Marked inside.

Yesterday afternoon I was walking through the lobby of the Beyond Leather host hotel here in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Not long after teaching my second class of the day, I found myself in an intriguing exchange with a dashing salt-and-pepper haired gentleman of British extraction. He was holding my hand and pressing his lips to the back of my hand. He’d been gazing admiringly at me as I crossed the lobby, and when he’d initially spoken, I thought he was taking the piss. See, in the class I’d just been teaching I had mentioned I had a particular weakness for accents.  I thought this might be a bit of a flirtatious gambit. That was fine actually. This was day 2 of Beyond Leather and I’d had many conversations in passing and some of the more silly ones had involved quite a bit of mental jockeying and word play.

This particular flirtatious ex-SAS Englishman and sadist had no of way of knowing he had scored a few points on my personal “WIN!” list.  As he smiled at me, I was certainly intrigued. He asked if I was going to be playing that evening.  I was, for the first time in 13 months of national Leather Events, able to say “Yes, in fact, I do have a play date about which I’m very excited!”

He mentioned that he, too, would be playing. And even offered the approximate time and location of the scene he would be conducting. For those not familiar with typical Kink Scene interactions, this is about as big a “flirt and flex flag” as a top or dominant can wave when in this situation. 

See, I don’t know this dude from Adam. But inviting a bottom to watch you play demonstrates a modicum of confidence in displaying your skill, inviting them to check you out, so that they then have a common point of reference with regard to your play style.

And he seemed to be very interested in watching me play.

 Kissing my hand again he lamented aloud “Ah, well…would that you were submissive!”

 I sighed. 

 “Actually, I am.”

 His gaze focused.

He smiled.

Yeah so.  



As my long time friend Bailey pointed out, this may well have been a “fish” for information.  There are infinite ways of information gathering with a potential play-partner.  By veering for this tack, he then had the opportunity to gauge my reaction to his question. The level of enthusiasm or dismissal can provide a great deal of information.

Though I was certainly at least interested in such an opportunity to observe, I don’t often commit to multiple scenes in one night. I tend to go pretty deeply in playing and need to have that focus.

But I gave him my card. He clarified his interest in learning more about me.

One never knows.

One might not know, but if you are me, you do often have “knowing.”

Oddly, I’d had a very strong feeling, a few days ago, that the playdate to which I was so looking forward wouldn’t materialize. But I had no real  reason to think that I would miss out of that opportunity. I mean, this had been planned in advance, there were THREE days in which to have plenty of flexibility, somewhere in there a scene could be arranged at sometime, yes?


Of course.

Or no.

I’m not of a mind to divulge my friend’s personal shit. I can say that, despite good intentions and despite my limited expectations, things derailed. And derailed badly.

A personal issue came up for my friend. He had to go deal with this in his own way. He understandably needed some space. I sent a series of text messages to check in as I was not at all sure what had happened. I did receive a bit of information from him which lead me to believe that yeah, something was uncool, but no emergency situation was unfolding.

Rope. Marks.

Post demo rope marks.

I was disappointed but didn’t wanna be selfish. Gotta let go of expectations, yeah? And probably this would resolve later.

I also was not, to be honest, convinced that I would let a distant situation derail me from enjoying something I wanted.  There is a lot that happens in life over which you have no control. But you do have control over your reaction to these troubles. I know for me, I loathe the idea that some fuckery deprives me of joy. Life is too short.

I caught up with Bailey. We chatted up some girl talk and caught up while I tried to not take any of this crap personally, to see if possibly this could be salvaged. I didn’t want to bug my erstwhile play-partner. He wasn’t in a great headspace, and needed personal time. And if, in fact, this situation was so vexing his headspace wasn’t in playing, well…so it goes. There was still Sunday…

I didn’t hear back after several messages and a voicemail. SO, I went to ground and just tried to relax. I really didn’t feel like going to the dungeon and watching all of these people enjoying, once more, everything I was, once again, denied.

Then my phone rang and I was advised by a mutual acquaintance that my date had come out of his funk and, it seems, was cheering himself up by scenening with someone who was not me.

Let me say I was not in a graceful place upon receiving this news. Walking in to the playspace and confronting the situation was, for ME, out of the question.

So I lay in bed sobbing and feeling like absolute shit.

Once again, I wasn’t enough, I was disposable, and I could be pushed aside in favor of someone else.

Regardless of whether or not this is true, this was how I felt.

Things were tangled and unhappy and only became more so after my distraught posts to Twitter were read by some people who were here at the event who, after offering me sympathetic support, conveyed to my anticipated play-partner that I was…not happy.

Interestingly, once he did contact me and came to my room (at my invitation)  to talk, his affect was angry. Evidently my own expressions of upset were seen as an attack on his character.

I wasn’t in a good place to have my own disappointment and battered ego confronted with his backlash. So I took a series of deep breaths and let him explain his side of the story. It was convoluted. And I have zero reason to think it was a lie. But my feelings have a right to be respected.  And he fell down in the chain of communication by not responding to me.

I had to do something I have an absolutely difficult time with, and that was to make clear I thought there had been a failure. On his part. On a very basic level.

I know that life intrudes. I know that slings and arrows and sticks and stones and all of these things can belay even the best laid plans.

And I believe also that how one handles stress and storms is even more important than how one lives in smooth situations. 

We all make mistakes. And sometimes those mistakes wound and slice the emotions of others. And at that point the only thing you can do is to take responsibility for your actions and reactions to this stress.

As I have a promise made to myself many years ago not to sleep on anger, we talked through my feelings, my reaction, his view of the situation, etc.

I can say I am proud of myself for remaining grounded by my emotional truth. I did not cave in to my reflex to “Let it go.” I weighed what forgiveness I could give him and what was just too much. I let my compassionate nature soothe my nerves and to trust that I was making concessions in the right place and standing firm in others.

And in the morning I did receive the apology that I needed to have that piece of responsibility acknowledged.

Today is a new day.

In these Leather Event situations, when you are in high profile mode, you certainly don’t have time to be a mopey shithead when you are a presenter.  And especially when you are me.

I had to publically interact with my friend, our very new truce in place. I will pat myself on the back again for handling that.

Though I certainly have no love for feeling like refried shit and having to suck it up and repair damaged friendships, I learned that I have the capacity to be strong and also to handle my shit with some dignity.

I also am proud that I held fast to my personal standards and not cave in to loneliness and desperation for play and pain and affection when it wasn’t offered on terms that I could accept.

I have compromised before.

I have felt what that is like.

I have let people have what they wanted of me and leave the rest.

I know what that feels like.

I am not enthralled with the sensation of standing firm and holding fast to my core values and still feeling alone and lost. But I have to do this.

If I settle again for crumbs, delicious and tempting as they are, I will be left alone. Again.

See, the thing about compromise for me is this: if the other person gets everything that they wanted and I get some of what I want, I will soon find myself with an emotional deficit I have no way to close.

But I held my shit together. I had friends call and write and offer their love.

And someone does want that, can handle, is worthy…and someone will care with the capacity and focus that matches my own.

So tonight I will lie low, I think. I am not of a mind to be used and played and then left behind.  Sometimes that can be very sexy. Not so much tonight.

And I have been invited back to Beyond Leather 2010, which is, for me, quite an honor. I heard I received universal glowing reviews. I can stand alone there too. That is all me, absorbing, distilling, filtering and serving up my life, my essence, me.

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  1. DangerousLilly on April 26, 2009 at 5:20 PM

    To ME….this is strength. For you its growth. But I see in this, and you, a strength and level of self-respect that I have not yet gotten to in similar situations.
    I will, someday. I have made baby steps.
    You seem to have made a big step. You rock, girl. I admire you.

    • mollena on April 26, 2009 at 5:30 PM

      Thank you for your comment. It is really hard for me to run through this. I want, on some level, to forget about it and not think but I have to in order to ground myself and make it real.

      I don’t know why it still makes me feel shaky and scared, but I did it.




  2. victoria61389 on April 26, 2009 at 5:34 PM

    my comment is not a ploy for sympathy, but i wanted to say, 3 weeks ago i recieved an email, releasing me from my slave requirments and wishing me well, with directions not to contact him. As hard as it may be to believe, i never saw it coming. i live in Amarillo, he in Dallas, i was moving there soon. i had emptied my apartment of 80% of my belongings. (to children and friends) i had not yet, given my notice to work, that was the last thing i was to do. Thank goodness he decided to do this before then. Anyways, you said alot to me, for me, in your blog today, but what stuck in my head the most was this statement;

    “”I am not enthralled with the sensation of standing firm and holding fast to my core values and still feeling alone and lost. But I have to do this.

    If I settle again for crumbs, delicious and tempting as they are, I will be left alone. Again.””

    Thank you!

    • mollena on April 26, 2009 at 5:59 PM

      Sent you an e-mail?!??!


      I wish I could proclaim shock and surprise for the situation in which you find yourself. But I have heard your story and varistions on it for over a decade in thescene. And it still presses sharply on my soul to hear it.

      It is a strange dark blessing to have a truth revealed about someone you love revealed just before you take a step closer to them.

      I hope that the positive aspect of this situation reveals itself fully to you so that you can have soul-level peace about your new path.



  3. Kat on April 26, 2009 at 6:03 PM

    Sounds like a strong gut and backbone you have there, Mollena. Im very impressed. No one wants to feel like a dildo.

    • mollena on April 26, 2009 at 9:43 PM

      Hey Kat!

      I think I am very impressed with me too. Risking displeasure and facing down someone who is angry are 2 of my top 5 most terrifying emotional hurdles. And I kinda kicked ass. Even this evening when the wonk came around again, and I had a chance to put myself in a potentially uncomfortable position if being sidelined…again…but maybe having the chance to get a little bit of affection, I chose to say no.

      Part of me is feeling like “Oh shit. You Had the chance to play with ME….and you blew it. TWICE?! Are you fucking crazy?!” and that is the part I am trying to nurture.

      The part that assumes the popular tops and dominants will of course go for the prettier cuter little young thing and likes to beat us up for having the temerity to think someone would want us…that part we’re trying to treat with compassion, and let it go away.




  4. elfin on April 26, 2009 at 6:20 PM

    Lois McMaster Bujold said it best in her novel “Memory”:

    “The one thing you can’t trade for your heart’s desire is your heart.”

    I’m glad you stood true to yourself.

    Great love,

    – elfin

    • mollena on April 26, 2009 at 9:44 PM

      Trust you, elfin, to sound that clear bell.



  5. Andrew on April 26, 2009 at 7:41 PM

    You rock {{{{{HUGS}}}}}

    • mollena on April 26, 2009 at 10:02 PM

      I’m tryin’ to hold on to that rockin’ feeling :-)



  6. Nicole on April 26, 2009 at 11:16 PM

    This entry of yours inadvertently helped me. Unfortunately, my longing to be loved and accepted has a tendency to overpower my common sense and morals. The thought of rejection incapacitates me, but I’m working on eradicating that undesired trait. I both applaud and admire you for prevailing where me and so many others regularly fail for whatever reasons. Whenever I find myself in situations that test my self-confidence, I’ll keep this story in mind to aide me in finding the best solution to the problem without acting on negative impulses or letting the wounded side get the better of me.

    Thank you, Mollena.

    • mollena on April 28, 2009 at 3:24 PM

      Hello, Nicole

      Thank you, SO much, for that. It was interesting to me today to realize in retrospect how big a deal it was for me to say “No, that was not OK.” and stick to it…and then to follow that up with some difficult talk. I am doing the Pretend Big Girl thing and acting as if I’m brave enough to be brave.



  7. Sarah on April 27, 2009 at 6:13 AM

    “In these Leather Event situations, when you are in high profile mode, you certainly don’t have time to be a mopey shithead when you are a presenter. ”

    True, at least in public & when you are fulfilling core responsibilities (like teaching, stage appearance time, etc.). But you do have a right, and a responsibility to yourself, to deal with the stuff that comes up when you need to. I am infamously bad at being at events for more than a day and a half; I get low on emotional & spiritual energy, I feel out of place & (often) unwanted and unattractive, and I know that when I feel like that I need to retreat and regroup.

    I think you did an amazing job. I truly, truly do. I wish I had been able to engage more with you in the weekend, as you are quite a role model for me in so many ways. I don’t understand what the vagaries of the universe are that throw shit like this in our way; I do know that it makes us even stronger. I got a lot out of BL weekend; primarily meeting you and one other presenter that I didn’t know before.


    • mollena on May 1, 2009 at 7:26 PM

      Thank you. SO much. It is interesting how even the people in the spotlight go through precisely the same sit as everybody else, but somehow we rarely reveal this.

      Well, except for gut spilling TM-fucking-I Mollena Williams.

      I too had an awesome experience. Soon I hope to unpack the good stuff.



  8. ally on April 29, 2009 at 8:19 PM

    After the rope theater Friday night, a few of my friends and I were talking about how amazing you are and how you made us see things differently. You see, the day before, about a half dozen of us were complaining we had nothing to wear and how fat we felt. After we saw the rope scene you were in, you were stunningly beautiful, and we realized that with confidence, we can all look as beautiful as you are.

    I’m so glad I got to finally meet you in person. I just wish we had more one on one time. I think you would have enjoyed hanging out with some of my friends. For a while we just hung out in the hotel room, sometime after dinner and the speeches. I unexpectedly got to play with Lord Bob very late on Sat. night. And I’m sure he would have enjoyed meeting you and maybe even playing as well (if you were interested of course).

    I’ve partnered with an Old Guard, Gay Leatherman. He’s a Sadist–thank goodness! We don’t have a named relationship (i.e. S/m, D/s), but we both enjoy each other’s company, we both like to play, and right now it’s the perfect balm for two wounded souls.

    Anyway, Mo, it was such a pleasure to be in your class, chat with you, watch you in the theater and I hope to see you again at BL2010 or even sooner at another event. I’m sorry you had some difficult moments, but I hope you were still able to have some great moments.


    • mollena on May 1, 2009 at 7:29 PM

      I am glad that people were able to feel good about that performance. It is really really really really hard for me each and every time I get up and naked in front of a room full of people, knowing that I am compared to other women with different bodies. But then the scene starts and I just…feel. And I don’t worry any more.

      It was awesome to be able to see your smiling face throughout the weekend. Having friends at an event makes ALL of the difference when things go south, and makes things all the more AMAZING when you have a moment of triumph.



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