he was the one in front of me – I started speaking to be heard – and I said that as an Ascendant Being, my mastery of Will was complete, and that as an avatar of the Lightbringer, I was the only being capable of discerning the Truth, and that, indeed, Joe had lost his way.

The last part is almost certainly actually true, but I no longer cared.  I was about to leave for college and I was beginning to see things for what they truly were – a dangerous cult built around some stolen ideas and a charismatic personality.  I was happy to let that argument be the last interaction that we had before I moved hundreds of miles away.

It wasn’t until much later that I would begin to understand the actual value of the things that I was taught and to use the gifts that Joe had helped me to hone in reading people as a way to gain personal power, and even later than that before I realized that to be such a creature would be to lose myself completely.

When I was 18, I graduated from high school as Salutatorian and left behind my small rural home town.  I would spend a few days back in my parent’s home during that first year away, but after that, I would limit the amount of time that I spent in the area, even to the point of seeking poorly thought-out plans to ensure that I wouldn’t have to return.

One of those would result in an early and inappropriate marriage – and the other would result in sex work and my first introduction to BDSM.

I’m nowhere near done yet…

  • Rant

My Personal Journey : Part 2

Part 2: Lightbringer

I have an extremely complicated relationship with this next part of my story.  It examines a time in my life where I was rudderless and manipulated and took part in things that cause me nightmares today.  I feel shame for what I did in some cases, but more than that, I feel shame for allowing myself to be so manipulated and exploited.

However – despite the shame and tragedy that dogs every thought I have about that period of my life, it is also an integral part of who I am.  It continues to have a profound effect on the very way that I think and process information.  It is responsible for many of the various coping mechanisms that I have developed for navigating the normal world – some of these are good, some, not so much… but they are all very important to who I am today.

For the sake of brevity, I am going to have to leave out most of the details about the things that I learned and did, and focus instead on how these things shaped who I am today.

But I will have to give you a little bit of background so that things make sense…

Joe and Monique took me under their wing and into their family.  While I still lived at home with my parents and looked to most of the outside world like I was living a very normal teenage life, I was really leading a double life.

I was a genius, straight-A student, involved in all sorts of extracurricular activities, and because I was a little socially awkward and unfailingly polite and all of the other things listed before this, my parents basically paid no attention to me at all.  My sister was a bit more demanding of their attention, which I definitely felt the lack of, but did not have a good way to express.

This turned out to be yet another thing that Joe and Monique could exploit to control me and gain my trust… they gave me a place to belong.  They didn’t care that I was a little odd.  They celebrated my differences.  They told me that I had great gifts of insight and that my intelligence was a thing of literal divinity.

Whereas I felt misunderstood and unappreciated in my real home, I felt important and special in Joe’s home.

My parents were raising me to be Catholic, and lacking any information to the contrary, I was at first a true believer.  But at this juncture in my life, when I was encountering the things that I was with Joe and Monique and their extended family, I was also undergoing a crisis of faith.  I could not rationalize away some of the things that I was being taught each Sunday with the reality in front of my eyes any longer, and Joe seized on that and used it to mold me into his very own disciple.  I wasn’t the only one, but I was certainly the youngest, and definitely his favorite as well.

Joe was the center of a cult that wasn’t Astron Argon, though it used their initiation rites, and it wasn’t Ordo Templi Orientis, though it used their degrees and advancement rituals for the ‘outer order’ –such as it was.  There were no more than 60 of us at any given time, and most of the rituals involved far fewer.  It was a mishmash of Crowley-ist secret society nonsense along with a fair share of ‘secrets’ the were ‘only known to Frater Jubal’ – who was Joe, of course.

However, it also happens to be where I had my very first non-masturbatory sexual experiences, which is something that I feel very strangely about now – and pretty much always have.  I have very complicated feelings about what happened.  I enjoyed a lot of it.  I never really felt like I was not giving consent, though at times I did feel like I had no choice… somehow it was both of those things at the same time.

I can vividly remember the very first time that I climaxed by means other than my own hand or rubbing up against some surface, and it was as I stood on a small footstool so that I was not touching the ground and Monique knelt between my legs, rendering what may yet be the most gentle blowjob that I have ever had, and I came into her mouth furiously, almost instantly – which under other conditions would likely have caused me shame, but this was immediately greeting with exclamations of joy from the people around me, because I had an audience, and was, in fact, the central part of a ritual that I would perform many, many more times before I finally broke free.  I had almost no agency in my actions.. I doubt I could have controlled myself even if I were not being heavily manipulated emotionally and psychologically as well, but under those circumstances, I felt like a god, and they told me that I literally was one.  I was the Child of Light, but more than that, I was a special invocation of such – I was an avatar of the Lord of Light himself – I was Lucifer, reborn.

I have a really difficult time rationalizing these things.  I am generally completely comfortable with dichotomy, but this is one that my mind still struggles against all the time.  This causes me nightmares sometimes.  I have a hard time believing that I believed them.  I can objectively see how ridiculous it all is when I look at it now, but I remember that I did believe. I was naive and brilliant and awkward and exploited and I am none of those things anymore, and it feels weird.

I don’t trust my younger self to know how he was really feeling and I try to re-write how I felt at the time.  I try to make it as if I didn’t really believe them, but I was playing along because I was getting something out of it, but then that actually seems far worse than if I was just duped.  I try to make it as if I knew that it was all a farce and that I was helpless to do anything to break free because I was emotionally dependent upon these people, but that just is objectively not true, and even if it could be, it’s really no better than just being duped all along.

But I stray from my story…

I was a member of Joe and Monique’s family for years.

Joe is an incredibly charismatic man.  I suppose that’s probably true of all cult leaders, but he could make you feel things.  However – and probably like all cult leaders – eventually the mantle of leadership began to grow heavy, and he started to farm out things to different people.   He spent more and more time with me, and he seemed to be grooming me to take over some of the ritualistic aspects of the cult while others took over more of the household aspects, which made sense from several perspectives, not least of which was that I did not live in the house with them, whereas most of the other inner circle members did.  So I became a figurehead who was being given actual power, little by little.  I was the example for others to follow.  I was the Golden Boy.

Eventually, this went to my head…

…I didn’t quite make it to Beverly Hills in this post, but I promise it isn’t far away.

Next is part three, where I actually do talk about breaking free of Joe’s family and end up getting married, divorced, dropping out of school, and working the mean streets of Beverly Hills.  Or at least, I’ll get as far as a thousand or so words will take me…

My personal journey : Part 1

My personal D/s journey: A story of spirituality, conflict, betrayal, and hope

Part I : Sexual awakenings

My first sexual experiences were not normal.  As a result of these early experiences (which I will detail shortly) I live with the constant fear that I will never find a mature sexual relationship that meets my needs as they now exist.  I often feel like my lifestyle goals are unattainable or even prurient to the degree that merely giving them voice is offensive.

As far as personal struggles go – this is one that I have never managed to really get the hang of or the upper hand over, and it leaves me often feeling as if I am damaged beyond the ability to properly assimilate into collective society.  And yet… I keep trying.  Whether or not this meets the definition of insanity is something that does occasionally cause me to lose sleep.

My sexuality began to emerge relatively early for a boy… I was having my first confusing and unfocused erections at eight years old.  I was masturbating to the lingerie ads in the JC Penny catalog by the time I was nine.  So far, this is not all that unusual except perhaps for the early age, which – while on the edge of normal – still fits the Bell curve rather neatly.  However, I began to diverge from the norms pretty early on thanks to being just a little too smart for my own good.

When I was 11, I made some friends who were both older than I was and just as into computers as I was.  I was given loan of a modem and started prying my way into what was the online world of the day.  The Internet that we know and depend on today was in its infancy, and most of the networked computer world existed as islands of activity around universities, the first generation of what would later become known as ISPs, and a scattered and completely unregulated wasteland of individually run BBSes that were connected by various bridge technologies (uucp, fidonet, etc.) if they were connected to anything larger at all.

Most of the BBSes that I would dial into were not connected to anything larger than themselves, and even in a largely rural area like where I grew up, this led to some diversification of content between them so as to avoid competing for the same users – for the most part.

Within a few months of embarking into this new world, I was hooked and it took very little time for me to secure a modem of my own and begin a pattern of calling in to the same seven or so BBSes every day.  In many ways, this was an extremely primitive form of reddit or Facebook.   I made friends online who I would never end up meeting in person, but of course, eventually I wanted to meet some of the faces behind the screens with which I was interacting, and even in that time and place, there were user group meetings.

We called ourselves M.O.R.E. and thought that we were especially clever (the name stood for Modem-users Of the Redwood Empire) and in general, it was just good, clean fun.  We had BBQs and softball games and a monthly meeting in the back of a Round Table Pizza in southwestern Santa Rosa.  After attending several of these events with my parents (remember that I was just 11, maybe 12 at this time) – I made friends who were close to my own age and was eventually able to secure rides to and from these events without my parents needing to be present, which turned out to be a wonderful and horrible thing.

One of the things that I noticed early on in these events was that they seemed to be pretty heavily skewed.  Allegiances developed based on particular BBS loyalty, and we seemed to be largely split into two camps.  There was the ‘Rapture’ camp – which was made up of people who contributed to the Rapture BBS, which was an adults-only sexually themed BBS, and then there was ‘everybody else’.

Because the Rapture team was made up of exclusively adults, this often meant that in contests, the ‘everyone else’ team was wildly outclassed, and as a competitive young man, this did not always sit well with me.  This, coupled with the normal curiosity that accompanies being a young man, caused me to embark on a course of action that would later prove to be seminal to my development as a sexual being, but perhaps not in the best way possible.

I decided to break into Rapture and see what all the fuss was about.

So – as a 12 year boy, already a few years into puberty and with zero sex education from traditional outlets (my parents never had ‘the talk’ with me, and sex-education in school was a farce) I ended up being thrown to the wolves in a very real sense.  Using the anonymity that hiding behind a screen gave me, I constructed a believable persona as an early-30’s high school history teacher and began to engage with this new community.

I was instantly accepted and where my lack of knowledge concerning sex activities came through, I was instructed by my new ‘friends’ – all though text, and sometimes pictures, but bandwidth back then was extremely limited, and image files that we would now send in a text message could take an hour or more to transfer.  Without the ability to easily fact check many of the things that I was being ‘taught’, I ended up learning a great deal of bad information in the beginning, but I was being exposed to all sorts of kink and pagan concepts concerning sexuality that I don’t know that I would have otherwise encountered, ever… and they certainly colored my expectations and the direction that I would end up taking.

I found ways to become involved with meatspace events with these people that I should not have been able to attend because of my age without blowing my cover.  There was significant crossover between the pagan group and the swinger group and I was interested in both topics, so I decided to take that route to getting closer to these people in the ‘real world.’  I figured that with enough time and patience, that I could probably force both to converge where I wanted.

I had no idea how ‘successful’ I would become.

I attended my first handfasting when I was 13.  The young couple in question were both just out of high school.  It was early summer, just after the end of the school year, and we were at a site on the Russian River, and it was well-done and beautiful and helped to form the spiritual path that I would end up taking for the next several years.   It was also a travesty, but I would not realize that for years to come.

The party that followed was barely constrained hedonism, and I’m certain that my presence kept things to a much lower intensity than they would have been had I not been there.

There was a great deal of substance use – alcohol, marijuana, LSD, and something speedy… I’m still not sure if it was coke, meth, or PCP – coke being most likely given the time period.  I did not partake of any of these, but I watched with rapt attention.

There were two distinct groups forming within the party – the younger group tended to be more spiritually minded but more socially conservative, talking in lower voices and generally stationary with their conversational topics.  The older group – made up mostly of a group of adults in their late 30’s and early 40’s – was openly hedonistic and gregarious.  A couple of the women took their tops off and there was a great deal of groping, a large cuddle pile in the grass, and even some lighthearted games of chasing, cat and mouse style.

I belonged to neither but was fascinated by both, and the open hedonism of the older group really captivated me.  I found it very difficult to look away from the exposed breasts of the women who had taken off their tops.

One of the younger women decided that it was worth taunting me over, and then one of the other women in that group (who was still wearing her top) came over and ‘rescued’ me from her, asking me who my parents where.

I told her that I was there alone, that I was friends with one of the members of the ceremony group, and that I was not really all that bothered by the attention that I was getting from Skye (the woman who had been recently taunting me.)

She laughed, introduced herself as Monique (with just a hint of a Montreal accent)  and then sat beside me and motioned to her partner to come over and talk with us.  And that is when I met Joe MacReedy and began the journey that would culminate in a high degree in Astron Argon, a complete rewriting of my psychological landscape, and a life-long pursuit of the things that exist just outside of the norms of society.

Part 2 to come, wherein I give more details about my life with a sex magick cult, the emotional (and spiritual, and psychological) break that enabled me to extricate myself from that situation, and the shortly following events that would proceed to land me in a possibly even more precarious situation in the mean streets of Beverly Hills.

State of the blog

I started this blog with very little intention of continuing it for very long back in April of 2014.

At the end of every April, I get a yearly summary of my blog activity for the previous year.

It is always a little interesting to see how things change over time.

In my first few months, I got a couple of dozen hits a day if I was lucky, but I was cranking out original content.  (All of the content on this blog is my original work, by the way…) I was posting at least once a week, and most of my content was either rants about my personal experiences and how I felt like things were better in the “good ol’ days,” (even though most of those days were strikingly less good for me in reality) or educational pieces attempting to fill the knowledge gap that interest without reasonably accessible educational materials was causing.  However, the small bit of recognition that I received was enough to spur me on and do more with the blog and my community.

In the second year, things really started to sizzle.  I was getting hundreds of hits per day most days and thousands of hits per day on the busiest days.  I slowed down on content generation, but I was still getting a great deal of attention and I was getting emails from readers almost every day and responding to those took up a good deal of my free time and introduced me to some really interesting people from all over the world – several of whom remain my friends today.

In the third year, I slowed down on content creation even more, and the readership started to dwindle away.  My most frequently read post was An Imaginary Conversation With a New submissive and I was still getting emails from readers almost every day with comments or questions, but readership was starting to diminish as I started producing less new content and started revealing more about me personally as opposed to fielding questions about BDSM or writing informative pieces based on common questions that I often hear.

Now, coming out of my fourth year, and with even more sporadic writing, my readership has dropped back down to first-year levels.  I’m getting dozens of hits per day, up to a few hundred on the busiest of days, but nowhere near where I was at the height of things.  Yet… I kind of like it that way.

I still get emails and comments asking me questions, and I still try to answer all of these within a day or two at most, but it’s a much more sustainable pace for a part-time single parent and full-time tech startup employee and I don’t have to feel like I’m letting people down by not answering them in an expedient manner.  This has helped to reduce my stress level somewhat, especially since sometimes the questions that I get asked are intensely personal, time sensitive, and important.

‘An Imaginary Conversation…’ is no longer my most-read piece, being replaced by Finding subspace – which is, interestingly enough, one of the very first posts I wrote (as opposed to ‘An Imaginary Conversation…’ which was written almost at the height of my popularity.)

Most of my hits in the first year came from links from other people’s blogs – or from ‘likes’ on facebook (which continues to amuse me, since I’m not on facebook), or through some unclassified means of finding me, but now the majority of my hits come from google and bing.

And perhaps most amusingly – I think that most of the hits that I’m getting from google and bing for that particular page are not people who are coming here looking for information on BDSM themes, but math students looking for easy answers to their homework questions about linear algebra.

I have a degree in mathematics – and I can almost certainly answer your linear subspace questions as well – but I’ve only ever once actually been asked such a thing.

I suspect the person who did ask me this question was seriously confused, but I’m really much more amused by the imagined reactions that I suspect of people when they come to a site like this looking for answers to their math homework.

Today is May Day, and the start of Year Five.

I’m really curious what this year will bring… hopefully it will involve drastically fewer broken bones, but I suspect that it will still involve a broken heart – perhaps more often than once, as that seems to be the one thing that I am wholesale incapable of escaping.

Regardless – I remain…

  • Rant

Overcoming inertia

I try to love freely and without attachment.

I first posted about this subject four years ago, in the first month that I started this blog.  If you are interested in that post, you can find it easily here.

However, like any normal human, I do still get attached to things, people, and relationships, and when those things are removed from me or change in some fundamental way, I can get hurt and react in very human ways.

My life recently has been tumultuous.

I am not quite up to detailing everything here for the world to see, but suffice it to say, I have been missing from here and most of the rest of the aspects of life in general for some time as I have been processing my grief and doing some very difficult introspection.

Each time in the past couple of months that I have come here with the notion of writing something new, I have read my previous post and spiraled away into my own mind with unkind thoughts about myself and I manage to put nothing to the page.

The relationship that I boasted about being so strong has come to an end (for reasons unrelated to the content of my last post) and created this massive inertia around making even the smallest of steps back into the life that I was recently so happy to call mine.

But I still have good friends, and several of them have counseled me that I need to write something – almost anything will do – and so here I am, overcoming inertia.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and while it may not be much of one, this is such a step.

I am still here and still on the path.

I recognize much of this scenery though and I can’t help but worry that I’m wandering in circles sometimes, but I’ve come to the conclusion that even wandering in circles is better than not moving at all.

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.

 

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 Simone 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.