The Line too far

We spank until we leave red marks.
We inflict pain until little yelps and cries can be heard.
We use implements that leave bruises that can be felt for days after.
We cane until welts raise from the skin.
We use needles.
We use electrical devices.
We bind and contort.
We use implements until we cry.
We use gags.
We use collars and leashes.

We wear bruises like badges of honor.
We touch our welts as reminders of good times.
We brutally assault orifices that many would be squicked about.

So imagine my surprise when someone posts a picture of a bruised and swollen eye where the comments become: “that’s too far”, “that’s abuse” and “that’s not right”.

Hmm….

I get that. I respect that.

But let’s say for a moment that we’re honest outside observers looking at all the things we do. If we’re truly honest with ourselves, we can look at all the totality of all the cruel and wonderful things we do. That outside observation would also think striking another until bruises or welts form would be considered abuse.

That “line too far” gets a bit tricky to define when we all think we’re sane and rational for doing the things we do.

If it’s a matter degrees, then it’s also a matter of choice. We can elect to sunbathe in the sun or not. We can choose to sunbathe longer than dermatologists want and that’s our right to do so. We accept the responsibilities therein and we do so knowingly.

Intense, dark, seemingly borderline edge play is the exact … same … thing.

It comes back to trust.
It comes back to choice.

The next time you read someone’s “oh that’s over the line, that’s abuse” comment go check out their images and the fetishes they find acceptable and in their play repertoire …

It’s okay to disagree.
It’s okay to say: ‘that’s a line I will not cross.’
It’s okay to have that line for yourself.

That’s okay to say for yourself.

But when we start trying to define that for one another – it’s simply not possible. We need to remember that we’re informed, risk-consenting adults entering into a lifestyle that can be as edgy as we want it to be.

We can all mutually agree on the premise of risk-informed consent and personal responsibility for the things we do to one another. We are unable to define the lifestyle to someone else – as everyone needs to find their way on their own.

That’s how it should be.

SCC: #112 & #30

tumblr_niqtrmAwpP1tuyadfo1_1280Prompt Set #112

– How do you fulfill the basic human need for socialization within the context of your submission?
I am not sure I understand this question completely. I am going to answer it as best I can from my understanding. We have friends that are kinky and it allows me to be me. I like interacting with other kinky people and need that connection. My closest friends just informed Master and I that they are moving. So I am really having a hard time. They have been so accepting of Master and I. I had a bruise on my face and they didn’t even question it. Before we had a local kinky community and friends, I socialized via the internet. Mostly with blogging and FetLife. I know I am going to miss our local friends that are moving so much as we have grown close.

– If you could host a D/s dinner party, what would be the after dinner activity?

Whatever Master wanted and the other dominants. Most likely a play party.

– What would you do differently in public if D/s were more socially acceptable?

Address Master as Master. I slip every so often, but I wish I could just call him Master all the time.

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” -Elbert Hubbard

Love that quote that is included. We have some really fabulous friends here locally. Our closest friends are moving at the end of the summer. I am so sad. We are not only kinky, but we all have similar interests beyond kink. It is huge loss for me. I am blessed for the time I have had wit them and wish them all the luck in their move. I hope we will see each other again.

Prompt Set #30

– What are your thoughts on pain?

I am a masochist. I like the feeling of pain. I don’t think pain really feels pleasurable, but it just is pain and get fulfilment from the pain.

– Do you have any sort of dress code?

I don’t have a specific dress code, but Master has approved every piece of clothing that comes into the house often picking them out himself. We went shopping yesterday as I needed some clothes for Thunder in the Mountains as well as just the summer. He has a fetish for texture and clothing. He likes silky, satiny types of fabric. He likes tight clothing that hugs curves.  A couple of posts where he and I talk about Master’s clothing fetish: Good Will Shopping & Inside: Fashion

– How do you communicate?

Master and I communicate probably to nausea to most people. We talk and talk and talk and talk. We like to be transparent. We don’t like things to be bottled up so we talk.

– What is something you’d really like to try?

I want Master to beat me with a curry comb.

currycomb

Consensual Issues (part 6): Personal Responsbility

Be responsible.

Everyone should take ownership of the choices each one of us makes.  It shouldn’t matter who else was involved or what was decided or agreed upon.  Take skydiving as an example: Most folks just don’t drive out to the airplane, grab a chute and say: “okay, let’s go!” No.  There’s a process involved.  There’s also risk involved.  Just like the skydiver who has an equipment malfunction, they accept the fact that any number of things can happen.  Some of it they’re in control of, but there’s a lot of things outside their control as well.  That’s why one of the first things they teach you in skydiving class is to get into the habit of looking at the parachute and examine it for yourself, double and triple check the entire process to make sure all of the risks that we can control are mitigated.  If something isn’t right, fix it, get it replaced or don’t go.

Life is like that as well.  We’re responsible for what we spend, what we eat, what we smoke, what we ingest, how fast we drive, whether we see the doctor or not.  We’re responsible for the career choice we make, the schooling we opt for and whether or not to have children.

Our lives are designed around the choices we make, so why should the lifestyle be any different?

We’re adults.

A lot of times we need to make decisions while being risk aware and personally responsible for those decisions.  If something goes amiss in a scene or a relationship, then it’s rational to deduce that at least in part, our choices and decisions figured into the problem to begin with.

No, I’m not blaming the victim.  When we’re risk aware – going into a situation that may or may not end up going exactly like we planned … then we can also accept that some of the things that may happen during the scene or whatever can sometimes go awry.  This can be as minor as a misplaced single-tail stroke … or a cuff that is on too tight and cutting off circulation.Everyone has to accept that things can go awry.  Period.

When it’s an overt, blatant violation of trust where there was never an intent to stay within the confines of what was negotiated, then we’re talking about a perpetrator that clearly stepped over the line and for those folks, there is no recourse. These are the liars, the predators, the scammers among us. For these folks, nothing can be believed or trusted because they really don’t care about anything but themselves and what they’re after. If you come across one of these fine folks – don’t engage them. You can exercise your choice to say: “no thanks.”

Now for the somewhat controversial part of the post …  I am saying that there’s some responsibility if the s-type goes into a situation knowingly or if they simply didn’t grasp the entirety of what they were walking into.  Being lied to is one thing, going to the Motel 6 for a “beat and greet” without knowing the person you’re going to be with – then I do hold the s-type at least partly responsible for not checking the parachute before they got in the plane or at least figuring out what’s involved with sky-diving.

When we don’t use our sensibilities, we can sometimes make bad choices.

Same thing holds true if that s-type meets up with someone who has a history for playing hard.  If the s-type and the d-type don’t come to a rock solid understanding before hand, then there’s a strong likelihood that there’s going to be some shared responsibility across the spectrum.

s-types need to be strong here. They need to have resolve and that flirting fear of self-preservation working. If they don’t investigate, ask, get to know, negotiate, inform, educate and discuss … then they’re running the risk of not being appropriately prepared.

d-types need to listen, observe and respond truthfully at all times. If they’re involving themselves with an s-type that isn’t asking questions or contributing to the overall negotiation of the situation then that’s a concern. I’m not sure I’d scene with someone who didn’t at least ask what the ground rules and lines were going to be. It’s a classic case of setting up the scene to end badly. I find it also my responsibility to take charge by informing them, educating them, negotiating with them, and LISTENING to them. Just because it wasn’t discussed while negotiating it out, does NOT mean that it’s fair and open to do.

Never, EVER assume.

Communicate!  A lot goes a long way from when we’re all on the same wavelength. We can talk things through the onset and can convey our likes, wants, desires and expectations from the situation.  If we’re not informed, well communicated and otherwise completely honest with ourselves then all parties are setting themselves up for the potential for a less than desirable experience.

Being responsible means being honest. A common theme throughout this series is that it starts with us, individually, knowing ourselves as much as we can. Once we achieve that level of understanding about ourselves, then we can be honest with those we want to play with. Good scenes, relationships and situations require that we can be honest with one another from the very onset and be consistent through the entire experience.  That’s when things should go pretty much according to plan. Lying and dishonest types are ultimately going to lead to some really bad conclusions. If you’re lying or misleading someone – and you do this willfully (as opposed to both sides never asking or addressing the issue) then you deserve the additional scrutiny being brought upon you.

Being responsible means we know the expectations. Not just know the expectations but both parties know what the expectations are going to be. We all imagine “this is how I think things are going to go.” Only problem, we don’t articulate that enough. Hence when our expectations are “eh” or fall down horribly, we walk away dissatisfied, upset or hurt. We sometimes set ourselves up for that fall, but if we don’t communicate to one another what we expect to have happen, then it can be a disappointing experience.

Being responsible means having respect. It’s incredibly hot having those scenes where the s-type is debased, head pressed down by a black leather boot and the thrill of being “taken” is well at hand. Deep down, this kind of exchange happens because a level of respect had been already been conveyed that allowed such an activity to happen. If this happened on Main Street, USA, there would be those calling 911, it would be frightening, less than happy or thrilling ….

So, a level of respect is established in one form or another. It means that the s-type has bestowed a level of trust with the d-type they’re with. It’s not automatically assumed or presumed. Merely saying “I’m a dominant” or “I’m a master” doesn’t mean anything. It’s how we carry ourselves, how open we are, how much we respect the people we’re with and the situations we’re involved in.

Being responsible means there’s a shared involvement. It seems pretty obvious, but if we’re all consenting adults to something, then there’s shared involvement. If there’s deceit by either side, then that’s clearly not cool and the accountability in that situation will be clear and evident. Anything beyond willful deceit, there’s a strong possibility that both sides could have some responsibility to what happened.

I’m also not talking about liars or cheaters either. Folks who haven’t been honest in their respective situations are simply not responsible enough to engage with another person. Be honest and forthcoming about things folks.

However if folks have been open and sharing, then other explanations can be derived. If there’s a knowing component, then I’m sorry – you should’ve known. If there’s an experience or knowledge component, then I’m sorry – you should’ve read up on it, sought advice or otherwise

Being responsible means being accountable. It starts with us being brutally honest with what happened. While there might be degrees and percentages of shared responsibility, we each have to own up to what happened and transpired. Put away the finger pointing and assess what you personally did that contributed to the situation. It’s about taking personal accountability for your part. If there was a lying deceitful partner, we also have to accept that this happens too.

But d-types who think they can do no wrong have to wake up to realize that their decisions and conduct are pretty damn important in what happened.  Drop the egos, drop the bravados, drop the personas.  Folks need to own up, quit the lying, quit the denying and be openly honest with what happened and why.

If we’re not accountable for the actions we do, then our integrity suffers.  When we’re stuck in blaming or defensive mode, we no longer are no longer someone that can be trusted.  Accepting responsibility means that we account for our part to the situation.  It means you’re approaching it realistically instead of continually finger pointing or trying to maintain some fantasy driven fodder that exists in your mind.

Being responsible means you accept that accidents can still happen:  No one plans on accidents – hence the reason why the term invokes surprise or unexpected results.   Mindfully invoke the honest and accountability clauses up above and if it’s truly an accident – then we should accept it as such.  Can accidents be avoided?  Some, but not all.  Remember, sometimes “shit happens.”  But if we’re fully planned, all things double and triple checked – accidents can still happen, right?

It comes down to intent.
If it was a deliberate thing – then that’s a different story.
If it was a miscommunication – then there’s likely shared blame.
If it was an accident – then the reality is that “accidents happen.”

It comes down to how well did the parties work through all the details and ways to safeguard from having a bad experience.  If the s-type forgets their inhaler and goes into an asthma attack, then it’s both parties responsibility – not just the s-type.  The d-type needs to ask these questions long before the first rope is applied or the scene gets underway.  If we don’t exercise degrees of preparedness then we are opening ourselves up to more accidents and miscommunication opportunities.

Being responsible means being educated.  Imagine if you will, hiring someone who will take you up in a plane and let you jump out using a parachute you learned how to make and pack using YouTube.  You received no other training but you’ve seen everyone else do it on TV: “how hard can this be?”  Now should we then be in complete amazement when something goes wrong and the parachute doesn’t open?  Not really.

That’s why I turn back to the education and outreach outlets as being viable and important information resources for newcomers to learn how to do things.  How to approach potential scene partners and what to realistically expect.  It’s absolutely not surprising when we hear about folks who thought the lifestyle was a harlequin romance novel only to be sadly disappointed when it doesn’t meet the bodice ripper expectations going in.

Being responsible means we stay within the boundaries and lines established: I’ve already established that we ALL need to work to stay within the boundaries and lines established.  Merely claiming you’re a d-type and believing you have the authority to cross those lines doesn’t mean you actually DO have that authority.  It’s basic respect and if that can’t be established then you really shouldn’t be playing with others.

DO NOT GO BEYOND THE ESTABLISHED LINE.  If a line and boundary are established, then stay within the bounds of those lines.

DO NOT ASSUME YOU CAN GO BEYOND THE LINE.  Just because things get hot and bothered, there is no basis to use someone’s floaty space against them so that you can move directly to sexual intercourse. (or some other avenue)  Even if the s-type is begging for it … don’t.  DON’T.  Their mindset and head space is not the same as it was at the beginning when things were negotiated.  You have got to assume that their ability to rationalize the situation has been compromised – and therefore there’s a trust built that you’ll stay within the lines and limits already established.

DO NOT SURPRISE. Waiting to spring that “aha” scene component that wasn’t discussed is very likely breaking one’s consent. Just because you think “oh she’ll love this” doesn’t mean she will. Remember, you’ve just spent a lot of time working out a negotiated scene or event, why fuck that up with a “gotcha stun gun” when that wasn’t on the radar at all? You’ve gone from having a potentially great experience and turned it into a steaming pile of crap all because you wanted to throw that last curveball – thinking it’ll be fun.

Being responsible means we need to LISTEN:  It seems rudimentary.  It’s so common and basic, yet so few do this because they’re caught up in the moment.

“Yes, reds are scat, blood and anal. (yada yada yada) Yes we are not going to have intercourse afterwards. (boring, yada yada yada)   Safecall protocols are in place, (god she has a magnificent body, damn!).  There will be no aftercare, just provide a blanket and a safe place.  (I can’t believe I talked her into being here.  I’m so going to photograph this – yippee!)  There will be no photography.  (I’m going to mark every inch of her life like I saw in that video  … oh wait, nod – she’s talking.)  If I have an asthma attack, I need my inhaler.  (When is she going to stop talking, my cock is rock hard now … nod faster, let’s get this show on the road!)”

Don’t think this happens?  When D-types get a one-track mindset going on … the crowning ship of the fleet can steer into the iceberg and we would still be oblivious to what’s going on.  (note to s-types, D-types have their own head space and focus, you’re not the only ones.  Ours sometimes talks at the belt line when we’re distracted by what’s going on …)

Remember folks, as the scene develops, our focus shifts.  It’s natural and expected, but please please please be mindful of boundaries, lines and other negotiated limits at all times.  Just because one or both of you go floaty, shouldn’t mean that either one of you can’t say: “hey, let’s dial that back a bit …”  It’s the responsibility of the D, as well as the s if things are slipping to communicate it to the other.

Being responsible means we need to communicate MORE:  It’s not just communicating more, but it’s about functional communication.  That’s why it’s important to not just negotiate out a scene, but what does “hard” mean to you?  What does “hard” mean to me?  We lack reference points and as a result, a lot of things don’t get addressed.  Moreover, we have folks around us that hide behind the anonymity of the internet.  These folks find it easy to create personas that they can emulate, tease and dangle in front of others.  We have even gotten to accept degrees of little white lies, “innocent silence” and other counterproductive communication pitfalls are to be accepted.

When it comes to consent, it has to be as perfectly clear as possible from point A to point B.  If there are dangling threads, be sure that they aren’t going to interfere with what’s going to happen.  It’s not essential to have someone’s biography before doing a scene with them.  The fact that they ran track in high school or played the banjo for 7th grade summer camp might be interesting factoids, but hardly relevant in the scope of the situation.  Finding out about injuries, conditions, past traumas … mindsets, expectations and past experience is much more intuitive for what you’re about to do.  Once we have solid communication, the better we can articulate what we want, the better the outcome is in the end. We do better with more information as our disposal.  It’s our responsibility to make sure we talk more and can convey things openly and honestly.

Being responsible means keeping it real:  Reality happens.  Work, health, family, kids, school, bills, repairs – all happen.  While there’s nothing wrong with making the lifestyle to be your escape please be aware and conscious of the fact that the people you are with may be taking it a bit more seriously.  There’s no “right way” – just LISTEN, be honest, be forthright and be communicative about it.

 

Consensual Issues (part 1): Rape culture & the lifestyle
Consensual Issues (part 2): The Problem is in the Definition
Consensual Issues (part 3): Separating facts from projections
Consensual Issues (part 4): The Unfortunate Death of Communication

Consensual Issues (part 5): Scolding the Dominant
Consensual Issues (part 6): Personal Responsibility
Consensual Issues (part 7): Community Responsibility

Consensual Issues (part 5): Scolding the Dominant

Bob got a raw deal in part 2 of this series.

…but Ted – Ted is someone to watch over.

Why?

Because he has “been Lord and Master for the last 27 years.”   (Ted’s profile lists him as 35 years old, but alright.)  Ted is a self-professed, self-driven, self-made rule driven dominant who lives a few shades short of Gor in the “I’ll do whatever the hell I want to” gray scale.  Ted can do no wrong.

I worry about Ted.

Why?

Ted is a player.  He plays with s-types like a cat plays with string.  Some s-types like that, most – will not.  Ted will portray himself and pretend to be anyone he absolutely has to be – because for him, s-types are prey to be chased and pursued.  Ted will use every possible thing at his disposal to get what he wants.  Ted will resort to lying, cheating, misrepresenting, crossing lines, breaking limits, extortion, threats and violence to get what he wants.

That’s why we can worry about Ted.

s-types croon over Ted because of how he self-appears to be an impressive d-type with that ice cold assurance of knowing what he wants.  He’s the bodice ripping, soul clenching, sexy, dominant that wraps his prey into his elaborate web.  He’s can also be a self-reported leader of the community and has been for “decades.”  But Ted is a fraud, a fake, a liar, a cheat and potentially a violent predator.  Ted is your consummate abuser type.  In his mind, it doesn’t matter what’s real, what’s not real.  He doesn’t care about the s-type’s feelings, emotions, triggers, lines or limits.  Ted does what Ted wants to do – fuck everything else.

Bottom line: don’t be like Ted.

First and foremost, don’t be like Ted: be above that:  It’s our responsibilities as d-types to assert the ground work of whatever it is that we’re doing.  s-types do have their part in this (which is to let you and I know what lines are out there, what their expectations are, what triggers and landmines may exist, any health issues, mental issues, drugs, important phone number contacts, etc.)  But ultimately it’s our show to run.

The more we’re open, upfront, honest, communicative, the more likely we’re going to have a reasonable situation evolve.  If you’re going to have a problem with things or if you can see some areas that make you cringe or isn’t your “brand of style” then stop and ask yourself, truthfully and honestly if you’re the right person for what is being negotiated.  If you’re not, then it’s better to back away and find someone else you can play/explore with.

Learn how to use your domly ego and bravado in ways that complement the situation and not be in conflict therein.  Be the above board party, be honest, and take responsibility for the things you say, do and think.

Be honest:  This should be a no brainer, but if you’re manipulating a situation while significantly omitting key relevant information (like the fact you’re married, have 2.5 kids) then please stop the lying.  Even the “small ones” like: “oh, she knows what I’m doing and is okay with it” is simply not acceptable.  If by concocting a lie to conceal yourself in the presence of others, then you’re a fraud.  Stop that.  Change that.  The more you lie, the more locks appear on the chain you’re dragging from your hobbles.  You’re going to get caught and yes, you’re going to get caught – then you will be labeled, tagged and otherwise fricasseed as being a lying, no good player.

If you don’t care at all who you hurt with your lies, then this is not the lifestyle for you.  Move along.  All you’re doing is being an asshole and causing pain on others because you can’t be honest to save your life.  It’s not our fault you’re in an unhappy marriage and it’s not our burden to shoulder.  If you’re just going to lie and cheat – then at least have the audacity to say that from the onset.  No surprises, no gotchas, no cookie.

But what if you’re tired of running.  Want to be free?  Develop an honesty zone at all times.  It doesn’t matter how crappy your situation is – the truth is better than trying to lie your way  in hopes to reach a happier place.  That kind of happiness has a really short lifespan and eventually adds to your ongoing stress.

Be real:  Yes, there are some s-types that keep looking for their Christian Grey, but as we learned, it’s not real.  It’s a contrived fantasy – which is good – when all parts agree that it’s a fantasy and all the expectations, lines and limits align as such.  Fantasies are good things.  They inspire creative explorations and create visions that make our heart skip a beat while our palms get sweaty.  But if you’re preying upon s-types touting the mansion you don’t own with the full-fledged dungeon that exists only in the pages of a book, then you’re selling yourself to be someone you’re not.  Stop that.  It’s okay to dream and have fantasies, but don’t sell something you don’t have.  It makes you a player and doesn’t work.

If you’re going to be doing things to an s-type, then learn.  Learn what it’s like to put Tabasco sauce on the nether regions or what it feels like to have a single tail leave a stripe against your backside.  Be realistic in how you approach your style of play.  Be realistic in how you play because s-types LOVE everything about being real.  Even if you can make some of the fantasy come true, then that’s a good thing!

Be smart, be compassionate: Not just make the right choices, but be observant, be aware, be open, listen, learn and always maintain your self-control.  If sally is having a difficult time – you need to assess what’s going on.  Don’t assume.  Don’t be an ass and tell her to snap out of it.  Don’t abandon.  Don’t pretend that you know.  Ask.  Invest yourself in what’s happening.  Don’t automatically assume that it’s YOUR place to push sally to her breaking point.  You have NO idea what you’re going into and the responsibility will fall on your shoulders.

If you dismiss sally’s problems and say they aren’t yours, then you’re not a responsible d-type.  You’re a player that’s not invested in her world as it’s crumbling around her and you really need to stop that.  Have the human common decency of caring.  If you want to be a dick, then have the audacity to tell sally going in: “I really don’t care about you, your issues, your breakdowns.  I don’t intend on hanging around when they happen, nor do I want to help you fix it.  Fix yourself so that you can resume sucking my cock.”

Don’t be a Ted.

Know when to say when:

Stop – when you should stop.

If the break in play is ruining your hard on – tough break kid.  Let the little boy wonder come back another day.  It always does.  If you lack self-control in those situations then you really need to evaluate what you’re doing.  You’re likely causing harm to others – and not the good harm either.  If you don’t understand this concept then you have a lacked capacity to know what’s going on with sally.  You’re a player.  Don’t project to be anything but that.  At least be true to yourself and be honest on that front.

Butt out of my business, will ya’ pal?

Sure!  Absolutely!  In fact, I really really don’t want to be in your business at all.

(honest!)

We’re all different, we have different tastes, desires, likes, dislikes … there’s no one right way.  So on the surface, I’d sigh heavily, bite my lip and say that Ted could do what he wants as long as Sally wants to be there and has agreed to all of this.  I’m in no place to stop Ted from doing what he wants to do.  I am, however, going to be paying attention to Sally and keep a mindful eye on her. Because it has happened before, it’ll happen again, Ted will do “one-more-thing” and something will happen within Sally to snap.  It’s his toy to break.

… and if Ted doesn’t care – then folks start thinking that it’s their business to know about Ted then all of a sudden, it becomes everyone’s business.

If sally wants to bolt – and rationalizes it – then that’s her journey and call to make.  We can then rally around Sally so that she knows she isn’t alone, but in the end if someone wants to be terrorized like what Ted is doing – and if Sally, Judy or Sue want to submit themselves to that – then – that’s their choice.  I just hope they are going in very informed and know what the ramifications are.

Personal Responsibility In Consensual Kink.

It’s up to Sally to decide if Ted is her brand of bologna.  It absolutely does not matter what I think of Ted or his ways – it’s what Sally believes.

However …

Even if Ted convinces Sally to stay, it’s safe to say that not every s-type will follow anywhere close to where Sally is at.  In fact, a lot of them would go: “thanks but no thanks.”  Why?  Because we’re different.  Some folks come into the lifestyle because of the romanticized Harlequin bodice ripping stories.  Others come into the lifestyle to feed their fetish.  Others love the community.  Others like the intense play.  By and large, I find a lot of s-types want to bond and connect with their D. Most want to know that the service, submission or surrender they are putting out there actually gets recognized and treated with some degree of acceptance or respect.

Folks like Ted have no vision for what they’re doing.  They see themselves as a trailblazer who doesn’t have to be accountable for anyone.  While that’s true, it also makes it very difficult for an s-type to follow along much less take the Nestea plunge and hope that everything works out.  Ted destabilizes the dynamic, which makes it difficult to have firm footing.  It’s flawed.  There’s no road up ahead, no bridge and no navigation.

S-types will vary as to what they’re looking for and wanting.  Some might want to be living in Ted’s uncertain future.  Most won’t.  I scold the likes of Ted because he’s more of a player than a D or an M.  At the first sign of problems, Ted is likely already out the door and disappears.  If s-types want to play with a player like Ted, I wish them luck.  Let them come together and try to make it work.

Important caveat:

For some s-types, Ted makes their toes curl.  They want that control, they want that discarded possibility because it excites them to no end.  Those s-types can’t really explain why they like Ted or the bad boy things he makes them do.  Some lifestyle folks would cast their abused stereotypes on the s. They see her as being damaged.  They see her as a hurt and wounded animal that’s destined to repeat the abusive cycle over and over.  The s-type looks at themselves as being fully functioning and being perfectly okay with where they are.

The point is: be careful before casting judgement on Ted, but Ted has to pull his head out of his ass as well.  If sally swoons at his beck and call (and loves it) – then she’s okay.  He’s okay.  They’re okay.  The situation is okay even if we gasp in shock or horror at what we’re witnessing or reading.  We can say: “we would never do anything like that,” but that’s not our call to make.  The important thing is to gather all the facts and have a very wide angle lens when you’re reviewing someone else’s dynamic.  It’s probably not going to be something you personally want …. and that’s okay too.

 

Consensual Issues (part 1): Rape culture & the lifestyle
Consensual Issues (part 2): The Problem is in the Definition
Consensual Issues (part 3): Separating facts from projections
Consensual Issues (part 4): The Unfortunate Death of Communication

Consensual Issues (part 5): Scolding the Dominant
Consensual Issues (part 6): Personal Responsibility
Consensual Issues (part 7): Community Responsibility

Positive Body Image

photoIn February, I took an online photography class about learning to love yourself more…to gain a better self-image and body-image.  The daily assignments of this class were taking self-portraits.  It helped me so much being able to see myself and talk to myself in a way that I would to someone I care about and love.  In speaking to myself with more kindness and compassion, it helped me accept myself even better than I have in my past. It also helped me see that how others see me really doesn’t matter.  How I see myself is more important.

(If anyone is wanting the name of the online class I took, please feel free to email me. My email as at the bottom of each page. I am not listing the class as I don’t want it linked back to our lifestyle page with search engines.)

This weekend a local group had a class on Positive Body Image. The presenter is an amazing woman with a fantastic outlook on life and herself. Really refreshing and touching.  So happy she came to our little community and to talk with us.

After the class, I was thinking about when I first had body image issues. I think many women are ingrained from a very small age – what society deems as the ideal look. My Mom struggled with her weight after she had children and my extended family…Grandmothers, aunts, cousins, and great aunts struggled with their weight too.  So at a very young age, I heard that you never want to be their age and struggle with weight so watch every bite you take as it will make you fat.   It was preached over and over in my household growing up.

When I was 18, I was gang raped by my boyfriend and his friends. After breaking up with him, I started gaining weight. I had other traumas in my life and after each trauma, I gained weight.  Each time I gained weight thinking it would make me invisible to those that wanted to hurt me –  which is the opposite of what it did in truth. Because eventually being overweight – made me feel on display and that everyone was staring at me.

Twenty years ago at the age of 26, when I found that there were words for who I am and what I crave, I was at the high end of what was normal range for my height and age, but still overweight. When I looked in the mirror, I was disgusted and felt completely ugly and not just FAT – but completely huge like an elephant.  It is odd now that I am much bigger that I can see myself at that time and think I wasn’t really fat. I was curvy, but not huge like I pictured in my mind at the time. But coming into the BDSM community – it helped me embraced my curves and be more comfortable in my skin. So I lost some of my self-consciousness about my size.  I say some because the little voice that has been in training forever and it is hard to quiet.

As I said above, after each trauma, I gained more weight and in 1999 I gained quite a bit of weight and very quickly. For the most part though, I still felt comfortable in my skin. My weight has fluctuated up and down since I was 18. Losing 20 to 80 lbs – going up and down. I am an emotional eater. It is just hard to stop the habit. Again I do lose weight, it just usually doesn’t last for me.

Attending play parties and getting naked helped me learn to be more comfortable in my skin – no matter my size. Once my belly looked ugly and full of stretch marks to me, but now I look at it and it reminds me of a goddess such as Venus De Millo – very womanly – soft and round.  My skin is soft and smooth.  I am often more comfortable out of clothes now instead of in them. In clothes, the critics inside raise up and start negative talk. Seeing a blouse pull at the buttons down the front or the skirt pucker at seams because of being too tight or small make those inner critics flair up and get loud inside my head.

Oddly although I talk about my belly with love above – right now when I list body parts I like and dislike, belly is one body part that is on both lists right now. I recently had surgery and now have a wound/scar that is forming right under my belly button.  So although I am usually okay with my belly naked…right now I am self-conscious. This weekend we went to a play party and I ended up feeling very sexy because of how I saw myself through Master and destiny’s eyes. But I wasn’t comfortable getting naked in front of our friends because of the wound/scar I have right now.

Walking away from that party though, I felt sexy and I have to look at that. That is the focus not the scar. My body might not be a skinny or flawless, but it is mine and I do like me. But over the years I have had to find my own ways to deal with my body image issues. Body image is an ongoing issue – some days it is like a bad hair day nothing I put on or do makes me feel good about me. Other days I use some of my tools in my toolbox…lessons learned over the years things to help me view myself differently….

* It’s all about attitude. It doesn’t matter what size I am – I am attractive because of a variety of factors, but mostly my attitude and personality seem to be the main factors in attraction.

* How I see myself is more important than how others see me.

* Through others eyes. So although how I see myself is more important  – looking at myself through others eyes has helped me see myself with more kindness and compassion.

* Friendship with myself. Treating myself as I would a good friend. I would never tell a good friend she is fat and ugly so why do I do that with myself?  I shouldn’t so I try to create a friendship with myself and talk to myself as I would a good friend.

* Gratitude of  where I have been and how and where this body and taken me there. Meaning I have survived a lot and through it all – I have had pain in my body, but experienced pleasures as well and in the end my body got me to where I needed to be. Being grateful for this body and my experiences – good and bad have made me who I am today.

* I feel good….when wearing clothes and doing things that promote my sensuality, sexiness, compassion towards myself. Such as when I pamper myself and use a body scrub, shave and put on a sexy pair of panties – I feel sexy and that attitude often comes out in everything I do that day. So on Saturday evening when going to a play party – I instantly felt different about myself because of what I wore. That scar didn’t matter as I had sexy panties on, a garter belt and stockings under my short, tight skirt and that thought was with me each step.

* Looking at the whole instead of the parts helps me focus on what matters. Seeing me as a kind, compassionate person instead of the girl with a big belly or chunky thighs. Instead of focusing on the parts I don’t like I focus on the overall picture of me. I focus on who I am inside and out.

* Stop comparing myself to others.Truthfully do I really want to be like anyone else? Many things I love about myself and would I really want to give those up to be someone else? NO.  So when I find myself comparing myself to someone else – I try to look at them and send them on their way with light and love and talk to myself with the same light and love focused inside.

* Stop the negative talk or tapes. What goes with the one above – but doesn’t just happen with comparison, but also when trying on clothing especially swimsuits, during bad hair days or just for whatever reason they start up. This one is the hardest for me.  But when I can recognize the negative talk, I try to re-frame the critical voice inside and to actually look at the truth of the situation or moment. I can slow those tapes or eventually stop them. Affirmation of who I am – helps catch those thoughts and stop them each time they crop up.

* We are all the same.  We all struggle – no matter what size or shape we all struggle with body issues. I had a girlfriend once upon a time who was a size 0 and she was very self conscious of her body. She felt her breasts were too small and her hips were boyish.  When I was skinny, I thought I was fat so really I struggle with it no matter if I am skinny or fat.  I will always have struggles. And everyone struggles so we are all the same.

I still struggle with body image – on and off. Lessons from classes over the years and tools I have gathered help me gain a more positive view of my body.

If you struggle from body image issues, you need to find the tools and lessons that work best for you.  As you will notice I don’t have affirmations or mantras on that list, it works for some people, but not for me. So do what works for you, find the core of your issues and find solutions and tools to help re-frame how you look at yourself.

*Photo is one of myself that I took in the class I mention in the first paragraph.

Open the door

There’s been a few threads and discussions lately about how to treat one another in the lifestyle.  Respect, courtesy and basic civility is apparently beyond most folks comfort zone.  Why can’t we all just “get along?”  Folks out there believe that once you give someone basic respect, then you’re basically accounting for all of the things that they do – that you personally don’t agree with.

*sighs*

Which brings me to a point last week when I was at the post office.  (Really Michael?  Nice segue ….)

I was in the process of coming out and I opened the door for someone coming in … then more people were coming out and yes … more people coming in now.  I was stuck.  Yes, we’ve all been there.

But I had a revelation as I stood there with door propped open watching the folks come and go …. I watched how they reacted to someone who reached out and did something nice for them like – simply opening the door for them.

* The younger woman who I opened the door up first didn’t make an attempt at the other door.  It was as though she expected me to open the door and then she would slide in behind it.  No acknowledgement, no thanks, no nothing.

* A middle aged woman smiled brightly with a sincere hospitality-style “thank you” rolling off her tongue as she quickly traversed the doorway.

* A 30 something gentleman with sunglasses gave a quick thanks under his breath as he took advantage of the door being opened.

* Another middle aged woman who was clearly having a bad day only to take it out on everyone.  No acknowledgment, almost a sense of noble entitlement “of course you’re going to open the door for me, for I’m your honored queen. Now get the hell out of my way.”

* A 40 year old male came up on my heels and offered to continue to perch the door open and relieve me.  A very courteous act really.  He could’ve breezed by like the others, but instead was like: “I got this, go.”  I thanked him, told him to have a good day and proceeded to hand off the door duties to him.  One more patron would leave under his watch before he hustled out to his vehicle.

There we all were.  Perfect strangers with the widest possible reactions to a simple action.

The observation proved one thing: we are all in control of how we conduct ourselves.  We can be the bitch who is clearly having a bad day – because we choose to.  We can be the quick acknowledging male – because we choose to.  We can be the young woman who chooses to ignore the world around them – because we choose to.  Or we can be the guy who is there in the moment for support, a backup, a friend – because we choose to.

Notice that all of the people I mentioned up above – I knew nothing of their background.  Nothing of their politics.  Nothing of their education.  Nothing of their religion and other life’s preferences.  We all simply converged and united at a single place, at a single time.

We don’t have to be the bubbly appreciative woman to everyone we come across – but we don’t have to be the bitch or the invisible youth chick either.  There’s middle ground.

That’s why when the issue of respect continually emerges, I can return to the door analogy.  I could’ve let the door slam on others and continue on my way unabated.  I could’ve let the younger chick get even more annoyed that I wasn’t going to open the door for her when clearly the little princess thought she was entitled.

I chose to be who I am.  I chose to react the way I reacted.

* Even if we have disagreements, we can remain civil to one another.
* Even when we don’t agree with the chosen lifestyle of another, we can remain civil to one another.
* There is nothing written, scribed or required that forces us to accept one’s chosen lifestyle.
* There’s also nothing written that by merely respecting someone, you are automatically accounting for all the things they have allegedly done in their lives.
* Because we simply shake hands, because we socialize in the same company, because we have the ability to say: “we may not be in alignment with each others lifestyle, but that’s okay.  We can still be civil, polite and continue to open doors for one another.”

Even if it means sitting down and talking things out – can the repair of basic respect begin.  Remember, we choose to be who we are.  We have the ability to affect the outcome of our basic interactions with folks.  It might be easy to cast blame on others – but you may want to try that introspection first to make sure that you’re doing all you can to help effectuate change and create a healthy, positive environment for all.