Tag Archives: relationships

I am easy to love, but I am challenging to be in love with.

These are the confessions of a powerful polyamorous slut.

I am happy. I am in complete control of my life and I cannot foresee anything that might change that. I feel competent to deal with anything that life can throw at me.

I have grown and changed every year of my life, and I have been proud of the man I am for some time now, but I still discover new things about myself and sometimes those things are significant.

Struck by this realization as I was, it slipped into place so easily that I recognize this as something that I have known for some time but masked from my own perception.

I am easy to love, but I am very challenging to be in love with.

I am open and caring and honest and innocent and eager and overwhelming and arrogant and selfish and demanding and safe and nurturing and horny and wicked and brutal and oh-so-fucking-smart, and I do not hold back on any of these things.

When I am in love with you, the world ceases to exist when you are in my presence. You become the focus of all of the attention I can bring to bear.

I will be open and caring and honest and innocent and eager and overwhelming and arrogant and selfish and demanding and safe and nurturing and horny and wicked and brutal to you.

I am happy, and if you were in love with me, you would be too.

But I am an unrepentant slut.

I am easy to love, because I love so very easily, and honestly, and completely.

And when you are in love with me, this will be challenging.

I will make you feel special, because you are special.

I will make you feel happy, because it is difficult to be unhappy around someone who is so very happy themselves. Misery loves company, but it hates competition.

I will make the things that you despise about yourself okay and I will make the things that you love about yourself super-powers.

I will focus all of my unbridled enthusiasm right at you and I’ll use it to mold you into what I desire.

I will convince you that you are the most important person in my universe, all the while telling you about how I feel the very same way about someone else in my past, present, or future.

Time itself will take on special properties when I am around.

And then I will leave.

Not forever. Not even for more than is necessary, but it will still be difficult.  I will return, because this wasn’t an ending – there are no endings in my life anymore – but the distances of space and time will be painful.

You will remember that all of those things that I made you feel – I am making someone else feel some of the times that you are not around.

And it will all feel like a lie.

But nothing was false. Nothing was untrue. Everything that you felt was real, and continues to be real in my mind – forever.

I am easy to love because I love you already.

I am challenging to be in love with because I love openly, fearlessly, and it will not always be directed at you.

But I will never stop loving you – I never have.

 

 

My Personal Journey : Part 5

Part 5: A radioactive spider-bite of BDSM goodness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Your hearing is not poor, I assume?”

“No.”

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

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

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

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

“Uh, I don’t have any…”

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

“Okay, I will be there.”

“Excellent.”  <click>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No, I haven’t.”

“Would you like to?”

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

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

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

“Oh?  Please tell me.”

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

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

“I am?”

“Dominance and submission.”

“Oh yes, I knew that.”

“I’m sure you did.”

“Tell me, Rant.  Are you single now?”

“Yes.”

“How many girlfriends have you had?”

“One.”

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

“More than one.”

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

“Do you like to eat pussy?”

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

“Yes…” I responded, tentatively.

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

“Would you like to eat my pussy?”

“Yes.”

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

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

I was only happy to comply.

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

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

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

“Where do you live now?”

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

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

“It does?”

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

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

“I do.”

“Excellent.  Now how shall we begin?”

<to be continued in part 6>

My Personal Journey : Part 4

I have neglected, so far, to mention that at the same time that much of this was going on, I was in the process of developing an actual, mostly healthy relationship with a young lady with whom I was attending high school.  Let’s call her Susan, just to keep things simple, but that was not her actual name, of course.

She was wonderful.  In all likelihood, she still is wonderful.  In other circumstances, it might have been a relationship that could have lasted.  Our original plans were that it should, of course.   We met when she moved across the country with her family at age 15 and started to attend my high school.  She was one of two girls in the school who could keep up with me intellectually, and while she came from a Southern Baptist background, she was in a similar anti-Christian mood at the time and while I kept most of my involvement with the Lodge away from her, I felt like we were aligned in all of the ways that mattered to me at the time.  Of course, my conception of what was important then was very different than it is today.

Living in a largely apathetic household and having a great deal of autonomy, I was free to pursue my relationship with Susan in any time that I was not already involved in some other activity (and there were a lot of those in those days.)  We grew close quickly, and it soon became a focus for more and more of my attention.  

She felt like she did not fit well in high school, so she graduated a year early and started college while I was still a high school senior.  I almost followed her.  Im retrospect, I am glad that I didn’t, but it might have removed me from the influence of the Lodge sooner, so it’s hard to know how things might have changed.  But I stayed in high school and had an awesome senior year – with a few dark places, some of which I ended up seeking out, and some of which found me.  

This next part gives me squicky feels too… Susan’s parents had money.   They probably had more assets than I will ever acquire, and growing up on a horse ranch, I never wanted for space and things to keep my mind occupied, but I really had no idea how big the difference between ‘comfortable’ and ‘wealthy’ was until then.  I hate to admit this now, and at the time I was wholly incapable of even seeing it, but I used them for their ability to influence people and make things easier through the application of money pressure.  I did love Susan.  I still love Susan, if I’m being honest, but I also used her and her family, and I do wonder if I would have been as interested in Susan if not for the fringe benefits of a relationship with her… not because any part of my feelings were disingenuous, but because I was not a very well-formed human just yet. 

I console myself with the knowledge that every human manipulates others, consciously or unconsciously, to get the things that we need or desire.  I was not consciously manipulating Susan, but I can see in retrospect that I did end up manipulating her quite a bit.

I was not quite so self-aware then, and I was a much more selfish person in general.

Susan and I had a plan.  She started school at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and I planned to attend UC Santa Barbara (which is only about an hour away by car).  We were both engineering undergrads, but our plans for grad school were divergent.  She planned to pursue a JD (and ended up getting an MBA at the same time for good measure) and go into patent law or become inside corporate counsel for a technology company.  I planned to go to medical school and pursue a career in biomechanics or biomedical engineering.  While we were not actually modeling our lives after the Huxtables, it was a comparison that was often made.

But that is where things fell apart…

I used Susan and college as ways to help me get away from the Lodge and my family.  Susan and I married at a ridiculously young age and at that point I just completely stopped attending any of my own family’s holidays or events and just started exclusively going to hers.  I did not realize that I was actively rejecting my own family or that I was isolating myself so effectively.  

Gradually, over time, my relationship with Susan started to fail.  The most pronounced area in which this was problematic was over religion.  Most couples fight over money, but we didn’t have that problem, so we found other things to be in conflict over.  Susan went back to her Southern Baptist roots and even went so far as to be born again and baptized yet another time – in the swimming pool in our backyard, no less.  She became more and more involved with her church, and that made me more and more uncomfortable.  I started to spend more and more time away from home.  School kept me busy, and even though I didn’t need the money, I started taking on side jobs to have an income stream of my own, even though her parents gave us everything that we could possibly need.

Our relationship finally broke.  I can remember the incident that predicated it with crystal clarity.  It was a summer evening, and the summer sun hung low in the sky, the LA area smog making for a gorgeous panoply of red, orange, purple, and pink hues in the sky.  I arrived home in the early evening – and found Susan already at home, sitting on the sofa in the formal living room and crying.  It looked as if she had been crying for some time, so I did what I do in situations where I find someone that I care about crying – I tried to console her.

My actions made her cry even harder and I was genuinely confused, but I just stayed where I was, arms around her, silently being in the moment with her and eventually her sobbing abated and she looked at me with big, blue eyes, bloodshot and teary, snot uncontrollably rolling out of her face, and she said to me, “I will miss you.”

I didn’t really understand what she was talking about, so in my customarily eloquent fashion, I said, “Huh?”

“I will miss you when you’re gone.”

“Am I going somewhere?”

“I mean when you die.”

“Well, yes, I would imagine so… but I don’t plan to do that any time soon.”

“No, I don’t mean that.  I mean I am sad because when I die, I will go to Heaven, but you won’t be there.”

“Well, shit…”

I was flabbergasted.  Dumbfounded.   And I sat there, dumbfounded, for some time.

Eventually this turned into a conversation about what it means to be ‘equally yoked under God’ and what happens to the souls of the unbelievers when we die.   

I had already come to a very painful decision though – as soon as she said “…I am sad because when I die, I will go to Heaven, but you won’t be there” I could feel the decision being made.  It was less of a conscious thing and more of a necessity.

It took getting through the rest of that conversation while I muddled around in the innards of my own mind for a bit – with much less facility than I have now – and was finally able to give voice to the decision that I had already made.

“I want a divorce.”

It felt like gutting myself to say those words.  It was an agony unlike any that I had previously experienced, and it made me question the whole notion.  If separating was going to be so painful, then maybe it shouldn’t happen?  Maybe I was missing something?  But no.  I was just being affected by emotions in a context that I had no previous experience in… and it was truly awful.

I feel pain when every relationship ends, whether I am the one to initiate the break-up or not.  I don’t think that is unusual at all, but having been the one to first say the words, I felt like I was in some way beholden to them.  It makes so little sense that it is difficult to express in words, but I felt that I somehow owed the concept of divorce my attention.

We both did a great deal more crying that night, but she never fought me on it.  She never tried to talk me out of it, never asked me to stay, never tried to win me back, all of which I expected, but was relieved to not have to deal with.  We were separated the next day and our divorce was final as quickly as the courts could process it.

We maintained the same residence in name until our house sold, and then we split the proceeds evenly, however, I stopped living there almost immediately.  I had no real money of my own and, being a full time student, I had very few ways to earn enough to actually live on.  It was already well past the FAFSA deadline, so there was no way I could apply for additional loan money without paying usurious levels of interest, so I ended up couch surfing for a few weeks while I tried to figure out what was going on in my life.

For the first time I took a look at the trajectory of my life and I said, “how did I get here?”

I was on the path that everyone wishes they could be on – I had good grades, a handful of bachelor’s degrees and I was accepted to the Geffen School of Medicine – and had I stayed on that path, I would probably be a very different person today, but it was not a path that I set out on because I wanted to be a doctor or even because I wanted to work on human-computer interfaces (which was the only thing that really kept me interested anyway – I have no real interest in medicine.)  I was on that path because it was the path that Susan’s parents wanted me to be on.  I was on that path because it was the ‘logical’ thing to do given my intelligence and ability to assimilate information.  I was there because it was expected of me.  So I resolved to quit that too.

I still bounce back and forth between relief and regret with respect to that decision.  Most of the time I’m content with things and I can be comfortable with my choice, but there are definitely times that I look at my bank balance and how expensive things around me are and I regret not making the choice to pursue a more traditionally lucrative career path, and there are definitely times when I look back with great relief on a decision that kept me from becoming a prisoner to a rather narrowly defined career path that I am nearly certain that I would find unfulfilling or challenging in all of the wrong ways.  The challenges that I face now are more constructive, and I never have to tell anyone that their loved one is going to die.

Regardless of the motivations or causes behind the next chapter of my life, this was a seminal event.  It put me in the vicinity of UCLA on the couches of friends for as long as they could stand me while I tried to salvage the pieces of my life and find a new path forward. 

I didn’t drop out of school right away, but I did find a shitty job working as a server at The Cheesecake Factory in Brentwood, and that would prove to be a very important decision for reasons that will become apparent next time.

Until then – and always – I am 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.

Doms are people too

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

The question is usually of this form:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Enemies

“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.”  — Abraham Lincoln, sort of…

Abraham Lincoln actually did say that – but it’s a bit out of context.  He was responding to a woman who posited that he was not being hard enough on the newly conquered South.  She made the assertion that he should not be attempting to rebuild the South or to refer to southerners as he had – as men who were blinded by circumstance.  He was a learned man – though an autodidact – and he paraphrased the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund.  What Lincoln said in response to her query was, “Why madam, do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”

And so he did.

I’m an extremely fortunate man.  I’ve said this before, and I say it often enough that I would not blame you for thinking that I am trying to convince myself of the truth of the statement through repetition, but it is true.

I’ve been stressed out, tired, grumpy, and unhappy lately.  When this happens to me, my desire is to turtle.  I want to shut out the rest of the world and just sort of lick my wounds until I feel ready to face reality again.  Of course, this manifests itself in even further enhanced grumpiness as every little incursion into my world even from those that I love is an invasion into my need for isolation.  I snap at my kids; I snap at my girlfriend; I snap at my colleagues.

I’ve been doing this all week, since I got back from my trip to the Middle East.

At first I could blame jet lag.  It was almost certainly a factor.  I wasn’t eating, my sleep was off, and I was just generally miserable.  But I think it goes deeper than that…

Everything in my life right now is in flux.  I just settled my accident case – though not satisfactorily – this is one instance where being a Caucasian male definitely works against me.  My project at work is being transferred away, and I’ve been wanting to find a new job for quite some time.

My back was aggravated by the air travel – I can’t sit for long periods of time without it causing my back problems – but it brought one thing into sharp focus.. job stress is FAR more harmful to my health and my back issues than even sitting on a plane in coach for 20 hours.

Job stress is killing me – possibly literally.

I like to think of myself as being reasonably grounded, as being Zen in places where others cannot be.  I like to try to react unemotionally but with empathy, or at least compassion.  I try to be rational in all things, and yet, in this instance, I am most un-rational.

I seem to have an expiration date when jobs are involved.   For the first six months or so in any new job, I am in love all over again.  Even if I’m doing something very similar, I have many new things to learn, new people to meet, new technologies to play with, and new experiences of nearly every type.  Eventually the newness wears off and I develop confident competence – I become an expert and I begin to take on leadership roles, and that works for another year or two.  I invariably come across and begin to resent those that are either not competent or who lack the ethic that I bring to task.  At first I silently compensate for these low performers, but eventually I begin to resent them, and that’s when the downward spiral begins.

In my current job, I’ve been spiraling for a bit more than a year now.  For awhile I was able to achieve some sort of emotional distance, but eventually even this failed me and I find myself where I am now, angry and feeling exploited.  I began to stop compensating for the lack of ability in my peers and rather than reacting as I expect, those further up the corporate totem pole bring their ire to me directly – the things that I was doing to compensate for the lack of ability or focus in others are no longer getting done, and despite the fact that these things were never my responsibility, the fact that I am now no longer doing them becomes my fault and my shortcoming.

The injustice of this only serves to further increase my anger and unhappiness.

And now, recent market changes have made it economically irresponsible for me to leave my job and seek employment elsewhere, so, as you might imagine, I’ve been feeling a bit trapped.

And what do I do when I feel trapped?

I pull in and react to the rest of the world with anger and resentment.

I could rail at the gods.  I could pull back and say to myself and the rest of the universe, “this is unfair! Why me?!”   I could blame others – the colleagues that I have been carrying, the management who is laying the blame at my feet, the Universe itself for being a cold, uncaring place.  I could lament my misfortune and no one would blame me for it.  My friends would support me, “you’re right, that’s unfair!  You deserve better.”  And I would be grateful for their support.

But that’s not the way out of this.

It’s in my nature to take charge of things.  It’s in my nature to automatically pitch in and take over when things are faltering.  It’s part of who I am to sacrifice my own time or my own desires in order to bring the team across the line.  And I do it, over and over again.  And I’m unlikely to stop – and even if I did, that wouldn’t make me happy.

The problem is that I can’t do it forever.  Not without developing resentment.  This is normal.  This is not a violation of Zen principles – to deny my own feelings would be turning a blind eye to the most important thing in my universe – Me.  And while martyrs get nice things written about them more often than not, martyrs also tend to die miserable deaths, and I’m not quite ready to lay down and die yet, so I need to take care of me.

So, how do I get out of this, you ask?

I turn my enemies into friends.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I abhor my boss.  She’s incompetent, lazy, bigoted, and just plain mean at times.  She is not a leader, and in my opinion, does not deserve her position.  She is barely capable of holding on to it, and if I were willing to sacrifice my own position, I could certainly bring her down.  But I won’t do that.

I’m going to make her into my best friend.

I am going to do everything in my power to force her to succeed where she is floundering now.

I am going to change my world.

Now, while this is something of a personal epiphany that I’ve had, and while I’m arrogant enough to think that it might be worthy of reading, it’s really not got anything to do with the focus of this blog, which is BDSM specific – for the most part.

So, to bring things back into focus, I’ll extrapolate from D/s philosophy and put this into terms that almost make sense in that context.

I’ve been beating my head against a brick wall by trying to Dominate my boss and my colleagues.  I’ve been trying to expose – bluntly at times – how fucked they really are if they don’t do as I’ve been suggesting.  I held my head high, knowing that I didn’t create the situation in which they find themselves so thoroughly fucked – I just did nothing to prevent it.

And even though I know better – I tried to pretend that those two things are not the same thing.

Just as a lie of omission is still a lie – to allow something to occur through inaction when I could have prevented it is the same as causing it myself.

And so.. I was Dominating nothing.  I was allowing things to happen when I could have controlled them.  The proper thing to do for me – the proper thing to do to respect my own very nature – is not to get out of the way and let bad things happen, but to control them to create the best possible outcome that I can, and I was not doing that.  So – things were falling apart, and I have been extremely unhappy to watch it unfold.

You’d think that I’d have some sort of schadenfreude inspired glee at watching things fall apart, but really it’s just made me a mess.

No more.

I don’t care who gets credit for things happening as they should – I never really have.  So – I’m going to fix it, and in so doing, fix myself.

 

A long time coming

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a source of tremendous anxiety for me.

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

But it’s fucking boring.

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

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

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

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

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

I fucked up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

When I broke, she came to help me.

I cannot possibly overstate the significance of that to me.

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

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

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

We struggle with D/s.

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

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

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

More posts will be forthcoming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expectations and cutting the path

Expectations…

The root of all evil?

I would make the above a statement rather than a query, but this has been a year for change.

In two days, I’ll be 40 years old.

Given that the average life expectancy for men in this country is currently 72 years, and that I have both a family history of heart disease and a medical history of serious injury, including cranial fractures and multiple concussions, my own life expectancy is likely to be less than that, unless medicine advances to the point where those elements change, which is possible, possibly even likely, but it’s not something that I would bet money upon.

So – taking these things into consideration, it’s reasonable to assume that I’ve lived more than half of my life by this point.

This is the sort of thing that makes one look back over his life and wonder what might have happened differently.

This year has brought change, as every year does, but the end result is not unlike the beginning.

I end the year in much the same state that I began it, having picked up experiences, but tangible change still sits in the wings, waiting for something – I know not what.

Early in the year, I stumbled upon a young and brash new submissive who desperately wanted to push her way into the BDSM world, and I took her under my wing, trying to mold her, to prepare her for the experiences that she would encounter, to introduce her gradually to a world that she ended up jumping into with both feet and outgrowing my influence in short order.  I like to believe that my guidance made her transition easier than it might have been; I suppose only time will tell on that count.  But the world is a different place than it was when I was brought in to it, and her experiences at this point in many ways outstrip my own.

At nearly the same time, I shared a spark with Autumn from servingmaster.com and we melded minds on subjects far and wide.  She started me on the path that this blog has taken, committing my memories and experiences to an ever widening audience, which I suppose is a tangible change for the good, but in the face of what else happened, and then un-happened, this blog seems insignificant.  She and I remain friends and in contact, and I hope that she will remain my friend, supporter, and confidant for years to come, but our relationship has cooled and we both have busy lives.  The spark that ignited between us sits in the ether like the Mithras and is unlikely to ever completely die, but with no new fuel, its flame burns cold.

I reconnected with the woman who I expected to spend the rest of my life with and over the course of this year we had months of glorious joy, many adventures both big and small, and plans for things both near and far, but ultimately that ended not so very long ago.  Our lives were on different paths for longer than I realized, and when push came to shove, I got out of the way.  This is still fresh and new, and we don’t exactly share the same views of what went wrong and why it couldn’t be fixed, but that is normal in breakups, I think.  I sincerely hope that she finds everything that she wants from life, but ultimately, I was not the one to give it to her.

I have made other friends, touched other lives, had other romantic and play partners over the course of the year, not all of which ended the way I would have liked, some of which remain, and others still exist as smoldering embers sewn into the landscape, waiting to be stoked back to life.  There is one relationship here in particular whose ending I grieve still, but the circumstances of the time left me no other choice, or so I believed, in any case.

I enveloped myself in a new circle of friends, most of whom I severed contact with when my partner and I split.  Since they have known her for far longer than I, and are counted among her support structure, I may never interact with them again in any meaningful way, and that makes me sad, but is understood to be a part of life and love.

I am in roughly the same shape, physically, emotionally, and psychologically as I was when this year began.

The majority of my friends are not kinky, not in the scene, and don’t know about this blog or the aspects of my life that it illustrates.

This is not because I am ashamed, but because they have no curiosity about this part of my life.  They live in the vanilla world and find the concepts of nonmonogamy and risk aware consensual kink to be unfathomable, perhaps even disturbing. They are generally tolerant people – I do not generally get along well with those who are not – but they limit their own experiences and exposure by choice, and it is not my desire to force them from that.

My own social support system has contracted.

But I am not alone.

I am never alone.

I am, however, reduced from what I was at the high points of this year.

And I am not convinced that this is a bad thing.

The grief that I feel in each of these cases comes from expectations met and then dashed.

If there is a pervasive theme to this blog, and indeed to the way that I live my life now in a post-nearly-fatal-car-accident world, it is that.  I am happier and more successful when I can live my life without expectations.

When I was a teenager, I looked to the future.  The year 2000 was looming.  I would be 25 when the odometer of life rolled over.  That seemed like such a distant thing, and yet so close.  I was going to be successful by then.  I was going to be married, own my own home, be on the path towards greater things.  Expectations levied upon me by others for the most part, but that I took to be my own.  Expectations that were unrealistic and different from my actual desires, though I had no idea at the time what those might be.

I achieved all of those things.  By the time I was 21, I had nearly all of those things.  I was married.  I owned my own home.  I was accepted into medical school, and I was on track for meeting, even exceeding, all of those expectations.

And I was miserable.

I was quite possibly the unhappiest I had ever been in my life up to that point.  I had everything that I was expected to have.  I had achieved most of it ahead of schedule.  I was always an overachiever, but none of it ever made me happy.

I ended things there.

I started over.

I went deep into the rabbit hole and learned a few things about myself.

I pulled myself back out and put myself back on what turned out to be a very similar path once more.  For a time I was high on life, I was living what I thought I wanted to be, I was meeting the expectations of others and I was a part of the functional cogwheel of society, producing, living in the suburbs, parenting, and trading my time for a paycheck.

And I was miserable.

I was even more miserable than before.

I was not the one to end that relationship, but it followed a similar trajectory.  I dove into the rabbit hole again, learned some more things about myself, and crawled out.  I wandered in the deep woods for awhile, but eventually I found a path, and I started walking it.

This time, the path was less trodden, it was thin in places, and it diverged from the main road in many ways, but it was still a path that others had taken, the expectations levied upon me were still not entirely my own.

This time, the choice to end things was largely my own once again.

I had a partner.

Our dynamic should have preserved my priority.  It should have let me cut the path, and had I been strong enough, it probably would have.  But I am still a product of this society, and I could not, would not, rigidly enforce my will, so the path diverged from where I wanted to go when I chose to allow the choice of direction to follow expectations not my own.

I take responsibility for those actions, but they were not my Will.

In order to remain true to my Will, I had to make the choice to be partnerless again.  To do otherwise would have required crushing the will of my partner, and that is something that I have always been unwilling to do.

I fight to hold the ideal of non attachment.  I fight to hold to the object of no expectations, but these are not tenable long term options.  If you walk where there is no path, you must cut it yourself, and that means that you will not find anyone else there to walk it with you.

But that is what I am trying to do now.

I don’t know if I will succeed.

I don’t know if I can succeed.

I know that my path will intersect others from time to time, so I’ll never be entirely alone, but I am learning that I need time alone, more than I thought I ever did before.  I need to cut my own path, and while others might follow along behind me, the decisions about where to cut and what directions to move in have to be mine alone.

I have relationships with people still.  People that I care about deeply, but I watch, and I cheer success, support setbacks, offer my own experiences, but I don’t follow.

I can’t know what lies ahead of me because no one has ever walked there before.  There are no guides to this trail because there is no trail to guide me upon.

I may be signing up for a very solitary existence in the long term, but that does not frighten me as it once did.

I may attract followers to walk the path that I cut, but I do not expect them.

I have less than half a life to complete at this point, and while I have made mistakes in the past, and I am guaranteed to make more in the future, I have faith in my ability to get through them.

I grow more open and honest with myself and those around me as I continue my journey.  I don’t say ‘as I walk this path’ any longer, because I’ve gone off the path.  I go where my Will points me, and I see nothing but obstacles in the way.  The smooth path is gone from my sight, and there will be trials, but I believe that I am strong enough to face them.

I will rekindle some relationships that were left to wither.

I will start some relationships that I have not made yet.

I will support relationships that are currently in place, but I will not hold on.

I will live my life without attachment or expectation, to the degree with which I am able, and I will not get down on myself for building attachments or having expectations when I do.  For while they always seem to lead to pain, sometimes the pain is worth it.

I will make goals and walk towards them, but if they vanish, I will keep walking, keep cutting the path myself.

I need time alone, but I need people in my life too.  I have my children.  I have my family.  I have those few friends who would take a bullet for me, just as I would for them, but those are always fewer in number than one might think, and levying expectations upon others is something that I specifically intend not to do.

I crave companions, but I do not require them.

I am perfectly capable of cutting this path alone and letting it close behind me if needs be.

If my wisdom is something that you seek, then you know where to find me.

You are welcome to walk this path with me, but make no mistake, this path is mine.

I am evolving.

I am grieving.

I am meeting the rise of the sun with alacrity and hope.  For that is what this time of the year is really about, and I was born at just the moment of Rebirth for the world.

And though grief comes from loss and loss comes from dashed expectations and I will continue to strive against holding those, I acknowledge that life goes on, and so shall I.

I am Rant.

New beginnings are in the wings, and they terrify and electrify me.