On a bad day, it is achingly evocative, stunningly accurate, and capable of processing, it seems, every moment in my life in one breathtaking, eviscerating Technicolor swoop at the most inopportune moments.
And the trains-of-thought it pulls…well. Seemingly random and yet cripplingly logical, I can go from listening to a favorite song to having the rise and fall of an old school R&B jam shove me through a pane of crystalline recall to sitting in the schoolyard in High School, sneaking a Camel Light and pounding a Jolt Cola to being yanked forward 25 years and breathing ache, dizzy with sadness over the loss of a relationship to roiling back before the previous memory, even, wondering whatever happened to Spencer, the boy I had a terrible crush on who thought I was funny and great to hang out with but really only had eyes for my friend Alice to a brutal whiplash of recalling the last time I felt at peace sitting at the feet of someone whose whim was my will and who I desired only to serve.
And then the song is over and I’m left with the emotional loose-leggedness experienced when stepping from a moving walkway back onto ground that behaves itself without mild deceleration trauma at the dénouement.
And then? On a good day? I’ll do it again. Listen to that song, read that old blog post, pull apart stories of my own life and experience so that I can offer them as “Talking Points” and “teaching moments” when I teach or lecture on kink.
Some people think it is “brave” to share so much detail about myself, my life, my journey. Others push me away with ear-clasping eye-covering, mouth slapping three-monkey style shrieks of “TMI!!!” when I reveal the darker, sticker, messier stuff. Some people see me so bent by the prism of their own perception that the life they see me leading has several degrees of separation from the life I see myself leading.
And so it goes.
The turning toward spring cannot come fast enough for me. This winter was dark; not only in the wild imbalance between the nocturnal stretches and the brevity of daylight, but also in terms of emotional overcast. But the days are incrementally, slowly, lengthening back into warmth and light, and I am slowly thawing out as well.
Weeks of dismay, and pain, and frustration in the wake of some surprising, disappointing truths about the Leather community are finally coalescing into resolve. No small thanks to the friends who pulled together and the strangers who stepped up to the plate. As I get my bearings in the wake of feeling my foundations shift a bit, I realize that I have, slowly, quietly, gathered around me amazing people. That I have, somehow, stayed sober for almost six years. That I am, regardless of my scatterbrained recklessness, managing to make a life where I am doing what I want to do, and on my terms. I’ve recently received an amazing gift in the form of a couple of video messages from someone who has been an inspiration to me since before I thought to call myself a Leatherwoman, a submissive, a Slave. She reminded me how important it is to walk our path and do our work because we don’t always know who our ripples influence.
As I listened to Mama Vi’s personal, mellifluous messages to me, I thought about the woman I’d met in Boston years ago who, inspired by my enthusiasm for being strong in submission, started her own group and is doing her work in her own community around that advocacy. That is pretty cool. It’s a blessing to have those affirmations.
One of the things I miss most about being in service, about the sensation of being owned in a consensual BDSM relationship, is the knowledge that I am doing something that benefits someone I love, I care for, who can pat me on the head at the end of the day and say “Good girl.” One of the reasons I keep such a jammed schedule is so that I don’t have time to stand still and feel that sucking chest wound left by the vacuum of not being owned.
But when I look deeper, and I clear away the loud barky demon voice and remember, it all becomes a “There is no spoon.” Matrix style headfuck. You see, I AM in service. All of the time. Every class, every conversation in the hallway of a Conference, every e-mail asking for my advice, every tear wept onto my shoulder by a submissive who felt validated and seen because of something I said: all of those are my service. And all of these people are people I love. Even the haters, the jealous backbiters, those who would tear me down and talk shit to my face or, more frequently, behind my back? They have a place in my life. They motivate me to continue, and excel. As Kat Williams said,“Let them do they job!” I know I am doing my work because my work is to evoke feeling. To empower, to pull aside the bullshit and to help people see beauty in pain and freedom in bondage when we choose it proudly.
So, thank you;
People in my classes, folks at conferences, those who read my blog, folks I’ve never met who got a smile or a laugh or a gasp of dismay from a story I’ve told. Thank you, shit-talkers, because your foul negative energy is burned in the fierceness of the fire in my belly to move onward and elevate others. Thank you, those who have supported me and those who have loved me and those who have rejoiced in my pain. Thank you to the people who have reached out to me, and to those who have turned their backs.
Being unowned hasn’t let me off the hook for being in service across many barriers. From visiting and speaking with students at Yale and Harvard and Brown to racing back and forth across the USA and hopping over to Europe, I am serving. Tweeting and Facebooking and sharing cute pictures and sharing a teary night are service. When I acknowledge that I am moving within my path, everything becomes that service. One day, yes, there will be that person who sees me as I am, and cherishes me for who I am.
And in the present?
I have all of you to serve. Whether it be in Ohio, or Portland, or Smith Collegeand maybe Sarah Lawrence, and yeah Baltimore or Saint Louis ( TWICE! ) orFetish Week in Stockholm, or…or…or…I will be focused, I will be at your service, and I will be so, so very grateful that I have the opportunity to serve…you.