Life’s Wrecking Ball

Every once in a while, I find myself going through periods in life where I am purposely ‘broken down’ in order to become stronger or learn something of great value.  I have not shared a lot regarding my spiritual views, mostly because they are very personalized and may not align with the belief systems of others. I do believe in a great life force, call it Universal consciousness or God or what have you.  A lot of my experiences and life creed are based on eastern philosophies. Many do not know that I actually was a follower of Hinduism for a short while and to this day I still engage in daily meditations, once in the morning and again in the late afternoon. I do feel a great connection of some kind, and I believe there is an infinite amount of love and wisdom that goes way beyond what we can perceive as human beings. I really do see my life as one long path of experience, and my life in leather and kink is an integral part of all of it. There are moments however, when I believe it is the Universe does a kind of ‘boot camp’ where in order for me to grow and learn, I have to be broken. More like demolished.

Years ago I used to train in the martial art of Ju-jitsu. I absolutely loved it and it was fantastic exercise as well as great discipline for the body and the mind. Our Sensei was brutal, in that he believed we could not truly excel in the art until we ‘got out of our own way’ mentally. Often he would illustrate this by pairing us up with higher ranked belts for sparring, which led to our essentially getting the shit beaten out of us until we would finally draw on something deep within us to hold our own on the mat. I can remember times in the training when I was completely out of breath and on the verge of tears and vomit, and then suddenly getting a burst of energy to execute a move that would throw my opponent on the floor. As they would say in The Matrix, “there was no spoon”. What was happening was our Sensei was breaking us to get beyond our egos.

In its simplest terms, ego is that Latin word for ‘I’. From a spiritual standpoint, it is referred to as the ‘means by which one views themselves’. It is our sense of identity based on the five senses, how we are viewed by others, how our image is seen or referenced. It is based on labels, facades and perceptions; the things we utilize when we find ourselves in social circumstances where we need to ‘survive’.  It is created out of the flattery and compliments we receive, and also the judgments. It supports our need for approval, and also our need to control. There is a limitation on focusing strictly on the ego as it limits one to believing that it is who they are.  It is merely self-image, but not a representation of the true self. Essentially it’s an illusion.

Anyone who has embarked on a spiritual journey of any kind can attest that lessons are presented designed to take us out of our comfort zone, and the change is neither subtle or gentle. It’s in the form of a giant wrecking ball that completely annihilates everything we’ve used to survive. People familiar with Tarot associate this with the Tower card. Hinduism has a goddess named Kali who embodies change and transformation through destruction. Even programs of recovery like the 12 Steps refer to this dynamic of growth through demolition. It’s a very uncomfortable experience but one that can enable us to become much more grounded and whole, and push up past our perceived identity.

This presents a real challenge in leather and kink. I honestly do see a tremendous spiritual component to being a leatherman, and so much of my growth and self-actualization has come as a result of it. As I’ve said before, leather and kink are all about going beyond how you’ve always perceived yourself and your limits. So much of our growth and wisdom come as a result of embracing learning and humility. Yet our very culture embodies a tremendous amount of ego! We do all kinds of social media posting weeks out talking about our “IML diet” or our various image goals for the sake of surviving “the Lobby”. We purposely take on posturing and personas in order to evoke interest from others and provide validation for ourselves. The very appearances and images we strive to uphold are of hyper masculine dominant figures exuding enormous amounts of ego. That’s part of the turn on for many of us!

So, how does one reconcile these periods? Well, for starters, give in and pay attention – because the safeword doesn’t work here! Take a step back and assess what kind of mythologies you have created for yourself based on the perceptions of others. Call yourself on the mechanisms you’re using to feel accepted and give yourself permission to be scared to death underneath just like the rest of us are. And never stop learning. If I may risk sounding ‘woo-woo’, remember that we are here to love and be loved, and that should be the touchstone of all our connections including those in leather. Yes, sometimes those connections are strictly for the sake of the endorphin rush or to get our rocks off – we should still embrace love of self at the very least when we embark on these and celebrate how much fucking fun these moments are!

I am still processing what has opened up as a result of my identity being whittled down these last few weeks. All is okay with what has transpired. I am present to being human and making errors in judgment. I cannot get true ‘approval’ without being authentic with others or myself. Sometimes I make decisions that are entirely selfish and it bites me in the ass. I go through my wrecking ball periods where I am quickly reminded that those are limitations and that these are not who I am. Sadly, sometimes it takes a great loss in the community for us to see beyond our facades and mythologies and be reminded of our need to love one another.

Thankfully, we do get there, and we certainly did recently as many of us can attest to 🙂

The Tennis Game

I want to start off by apologizing and taking full ownership of the passive-aggressive nature to this blog post. This is my chance to vent about something that has been going on for months and I want to hopefully turn it into something that will benefit others. Back in May, I was approached by an aspiring Dom who wanted to gain expand his skillset and be mentored into having more experience. His boy had a plethora of experiences under his belt and his Daddy wanted to up his game to be able to satisfy the boy’s kinky needs. He approached me to train him in this, and we set up a whole dynamic where he would actually be a boy to my husband and myself to learn firsthand from the perspective of being a sub. We were all very excited about the possibilities we had created and were all eager to embark on the journey. I might also add that I hold this gentleman in very high regard as a friend, so it was a deep honor that he was willing to submit to me for the sake of learning.

Sadly, none of our sessions have come to fruition. At first, it was simply a matter of scheduling when everyone was available. The gentleman does not live locally so there was some travel involved and unfortunately some elements beyond our control required us to reschedule. Nobody was to blame, was just a typical case of ‘shit happens’.

Months would go by though, and I would find myself wanting to stay engaged in what we had initially created. At first the responses I would get would be on the lines of, “yes we are still interested. Let’s look at the first week of next month.” Then of course to no avail. Eventually it got to the point where I would send texts and either not get a response, or what I would get would be stoic but cordial. Rather than making a decision one way or the other and communicating it to me, I would continue to be strung along, left in a kind of limbo.

The dynamic is much like playing a tennis game, and my serve is not being returned.

I get that things change, circumstances change. Life happens and things just get beyond our control sometimes. What is most disappointing about all of this though is I think very highly of this gentleman and consider him a friend, and I’m not sure he realizes how much I invested in his growth emotionally. I can certainly forgive the fact that things just didn’t happen like we thought and some of it wasn’t anyone’s fault. It was my belief though that he respected our friendship a lot more than his actions are showing, and that is probably what hurts the most.

I wish people would understand that Doms are not tough archetypes as they portray themselves to be in the playroom or the bar or event. We are not emotionally ‘cold’ and brute, we are human beings who get hurt feelings just like anybody else. When we are approached to mentor or teach or take on someone as a sub, we are allowing ourselves to be vulnerable emotionally. A person might draw the conclusion of, ‘Oh Sir such-and-such won’t mind he’s got tons of stuff going on already” or “Well they’ve already got a couple of boys to keep them occupied, I won’t be missed.” I’ve seen this happen with others and with me. I’ve also seen it in reverse with boys or subs who have lots of activities going on and lots of play where the Dom simply says, “the boy has got plenty going on he won’t miss a text from me” Again, the ball is not returned in the court, and feeling are hurt. It causes the person to want to be more guarded next time.

My husband often says I open my heart up a bit too easily to people, and it leaves me open to being disappointed like this. Obviously he is protective of me and just hates seeing me get hurt. I have to agree with him, but I also feel that it’s simply one of the qualities that makes me the Sir that I am. I am a man who cares, and loves. I have compassion and I like seeing others soar. And yes, it does leave me open to get hurt at times, but it’s also one of the things about me that enable others to grow and to trust.

So, rant over. I shall continue to be the leatherman and Sir that I am. It simply feels better to do so. But alas, I declare ‘love’ with this particular tennis match.

 

 

Fearing Closure

I delivered a speech last weekend about a very painful trauma from my past, and I did it in the actual school where it occurred. There has been a lot of very hard work and tears that led up to this moment, but I can truly say that I now have a feeling of it all being complete.  Three decades have passed where this incident has occupied real estate in my head and my psyche, and to be given the opportunity to have closure on it is an immense blessing.

It had me thinking though, about a funny little element in the way we are designed as human beings. So many of us have traumas of some kind in our past, and in the leather and kink community it seems like we have double the amount. Perhaps we are just accustomed to being so open about what we are into that we also have a freedom in displaying the pains of our past. Indeed it’s not uncommon to be with a group of leathermen or kinksters that attempt to ‘out-saga’ one another in conversation. But what’s interesting is that many of us, when given the chance to actually put closure on a demon from our past, opt not to. Many of us have referenced the trauma so often or blamed it for our shortcomings, and in turn it has become a part of our identity. Subconsciously, it’s scary to give up something that we believe has been a part of us the majority of our lives.

I remember a friend of mine was struggling with the debt of her student loans for her time in film school. A relative had passed and left her with a very sizable inheritance, which among other things would bring her level of debt to zero. Some time had passed since she received the money and I asked her how if felt to not have the pressure of owing money looming over her head. She confessed that she still had not paid it off, even though she could do so with just a few keyboard taps. She told me, “It’s completely insane but here it is – I have known this financial struggle as an integrated part of my life for so long; if that’s no longer there, what do I have? It’s like I won’t know what to do with myself if I don’t have this debt to complain about!”

Now I’m happy to say that she quickly got over herself and paid it all off within a matter of minutes after saying that. I believe hearing herself acknowledge it out loud was the catalyst to finally make the leap. I didn’t judge her though, because I had those experiences myself. We talk at length about wanting to finally let go of hurts and upsets from our past, but when the opportunity finally presents itself or we get the courage to do so, we hesitate because we are uncomfortable with the empty ‘clearing’ that will open up. This however, is also what makes closure truly exciting.

I am still processing what I let go of last Sunday. I am still crying tears that I wasn’t allowed to cry when I was 14 years old. I am still feeling exhausted and reflecting on the magnitude of all of it. I am also very present to the incredible change that has occurred. Things are different now in a permanent sense. And it’s something I approach with celebration. Not everyone embraces change like that though. For some, the clearing that is created from closure is so foreign that they actually create new circumstances subconsciously to mirror the trauma that was released. Indeed my friend with the inheritance has caught herself on the verge of racking up new debt, which she quickly squelches because of her awareness.

Resist the urge to associate the hurts and traumas of your past with being your identity. If you constantly reference what has happened to you, the focus is always on the past and not the future. Troubles in your history cannot be undone or changed, but the future always remains an open field of possibility. Consider your traumas as something that you ‘have’, not something that you ‘are’. When you do this you free yourself up to live a future filled with all kinds of new ways of seeing yourself, and in turn going beyond the limits you thought you always had.

And that to me is an integral part of being a leatherman 🙂

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Finding Your Beacons

I often hear of failed D/s relationships where the culprit is unsatisfied expectations. The parties involved reach a kind of impasse because something is not communicated early on about what each party wants out of the chosen connection. Certainly this has been the case as I look back on relationships of my own where it was not laid out clearly what each person wanted when the relationship commenced. But what if one or more of the involved parties does not actually know what exactly they are seeking due to a lack of experience?

Certainly a person with an amount of history in D/s has a clearer understanding of themselves and what they hope to get out of the partnership; they have had a substantial amount of time to gain knowledge of oneself and implement what they learn toward future connections. But is it reasonable to demand that of somebody who is relatively new to it? In looking back, I find that it is perfectly okay for some of these answers to present themselves during the actual journey, so long as all parties enter into it with the agreement of ‘exploration’. Perhaps a person has merely vague ideas and images of what it means to be a boy or even a Sir – and often these can be discovered as they go along. It’s a mutually agreed upon means of finding out what elements you respond to positively in the ‘fog’ of D/s dynamics. I call these your ‘beacons’.

I have been a collared boy four different times in my life, and each has been a completely different experience from the one previously. Going into the relationship, the Sir and I had a set amount of expectations, and these were laid out in the very beginning. But as many of us with experience know, these kinds of connections have a certain fluidity to them that causes them to change and evolve. Who the two of you (or three or how ever many) are at the beginning of the relationship is not going to be the same six months or a year later. Therefore, why not make an agreement that part of the time together will allow for discovering things you may find particularly fulfilling that contribute to your greatest growth. These are the beacons that propel you beyond your perceived limitations.

As I have shared before, I recently became a pup, and my Handler is a man who is completely new to the kink scene. In fact, he came into the relationship with little to no knowledge about D/s or pup play whatsoever – although he did educate himself a bit by reading the blog entries of pup Sirius. He just had an idea of what sounded appealing to him. So each time he and I get together, there is an unspoken agreement that allows us to ‘unveil’ the elements that he and I enjoy. This frees him up to try new things when he handles me and doesn’t pressure him into it having to be a certain way to please me. Now that being said I will share that the very first time we played he needed a shot of whiskey ahead of time to loosen up, particularly when he saw that I could ‘wag’ my tail.  Let’s just say that’s become one of his favorite beacons…

Leather relationships are all about growth beyond how you have always known yourself to be. It’s a synergistic bond where the parties become stronger people as a result of entering the agreement of trust. If the parties agree to use that connection as a means of exploration, the pressure of expectation is alleviated. The Sir or boy can engage in play or and exchange of some kind without feeling the need to prove anything or elicit a particular outcome. This frees all parties up to hand themselves over to the experience with full trust and no attachment. The end result is examining how it was and determining if it was something to add to the foundation or to say, “no that wasn’t for me.’

D/s relationships may look very rigid and disciplined from the exterior and many of them actually are, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a certain amount of leeway on the ‘inside’ for the sake of discovery. Regardless of a person’s experience it’s unreasonable for each person in the connection to ‘get it right’ on the first try every single time. Providing feedback is essential for all member involved. If you are deep into the play and feeling things you’ve not felt before, it can be overwhelming. It’s okay if you don’t have words for it at the time but it’s always prudent to share with the Sir afterwards that it was something you liked and would like to expand on. Use the time together to create the backbone of what each of you wants and use that as a launching pad to discover the various other ‘beacons’ that make the relationship fullfilling. These will become a permanent part of the foundation and enable the unfolding of more and more.

To me, the greatest reward to being a Sir or Master or boy or pup is the ongoing reveal of who you are, and growing each time. Embrace that as your personal ‘radar’, and use it to seek out your beacons of experience.

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The Reward in Vulnerability

There is a young man in my life right now who has been making an ongoing effort to ‘lower his walls’ more and not shut people out. Like many of us, he has had his share of pain and upset from various D/s and kink connections and has put up protective boundaries to shield himself from anyone screwing him again. He is also becoming aware that to do so is closing him off from truly connecting.

I can certainly speak to this as I have a history of childhood sex abuse that caused me to live with my own protective walls for decades. As a scared young child I put my trust in adult authority figures to receive their comfort and guidance, and in turn was sexually violated. It made me draw a conclusion that if I lower any kind of protective boundary somebody would take advantage and hurt me. For years I closed myself off to experiencing intimacy because of this. I would always be ‘guarded’ as I felt I needed to protect myself. And I thought this was a good thing. The problem was, I was also shutting out love.

I remember having a conversation about this recently with my mother, who as I have mentioned in previous blog entries is a bit of a Shirley Maclaine character in that she is very metaphysical in her approach to life. I asked her about all the instances where she appears to make herself an ‘easy target’ because she trusts so easily. Her response was interesting:

“At the end of the day son, I choose to trust because I simply feel better doing so.”

It was a little too simple for me to get at first. I thought maybe this is some kind of simplified resolution a person that age has after they have lived for x amount of years. But I pressed her about it as she’s always had a very deep spiritual view that has helped me through the years. My rebuttal was that it felt good to me that I was looking out for myself and protecting myself from any kind of future hurt, almost like I was being my own ‘champion’. But she challenged me with it (something she is horrifically good at – with the reading glasses perched on the bridge of her nose) and said, “you think you feel better by being so guarded, but in doing so you are also constantly reminding yourself that you were hurt once.” And then she gave me that ‘look’ with a pregnant pause to make it all set in before she continued. “I certainly understand that you want to protect yourself from being hurt again son, but in closing yourself off you’re essentially protecting yourself from life. And that’s fine, and you can do that as long as you live, and on your gravestone they’ll simply put, ‘HERE LIES DART. HE WAS VERY GUARDED.’    My choice to trust simply feels better, son.”

Yep. This is the woman who breastfed me.

She had a point though, especially with the gravestone comment (my mother simply goes for the jugular when it comes to being poignant). One can be as self-protective and guarded as long as they wish, but sooner or later it actually becomes a liability to embracing life. During that conversation she asked me how much extra energy I thought I was using in not trusting anybody due to my sexual abuse. I honestly couldn’t answer her because I reached a point where it simply was a part of me, almost like it was my identity. She pointed out that sooner of later I was going to realize that I had been using up a tremendous amount of happiness at the expense of being so closed off and scared. And that isn’t truly living.

Now this is not to say that there isn’t a certain amount of wisdom in caution. Obviously it’s a good thing, as this is what enables us to go through life making better choices for ourselves based on the times we fell down and got hurt in the past. In the case of leather and D/s relationships we have all had our share of upsets and bad things happening because well, we’re all human and that’s just simply part of the life experience. None of us are perfect in our design. We strive to recognize ‘red flags’ and things that did not work for us previously so as not to allow the hurt to return like it did before. But in the context of what my mother was sharing, the act of trusting and allowing yourself to be vulnerable is not done blindly. It’s taking all of the lessons we’ve learned from the past and filing them away as knowledge, and proceeding anyway. It’s making a conscious decision to engage in a connection knowing that “yes I may get hurt in this, but I may also experience something amazing and fulfilling. And if I do get hurt, I know I can survive it. I have before.”

Then it’s just simply a matter of jumping in with both feet!

To lower your guard and to trust is always a choice that you have in the moment, no matter how challenging others my have made it for you. If you want to have your greatest growth in your leather relationships and connections, and essentially the greatest rewards, sooner or later it is YOU that has to make the choice to trust. Yes it can be unbelievably scary, but in the face of that it can also be equally gratifying. And when you do so successfully you become aware that the choice to trust is something that nobody can ever take away from you ever.

When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you also allow love in, including self-love. And I definitely speak from experience there as I embrace the amazing life I have now with my incredible husband!  🙂

 

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