Integrity.

Integrity is a strange concept to most.

Many know the word, even more use it, but few really know how to define their version of it.

Folks in Leather circles also tout integrity as one of the standard core principles, but really what does it mean?

I can’t profess to tell you what integrity will mean to everyone, but I can tell you what it means to me, and how it relates to my leather path.

Integrity for me, contains two parts – being honest, and having strong moral principles.

Honesty is a no brainer for me. I will admit in my distant past I was less than an honest person, and it cost me dearly.  I used to surround myself with less than honest people, and so lies, deceit, and political games became my norm, couple that with the circles I ran in, the behaviors I indulged in, and the people who encouraged it, and it’s no wonder I hit bottom and bounced. I’ll get back to this later on, but I wanted to get this one out of the way for the time being.

Strong Moral Principles.

It hasn’t been an easy road to develop those, Just like my honesty, in my younger years I existed in a morally grey area, I lived a life that, in order to survive I continually compromised my morals to fit in, to make a living, and even just to feel like part of the people I chose to associate with. Cheating, lying and using people for my own ends was the norm.

I hit bottom, and disappeared, I had to reinvent myself because I didn’t really like the person I had become.

I won’t go into the proceeding years, but I will say I took a long hard look at my values, morals, and how far I would really go to protect the person I wanted to become.

So this brings us back to the two things I consider integral to Integrity. Honesty, and strong moral principles.

In my life I expect honesty from myself and others, I don’t word vomit everything to be honest or transparent, however if you ask me a question I will answer you truthfully – You might not like the answer but you’ll get it. I expect the same honesty from the people I choose to trust and let in. I also Do my utmost to be honest with my partners and family about needs, wants, desires. Honesty isn’t a part time thing, it’s all or nothing, in my mind it requires you to be comfortable with being a villian in many eyes, and strong enough to stand by your convictions.

Being of strong moral principle is a little more of an ephemeral thing. Everyone’s morals can and will be different, so I will speak from my own standpoint and beliefs.

I have a few core morals – conducting yourself ethically in relationships (ethical monogamy, and nonmonogamy), honesty, honor, transparency, and doing the right thing. There are MANY more, but these are some of the ones that spring to mind in regards to lifestyle context.

I tell my girl all most everything in regards to what is going on in my life, who messages, what we talked about etc etc…. The potential of new partners – play, sexual or otherwise is something that should be discussed on the ground floor in the interests of honesty and transparency. I also take the same stance with my girlfriend as much as able, and again to be transparent – less so in terms of scenes I may have, however I don’t hide them by any means. I also take a similar stance regarding friendships and acquaintances – If the information is relevant to them, I often share it, regardless of the outcome.

Doing the right thing is something that I think encompasses all of the above, however, Also the easiest to bend to fit your own world view. In my past I hurt a lot of people because my moral compass was quite literally broken as fuck. As I got older I vowed to try and do what was right, and it’s all I continue to try and do daily. It took a lot of work to get here, and I’ll be damned if I ever undo the work I’ve put into it.

Integrity is one of those core leather principles I hold dearly, and many profess to do so as well, some are genuine, and some like to think they are.

I really do try and surround myself with people who closely resemble and echo my thoughts on integrity and other Leather values, the trick is finding them and recognizing it in them. In my travels I have found many of those people and I am honored to call family, tribe, and love them as hard as I can.

In Leather,

 

Syn

 

 

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Tools, Not Toys.

Not so recently, my opinion on Tools for BDSM activities has changed, I’ve gone quite minimal for a couple of reasons, which I’ll get into in a minute.

Right now, if you were to watch us pack for an event you might be surprised, my gear is simple: Black Jeans or Road Leather pants, Vest, random t-shirt, and my cane bag. That’s it.

Inside the Cane bag there’s a fairly impressive and growing collection, all from one vendor: Badass Canes. I have two other tools in there, Motherfucker and Oh SHIT!

Now the reason my Tool bag is so spartan is actually because of a thought I had a long while ago. I basically look at S&M as a hobby, and I’ve never been one to Cheap out on hobbies.

Full disclosure – I think the BDSM on a budget classes have their place, they’re a great place to get your feet wet and try out things for a minimal investment. However, my over-riding thought is that if you’ve decided to get serious about ANY hobby, you should eventually dedicate some serious money into quality tools.

Tobacco, scotch, vaping, drone racing, paintball/air soft, even photography. All popular hobbies/collections with functional application, but eventually you have to sink some cash into quality tools to improve the experience. I have a few friends who even knit or work with fibers, I’m sure they can tell you the investment in proper equipment is not only worth it, but improves the experience and end product by light years.

Using this logic I am of the opinion that, in order to create something extraordinary for myself and my bottom, I owe it to them to have high quality equipment. Picture a dark and dingy Kink.com video (we’ve all seen them), the bottom is squirming, yelping and sweat and blood is flowing off them, the dingy floor collecting all the various fluids, the screams echoing off the stone walls and floor – the tall dark and mysterious top is kicking them, punching, and taunting – then as a climactic finale they pull out the neon green and orange dog chew toy and proceed to swing it with wild abandon.

Would that ruin the carefully constructed fantasy from professionals? Probably.

We talk so often about fulfilling wishes and desires and carefully constructing scenes, but I find on a whole we rarely realize that the tools you use, from functionality to aesthetic is rarely considered – it’s all part of the scene you create, and personally I’d much rather have one REALLY well made tool, than a bag full I don’t give a shit about because they’re cheap.

Again: Quality tools are an investment, and yes based on the scene you’re creating or your level of involvement budget toys do have their place. All I hope you think about is how does this hobby stack up to other ones you have? Does it deserve a bit of an investment?

Just my 2 cents and a random thought.

 

Syn

Patterns.

I’ve written a bit about energy exchange in the past, and the give and take that people have both in the lifestyle and in day to day life. Using positive and negative energy to our advantage or detriment is something that, if you’re unaware of, can dictate your success or failures with partners or even your chosen role.

Which brings me to something I’ve been reflecting on for the last little bit.

Patterns.

Humans thrive on patterns, whether you believe it or not. We hear it every day “They had a pattern of behavior”, “A pattern of abuse”, and other patterns. The trick is recognizing them and learning how to break a negative pattern.

Personally, many moons ago, I had a pattern of the type of partner I would seek out, and honestly I didn’t even realize it at the time. Looking back it’s very clear.

Abusive partner I could “save” them from? Check.

Minimal work on Loving themselves or self eteem? Check.

unhealthy coping skills? Check.

Vapid, Jealous, and mentally or physically abusive? Check.

Now all these things aside, I had my own issues to deal with, which I have gone into at length elsewhere – The important part was realizing my pattern and trying to break it.

Originally I placed the blame for my patterns squarely on others, it’s so much easier to blame others for your circumstances than put the work in to change them. In the end, the truth of the matter is that -I- was (and am) the common denominator.

I took the initiative to change my thinking, and really analyze how I deal with people and situations.

Am I being true to myself?

Am I openly and honestly communicating my needs, wants, and desires?

Am I seeking relationships that will enrich my life and help with personal growth?

Do the people in my life add anything of value, be it joy, friendship or companionship?

Am I being honest with myself about what kind of person I am?

Are my interpersonal/coping skills the problem?

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius

On the path of mastery one of the greatest things I ever made peace with was the fact that human beings on a whole are imperfect by nature (or nurture). I might not be able to control how they choose to act, live, and respond, However, I can choose to compromise with them.

Does my Partner make me happy? Hell yes she does, she adds to my life and my journey, but she does NOT define it, or control it. I see too much of people saying BDSM or power exchange “makes them whole”, or defines them, or their partner is used to define who they are as a person.

I used to think my partner, and my friends defined who I was as a person – that isn’t so, They do enrich my life, and expose me to a connection of something bigger than myself, however, at the end of the day I am the one responsible for my own joy, happiness, and how I view and interact with the world.

Dominant or submissive, it shouldn’t matter, YOU must strive to be the best PERSON you can be, not a label, and not relying on others to define you as a person. If that is the pattern you find yourself in perhaps it’s time to break it.

Patterns can be positive or negative but if you’re caught in a cycle of drama, destructive relationships, or even a cycle that stunts your growth, the only limiting factor is you.

YOU control your fate:

Not your Family.

Not your Friends.

Not your Dominant or Submissive.

Take the responsibility to analyze your patterns, and change them if you need to, ask for help, find a mentor, do what you need to.

Be authentic, be true to yourself, be courageous enough to break the patterns, and courageous enough to stop pointing fingers and start changing yourself for the better.

Regards,

 

Syn

Lets Create Something.

So lately I’ve been thinking a lot about something a few people have said to me.

“I couldn’t handle the way you play, I’m not ready for that level.”

I’m paraphrasing, but you get this gist.

The public play that most are exposed to are Dot and I together and truth be told I beat the hell out of her, because We like it. I’m a sadist and she is (among other things) my masochist. Canes, heavy rough body play, blood, spit, the list goes on. It’s hot as hell and we both need the release. However, what people don’t see is the softer side, or less physical activities.

Sensory Deprivation and sensation play, Needles and Needle play, mind fucks, Spanking, forced orgasms and orgasm denial, service, and bootblacking, the list goes on.

I’m adept at much more than just rough body play and other more violent and fucked up activities, I LOVE getting responses, whimpers, facial expressions, gasps, giggles and the connection that comes with it.

Too much I see people pigeonholed into one thing being their thing – the whip person, the rope person, the toy whore, the knife person. I am more than just a one trick pony, I truly believe that connection over a shared activity is much more important than the intensity of the activity, it’s about creating something together that is fun, satisfying, and beautiful together.

Before allowing yourself to pigeonhole someone, or being pigeonholed, I’d highly advise you look beyond a list of fetishes, or your preconceived notions about them. I for one hope that people realize I’m not just the heavy body play/cane guy, I have a whole world of other BDSM activites I enjoy and am quite proficient at. I want to share that with people and help create something we can both carry with us forward.

Regards,

 

Syn

Mentors Vs. The Cult of Personality.

When I first started dipping my toes into the wider world of BDSM (AKA found Fetlife and joined the local community), I made a few very telling mistakes… and it’s something I see a lot of still happening to people on a regular basis.

I fell into the trap of hero worship (emulation) rather than forging my own path and adopting things that had practical real world value for my life and relationship.

You see, my town is incredibly small and at the time there were few (No) power exchange couples locally for me to talk to and exchange ideas with – So I went searching, and this is where I found out the difference between carefully constructed fantasy versus real world applications. For those of you familiar with them, I aspired to be the next Peter Acworth, Stefanos, and James Mogul. Is this smart or healthy? I suppose it could be, had I not been taken up in the PERSONA’s rather than the real people behind the characters.  (For reference Stefanos is still someone I’d love to meet/attend a class from.) I very quickly was approached by someone who kindly offered some advice Via PM on fetlife and Helped nudge me in a better direction, To this day even though we don’t talk much I follow things he (and his slave) likes and comments on closely.

Over the years since then I’ve learned the difference between hero worship and mentors.

Mentors are people you can go to with questions, or in need of advice, and for the most part they are readily available to answer said questions or give out some wisdom. They’re regular people with flaws, insecurities, and practical real world experience. They can fill gaps in your skill set, and might offer other people to talk to who have a better grasp of certain subject matter. They want to see you succeed and reach your goals, and will help facilitate that however is needed, they should push you and challenge you. Mentors should not: try to fuck you,  sabotage your goals, or not practice what they preach.

Hero worship is blind allegiance to the ideal of something. Imperfections, and the struggle to become are swept aside in favor of a sparkling view of effortless success. The sad and accurate truth is these individuals are usually lauded with praise, and afforded attention that others are either denied, or have to work harder to achieve by order of magnitude. In such a sexually charged environment like the BDSM/and Leather cultures something as simple as a certain aesthetic or method of play can cause the hive mind to elevate that person to status and credibility that they might not otherwise attain or deserve.

So whats the point?

I see time and time again mistakes I’ve made manifesting in others, the Cult of Personality is strong, and the pull is intoxicating – To fit in, to aspire to the pinnacle, it can be human nature to do so, all too easily, and the followers of the these people can be zealots, from the D-list to A-list celebrities in vanilla and BDSM circles.

Many people confuse this with mentorship whether they mean to or not. Blindly accepting something as the proper path, or one to aspire to, will, in the long run, cause a pretty spectacular train wreck, publicly or privately.

Think critically of the people you put your trust in, your future in this subculture is your own – don’t blindly follow and expect success through emulation of your hero’s or trying to copy their aesthetic. On the flip side evaluate if you want to be a paper paragon, or someone people want to follow based on realism and merit.

I for one plan to do what I do, because I like it, and if people choose to ask – I have no problems digging up the pristine, along with the dirty truth of my journey because they just might learn something.

 

Syn

 

 

 

 

Lessons, Leather, and Small Cats.

It’s odd how something so intensely personal on one level, can get you thinking about something which seemingly has no real relation to it in the first place.

Then the connections and reasoning become clear.

I lost my Constant companion Daisy a little over a month and a half ago, and truth be told it’s still affecting me today, I still come home and have to stop myself from checking her nap spots, or worrying about feeding times. I still get sad, having her Urn near me on my bedside table simultaneously makes me feel better she is near and fills me with sadness my friend is gone and I’ll never be able to trade head boops with her again. I will say though, it’s gotten me thinking.

In my past and especially at the start of my leather journey I was so fucking worried about being universally liked or desired, or even fucking NOTICED. I went out of my way to try and achieve these things and ended up angry (in my head), when I was ignored or dismissed because of stupid and arbitrary things, like my physical appearance, or play style, or clothing choice – hell even the fact I had a dick. There were friends and acquaintances, who to my FACE, told me that they wished I wasn’t in the picture so they could “go after” my slave. Truth be told it was soul-crushing at points.

When I was younger, I was always the fat wingman, the white knight, and the “buddy” who always third wheeled. Reliving that in my adult life, albeit differently since I am in a committed Power Exchange, with not only someone who is my slave, girl, little fae, best friend and fiance, made me question connections I had made, and overall community on a whole.

Then we met the people who would eventually become “The Herd”, and Some others who might as well be family too. (you know who you all are, and if you don’t – Ask. <3)

So where does Daisy fit in all this?

As I reflected on the years with her, I realized a few things I should have a long time ago.

Cats, dogs, animal companions, in general, don’t give a fuck what you look like, how you dress, or if you make an ass of yourself. They love and accept you completely, without reservation. They will cuddle with you if you had a bad day, and you can tell them your secrets, content in the knowledge you won’t be judged or have it used against you because they can gain something. They don’t care if you have a penis, a vagina, or your sexual orientation. True companions simply want to be with you when you experience life, they want connective experiences, love, and affection, and will return what you put out in kind.

These are the connections I crave, value and want in my life.

I have all this and more with my girl, as well as my other partner Trixie and her primary. I’ve recently discovered this with The Herd and other others who have become family of choice. Discussions and laughs over a Too-big (LOL) breakfast, smiles and tackle hugs from people I see far too little of. Even connections we’ve made in other provinces, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and beyond, being welcomed with an open heart and arms is new to me, and I must say I appreciate it more than I can express, and I value each and every one of you.

I’ve never really had anyone close enough to me I would consider A Brother or Sister of choice, and truth be told, now that I do, I find it hard to express just how much it means to me…. I consider you family, my tribe, and I hope that I can be someone you are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with. Others from the Leather Nation who I’ve met, and helped show me their connections and energy, thank you – coupled with some introspection, it has restored some of my faith in people, and I hope I can return some of that energy and positivity some day.

It seems odd that a tiny, outcast, feral cat could help me realize these things, but I swear that’s how my mind connected the dots. I’ve always said lessons can come from anywhere, and I believe it more now than ever.

The next part of growth is for me learning how to verbally articulate these things rather than spewing them out in text.

People deserve to know they are valued, loved and accepted unconditionally.

A tiny cat, who just happened to be the best friend I ever had taught me that, and I’m sure she still has lessons for me for years to come.

In leather,

 

Syn

19 Years.

19 years is a long time.

In 19 years you can get married and raise kids to be young adults.

In 19 years you Can be conceived, born, and finish public schooling.

In 19 years You can find a best friend and experience a lifetime with them, and that’s what happened to me.

Two days ago I said goodbye to Daisy, my Cat who was that best friend for 19 years.

When I was younger and in my first serious relationship as an adult, my partner was missing her cat from home, and she wanted to go to the local humane society to visit the kitties. Truth be told, I didn’t want to go, I was NOT a cat person, my family had always owned dogs, I loved our dogs, so obviously I was a dog person, not a cat person.

That all changed when we went down and I saw my Daisy. She was out of her kennel for playtime, because she only had certain cats she could be put out with – She’d beat the hell out of weaker cats. A pure white cat with emerald green eyes was actually something I had never seen before, so I walked over to say hello and giver her a pet if she’d let me. She accepted and was even affectionate, which according to the staff there was very strange, She usually just ignored most people unless they had food – something I understand all too well honestly. for our entire visit, she followed me around the room – crawling on my shoulders and back. To say the volunteers were surprised was an understatement. By the end of our visit, I had made my mind up that I wanted to adopt her. So much for being a dog person. Adoption from the humane society actually requires a few things here; Obviously an adoption fee, but you needed to answer a two or three-page questionnaire,  AND have references. I got lucky on all accounts as I had a close friend whose mom worked for a neighbouring town’s humane society, and on the strength of her reference, I was able to take Daisy home with me less than two days later.

Our first few years were spent with that serious relationship in two different cities, I learned very quickly that Daisy was two things: 1 – not like other cats at all, and 2 that she was my child and I would do anything to protect her, keep her safe, and keep her with me… these lessons were in part thanks to Daisy’s “aggressive” training methods for her human.

The relationship ended thanks to abuse, and other things I have talked about at length – and won’t revisit. However when I moved home I had nowhere to go but my parents place – broke, an alcoholic and unsure of what to do. Daisy had to stay with my now ex for a month at our apartment a province away until the rent ran out and I could get something together for her and I. We agreed I would take her because I could “afford her” and she might be sent to the humane society if I couldn’t take her. I vowed this wouldn’t happen ever – so I made deals, scrimped, saved, and hustled to make sure I had a place for Daisy and I, she couldn’t come to mom and dad’s because they had a dog.

I want to relate a story about the next few years of my life with her because it’s only one of a thousand that I have, but one of the few that really means more than I can put into words.

After that failed relationship – I fell into a deep depression, my rebound relationship ended just as poorly – a fight to end all fights with my pregnant ex – her using our child as ammunition against me, and I sank further into my alcoholism as I slipped quietly out of her life. One night, in particular, I went out to the bar I used to work at and got so shit-faced drunk I barely remember getting home. I got in, and usually I fed Daisy her soft food, and we curled up in bed together. That night for whatever reason I decided to pass out on my kitchen floor and NOT feed her. The last thing I remember is her crouching next to me, and softly headbutting me as I passed out. about 9 hours later when i came to the first thing I saw was my Daisy laying right next to my face and watching me. I am pretty sure (or choose to believe) that she didn’t leave my side, even though I was a drunk bastard who couldn’t even take care of her properly. This continued a few more times, but eventually I Sobered up, and while still clinically depressed, I was doing better, through all of this, she was my constant companion, even when I pushed others away and “hermiting” in my house for years (yes years), she was there providing a smile, a laugh or just a tiny furry presence to keep me company while I was gaming.

Eventually, We reconnected with Dot and most know how that has gone – there was some jealousy at first, but Daisy accepted her and even began to show her affection.

In those years together leading up to us combining houses, I must admit I took Daisy for granted. She was always there, and I ignored the lost teeth from age, I ignored the longer and longer naps, and finally the lack of her ability to clean some harder to reach spots. She had been with me a long time and I knew she was getting older – but she’d be around for a long time yet, right?

FInally Dot and I bought a house, and with the new house, came the “joy” of introducing Daisy to the Boys – you see at the time Dot had 4 cats – so Zeus, Einstien, Darwin, and Skitz, got to meet the grumpy old lady. Truth be told during that first week together in the house, I realized how Old my little girl had gotten. She used to be as big as, if not slightly bigger than Zeus and Skitz, and now although still full of the fire and brimstone of her younger years, she lacked the size of previous years to back up the “yelling”.

Still, nightly, even in a king size bed – Daisy slept with me (and Dot) between our head, she affectionately became known to us as “Jesus Cat” – Remember the old Sayings at School Dances? “Leave space for Jesus while dancing”? Daisy was our Cat equivalent for sleeping. She gave absolutely zero fucks in her old age, she was there and that was that. Want sexy time? She ain’t moving, so get used to it. Lol

By this point also My little girl had no teeth left, so she was strictly on soft food which Dot and I would feed her 3 times a day. Life continued.

Until this Past Saturday.

I won’t go into details, but I will say her health started deteriorating rapidly, and I had to make a choice. After a talk with Dot – I made the call to a local vet with the decision that it was time to help my little girl move on. (truth be told I detest the rainbow bridge analogy people use, but to each thier own).

My last night with Daisy was spent Cuddling on the couch crying with her and when she wobbled off to try and drink or eat, sitting on the floor with her and holding her up because she simply didn’t have the strength to do so on her own. She was so Light, and I could feel every rib, and her little heart beating against my palm.

When the fuck did that happen? I thought. Just the other day I brought her home from the humane society and she promptly curled up and slept. Wasn’t it just last week I picked her up from the ex? It seemed like no time at all had passed. She wasn’t old, I was holding on for a miracle. But why the fuck couldn’t I stop crying? Just because she had never laid on my chest in my arms before, didn’t really mean I was saying goodbye to my little girl did it?

I said goodbye to my little girl on the first day of spring, in a quiet room, with My mom and Dot present. I asked them politely to leave while I was still crying, I wasn’t ready to leave her. Even though she was already gone, I kissed her head one last time, touched her nose and told her what a good girl she had been – and then left her there.

She will be coming back to me in about two weeks time. I chose a lovely Ceramic urn for her – because I will ALWAYS take her with us where ever I go from here.

Today is a better day than yesterday, and I’m not OK, but I will be.

19 years isn’t a long time.

19 years is enough to live seconds with the ones you love.

19 years is enough to truly realize what you have.

19 years is long enough to find a best friend, a lover, and a family, but is it ever long enough to show them how much they mean to you?

Goodbye Little Girl, thank you for taking care of me when I couldn’t even take care of myself. I’ll never be able to repay you, but I can remember you.

Always.