Tag Archive for Mastery

On Werewolves, Slaves, and Other Fantasy Creatures

The classic question too often posed to slaves: What if your Master told you to [insert random crazy ass no one in their right mind would do action] would you do it?

You can fill in that blank with any of a myriad of things each more nutty that the last.

Jump off a bridge: The classic homage to your mother’s line of, “If your friends jumped off a bridge would you?”

Commit suicide: This one has many variations, my favorite was “disembowel yourself,” but any self termination fits here.

Kill someone: Again variations on this with descriptions of the victim the slave is called to kill including the slave’s children, the Master, strangers, or political figures.

Commit some other crime: Rob a bank, steal a car, mug someone, jaywalking, etc.  You are really only limited by your imagination here.

Ok so why are folks so fascinated by these imagined quandaries?  More often than not, these types of questions are posed by someone who is not in a 24/7 M/s relationship.  They are trying to understand what the heck being a slave really means. They feel that slavery is somehow totally unrealistic and the notion of being owned by someone in our modern society seems pretty crazy.

They do not see how or even why a person in a Western culture would sign over the deed to their entire life to another person. For many folks, M/s looks a whole lot like a false pretense of insisting your fantasy is somehow real. Imagine some who insists that they really do have invisible wings that no one else can see, or that they are not just into puppy play but are a fully fledged werewolf who literally can mutate into a wolf anytime they want. Most folks, upon hearing these sorts of claims, would cry “Shenanigans!” and who can blame them?

That last one about the werewolf I have actually encountered.  With great seriousness a young man explained to me that this was his reality. That he could at will transform into a wolf. I decided to avoid any sort of detailed discussion of said “werewolf” ability but my first thought was, “Ok, show me.” Being somewhat familiar with how upsetting reality testing can be for someone with a delusion, I decided to just nod and say, “Ah ok cool,” and wander off to visit with different less lupine people.

Is my statement that I am a slave really all that different?  Granted it is different in that I am not claiming to shape-shift which would seem to violate all sorts of physical and biological laws, but in some ways it seems equally fanciful.  In a country where legalized slavery does not exist, in a society where individual responsibility is an expectation, in a culture where women and minorities have sacrificed their lives to attain freedom, I, a middle class white American woman, claim to be ‘a slave’ to my Master.

What does that mean?  I can’t blame a reasonable person for asking the reality testing rational questions I mentioned above. Moreover, I can’t blame anyone for questioning lots of other less extreme things, for example:

What if your Master decided to cheat on you?

What if your Master became an alcoholic?

What if your Master abused you? Is that even possible?

What if your Master violates your consent?

What if you are going through a difficult time and just don’t feel like doing what your Master demands of you?

What if you have a bad moment, hour, or day and talk back to your Master?

What if your Master really pisses you off?

These are not the first questions folks pose, but they are questions that are reasonable to wonder about. What does 24/7 slavery look like in the everyday world of going through life? Here is really where the heart of the “Shenanigans” cry comes from.  How can you claim to be something that is so contrary to being a free willed individual?

Being a slave in an M/s dynamic is a voluntary choice.  It is my free will decision. There is not a bill of sale or legally binding contract that requires me to be a slave.  There is no societal requirement that I be a slave. There is no familial obligation that I am a slave.  I simply choose to be enslaved. I can try to express in words why I personally feel that my slavery is now permanent, why I know in my core that I am not ever going to reject my position as slave or change my mind about belonging to my Master, but the words will fall short of ‘proof.’ For me, it is similar to my self-identity as a mother, an American, or a woman.  I could no more change those things than I could change that I am my Master’s slave but I came to this identity of my own free will.

Have I convinced anyone that I am a slave any better than my good friend the werewolf convinced me he could shape-shift? Probably not.  Did I answer all those nagging questions about what if? Not at all. Am I a slave? Yes.

Still you may find yourself calling “Shenanigans” and to that all I can say is let me show you. If my werewolf friend had been able to transform into a wolf man before my very eyes, I would believe he was indeed a werewolf.  The evidence in front of my eyes would be indisputable. I am living as my Master’s slave. Watch me, see me, get to know me, and I think you will see that I am not imagining a fantasy but I am living my identity.

The Gift of Death

One of the earliest memories I have is from when I was 4 years old.  I remember my mother being very upset and then leaving for several days.  I remember her explaining to me that my great grandmother had died and that she was going to go back home to go to her funeral.  I can still remember my mother’s face; her puffy tear filled eyes looking searchingly at me.  I remember feeling like it was all okay and that I understood that she needed to go. I felt that death was important. After all, I knew what death was since I had had several pet frogs and a cat die. As much as a 4 year old can, I understood that death must be attended to and honored.

By the time I was 10, I was living with my father and his second wife hundreds of miles away from my mother.  My mother called my father in a panic and explained that her father had just died and he needed to send me back to Indiana to attend the funeral. He refused and they had a huge fight about it. I remember he told me my grandfather died as part of explaining to me why it was so unreasonable that my crazy mother would expect him to foot the bill for an airline ticket. That is how at 10 years old I learned that death causes anger and frustration.

When I was 15 my father took our family on a sailing trip for several weeks.  When we returned to our home dock, the harbor attendant was waiting for us anxiously with a note.  My father called his sister from the club house at the marina and found out my 17 year old cousin had died in a shooting accident.  Dad left for the airport without changing clothes and went to be with our extended family. It turned out that my cousin had been playing Rambo style roughhousing with several of my other cousins and thought it would be funny to get out my uncle’s service revolver as a prop.  Somehow he managed to trip down a flight of stairs and shot himself in the head.  He died in my cousin’s arms within moments. The family was devastated.  I was confused by the whole tale.  How was this a ‘shooting accident?’ Who thinks an actual gun is roughhousing fun?  I was dismayed that my father seemed to carry on with this ‘shooting accident’ explanation of the events leading to my cousin’s death and so at 15 I learned that death is often shrouded with false history for the conveniences of those still living.

At 18 I gave birth to my first child.  He was born after a long drawn out dramatic process that ended in an emergency C-section late in the evening.  In the morning, as I fumbled to figure out what exactly a new mom was supposed to be doing to care for a newborn my stepmother arrived at my hospital room. I asked where my father was and she did not offer an explanation. This was striking because through the entire trials and tribulations of the prior day, my father had been present and more than accounted for.  He was constantly asking doctors and nurses ten questions and stressfully hovering over me and eventually my newborn. So where the Hell had he gone?  I couldn’t imagine why he would be absent.  He called me a few hours later and broke the news that my 16 year old cousin, the youngest brother of the aforementioned now deceased cousin, had committed suicide in the night as I delivered my son. Several weeks later my aunt, mother of three sons, two of them now dead, came to see me and my new baby.  I thought it odd that she would be up to traveling so soon after burying her youngest child until it became painfully obvious why coming to see my baby was so pressing.  She had decided that her son had committed suicide so that he could be re-born as my son.  Wow, talk about creeping out a too young mother who was already pretty freaked out by the totality of the situation. This time at the ripe old age of 18 I learned that death can make you crazy with grief.

When I was 24 I got a call one morning from my mother’s brother.  In a ragged voice he told me, “She’s gone, she died, your mother, she died in her sleep, she’s gone.”  I remember falling to the floor and wailing, collapsed from the weight of the shock and loss. I was undone in that moment like never before. I had just had my second child, a daughter, and my mother was scheduled to come and visit her for the first time just two days from then.  I was grief stricken and suddenly understood that phrase was more than a poetic term. That was when I learn that death strips you naked and has its way with you. Death is overwhelming.

At age 32 I had just entered into my final semester of undergraduate school.  I had four children by this point and was working my ass off to finally get my act together and be a responsible member of society as my father would have put it. Dad called me one evening and explained that he had stage four lung cancer.  The doctors had decided they could not operate and Dad was going to try an experimental chemo. I once again felt Death the Great Overwhelmer clawing at my sanity. I pulled myself together and offered to come to help.  He declined and said he would be fine. He was unable to attend my graduation. I sent him photographs. By that summer he was admitted to hospice care and finally asked me to come and help him.  I spent the last weeks of his life with him as he died.  I watched the care and service that the hospice team provided to our family.  When he died, I was devastated but not broken.  Dying can be done well. Love can transcend death. That is when I learned death can be comforted.

After my father died, I changed my graduate school plans from research to clinical and went into hospice work.  Death and I had spent a good bit of time in each other’s company and I felt it was the right place for me. As I have worked with the deaths of others and their families these lessons have come in handy.  I have been able to comfort and empathize with others.  More importantly I have served as witness to their grief because I have learned that death can be so very lonely for those enmeshed in it.

So what does all of that mean?  Well for me it has meant that I have learned to accept the gift of death.  The gift is the knowledge of how precious life is.  I have learned that no matter how old you are when you die, you are still too young. I have learned that you can do nothing to extend your days beyond what you are given. Fate stands ready with her scissors at some unknowable point in your personal timeline and nothing you can do or say will stay her hand from cutting you off. This is the gift that lights up each day for me.  This is why I live an authentic passionate life.  This knowledge resides in my thoughts constantly.

People often question my decision to live as a slave in a full-time lifestyle. For me, this life, the life of empowered service and loving devotion, is the life that I will never regret. We only get so much time on this planet and I know in my core that I will never wish I had one more day of being a vanilla wife.  I will never long for an extra hour of a standard American pastime. I will never long for one more moment of selfish motivation.  When I am attending my own death, I will only long for more time to serve him, to sit at his feet, to be fucked by him, to be undone by his pain and lust.  The gift of death is that I know I too will die and so I choose to live each day fully surrendered to my beloved Master with no regrets.

Self-Inflicted Melt Down

“That’s it!  I’ve had it.  I am sick and tired of being a fetcher, cleaner, packer, carrier, washer, folder, organizer, etc!  Done…over it…arrrrg”. Rant, rant, rant inside my head, bursting forth in a random diatribe.  “I am sick and tired of you being lazy!  You expect me to do everything. There you sit on your ass while I am rushing around doing shit for you.”  Stomp, stomp, stomp. Rant some more.  More of the same though the words and are switched around and ever more colorful metaphors spring to life.  “You are a lump of lifeless stone while I am a grunting mindless drone working my ass off…for what?? Nothing!” Rawr! Rant, rant, rant.

Likely five minutes long felt like an hour.  I was pissed off and making no polite deferring kind respectful bones about it. There sat Master looking a bit dazed.  He had that sort of “WTF” expression.

Without giving him time to take a breath I blazed on, “You aren’t even going to respond?  You don’t give a shit about what I as saying…why would you?  This is all great for you.  You get all your stuff done. You don’t have to lift a finger.”

More blank stare.

STOMP. “I am not a sla…”  The rest of the word ‘slave’ left unspoken, I corrected to, “…servant!” Then I stopped short and said nothing.

There was the rub.  Servant versus slave. During the week, he had been stressed out. He had checked out for a few hours that afternoon. Off I went going about doing all the things I normally do for him while he was just floating by.  I had no clue what was wrong but was getting more and more pissed off with each passing moment.  Finally I broke into a million ranting shards of myself.  I was lost and clueless as to how to recover from the emotional swan dive.

Master sat and looked more confused now that I had stopped ranting.

I suddenly stumbled over my words. Still anger in my voice but also terrified and confused. “I hate being a maid. I wouldn’t take the job for a million dollars. I don’t like it one bit. I am just a worthless servant without meaning. I am supposed to be your slave!  This is all wrong.  You left me on my own, and now I am angry and want to tell you to shove it.”

He chuckled slightly. “Ok, I get that now. Calm down…it will be alright.”  That last said as he grabbed a hold of me by my hair and pulled me down close to his chest. “I am sorry I left you alone. I’m here now and you are fine. Now, go and finish packing.”

At once I was feeling shaky and crying a little and very much relieved.

He had not actually left me physically alone.  Instead he was emotionally disconnected. Long work weeks for both of us and too many responsibilities to vanilla life had distracted us without us even knowing it. He had left the building as surely as Elvis; I kept right on doing things he normally would have told me to do.

I did not wait. I did not get still before my Master and wait for his will.  I assumed. I made myself into a worker bee instead of an owned beloved slave. Rush, rush all about I went.  Doing, doing, doing…never realizing I was paddling my little canoe farther and farther away from the safety of my shore.  By the time I noticed I was drowning, I was a mess.

Master towed me back into shore.  He never pointed out that I was the one who had gotten me into trouble.  Like a father lovingly drying off his half-drowned little girl he simply made sure I was alright and knew already the lesson was taught plainly enough by the experience.

I do so love him. He is the steady ground. Thank you Master.

Will and Willingness

At an M/s group meeting we recently attended, the topic of what sustains M/s came up.  As the discussion progressed the question was raised, “How much of the dynamic is by force of the Master’s will and how much is the slave’s willing obedience?” My answer then was that my willingness has at the root, literally in the word itself and conceptually in origin, his will. As I think more about this it truly describes how I function in world.  I am willing because it is his will. This is where I reside internally, a place where there is no question about whether to be obedient or not.

That said there is a gooey center to this lovely piece of emotional chocolate. There are times I find myself at odds and in an argument with Master.  How can this happen?   How can this be possible?  How is it that in my deepest soul, I am bound under his leadership by a bond of love, respect, joy, gratefulness, and understanding and yet there are times that we fight like vanillas?  I often fretted over these times of discord. Worried myself sleepless thinking, ‘Does this mean we aren’t M/s?’ or ‘Am I not really a slave?’  Over time, as I have grown in my understanding of who and what we are, I have learned there is nothing to fear.  No terrible secret failure that is earth shattering or relationship ending.  We are fully at all time Master and slave. That never changes.  The ‘how’ is much simpler than that.  We are human. As ideal as so much of our relationship is, the reality is we are still fully human.

I spent several years of my adult life in a radical Christian faith. By comparison, Pentecostals were too liberal and snake handlers weren’t strong enough in their faith. I was raised a devout atheist so when I decided to become a Christian I approached the bible as a full uncompromising reality. If there was a Christian God, then I was going to follow fully and totally everything God wrote in His book. In those years, my daily prayer always had one constant request, “God please take my free will.”  This made perfect sense to me.

Theologically, I understood that God had given humans free will so that we could choose to love Him or not; that making that choice provided greater depth to the relationship between created and the divine. I understood that, but that accomplished, there seemed no further need for me to continue to have free will.  That mission of accepting faith was complete, surly I could reasonably now pray for God to dispense with free will in me and allow me to always walk in the best plan He had for me.  I wanted to serve God without rest, restraint, or doubt so free will needed to go. I lamented God’s apparent lack of agreement with my theory and prayed daily hoping it would one day be granted.

Years after leaving the church and faith behind, I found M/s.  The call of M/s was to that very same place inside of me that had prayed for the removal of free will.  Now, once again I am faced with a Master who does not agree with my theory that free will ought to go out to the curb on Tuesday. He enjoys the taste of my blood, sweat, and tears best because they are given by one who could choose to not give them but does so anyway.

Yes, I am still human, still burdened with free will. Enslaved and permanently his, but still with faults and shortcomings. M/s does not create angels; it allows him to tend me as his beloved sheep. Yes, his will is always my will unless I am off track and wandering onto a dangerous rocky ledge.  He finds joy in bringing his girl back into his fold. I still hope everyday that I can buck off this damn free will, end my lack of perfect willingness.  I move closer all the time and he watches over me taking pleasure in my effort.

On the Road Again

Most of my life, I have moved often and with rabid excitement. As a child, my family moved every few years.  I would be so excited about seeing the new place we were going to move, meeting new people, figuring out what was good and what was cool, and tasting all the fruits it had to offer.  Once I got married and began venturing out in the world as an adult, I continued to move with ever more frequency.  I lived up North, down South, and even in the middle.  I traded freezing cold snow storms for blazing sun then back to snow angels without a second thought.  I bounced about learning all the ways people were the same and ways they were different. I often have described myself as a gypsy at heart.

In 2004, I moved to Texas. Since that time I have lived in the same neighborhood.  I moved from an apartment to a rental house and then from the rental to my own house. In case you had not noticed, it has been 8 whole years.  I have never been in one town or state that long before.  I find myself rather dazed and confused by the notion that I have evidently settled down.  I traded my gypsy caravan for a farm house.  Planted roots and grown.

Most of the time, this seems to suit me well.  Prior to moving here, I would grow tired of my surroundings, get itchy for the change and bustle of a move.  I would feel as though I needed to move to simply feel normal.  Now I don’t feel that way.  I love so much being in my Master’s house, watching my children grow, and building friendships that are much deeper than any I’ve ever had before. I am happy, content, and vibrantly fulfilled…except for…that damn road.

The road on occasion calls to me.  I long to see places I have never been. Explore new terrain, new faces, and new cultures.  I love the whoosh of trees whizzing by on a long highway.  I adore sitting with my face plastered to an airplane’s window as I fly over unknown territory.  Over a year ago I noticed that when I had time to daydream, I would daydream about “What would I do if I won millions of dollars in the lottery?”  Always my fantasy would turn to travel.

I know it is cheesy to evoke the words of Willie Nelson to set the tone for a piece of writing. It seems sort of lame in a way.  Drawing on the poetic and campy beloved song “On the Road Again” sounds trite. Simple and to the point Willie gives his song images and feelings we all can connect with.  Friends, gypsies, music, and love-good stuff really. Going places that we have never been, there is an allure in that.  For me, it is a lusty allure.

Master is a watchful sort.  He doesn’t jump on an idea without letting it simmer.  He listened to my rambling and chattering and over time seemed to come to a conclusion. His girl needed a little road time. We had presented here and there over the years at local kinky events.  He wanted to focus more energy on teaching and presenting.  He saw things in the leather community that he respected and wanted to support. And there was that girl of his daydreaming about being on the road again.

Ultimately after much thought and consultation with fabulous mentors, he decided we would run for our regional M/s title in 2013. He set me to the task of submitting proposals outside of our Austin area. Sure enough, invitations began to come in. We traveled to Phoenix, AZ and presented at the Southwest Leather Conference in January. Oh how I pasted myself to the airplane window!  During the whole weekend, I drank in the views, people, sounds, and teaching. We attended South Plains Leather Fest in Dallas and while closer to home, I still felt that passion for adventure aroused.

In the coming months we are scheduled to present at Tribal Fire in Oklahoma, Northern Exposure in Alaska, and Great Lakes Leather Alliance in Indianapolis. We are also attending Northwest Leather Fest in San Jose and the Master slave Conference in Washington DC. I am buzzing with anticipation. Traveling is like a fetish for me, I am giddy just thinking about it. Teaching and learning from all the wonderful and varied folks we will meet is joyful.  Seeing the places they play, live, and work will be exhilarating. I am so excited. On the road again, making music with my friends.  For me, at Master’s side, nothing could be a better life.

Thank you to Master for seeing in me my heart’s desire and finding space in his life goals to bring them to reality.

Death Do Us Part and Green Checks

A few years before he and I met, Master’s mother had a terrible car accident and was paralyzed from the chest down.  Because of this, she used an electric wheelchair to stubbornly barrel through her life doing just exactly what she wanted to do. Master got his dominance and intensity from her. They were peas in a pod though neither of them saw it that way. Mom had chickens, love birds, and yippy dogs because she wanted to. She had a huge garden with prize winning flowers and exotic plants surrounding her home. It did not matter to her that she could not do much of the tending to any these; she just found ways to organize her health care workers into an army of animal wranglers and unintentional gardeners. She lived on her own terms.

The physical condition of someone with her injuries tends to cause a mudslide of other health issues.  She was no exception to this. Over the last year, her various infections, pressure wounds, and cardiac problems began to drag her into a slow downward spiral. Master and I visited her often, he called nearly every day to check on her, and several times we went to stand vigil at the ICU when she seemed to be about to pass way.

Watching her decline and knowing she would not live long weighed on Master all the time. He had a hard time focusing on things and became a bit forgetful. He lost his centered calm way of approaching situations at work.  He found himself unsure of how to handle his mother’s medical situation and somehow that left him unsure about life in general. Mastery was not at the top of the list of things that had his attention. Things slipped away. Rituals stopped. Play became less frequent. His thoughts turned increasingly inward as her condition worsened.

A few weeks ago, mom died. She went out kicking and screaming because despite the long decline she had been in and various advices that she consider hospice, she still insisted that she would get better.  The night before she passed her and Master had an argument because he wanted to talk to her about dying, she was having none of it. “You just want to get rid of me,” she said. “No, no of course not Mom, I’m just trying to talk to you about what is really going on,” he tried to assure her.  A plan was made for Master and I to go the next morning very early and meet with her, her primary care doctor, and her care team to get a group understanding of what was happening.

That morning we arrived before her doctor and while we waited with her for him to arrive, she suffered a ruptured aneurism. She thrashed about in pain for a few minutes, she and Master both equally confused and overwhelmed; the nurses and I understanding what was happening but with no way of comforting either of them. When the doctor walked in a few minutes later, he said she would pass within 24 hours. She never spoke again and died in less than 3 hours.

The last thing she said to Master was, “I just want you to know, this (the pain she was feeling) has never happened before, this is new.”  The reason she said this was because of their disagreements about her not telling Master the whole truth about her medical situation.  He had always been so frustrated when he would eventually find out she had been keeping something from him. Imagine the two most domly Doms you know each trying to run the other’s life, that was how they locked heads over her illnesses; each wanting to maintain control, each wanting to help the other with their burden, each fiery in their determination to be right.

In the end, neither of them felt in control. It was a very dark day. In the hours, days, and weeks since Master has struggled with feeling out of control of things.  Her animals all needed homes, her funeral had to be arranged, her accounts and assets needed to be accounted for.  What to do with her things? How to deal with her collection of dozens of ceramic statues of chickens? Each thing piling onto his shoulders and pressing him down. Sadness at her loss. Fear of doing something wrong. Wanting to honor her. All of it in a tumble has fallen hard on him.

And there I am. How does the slave find center in the Master’s storm?  How does a servant support the Master when things are so grim? Months of distraction take a toll on a relationship and in a Master/slave relationship this effect is intensified. Last weekend Master and I attended South Plains Leather Fest.  We had planned the trip prior to Mom passing and Master decided he wanted to go to take a break from all the hassles of managing her estate. We both hoped the weekend away would allow us time to focus on our dynamic. That did not really happen. Instead, Master did have the chance to spend time being more social.  Spending time with our leather family and visiting with old and new friends in the community was great. We both had a good time but still, there I was a slave at a loss for direction.

All weekend Master would turn to me and ask questions like, “where are we going next?” and, “where do you want to eat?” He planned a scene but got tired and instead we fucked and fell asleep. There was neither Mastery nor joy in him. Both left me exhausted. I had spent the prior months quietly humming in the back ground supporting him. I took leave to visit his mom, washed her face with warm water when she was feeling down, cleaned her bottom and dressed her wounds. I cleaned his home, folded his underwear, cooked his food, sucked his cock, tried to smile and bring him laughter when he was down, lifted him in every way I knew.

During the weekend, things were amplified because of the lack of other distractions and on the ride home I was exhausted. I don’t mean exhausted physically, I mean exhausted in my emotional life. I felt sucked dry like there was nothing left in me to give. As we drove home, Master seemed to notice me for the first time that day.  He said, “What are you thinking about?”  Part of our dynamic is that I am to always be transparent and always answer honestly and completely any question he asks. I knew my thoughts were on this sucked dry feeling and that Master had enough stress on him, so instead of answering fully I said, “Nothing good.  You aren’t in the mood for a deep conversation.”  He answered, “Oh yes well I have been kind of talking about fluff,” and was distracted and began chit chatting about not much again. I was glad to have averted him and we drove another several minutes.  Then he looked over at me again seeming to ‘see’ me and said, “But no really, what are you thinking?”  A second time I answered without really answering and he nodded and began talking about wanting coffee or some such.  After a few more minutes he turned again to me and said, “Wait, I really want to know.  What are you thinking?”  At this third inquiry, I answered that I was thinking that I was drained emotionally and feeling down but that I didn’t think he was up for talking about that.  He assured me that he was ready to listen and so I explained how things had been for me.

I told him about the drift that had happened over the preceding months during his mother’s decline.  I was not angry, wasn’t upset, or really any emotion; I was simply exhausted. I understood that all of his behavior was reasonable given the circumstance but that I had arrived at that emotional point where there felt like there was no more within to put out. Power exchange 101 it would seem but without anything flowing in eventually I had nothing left to give out. I felt empty. Master listened, really listened, and in some odd way seemed I like a man awaking from a long dream. He was surprised because he truly had not been aware of how drained he felt also.  He thanked me for talking to him about it and said he would ponder how to ‘fix’ things.

The next afternoon, we went to a bank to handle some account stuff for Mom’s accounts. As we sat there, the bank associate asked what type of checks we would want.  I asked what types they had and she showed me a book filled with colorful check styles. Wheee!  I love pretty things and so it was fun to flip through.  Master had been sort of distracted, leaving me to do most of the talking as had become his normal custom of late. I started to pick something I found pretty and he turned and said, “We will get the green checks.”    Boring checks that had nothing pretty about them were not making me happy so I pouted and turned to him with a look of confusion. He said to the bank lady and to me, looking me in the eye in a direct sure way that I had not seen in months, “We will get the green checks.”

I knew the sound of my Master’s voice.  It had been quieted by the storm but now I heard it.  There was no grand repair plan.  No apologies needed.  No dramatic flourish.  Simply by turning his focus back to his authority, he had infused my soul with a rush of fresh energy. As we drove away from the bank we both felt the energy flowing. Unstopping the dam was so quick and the center of my world was righted.  Since that moment, there have been no more wishy-washy decisions, no more distracted, confused times.  There has still been stress and sadness, but Master has his feet again and I am filled to overflowing with a sense of purpose.

People often fear failure so much that they bring failure to life. Instead of fear or failure, Master embraced his own humanity.  He accepted that yes he had lost his focus and nothing about that meant he was a ‘bad Master’ or ‘a failure’.  What death had parted, Master’s hand rejoined.

Master

You are the King of all land I walk in,

I carry your banner in my soul

with each step and breath.

My adoration knows no bounds.

Nothing about you is unloved by me.

You are fully accepted into me,

cherished by me.

Your kiss sustains me,

your glance empowers me,

your scent bewitches me.

I follow you as a flower does the sun

now and for all my days.

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.

The Dog, The Duck, and The Handler: Insights on Mastery

When I was about 13 my Boy Scout Troop volunteered to help with a field trial for dogs. For those not familiar with a field trial, it is a competition for hunting dogs. A couple of my troop mates wound up with what seemed a rather fun job. They sat behind a large dirt pile, grabbed quail from their cages, tucked their heads under their wing, and threw them out over the water. As the discombobulated birds began to fly, they were suddenly felled by a shotgun blast and plummeted into a pond below so that the dogs could retrieve them. I’m fairly certain that there was nothing safe about being the bird thrower in such circumstances, but to a younger me it certainly seemed like a fine way to spend an afternoon.

The job I was assigned was far less glamorous. Rather than spend my day idling by the pond in the line of fire, I wound up working on the field side of the competition. Basically I was a gofer for the dead birds which the dogs were unleashed to retrieve. I spent the whole day riding shotgun in a beater pickup truck with a somewhat humorless man. We drove back and forth all afternoon. On one end of the circuit, he would stop the truck and I would get out to retrieve a dead duck from the pickup’s bed and place it in the field. At the other end of the end of the journey, I would get out to pick up the dead ducks that the dogs had retrieved. Carrying dead birds is a rather disgusting task. That the dead birds were mangled and covered in dog slobber only added to the day’s misery.

One thing that stands out in my mind about that day is that we were promised lunch. By the time it was lunchtime I was good and hungry. What I did not count on was lack of hand washing facilities. I don’t know what I expected to get for lunch, but I was disappointed my rations consisted of a dry bologna sandwich and potato chips. It is hard to imagine anything sounding less appetizing than eating finger foods with my dead bird and dog slobber covered hands.

The whole day wasn’t entirely wasted as I managed to learn a few useful things that I have carried with me for the rest of my life like the meaning of the term “trucker’s tan.” Since I was riding in the passenger seat, my wicked trucker’s tan was backwards, but for a week or so afterward it served as a reminder that I never again would be suckered into a field trial.

I cannot say that I learned much about field trials other than that they seem like a miserable way to spend one’s day. I do remember that there was one particular dog handler who trained probably a quarter of the dogs in the competition. I mostly remember him because none of his dogs seemed particularly adept at retrieving. After releasing the dog from its lead, he would blow his whistle and point in the direction of the target. Frequently the dogs would run a few yards forward at the sound of the whistle before turning around and looking at the hapless trainer with a confused lost expression.

Another thing that I noticed was that sometimes the various trainers would point one way even though the target was located in a completely different area of the field. Not knowing anything about how one would score a field trial, I don’t know whether the dog that follows the misguided instructions of his handler is better or worse than the dog that ignores the handler and retrieves the dead duck in short order. I think that the obedient dog is certainly the better one.

There are a lot of reasons that one might send the dog on a path that isn’t direct. Perhaps the straight line is hard for a dog to navigate or has other obstacles, or perhaps the straight path puts the dog out of the handler’s line of sight. Sometimes the handler simply does not know where the fallen bird is. In any case it is not for the dog to decide which direction he should go; the dog should simply follow.

Telling this story to my slave, she remarked that she was not surprised that I would think the obedient dog the superior one because it is also how I expect my slave to behave. I hadn’t really made that connection, but her simple observation was correct. I expect my slave to follow my direction and not decide which way to go. Much like the dog sent on a circuitous route, sometimes the directions I give her may seem to have no reason to them. Sometimes, I am leading her down a path towards a destination that is not apparent. On other occasions, it is the journey itself that pleases me. Sometimes, I simply want to take enjoyment in watching her follow my directions obediently. In my frailties, sometimes I may not know the right way to the destination. But in any case, it is not for her to decide that. Her path is to follow.