Tag Archives: life

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.

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.