Black, white, shades of grey

This is NOT about the book.  Its about tonight’s munch, and an epiphany.  It was a nice day.  I had lunch with my biological family, then supper with my kinky family.

At the munch I had the opportunity to sit with three folk. One was very new and had questions.  I pulled out my soapbox, and started to pontificate, a word that may sadly fit me because I can be annoyingly pompous and dogmatic.  Here are some of the subjects  that came up:

Self Identity – When I start, I start from the beginning.  I think it is important to learn  for yourself how to say what you are, what your kink is, and not have someone force a label on you.  It was pointed out to me that there is a sex-positive, TNG side to this subject that discourages labels.  I disagree with this.  If you are lesbian, you want to let men know that hitting on you isn’t appreciated.  If you feel a deep need to submit to another, you need to be able to communicate this.

The key is that YOU decide how to label yourself, not someone else.  And yes, labels have a bad connotation.  But just because your local supermarket has a hundred kinds of boxes all marked cereal, doesn’t make the label bad.  A label is a starting point.  You have to read the description on each, and the ingredients.  When you self identify, you are using a label that helps others understand you.  Its up to them to get to know you, read your description, and come to know what that label means for you personally.

I want to devote more time in another blog to the dangers of moving into an overly generalized, feel good about sex, Utopian dream of making all sex positive by watering down strong opinions. I think there are dangers in depriving people of developing a strong self identity, of pushing away self-identities in the name of unity.  We need to protect and respect the right to project who and what is in the core of their being.  BDSM is less about what we do and more about who we are.  Its about BDSM pride. Pride in who we are.

Are you a Master – Are you a Master, I was asked.  I had to quote myself.    The only titles of value are those acquired thru recognition by others. One claims that title by exercising that recognition, not asserting it. ~Xtac quote  – I turned the question into a question.  There are some that call me a Master and some that do not.  What would you call me? I asked.  One of the three I was speaking with was a young lady and she nodded approvingly.  She commented on those Dominants who announce what they are, and immediately expect to be treated as a MasterShe liked my answer, and I was pleased she saw the difference.

The difference between a sub and a slave – Ah this old subject again, fraught with pitfalls and misunderstandings because we all have descriptions and self-identified special ingredients on our own personal labels. But I would not throw away the labels because they lead to endless discussion, I would keep them because they lead to endless discussion, refection, and self-discovery.

My way of saying this is to use a visual. Imagine a dial with settings from 1 to 100.  The first 99 are submissive.  100 is slave.  This is because a slave makes one choice, who to serve.  At least that’s the simple version.  We talked at length about TPE, and internalized enslavement.  About how you are what you are with or without a partner. How the one choice can be more complex.  About how IE brings on almost a Stockholm syndrome like relation.  The negative aspects of IE were observed of course, and my slave who had been quiet for most of this came to defend this deep and raw connection we share from TPE.  She held out her hands in high protocol fashion, waiting for me to recognize her desire to speak, and then she said effectively, that she experiences IE as a deepening awareness in her every action and thought of how it will please or not please me.  Yeah, she said that better than I did.  That’s the value of intelligent property.  I am blessed to have such a wonderful extension of my will to command.

Speaking in third person – We talked about how a Master rewires the brain.  That a Master makes a slave by creating a new mindset.  That many ideas have been tried and some have proven value.  It came up that I have my slave speak in third person, because it creates a mindset of being owned.  I wish now I had called her my canvas, as I so often do.  She is my great masterpiece, the thing upon which  I create a bond,  deep and terrible in its intensity and beauty.

Taking away my slave’s name – Then I mentioned that the first thing I do in training is take away the name. Its an old, tried and true method I endorse.  The idea is to break away from the old identity, and replace it with an object.  Now this conversation took an interesting turn. I think the gentleman across from me was repulsed by the plan to objectify my property.  That’s ok.  The way that BDSM works for one need not be the way it is for another.  But I pitched my point of view to bridge the gap, to show how it works for my slave and I.

It is true that the more I create a slave mindset, the more my slave feels a sense of who she was slipping away.  It can seem like a dark scary place where you are no longer sure of who you are or what you are.  I have personally faced such a place in a spiritual quest to give up all desire.  I found that the state of being desire free unsatisfying.  I prefer tantra meditation. rich in passion and compassion.  This is my happy place, my spiritual space.  Where I arrived, and where I am striving for my slave to arrive, is a zen like place.  It is my desire that in this place of nothingness, my slave is living not for the past or the future, but for the present, the here and the now.   I want her to live in a world without pressure, without decisions, feeling safe and comfortable in the ecstasy of those incredibly and unbearably beautiful moments of now, where the little things fill our hearts with joy.  Its a religious like destination and in fact, I am taking myself and my slave to spiritual place.  Its just that I do it with BDSM.

Black, white, shades of grey –  And now at last we come to the subject in the title of this blog.  I saved this one for last, because it was an epiphany moment for me.  I learned something tonight from a newbie.  It’s one of the joys of life, to be open to these things.  To not be so full of ourselves that we dismiss others without really listening.

The gentleman across from me was searching.  Searching for a way to say who and what he was to others.  He was searching for his personal handle, his label.  I cautioned him that the scope of his project, to find himself, was broad.  He had a lifetime to figure it out. He wasn’t always comfortable with eye contact, and he professed an appeal in times when his life was out of control, to pass control to another, but then he also found sadistic pleasure in tweaking people who needed it.

He was particularly interested in what a switch was, and as we talked about what some people think a switch is, from this view point and that.  We turned to the fact that some people think that a switch is somehow less than a Dom or a Sub.  I observed how from my perspective where I NEED to be on top of a power exchange, and understood those that would serve me, I found it difficult to understand how a person could be both.  And then he said “It’s neither, it is its own thing.  A thing can be black or it can be white, but if a thing is grey  it is both black and white but also neither.  It is its own thing. “

From the mouths of babes!  It shocked me, as any epiphany does.  I have had long discussions on this subject with people with many years and decades of experience and never felt the clarity that I did in that simple statement.  This newbie was completely and utterly and unmistakably right.

That’s all folks!  If you read this far I guess you found my ramblings interesting.  I am pleased.  Its been a very long day  and yet another day of living with X comes to a close.  Its been a good day.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.





Dinner and a movie

I was in the mood to watch “The Quiet Man” this evening.  If you are not familiar I recommend finding it and watching it.  It’s an old movie that stars John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.  If you’ve seen it, you know why it might appeal to a person who lives the power exchange life.  Some quotes.. if you please..

Fishwoman with basket at station:
           Sir! Sir! Here’s a good stick, to beat the lovely lady.

Michaleen Flynn:
           Is this a courting or a donnybrook?  Have the good manners to not hit the man until he’s your husband and entitled to hit you back.

Thornton:      Woman of the house! I have brought the brother home to supper!
                          (Both are quite drunk)
She:                 Wipe your feet.
Brother:          Thank you, ma´am.
Thornton:     Sit down, sit down. That’s what chairs are for.
                         ( In a hurry, She begins to bring out drink and food..)    
Thornton       Hurry it up!  ( apparently her service wasn’t good enough )

Its a story told in a time and place dominated by the male gender. Mary Kate comes to love Thornton but can’t marry the man unless the brother approves the marriage.  Now there’s something to think about.  She also has a dowry, something else to give some thought to.  In modern times, dowry disputes often lead to violence against women including “dowry deaths” and acid attacks to scar and socially isolate the woman.  But a dowry is supposed to be a form of financial independence for a woman entering into subservience to a husband – so the attack means the dowry didn’t really help the wife at all.

I would like to propose that power between the genders has three levels of evolution.  1) Men in charge  2) Equality  3) Inequality by consent.

1) Men in charge – This is the first rung on the evolutionary social ladder. Its where most religions put the status of the male and female roles.  To love, honor and obey is written into marriage vows.  When a woman wears an engagement ring she “goes off the market”  Why don’t men wear engagement rings?  In a male dominated world, there will be “closet submissive males”.  Men who are brow beaten and love it but can’t confess this.  We could go into great debate on how this inequality gets started.  Studies suggest the “hunter-gatherer cave man model” benefits from equality.  It seems that as soon as we got cities and a little protection, male dominance took root.  All I know its, it has been a male dominated world for a very, very long time, and still is in many places.  Dominance based on having a penis is unfair to every woman relegated without consent, but it is especially egregious to the Dominant women and submissive males.

2) Equality  – Equality is not a new thing.  There have been societies in which gender equality was a standard.  In Egypt, a child took the mother’s last name because you could be sure of the mother but not the father.  Who can deny the logic?  Birth control, and a reduction in the objectification of women plays a large role I think in this.  It is a leap forward.   Equality is an ideal with issues.  As a society moves away from the male dominated standard, higher ideals come into being.  In the quest for improving society, we reach for equality.  With science and industry and overall generally better life conditions, we are searching for better solutions to the Utopian dreams we harbor.  Equality seems a logical improvement but in truth, equality is not natural.  If we create a society in which we are all truly equal, we create anarchy.  Levels of power and authority are necessary for society to function.  Equality without the right to consent is not utopia.

3) Inequality by consent –  This is the highest order of gender standard. After women gain equality, then they may consent to inequality.  More importantly, men who are pressured to “be a man” can choose to be the submissive.  It is not an easy transition to go directly from a male dominated world to one in which men can be submissive. In such a transition, it is also hard for women who desire submission to not appear as if they betray their gender.  Regardless of the difficulties, this is the higher standard.

What we of the BDSM community have to offer is a world in which we all walk in as equals with the power of consent.  All around us in our every day lives we live with power structures that we barely give a thought to.  A police officer expects to be able to issue a order for public safety and have it obeyed.  A parent often extends a level of control long after children are emancipated.  Employers leverage a strong degree of control over the lives of their employees. Power structures are necessary to create order and to get things done.  We consent to many of these structures we live in now but in a blind way without acknowledging their existence.

Equality is not just about equal pay, equality under the law, its about consciously seeing where people would take away our power of self determination, and about consciously choosing to participate and consent.  You don’t do that as a child with your parent.  You don’t do that as citizen.  Its something we don’t discuss, debate, and teach.  But we should.  We should be giving more thought to the process of emancipating children. With the control an employer takes.  In the third level of gender power standards, we consciously recognize that power structures are useful, and we need to find and consent to our place in them, in way that consciously realizes the exchange of power, AFTER we walk in as equals.  This is right. This is natural. This is the ideal of equality realized.

In the second level of gender power standards, two people who would build a life together come into a system of management, each with one vote.  Two people, two votes, no tie breaker.  That is a recipe for disastrous conflict.  Any system runs better when there is a person ultimately responsible for decisions.  That is not say a household must be run by one gender or the other.  Areas of responsibility can be divided.  The key is that to get things done, a person needs to have ultimate responsibility for the outcome.  It means trusting another to do whats right for both of you.  This works if you are a nilla, a D-type, or an s-type.  The point is that we are on the cusp of creating a better world, and BDSM has much to say about how we can shape that better world.

Now where is my nice stick to beat the lovely lady!  Tonight I want to watch this move and go old school.

Old men in parking lots

It was a cool night long ago in the parking lot of a diner not far from a dungeon that no longer exists. Why were we there and why isn’t the dungeon there now? Well both are stories worth telling. Maybe in another blog I talk more about all the clubs and places to place that have been unfairly squeezed out of existence, but not tonight.

Suffice to say that this wonderful play space we were at that night was unable to stay open. Sometime we fight against those who misunderstand us and sometimes not but we are rarely left unmolested or allowed to stay in a public way. That is an unhappy subject and it makes me feel a certain degree of anger that we are so often misunderstood, so often driven from the communities we live in. So that unhappy topic we’ll leave for another time.

The misunderstood part has a part to play in the other story, why we were there. Many evenings after playing, our slaves resplendent with lovely new marks to wear proudly.. we would get together at this diner for a late night snack. It was a chance to replenish our fluids, and have some sustenance.

That sustenance was food, but also it was the company of people that share a like mind, an appreciation of each other.  This is something of great worth. So we gathered for just a little more time together. I love the times after play when tender places give sudden reminders of the evening.  Sometimes what comes after the after care is fun too.  On that note, let me add that my slave spends a lot of time on horseback, and many a next day the saddle has triggered that strange combination of love and curse words. So this evening we gathered to be a bit longer with our slaves and friends.  We gathered to be a bit longer where we are not misunderstood.

On the evening of this story, as we prepared to leave, we gathered in the parking lot to say our final goodbyes. There was an elderly gentlemen with us, who had followed from the dungeon. I didn’t know him. I can’t remember now his face, or how grey his hair was, but I remember vividly what he wanted to say, what he needed to say to us that night. I want to say that he was in his sixties. There was a happy sadness in his voice.  When he spoke there was that cracking of the voice that comes when a person is overcome with emotion.

He told us how happy he was to meet us. And then he told us something of the evening and of his life. He had never been to a dungeon before. He wasn’t sure what to expect, but it has surpassed his wildest expectations.  He had spent time on the floor of the dungeon, and at the couches where people sat and chatted during aftercare, watching the scenes unfold like some incredible show.   He had felt at ease in a way he never expected.  He had felt at home.   He had eagerly accepted the offer to come to the diner with us.

Then as he had sat there at the diner, with the Masters speaking of their property as Dominants do, and the slaves all being themselves, and as the conversation turned from this subject or that, the experience had washed over him.  He felt a release, as if a great weight had been lifted.

He said that he had spent his life thinking these strange, terrible thoughts. He had tried to dismiss them. He had told himself that there was something wrong with these thoughts, that somehow his character must be deeply flawed. He had struggled his whole life, through his lost youth, his middle years, and now finally after all this time he had found himself.

He was in the company of people who didn’t understand why he would struggle against his desires. Here were people that didn’t sit silently disapproving, No!, we encouraged such desires and embraced them openly as a natural extension of who we are. Here at last he was among his own kind.  The silent incredible power of being in the company of such people filled him with so much joy that he could barely contain himself. Nor is this man a lone example.

I have seen this story repeat itself. Wonderful loving people who can’t explain why they need to dominate or be dominated. Why their sadistic side needs to be fed or they crave such a person. These are the silent observers who wait for the chance to be set free, to embrace the desires, to openly self-identify as the person they are keeping under lock and key deep down inside. This is why we were in that parking lot. We were there to connect, to breath, to be.

I will always remember that man, the sadness I felt when I thought of all the years that he lost looking for his own kind.  I truly believe that the Ds lifestyle, if executed honorably, is a home for the heart like no other. If founded with honesty, and built with trust, and entered into with a sincere desire to serve each other, each according to their sacred role, no nilla relationship can compare.  So howl my friends, find yourself and your kind.  The rewards are greater than you can possibly imagine.

She who cannot howl will not find her pack. – unknown

May the force be with you

I have often heard folks in the BDSM community offer a simple explanation for the difference between a sub and a slave: A slave makes one choice, who they will serve.   Well!  When you put it that way it seems pretty simple.

The problem is, when two people enter into an intense relationship, things are NEVER that simple.  If you knew my slave you’d understand!  Don’t get me wrong, I own my properties body and mind.  Her talent, intelligence, and time is a tool of my will.  But there is much more to a person than a body and mind.

In a workshop a few years back a person asked how they should intervene.  How they could help a friend in trouble.  A friend of theirs was a slave with a substantial amount of wealth and it was being recklessly spent and taken by their Mistress.  Money.  It’s not the mind or body of the slave but it is most certainly a means to self determination.  When a  Master controls the a slave’s access to money it influences almost everything they can do and say outside of the relationship.  Controlling access to money is a tool of abusers.

I don’t mean to imply that you shouldn’t discuss controlling your slave’s financial assets or that doing so makes you an abuser, I am just pointing out when you are entering into those initial discussion of a consensual power exchange that finances are an area worthy of treating as a discussion separate from the body and mind.  A second area if you will. Here is something interesting to consider.  Does your slave care more about turning over their body and mind, or a lifetime of financial progress?  What does that mean?  Shouldn’t your life be more important?  But then, if you give up a lifetime of financial gain, does that devalue the life?  Interesting stuff.  Discuss it.

I actually count four areas of discussion when entering into a CNC  (consensual non-consent) or TPE ( total power exchange).  The first was body and mind which is a simple, given understanding of total slavery.   The second was finances, the third is children.  When children come into the negotiations, and possibly a ex-significant-other who has a legal right to some of the children’s well being,  then this is an area of discussion too.  Not that a child is a possession of the slave and therefore by extension property of the property, but because a parent who is a slave is transferring all decision making authority to the Master or Mistress and this is therefore an area worthy of discussion.

And that brings us to the fourth area.  Maybe you are an atheist, or agnostic, Christian, spiritualist, wiccan, or are one with the force.  My point is that often our passion and beliefs are tied together in strong ways.  Being a Master or Mistress does not mean that you need to be the spiritual leader for your slave, or force being an atheist on them – though you could if consented to.  A persons soul is worthy of discussion.   If you desire to direct the soul of another to the truth as you believe, this is the fourth and final area worthy of discussion.

In one collaring ceremony I attended, the Master took possession of the slave – body, mind, and soul.  I cringed.  I do not believe in taking possession of souls, but I do believe myself extremely qualified to lead my slave and I towards enlightenment.  But that’s my person belief, and one my property entrusts into my care.  I don’t know if the Master in the collaring ceremony gave as much thought as I would give to a phrase like that.

So there you have it boys and girls.  Another shiny new blog in the can.  Hope you like it in the can!  Hmmm  porn humor!  Let’s end on a better note than that.  Here’s a little X quote to chew on.

I can not create a minute, even the minutes of my life belong to a higher force. The only thing I truly own, are my choices. ~Xtac quote

Uncommon Currency

If you are just looking for what uncommon currency is, skip to the second half of this piece.  Tonight, I start with a quote

“It takes more strength to be a slave than a Master. You may disagree but it is the slave who demonstrates strength and courage with their commitment to an uncommon currency; the currency of trust, honesty, and love” ~Xtac quote

I’ve been sucked into the debate, does the slave really have all the control.  Let’s not go there.  Its kind of a chicken or egg came first thing.  This quote is not about that debate, its about strength, not control.  Its about the uncommon currency that makes equitable, our peculiar lifestyle.

I’ll avoid saying lifestyle choice, because for some of us power exchange might as well be the air we breath.  I’ve sometimes referred to my lifestyle as an “orientation”.  For those of us that need this and are an empty vessel without it, “orientation” feels so much more correct than just a “choice”.  But I digress.

To those outside the window looking in, they see a person giving up all that are and have for another.  In a very real sense, a Master receives tangible benefits that those looking on can readily see.  It is the peculiar nature of some things, like love, that only those in it can see the value that exists between them.   But these things we exchange are very real to us, a palpable thing that touches us deep inside.

And how could it be any other way?  A slave will make of themselves a possession. Their body, mind and will becomes an extension of the will of the Master or Mistress they serve.  My slave may not even say “My Master” for she can not even own that.  There is no boundary, no privacy, no buffer, no space, in which to retreat.  It’s a raw, open connection so deep as to be scary.  Some slaves face a moment of fear, a sense that their identity is slipping away.  With management, it becomes a zen thing, living in the moment, alive with the joy of the interaction that is now.

This is why I say that being a slave takes more strength.  It is the commitment to pursue the incredibly big things in small moments that takes your breath away.  It is the faith that when we are human and those moments seem infinitely far away, that the person you trust and have entrusted with all that you are will find the way to bring you back to your happy place.

Absolutes are concepts for fools and I don’t believe that I am such a fool as to believe that one statement about the nature of a thing can capture all people or all things.  But in a general way though this quote is true and there are moments when you see and recognize that truth in beautiful epiphany.

Now..  let us dive deeper into uncommon currency itself.. what it means.  I think you can get a better sense of where I am headed with this term, in my My core values and beliefs piece, but in a nutshell.

What I am saying is that a Master and slave relationship is both unequal AND equitable.  A Master has all possessions and power and yet the relationship is equal in terms of what is exchanged because of our values..what we place value on.. our currency of exchange.  If we think of an exchange in nilla terms, the M/s relation is NOT equitable.  But because we crave either to dominate or be dominated, our personal values make it equitable.

And here is a thing..because uncommon currency is so very personal, you can’t judge another, even if you are kinky.  You need to understand that only two people in a relationship, can understand themselves if the currency of exchange, that which they desire most, is being met.  Yes, we are a breed apart, but I think a better breed because we have vast diversity, deep thinking about what that means, and respect for personal values that goes much farther in its way of looking at things.

So my friends, acquaintances, and playmates past and future, let us raise a toast and warm our hearts for those that go into that place with no road map, presenting all that they are as a canvas on which a Master may create a masterpiece.   It takes strength to place such trust in another and to hold fast to the uncommon currency that comes of it.