Archive for elizabeth

Finding Center

Waking up this morning I felt out of sorts. Rather exhausted and dazed with a sort of sick blah feeling. No particular reason. No cold or flu or anything. I have been feeling a bit blue this whole week. The kids are with their biological father this year for Christmas.  This is not a happy thing for me.  I have been fretting about being away from them and feeling a bit like the Grinch. I thought about them getting picked up last night, not to return until after Christmas, as I stumbled to the toilet. I was cold so I went and found pajamas to warm my naked sleepy body. Once dressed, I felt sure that I was about to simply lay back down a cry awhile.

I turned back to the bed and saw Master lay like a painting in our blanket and pillow nest.  Early morning light coming in our bedroom windows played shadows across his naked body.  He was turned away from me, blankets cast off. His handsome shoulders lead down to his back and hips, perfect manly ass round and smooth. I stopped and took it all in.  I wished I had a camera. I wished I had a magic spell that would forever capture the whole taste of the moment. All the grumbles in my morning thoughts were gone. Finding center is so simple in his service.

Life and Time

This week I will have another birthday. Click off another year of living. I love my life. I know it will go by much too quickly.  In my professional life I have worked with death and dying a good bit. In my personal life, I have buried several cousins, all of my grandparents, my mother, and my father. Life is always shorter than we imagine it will be and I keep this consciously in mind every day. I make choices based on this reality.  This is in many ways the greatest gift that working with grief has given me, the power to live with that knowledge. I do not see it as morbid and it does not depress me, but it does change me.

This week is I will have another birthday, my 40th to be precise.  That sounds old to my mind. I count the years that have gone by since high school and am amazed to note that it has been 23 years. That is more years than I was old when I graduated. I can remember talking with friends about “the year 2000” and how old we would be by then. It seemed a million years away.

This week my youngest daughter had her last elementary school musical. In preparation for the musical we had to make a trip to the store to get her ‘girl clothes.’ Tomboy that she has always been, she had nothing that would suit the dress requirements. I discovered that she no longer can shop in the girl’s section. Her body has started to change, she is filling out, and she has gotten so tall. Now she has to wear clothes from the junior’s section. She fussed about not wanting a dress, then fell in love with a cute little pair of boots and transformed into a teeny little pre-teen clamoring for very girly things.

This week my middle daughter got her hair cut and figured out how to make her eyes even more stunning with makeup than I had ever thought they could be. During the fore mentioned shopping trip, she found a great little shirt she wanted to try on.  It was low cut and form fitted around woman sized breasts. I told her it wouldn’t fit and she bet me it would. It did fit. She has suddenly got woman sized breast.

This week my oldest daughter put on her formal concert gown for band and magically transformed into a beautiful woman.  Stunning. Simply stunning. Hips, boobs, hair a model would kill for. She has a woman’s face now. Her cheeks are narrow, her chin delicate.

I held my Master’s hand tightly during the musical. Sitting on the cafeteria benches at the same elementary that my older daughters went to.  Listening to the same songs they sang during their own fifth grade performances. Tears came to my eyes and I gripped tighter.  I could see in my mind’s eye my 50th birthday year. All of them grown. All of them outside of my grasp. Beyond my womb, my embrace, my home. Off into their lives. I clung to his hand knowing his hand would still be there holding mine in that not so distant future.

I love my life. I know it will go by much too quickly.

On Scissors and Hypocrisy

After a long work day, I picked up one of my teenagers from school and took her with me to the grocery store to grab odds and ends for dinner. We got home and began unpacking everything and came across a messy kitchen counter.  This is nothing new or exciting.  In fact, when you live in a house full of children you find that counter tops and bathroom floors simply spontaneously produce messes. Don’t believe me?  Just ask them who made the mess and they will all assure you no one did.

As I began to clean up the counter, I came across a pair of scissors. In my frustration with the miraculous messiness of the house and the general mayhem that surrounds coming home, I cursed the scissors and muttered, “If I could just put you in the dishwasher you wouldn’t be such a pain in my ass.” My Master has a rule that scissors are not to be washed in the dishwasher.  Not sure why, but somehow he has determined they are only to be hand-washed.  Thus the offending scissors would require a special trip to the sink and several seconds of my attention, which at that moment was a bit taxed. My daughter heard my grumblings and piped in with, “Well, you know if you broke his rules on things sometimes, we would have a shot at breaking rules about scissors!”  She smirked at me and went on about putting away groceries.

Her comment surprised me so much that it pulled me out of my dinner making grind. I simply paused and thought about all that statement meant. We do not express our relationship choice to the kids.  We don’t call ourselves “Master and slave” to them.  They are kids after all and Master feels that this is a private matter.

It should not have surprised me now that I am reflecting on it. Just because we don’t label it for them does not mean that they are not aware of the nature of our relationship.  It is tough to imagine living 24/7 and having the people who live in your home not notice there are differences in how you act.  I live always in submission to him and so they see me following rules and deferring to his wisdom.  They may not know what we call it, but there is no doubt in their minds what the power structure of our home is.

As I had this moment of insight and awareness of their awareness it occurred to me that I was nearly giddy inside. I realized that without intending to ‘be’ a slave in front of them, with no airs or performance, I still was known by them for what I am. It makes me joyful to know that I am true to his ownership of me always.  Hypocrisy is always the enemy and this reassurance of my sense of self made me feel whole.

May I?

Often someone will ask “Can I…?” and get the obvious correction of, “You can, but you may not” in reply. Few enjoy this.  Children are maddened by it.  Adults are even more annoyed. Grammatical dogma it would seem is an unpopular stand to take. As my father used to say, “No one likes a smart-ass.”  When my Master says, “smart-ass” to me I quip, “You want to be with a dumbass?” Words are fun but can grate the nerves at times; correcting a ‘can’ to a ‘may’ may indeed seem smart-ass.

Each night as Master and I end our day, I ask his permission to get into his bed.  I often say, “Can I get into your bed?”  Then I generally correct myself to “I mean, may I get into your bed, Sir?”  I honestly can’t remember a time when he corrected me.  I doubt he ever said the classic, “Can but may not” retort. Generally I try to use good grammar, but in the evening as I hustle to his bed, these days rushing to get my naked body under the warm covers, I forget myself and use ‘can’ where ‘may’ ought to be.

My Master is very well spoken the ‘can’ versus ‘may’ swap is among the many and sundry common errors he finds annoying. Send him an email that uses “your” when “you’re” is what is meant and be assured he is likely to decide that if whatever you are writing about isn’t important to you, it certainly is not important to him. I love this about him.  I love his quick intellect, attention to detail, and unwillingness to accept behaviors that he views as wrong simply because they are commonly practiced.

Despite this preference for speaking correctly, he does not correct me as I ask to enter his bed. His expectation is that I will always do my best. He has related his expectation for proper grammar often enough. He leads by his example of being well spoken. The act of correcting me, when he trusts that I will correct myself, it seems to me is unappealing to him.

At night when I mistakenly ask “can I” it trips a little light bulb in my head.  I hear the words come from my mouth and recognize that he has said many times that this is not proper usage. I correct myself and restate the question with ‘may.’ There is a humility that this correction creates in my mind. Not shame, fear, or embarrassment, but a humbling sense of submission.

In that moment I feel aware of him, his ownership of me, and his expectations for me. For me, saying the words “May I get into your bed” is centering. I remember that the question is not simply a habit or empty ritual.  I remember that I am his, he has the power to refuse, and he has control and authority over everything that I am and will be. The act of asking, and correcting myself to ask properly if necessary, is one of the daily actions that bring me into focus. I am just as much in service to him before I ask that question as I am after, but there is an attentiveness that is renewed as I approach him with humble thoughts.

Often people ask how a 24/7 M/s relationship can stay vibrant. People wonder if the daily grind of life will water down the dynamic. I have heard talks on the absolute need to have multiple complex rituals each day so that you don’t “slip into vanilla.” I cannot see the future; no one can. But I do know this, no one ‘slips’ into vanilla like a clown slipping on a banana peel. If you count on rituals to bulwark against vanilla invaders, you will be distressed by the results. The bastion is in Master. What shelters me from the storm of slipping away into egalitarian misery is his quick intellect, attention to detail, and unwillingness to accept behavior he sees as wrong. His grammar is as all else, there is a standard and there are no poetic licenses issued in his domain.

11-11-11

This afternoon I got sucked in to the TV in the break room showing The View. They had Glynis McCants as a guest on the show. She is a self proclaimed expert in numerology and recent author of a book, “Love by the Numbers.” She was lauding the import of tomorrow’s date, 11/11/11.  Apparently, according to her 11 is a very powerful number which indicates opportunity to enter a new direction in life. She noted that the ‘11’ “looks like a door.” This made me wonder if in Roman numeral numerology the “XI” was taken to be a barn door or some such.

I must admit I am not a numerology follower, but it did sort of peak my interest in the notion of numbers.  The lady on the show explained how to sort out what ‘number’ you are.  According to her, my Master and I both are life path 1 sorts.  This is supposed to make us both natural leaders. This seems sort of a pain in the ass as it relates to our Master and slave lifestyle.  After all, if we are both trying to lead this could be an issue. The good news here is that the descriptions I found of a One Type are like fortune cookies in that you can read into them pretty much anything you want. This allows that as a One I can still follow but will tend to be a leader to some.

Well, life path aside tomorrow is a big day. Apparently according to the Spirit Voyage blog, it is the COSMIC PORTAL TRANSIT DATE. Wow, that does sound pretty much like a big deal. The date aligns the universe somehow to allow us each a chance to change our destiny, our direction in life, or make leaps in personal growth. Fancy.

To me, this is really no different than any other day. Each day we are given we can choose how to spend it. Every day is filled with choices, opportunities, free will, and growth. Instead of hoping the numbers on a calendar will alter my life course, I have decided to live each day to the fullest. Sliding into my Master’s bed at night I hope I am always exhausted and pleased with how I spent my day. My mom used to say, “Fair trade.” I tried to find her reference source but had no luck.  I know she had a plaque on her wall in her kitchen that had a poem about hoping each day was a fair trade. The idea was that we only have a limited number of days to spend, we exchange that limited resource for whatever it is we do during that particular 24 hours, and the goal is to make sure each day was a fair trade. I summarize that as when the time comes that I lay dying, would I trade one more day for whatever I just spent today doing?

Just some food for thought as you embark on your own 11/11/11. Make it, and every other day, a fair trade.

Opposite Action

On an average day, during an average time, I am often pretty average. I don’t live at the level of excellence at all times. I am faced with a task that my Master has set before me. I am supposed to keep laundry done. That includes sorting in a particular way, washing, drying, folding or hanging, and putting away. It seems like such a big task.  It grows in my mind. The laundry seems like a living breathing beast that is trying to smother me. I don’t feel much like doing laundry. I don’t feel like much of a slave. I just feel average.

Inside my little head, I consider the possibilities. I think about avoiding the task, simply not doing it.  I imagine Daddy asking me about the laundry.  He might not ask. He often simply assumes I haven’t gotten to it because I had something else to do that was higher priority.  If he does ask about it, I could avoid the question with a cute little girl smile and a kiss. He is usually distracted by that. I could get away with not doing the laundry.  I imagine myself leaving the laundry and doing something more appealing like watching a tv show. I think about how nice it would feel to sit down and relax. Then I think about Daddy again. I think about how he trusts me and how he respects me.  I remember times he has praised me. I think about how it feels when he smiles at me and looks full of pride in his slave. I remember the tension in him when his home is not in order.  I remember the times he has explained his desires for how things ought to be. I sigh. I decide it is opposite action time.

In counseling, opposite action is a great little short intervention used to help clients change behavior. It seems fairly simple but can be a challenge to do.  Basically, a person commits to actually following through with a behavior that is the opposite of what they typically would do. For example, if someone is depressed and sleeping all day, you challenge them to commit to setting an alarm for ten in the morning each day for three days. When that alarm goes off, they commit to getting out of bed no matter how their mind and body try to convince them not to. Then you ask them to discuss how that felt, what the consequences of their opposite action were, and then discuss moving ahead with a bigger commitment.

So, I decide to start the laundry despite what my mind and body want to do. Inertia moves me through the process.  I end up finishing the laundry before I even realize it. Daddy walks in and has that smile I love to see. He says, “You are such a good girl.”

In that task, I was excellent.  In my thoughts, I was not. Most of the time, I don’t fantasize about being disobedient. Most of the time, I truck along and follow the routines that are expected from me. But like every other person, I am not perfect.  No matter how much I wish it were not so, there is always a flaw, failure, or weakness that is not yet evicted from me.

The excellence isn’t in me, it is in him. The things he placed into me prior to that moment of behavioral choice are what led me to choose to obey. His praise, his displeasure, his rules, and his consistency have grown in me a pattern of serving him well.

All Hallows’ Eve

As we come to the annual celebration of all that is creepy, our family begins to gather random costumes, a pumpkin seems a reasonable expense, and candy for little strangers is par for the course.  The kids are all excited to spend some time pretending to be something they are not.  The idea of wanting to play at being someone we aren’t got me thinking about living as Master and slave at all times. I have heard and read so many discussions about how impossible 24/7 M/s is.  After all, this is America and we are supposed to be a nation of independent souls. How could 24/7 M/s be anything but a dress up game?

I recently attended a conference where Dossie Easton spoke about some concepts from her book “The Ethical Slut.” Easton commented several times about her belief that the Master and slave relationship lasts only as long as a negotiated scene. I went to see her speak because I had recently finished reading her “The New Bottoming Book,” in which she writes about not allowing oneself to believe that M/s or D/s can be a constant way of living.  I thought perhaps I had misunderstood what she wrote, but her talk seemed to support that her feeling is power exchange is only for specific limited period of time. I enjoyed her talk and found what she shared to be though provoking and interesting. She is a vibrant and wonderful woman and I respect her a great deal even as I disagree with her on this point.

She is not alone in her belief that 24/7 is an unworkable and impossible way to try to live. When my Master and I first began our relationship, he explained to me that what he really wanted was an egalitarian style in our ‘vanilla’ lives and an M/s dynamic in the bedroom. I remember thinking that he would quickly change his mind, and as it turned out I was right. Within the first few weeks, he was explaining all sorts of non-bedroom related expectations he had for me and I pointed out the conflict with his original ‘egalitarian’ theory. He recanted and admitted, “I really want you to do what I say all the time, it just seemed weird to say it so directly.”

Over the years we have talked a great length about his initial statements. He has explained that he just couldn’t wrap his head around what 24/7 would really look like, how it would work in the day to day, and how it would remain consensual. All his life he had been raised to believe that people should all be treated equally and that seemed contrary to the permanent power exchange that 24/7 M/s would entail.

For our family, 24/7 isn’t about playing or pretending. It really is how we define our roles all the time. In the bedroom, sure that is pretty straight forward. Out of the bedroom, things are a bit more challenging. I don’t mean to suggest we have it all figured out or do it ‘the right way’ but we do it the best we know how at all times.

For example, I had a terrible job at one point in our relationship. I hated it, there was injustice and incompetence.  It was a bad deal all around.  I asked Daddy if I could speak out, rail against it all, and make a stand. He said no. Not an unclear iffy no, but all the way no.  He explained that he understood what I was up against but that in the end it would serve me and our family best to simply resign and move on. It was most frustrating. There was a part of me that wanted to rail against him. Stomp my feet and say I was a grown woman with a career and I would do what I thought best, but it isn’t like that for us. I whined a bit, tried to persuade, and when the no was unchanged, I followed his will. As always, it turned out he was right.  With some time, I was able to see that my Daddy’s way of handling it was really best for all involved.  I found a great job I love and continued to have my professional dependability intact. Daddy knows best. In those times where I most want to rebel, I find that when I look back his clarity and wisdom truly are why I entrusted my whole life to him.

I could list several other times when I really, really for real real thought Daddy was wrong and I wanted to go against his will. Each tale would come to the same end, I followed what he said to do and he turned out to have wisdom I could not see at the time. In dealing with our children, with my career, with my schooling, with the household…on and on he is the leader because he actually is the best person in the family to follow. Living that anything less than 24/7 would be a waste of time.  Daddy would have to pick up broken pieces over and over again and waste energy tending to my self-inflicted wounds.

I understand why people don’t see 24/7 as viable.  My father taught me the old “if your friend jumped off a bridge, would you jump too” lesson. I know that it would be impossible to follow most people.  It would be reckless and unhealthy to follow without thought the will of another person unless you knew beyond a doubt that that person would always have your best interests at heart and had the wisdom to make the best choices for you.

So, back to Halloween. My costume this year was easy.  Master bought me a gaudy set of costume pearl necklace and earrings and I wore a dress I already had in the closet. Turns out a fifties style wife was not much of a stretch for me. Being a slave to my husband and Master 24/7 is perhaps not really all that different from the way people lived their relationships just a few decades ago. In the end, there is no one I want to pretend to be not even for one day.

Forgetting Where You Are

I am prone to forgetting many things I wish I remembered. I figure I am not alone in this. For me, it is not just frustrating but also interesting. How are things I remember different from the things I forget? What makes my little head cling to one thing while it tosses away something else like so much trash?

I remember the first time I kissed a boy. I remember the first time I had sex. I remember the first time I shaved my head. Is it that I remember these things because they were firsts? I don’t think that is it, at least not all of it. Consider that I don’t remember the first time I gave head.  Don’t remember the first time I rode a horse.  First might be some but is not all of the equation my head uses.

What about special? Is it that something is special and so I remember it? I still don’t think that is it. For example, I cannot remember one of my children’s birthday to save my life. I’ve actually had to sneak off to the file cabinet a few times and sneak a peek at her birth certificate to confirm. I remember the delivery, the process long and drawn out. I remember her smiles and her temper tantrums. I remember her big giant head that flopped about like a broken doll. I remember her, the essence of her, but her birth date…not so much. The other kids, no problem. I can rattle off their birthdays with ease. That one kid is also very special to me, but the date slips through my mental fingers.

I doubt I will ever understand how my brain picks things to keep and things to discard. The thing that I find really fascinating about remembering is when I know that some important bits of information are in there, upstairs in my gray squish, but they are not where they might be most handy. Left and right used to be like that all the time. Being dyslexic nothing is as annoying for me as having a teacher tell me for the thousandth time that a lower case letter D faces left and a lower case B faces right. Good fucking luck when you can’t remember which way is left. The weird thing about it was that I have a freckle on my right hand which a teacher once told me to look at to remember left from right. I did this check most of my life, physically turning over my right hand and looking at the freckle, but I always looked at my right hand first.  Somewhere in my brain was the knowledge of which hand was my right but without the act of looking at it, I couldn’t guess. Very weird.

Forgetting where I am at a given moment is sort of like that for me. There is an element of knowing but forgetting at the same time. I find myself at work doing a little goofy tap dance to cheer a co-worker forgetting entirely that I am at work and likely as not this is considered unprofessional. One morning, I came into my office and on my desk was a framed photo taken by one of my co-workers in which I have a sock on each hand. In the picture I am clearly having a little conversation with Mr. Sock and Mrs. Sock. The photo was a candid shot taken during a staff meeting. I forgot I was at work I suppose. Someone handed me two socks, and that was enough to make me lose all sense of formality. I was just being myself.

I have been in a graduate class and answered a legal ethics question posed by my professor with great clarity and confidence. When the professor asked me for my source, I just a clearly and confidently stated I had seen it on Law and Order. Needless to say, that was not what the professor considered a reliable source though we all got a good laugh out of it. I forgot I was in graduate school for a moment. I was just me.

When my Master and I attended a leather gathering not so long ago, a question was raised in the discussion about how important suffering was to the journey of a slave.  I raised my hand and answered that I didn’t think that suffering was a good plan for anyone since avoiding suffering is generally much more fun and enjoyable for everyone involved. I knew that all of the answers given before mine were in favor of suffering as a tool for growth. I knew I was the fish swimming the wrong way. Maybe I forgot my role as slave. Maybe I shouldn’t have disagreed with the flow of the conversation.  Perhaps I again forgot where I was and just continued being myself. My Master had raised his hand at the same time and when he responded after me his comment was nearly identical to mine. He felt just I did and we were fishes swimming together.

In the end, I think this sort of forgetting is my favorite.  Finding that I am always just regular old me is pretty nice. I am glad that I am forgetful enough of the expectations of the world around me to allow myself to blindly walk through my days just as I am. Sure, it gets you the occasional stare, or photo in your office, but it is worth it. The only cure I can think of is to be a ‘me’ that I am unashamed of so that every time I forget where I am, I am always right where I should be. Forgetting where you are is not a problem if you never forget who you are.

Why “Epa”?

On occasion, someone will ask me why I have this strange tattoo on my breast or why my FetLife name is “his_epa.”  I even had someone comment once that I must really be into protecting the environment since I hold the E.P.A., Environmental Protection Agency, in such high regard. The epa symbol is something very special, so I thought I would write an explanation of its meaning to me.

Epa, like the Kramo Bone, is a symbol in the Andinkra language.  It loosely translates as, “you are the slave of him whose handcuffs you wear.”  According to Andinkra.org , the epa traditionally, “reminds offenders of the uncompromising nature of the law” and “discourages all forms of slavery.” Both of these notions are incorporated in my personal use of the symbol.

First, the epa represents the “uncompromising nature of the law.” In my Master’s house, he is the law.  I am always under his law and it never abandons me.  I know that I will always have his fencing around me.  For some people, the idea of being bound to rules and regulation is distasteful. For me, it is a comfort.

When I was a young mother, my mother came for a visit.  At the time I lived in a crappy apartment in a bad neighborhood and my son was four.  The kids from the apartment complex were all tattered little ruffians that appeared already intent on a life of crime and mischief but they tended to gather in my living room.

I didn’t feed them or give them anything, many of them were old enough that playing with my son was no fun, and most of the time I had them doing some sort of chore.  If the garbage was full, I’d pick one and tell them to take it out.  If the dishes needed washing up, I’d find a different kid and assign him the task.  If they started fighting, I would snip at them to stop. I’d check if they had homework. They did what I asked and just sort of milled in and around our home.  They seemed to like being around me and that was fine by me.

I didn’t understand why these kids were always hanging around, until my mother said something that surprised me. She said, “They are here so someone will tell them what to do. Children never feel safe unless they try to walk into the road and someone yells out to call them back from the danger.”  This is how I feel about the law in my Master’s house. I know I am loved because there he stands, ready to put me to a task or call me back from the edge.  The uncompromising nature of the law is unconditional love at its core.

The second notion, that the epa is a warning against slavery is also dear to me.  I am in my heart a slave, like a horse is a horse or a dog is a dog.  Slavery is what is me.  Like a dog lost without his owner, I am often at risk of accepting enslavement from the things I come in contact with.

My Daddy commented that this seems weird that a slave would hold dear something that warns against slavery. To me, it is a warning against slavery that is unwanted. Perhaps this is a thin line from a logical point of view, but in my mind the line is clear.

I have often fallen into the sort of bad company that takes advantage of me. Everything I choose to follow, I followed without question. I’ve lived on a Y2K farm, planted churches, taken in strangers to live in my home because they were in need, and worked 60 hours a week while getting paid for 40.

I was always flowing whichever direction the river flowed and paddling with all my might to swim fastest and best. A boss once told me I am the picture of gullible in the dictionary, and in some ways I agree but it is more than that. I am a slave.  A full hearted servant with loyalty and dedication to whatever I serve. This has led me into trouble at times and so I hold the epa symbol close to remind me I only serve one Master.

I cannot and ought not to allow anything to call on my service that he does not ask me to attend to. I work toward excellence and efficiency in my profession but I am not a slave to my work.  My work is under his law and each day as I work I am conscious that it is all done in service to him. There is nothing I place ahead of him. No goal to be attained unless he sets it. I bear the tattoo of the epa on my breast and keep it in my thoughts to always guide me to follow only him.  The epa is my safeguard whenever I am not with him.

Review of “The Pain Journal”

This is a copy of a post made in early 2011 to The Pervert’s Library website run by Todd. I re-post it here for two reasons. First, because I think everyone should love Bob Flanagan as much as I do.  Second, because I feel it tells as much about me as it does about the book.

The Pain Journal

By Bob Flanagan
Published in 2000 by Smart Art Press

Let me begin this review by saying Bob Flanagan is my personal hero.  I am aware that this is sure to color my response to this book so I want to be upfront about that.  Now you, the reader, have been informed. I find myself rather confused as to how to write this review without it turning into a persuasive essay intended to draw the reader into their own personal aspiration to have Bob Flanagan become their hero. Fear not, I doubt that what draws me to him is in many folks.  Generally speaking, I am a bit bent.  That said, with no further ado, I will begin.

Bob Flanagan was an artist, masochist, and slave who had cystic fibrosis (CF).  He described the Pain Journal as “intended to be just a daily record, a minimum of a paragraph a day, and never meant to be read unedited by anyone but me.” His summery beats any I could write so there you have it.  The first entry is dated December 27, 1994 and the last December 16, 1995.  Bob died a few weeks later on January 4, 1996.  Though Bob became known best for his BDSM exhibitions, the pain detailed in the journal is mostly related to his CF and the dying process he goes through.

The journal is indeed a daily record of his thoughts, a simple chronicling of his day’s activities mostly.  Things like watching too much TV, feeling bored, losing his ability to orgasm, losing his desire to be sociable while at the same time missing contact with his friends. It is mundane for the most part yet within the entries you get more than you might expect.  He is authentic.

Authenticity is sort of a catchy phrase these days.  Lots of self help books tell us to be authentic, relationship guides insist on it as fundamental, and hipsters vet their idols on their perceived authenticity. We see being authentic as noble and expect to be able to receive it from others. Meanwhile we are ourselves cloaked internally and rarely even let ourselves be aware of what our own inner demons are up to.

We do not reveal ourselves to anyone, especially not ourselves.  How often do we wipe a booger under the front edge of our car seat and send an updating email to our lover?  Is it the norm to give voice at a dinner party to our predilection for wishing people in our lives dead so that we inherit money and can sleep late instead of going to work Monday mornings? Or that we fantasize about gang bangs and dogs and lust for power and freedom from being kind or nice or polite or even clean? No, we don’t even say these things in whispers to ourselves.  We are hidden and unknown.

In the lifestyle I choose to live, I am a slave like Bob. What is the life of a slave?  Exposure. It is belonging to another, fully.  Even the dark little twisted places.  Those places belong to the Master.  All is theirs. Nothing is hidden.  Bob is the slave of his wife Sheree Rose.  She tells him to write and so he does.  He writes all of it, the pretty, the boring, and the shameful.  It is all there, even his own musing about his internal thought editing as he wonders if he is trying to think ‘noble’ things so that he can write things people will admire once he dies.

It is his authenticity that makes him my hero.  I see his life as a model of authentic living.  The model of who and what I try to be as a slave and a woman. The Pain Journal is his real experience of coming to his own end.  If I can live my life even half as authentically as Bob, I will be proud of myself.

Perhaps the section of the book that touched me most though was not written by Bob.  Sheree Rose writes a short essay as the last chapter titled “In Semi-Sickness and in So Called Health, I’m Still in Love with You.” She tells of falling in love with Bob, their life together, and finally his death.  Then she shares an experience she had after Bob died where she felt he was haunting her due to their forever vows of love. An acquaintance tells her that these eternal vows will prevent her from ever finding happiness with another person.  She does not feel regret at having this affliction, instead she is “elated that Bob is still so close.” That is the love I hope I will always have for my husband and Master. He is truly my whole world and I wept as I read Sherri’s words because that is a fate I also aspire to. She loves him though he is dead and what could be more powerful than that.

I can’t promise you will enjoy this book as much as I did.  I can’t promise that you will even get through it. It is, after all, an unedited personal journal written by a man who is dying and many times heavily medicated. But I do promise you that if you do read it, you will think differently about your own authenticity and how you choose to spend your days until you too come to your own end. It is worth your time.