On Joy, Lies, and Inkless Tattoos

I am a terrible liar. When I try, I always get this red cheeked goofy expression on my face and stammer and pretty much give up.  I can play poker ok. I can tell a white lie to spare someone’s feelings by giving a compliment that is based in truth.  I can cover my internal emotional responses when in a professional situation. Generally, I am a functional liar in all the ways that are socially expected of humans but when it comes to just flat out lying, I suck.

For example, there was this wonderful scene Master and I had where he did a cutting on my back of geometric shapes on my shoulder blades. A day or so after the scene, I forgot all about the cutting and wore a tank top.  My teenage son walked into the kitchen and said, “What’s that on your back?”  He was about 18 but Master had determined that we did not speak openly about our sexual habits so I knew I was caught in a moment requiring a lie. I stammered, “It is an inkless tattoo.”

I thought that I had done very well indeed coming up with a sort of true vanilla-ish reply until my son responded with, “Who did it?” He, being the curious type, wanted to know where such a thing as an inkless tattoo parlor was so it seemed to him a fair question.  At that point I panicked, unable to come up with a follow up to the half truth, pointed and Master and said, “He did.” Master then had to come up with suitable deflections as I had just completely thrown him under the bus.

Today at work this problem arose once again but for a little different reason.  First it should be noted that Master and I are traveling a good bit during the next several months.  Taking a little extra time off of work is part and parcel of attending and presenting at various conferences across the country. In my office, there is a calendar on my wall that shows what I am up to at work and when I am out on leave.  There are three days this week marked with ‘on leave’ because Master is taking us to attend Northwest Leather Celebration in San Jose, CA. I have been giddy with excitement as I cross off days till we head out on our adventure.

My coworkers, being curious sorts, often ask me where I am going or why I am taking leave. I have no good vanilla explanations for traveling all over and when I return to work, I rarely have clear tales of my vacation time to share.  This frustrates them but I am able to come up with inkless tattoo level responses and manage to be friendly without being direct.

Today one of my coworkers asked me, “When are you leaving on your big trip?”  I was caught off guard and said, “Which one?”  She looked at me as though I was crazy and said, “Alaska, of course.”  Well at that point I was in a socially awkward bind because I clearly was planning another trip aside from the fabulous adventure that is going to Alaska.  The idea that I hadn’t mentioned a whole other trip just weeks before leaving for Alaska clearly upset her. I managed to say, “Oh…uhm… we are going to San Jose this weekend, I wasn’t sure which one you meant.”

This is when the conversation got really hard. She looked at me and in an instant I knew that she was not questioning why I would go to San Jose or why I was going to Alaska.  She was simply jealous that I was going anywhere at all.  It was no longer the kinky part of my travel that was a social problem to be covered up, it was the embarrassment of riches in getting to travel so much that was lighting up the angry fold between her eyebrows.

How could I lie away my joy?  How could I make up a tale to allay the fact that I was living a life filled with happy adventures with a husband that, strange to the vanilla world, I always spoke highly of?  How could I apologize that my life is one I adore while 99% of the people I work with wander through a life they feel saddled by, doing work they don’t find fulfillment in, and living with long since estranged partners that they feel obligated to stay with? As I mentioned, I am a terrible liar and faced with this level of social awkward I did the best I could do and simply said, “I am really looking forward to it,” and walked away.

There is no way to justify when you are unacceptably happy to those around you.  BDSM and M/s are not proselytizing religions. I am not called by a higher power to lead them to the ‘truth’ of better living through authenticity or submission. There is nothing I can do to make that real and possible for them because I have no way of knowing if it would even give them joy.  All I could do is walk away and continue to be happy. Though I felt bad that she was jealous, what I felt afterward was not guilt but appreciation for all that my Master has provided for me.  He works diligently to find ways to give me pleasure, joy, and fulfillment of all that my heart desires before I even am aware I desire it. No amount of service or surrender seems worthy of all he does for me.  I wish with all my heart that the grumpy coworkers around me could feel joyful too.

Are You Ready Boots? Start Walking!

When I was a little kid I owned four pairs of shoes.  The first pair was the sneakers that I wore all day every day.  I would wear them to school where I would play in the playground (assuming of course that I wasn’t in trouble for failing to follow some arbitrary rule that I didn’t create). My sneakers were not just for walking.  They were also excellent brakes when I rode my bicycle, rain boots when I splashed in puddles, hiking boots when I went to the woods that I was most definitely not supposed to play in, and so on.  Their many uses were endless. My second pair of childhood shoes was the worn out version of the first pair, kept in case I needed to “get dirty.”

My third pair of shoes was invariably some random child dress shoe whose wearing involved an event that required me to sit still and be quiet. As sitting still and being quiet were the two most impossible tasks for my childhood self to tackle, I knew that if I was wearing dress shoes I would be miserable and uncomfortable.  My fourth pair of shoes was the cleats that I wore when I played soccer. Given that I enjoyed playing soccer only marginally more than I enjoyed sitting still and being quiet, I hardly enjoyed wearing cleats.

Recently, I have started going to the gym to exercise.  While I suppose that I should be gleaning some great insight about the importance of fitness and health to one’s mood, the biggest thing I have learned whilst at the gym is that Fox News is just as annoying without any sound as it is with sound.  As I generally avoid watching Fox News with or without sound, I had never considered the over/under of how annoying Fox News is while muted versus with the sound on. It turns out that reading the crazy is just as frightening as listening to it.  The only bonus of muted Fox News is that occasionally the closed captioning doesn’t exactly match what is spoken.  For instance yesterday there was a big hue and cry about whether President Obama committed “tree son” because of his declaration that he supported gay marriage. I’m not sure what “tree son” is exactly, but I suspect the folks that oppose gay marriage are against it (which makes me for it, though again I don’t know what it is and indeed it may be a wholly bad idea).  I suspect that they were debating the merits of whether the President committed treason, while just as asinine as “tree son,” it is a smidge more congruent with their perverse view of the world.  Again, there was no sound for me to compare to the closed captioning, so I’m speculating here.

But I digress.  As I have started going to the gym, I discovered that I did not own a pair of shoes appropriate for working out in.  This surprised me because as I have grown older my collection of shoes has expanded geometrically.  Off the top of my head, my shoe count includes the following: two pairs of fetish boots, cowboy boots, work boots, rubber boots, leather casual/going out shoes, two pairs of casual work shoes, five pairs of Converse in various colors, two pairs of dress shoes, a wingtips, swimming shoes, shower shoes, pool shoes, and probably two or three other pairs of shoes designated for some activity that I’ve never actively engaged in.

How on earth did I go from really only needing one pair of shoes to having so many?  While I am sure that some of that change can be attributed to growing up.  In some ways I still feel the dread I felt as a child while wearing dress shoes because wearing dress shoes often involves activities I would rather avoid like court appearances, job interviews, or funerals.  Still I have grown and recognize their importance and the fact that these events require a slightly different pair of shoes than the shoes I might wear while puttering around the house or attending a leather conference.

Some of the shoes I own simply puzzle me. Like my swimming shoes.  I don’t go snorkeling or scuba diving, so I don’t own any fins.  As nearly as I can tell, swimming doesn’t actually require wearing any shoes. Yet somehow I have come into possession of shoes that I would only wear while trying to avoid the rocks and beer can detritus that one finds at the lake.   I also own shower shoes that I wear to the pool.  Again, you don’t need shoes to swim yet I own two pairs dedicated to that activity – an activity that I rarely engage in.

I also own a pair of rubber boots that I can wear if I have to walk in the mud. I walk in the mud even less often than I go swimming, so their utility is minimal and my ownership of them slightly more mystifying.

Thinking about all of my various shoes, I realized that taken together they tell a story of about me. Or at least they tell a big part of it. Together my shoes represent all of the things that I do and all of the things that I am.  My life, like my shoe collection, is composed of various parts that serve different functions. My shoes tell my story and I realized that if you wanted to know who I am you wouldn’t need to walk a mile in my shoes, you’d need to walk several miles in all of them.

The Lucy Saga

Today while I was at work I received a text message from my slave stating that our dog Lucy had turned up missing.

Lucy is a hard dog to describe.  She appears to be a Blue Heeler-Basset mix as assembled by Dr. Frankenstein.  Her coat is a mottled mix of blue-gray, black, and brown, and she looks a lot like someone painted a German sausage and attached legs which were both too small and ill-fitting.   Before we got Lucy she had given birth to a litter of puppies (well I presume they were puppies, I never saw them so in theory she could have given birth to a litter of jackals or kangaroos).  Any any rate, not long after she had her pups, she had been fixed so her teats her noticeably saggy even by the saggy skin standards of Basset hounds.

One day my slave and I went to the pet store for something and as we walked in, there was an animal rescue that had set up shop to find pets to adopt.  They were packing up as we arrived, but Lucy and a Boxer were still in a pen together.  The Boxer saw us approach and started preening.  I was reminded of the descriptions of old orphanages where the orphans would be lined up before perspective adoptive parents and examined in the same manner one might examine cattle at a livestock sale.   Lucy’s reaction to us approaching was decidedly different; she flopped down (not sat down mind you, she flopped as if to say, “fuck it, I don’t care.”), rolled over onto her back, and let out a strange plaintive wail.  My slave saw the Boxer and was immediately taken with him.  I was immediately drawn to Lucy.  After her performance, Lucy decided to get up if only to walk to the far side of the pen.  It was then that I noticed the missing fur by her tail.  She was this fantastical combination of spare parts, mangy coat, and lazy, and the perfect pooch for me.  (My slave later asked if my taste in dogs was reflective of my taste in women; they are decidedly different.)

We asked the animal rescue folks about Lucy. The few minutes of conversation were enlightening.  They informed that Lucy’s missing fur was likely the result of an allergy (this later turned out to be true as her hair grew back in and she was a smidge less unique than at our first meeting).  I also determined that the “rescue” was likely one that had been, or likely would be, featured on one of the many animal hoarder shows that are all the rage on cable.

Soon enough we were invited to take Lucy for a “walk.”  Lucy was having none of it.   Rather than attempt to follow the leash, all 60 pounds of sausage body and stubby legs would walk a few steps and promptly flop to the ground with great fanfare but not so great effort.  While most prospective dog owners might find that off-putting, I found it endearing.  It was hot as blazes that day and had I been Lucy there’s no way in Hell I would have been eager to go for a walk on a leash either.

In short order we had passed the rigorous adoption standards of the rescue, paid our adoption fee, and found ourselves the proud new owners of Lucy.  We coaxed her along as we bought new items for the dog we weren’t expecting and loaded the new dog items and new dog into the car.  Once we were all in the car, we were overwhelmed with a smell that words alone cannot do justice to.  It was a decidedly foul odor I had never experienced before and hope to never experience again.

Bringing Lucy home we had a few concerns.  First and foremost was her stench.  We tried valiantly to find a dog groomer to take her to but could find no appointments that day so we had to tackle that job ourselves.  Just as we started to give her a much needed bath we discovered Lucy’s motivated, go getter side.  Unfortunately, she directed all of her energy and heft into avoiding a bath as if her life depended upon it.  Three baths later, our persistence paid off and Lucy’s smell had been reduced from nauseating to a far more tolerable dog smell.

Our other concern was how Lucy would react to our other dog Satan.  Satan is most everything that Lucy is not.  He is a tiny Chihuahua who weighs all of four pounds soaking wet.  He is also a perpetual motion machine.  Even though Satan was neutered as a puppy, he steadfastly refuses to acknowledge this fact and his favorite pastimes involve humping anything that he can.  Given their size difference, I was concerned that at their first meeting Satan would become lodged in Lucy’s throat and I would be spending my evening at the emergency vet clinic plaintively asking, “this happens all the time right?” This fear was unfounded as Lucy is far too lazy and gentle to bother with Satan.  At their first meeting, there was the standard doggy introduction of butt sniffing followed promptly by another one of Lucy’s trademark flops.  In short order, Satan was vigorously humping Lucy’s stubby leg as though he were trying to be the canine John Holmes. He was blissfully unaware (or unconcerned) that he was off the off mark.  Lucy for her part lacked the interest, motivation, or both to stop Satan’s amorous advances and they were soon partners in crime.

Today, when I received the text that Lucy had gone missing, I was anxious.  I have often heard stories of dogs traveling hundreds of miles to find their owners home after a move the dog was otherwise unaware of, and I am sure that all these dogs are far smarter than is Lucy.  If Lucy were a person, I’m fairly convinced that her parents would be double cousins and she would ride to school in a bus that was shorter than the bus the other children traveled in.  Given that Lucy acts confused about where she belongs when we move her crate, I was pretty sure that as her panic stricken self fled the rainstorm there was little chance she would make it home without some sort of human intervention.

By this point, you might have come to the conclusion that Lucy is a tad quirky and you’d be right.  Even though we had registered Lucy, she never wore her collar.  This is mostly because she detested it and always managed to contort her long body in such a way that her short paw would be stuck in it.  Unfortunately, she lacked the sense and skill to extricate herself from her collar and in short order you could hear her plaintive yelps begging for assistance from this self-inflicted self-bondage.

Naturally, we drove around our neighborhood calling and looking for her.  I gained a new appreciation for how many confusing curved streets and cul-de-sacs there are in our little piece of suburbia.  We would also stop and ask anyone who happened to be outside if they had seen our dog.  This was a somewhat interesting experience.  Most of the adults were friendly but none had seen our dog.  The children we stopped to ask were far less helpful.  They all froze and asked, “a dog?” as if a dog was a concept they had never encountered in their short lives.  It soon occurred to me, that to the children our station wagon was a Good Times van with dark tinted windows and my inquiry about a dog was new slang for “would you like some candy little girl?”  I suspect that our missing dog launched at least one dinner conversation about “stranger danger.”

Just as we were about to give up the search for the dog and go back home to make flyers we saw a couple of guys standing outside talking about whatever it is that vanilla suburbanites discuss amongst themselves with at cocktail hour (I’ve suffered through several of these conversations, and my only takeaway is “I don’t understand vanillas.”)

Asking them about our dog seemed a fruitless pursuit, and immediately after we asked, I saw the headshaking that says both no and sorry at the same time.  But that headshaking was immediately followed with, “did you say a gray dog?”  “Yes, yes I did.” And then our search was over.  Not only had he seen our dog, he had stayed with it.  It turned out that we had managed to ask the off duty police officer who found our dog while on patrol.  Soon enough he was showing us pictures of Lucy on his cell phone and calling the police station to get us the number to call to claim her. He told us the long tale of how Lucy had followed a couple out walking their dogs, before he happened to stop them and learned that Lucy wasn’t theirs.  He went on at some length about what a great dog she is and how he stayed while animal control gently corralled her.

Unfortunately, it was afterhours, so we couldn’t claim Lucy tonight, but she will be back among our flock tomorrow.

Throughout this process, I have learned several things.  First and foremost I learned that there’s a hole in the fence that Lucy can use to escape.  I learned that I actually value my dog far more than I would have otherwise realized or copped to.   It also turns out that the local police do other stuff than write speeding tickets (I still maintain that if the little bastards haven’t figure out how to cross the street by high school, my mowing them down isn’t a tragedy just a thinning of the gene pool) and they are friendly and even helpful.  Finally, I learned that I really should have spent the extra cash to have the dog microchipped.  The more you know…

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.

Why I Love Teaching About M/s

I was asked today, “Are you not allowed to…?”  The question was about something small, I don’t really remember what it was that the person was asking if I was ‘allowed’ to do but when the question was asked I felt several emotions at once.  I was surprised by my emotional response.  At the time, the question was answered in a fashion as the conversation went on its merry way without any notice of my emotional response. No big deal but I find myself thinking about it again.

What emotions did I have? Well, first I guess it was defensive.  Not personally, but defensive of my Master.  I felt as though I did not want him or his way of managing my life to be seen as wrong or bad.  There was nothing in the way or words of the question that should have caused this emotion, but there it was anyway.  Why?

I also felt a bit embarrassed.  Not shameful, but more like when someone asks you a specific question about how you like to have sex. The blushing sort of “that is personal” kind of embarrassed feeling. Again, why?

The last emotion was confusion.  I didn’t know for sure how to even answer the question.  Was I ‘allowed’ or ‘not allowed’?  The short answer I gave was, “Well it isn’t that I am not allowed but sort of.”  That was pretty well a non-answer but that’s what I had at the time. Yet again, why?

Why did the question elicit defensiveness, embarrassment, and confusion? As I think about it, the answer seems simple but meaningful to me.  I couldn’t answer because there is not a paradigm in my world of ‘allowed’ or ‘not allowed.’ The meaning to me was in why the emotions I felt were there at all.  I realized there is a history in my baggage compartment associated with what M/s ‘ought’ ‘should’ or ‘is’ supposed to be.

The baggage that actually generated the fuel for those emotions include the following ideas: Masters are assholes that demand their rules be followed. Slaves are under a burden of rules and protocols. Master’s rules must be followed or to the curb with the slave. Slaves are without rational logical personal decision making skills. Masters are jerks and slaves are weak.

“Really, personal baggage, does that make any sense?” I ask myself.  Is that all still stored up in my attic somewhere?  Wow, I thought I had long ago tossed those notions out.  But there they were, lurking.

There was a time years ago before I was owned by Master when I was in the BDSM community but not in an M/s dynamic.  I knew people who used the terms ‘Master’ and ‘slave’ but did not understand what that meant.  After a little while I thought I came to an understanding of M/s because I had talked with some people about it, read a few things, and been to a few events.  I thought that pretty much Masters were assholes and slaves were doormats.  I didn’t know a damn thing but that is ok.  It takes time to learn about new things in life.  Growing up in kink is natural and we all had to do it sometime. I learned more, I listened more, and I opened my heart and mind to the people I met.

Time and experience led me to come to a place where I know that Masters and slaves all are different. Maybe some M/s couples are like that stereotype but all the folks I know in M/s now are certainly deeper, more vibrant, and wonderful than those first silly assumptions falsely led me to believe. Now I know that I am a slave and not at all a doormat.  I know Master is a loving, generous, intelligent, and encouraging man who has dedicated his life to protecting and fostering me into my best potential. Now I see the beauty and wonders of living my life as an authentic and fulfilled woman who has chosen to enter into a 24/7 commitment to serving his will above all else.

So back to the question that raised internal hackles. Why? Why is because I forget that to other people my choice of lifestyle does seem like an ‘allowed to’ vs ‘not allowed to’ continuum.  Internally, there is no ‘allowed’ or not, there is only this is the way it is because he says it is the best way.  I forget that the external expression of rules and protocols does look a little like I saw it when I was a new person in the lifestyle.

I have benefited from the time others further along the path took to teach me.  I will always be grateful to those folks and the hours they spent talking with me. Without them, I might never have arrived at this place in life. This is the reason I enjoy teaching and presenting about M/s so much.  I want to give my time, my energy, my love to those who have questions.

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.

There’s a Light That Never Goes Out

My slave does most of the driving when we are together.  I realize that having the slave drive is atypical but as we travel I prefer to be able to freely observe whatever may catch my eye without all of the unavoidable distractions of driving.

This is especially true whenever we pass an accident.  While most decry the tendency to rubberneck at an accident scene, I think that rubbernecking is as a natural human reaction.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  First, we want to assess any such situation and determine if we are in any immediate danger.  If we can determine that we are not in jeopardy, people have a natural fascination with carnage that is unlikely to change.

For a long time I have also believed that American television media has only encouraged our tendency to rubberneck at accident scenes.  While it is true that television media devotes an exception amount of airtime to stories that involve death, injury, and mayhem (a tendency captured in the oft-repeated mantra of “If it bleeds, it leads”), the reality is that American television sterilizes any sense of carnage.  While American television media may show up at accident scenes, the images they show are invariably sanitized versions of what actually happened.  For example at a fatal accident scene, the images used in the reporting are typically interviews with law enforcement officials, pictures of traffic delays caused by the accident, images of police and fire vehicles with their lights flashing, and interviews with witnesses who were not seriously injured by the accident.  Conspicuous by their absence are images of the seriously injured or the emotionally overwrought.

While I am sure that American news media would claim that they remove these images to avoid disturbing or frightening viewers, there is little doubt in my mind that viewers crave to see these images. Their absence creates a barrier by which we minimize the severity of all manner of negative things.

Determining whether or not the tendency to censor such images is uniquely an American approach to reporting would require more research than I care to devote to the topic.  However, I have had the opportunity to watch television from Mexico and Latin America that shows this approach is not universal.  When Mexican television news covers such accidents, they broadcast much more direct images of accident victims and show the human toll accidents cause in far greater detail. In fact it is not unusual for Mexican television news to follow ambulances to hospitals and broadcast pictures of victim’s families in various states of grief.  While most Americans might find such reports exploitative, they serve as stark reminders that accidents and grief throw the lives of victims and their families into chaos.  By sterilizing these events, American media tends to remove their impact such that they have little more emotional involvement for the viewer than a sports score.

But I digress.  My mother passed away last month, three days before my fortieth birthday.  That makes me of the age that when I was a baby most people didn’t use seatbelts and no one used car seats.  A baby in a car was either in a baby carrier in the back seat or more likely in his mother’s unbelted arms as dad drove the family sedan down the road with a paper bag wrapped Schlitz tallboy in the hand he used to wave to any passing policemen.

As I grew older, I would sit in the front seat as mom drove to and fro.  I sat there unbuckled and free to roll down the window to feel the air on my face and frighten my mother who pictured me leaping from the Gremlin as we travelled down the road at 70 mph.  Mostly I sat in the front seat reading road signs or babbling about whatever it is that an elementary school-aged me would babble on about.

Despite her claims to the contrary, mom was not the greatest driver in the world – a fact that doubtlessly contributed to the car accident that left her paralyzed 10 years before she passed.  As we were out driving mom would occasionally have to stop the car suddenly for any number of reasons (none of which were ever her fault).  Whenever mom would brake suddenly, she would instinctively reach out her arm to brace me from both the sudden deceleration of braking and the imminent threat that I would become some sort of prepubescent projectile being launched through the windshield.

Even though this act was a virtually pointless endeavor whose end result was a tiny me being whacked in the ribs, I knew then, as I know now, that she did this out of love and concern for my safety.  She dreaded the thought of her little boy being injured in an accident (which one would think would make her buckle me in the seatbelt, but that is another story for another time) so she would use her mom belt to keep me out of harm’s way.

As I grew older and would ride with mom, I could always count on her to use her mom belt anytime the car would brake suddenly.  This was slightly embarrassing to me as a teenager as I was sure that I could take care of myself.  She persisted in this habit as I turned into an adult using a seat belt even though the only likely outcome in an actual crash would be that she would break her arm.

Once after her accident, we were driving in her modified van when she braked suddenly.  Then as always, out came the arm to brace me for the impact.  Even though I was old enough that I should have seen this as a loving act from a mother who still wanted to protect her little boy, I couldn’t help but realize that her modified van required two arms to drive, one to brake/accelerate and the other to steer.  When I saw her arm headed towards my chest, I was terrified as I knew that “Jesus is my co-pilot” went from cheesy metaphor to an excited utterance of, “Jesus get the wheel!”  Thinking back about it, I do find it sweet that no matter what had happened she still wanted to take care of me before herself.

The other day my slave and I were driving home when she had to break quickly.  This wasn’t the sort of stop where one slams on the brakes, but rather the sort where there is less than might be comfortable.  Just as she pressed on the brake to slow the car, my slave instinctively reached out with a mom belt of her own to brace me from whatever might happen.

Afterwards, we both laughed as we discussed how the only likely outcome of her mom belt in a crash would be a broken arm.  I couldn’t help but be reminded of my mother’s love and caring for me.  I was also reminded that I have a slave who loves me that much too and I am grateful that I can count on her to give me a mom belt as we go down the road that is life together.

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.