Shadow's Essays

"Words are loaded pistols."Jean Paul Sartre ~ "The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say." Anais Nin

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Location: San Jose, Ca, United States

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Moral Compass

#12. The Moral Compass
  Essays on a life of P.E. July 12, 2013 by shadow

Stumbling around today i ran across another fiscal tragedy, chatter response and of course, it's not the first and not the last.
It's about money.
And before i go any further, i want to say that this is, as always, my own biased and personalized view of things- and it may change tomorrow. i reserve the right to grow and rethink things. Take what you like and leave the rest.
It's about a community of people who barely know each other becoming intimate strangers, showing people secrets that they need to share as part of their fantasy fulfillment lives, and then creating a community to execute those desire as a social group.
It's about how we judge people based on how pretty they are, how "kind" they are, how much self esteem they show to us, and then we give them power.

Often, that power is confined to simple personal one on one scenes- that turn out to be bad decisions about 1 out of every 1,000 times based on a general overview of the kink/alt scene from outer space.
Regularly, we create mini-political groups of power and money, showmanship and laughter that are organizations with or without any legal merit (and sometimes in a shady space between), as a way to try to protect ourselves from vanilla disasters, insurance issues, rental agreements, parking woes, and give us places to play, furnishings to play with, and spaces to BE together.

We do all this on the premise that , well.... to be honest...

"I know I am completely right and honest and why I am here with a scene name, and I know that everyone else here is just the same, because we have to have some sense of trust".

And then the hell begins.
Not everyone has the same moral compass.
Not every gay person feels the same sense of protection about outing others. Not every trans person feels the same sense of respect about the psychology of their decisions.
Not every leather person respects the bigotry of race, the meanness of women's issues, the pain of child abuse.
Not every kinky person feels the same sense of community.
There are only two things in our lives that grab us by the throat and create outrage and hate.
One is the threat/deliberate act of making someone else's lives public, giving away their secrets/ sharing things they did not have a right to share.
The other is money.
And money makes the world go around.

I think everyone who has been in the scene more than 10 years has personally seen a group have embezzlement issues, weather it is "we need to buy new lights for our partes (and by the way, I'll take the old ones gratis to use for my band)", all the way to "We had an audit (by someone on the board who was also the person doing the books" to "Yeah, we didn't count the money, we just had a raw figure but we TRUSTED the person we gave it to". Or collect money for a group and then use it to send someone to the MEETING of that group (yes, it was done).
Happens a lot.

There IS NO CURE. Really- this is human nature, and it is going to happen again and again and again because:
1. We have short memories and get busy.

2. New people come into the scene every year and have no idea of the history of what has gone before.
The worst part- for the very pure of purpose and those with the most finely honed moral compasses, is that the ones that can lie to themselves, or see themselves with all the excuses intact are often the ones that get away with what they did because of, once again, human nature.
i have sort of lumped them into general categories over the years:

1. MOST people in the scene are here for the yucks, the parties, the lols, and the sex/play. They don't care about what happens in the long run, just move along and bring on the next thing. If the problem involves the people they serve, as a group, they will close ranks and deny everything- they have a sex life to maintain! They are not going to bother with the witch hunt or the aftermath or getting involved or being concerned. They are selfish, dismissive, and the majority. They aren't the ones running things, or dealing with things- but they are our peers, and they are the largest group out there. They flock to the cult of personality seeking intimate things, and they never ever put themselves out on a limb for anything as ephemeral as moral beliefs or social causes. They believe what they believe, they don't question it too closely, and they really hate being questioned too deeply outside of their immediate social and sexual wants. They are friends, and i care about a lot of people that fall into this category- but i also don't invite them to the private salons that require we talk about more than kink. They won't be reading this article- it isn't about getting what they personally want.

2: A huge secondary group are the sweet, kind ones. Some call them sheep, some call them innocents, and some see them as naive. They want to see the best in people, they want to not have trauma in their lives, and they want to believe that things can be fixed. Bad vibes HURT them deeply. They are truly kind people, but they are also not willing to pull the trigger. They show up on juries and hang the vote because they see all the possibilities and want to believe in the best of people- and will go out on a limb to support an excuse rather than vote guilty AND be part of the firing squad. Some of them just don't have the stomach to deal with evil. Some would- but only if it involved their own kids or parents or loved ones directly. i LOVE several people in this category and would take a lot of social flack to protect them. i see them as holding on to a great gift that often gets crushed as we grow up and take on the worlds dragons. They MIGHT still be reading this article, but it is making them physically ill and will probably stop about now.

3. The next group up are the social butterflies and day trippers. Here today, gone next year, they are dipping- or diving- in and more than happy to lend a hand but have no time for the long work, the late hours, the meetings and the building and the weeping at funerals of loved ones going, going, gone. Maybe they are here looking for something sincere and just don't find it, maybe they are here on a lark, or with a partner who is motivating them- for a while. They are often younger- and more comfortable with being out, with being open, and using the net as an extension of their private lives. They come with a different compass than those 50 and up, but those that stick around often become the net generation of leaders and supporters. Some become friends, but of course, they don't stick around, so i cannot count any of them in my permanent life. They thought this was interesting for a second, but are now back to their vanilla life.

4. Transplants. They are into kink, into leather, into sex, into power and into control, but are not good when it comes to life. If we knew how they lived in vanilla land, we would HEAR about well run lives, businesses, lovers and success, but they often are covering up failures on a colossal scale and have arrived here in the scene to re-invent themselves. Scene names and an incredible ability to spin gold from floss, they know what they are doing and have done it for years- you should trust them. They move from group to group- sometimes all the way across the country (and for some reason, Florida seems to spawn some of the worst ones, including a guy i know named Dragon who has a police record that includes manslaughter, but i digress). They show up with sparkle and a magnetic personality, a leadership power that shines, and a need to be the center of things. They sometimes have references (but you should ask outside the circle they give you- because their references are lovers and friends from group 1. Ask the leaders of long standing in any area when checking these people out). They ALWAYS get involved, and they eventually- and fairly quickly- take over a group. They don't always START it, but they are sure there to take it over and become the king pins. Time shows up serious cracks in their armor, they play favorites and bend the rules for their friends, while being ruthless with their perceived enemies. They often- quite often- use sex and play to build up cliques that do the dirty work for them (you know, bad mouthing the people they want gone, embarrassing anyone that questions them, down playing anything not--so-kosher so that a constant propaganda mill diffuses tense situations). Sadly, they really DO have leadership skills, and COULD be among those really unique people that make a difference. BUT, they cannot stand dissension or anyone who disagrees with them, for they have several flaws.

SOME of this group move on every few years, as they pile up an impressive list of screw ups and, hopefully, the community as a whole TALKS about it out loud and ADMITS change needs to happen and then handles it.
SOME of them just stay. They have a certain control over their group (maybe they own the only play house in the area. Maybe they have a large harem of lovers and play partners). They build on the premise that "no one likes to admit they were wrong" and use that to hide their fuck ups. They control the conversations, and often blackmail scene members (my favorite ongoing nasty bit is one where the King Bee tells all the people who want to play with the group that they "better not play with the X crowd or help at any of their parties or you are OUT of here!" It's childish and mean, but very effective especially with marginalized groups that are not strong socially).
Raw power excites these folks, and they don't kill a community, but they cut off the light and they grow some very controlled gardens. i often think of republicans with this crowd. Hiding bad news because it is bad for business, cutting off options because they know best.

5. The other leaders and workers and the rest of us. They have needs and desires that need a social network and social places and things to do. They work hard at everything they do, have lives and families and homes and jobs. They make mistakes and admit them freely, they spend more on the scene than is prudent, they volunteer and want to do good and take charge of things because no one else would, or they have done it before, or just for a while. They are busy and trust too much because, while they KNOW not everyone out there is what they appear, they also know they cannot change things or steer the boat off the rocks. No one wants to hear warnings when the sun is shining, and while they see trouble, they move to keep it minimized, they try to include everyone, and they often get pushed out when the power mongers arrive. But they are the base of what truly happens in our world, the ones that are here for years and years, giving time and energy and patience. They stand up to injustice and call out when they see bigotry and evil- and sometimes pay horrible prices for doing so. They are either loved or hated, and there is very little middle ground about them. They take stances, and they stand up for what they believe in. They are the "everyman" of Frank Capra films and the nice guys finishing first, the elderly ladies that have been here for years and the quite shy men who serve others constantly and with pride and grace. They are not perfect, and they fuck up, but the difference between them and the group 4 folks is that the ADMIT it publicly and freely and take their lumps and grow and move on instead of burying their mistakes under a ton of bullshit. They are all the good and the bad and the heart and the fun and the pain and the life we bring to WIITWD.


So, with all that up there, the groups are splitting into their respective camps and tearing up another city for a while. i am reading the threads, and see a lot of what i personally have lived through. Fiscal irresponsibility, books that don't balance, "audits" done internally and blackballing of people trying to ask questions publicly or run for office to find out what was happening. All the games, all the same themes and the same problems and issues.
There are some good points being made as well, to wit:" a screw up can be forgiven, but lies cannot. One is a momentary weakness, a lack of judgement, something that can be rectified. The other is a sin. The other is an intentional, willful defiance and evil. It is done with purpose."(mercestes).
This is real. Owning up to something the moment someone else speaks is paramount in the moral compass game. It requires knowing yourself and spending a great deal of time being honest, and is not easily accomplished.

"When I brought up the subject of funds months before the new board was seated and asked for records I was labeled a trouble maker! When I didn't stop asked for real proof I was called a shit starter!"(Evil-Princess). Listen when people ask questions, especially about money. Yes, some of them are just trying to create drama or discredit someone, but no one is going to be hurt by actually looking into the matter- if nothing is wrong, no harm done. If they still insist (also known as the Hawaiian birth certificate syndrome), try to find out why. What are they afraid of? What can you do? And, when all else fails, what gallon barrel is empty in the yard?

On a personal thread was this notation: (MichelleFromHell) "To me it is just an extension of all the toys that were stolen out of my house during the parties I hosted and graciously set out for others to enjoy. After the first two parties, I stopped putting my stuff out and bought shit from the dollar store that I would not miss. Not to mention people going through purses, medicine cabinets and toy bags to steal whatever they want. Some folks are's how life is..vanilla or not."

This is the real world, not a special magical place. We are a microcosm of everything out there here. Bigots. Thieves. Liars. Morally vague humans. People with good intentions and bad follow through. Sneaks. Cheats. Spreaders of disease instead of losing out on getting laid. Wife beaters and boy stealers.
So what do we do? What does it all mean?

It means that life has to go on, and we grow and learn. We identify yet another morally stunted person and marginalize them for a few years until a new batch of people show up. Guaranteed, 6 years from now if one of the leaders mentions why they don't trust the embezzler there will be a loud angry group that either defends her or puts down the speaker for "stirring shit" and "not moving on".
Which is how this shit happens time after time.
It takes some big balls to be the moral compass, to continually remember the reasons for the rules and never forget how things happened or WHO was on WHAT side. It takes a great thick hide to stand up time and again for 'what is right' and make the case for it. It takes educated verbal skills to explain the problems over and over to mental midgets and social chaos workers. It takes more than most people think it is worth. Moral absolutism is sometimes required, although you end up with "Crime and Punishment" Russian style, with death sentences for a loaf of bread. Black and white is never black and white.
Why write this, and take 3 hours to consider it?

BECAUSE No other reason. It just needed to be said.
That, and i have $32.00 sitting in a box towards new t-shirts for SX from a munch 3 months ago. We counted it in public. Always do.
We tend to be real transparent with money. When we get it we spend it. One night in 2007 we held a fund raiser and counted the door at 2 am. 3 of us counted. We made over $3,000. We posted it that night- and had already given it to the club we raised it for. Money is the root of all evil, the filthy lucre of our lives and makes the world go around.

But the integrity of the people around you is more important, and if they have shaky moral compass's about OTHER people, or money, or the rules, eventually, they might well have some shaky decisions about YOU.
Play safe folks.

 Copyright shadow, July 12,2013 All rights reserved. Please write for permission to repost. All reposts must be complete with copyright and contact info.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

# 123 A Place for Me

Essays on a life of P.E.
by shadow

Have you ever walked into an event- one with friends already there- and looked around at all the people, seeing their dress, watching their smiles, knowing they accept you and love you, but not felt completely "honest" about being there?
I used to have that happen all the time.
It didn't matter how much I did for others, how much money was raised, how good the night was, how deep the bruises, how funny the jokes or sincere the hugs or passionate the tears, there were moments, especially in the last 6 years, when i really wondered if i truly belonged.
Yes, we all know that we are united in kink. But that isn't how i identify.
We all know that the community- local, regional, national- isn't exclusively the real estate of the gay or the macho or the old or the young, but an alternative lifestyle community of many different melting pots nestled together side by side sharing space.
The transsexual people and those who love them next to the gay people and those who love them, next to the kinky people and the BDSM people and the M/s people and the poly people and the energy people and the swinger people and the lesbian people and the Renfaire people and the furry people and the sci-fi/gamer/geek/fantasy/artistic people and the bisexual/asexual/unsexual people and the married people and the parent people and the leather people and the femme people and the gender bender people and the lost people and the business people.
Most of us live with a label of some sort, and within all those groups are folks who reject ALL labels demanding they just *be*.
Good for them- but not good enough for me.
i started wondering about just what *people* i was after filling out the little boxes at the Billy De Frank (local meeting club) center several times. Yes, i was a local people (zip code) and a mixed race people (ethnc) and a bi sexual people and an over (never you mind my age) people, and a poly people. But i was more- and i wanted one over-arching thing to call that.
We would often go around the room at various meetings and people would ask us to describe ourselves in a few words. My default has always been "shadow- fem slave, i identify as meat" and add on as needed.
But how to quantify that?
How do i describe the journey from 50's baby through 60's wild child through 70's lost explorer, heterosexual married apron mommy into dirty back alley sexual freak, danger games, animal woman, naked-on-a-fuck-machine-for-charity, whip throwing, multi-partner loving, sensuous woman lover, teacher, freak, mentor, fundraiser, hand holding, crying at the funerals, laughing in the rain person  have become?
i know i am not 'old leather', although i have friended a few and learned from the past, and i wallow at the 'middle leather' with the indistinct connotations. i don't feel comfortable with just 'leather' either. i DON'T feel like i have enough bones in that world- and i really don't feel the pull to go make more at this stage in my life.
Besides- i always stick out.
I'm the girl that walks into the leather bar in a long leather duster. With peek a boo heels and hairspray covered curls.
I'm the girl that arrives at the BDSM event where everyone is in corsets and naked halters- in a red ballroom dress.
I'm the girl in the black leather skirt and the push up bra with the white silk jacket.
I'm the girl that will fist you with long red nails.
I'm the one you pick out in every picture, remember at every fund raiser, who seems to just be 'one off center'.
I'm not quirky like my friend with the furry head pieces, nor butch like my friend with the dommy personality and the control.
I have no problem bragging on my grown up son, my little house with the picket fence, my Owner with the horse ranch and my 'leather family'- the band of brigands i owe my sanity and my heart to who saw the me and took me into their hearts even when i wasn't sure who *me* was.
i have no problem putting on my gifted leather vest with the MAsT (Masters and slaves Together) backpatch that signifies my deep and abiding pride at being the founder of my county chapter and walking into ten thousand gay men at Folsom. i belong there. i worked for it.
i have no problem crawling naked on my knees across the length of a ballroom to lick the boots of the one that holds my leash and my life, dripping cum and pain and blood if He desires. i belong there, i earned that.
i have no problem standing up and stopping a scene when someone doesn't know what they are doing when i am on a DM shift.  i belong there. i trained for that.
i have no problem going toe to toe and eye to eye with the smartest, richest, most well respected member of the world if i think they are wrong. i belong there. i am an equal.
Yet, for too long, i had that little 'discrepancy' moment in leather. At IMsL, at SWLC, at Renegades.
That moment, from time to time, when i felt like an intruder, or a fake, a guest or a fraud.
Yeah- fraud. There under pretense. Not what i appeared.
i did not feel real.
Years ago (2002) a friend wanted me to run for Miss SCCLA. i declined, mostly because i did not feel like i belonged.
Pitching in didn't matter, being a friend didn't matter, having the same goals and needs and desires and fears didn't matter.
I felt outside the inner circle of belonging. i was not part of that land.
For a long time i wondered- and questioned- if it had something to do with feeling above others, or better than others, or like i was just here temporarily on my path or if i was too new to the scene, or too old for the scene, or too wealthy or too poor or too vanilla or too kinky.
I feared i didn't deserve to be an equal with some of those people who were my friends.
But i could never figure out why. What in HELL was i seeing in myself that did not allow me the luxury of being *there*?
So i started asking people, what they thought 'leather' was about.

That opened the can of worms and it hasn't closed since.
Every time i asked a group to try and define that, no one has. Like pornography and the Supreme Court, you'll know it when you see it, but you won't be able to define it.

Power Exchange
Butch Boys
family Gay men
Alternative Sexuality
Wild Crazy Nights
Pass Code for BDSM
Hidden Secrets
Shared Values
Gun shy

Pick any 26.

Every member of the tribe will tell you something different. Every person on the outside will tell you something else. Every answer will lead to more questions, every smile will hide a bit of doubt about this life. The ones that seem to be the leaders will freely admit they are still learning and that they want to know more as much as the newbie in the door, and the writers will tell you they get their best ideas from the people the talk to.
It is a fluid thing, like love, and faith , and hope.
There is no magic checklist one can accomplish to 'belong' anymore than buying a pair of chaps and fucking in the street- it is not about any concrete thing.
It is about your heart. It is about the compassion and the joy and the selflessness that one comes into over time when you have found it. It is about sex, and power, but mostly about the power of yourself- the power to overcome the fears each and every one of us grows in our souls as we grow up knowing that we are different. Yes, we can put on the suit and show up for family dinner and none of our midwest wholesome family see it. We do not have horns growing out of our heads or a tail. Although some of us want to.
It is about authenticity and honesty with yourself first. Getting comfortable in your own skin. Then getting comfortable showing off some skin. It is about stripping away the judgement and taking your life by the balls and doing a 108 on the hot tarmac of the American Dream because THAT is not the direction that makes you happy.
We have another dream. We dare to follow it, even when it leads to loss and bankruptcy and isolation and panic. It leads us home.
Home in rooms without a monitor on our tongues or an uncomfortable pair of panty hose on our hips.
Home in any Eagle in America or any dungeon in the world.
Home with no one but ourselves and our hearts.
i understood all that. Standing up and saying ' I am leather' however never seemed to fit.
Then, one night about a month ago, i understood why.
In a strange flashback that included the first time i walked into The Outcasts meeting, a trip to a SF leather store, a horror of a night at a public dungeon, and a wet feeling at the smell of leather, it dawned on me.
Leather- in my head- was too masculine for me as a label. It did not seem to fit me personally.
The answer flew up at me in that second as well.

I am lipstick leather. i will never seem butch, never be '3 patch hard', never be whatever it is in my head that i was denying when i put on my leathers and went out with my friends. Not lace either- not some frilly feminine softness that eludes me on my best days and is oh so attractive in my lovers some nights.
Just like me showing up at a kink event in formal wear, i am never- EVER- exactly what people expect, and i have never felt 100% of anything. There is always a touch of me in the mix- a bit of my own brand peeking out.

Maybe it is a need to have 'style'- like the great fashionistas of old, i have a look, a feel about me that i have to express before i feel comfortable and 'whole'.
THAT changes everything, including my joy in my leather. i am lipstick leather, a girl living her life more fully than promise, more openly than possible, more heavily than most.

Because there is one thing about leather that i love more than anything else.
In leather, anything is possible.

Copyright shadow, May 15, 2006 All rights reserved. Please write for permission to repost. All reposts must be complete with copyright and contact info.

Monday, January 09, 2012

The Sexiest Man In The Room

#43. The Sexiest Man In The Room.
Essays on a life of P.E.

January 9th, 2012 by shadow

i need to serve God...
my Owner is my God, the morning sun and the evening moon, the center of my Universe.
i have always sought the strongest, hardest, most unmalleable man in the room to serve, to learn with, to play with.
Someone i can look up to, cannot manipulate, who is smarter in enough areas of O/our lives that it is WORTH it to me to follow His lead rather than my own way.
Someone who knows better than me in a few things.
Yes, i come with things i am not am amateur about. i am an English major/writer who can put anyone else under the table with a typewriter (keyboard). i am a great organizer, good at teaching, a professional urban wildlife expert, well educated in kinky toys and how to use them (2.5 years in Leather Masters was the graduate course after 10 years teaching/stunt cunting in the scene), and i can sew and knit, paint and draw, decorate and garden, and i am well trained in living with and advocating for special needs kids.
That doesn't mean that i don't want someone in my life who can run O/our lives, make the right decisions on the big things, and let me FOLLOW.
The man i found, i look up to, respect, and see as that center for my life.
He wants to do this, and is more than capable of handling it.
But His humility is part of what i find so attractive.
My Master - a man that can drop a fleeing problem without a second thought, a man that needs to bow to *no one*- shows the deferential respect and humility to several in the scene.
No one asked Him to, and He chose those people based on their seniority to Him, their experience, their history with me, and their *deserving* of His respect just because *they are who they are*.

It is not easy to explain, but, like the phrase famously used by United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart to describe his threshold test for pornography in Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964), "we know it when we see it".

i remember my first role model in slavery, Jeff Tucker, a man who's humility and sincerity to this day astonish me from time to time.
He wanted to learn, to be of service, and to grow. He is still a friend i keep in touch with to this day, and someone i will always respect because of his attitude about himself and his own importance. He never felt that he *knew* anything well enough to be that role model. He wal *always learning* and always an apprentice.

i doubt i could EVER be that humble and respectful. i work on it a lot , but i just doubt i have that consistent ability.
i have seen it in myself from time to time, most often once i have spent some time in subspace and with Owner.

i know some great Doms that don't necessarily exhude humility- but they don't take themselves seriously either, and i am endeared to them for their ability to laugh at themselves, to laugh with others at their foibles, to appreciate the tenuous line between "Dominant" and "Twue Domly Lord Of the Universe". They might have skills that would make the entire east coast step back and bow, but they would never claim to have them. Others would have to do that. In a way, it reflects the Old Guard ideal that no one was a "Master" of any skill set until others acknowledged that and bestowed the title.

i know, and have served folks that i could come to and express my devotion and how i SEE them, and they accepted those accolades with respect and kindness. i have been in service to people who *expected* me to see them as smarter, or faster, or more of a 'master' of some technique or tool or toy, and i fulfilled my duties and got out as fast as allowable because it was hard not to just laugh at them.
Pomposity always brings out the "needle" in my energy-- i gotta needle them about it, dig just a little and see how thick their skin is. Hot air and all that. i am drawn to ego in need of a pin prick like flies to meat in summer.
Yeah, that is not very slavish, not very polite, and not very nice. i admit it, it is a character flaw of mine.
Part of my education in the scene has been to sublimate that reaction to the point where the obnoxious amongst us don't ever see it, and no one realizes that behind the mask of polite, respectful me is a little voice, holding it's belly and rolling on the floor laughing so hard i can feel the snot starting to drip from my sinus's.
Some nights i don't get too good a grip on it and then all hell might break lose. Sir "H" (who has the best grip on His humility of any man i ever met!) says that "the safety comes off" when that happens.

The reverse of that is something that i am drawn to- the humble dominant, the man who really IS capable of RAMBO tactics, can handle me with 1 hand tied behind His back, and yet, when given a compliment, cannot just smile and accept the warm. The man that is uncomfortable when i tell Him how strong He is, how much His style arouses me, how damned HOT He looks.
The men in my world that do not see themselves in that light, that become uncomfortable with the spotlight- they draw me with their tact and their humility. They leave me breathless with their lack of ego, their soft approach to the world, their patience and their quiet.
Quiet men doing incredible things, easily at home with owning me even as they ask someone to show them something, teach them something, share with them along this road. Often, the men i want to be Owned by have been the quiet ones that would rather sit and listen than blow their own horn. There is usually much more to learn at their feet than with anyone else in the room. My leather family head, Viper, is just one of those men. He does not see His work and craft as more than 'what He does", yet the respect He garners nationwide is obvious and exciting.

i remember 4 years ago at Thunder in the Mountains i went to a class with a guy from LA who was teaching theory on finding a mate in the scene. He stood up at the podium, all pretty and young and dressed "just right" and started his lecture about how he had been in the scene 2 years, already owned 3 different collared slaves, and was completely at home telling us his secrets to finding mates. He started off by telling folks that they should create false bios on collar me to learn what the people they were trying to attract often got as mail (i.e. if you are a sub, write a dom bio and read the mail that comes in). The room was pretty appalled by then, and when his next 5 min continued to spout self aggrandizing bullshit, several of us walked out. It was not just a disaster, but the beginning of the 'buffoon' label that haunts this guy to this very day. He had come in as a competent artistic bondage guy- but everyone who watched his scenes could SEE how he was worried about the bondage. about the way HE looked, about the *beauty* of the art- and didn't care one whit for the bottoms he put up, nor give aftercare to them when they were down- he was too busy with his adoring audience. The man could not find 'humility' with a dictionary already highlighted for him. He made all the classic mistakes 'newbs' and 'twe doms' make. They are so full of themselves they cannot wait to show everyone how they know everything.

i remember the first essay - a simple history of the munch actually- that i wrote in kink space. i had been around over a year, came in as a writer and researcher, and with Miss Vicky i wanted to start some 'documentation' on where this stuff came from. i had been floundering and always asking people about how things started (this was before Leather Archives had taken off or a dozen other reputable and mostly reliable sites), and felt i had done a nice job. Nothing fancy. i posted it on my own home page back on AOL, and was really proud of it.
i was shocked and dismayed when one of the leaders in the SF scene at that time trashed me totally on a public chat list for being 'assumptive' and writing without having paid my dues in the scene. There were a LOT of folks who felt that way, and over the years i have run afoul of that belief more than once. A part of me feels they are completely right. The BDSM scene is a closed community with a lot of broken screens and a few wide open windows, where the older guard (there are several kinds, and layers, and disciplines) do not always appreciate the young up starts who show up and just 'make it up on their own' without paying due deference to the folks that are teaching them.
There is at least one 'dominant' who teaches- poorly and dangerously- who had been in public about 6 months when he asked a scene veteran to show him how to do needles one night. The following month he proceeded to teach classes. The scene veteran was shocked that he was telling others how to do this, using their name as his 'mentor' when they had done no such thing, and spent months dealing with mail from people who had played with or done classes with the new needle king because the king used that veteran's name repeatedly and they felt that *that* alone was a good enough reason to trust the person.
It got messy.
i don't bring these things up to dredge old issues- they are examples of the ways we can accidentally put our foot in it, taking our ego and letting it drive the car. And, with the combination of anonymity and fluid movement of folks in and out of the scene, there is never a dearth of examples.

It is, however, also a very touchy thing within scene politics and *protocols*. In some groups, the slaves not only show deference and respect to *every top*, but the idea that any of them would ever question that is not even considered. In other circles, the pompous domly one that shows up expecting the idea automatically is laughed out of the room (or at least sniggered at from the group at the buffet table).

Hence my sudden adoration with my Owner all over again. i try to explain to Him how *i* see Him, and He begs off. i make some statement about His strength (which every slave should see in their Owner at some level) and He asks me to stop. i try to describe to Him the man i personally know in His personality, in His actions, in the way He THINKS about Ownership, control, play & me. He becomes uncomfortable with that. As He would if anyone said such a thing. Other men He works with look up to Him and respect Him, rely on Him and expect Him to protect those in His charge, yet He has no ego. Puffery does not become Him. " Needing others to show Him 'respect' is not something He asks for, nor wants.
A lady on line posted "In my opinion, humility is incredibly important in any individual - especially a Master", and i felt the pull of total agreement.
My Owner is a natural with a whip, but He has said that it will be years of constant use before He will allow the idea that He has 'mastered' it to be voiced. i love that. His abilities with a gun however, come from 30 years of use- He was a Master of that item before He ever found me. He is in awe of the men and women that have those whip skills and share them with Him, and enjoys their company as He grows. But He will never lose the humility of His soul, which is, actually, much more attractive than anything else a person can bring into the room.
i envy that, and keep working on it.

Copyright shadow, January 9th, 2012
All rights reserved. Please write i999shadow@aol.comfor permission to repost. All reposts must be complete with copyright and contact info.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Being afraid of yourself

#42. Slave Diaries- Being afraid of yourself.
Introspection and the good path.

Essays on a life of P.E.
Jan. 7th, 2012
By shadow

Funny how you sing along to something for decades and then one day the lyrics really SINK IN...
i have been having some conversations with folks who are just 1-2 years into WIITWD, and for the SMART ones, they are questioning themselves, what they thought before they arrived here, what they think they might want.
The Sadists spend time questioning just WHERE they will stop- if given complete control over someone, what will be the place where that darkness will recede and the men or woman they thought they were will emerge- be it a single scene, or a lifetime of play.
i have watched this over and over and over again in my oh so short time in the scene, people who have fantasies in their head, misery in their lives, marriages that are dead things they maintain like watering withered plants, who find a munch, or a chat group, who write me or join Fetlife or come to an event and stand at the edges...
Hungry for the banquet in front of them, unable to comprehend that this is REAL and not just their own personal wank world, that it's NOT just fiction for movies and people who write books and don't really believe...
it exists.
They come, they want to know about it ALL right now, and they start to play, and meet, and talk and learn and buy toys and make things and get to have those extraordinary orgasms from the sheer THRILL of it all.
For the sadists, they get hard (wet- take your pick here) when they grab that slave by the hair, pull out a knife, or sink their teeth in.
They get excited just HANDLING the damned rope in their homes, and spend their free moments daily considering what they want to do next, who they want to play with, how to get out of the house, where they will dump the kids for the weekend, how to make enough cash to pay for the toy.
They want to do it all, and every day their fantasies get a little more..... dark.
More deep. More bloody.
As time goes by, they find themselves afraid to play- afraid of what they are becoming. They wanted to throw that flogger over and over and more than once had to apologize to someone because they never heard the yellow, never noticed the tears, deliberately let one more blow land before backing off.
They feel horribly guilty about that- they are turning into monsters, they are unable to fuck like nice people anymore, they don't WANT that stupid marriage they are in, they want to run riot and let it all out of the cage, stop listening to the saner voice in their head, quit paying attention to the screams and just bathe in the blood and the pain and the horror.
They are suddenly afraid of themselves.

The situation is different if you are in the public scene- here, we have classes that offer insight, books you can read freely that will give you perspective, discussion groups to make friends and forge the bonds so that you know you are NOT some animal, and this is not some horrible disease we have.
In vanilla life, you can often tell who IS someone who found their sadism outside of community, and once they saw their own beast ran screaming back into their closet, slammed the door and now sees all kink as dangerous perversions.
They are the religious zealots, the political hacks, the 'one true way' believers.

Here in the scene, we all go through those times when we need to look inside and often wonder if what we see is real- and if the future we extrapolate from our current play thoughts is one of terror and pain, where we will end up as victims of our unleashed passions.
We won't of course. We will get over the alienation we find inside us upon meeting these sexual feelings that no one ever told us about. We will find out psychological keys and make sense out of the threads we read that strike a chord in our hearts. We find partners that give us safe harbor to explore what we NEED to do while being safe and honest with us so we never feel we are taking advantage of another person.
We find those magical bubbles of intense human bonding that no one ever told us about- the intimacy of the dance.
We have fallen through the Looking glass ( a phrase i used at my first South Bay Discussion Group in 2000 to describe how i personally felt about suddenly finding this whole community), and we are seeing that we will NOT be swept away in the flood of strange tears with wild beasts. We understand the path, and we can plot the next move of the chess pieces in our heart.
Most of us never find that one partner (or that one poly family) with the right balance for our needs, the right balance of gifts they bring and offerings from us they will accept. For *most* of the people in BDSM, they will consider themselves blessed if they find happiness in stretches of 1 to 2 years between periods of being alone again.
Some will come into this scene and find the language that defines their fantasies, and leave again to meet their play partners back in vanilla lands- sometimes without ever letting on to those others what they really harbor behind their eyes.
Some will come here, find their kinks, and then feel sated and need to move on to other things that are their new 'hearts desire'.
Some come here and realize that what they had in their head was MORE than want they wanted, and to live it out in the flesh is not as good, not as fun, not as fulfilling.
For a small few of us, we will come through the mirror and instantly, irrevocably feel "home", knowing that we might well not find a lover forever, but we have crossed our own personal Rubicon and can never go back to living in a world where the ideas of power exchange are considered dangerous, where impact play is shunned, where people fear to talk about their feelings and it is considered *smart* and *safe* to hide what is in one's heart.

i find that stupid in the extreme. The isolation in vanilla life of living inside your own head and never truly trusting those around you with EVERYTHING is now, 14 years later, impossible for me to imagine. The idea of manipulating your partner by with holding what you want, misrepresenting things based on your own assumptions about what your partner MIGHT be thinking just appalls me.

So here you are, standing in the window of the candy store, hunger gnawing in your head, and yet the fear of what you might become, what you might DO given half a chance, makes you nervous, and worried that this is the wrong path.

My own thoughts on this are: So long as you are worried, so long as you are concerned, you are fine. It's the one's that DON'T care about their partners, that DO want to play in secret, alone in the dark with their demons and a partner in chains, that worry me.
When you find yourself in the bubble, SHARING that power with another, feeling with them, breathing with them, FEEDING off them because they want this as much as you do, fight it as hard, and live waiting for the next scene- that's the best of all.

Which brings me back to the music playing inside my head. The time between finding out that you belong here, and the moment you have the partner that lets you fly.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Waiting (copyright TP&H, From "Hard Promises" 1981 LINK CLICK HERE)

Oh baby don't it feel like heaven right now
Don't it feel like somethin' from a dream
Yeah I've never known nothing quite like this
Don't it feel like tonight might never be again
We know better than to try and pretend
Baby no one could have ever told me 'bout this

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

Well Yeah I might have chased a couple of women around
All it ever got me was down
Then there were those that made me feel good
But never as good as I feel right now
Baby you're the only one that's ever known how
To make me wanna live like I wanna live now

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

Don't let it kill you baby, don't let it get to you
Don't let 'em kill you baby, don't let 'em get to you
I'll be your breathin' heart, I'll be your cryin' fool
Don't let this go to far, don't let it get to you

Copyright shadow, January 7th, 2012

All rights reserved. Please write for permission to repost. All reposts must be complete with copyright and contact info.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Leaps of Faith

#57. Leaps of Faith, and Trusting in the Universe .
Essays on a life of P.E.
June 22, 2010 by shadow

Last night i went to a discussion group, and the topic, within M/s and D/s relationships, was

"Trust sometimes involves a leap of faith, and in this life style we frequently trust our counterparts
(and our colleagues) (and also ourselves?) to an extent that risks much.
Emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, and more.
What are these leaps of faith that we must make? Are the small ones any less big than the big ones?
How do we do it? What happens wen we don't do it? Why don't we do it, sometimes?
How can we become better at doing it?
And what in the heck compels us to continue doing it?"

i loved running into this because of the recent turn of events in my life.
i have, to some extent or another, never risked so much that there was 'no where to go' if things failed.
i have never put my last dollar into a venture, never gone anywhere with a total stranger without someone knowing, never pushed my life to the breaking point without having a sure knowledge that there was someone, somewhere, that could bail me out.
i had my parents up until long past my son's birth 17 years ago.
i planned things so that, while we might be 'flying by the seat of our pants' day to day cash flow wise, there was a steady build up of reserves and something to fall back on when things got rough.

In my emotional life, i did that as well. Early on, i learned the valuable lesson about how lovers part.
Don't yell.
It doesn't matter if you think he's a bastard- yelling that at him won't change it.
It doesn't matter if you HAVE to scream at her about your undying need for her- she won't stay.
Begging and whining and pleading and crying don't make people stay- if they cared enough for that to sway them, they wouldn't be leaving in the first place.
Like death, using the 5 stages as weapons at a partner are, in the end, not going to slow the grim reaper OR that lover as they walk out the door. Denial only makes them shake their head and wonder why they cannot get through to you. Anger makes them want to flee sooner. Bargaining- be it promises of 'being better' or offering to change things- should have been done LONG before the official relationship pink slip arrives under your bedroom door.

Using that as a basis of logic, i have tried to never have any 'famous final scenes" when parting, although i did once have someone return to pick things up WITH the person that had taken my place in their affections. i DID throw things assist him in moving out in that instance. It was stupid on their part to not think what they were doing, and a nice release of energy on my part as their belongings went over the fence.

Knowing this, people can also surmise that i do NOT enter into love lightly.
i look, i plan, i watch. Yes, every man or woman i have ever fallen in love with i KNEW were going to be important to me the first time i laid eyes on them, and in at least 2 cases i KNEW i had already begun to fall in love with them in that instant.
i knew, i was smitten, i was a goner, i was hooked.
That did not mean, however, that i did not 'hedge my bets' and 'cover my ass'.
In vanilla life, i might well be sitting home waiting for a phone call- but i would never let them know it, and i always played the casual, cool siren. Grace Kelly had nothin' on me. If they were boys, i would become their friend long before i let them know just how much i cared about them, and make sure that i was not barking up the wrong tree. i might date them and love them and call them my boyfriend, but i never got possessive. i not only did not want to be THAT clingy little bitch, but there was also a deep part of me that, being poly, might not have understood the feelings at the time, but sure gravitated to the idea that "so long as i am being loved and cared for, there is no reason they cannot also enjoy the company of others.... and so can i!".
There was *one* boy in high school that decided - just before Sr. Prom- to dump me in favor of the other person he was also seeing. She had given him sad stories of herself that were all fabrications, but i knew better than to try to overturn true love.
i never confronted him about that. i did, however, gather 4 friends in a van and drive to her home very early that June morning on the heels of a 3 day heat wave, armed with red wine and eggs, and turned her car into a traveling Jackson Pollock. By the time she went outside the wine had eaten off what paint was not sealed under the now cooked eggs. The 5 of us had breakfast at the International House of justice and revenge. With syrup.

From that day forward however, i realized that even that was hollow- it did nothing to sooth the pain inside, and i never wanted ANYONE to see that pain again. To admit to letting someone INSIDE so far that they could hurt me that badly was to admit being stupid, being unable to control my life, being vulnerable and being at someone's mercy. THEY controlled how my life would be. What would i do if i TOLD someone how much i cared, and it scared them off? What would happen if i SHARED that kind of commitment with someone who changed their mind? i would be alone, bereft, and unable to trust them.
In a way, however, i had already lost trust. Probably even before puberty had fully formed, i had lost the ability to trust ANYONE with the really scary things in my heart. With my needs. With the horrors i felt at the idea of being abandoned, being abused, being left behind.
Another thing i learned in college was the psychology of relationships almost invariably involves one person being 'more committed' than the other. One side has more power than the other, one side is more emotionally vested.
even as i dated trying to find an M/s relationship without knowing what that was, i was equally committed to being "Miss Independent" and taking care of myself included NEVER being farther in that the other party. My poly lifestyle (i dated 3 different men on and off interchangeably back then- all of them knew of the others, and all but 1 had been introduced to all the others) not withstanding, i kept that small part of myself where the PAIN could be caused tightly under lock and key.
So i learned to never,ever, fall more in love with someone than they were with me. That led to several inappropriate relationships and lots of interesting strange dates, but felt more like 'marking time' than seriously searching for my life to begin.
Then i met and began to love my spouse. Still insecure, still uncertain, i enjoyed being the responsible one, the more in charge one. My need for independence and to show the world as well as my relatives that i was capable of taking care of myself led me to find someone that i would always be able to dominate. A lovely situation if a girl wants to be in control, or a perfect example of what Gloria Steinham said "Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry. "

i stayed, and i grew and i learned, and i took some chances, but only one true leap- that of planning to become pregnant and have a child. No one can predict that, nor can anyone guarantee any part of the process no matter how small, how minor. Your whole world is up for grabs then, and nothing will ever be the same no matter how confident and sure you are.

i never regretted that particular leap, but i did learn quite a bit about my life partner along the way.
He was unable to make that kind of leap of faith. He could not just trust *anything* or anyone.

Meanwhile, the inner core of the slave in me was squirming to get out, and becoming less happy with each day.i rented a movie and stumbled upon the sexuality i craved, bought books and found the desires i needed, got a computer and found out what the real vocabulary of it all was, what was possible, and that i lived in Kink Central. And unlike the Ghostbusters, ANYONE could go out and capture some of that good stuff. But i still did not have *faith* in that larger than life sense.

i had to learn about trusting people to physically be careful, to not damage me while creating sensations that make people wince.
i had to find trusting places where i could give information and not have it come back to haunt me.
i had my personal trust of my confidential information violated, and learned the old phrase "fool me once, shame on you- fool me again, shame on me". She/ they will never fool me again. Once was enough.
Physically, i had a few close calls. i made choices based on being 'good' rather than 'smart'. i learned how to protect myself and be a fair and equal partner in BDSM play. i deepened my beliefs in being independent enough to take care of me. i learned to NOT make leaps of faith when it comes to play, to my personal well being, to non-romantic situations.
i will NEVER advocate anyone new and seeking their joy to just jump into things, and will forever encourage newbies to hold back, to provide safety nets and safe calls and back up plans, to learn and take their time.

Yet in 2003, as i was grilling a new gentleman over the phone (can you say 20 questions would never have been enough?) and learning to trust him and believe in him, i was accidentally giving in to faith, into believing in things unspoken, and into trusting that he would take care of things.
4.5 years later, that rug too was pulled out- and the devastation was nuclear. i had let him teach me to trust, and allowed him inside all the sacred spaces. His leaving was the horror i waited my whole life to avoid, the one most terrible of all the terribles. Like losing a parent or a child, losing an Owner - and the collar that i felt would be forever- wiped out a core part of my ability to function, and took away the security of 'having faith'.

i abandoned a lot of things, and spent time trying to remember to breath some days. i swore i would never, ever, ever let anyone do that again. i had to discard my heart because it was too broken to repair- and wasn't THAT the whole point of my M/s life choices- to be safe enough to offer that fragile orb and have it carried safely without fear of damage?
i grew a new one, slowly, and spent months agonizing over HOW i would re-enter this life.
i put out an advertisement, and i 'interviewed' for months, even as i dated that core of soft hearts that protected me, even as i leaned on my leather family to keep me unbruised while i tried to learn to do this again. i knew i was too young to just walk away, and that the Universe still had some surprises for me.

i took a little leap when i announced i was ready to being dating again. It was a social leap- risking only my pride a bit. After all, i might never find anyone to share myself with- let alone a dominant partner with the potential to actually LIVE with.
i took a bigger leap of faith one night on facebook when i wrote to a photo that seemed eerily like an old love of mine. Nothing more risked than a social gaff, worst case scenario that he remembered me with less than joy. At most to lose, the memory of something special and the hope that i might find that again some day.

Sometimes however, no matter how we plan for things to be a certain way, no matter how we assume our day will go, things happen. Sunspots occur. Owls come sit on your roof, the calendar becomes Friday the 13th, your period arrives early or your car explodes. What you prepared for suddenly is NOT what is happening right in front of you.

i went for coffee, to flirt a bit, to reminisce, to see how the years and the miles had worn on perfect moment in my life. i thought it would be light, chatty, and i would be asked some questions and then patted on the head and sent off down the road. i went prepared to share some laughs and touch my innocence for just a little while before i came back to my reality.

He came as well to chat, to laugh, to get some information and flirt just a bit and then go back to the carefully planned life he had put in motion. He had no intention of offering even a smidgen of vulnerability. He never planned on having the whole world *tilt* on a new axis. Yet somehow, every word out of my mouth seemed to change his planned direction and every new word out of his mouth changed the color of the sun and within just a few hours, we had each offered the other a new choice.

A precipice was before us.
Each time we spoke, we agreed- this was what we wanted, and what we would commit to. And i had to make that internal choice. Would i, for once in my life, just trust without proofs up front? They had not helped me in the past- but then again, i had also only had just the *one* crash and burn- there are people out there who's lives are emotional crash test dummies as they practice the art of rushing in.

So, i had to spend some time thinking about this chance- this one perfect golden moment.
i had already survived the worst thing that can happen to a slave, and the worst fear of anyone who wanted to protect their privacy.
i was still breathing.
WHAT was i afraid of? Pain? Been there- she is now an old friend.
Loss of self? No sweat- i can never lose this amazing personality, it's subjugation is temporary, and the core being is stronger than steel.
Lose my family? i had already planned divorce- and my son is almost grown. i would never risk HIS happiness, but i no longer have to worry about needing to be here, raise him, nor what he thinks of mom on her own- he's supportive.
Lose money? hell- that train left with the first wave of bank foreclosures.
Risking looking like a fool, and finding out somewhere down the road that i had been duped and left behind at the end was just about the only thing i feared- but it was also the biggest of them all in many ways.

Then one day i was watching "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" with Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney. Writer Philip Dunne had caught the entire conundrum in a nutshell.

"Real happiness is worth almost any risk".

Real Happiness. *REAL* happiness, not the temporary kind, not the facade without the meat, not the happy face but the closed off heart- not the woman waiting for something *someday* instead of today. Not the fantasy of accepting blindly for a moments peace, nor the happy that comes when one has 'settled' out of fear, out of boredom, because we grow tired.

i looked into my soul and asked myself what would happen to me if i did NOT take this leap.
The slowly curdling frightened soul that stared back at me disgusted me to the core. If i 'looked the gift horse in the mouth', if i ran away from this amazing wonderful man, if i did not take the leap, i knew i was lost forever.
No one would ever be a more perfect fit to me than this man, and our reunion was no accident.
11 days later, i wrote this prose.


"Don't Jump!" they yelled
up through the sky
as she stood on the precipice above
"Don't do it!" they called from the safety of the pavement
frantically watching
the lonely figure on the edge
looking down
"Stop and think!" the crowd mewled,
begging notes of anxiety
their words laced in surety
eyes shielded from the brightness and the sun
their own fears uppermost
in their admonishments
"NOOOOO!" they cried in unison
watching her lean forward
head into the wind
looking up.

As she stepped off to find the sky
They did not see the beginnings of her wings.

Dec. 18th, 2009
In His care, His pet, shadow

We never leap alone- and if we share that fear of heights with the loved one, we cannot fall- we can only fly.
This time, i am not 'building trust'.
i just have incredible faith.

Copyright shadow, May 15, 2006All rights reserved. Please write for permission to repost. All reposts must be complete with copyright and contact info.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Prime Directive

#200. Taking care of Your Partners Toys
Essays on a life of P.E.
March 2, 2010
by shadow

During a conversation with a new-ish person to BDSM, i was once again reminded that the internet allows ACCESS to BDSM without STRUCTURE- something we had back in the dark ages when a person could not become a member of the public community without arriving via another kinky person, going to private events, and being MENTORED.
Now a days, people google us up, show up at a public club, beat each other silly, and often have no clue about the deeper and larger foundations of WIITWD (or the acronyms- go look that one up if you need to).

The Prime Directive is one of those underpinnings that make all power exchanges both possible, and easy to do as a dance for the bottom.
The biggest problem for me when i became a power exchange player was that there were times i wanted to say 'Hey, that deep throat thing not only hurts, but i think it will fuck up my ability to speak at my class tomorrow" without feeling like i was topping from the bottom.
Being home sick in bed, i once got up and went out in the rain because i was living with a standing order to do an errand. i got much sicker.

How is a submissive or slave person supposed to both serve unconditionally and not end up killing themselves?
How are we supposed to navigate the realms of information VS selfishness and independence?
What is too much information?

The Prime Directive is the catch all for this.
Now, Star Trek fans will remember this:

"In the fictional universe of Star Trek, the Prime Directive, Starfleet's General Order #1, is the most prominent guiding principle of the United Federation of Planets. The Prime Directive dictates that there can be no interference with the internal development of pre-warp civilizations, consistent with the historical real world concept of Westphalian sovereignty. It has special implications, however, for civilizations that have not yet developed the technology for interstellar spaceflight ("pre-warp"), since no primitive culture can be given or exposed to any information regarding advanced technology or the existence of extraplanetary civilizations, lest this exposure alter the natural development of the civilization. Although this was the only application stated by Captain Kirk in "The Return of the Archons", by the 24th Century, it had been indicated to include purposeful efforts to improve or change in any way the natural course of such a society, even if that change is well-intentioned and kept completely secret.
"Pre-warp" is defined as any culture which has not yet attained warp drive technology and is thus, implicitly, unaware of the existence of alien races." Wikipedia.

"The most prominent guiding principal" is the key phrase here. It is about encompassing everything else based on something important that is designed to stop total destruction.

For kinky folks that adhere to the idea, the "Prime Directive" is simple, and applies to subs, bottoms, property, etc:

* The slave is responsible for taking care of, maintaining and protecting all her Owners toys.
* The slave is the most important toy.

Well, once you can wrap your brain around it, yes, it is.
YOU dear bottomish person, are a toy, a tool, a plaything, a partner in BDSM.
YOU are the most important thing in your partners life, and as such, you have to protect and take care of yourself.
Are you sick? Your job is to make sure you don't get sicker until you get such orders from your partner as change that.
Did you cut yourself? You are supposed to stop and fix that, clean it, cover it before continuing with whatever you are doing.
Are you in the middle of a scene and sure that you are about to have some horrible flashback? It's your job to notify the partner that something awful is about to happen.

Within the parameters of the BDSM realm i live in, the power people want their partners happy, safe, and able to play again. We don't go the 'Boxing Helena" route because we want to play with those parts AGAIN. Most of us believe that the bottom is supposed to be taken care of and protected by the top, and that the top WANTS to make their partner happy- because, if the bottom isn't happy, they are going to leave.

How to do that is not always easy, and can be tricky for the bottom to participate in without this magical 'prime directive'.

When playing, it is your JOB to give the top all the information about what is going on with you, be it cramps, bleeding, pain, fear, or the fact that the building is on fire. You are not allowed to hide that or keep it back. Reporting on how YOU are is what YOU are there for- they aren't mind readers! Is that bondage on your hand making it go numb? Your JOB is to take care of the toy- so reporting on something UNINTENDED by the top is your job.
Playing all weekend and now you have some strange symptoms? It's your JOB to let the top know.
Supposed to go play tonight but you fell and hurt your ankle? It's your JOB to report that info before the Top begins with their plans.

Now- once you GIVE them that info, what they do with it is their decision. YOUR job is to protect the toys, and, depending on your level of Power Exchange, that could, for a basic bottom/ top pair, include calling a scene because you feel damage of some kind is imminent.
USUALLY however, it's about caring for ourselves in the day to day, moment to moment.

Bottomish persons, especially slaves and submissives, tend to want to take care of everyone else before themselves. We will push ourselves when we are not healthy, we will ignore injuries, we will cut our needed sleep or take on chores when we should not. Having the "Prime Directive" in our lives means that we have an order to NOT do those things- we have to take care of ourselves as well as our partners, family, owners, friends, jobs, lovers, etc.

Before i clean up the toys, i clean up myself. When i take time to sharpen knives, i am maintaining them just as i maintain my own body through good sleep and exercise. When i wipe off the furniture, or hang the floggers to straighten, or re-handle the canes, i am taking care of them so that they can be as good as possible- good as new- and used again. They belong to their owner, *my* owner.

So do i. And i am not allowed to do anything that will damage this property. NO self inflicted injuries (cutting, drunken stupors, driving without a seat belt, eating 50 donuts in a row), no forgetting medications, no pushing myself beyond safe limits in my day to day life.
i have to show up in my best possible condition for my partner.

It also means that, when we are learning the dance, when we are new, and getting used to each other, that the Prime Directive keeps me safe. i am SUPPOSED to be watching and evaluating that person, to make sure they can take care of me, that they know what they are doing when they pull out that toy, that they are going to make sure that i am taken care of.

It doesn't mean that we over ride their orders- but it means that we do not have to just SHUT OFF our own natural inclinations or ignore our fears for personal safety.

It takes some time to wrap one's brain around, it doesn't offer someone carte blanche to be selfish, and it is a fluid thing that becomes less and less needed over time as a partner learns about you, the individual and becomes more and more in charge of your world. YOU, bottomish power exchange person, are not in charge of your whole world anymore. But you still have to maintain yourself to be able to give yourself to another. Take care of your partners toys, for they do not belong to you, and they are important, expensive, and loved. YOU are the most cherished toy there is.

Copyright shadow, March 2, 2010
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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Whatever You Want

#11.Whatever You want
The art of serving with style.

Essays on a life of P.E.
February 24th, 2010
by shadow

Owners of flesh are human, and in most good TPE M/s relationships, that human element is alive and well.
Owners want the input of their slaves, and slaves, given their feelings on 'control' are loath to give it.
"What should we have for dinner" they are asked.
"Where do you want to go shopping?".
"What movie do you want to see?" and a million other things.

My fellow slaves and submissives all have their own ideas on their unique situations and how they feel about that. Each of them has a story to tell and a reason for what they do and why they do it.

i have my own reasons for often- heck, USUALLY- saying "whatever You want Sir'.

i am not trying to be obsequious, subservient, or even just too complacent. Nor am i trying to get attention by forcing them to ask again, nor am i just a doormat. i have very clear wants and desires, needs and likes, dislikes and a list a mile long of what i want to do or see or read or be.
i have just come to the realization that i don't LIKE IT when i get to be the one in charge.
When i make the decision, i am never surprised, never exposed to something new, and never get a chance to have things happen in some way i am unaware of.
When i make the choice, i am choosing from a list of things i already KNOW- and might not be taking other possibilities into account.
The core reason, however, is that i have chosen wisely.
This is the second relationship i have had where i was careful to make sure that we share core values, and that our lifestyles coming into M/s had lots of common values and
parallels. We have the same tastes in food, movies, wine-- we both have ashes of loved ones, we both have not just similar, but exactly the same tragedies in our pasts.
We both come from Admin. Justice backgrounds, and we both were born and raised here in the same valley- middle class kids in a middle class world.
i have chosen wisely with this man, and so it is EASY for me to just say "Whatever You want Sir", and not worry.
He wants me in His life, and so He is always aware of what i might like or dislike- and takes that into account. If it's something i dislike, i know there must be a reason, and so i am happy to be exposed to something that pleases Him.
He and i share values, likes and dislikes, so when i say those words, i know that He is going to chose something within the realm of what i also will probably like.
It drives Him nuts some days, this 'whatever You want' syndrome i have, this ability to let go so easily, this sincere happy place where i do not HAVE TO choose or control or get what i want (or think i want). i get what i want just BEING with Him now. i HAVE all the things i need- He sees to that, and He watches constantly, evaluating, learning, paying attention and filing things away. Just as i do.
We are both in that place where we want to please the other, and we want to make the other happy. THAT is what real service is all about, isn't it? BOTH parties taking care of the other, providing what they need, and feeling accepted, respected, and appreciated.
He works a second job for me, and i get up at 6am daily to get my life in order for Him.
He pays attention to every weird thing i do, runs my diet, my activities, and oversees my plans as well as keeps up with my writing. i learn what He wants, i bring Him what He needs, and i live each day in His service with everything i do as an act to please Him.
Do i care where we go for dinner? No- i trust Him.
Do i care what movies we see? No- we both like the same things and have the same tastes.
Do i care what we do sexually? heck no- He wants to do everything, He's more fucked up than i am, and He learns daily where the buttons are in me as i learn where they are in Him.
i do keep him appraised of things as they come into our lives. He hears what movies i think look good days before they come out. He knows what kinds of foods i love, and i let Him know about new restaurants, or evenings i would love to have with friends.
i give Him this information in advance, with the intent that it is for information only- He does what He wants with it, and i have no assumption that i am going to go where i mentioned or see who i mentioned.
i have given that info to Him ages before He needs it. That makes His life easier as well.

"Whatever You want Sir" is not a cop out or a flake out or a brain dead response.
It is my sincere reminder to Him that i want what makes HIM happy- because His happiness makes me feel warm to my toes.
He picks things He likes- but that are also probably what i might enjoy.
He picks things for us both.
Whatever He wants, He gets.

He wants me- and for that joy and sharing, i am already happy forever. All the other choices are just temporary.
When He chose to keep me, He gets whatever He wants. That's the way i am.

Copyright shadow, February 24th, 2010
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Mirrors of Ourselves

#9.Mutual Protection

Essays on a life of P.E.
February 26th, 2010
by shadow

How can a slave protect herself when she is not supposed to protect herself, but to turn over that protection to someone else and trust THEM to protect her?
IS the Prime Directive supposed to cover this with the caveat that it's OK for a slave to be slightly 'suspicious' and cautious for X number of days, weeks, years, in 'protection of the property' even as the Owner is supposed to BE THE ONE doing that job?

Because really, slaves cannot do both. You can't turn it over and still hold back.

This is not a 2 part test. It's a continuum we travel, turning over more and more, and with each turn of the page (turn of the screw? O. Henry's tale is actually fairly close to what this is about), we have to expose more and more of our hearts, holding back less each day, each hour, each time those lovely words happen, each time He or She handles something, each time He or She shows with their actions that they are willing to sacrifice for us.

Now-- how often do you see the term "WILLING TO SACRIFICE FOR THE SLAVE"
in all those stupid chat forums? You won't. It freaks out the fake dominants, and it scares the hell out of most of the bottoms to even MENTION that in a public forum , but really, when you get right down to it, the RELATIONSHIPS that are REAL are NOT the ones with the omnipotent Domly one lording over what they want and demand and the cringing little slavey person sending money and cleaning and begging for attention and to give service.

The ones that last are the ones where there are 2 real people both committed to making the other happy- the fact that we have more rigid interpersonal relationships, that we negotiate where power flows, that we each know both what the other expects of US and what they expect to GIVE when we start is icing on the cake of human interactions. The basics are the dating/ getting to know you period where we, as bottoms, if we are SMART and intelligent and are living with REAL expectations and NOT FAKE FANTASIES, are watching to see if the top is going to keep their word, is going to make things better for us or worse, is going to handle their commitments, be the person we want to have as a top, and even- GASP!- sacrifice parts of themselves to get US into THEIR lives.

Yeah- how's THAT for turning the tables? Out of all that fantasy and forced ritualization of our lives, the bottom line is that this is supposed to be a long lived, deeply fulfilling relationship for both parties, and in order to do THAT, the human animal on each end of it needs to see some commitment happening- which includes the other side giving up things for them, making changes for them, showing some INVESTITURE to the new relationship.

i see that every day with Him. He invests His time, His finances, His passions. i invest with my time, with my commitments to the things He has asked for (my health, diet, sleep- He asks, and i obey). Neither of us has seen a partner give THAT kind of commitment to that extent before. Now, to ME, changing my lifestyle habits is easy, natural, and i take it for granted that should He announce tomorrow that He wants me to live on nothing but coconut oil and parsley, i would do that- and keep it up until in the hospital and attached to a feeder tube. EASY for me- it's my nature.
He has never had any female in His life be willing to follow rules like that, or just sacrifice what they want because HE said so.

To HIM, changing His hours, losing sleep, driving 3 hours a day for a job just to be near me- that's the kind of commitment He is willing to do and has done in His life. He has MOVED, bought new homes, and taken on tasks and volunteer work He didn't necessarily want to up front because it would please a female partner. In EVERY case, they did not reciprocate. He seemed to be giving and giving and not getting back. To Him, taking a full time job after retirement to have money to take care of ME is just-- 'what He does' (that's a direct quote). To me, it's practically a miracle. He feels that way about what i offer Him.

So, for each of us, we are not sacrificing- we are doing what we have always done- give of ourselves to please a partner. For each of us, what we are GETTING is some incredible gift we have never had anyone give to us before.
i might be just a shade jaded, but if that isn't a great power exchange story, i don't know what is.

Copyright shadow, February 26th, 2010
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

#41. Who are You?

Being honest about being yourself.

Essays on a life of P.E.
April 23, 2009
by shadow

Each of us has a bio of some kind, and what it is says a lot about us, not necessarily in words. The phrasing we use, the kinds of examples we give, the pieces of our lives we share all add to that total on line picture of us.

As do our first meetings and the things we do/ wear/ say/ think at that time.

Recently i read a long winded discussion about meeting a dominant male the first time and if potential slaves and subs should or shouldn't 'dress as requested'. It was the jumping off point of my thoughts about dating, about me, and about finding that ultimate partner.

Let me just start with a simple idea. If you are wrong for each other, you are wrong for each other and all the care and attention to trying to please the other or impress the other or test the other will just prolong the amount of time it takes to come to this realization.

Yes, people can change- but not drastically, and not without deep reasons. Yes, people can give terrible first impressions and turn out to be exactly who you dreamed of sharing yourself with.

Keeping those things in mind, the flip side is, if they turn you off right away, they probably aren't what you were looking for. A good example of this is my ever changing bio on Fetlife.

It's long these days. i keep adding things that i think are important. If a great dominant stumbles across it and hates reading it, then they aren't the right one for me. Why? Because i AM a writer, and i love writing and i need to have an Owner that WANTS to read my stuff as i create it, and to critique the ideas and assumptions for me. So right off the bat, someone that sees that page of text and doesn't want to read it (barring just not in the mood at that moment or has just lost their reading glasses, etc.) probably isn't the ultimate collar for me in the future.

I get into 'bitchy' modes. Once in a while, i also get into ego stroke range and need to show off just how bitchy i can be- and i POST those bitches, gripes, complaints, and slaps. The man that can see those and LAUGHS is probably someone that will appreciate me. The man that reads those and shakes head and thinks "that is unacceptable in my property, but something i can work on" is possibly someone that i can serve with commitment and love. The man who reads one of those bitch slaps and gets all twerpy pissed off and takes uber offense at 'that crap from some bitch who doesn't know the meaning of the term slavery' is someone who doesn't know the meaning of the term slavery and is not going to either appreciate me or get along well with me.

So my honesty in posting-- even when i have not thought it out well at the moment- is a window into who i am and what kind of woman lives in this brain. The Owner out there that seeks one to serve and respect them will WANT to have a deep well of information to play with, and WANT to have a woman of strong temperment and emotion to corral, and WANT to look at all that as 'good stuff to mold'. Being me and trying to post as honestly as possible is helping, not hindering my search.

Should i have censored each thing for how politically correct it is, i would not be showing such a real picture. It might be more pleasing to more men, it might bring more replies and invites, but eventually all those excess meetings and dances in the dark would prove futile, because the person they thought i was in print was a watered down censored version of the colorful flamboyant sensitive woman i really am.

The same holds true for first meetings. i am cautious by nature, and i want to get to know someone before i expose too much of the easily wounded parts of me. That means keeping my wits about me and staying OUT of slave space early on while i evaluate how i feel and watch what he does. Many great Owners that i know have stated that they WANT to tell a woman what to wear- or at least suggest the style that they like to see on a gal- in order to get some eye candy and to see if the woman really is interested in following suggestions or orders early on. For them, it weeds out the wanna-bees and they are stripping off one layer of protective camouflage so they can get a better glimpse of the woman they are considering. They want their coffee date to be exhibiting some of the traits they are looking for, and submission, both in her demeanor as well as her clothing (or lack there of) is part of that for them.

The good ones know, however, that ALL the scum want to dictate what you wear on a first meeting, with lots of suggestive clothing and fantasy fulfillment involved (they don't get past coffee too damned often, so they layer it on while they can). The newer men to M/s and D/s do this as well, because they are still learning and have more fiction than reality to work with. New young women are eager to please and DO dress the part as asked without question. Unless they are scooped up off the planet on their first date and live happily ever after with that one man of their dreams, they will not always be so mallable. They will eventually grow older and get burnt a few times and scared a few times and have men ask them to do things that they did even when uncomfortable, often with disasterous results. They will spend hours dressing for dates that don't show, they will dress inappropriately for work so they can meet up at lunch or right afterward, and maybe put their jobs in jeopardy. They will dress in clothes that make them uncomfortable and end up giving a bad first impression. They will spend money to have EXACTLY what the gentleman asked for, then he will dismiss them and the fetish wear they personally hate.

We slaves and subs and bottoms are made to be manipulated, but over time we often grow protective shells and skin like leather. The good girl is still inside there, still awaiting the right moment, the right situation, the right man, the right Owner. She just isn't always right out on display the first moment she is asked by someone who is, for all intents and purposes, a virtual stranger she is meeting for the first time.

For me, i want to dress appropriately feminine, slightly more vulnerable than usual, and always with taste and an eye towards what looks best on me, that day, for that first meeting. Should the man be an ardent lover of fishnets, i would have to mention that i don't own any right now, but that i do have a pair of something laddered that he might appreciate. i would not go out and spend money on fishnets (they are hell on my feet for standing around in, biting into the heels in many of my good shoes), but i would make it clear that i am MORE than happy to oblige should our relationship continue for any length of time. i would stand on fucking fishnets till hell froze over once i found another love of merit in my heart.

What probably would turn off 90% of the men i might meet for coffee is still EXACTLY what the owner of my dreams wants. He wants a girl that is NOT throwing herself at every 'dominant' that crawls up to her door. He wants a girl that is thrifty enough to not spend money she doesn't have taking a flyer on a coffee date. He wants a girl that can keep her wits about her and protect herself when he is not there to do so for her- and that means using her common sense and being cautious about how much she exposes both physically and mentally to the new men she meets.

My belief in safe calls, even for coffee dates, is legendary, and i teach that every woman is meeting a stranger that first time, no matter what she learned on the phone and internet. Even if he has 'references', if those aren't coming from her PERSONAL friends who know him well and know her well and know where you both live, then they are suspect. So i create safe calls for coffee dates. The owner of my future likes this idea. His property is no fool, and she takes basic precautions when she is not with those who are her Owners. He expects to arrive for a meet up and have me evetually have to excuse myself to get the phone or make a call. He would not impede that idea by either demanding i ignore the phone nor would he tell me "Do NOT make any calls without my permission" (yes, i had one do that last year in SF. It was a very exspensive dinner for him since he ignored every signal and warning i sent out about his demeanor and demands). Would i ever take any call but an important one while meeting up with a potential Owner? Hell no! The man out there understands that, and has already evaluated several dozen women that have not risen to certain standards, including rude phone chats while on a date. he can tell he difference between a short check in and a chatter fest with a friend. He is aware of both sides of the coin, and i am aware that He is evaluating me.

Finding someone to spend the rest of your life with is a process, and the honesty you show from the outset makes that process easier for other honest seekers. Yes, it gives the dishonest manipulative ones more hard facts to use, but they are also at a disadvantage, for they do not understand that a smart slave is evaluating not just what they are and what they do and say and wear, but we are evaluating THEM at the same time.

Men who take no power at all on a date worry me-- have they been burnt and are cautious, have they had a rough day and want some down time and are not making this first date important, or are they just not that kind of Owner? Men who fail to dress at all for a date send out clear signals to me that i need to be aware and evaluate them further- are they naturally super casual, were they coming direct from work, or do they just not have anything appropriate for first dates?

Most of us know, within a few moments of meeting eye to eye and face to face, if the person across from us sparks something, makes us damp, gets our attention, or brings out the NEED to take control. After that moment, we have changed the nature of the meeting, for we now have something to lose. We have smelled fresh meat, and wanted to taste it. We have been happy with all the lead up information and now the in person contact has whetted our appetite for more.

Once we want more, then we have a whole new set of reasons to be 'unreal'. Wanting to please someone very much rather than show our feelings over issues and ideals, rules and philosophies of M/s. Wanting to impress on the woman your style, your demanding nature, how powerful you are sexually. Once we have made that basic "Yes/ No" decision we have a bit of an emotional attachment forming and we want things to go well.

That is another time when we are most suspect and likely to fall back on dishonest, but BDSM socially correct behaviors. False giggles. Chest puffing. Age regression. Control and decision making.

If we do them out of a desire to please but they are not something we are comfortable with, then we are still dooming the relationship. If we do them because they come naturally in the situation and feel right, then we are showing the honesty and growth potential in the power exchange.

Being "the best you can be" is honest, and something to strive for, but if what you do is behavior that is not normally and something you are not going to be repeating, they you are leaving false expectations on the partners side. And example is the infamous nipple tweak. If she hates that, and you never normally do it, then you might have run off a potential girl with a behavior that she dislikes intensely. If she loves it, she will want you to tweak her nipple regularly as part of your relationship - and if she loves that kind of thing, she will become ultimately dissappointed in you and the behaviors you exhibited only for courting.

Doing something to show you CAN when you never will again as a dominant partner is just as bad as submitting to something you hate hoping never to do it again and knowing it is a deal breaker in the long run for the sub. It creates false expectations.

Creating impressions is never easy, but should we try to mitigate things about us by manipulating them for the sake of others possible interpretations is not a good philosophy.

Your bio is you. When long and involved, it says something about you. When totally absent, it still says something about you. When written with humor, it says that you are a funny person who expects to entertain and laugh. When written in haste, it shows that you have not put time into showing a potential partner what you care about. Those might or might not be things that are true about you, but before someone can take the time to get to know you, they have to be attracted to SOMETHING about you first. The more they find in those first impressions, the better your chances at having a deeper relationship with them.

Do not fret about what others say you should or shouldn't do, or mull over how you wrote or said or did something afterward. You were being yourself. The right partner will see that, and want that, even if the particular action or post was not your best. The right partner will be tempermentally suited to your natural self. If they are not, they are probably not going to be the right partner for you.

You are a unique cup of tea, but you are not everyone's cup of tea. Who are you?

Copyright 4/23/09 shadow.

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