Ego, Community, and Progress.

“Why is success so ephemeral? Ego shortens it.  Whether a collapse is dramatic or a slow erosion, it’s always possible and often unnecessary.  We stop learning, we stop listening, and we lose our grasp on what matters.  We become victims of ourselves and the competition.  Sobriety, open-mindedness, organization, and purpose – these are the great stabilizers.  They balance out the ego and pride that comes with achievement and recognition.” – Ryan Holliday – Ego is the Enemy

It seems as of late many levels of the BDSM community has had issues with a multitude of things: consent violations, predatory behavior, divisiveness, and hero worship. I don’t profess to have the answers to all of it, but I do truly believe that most things can be attributed to ego.

Ego breeds divisiveness, the belief that so-and-so is better than others, that somehow their knowledge or past deeds affords them the ability to remain above or separate from both the community on a whole and consequences of their actions (or inactions). The belief that one group is more deserving of loyalty over another, based on an imagined (and often unseeable) line in the sand. The inability to constructively criticise or not attend an event for personal reasons without being ostracised. It all leads back to community divisiveness and a less safe environment for all.  We fail to discuss predatory behavior, or consent violators, or toxic people because we somehow believe that these discussions are drama.

“Choose not to be harmed — and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed — and you haven’t been.” — Marcus Aurelius

Ego is something I have struggled with over the years. In turn, it led me down a path of divisiveness, rather than learning, and comfort rather than progress. I’ve learned that if someone has an honest opinion of you that you disagree with rather than being hurt and taking the path of divisionism find what can be improved in yourself and move forward with unity in mind.

Now, that is not to say that if a person is a repeat offender/predator/unwilling to learn – that you should go out of the way to be inclusive. On a whole, a unified community would police itself much easier, rather than these individuals hiding in the “camps” of a divided community, because communication and shared goals have broken down.

I’ll be honest there have been times rather than “rock the boat” I’ve kept quiet due to politics, I’ve since realized that while tact and neutrality are important, I will always be pigeonholed into having chosen a side, whether I personally believe I am neutral or not. Do I attend every event? no, is it because of people? sometimes honestly it is. Other times, I dislike the venue, venue staff, offered learning experiences, etc. The problem with this being that ego can lead people to believe it’s an “us against them choice”.

“The problem is politics is made a sport, almost as much a sport as football or baseball. When it comes to politics, adults and politicians do more finger-pointing and play more games than children ever do. Too often are we rooting for the pride of a team rather than the good of the nation.” — Criss Jami, Healology

Thriving communities have one thing in common, and that is that the people who are involved in it are looking out for each other and the well being of the collective – there will always be dissenting ideas, but no voice should be too small to be heard, if not listened to. It should not be about political clout, it should be about moving toward the same destination if not in harmony, at least without sabotaging one another as well as some level of civility.

Just a few thoughts,

 

Syn

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There are no Shortcuts.

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Shortcuts, we’ve all seen them, considered them, or fallen into the trap of trying to use them.

Yesterday as I was leaving the gym, I had someone who I recognized stop me. He complimented me on my progress thus far and then proceeded to tell me I should try some form of an “almost” legal version of human growth hormone. Apparently, it could help me be better with 0 effort. Now to be completely transparent, I know all about HGH, and steroids, in my research regarding operation look better naked, the information is easily available, and I am always learning. Had the thought ever crossed my mind? Not really. I believe in hard work and the grind, I’ll get there when I get there – and I’ll do it without a magic little bottle full of a shortcut.

So what does this have to do with power exchange and BDSM?

In the end, you can read all you want, Jay Wiseman, 50 shades, B.E.S.T. slave training, even the entire Society of  Janus Library. There are no shortcuts or substitutes for hard work and real-life application. On paper, anyone can seem to be knowledgeable. I’ve read about and talked to my little fae over 9 years about her job, and what she and her staff do – I can even hold a conversation using the lingo and identify what paperwork is what for the most part. Would I be able to show up at the office and put in a days work? Not a chance, because as informed as I am, I have no practical real world experience with it, but I could fake it really really well for a few hours.

As a Master or Dominant, you have a duty of care, and should be working in the best interests of both you and your S-type. If you enter into a power exchange under the guise of someone with experience, you should be honest that it is either real world or “on paper”. Now It’s OK to only have read, knowledge is power – what matters is how you APPLY that power. Progressing, and learning is how we keep the community vibrant and moving forward. ASK for play partners, experiment (as safely as possible), and progress. Just don’t misrepresent your level of real-world experience in the process.

Much of the same can be said for S-types. Misrepresenting yourself and your experience can be destructive. I find more often than not it is slightly different in perspective though. It seems to be a disconnect which, while affecting both, seems (to me) to be a little more prevalent in submissives. Your life will not end up like the Beauty trilogy, or a Cassandra Claire novel. Your D-type might be a kindergarten teacher or a hairstylist, or even a retail worker. Your submission won’t always be waiting for the lick of a flogger, or a tug of the hair. You might have to do dishes, or clean her house, or do any manner of things you dislike so the question will be – will you serve in all ways, or are you simply looking for an over-romanticized idea you read in a book? Submission isn’t all pretty bruises, ruined orgasms, and sexy times. Be open to tasks, learning, and LIVING submission, rather than living in your head and expecting the 6-foot Amazonian Domina, or suited refined classy archetype. Sometimes it’s sweatpants and domestic duties, other times it will be sex and all the pants feelings. Your Submission will be different than anyone elses, but also similar in so many ways.

I urge anyone new to this lifestyle, or even old-hats, Get out, talk to others, learn from them, get hands on mentorship, admit what you don’t know. If Power exchange is truly something you NEED, then put the work in, and stop looking for shortcuts to your ideal situation. Shortcuts will often  times lead to disappointment or gaps in your knowledge. EARN the knowledge through hard work, shortcuts will cheapen the results.

There are no shortcuts to building the Life, Love, and Power Exchange you want, sometimes it’s trial and error, frustration and triumph. However, if you’re smart, able to compromise and able to be realistic about your experience, and desires, it will end up being exactly what you need.

Regards,

 

Syn

 

 

 

 

Plans, Goals and Declarations of Intent.

I really do dislike new years resolutions. I firmly believe that if something is important enough, there is no need to wait to accomplish, or start it.

However, I felt that I needed to put some plans in writing both from a personal goal standpoint, as well as a kink standpoint, a declaration of intent if you will. Much of this stems from My little fae’s post on our goals for the upcoming year, and more still because I rarely spill out plans and prefer to keep them in my head, causing some to be overlooked or lost. So here we are.

From a personal (and more vanilla) standpoint – Operation look better naked continues, it’s a slow process and one that will take some learning, I’ve never actually done any sort of a bodybuilding cut, and while I am stronger than I have ever been – I’m being a little vain and wanting to look a little more aesthetic. So back to self-experimentation once again. I want to continue to learn from the stoic philosophy, I find that stoicism helps me calm down here and there, reduce anxiety and think a little more critically about situations I find myself in. In that vein – I also want to start reading more again, I used to crush a book a week, sometimes two or three depending, and I have so many books sitting waiting to be read that it’s starting to look insurmountable.

From a kink/Power Exchange standpoint – I must admit, I’m very happy with where I and we find ourselves. We’ve met and befriended some amazing people this past year, and I can’t wait to continue to cultivate those relationships. To that end, we do both wish to travel more and connect more with the Herd, not to mention the people from other provinces who we felt/feel a strong connection with. I think this year is going to be one of just enjoying ourselves, and learning, I am very much looking forward to it.

From a personal Kink and relationship standpoint, there are a few things I want to learn/do/focus on. Relationship wise, seldom and I are in a better spot than ever – I do want to finish buying the last of her bootblack kit, as I know it’s something she enjoys, and truth be told, it’s fucking hot. I want to continue to practice with cigar play/service, I am learning the ash, and how it behaves, heat, and relearning the joy of a nice smoke and scotch. I want to continue to refine and perfect my rough body play techniques, incorporate more boot work, and I realize that operation look better naked will help with the stamina in that regard.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention my other partner – Lola. I want to be able to make more time for her, it’s hard being in a long distance relationship, between kids, conflicting schedules and obligations, we’ve had one dinner date. At the very least I’d like to have more face time with her – We do talk almost every day, however our schedules are a bit opposite, about the time I’m going to the gym after work, she is heading to sleep with her primary, and by the time I get up for the day/work she is already halfway through hers. I feel a bit…..guilty (?) about the lack of time/quality conversation we’ve had. I plan to fix that.

Finally one thing I really do need to work on, and I am aware this is a little counterintuitive when you realize I talked about stoicism earlier in this writing. I need to learn how to become a bit more of a hedonist, and not fucking worry about so much. A little self-indulgence, self-gratification and just enjoying the moment is something I’m horrible at. I constantly over analyze, and over think things I shouldn’t – both in BDSM and vanilla life. My little fae is excellent at pointing it out, but I don’t think she realizes just how deep that goes into my brain. I plan to learn how to shut that shit off to an extent, not to my detriment, but enough that I can just learn to enjoy pleasure for the sake of pleasure. (It makes sense to me anyway).

So there you have it, just a few thoughts about the coming year – I think it’s going to be amazing.

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable. – Seneca

Regards,

 

Syn.

Wicked In the West – Lessons and memories.

I was originally going to write yesterday, but as I started typing, I realized the words weren’t coming together in my head well enough to express how I truly felt about the weekend – so as you can tell I needed to process a lot. (as a note I have left most names out and will simply relate my stories with them, as I don’t know how most would feel about fet names out in the world of my wordpress blog, where this will be cross posted.)

A few months ago Myself and my little fae had the absolute pleasure of attending a weekend in the bigger city called “Fantasy”, this time was different though – they turned a portion of the weekend into a conference, and this is where my “Wicked in the West” story begins. One of the presenters especially ( ❤ Cat) is responsible for me (us) making the final commitment to pull the trigger and buy our tickets. A group of lovely people from Edmonton AND Calgary came to that event, and I was overwhelmed at the immediate connection I felt with them. (Truth be told I got home and started following and perving as many folks from that province on fetlife as I could). Up until now I knew in my heart I identified as Leather, I knew what it meant to me, but I had no idea that Leather also felt like coming home to family.

Enter Wicked Weekend.

After a stop overnight to visit some dear friends in Saskatoon (you bastards and your moonshine). We were up early and on our way to Edmonton to do a bit of shopping and check in to the hotel/get registered for the conference. In line to register it was pretty standard, a few people came up and said hi, and it was actually nice to sit back and watch old friends share hugs, smiles and reconnect.

So, with registration done, we realized we hadn’t eaten since very early in the morning, and decided before the opening ceremony we probably should. A part of our Manitoba tribe had been there a day or so already had saved us seats where a bunch of folks had gotten together in the hotel to grab food, so we sat down and braced ourselves to meet a TON of new people. Between trading smart ass comments with a lovely lady in a pink PD kilt next to me, to meeting someone who apparently has fet stalked us as long as I have fet stalked her, I felt very at ease…. and then something happened that blew me away.

We had about an hour for dinner, and ordered quickly, however, our food was not forthcoming. Apparently, the ticket system in the kitchen had broken and our order never printed. I really wasn’t worried about myself, I intermittent fast 18 hours out of the day usually so I can function well on no food. My girl, on the other hand, does not. I was looking at the clock, and wondering if something from the vending machine would be enough to get her through until we could eat. I went out for a vape and came back in to find that two of the volunteers (F-1 and F-2) had given my little fae half of her meal to help her out, likely seeing her face was white and blood sugar was getting low.

That one act from an almost complete stranger (at the time)  meant so much to us both that I really have no words how much it put us at ease being around 90% strangers. So, I didn’t get a chance to say it then, and I will now. Thank you both, it meant a lot to me that you would give selflessly like that to two complete strangers from across the country.

I could go on from here about the Classes we attended, and how amazing they were, the things I learned, and the similarities I saw in them sharing how they play, and how they live. My largest regret of the weekend in that regard is we had to choose what classes to go to. I deeply regret not be able to meet the Fishes, or spend more than a passing conversation with Owner and owned nevermind being able to meet ALL 150+ strong of you that were there.

What I really want to talk about from here on out is what I think Wicked truly offered, and what I am glad I was able to let my guard down enough and be receptive to: The people, the energy, and the open-hearted acceptance.

I remember good morning hugs from some very special ladies (Cat and both of the girls who bleed so pretty, with their giggles and noises). To our breakfast (and more) chat with our MAsT Vancouver Counterparts  (I Promise we’ll keep in touch, and who knows we may be out there sooner than you think. <3), To passing a message to Badasscanes from a mutual friend who had to send her regrets she couldn’t attend. To the gala dinner and really being able to talk to the lady how recieved 6 of TM’s Best, to the moments one particular person in service to the event made time to visit. All of these little interactions, moments and time are more than I can list here – they all built and filled me with such a sense of belonging I can hardly describe how full my heart is and how well fed my soul is.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention my Manitoba tribe.

Originally I didn’t understand what putting that patch on my back was going to mean to me. So to the other 3 of you there, thank you for making me proud to wear the leather bison on my back, I only hope that next time the rest of the Manitoba tribe can join us.

As for the competition portion of the event – I want to thank ALL of the Power Exchange Couples for being courageous enough to stand on that stage and open who you are to us, share, inspire and represent power exchange with so much passion.

To the Bootblacks: although I didn’t get to see near as much as I would have liked, I have to thank you for showing me that leather care is as much love, service and more than I ever thought possible.

To the Organizers Nelson and Impish – Thank you for not only an amazing event, and all the work you’ve obviously done, but thank you for making us feel welcome and part of something bigger.

Oh, One last thing before I end this monstrosity.

Immediately after the Closing ceremonies – I must admit I was hit with a wave of emotion, and for those that know me, I’m not exactly known for that (lol)… So I walked up to find Cat and the ladies with her before they left for Calgary. I was starting to mist up a little, and said as much to her. I will paraphrase a bit, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget her words.

“I understand, it’s hard knowing you’re leaving because you found your people, it’s like being home, I understand too….and you have people, you have me.”

It’s the truth you know.

Thank you Wicked, the organizers, the attendees, and the participants.

You’ve helped drive home something – Leather is tribe, Leather is thicker than blood, and Leather should make you feel like home is wherever Leatherfolk happen to be.

In Leather,

Syn.

Personal and Lifestyle Growth.

Personal growth is a funny thing, for years I raged against it, I was comfortable in complacency, I didn’t want to move forward and leave my comfort zone. In all honesty when I was younger I needed that, a safe place to rebuild myself after years of self neglect, abusive relationships, and addiction.

As of late myself and my little fae have taken steps to move forward with not only our life together (much more on that later), as well as our lifestyle goals and what we wish to become as Leather People.

Sadly, we’ve decided we need to focus those efforts outside of our province – don’t get me wrong, we love our little community here, however it seems to be the same old at almost every event we go to, some are better than others, and I do understand that at public events we are kneecapped with what we can do based on public decency laws etc. It does also seem like most use their bdsm knowledge and reputations more as social currency and less as something for enjoyment and satisfaction. I refuse to be a part of that line of thinking.

It seems as though a lot (not all) scenes at events are “beats” AKA -I’ll just hit you with shit until you safe-word on me, or my appendages get tired. I know there are private events out there that are sex-positive, full of Leather, sex, Violence and could show us we are not alone, and maybe teach us a few things in the process. As of yet we haven’t managed to get an invite to any of these events, and even if we did, our distance from the bigger city makes attendance difficult at best.

So for me, what do I want to learn, experience and indulge in?

  • CuckQueaning, with a focus on degradation and humiliation. Both Dot and I find this is something we want to experience together, although we do want another s-type to join our house, a casual partner willing to be our cuckcake would alsofit nicely and feed my desire to experience a healthy (and longer lasting) poly dynamic.
  • Cigar Play/Service.  Years ago I was a budding cigar aficionado. I enjoyed the learning process, and preparation to enjoy a good Cigar and Scotch, Combine that with play and I’m all in.
  •  Fear Play/Mindfucks – Something we already dabble in, I like crawling around inside the dark spaces in someones head and see what shakes loose, tears and screaming are hot as fuck. As long as I can put them back together after.
  • Bootblacking and bootplay/worship – My little fae is a bootblack and thus far we have used it mostly for leather care with very little play involved – she wishes to pursue this and get back to where she was with bootblacking previously, and if we can incorporate play with that, even better.

These are just a few things I/we want to learn, see, experience and watch. Many of these types of play are found in bigger cities in Canada, so that is where we will go. The Leather Community in our province does have some of this knowledge, and as I said we’d love to pick their brains, however that would require travel and a time cost we may not be able to commit to easily.

Just a few thoughts, and perhaps making some of my goals more of a reality by putting them in words.

Regards,

 

Syn

Do I need to Learn to be Obnoxious?

Just a random gripe I wanted to put into words.

 

I notice more and more “Dominants and Masters” (Note the Quotes) – seem to be becoming more full of themselves and obnoxious as time goes on, normally I would simply sigh, and let it pass. However, I also notice more and more people justifying their behavior, approach and lack of humility by not only encouraging BUT having these fucking people present on topics they are at best a beginner in.

Notably, one such individual was given an audience at an event where they proceeded to fumble through even rudimentary technique, and the touted as a local authority. I I quietly asked some questions of attendees, and have first-hand knowledge of the way they do things. I should point out that this particular topic is something I WILL consider myself a Master of, and I must say, I wouldn’t even consider them a novice in terms of skill.

This has further bolstered their ego and made them even more obnoxious than I previously thought. There was no humility in their acceptance of accolades, instead, the resulting interactions I have seen remind me more of high school jocks slapping each other on their back after they’ve shoved a nerd in a locker.

Perhaps this is how is needs to be done?

Maybe I am wrong in being quiet, somewhat demure, and remaining un-noticed?

Or maybe some “masters” should work more on keeping their raging ego in check and working more on improving their slave, rather than using “celebrity” to fuck anything that walks.

 

Sorry for the rant, but shit pisses me off.

 

Syn