Who we are is never, ever a one-dimensional painting.
It is a sculpture, kinetic, a maze, a faceted crystal, a subterranean cavern, an oceanic abyss, a windswept plateau, all of these things.
Having a dawning realization that you might resonate with something about BDSM, whether it not it is something as simple as fascination with the lines of a corset or the sensation of helplessness doesn’t necessarily relegate yourself to the realm of porn-addicted drooling cackling pervert.
It takes WORK to achieve that level of depravity!
I understand the concern that this might be a slippery slope for some. That your desire to submit to or your need to overpower someone will eventually overpower or sublimate your sense of self.
It doesn’t have to. It really only has to be that if that is what you chose.
As often happens my brain revs up to impossible speeds just as I’m going to sleep. I am certain that this is because “normal working hours” are at odds with the hours in which I work best. I am NOT. Bloody. Diurnal. If the average person has an 8-hour window within which they can best rock the mike, mine is sure as fuck not 9-5. I’m at the height of focus at the 6PM-2AM shift. I loved working graveyard, back in the day.
Every day I fight against the way I have been my entire life to squeeze into a system that isn’t working and never did. My Mom has stories of literally walking me though morning as a kid, and yet finding me under the blankets with a book and a flashlight in the middle of the night.
Last few nights I have been flipping back and forth between thoughts about a solo show that is hammering on my brain…a story that I have to tell and it is becoming more important.
I had occasion today to enjoy a quiet moment in a hotel room high up above the city, idly gazing upon a broad swath of terrain from the cold blue of the Bay to the fog-lapped crests of Twin Peaks.
Meandering thoughts mostly disconnected…some deceptively so…were doing their best to distract me from remaining in the moment.
I was exhausted from the previous night. Thursday was the opening ceremony and show for the International Ms. Leather Contest, and I’d spearheaded a campaign to have my employer represented by sponsoring one of the many “Receptions” that this event offers to attendees. This is a fairly low-bandwidth way to do Community Outreach among the Leatherfolk, and as one of the handful of kinky people at my company, I’m in a unique position to cross the streams, so to speak, and have my day-job find its rightful place in the BDSM community.
However, I hadn’t anticipated being physically exhausted and having a voice-over recording that same day. It was going to be a pretty exhausting end to the week, and I was near tears several times on Thursday.
Ain’t nothing like being in the midst of Bloody Abdominal Injustice while having to haul around cases of water and wine and bags of snacks.
Thankfully I had a co-worker (Yaaaay!) who was also volunteering at IMsL, and she was there to keep things going.
Somehow, we did it.
Of course, we had everything set up and ready to go, free schwag primed, and then…no one showed up.
We sat for 10 minutes, 25 minutes.
A few people trickling in mentioned that the opening show was still going, and that many attendees were still there, and that was why the reception wasn’t filling up.
But when it did, boy howdy, did it ever!
Old habits die hard and I snapped into the smile-on-the-face-super-attentive-chatting-and-laughing-party-hostess…make sure the cheese is out and the chips are there and the bottles are open and there is enough wine and cheese and…and…and…
Fret not. We rocked it. Everyone was pleased.
Several people who had joined me for my recent class on “Race Play” were in attendance, and took a moment to tell me that not only did they think the class was important for the community, but that they were personally grateful, to me, for doing it.
Their timing couldn’t have been more critical, because not long before that I’d learned of some less-than-optimal reactions that some people are airing publicly.
People who don’t know me, who haven’t heard what I have to say. Or, in one case, someone who took my words and torqued them into a most damaging and fearsome misrepresentation of my reality.
And then we have the nauseating nadir: people who openly threaten violence if they ever were to walk into a play party and see a race play scene happening.
Pardon me if I take this shit personally.
It is tough enough to find play-partners because I am a shy freak and exceedingly picky, selective and intimidation resistant.
And now, am I supposed to tell a prospective play-partner than he or she may be subject to rude speech, threats of confrontation or even physical assault simply for playing with me?
Meet my new Dom! Though, it is rather troubling that my safeword is "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."
Well, it is convenient then that my play partners tend to be really…really big! And trained in martial arts and strapped with stun guns…and with sharp pointy teeth…so there!
Yes, I acknowledge that it may be bluster and bullshit.
But the more I sort through this, the more I wonder what the fuck is up with my fellow perverts.
I wonder what about this not uncommon fantasy it so dangerous it drives people to threaten physical violence.
And I wonder why none of these people actually care to be open, and interact with me.
No, I know why.
It is easier to scream from your perch of fear than it is to try to settle in and confront your own demons on someone else’s terms. Because I think differently than others, and there is a chance you might see me as human, your Comfy Throne of Righteous Indignation now teeters on the edge of reason.
Is it so hard to empathize?
I’ll say it here and loud and clear.
If you hear some crazy bullshit about me, and you aren’t sure whether or not it is accurate, you know who the fucking authority on Mollena is?
OK, aside from God…
Ya, that would be me. I’ve been stuck in here for almost 40 years: I know my way around, and I give frequent tours. Stop and and have a cup and I’ll tell you what is going on, OK?
As I stood behind the improvised bar at the party, I managed (I think) to be welcoming and I smiled and introduced myself to as many people as I could. Many old friends were there, and it was lovely to catch up. Hopefully no one could hear my insides whimpering and feeling clumsydumboutofplacecrampyexhaustednervous and anxious.
At one point I overheard and adjacent conversation in bits and starts. There were several Black woman gazing at me intently, and I overheard “Mo Williams…” and “Yeah, she did the “Race Play Class…” and I tensed up. I couldn’t tell from their expressions what their take on that was.
We were formally introduced and they said that they were sorry to have missed the class, and that they had initially planned on coming to see it, but couldn’t make it. Thing is, they aren’t local. They were planning on coming form Canada to see the class. I confess I was very taken aback and nervous. I had wild fantasies of a squad of Black Domme Avenging Secret Agents sent to take me out for setting back the evolution of our people.
But that wasn’t quite it.
I chatted with them a bit, and as it was a rather loud and busy party, it wasn’t conducive to a more private discussion. But we made a date to chat for a bit the next day.
I hope to talk further, possibly, about working with these folks in terms of BDSM oriented education. They had done their homework and had some really provocative questions for me about my classes, my approach, myself.
Plus, damn, they are so cool!
But something else….it was a new sensation for me. With all due respect to all of my friends of all ethnic and racial backgrounds, something new has happened for me in the past few months. I am experiencing a strong redemption for me in having other Black Women REALLY SEE ME and tell me I am OK. I spent almost an hour re-connecting with a woman of many years acquaintance, and have a new respect for both of our struggles as outsiders among outsiders.
This is another benefit of being openly fucked up. Other people who feel like you, outlier, find you and share their struggles and then you aren’t alone anymore.
But this is new, feeling specifically connected with Black women. Women here in SF, in Arizona, in DC, in Chicago…and it is shocking to me. This is many, many years coming.
I have been consistently rejected by many of my “Sisters” for my entire life. Even the gossamer illusory kinship pf BDSM gave me nothing but chimeric rapport. And that heat mirage disappeared, all to often, when the going got weird.
I feared derision, scorn and rejection from other Black women.
That sucks. A lot.
How much of a fucking gift, and a startling one, to now find women who look like me meeting me in the eye and speaking with respect for my humanity.
This is…I don’t know precisely what to say.
I don’t know what it means yet. But it is changing my life.
The folks of the Arizona Power Exchange group invited me, a long while back, to teach a class for them.
That class is this weekend.
Please keep in mind, I am used to controversy. I am, after all, one of the very VERY few people in the BDSM / Leather Community openly discussing and teaching about Kinky play that involves, explores and embraces the utilization of race and cultural identity within a BDSM context. Teaching about “Race Play” isn’t a mainstream Kink lifestyle path. For reals.
For obvious reasons, that shit don’t fly for a lot of Kinksters. Understandably so. But the backlash I received when I first “outed” myself was so strong and carried so much emotional violence, I felt charged thereafter.
I felt charged, as a survivor of attacks against my integrity, my “Blackness”, my feminism, my very being.
I felt charged to stand back up after members of MY COMMUNITY, one I fought so hard to embrace, that some amongst my Leather Kin would reject me wholesale because they did not approve of an aspect of play I found difficult and intriguing.
I sure as hell did not spend years accepting that I WAS submissive to be slapped down by perverts for being “too fucked up.”
That is too much.
Today, I have a few rounds under my belt, I have taken my hits, and am sure I will take more.
But this morning it was a visceral shock to look at my upcoming itinerary, and to mentally prepare myself for the days I will spend in Arizona.
Arizona is a Red State. Very much so.
And not just a red state, but a red state that refused a bloody day off because it was attached to slain Civil Rights Leader, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
And so, here I go, in the stunned jubilant afterglow of a momentous occasion in the history of…of MANKIND, yo.
Walking into a room full of strangers, with my head held high.
Um…if I can manage it.
Walking into that room of what I assume will be mostly white faces, to talk about using our differences to fuel our spiritual and sexual lives.
My ancestor’s history in this country is not something I take lightly. On a very personal level, tapping into the collective consciousness of MY PEOPLE to investigate the past is a Big Fucking Deal.
Lest I forget we don’t have a corner of suffering, only recently the folks in Arizona’s BDSM scene themselves have had a bit of a dust-up with regard to cultural issues.
Uniform fetishists know there are lines that are tough to cross. Wearing a Luftwaffe outfit might be hot for you, but slap a swastika (as appropriated from the Hindu iconography, BTW) is bound to REALLY alienate folks.
And their community is still resonating from that hit.
So, in comes the Black girl from the Ghettos of Harlem, now living in Sodom-By-The-Sea, to talk about why it is OK to tap into mankind’s darkest places, and somehow find redemption.
Is this for real? I am still shaking my head.
Can we really walk those lines without tumbling into an ideological abyss?
I’d like to quote the President Elect, Barack Hussein Obama here.
I have been invited to be a speaker at a kink event. This is really, really WIN, and seems to be happening more frequently, which is SUPER cool.
This one is in Colorado. It is called Denver Bound. It is a smaller event, and they have an interesting setup. They have a few people come and do a very intensive weekend, 4-5 classes each over the 3 day period.
Last year, it was 4 rope bondage rigger types.
You can see where I am going with this.
You see, I’m not a “rope bondage teacher.”
I checked, and yes, it is a rope-bondage intensive. I asked the organizer if he was sure he was asking the right person? He said emphatically yes.
But what the fuck do I know about rope bondage?
Dammit Jim, I’m a submissive, not a rope rigger!
Most of the time, we’re props.
Yep. You'll need P-L-E-N-T-Y of rope.
I have certainly demoed in rope bondage classes. But not all that often, because the desire to see fat girls tied up isn’t high.
Unless the class is about tying up fat girls.
As I thought about what I might have to say about rope from my perspective… that being the bottom side.
I remembered that my first glimmer of a desire to, and a possible capacity for teaching in the Kink community was when I was bottoming during a rope demo. There I was, one leg tied behind me, semi-suspended in a rope harness, in a rumpled dishabille from all of the hemp rope. I was grooving — blissed out and high on hemp in a way that doesn’t take any smoking and sure enough has nothing to do with THC.
Someone asked my Trainer, who was teaching, if it was OK to ask me a question. He said yes, it was OK.
So there I was with about the ball of one foot on the floor, arms behind my back, half lost in the haze and smoky head-trip of rope bondage, talking about what that was like.
It would sound impossible to be able to be coherent in one of the least conducive situations imaginable: tied up and turned on and mostly naked in front of a classroom full of attentive witnesses.
This is where a lifetime mad acting skillz is really an amazing tool, yo.
The “me” in bondage became the character I was dissecting. The “me” who remains present was able to do a character breakdown, and “interview” the sub-spacey Mollena.
I talked about how much the process of losing control incrementally can be very arousing and also scary. About how I had, even in the year since I’d been in Service to this particular Dominant, developed quite an affinity for rope bondage and hemp rope in particular. To the point where even the smell of a well-conditioned hank of hemp heats me up…just a little. Just enough.
I talked a lot. Eventually I was gagged, to stem the tide of increasingly breathy babbling.
So, yeah. What DO bottoms have to say about rope bondage?
As it turns out, quite a bit.
I immediately came up with one topic: “Beautiful Victim: Negotiating, Communicating and Illuminating your Submission.” It would be around self-expression for bottoms, and help for tops and dominants in eliciting those wonderful connections and reactions that so many crave. OK, cool!
I thought also a class that taught about warm-up, processing and cool down, on a physical level, would be great.
I chatted a bit yesterday with a friend who brainstormed with me on another angle: that of a whole “From the Bottom:” series of classes. A discussion of and exploration into why bottoms enjoy rope bondage, what happens emotionally when you are going into, coming out of, and processing afterwards, some of the reasons people love or avoid it, etc.
Come to think of it, this is really an awesome kind of challenge to which I gotta step up :-)
Never underestimate the power of a submissive. NEVER.
Your commitment and dedication is an inspiration to those in the Leather Lifestyle who strive to better themselves and better serve.
I am proud to call many of you friends and a few of you Family.
There are many paths to choose when you begin to explore your self, your sexuality and your life through the lens of BDSM and for those dedicated enough to make this Lifestyle their focus, this singular honor is well earned and lovingly bestowed by your mentors, peers and teachers alike.
Thank you for your love, your service and your fortitude!