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Sunday, April 23, 2017

An Odyssey of Flesh

I am thinking of soft skin and hard fingers.

A tight grip digging into flesh that gives way under protest. The gasp of pain as those points of pressure solidify.

A hand to throat now, almost gentle in its application of force, inexorable in its insistence, and the subsequent denial of breath. Lips on skin, the taste of excitement writ in hormone and pheromone, the scent of desire a heady aroma that wafts from soft places.

Body moves with body, a dance older than language, an urge for communion beyond an urge for creation, the incessant need making itself known in damp thighs and rigid erection. The force of muscle and bone applied to willing flesh, restrained violence in the use of a need dampened hole.

The penetration a welcome violation, plunging deep with a force that can be surprising, the exploration of a private depth, a place where fingers and tongue can only tease at, not claim in a form of ownership. The pulsing rhythm as hands continue their odyssey of flesh, a ritual of movement that seems fresh and new and exciting with the introduction of a different owner, a recognizable pattern that is both unknown and yet intimately familiar.

The tempo changes with each evolution of position, the thrust hitting something else, the sliding friction again renewed in both vigor and excitement with each new angle. The grasping fingers finding painful purchase as hip shift bruisingly into hip. Again and again the denial of breath as hand finds throat, or as palm presses into the back, forcing face into the ground. Purchase found to increase the rutting pace, the plunging force grinding thought into fire and lust. Breath is labored and deep, a gasp of want that mingles with the cries and moans of mingled suffering and ecstasy.

The mind begins to float free as the flesh takes over, the price paid in sweat and exhaustion, in agony and release. And then the rise, that sickly sweet reminder that humanity comes with a most wonderful distraction. Pinpricks of light dancing like faeries behind eyelids squeezed so very tight. Muscles contracting into knots as the rush of blood and want and lust and need boils explosively towards release.

Again and again the endless thrust, the piston pounding the want out in a staccato cadence of arousal and primal carnality. A peak, then. An explosive eruption deep within, that lewdly expressive splash of material desire, filling that hidden place, that depth now sodden with the mingled release, the mind afire with the force of union, the ecstasy of the exchange.

After, the body tingles with the fading glow, sated only for these precious few moments, limbs and hair tangled in a jumble of sweat soaked lassitude. The heart beat so rapid fire slowly returning to something normal, the mind floating back to nestle in its mortal coil.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Goodbye, now.

All I have left are memories and photographs.

I’ve long since washed the sheets that lingered with your scent. You never wore a particular perfume, but the smell of you has long since wafted from my room. The romantic in me says that I will always remember the way you smelled, the sweat of a long day, the soap that you used, that particular mingling of scent that was us, after. But the reality is that I only remember the pleasure of your smell, my nose has long since forgotten that particular taste.

It took me a while to remove all traces of you, the few items you left behind stayed mostly where you left them. The space I set for you stayed clear for months, but now holds small things I use from day to day. You came and got most of your things, but you forgot one or two things behind. Nothing important, things only precious to me in the connection to you. But even those things are gone now, returned or stashed away. Perhaps in a few years I’ll find them again, digging through my boxes, and I wonder how they’ll make me feel then?

I kept your phone number in my favorites, I kept the ringtone that was just for you, hoping that I’d hear it go off, praying that it wouldn’t just be a mistake. Even that’s gone now, the space allotted for something else, probably something banal. But you’re number still remains, for the occasional text on birthdays and special occasions.

Yesterday was your birthday, that was a special occasion. I sent you a well wishing, and you thanked me for it, but I know the wishes of someone else mean far more to you now than mine. That’s ok, really. I hope you have found happiness, I hope that you’ve found joy. That’s all I ever wanted for you, to help you grow, to help you to see the wonder that I saw whenever I got to look at you. I know that you’ll go far, that you’ll continue to grow, that you will succeed in your dreams, that you’ll achieve your goals. At least, that’s what I believe, even though I know I won’t be there to share in your triumph.

I don’t know how much of an impact I’ve had in your life. The way things ended scream at me like a wound, a violent display of how little importance you held us in. Part of me says that the only way you know how to end things is through a severing, a cold and merciless cutting out of the past. That the greater the impact, the more severe the disconnect. This is what I tell myself, that somehow I meant more to you than what appearances would seem to suggest. But, that doesn’t really matter now, my impact on your life is over, and you have walked away.

You meant the world to me, even though I always knew that allowing you to get so close was a really poor decision. I was warned, you see. “She’s too young for you. She’ll grow and move on, but you are through with your changing.” I knew it going in, and in the end, that was a convenient excuse for you to use. Perhaps it wasn’t an excuse, perhaps it truly was the way of it, but this also no longer matters.

Even so, you taught me more about myself than I thought was possible. You reminded me that there can be a light out there, that I am not ever alone. It’s hard for me to see the love and support that others give to me, it’s hard for me to accept their love as anything more than platitudes. I wish it was easier, but that’s the way of it. You saw through all of that, and somehow you always knew exactly what to do or say that made me see that you meant it. I never doubted you. Not then. Perhaps the doubt I have now is a self defense mechanism, a way for my lizard brain to somehow shift some of the blame more onto you, give me a reason for anger instead of all this pain. But I don’t want to believe that. I don’t want to doubt. I don’t want to see any blame placed anywhere, because sometimes things just end.

I always said that you could walk away, knowing that you probably would, hoping that you wouldn’t. It’s time that I accepted that, that I grow, that I let the memories fade, the wounds to heal, the fires to burn out, the embers to grow cold. But I am afraid. I am afraid that when those memories go, it’ll take the fire from the lessons that you taught me. I worry that once again, I’ll return to the emotionless machine, where the thin veneer of humanity is nothing more than a facade.

Things are better now, and I do have hope that some of that will stick. When I think of some of the people in my life, I know that my smile is genuine. I know that the warmth in my heart comes from them, and I know that it is real. Perhaps the fear of losing that is just another crutch, an excuse I give to rationalize continuing to hold on to something that has passed.

Either way, it is time to move on. I have my own path to follow, my own growth to find. I’ll do it, I know that I will, and I know these memories will help me to remember, will become another step along my path.

Thank you, for teaching me so much. You still mean the world to me, but that is gratitude for what was, and no longer for what is.

Goodbye, ka. May you truly find the happiness you seek.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

WinterFire and Looking Forward

It never ceases to amaze me how important these events can be. I look forward to them every time, and the kick in the ass they can be is totally worth it for the incredible and intense rejuvenation they offer. Time with friends, the evolution of relationships, the creation of new ones, all serve to help remind us what is actually important. In these times, these events become ever more essential to helping us remember that we are a part of something greater, that the community we belong to is alive and thriving, and there are brothers, sisters, and others that are out there to help and support us.

I was asked quite a few times on this trip why the hell I drove up to DC all the way from Florida. Sure, I could have flown, but I had reasons. Yeah, the one I mentioned more often than any other was because I was able to spend some time with a new but dear friend, (getting to spend that time was very special to me, and I’ll go into that more later) but the reason I didn’t mention all that often was that driving initially afforded me the opportunity to visit my uncle. A few weeks ago he collapsed and was rushed to the hospital with congestive heart failure. No one expected him to survive the night, but he did. This wonderful and incredible man held on for almost two weeks, giving him an opportunity to say goodbye to his brothers and his sister (my mother), as well as his wife and children.

But he did not survive long enough for me to see him. He died just days before I drove through, and I missed my window of opportunity.

At first, I was struck deeply by grief, full of recriminations about how I should have just gone, to hell with scheduling. But then, it settled upon me that it is not given unto us to know the hour of our passing, nor the passing of anyone else. If the universe had deemed it right for me to see him before he moved on, then I would have had the chance. So, it fell to me to contemplate and reflect upon what he had left me with, the legacy of love without reservation, the wisdom and strength of a man that literally gave everything he had to those he loved. He worked ceaselessly for those he loved, he cared for them, he watched over them, and he did what he could to help guide them and nurture them, regardless of whether or not he agreed with who and what they were. Of all my family, he was the only one that ever supported me, even when he neither believed in nor supported the choices I’ve made in my life. A staunch conservative and devout Christian, he and I stood on polar opposites of the socio-political spectrum, and yet he never once let that get in the way of his love for me.

So, it is with this memory at the forefront, that I sat out on this journey to DC, and a weekend of bacchanalia and depravity. A weekend I needed for so very many reasons.

Thursday
The drive up was long and grueling, but not anything I’m not used to. I love driving, and distance driving gives me a great chance to just reflect on life, as well as spend some time catching up on some good audiobooks. So, it was off to North Carolina with Robin Hobb playing through my speakers. Did I say “good” audiobooks? Well, so far the Farseer series hasn’t lived up to that particular adjective.

But, I digress. I arrived at my destination, and it was to a pleasant night of good conversation, rope, and surprisingly good cuddles. The details, I am afraid, must be left to your imagination and to my memory, but suffice it to say it was excellent company and one that I will cherish closely in the months to come.

Friday
Waking up, we got on the road. There were plans, but they were discarded for the expediency of the long road trip ahead. We filled the hours with conversation about our past, about D/s, about kink in general. The miles flew by as we did, and I grew to enjoy this friend even more than I thought was possible. It is not often that you meet an appropriately kindred spirit, and it was surprisingly refreshing to spend the morning with such a charming creature.

We got into DC and into the hotel. After a brief snafu with the hotel itself (which was very capably handled by an overly-stressed unicorn), I was IN and ready for my WF. There were some excellent greetings from some old friends, quiet moments amidst tearful reunion hugs and kisses, laughter and smiles. It was absolutely lovely to be reminded that though we are separated by miles and time zones, we are still family. I wish that I was closer, but I am desperately grateful to be able to share space with them when I can. Dinner with a friend, and I was excited to see us grow even closer. Damn, it was good to chat with you, thank you for introducing me to the Goat.

Then, the first “official” scene of my WF experience. I hadn’t expected to be given the chance to experience this person, and I was intensely flattered by their interest. I admit, I am not often nervous or anxious before scenes anymore, but I certainly was leading up to this. But hot DAMN it was a good scene. Fun rope, some tussling, and frustration over a timely moved hitatchi. It was fantastic and great fun. It was wonderful to get to explore a new person, to see them in an element that I hadn’t had a chance to before, and it was really really good. I will take what I have learned into my next scene with you, friend. Ware!

But, no matter how excellent that scene was, it was no match for getting to hold my beloved @scuddle again. Kept late by a new job and the appropriate celebrations, she did not arrive until late. Once she did, it was a moment of intense joy to be able to share space with her again. It aches so much whenever we are parted, but it is as nothing to the incandescent joy at reunion.

And I shall speak no further of my Friday.

Saturday
0945 comes damnably early. I am lucky in that I am one of those goddamn assholes that just wakes up fully conscious. I don’t need coffee or any other kind of caffeine to get me going, and when I have to teach early, I am immeasurably grateful for that. Give me a chance to smoke a cigarette and a few minutes to align my thoughts, and it’s time to hit the ground running.

I do not often get to teach outside of the wheelhouse of rope bondage and other forms of play, so when I get to share on the more philosophical side of kink, I am as giddy as a schoolboy to do so. *Slave Training 101* was a far more intense class at WF than it usually is. I had a pretty full class, and it was a fantastic way to start off my teaching experience for the weekend. We delved deep into the profound changes that come with exploring both sides of the M/s dynamic. We shared experiences, discussed programs for both in-person and distance training, and ended on the Butler Book. There were some fantastic questions, some equally good suggestions, and all in all, I think it was a fairly successful class. Thank you to everyone that attended and shared your input.

Lunch! @scuddle and I attended the Lunch With Presenters thing in the lobby, and we got to spend some time with a few really excellent humans. It was lovely!

Partials. So, this class was a fucking blast. We really didn’t know what to expect going into it, but it turned out wonderfully. We got to share a particularly challenging partial and discussed the process of taking care with each step, with each piece building off the one prior, each one making the partial more and more difficult. Sometimes it’s good to take the time and really let your partner sink into the experience before leveling up to the next.

We moved on from that into chaos rope, and it was really awesome to get to share with you what is essentially my most favorite kind of play. You guys took the idea and ran with it, turning it into a hands on exercise that was an absolute treat to get to observe. It’s always really awesome to get to see my attendees really getting into the material, and I could tell that a fair number of you guys really had a good time. Makes me feel like I’m doing my job right.

Also, a big thank you for my favorite Sadist showing up. Goddamnit, man. You really are the sadist I want to be when I grow up.

Then, anxiety. SOOOOOOOO, the plan that @scuddle and I originally had for the Wild Things show was simply not working out as planned. The positions were only partially working, and the transitions were just not smooth enough to make a good performance. A good scene, maybe, but they were just too hard on both of us to be able to make them flow in a way that would both work with the music we had selected, or to showcase the kinds of rope we both love and have fun with. STRESSSSSSSSSSSSS

But, the time came, and @scuddle helped me to center and prepare. A big deep breath, and FUCKING YEAH. She made me look far better than I am, and her ability to sell a fucking tough as balls transition sequence was just awesome to be able to share with you. My second takeaway from that performance? I talk ALL THE TIME about how important tension is to good rope bondage, and that performance should show all of you that with good tension, you can make some fucking MAGIC.

There was more from the night, but once again, this is all I shall say about Saturday.

Sunday
I love the frantic pace that comes with Sundays. GET EVERYTHING DONE! DO ALL THE PEOPLE! GET ALL THOSE LAST SCENES IN! Everyone is running around with barely contained excitement, and the exhaustion of the last few days really begins to show in absolutely lovely ways. Bruises are really starting to show in lovely shades of blue and purple, tired eyes are aflame with the intensity of the last few things, and the expectation of scenes where one doesn’t have to hold back to be able to survive even more days of play and fun.

The energy on Sunday was high and intense. It was a great day to share on the Sacred and to walk with the Divine. A lot happened on this day that I’d really like to keep as a lovely memory, but it was really really good. Photo shoots, OH WOW bootblacking, impromptu lessons, and an unforeseen scene with a really wonderful human. Cuddles, tears, and finally sleep.

Monday
Saying goodbye is always always hard. I miss everyone immediately, and the promises of seeing each other again soon is always really wonderful, even if it is agony. But this day I got a chance to spend taking a break. I reunited with my driving companion, and we were invited to spend the day at friend’s house, then RopeLab. I needed that day like I cannot tell you.

@scuddle you remind me what it means to be alive. You were the only light I could see when all else had faded into the darkness within my own mind, and for that I cannot ever truly thank you enough. Spending time with you this weekend reminded me of all that was, and gave me a glimpse into what can be. You give me the strength I needed to break through, and for that I will be forever grateful. I love you with everything I can.

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All things said, this was one of the best events I’ve ever been given the pleasure of attending. Thank you to all the staff at Dark Odyssey for having me, and for trusting me with a few slots to share with your attendees a little bit of my journey. Your faith in me means the world, and I am grateful. Thank you.

To my play partners, your trust is always deeply humbling and immeasurably wonderful. Why you would choose to play with a broken old asshole like me will always be beyond my understanding, but dear gods, am I grateful. Thank you.

To my students and class attendees, I always appreciate the chance to share something, however small, with you. Getting the chance to see how I have had the chance to impact your life is my reason for doing what I do. I really am here only because of you, and for that I am grateful. Thank you.
To my friends and companions that continue to provide incredible amounts of love and support, I could not do this without you. Your strength and patience is also intensely humbling, and having you in my life is a joy that I can never repay. You all bring light to my darkness, and for that I am grateful. Thank you.

Dark Odyssey, it truly was a journey, once again. I cannot wait for the next chapter, and if Winter Fire was any indicator, it’s gonna be one wild fucking ride.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Daddy without a baby.

“I can’t match your intensity right now and I don’t think I can ever match it.”

This is not a surprise.

"I've been wondering about my low sex drive. You see, the things we do turns me on to the point that I just want to fuck, and you happen to be the only cock available.”

Again, not a surprise. 

“You have to be in control all the time, and I do not like being controlled. You don’t have to give up control, just share it.”

Not a surprise either.

“You were right. As I got older, I just… changed. I will always love you, but that is not enough.”

Heartbreaking, but nothing really surprises me anymore.

Recently, I have begun to really take a look back at the experiences that I have had in my life, and I sometimes wonder at the choices that have brought me to this point. Do I regret any of them? Do I wish that I had made different choices in the direction my life was taking? If I was given the chance to go back and do some of them over again, would I do so? And then, even if took that chance, how would I change those decisions, and if I did, would it make my life any better?

These questions are pointless, you see. As much as we all would like to go back and make different choices in life, the reality is that we simply cannot, we must move forward with who we are as a product of those decisions, and hope that we can make better ones as we proceed forward with our lives. But still, we will look back and wonder. 

I can safely say that the vast majority of the choices that I have made in my life were ones that I would not change, even if given the chance. The choice to pursue art instead of computer science while in college, while it certainly has not made me any real money, has given me the opportunity to do some amazing things. I think that if I had not taken that route, I very much doubt that I would be in the position that I am in now. I would not be the photographer I am, and I certainly would not have had the opportunities to work with and take photos of some of the best people I have ever met.

Choosing to stay in Gainesville instead of getting out each time the opportunity presented itself certainly proved advantageous in some interesting ways. It forced me to work harder at some things, and be more grateful for others. It played a huge role in who I am as a person.

And really, I think that that is the rub. Throughout my life, I have made choices based on who and what I am as a person. Even when I chose a path that was counter to who I believed myself to be, I believe that I made those choices with the confidence that what I was giving up was worth what I would ultimately be receiving in the long run. For the most part, that has been true. Yes, there have been some choices in my life that were made in such a manner and proved to be ultimately unsatisfactory, but such is the way of life. 

But that is not entirely true. While I do think that a lot of my choices have been primarily made by listening to who I am, some of the biggest ones were made by listening not to who I am, but who I want. I have sacrificed huge swathes of my life, in vain attempts at happiness. After a while, I made those choices in an attempt to find peace. For the most part, I think that I have achieved a measure of peace, but at a tremendous and nearly incalculable cost.

I am a sociopath. This has moulded me in ways that I cannot even begin to describe. It has been a huge factor in just about every facet of my life, and the impact it has had on my relationships has been devastating. I am distant to even my closest of friends, no matter what I actually want. I am terrible at communicating with people, I struggle to maintain the focus necessary to remain in contact with people unless they are in my immediate sphere. In person, I am very communicative, I freely speak on even intimate subjects and I can maintain that contact easily. But if I have to maintain that contact via telephone/email/text/whatever, I find myself drifting further and further away from them quite easily. I do not want to, but it is very hard to remember that there is someone out there, waiting for me to just… talk to them.

But this is not always the case. There have been a tiny handful of people that I connect with on a level that I cannot easily describe. I call it “The Threshold.” Something happens after a while, and something inside of me just clicks into place, and suddenly I am deeply connected with someone to the point that I become shamefully dependent upon them. I develop feelings, and I finally begin to feel alive. These are the times that I cherish the most, where I can come out of my shell and just be. I find an immense amount of peace, if not actual happiness. My rational mind tells me that this is unhealthy, that I put too much weight upon the people that I attach to. My lizard mind agrees, but it screams at me that everything will fail because I burn them out, I use them up, that ultimately, I AM ALWAYS AT FAULT. I am the broken human, and everything around me breaks because of that deep and powerful truth. 

Maybe I am just innately selfish to the point where it is dangerous, but I cannot just accept that it is innately unhealthy. I tell myself that I just have to find the right balance, the right amount of energy to draw from someone without burdening them too much, to be willing to accept a duller existence in order to prolong the experience. I try to be optimistic, but in the end, my mind reverts to the safety net of “it will always end, and you will have to rebuild yet again.”

So I see this, and I try to be everything for the people that give me everything. I guide, I help, I stand by them, I support them, I give them everything I can possibly give. I sacrifice for them. I devote my entire life to them, because I know that I am slowly killing them. But that is not the only reason. As I get more and more attached to them, I find that I WANT to do this, it is no longer an obligation, no longer something I do to try and even the scales. It is a duty that I take seriously, and I begin to enjoy being all of these things. I look back over my life and I see that I always have, that even before my realization that I start these things as a way to somehow pay for the essential thing I am taking from them, I was always like this. I am a Daddy. I have always been a Daddy. 


I may be a sociopath. I may be broken. But I am also Daddy, and I deserve happiness too. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

2016: A Year in Review

Holy shit, what a year.

When 2016 started, I had no idea what I was in for. I’m not going to lie, this year was an almost irrevocable shitshow. Some really fucking awesome highs, but some pretty abysmal lows as well. Not just for me, it seems, 2016 was hard for lots of people. I try and think on that as I look back over this trashfire that was 2016, I try and remember that no matter how hard it has been for me personally, there have been others suffering just as badly… and worse.

I’m tempted to say that this year has been a revelation that optimism for the future is a mistake, but something inside of me absolutely rejects that. You see, I like to think that I am fundamentally a good person. A poor human, maybe, but I wake up most days with the drive to improve, to better both myself and the world around me. I want good things for most people, and even with the shit that has gone down this year, I can honestly say that I still have no one that I can say I truly hate. If I’ve learned anything this year, it would be that hate really is the thing that we must always fight against. It’s so easy to fall into the miasma of anger and hurt and rage, and as Yoda so famously said, all of that is the path to the dark side.

Yeah, it’s a statement made by a fictional character, but it packs some very serious truth. It’s easy to dismiss it as just a silly thing said by a silly person, but I refuse to just accept that. Because while I can’t say this year renewed my faith in humanity, it has renewed some of my faith in community.  I watch and I see how people that have given in to anger and hate have devolved into people I can no longer recognize. I’ve seen good people become bad ones, and I’ve seen good people rise above their circumstances to trudge on, not giving into the anger that can come so very easily.

I’ve lost so much this year. It’d be easy to just dwell on that, to focus on that and just give up. Hell, it’s a fucking battle not to. My mental illness has reared its head in a very ugly way this year, and I’ve taken hit after hit to my faith in people, and my faith in myself. I’ve made some pretty big mistakes in my life, and this year, it was brought home to me how much those mistakes can cost me.

This year, I lost my connection to most of my family, the person I loved and continue to love with every part of me that still can love, my trust in the American electorate, and I very nearly lost my life. I learned I cannot rely on people I thought I could, and I learned that even though I like to think of myself as someone who is very observant, I missed something going on in my own home, and that cost me nearly everything. I didn’t see the damage that was being caused to someone I love, and even when I started to see it, I thought (selfishly) that I could handle it, that I was equipped with the tools necessary to just… fix everything. To my unending grief, I was so very wrong.

But even so, I also learned that there is an incredible strength in those I’ve chosen as family. So many of you stepped up and helped me in so many ways. I can honestly say that without your love and support, I would no longer be among you. There were so many times when I just wanted to give up, to just… go away. But not once did you let me go. There was always someone that stepped up and carried my burdens when I couldn’t, and I absolutely cannot thank you enough.

You taught me about love of family in a way that my actual family has so abysmally failed at. You taught me that there are people, LOTS of people, that care. That you won't let one of your own go quietly into the dark, surrendering to the morass of ills this world sometimes can be. This year taught me that my strength isn’t always enough, that I can’t carry everyone and everything, that I absolutely capable of cataclysmic failure. But you taught me that when my strength is gone, that you will step up and walk beside me until I have passed through.

“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.”

In my grief, you were there. In my failing health, you were there. In my loneliness, you were there. In my weakness, you were strong. When I wanted to die, you gave me something to live for.

So many times this year has taken a swing at me, and even when I took hit after hit, there was someone or many someones there to help me back to my feet. Hell, some of you even took hits FOR me, and I have incurred a debt that I can never repay.

The world tried to teach me this year that love is not enough. You taught me that love is always enough. This gives me hope, and I look forward to 2017 with breathless anticipation.

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To the events that keep asking me back - Thank you for taking a chance on me. You have provided so many wonderful opportunities to meet and love so many amazing people, and I can only express my gratitude by continuing to try and exceed the expectations you have for me. Your trust in me is inspiring, and for that, I thank you.

To my students - I love doing what I do because of you. For each expression of wonder, for each wide eyed moment of understanding, for each breakthrough and expansion of self I’ve witnessed, these are my reasons for continuing to travel and share. So many of you have become more than just students or clients, you have become my friends, and that means the world for me. Your faith in me is humbling, and for that, I thank you.

To my play partners - holy shit, we’ve had some times, eh? I don’t understand why any of you would want to do some of the crazy shit we’ve done, but goddamn. I’ve had a lot of fun this year, and I’ve been the cause of a lot of tears, a lot of pretty vile oaths, some intense glares, and some really awesome moments of release. You share with me in ways that I am continuously in awe of, and the amount of love you have shown to me is staggering in its immensity. Your willingness to let go with me is amazing, and for this, I thank you.

To my fellow NARIX board members - This year was the year the experiment became a pattern. You have put up with my insanity, and together we have crafted a reality for a dream that many people said would never happen. You made me a believer, and you taught me that when we work together, we can make something truly wonderful. We have walked through the fire together, and that means more to me than words can adequately express. You dared to dream with me, and for this, I thank you.

To the bird - You taught me that I am not observant enough. You taught me not to ignore the words of my partners. You showed me that I can be manipulated by those that I trust, and that the single minded pursuit of self is shockingly destructive at the best of times. I learned a lot about my weakness because of your selfishness, and while I weep for the lesson, I have grown. I cannot forget what you have done, but I have learned that I can forgive you. Your machinations taught me regret as well as forgiveness, and for this I thank you.

To my chosen family - You have all stepped up and walked with me through the valley. You steadied me when I stumbled, you carried me when I fell, and you dragged me from my darkness in ways I desperately needed. When I wept, you wept with me. When I bled, you bled with me. When I broke, you held me together. You taught me that I am capable of crying tears of gratitude and love, and for this I thank you.

To ka - you taught me to live again. Together we explored a realm that was utterly terrifying for me. I learned that I am capable of feeling things, and your love helped me to genuinely feel alive. Because of you, I can see some people as people, and I was able to experience empathy in a way that was both immeasurably painful and breathtakingly beautiful. You helped me to become a better human, even though it came at the price of such heartbreak. I will never forget you, and I will love you until my heart ceases to beat. You were there for me when I needed you the most, and for this, I thank you.

To L - you love me even though I am broken. You love me even though I am incomplete. You love me even though I am failed. You love me regardless of my damage, and for this, I thank you.

To my kinky community around the globe - You taught me to have faith. In weakness, there is strength. In hate, there is love. You have surrounded me in love and support in ways I never thought possible, and for this, I thank you.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Three times is a pattern. (NARIX)

What a crazy ride it’s been.

We were basically kids, even though it was only five years ago. We were annoyed with the kinds of instruction we were getting at the cons we were going to. We went to these events, we met and compared notes, and realized that there was a gap between the kinds of things we wanted to learn, and the kinds of classes available. We wanted something more, something more complicated, something that challenged us.

Those late night bitch sessions were sprinkled with hours of intense conversation on very specific topics. We tied together, our fingers burned, our heads ached, our partners were exhausted, but our drive was all consuming. We had to know, we NEEDED to learn, to grow, to touch the infinite through herculean effort and a near insane dedication to a passion that burned within our hearts. Those conversations represented literally thousands of hours of time spent at home doggedly practicing our craft. Time and money. We’d spent both freely in this pursuit, and we gladly shared it with each other.

“What if there were more of us?” The question was obvious, but Shibaricon was never going to give us a room large enough to realized this barely tangible idea. Who were we? A couple of almost-nobodies. We’d all had a few pics go K&P, but our teaching experience was almost nil. We had no tangible presence in the Rope Pantheon that casually disseminated knowledge to the rope community. Those “gods” did their best, but we wanted more, and there wasn’t any place for it.

“What if we made that place?” Ha! The idea was laughable. None of us had the cash to fund an event. None of us had a place to even HOST a thing like that. “But what if there was?” Never. Not in a million years. Dejected, but not defeated. We had an idea, and we wouldn’t fail. The three of us? We each had a slightly different vision about what it would look like, but goddamn, if we didn’t have the dedication to make it work.

“EURIX. We could do something like that.” That was it. That would be our guiding idea, how we would start. But Europe is so very different from North America. Felix was doing some amazing things over there, but EURIX, as it was styled, wouldn’t work. But we had our visions, and we had to share it.

As we struggled with our dream, the rope community changed. We changed. We had started branching out, sharing our passion with others, and we were being recognized for it. Who were we? Just a group of rope nerds with dedication to a dream. People wanted us to share? How could we share? We were just students! But they asked, and they asked, and we did. We found others that were willing to share our dream, our vision.

And then there was a turning point, a place when we hit critical mass. We’d shared our vision, screaming our need into the void, and someone answered. “I can’t host this thing, but I CAN host a place for us to talk about it, and maybe we can find someone who can.” And three became four.

That was it. We met. We talked. Everyone was so excited, everyone was bubbling forth with ideas. It was intoxicating, exhilarating. THERE WERE OTHERS THAT WANTED THIS. Then, the impossible. “We can do it where I am.” And four became five.

Holy shit. There were five of us. AND WE HAD A PLACE. How did this happen? This was supposed to be a pipe dream! An impossible thing that OTHER people did. But it was happening. We built the place, we shared the dream, and we struggled with making that vision become a reality. We argued about everything. “EURIX does it this way…” “But North Americans won’t respond the way Europeans do. We’ve gotta do it THIS way”. Over and over, we hammered out the idea, until we had something that maybe, against all ideas, maybe it would work.

We opened the floodgates, and what was a trickle became a flood. “We’ve got to make decisions. We can’t accept everyone.” But what if there wasn’t another? How do we manage THIS many people? OH SHIT, there are LOTS that want to be there, to share this impossible dream. This suddenly POSSIBLE dream.

I don’t know how it happened. None of us really had any idea what we were doing. We brought our skills together, and SOMEHOW it happened. Three insane days, and our lives were changed. In the following weeks, we realized ours weren't the only lives that had changed. Somehow this dream that we’d sacrificed so much for had been birthed into this world, and people were listening.

Then it happened again. Sure, there were stumbling blocks, but we learned a lot and we evolved to match what was needed.

Then it happened again. Last weekend. Three times the impossible happened. Lightning never strikes twice, but THREE TIMES? Ben said it right. “Two times is an experiment, three times is a pattern.”

I can’t tell you how many times one of us would catch the eye of another, and a look of shock or bewilderment would pass across our faces. This was happening. Again. And again. And AGAIN. More than that, though. It was working. What had started out as a protest that we weren’t getting served had changed into something entirely unforeseen. We realized that it wasn’t just something that we wanted, but that LOTS of people wanted. And somehow we’d stumbled upon a way to make it happen.

It was never about us. Sure, we wanted to feed our own growth, but what we were doing was helping EVERYONE. Those initial conversations had shown us that it was something that would fill a niche that the bigger cons couldn’t fill. They served a hugely important purpose, created a space where a structure could be cut. NARIX was a place where those blanks could be hammered into shape, reforged, hardened. NARIX wasn’t about personal growth so much as it was about helping our COMMUNITY grow.

Inadvertently we’d created a place for the Tribe to congregate. Without meaning to, we’d built that Central Fire, and dancers came from all over the continent to share the Fire. Murphy’s said it so many times, but I never realized it until now. We are all singing the same song. I may have a part, a few phrases, but it wasn’t until I sang my part into the infinite with a whole chorus of others that I realized that my part was only a part of a much greater whole.

I realized I wasn’t singing alone anymore.

That’s what NARIX is. It’s not about me. It’s not about the board. It’s about singing the song with our tribe. It’s about finding family, and realizing that we all have something to share, something to learn from. That we can learn together, and we all get to share in the process of watching our song grow.



Friday, May 13, 2016

Just another rope guy.

I have heard it a thousand times, in a thousand different ways.


Aren’t you just another rope guy?



As if any of us could be encapsulated into a single overriding fetish. Sure, there are some that take their obsession with <<insert literally anything here>> and can become identified primarily with that one thing, but does that mean that they are ONLY that? I love Cookies ‘n Cream ice cream, but does that mean I am going to turn down a Rocky Road when it is offered?



Aren’t you just another rope guy?



I understand that rope is the vogue thing right now, and has been for the last several years. But, before that it was whips, and before that it was Gor, and before that it was something else. These things go through seasons, and yeah a bunch of really irritating people “jump on the bandwagon”, but that does not give you, me, or Lord High AllMighty SUPERDOM the right to disparage the entire fetish. So it may not be your thing for whatever reason, that does not mean that my kink is any less important to me than yours is to you. (And, vice versa, but that is another topic)



Aren’t you just another rope guy?



Yes, I am male, and unapologetically so. But I do not give a fuck about your gender, my gender, or anyone else’s gender. I think it should be irrelevant to anything aside from… oh wait, there is no exception. But I do identify as a male. Deal with it. But do not ever assume that because I am both male and a recognized adept in my chosen field that I am going to look down on you because you are none of those things. You are a young, attractive, curious female bodied person that identifies as a Rope Top? Fuck yes, let us talk rope nerd. You choose your own damn path, and I will interact with you in whatever role you prefer. Or multiple roles if you prefer that.



Aren’t you just another rope guy?



In this instance, yes, I am. I am a part of a community that has grown up around and blossomed within the greater kink community. There are lots of people that are like me that love rope. Even within that community, I am in an even further subcultured community in that I have a passion and skill that people have recognized and wish to emulate and learn from. That has brought me the benefit of knowing other incredibly talented and amazing people that share my level of enthusiasm and obsession with a thing, and that allows me to talk to them utilizing a vocabulary that a lot of people simply do not have.



But that does not make me special.



Aren’t you just another rope guy?



No. I am not.



And here is the thing that a lot of people seem to not realize or remember: I am a Leather Man first, a Daddy second, an Owner third, a Sadist fourth, and THEN I am a Rope Top. I have been in this lifestyle for a lot longer than you might think, long before I ever really started utilizing rope as a primary tool. Control, Domination/submission, sadism/masochism, protocol, eroticism, photography, all of these came into my life before I ever realized that I have a talent for a medium that people seem to love and obsess over.



I love rope. I really do. But it only features prominently in my life alongside many other things. It is a tool that I love to use, but in the end, it is just a tool. The passion I have is for people. I love touching people. I love communing with them. I love watching the person I am playing with run the insanity gauntlet of emotions while I am playing with them. I love being there when the realization dawns that they may have made a mistake, then the relief when it is over and they realize that they were stronger than they thought.



I love watching people fall in love with an experience. I love giving them that experience. I love tasting their fear, their hate, their love, their passion, their lust, their arousal, their excitement, their terror….. The list is nearly endless.



But that does not make me just another rope guy.



Traveling and sharing my passions with the kink community is really hard work. Most people assume that getting to do what I do is a dream come true, and in many ways they would absolutely be right. I get to spend half of my weekends each year doing crazy sexy cool things with some incredible people.



But it takes a tremendous amount of work. Hours and hours of practice. Hours of sitting in airports, or driving, or on airplanes, or busses, or trains. Even more hours developing classes that effectively communicate what people want to learn. It means living out of a suitcase for more weekends than I do not. It means (more often than not) spending this awesome and amazing time away from the people that I love. It means spending an entire day pouring my heart and soul into a thing, and going “home” to an empty hotel room, or at least one that my partner is not in.



It means a tremendous financial burden, because, shocking as it may be, kink presenters are not paid very much. Sure, we get to travel a lot, and now I will not travel unless the place I am traveling to picks up the tab. But that does not always mean breaking even. It means I often have to take extended days off of work to go and do something that I am passionate about, and to share it with people that are hopefully as passionate about it as I am.



It means that often I wonder if I am going to be able to pay my bills, because instead of working at my (not very lucrative job) I am sharing space with people I barely know. It is stressful and wonderful and exhausting and amazing and worrisome and incredible and lonely and and and and….

But you know what? I keep doing it. I choose to keep doing it. When someone reaches out to me, and asks what it takes to get me to go to whatever event, I work with them to make it happen. I give up my time, my health, my financial security, my sanity, and my private self, so that I can continue to travel and share and help people.


Why?



Because I am, at the end of the day, a Leather Man. That means that I hold to a path that I believe is far bigger than I am. That means that I ardently adhere to the philosophy that the skills and talents that I have do not belong to me. Rather, I hold them in trust for the greater community as a whole, and the people that will come after.



I have been presented with some amazing opportunities. Yes, I have worked very hard to acquire the skills and knowledge that I possess. I have dumped hours and hours of my time, loads of my money, and lots of blood, sweat, and tears into the skills that I hold.



But even when I have done everything in my power to acquire those skills, they would not be available to me unless I was a part of a community. A community that provides, that shares its' knowledge, that is welcoming, that is nurturing, that allows for opportunity to exist and the impetus to go and get it. So many people have stood before me, that have given me a hand up, shared advice, words of wisdom, of caution, of love, of motivation. I have sat for hours asking endless questions to people that I respect and admire, and they have sat there with me, sharing with me their knowledge and skill.



I am where I am today because someone who came before helped me climb that ladder just a little bit higher. They took some time to stop along their own path and to turn and shine a light back along mine to help me see where I am going. I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to each and every one of them, and I refuse to ignore that debt.



This is what Leather means to me. Yes, there are protocols, fetishes, codified knowledge, traditions, and rituals. Hell, there may even be some secret handshakes. But these are ever only part of the path, not the path itself. To me? Leather is about self actualization, about bettering oneself through the assistance and guidance of others. And when the opportunity comes for me to turn around and be that light for someone else? You better believe that I will turn and give it. Not out of hubris, or ego, or self aggrandizement, but out of humility, gratitude, a heartfelt appreciation for everyone who has done the same to me.



Aren’t you just another rope guy?



No. I am a Leather Man, and I am fucking proud to call myself one.