Light bulb Moments, and new Goals

It’s been a draining couple of weeks for me mentally, our usual august long weekend Kinky camping weekend has come and gone (more on that in it’s own post). I’m back at the gym 4 days a week and ramping up the intensity, and I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking regarding my/our Leather/S&M journey.

The province we’re in has a very small bdsm community on a whole, and an infinitesimally smaller Leather community – Two of the more prominent Leatherfolk are very very busy, between organizing events in the other city and travelling to present/visit their tribe. We’d love to get to know them, and pick their brains, but finding time is hard to do.

The reason I have been thinking about things lately actually stems from Fall From Grace (the kinky camping weekend). We were introduced to a lovely Leatherwoman from Edmonton, who knows some really cool shit. I actually discovered something I didn’t know I had an interest in at all thanks to her…. Fire. Spinning and Poi, there is a HUGE disconnect betwe en seeing it in a You Tube video, and seeing it live, hearing the whoosh, feeling the heat, it was mesmerizing to me.

Truth be told it was a lightbulb moment for me.

Lately I have been working heavily on myself, and self improvement, that other area’s have suffered. I have become complacent in my play.  This is not to say I don’t enjoy it, not at all, I wish we had more time to play more often, however that’s another post for another day.

Watching Q with her fire poi, and other assorted things she was engaged in over the weekend showed me a wider world of play that one doesn’t see often, So, when we got home from the weekend I looked up other Leatherfolk on fetlife I was already aware of, and followed them.

I notice a LARGE difference between the people I follow now and the folks from the other city…. maybe I’m just reading into things because “shiny and new people”, then again. I must admit, as satisfying as beating the hell out of someone is, I itch to be more creative in my play.

Now I know this won’t happen overnight, and Much learning about different techniques needs to take place. I also feel a little lost in terms of people…. Some things have happened in the last little while that have changed my perceptions of a lot of people, and I know from here on out nothing is going to be the same. My little fae and I have plans and goals, we wish to move forward, grow, and meet different people – the trick appears to be that we may have to look outside our province to grow as we want.

 

Just a few thoughts, jumbled as they may be.

 

Regards,

 

Syn

 

 

Pride, Mastery, and Service.

I find it strange, on the internet there are copious amounts of blogs, writings, essays, and websites devoted to BDSM and being a Master. They talk and debate and educate endlessly on how to manage your slave through discipline, ritual, protocol and routine.

These are all great, and sorely needed resources – knowledge is power and benefitting from (in some cases) years of experience can help shape and solidify anyone’s power exchange.

The one thing in my travels on the internet that I find sorely lacking is the journey to get to the point where you feel you ARE a Master – Everyone says that in order to be a Master to your slave you must first master yourself.

Mastering oneself takes a pile of work, I’ve recently started further down that path, and I’m hoping by writing about it, perhaps I can help shed some light on my process and in turn, help others who may feel as lost as I do.

I recently starting reading a book called Ego is the Enemy, and while I’m not quite ready to tackle the subject of ego – it did get me thinking.

For years As I mentioned in my last post on Healthy Vulnerability and Mastery I’ve been overly prideful, and due to some…. Issues the past week, I’ve really had to take a long look at how I deal with things and go about dealing with said conflict in my daily life.

In the past, my pride would direct me to attack, be the proverbial bull in the china shop. No Compromise, No Quarter. Or, if the situation warranted, as a last resort, I would simply cut out the offensive party(s) and move on with my life. Or the flip side, Apologize profusely for fear of being alone.

I believe the trick with this, is having enough pride to understand your worth and not too much to become arrogant.

So how do I plan to combat this?

Well, I have done a fair bit of reading about pride, and while most of the websites I found are religious in nature, they raise interesting solutions – Service being primary among them. Now in their context they talk about service to the lord, being pagan I’ll have to modify a little bit.

For me, the best way I can serve anyone is sharing knowledge, I am a sponge when it comes to certain topics – computers, vaping, all manner of electronics…. you know that guy who saves you money by fixing your computer for you so you don’t have to take it into the shop? Yeah thats me. I believe knowledge is power, and sharing that power is one of the most important things you can do. This is probably why I do enjoy facilitating MAsT as much as I do with the rest of our facilitators.

Build others up for the sake of building them up – A kind word here, a bit of advice there, teaching a skill, or lending expertise. All of these things don’t cost a penny, except for time, and could mean the world of difference to someone.

Service to one’s community. My little fae and I do volunteer our time to quite a few things in the other city, and support as many events there as possible, locally it’s much more difficult to do so, however we have a plan in place to give back to our local community, whether well received or not, at least we will know we tried.

I know that this is just the start to combating Pride, or at the very least dampening it, it will be a constant struggle for me to continue forward while remaining humble and remembering that service requires you to give of yourself while not expecting in return, or letting it feed ego to the point of it being destructive.

Just some random thoughts.

Regards,

 

Syn.

Healthy Vulnerability and Mastery.

We are back from our trip to the city for yet another event, and while I had something completely different set to be written, after a conversation with my little fae, I feel this needs to take precedence, and in writing it, may end up being more therapeutic than the original idea I had.

Bear with me, this is going to be long, emotional and hard as fuck for me to get through because I’m going back many years –  and unearthing things that need to be unpacked to help me move further along my path.

I have a few undesirable traits that I need to get rid of in order to move further along my path of Mastery, and self-growth, but I’ll be damned if I know how to deal with them, or even if my fear of letting go of them will ALLOW me to.

In my early twenties, I was a very vulnerable person. I had a lifetime of wearing my heart, emotions, and thoughts on my sleeve. As a result, I was taken advantage of in my life by just about everyone, I have no one to blame but myself – “What you allow will continue” – and it did.

It continued, and I developed coping mechanisms and cultivated personality traits to shield myself from the hurt. I drank, heavily – more to allow my brain to stop with the anxiety and to possibly connect with people I wouldn’t connect with because of my shyness and low self-image.

The personality traits I cultivated are really the issue here, and I will address the why and what of them individually – as to move forward requires honesty and disclosure as a start.

Ego. 

I cultivated a fake sense of Superiority – Rather than becoming better at something, or working towards it, I was always at the top of my game, I created a fake confidence to shout down the voice that (sometimes still) screams in the back of my head that I am worthless, inept and “playing” at whatever it is I am dealing with. To this day even though I help facilitate MAsT in this area, I can’t help but manufacture confidence in the material rather than have the confidence come naturally. I manufacture fake confidence through ego in a great many things – even sometimes where the confidence SHOULD be genuine. Ego also caused me to become detached from the very people I reached out for, eventually, I withdrew into self-importance and sabotaged (unknowingly) my attempts to connect with people.

“When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real. What replaces ego is humility, yes—but rock-hard humility and confidence. Whereas ego is artificial, this type of confidence can hold weight. Ego is stolen. Confidence is earned. Ego is self-anointed, its swagger is artifice. One is girding yourself, the other gaslighting. It’s the difference between potent and poisonous.”
Ryan Holiday, Ego Is the Enemy 

If Ego is the Toxicity, and Humility replaces Ego.  how do I start to deconstruct a carefully crafted ego built with 20 years of care and exactness designed to keep me safe? I find it hard to be humble, truth be told I know I have moments of humbleness, and then they’re gone, as quick as the come. Like just now. I read this passage of and I realized, by acknowledging, I have moments of humbleness, I am letting ego take over because in actuality I shouldn’t have to point it out. Fuck.

Vanity. 

I can be a vain creature in many things, and that started at an early age (and in a different capacity continues to this day). I am constantly considering what will people think? I can’t do that I’ll look idiotic, or sounds stupid, or any other manner of vain excuse to not do, say or communicate what I really think, feel, or want. Vanity has led me to self-sabotage, and stunted personal growth, and happiness. Vanity has also led me to a place where if I do manage to communicate these things, it is only under duress, a feeling of being threatened, or absolute and concrete necessity. It cuts me off further from others because I am scared of being seen as weak for needing help. Do as I say not as I do Goddamn it.

“There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors.”
Tennessee Williams

 

Pride.

Pride is something I struggle to find balance in, pride itself can be good, or bad, being Prideful is the problematic part. I take pride in few things but I am prideful about too much. Being prideful lends itself to an aura of arrogance, which, in my past was an excellent tool for keeping people at a distance. I still break that one out of the toy bag on occasion because it can help keep me out of situations or conversations where my vanity may be challenged. Pride in work well done is great, however too much pride in one’s image of self is another thing, it’s an odd dichotomy, I have a low self-image, but because I am prideful I cover showing that to most by self-deprecating humor. If they’re laughing -with- you, you can get out of saying anything of substance.

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
C.S. Lewis

The last point to touch on can’t be “sub-headed” in one word and it is something I need to modify so I can bring it out of the dark place I buried it years ago behind a wall made of Bourbon and pain.

Cultivating healthy vulnerability.

A healthy vulnerability is something I -know- about, but I have a hard time putting it into practice – in today’s world vulnerability has very negative connotations – exposed, and defenseless are probably two very common words associated with vulnerability.

Healthy Vulnerability to me is a form of freedom. Freedom to live authentically, and rather than sharing personal insights, it is instead the freedom to show people the “real” you, quirks, imperfections, and all manner of imperfectly perfect life. The problem for me, and why I shoved that into a box and crammed it behind my metaphysical wall is I do not know HOW to accomplish being vulnerable in a healthy manner.

 

“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.”
Madeleine L’Engle

In the Search for authenticity and Mastery of myself, these are my first steps, they are the biggest ones because they are what remains of a toxic mindset of a scared young man, who was ill-equipped for life, and scared to let go of toxic people for fear of being alone.

I’m not that person anymore, and I don’t want to be, I want to let go of it. So here I am writing this for someone who has extended the hand to help.

 

Regards,

 

Syn

Defending Your Life.

As anyone who knows me can tell you, I have a very eclectic taste in movies, my top 5 are all over the map. I do want to talk about one in particular. However, the list has an overriding theme that I think will become clear if you are familiar with them.

  1. Fight Club
  2. Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
  3. Tombstone
  4. What Dreams May Come
  5. Defending Your Life

Now if you know all the movies on my list, you get major cinephile cred with me.  That said, I am sure more than a few of you had to click the link for Defending Your Life. It’s major draw in the 90’s was (and would be today) that Meryl Streep was in it. Truth be told this is one of the few movies with her in it I can stomach (and maybe Julie and Julia). That’s neither here nor there, however. Have you figured out the one thread that ties this movie to the others on my list?

They are all about confronting fear or dealing with it.

Albert Brooks wrote this movie and the end premise is about conquering fear and how many times you are fearless quantifying if you are ready to move on to the hereafter.

So what does this have to do with either my journey, or BDSM, or both?

Bear with me, I want to tell you a little story about myself first – we’ll get there, I promise.

When I was in high school, not many people knew, but I LOVED sports – and a few would have agreed I was really good at quite a few of them. I never played on high school teams though.

One afternoon when I was 16 or 17 (grade 11) a bunch of us had a free period and would go fuck around in the gym. Well rather than just shooting hoops by myself, as I did ALL the time at home, and during some free periods, there was a volleyball net set up. You see, my school had one of the best Highschool AAA volleyball teams in the country (for both boys and girls). In my high school, volleyball players were treated with the same reverence some high schools treat their basketball and football players. Well, I couldn’t shoot hoops, but one of the girls I had known since primary school invited me to fill the 6th position on their team, I am sure the rest of the varsity team was salivating at the prospect of spiking a ball directly into my face. You see on a good day back then I was 5’9 and 180 Lbs – Short and built like a beer keg – great for the martial arts I was involved in, not so good for vertical lift.

So, the game begins and I try as hard as I can, I’m diving for digs, and receiving in the back row fairly well.  I Always try as hard as I can, no matter what I’m doing. Suddenly it’s my turn in the front row, now for those who are not familiar the front row is responsible for attacking – Spikes, and blocking spikes – Oh shit. Truth be told I did better than OK, and the Short beer keg looking bastard that I was even managed to get high enough to Spike the ball with a reasonable downward arc.

When we were done and just sitting back on the bleachers waiting for the bell, I had 3 members of the boys and girls varsity teams ask me why I never tried out – in their estimation, I would have made the cut. I never did answer them with more than a smile and a shrug. But I knew the answer clanging around in my head all too well.

I was Scared of Fucking up and being laughed at and ridiculed.

I have no real defense, other than to explain that I was raised that way – my parents were both scared of me getting hurt, or worse if I ever played sports or did anything physical. Even the martial arts I was involved in, I kept MUCH of the physicality of the sparring to myself so that they wouldn’t “convince” me to stop going.

Now that all of that is at least 20+ years behind me, I look back on it and laugh at what a poor mindset that was. I look at my mom who I love dearly and see all the irrational (to me) things she still harbors fear about, I don’t want to end up like that – however it is hard to undo YEARS of growing up with that, much like deprogramming people who are no longer catholic, but will still answer “and also with you” when they hear “may the lord be with you”.

With BDSM, and power exchange, We are all living outside of the norm – most of society would Squirm if they ever witnessed a scene between a sadist and masochist in real time. I remember an incident on fetlife with a face slapping video: someone watched it and because people fear that which is unknown or foreign to them this man threatened to call the police on them for domestic violence. Fear is everywhere, and it can be destructive to not only yourself but others too if you let it leak out.

Many facets of personal growth in the lifestyle can boil down to conquering fears – that is why it’s so important to have a slave or s-type that encourages growth, along with the Master doing the same for the slave. As the Master in the relationship, most will tell you we must have a good handle on our fears,

As the Master in the relationship, most will tell you we must have a good handle on our fears, and truth be told we do, but not as firm a grip as most think. Masters can have fear too – I choose to address mine in many ways, writing here, talking with my little fae, and seeking advice and opinions from people we are close to, and respect.

I’ve made a conscious decision to meet my fears as head on as possible and deal with them if at all possible. I do still have a few that I struggle with daily (and sometimes less frequently) but I will get there eventually – it’s a marathon, not a race.

Bob Diamond: They can make a mistake. You shouldn’t let others get to you like this. Just follow what’s in here.

[points to his heart]

Daniel Miller: [Daniel nods in agreement]

Bob Diamond: Don’t worry, and don’t kick yourself forever. Just take the opportunities when they come.”      – Rip Torn as Bob Diamond, and Albert Brooks as Daniel Miller in Defending Your Life.

I will follow what I want in my heart, and deal with my fears – quite possibly the most imporant thing I can do as a Man, a Master, and someone trapped on this floating rock for a finite period of time.

Regards,

 

Syn.

Leather – Revisiting my Path.

I’ve been thinking and re-reading my old posts a lot lately, and I have to admit I’ve changed my view on quite a few things, my opinions and thoughts have evolved and therefore I think it’s high time I revisited some of my older posts and shared my updated thoughts.

So what’s first you might ask?

A topic near and dear to my heart: Leather.

In the past, I referred to it as Hetero Leather.

I don’t necessarily make that distinction now, and not because I think recognition of Gay and Lesbian Leather cultures detract and are somehow wrong. Just the opposite, in fact, I think recognition of the longstanding traditions and guiding principles are what will help us grow as Leatherfolk on a whole, and because of that, I’d like to think we’re all in this together, orientations are secondary.

I read SO MUCH trying to understand Leather, and it all led back to gay leathermen, and leatherwomen. I automatically assumed that as an (at the time) straight, CIS man there was no inlet for me into Leather culture. What a bunch of bullshit thinking that was.  Thanks to some amazing people and their wisdom I think much differently now.

I’ve spent the majority of my time since then getting to know Leathermen, Leatherwomen, Boy’s, Girls. and all manner of Leatherfolk. One overriding thing I have learned is that Leather is what you make it. Guided by service, respect, honesty, loyalty, integrity and being an open-minded student of life in general.

Leather isn’t about being gifted Leather to wear (although that’s awesome too.)

Leather isn’t about what genitals you have, or what genitals you like to stick your genitals into (or have stuck in you.)

Leather isn’t about status or personal gain.

Leather isn’t something that fits in a nice neat little box.

So, going forward here – what is Leather as far as I am concerned?

Well here is what I consider to be my Leather path.

At its core Leather has close ties to sex, rough Leathersex, S&M, all manner of deviant shit, which I love, however it’s about being unapologetic about loving these things. It is who we are, it’s about wearing whatever gets you hot, and (within limits) Fucking or playing exactly how you want. I Love Beating ass, bruising the hell out of it and listening to the whimpers when I decide to fuck it. End of story, if I find a partner who likes being on the receiving end, and we go make that happen that’s Leather, you need not apologize or feel guilty for any of it.

It’s about being of service, both to people, and to your community. Give back, be an ear for a friend, tell them they’re being an idiot if they need it, buy them a beer, or a place to crash if shit has gone south, teach someone a skill. Give your time to your community, Support local groups, go to fundraising events, offer some time to volunteer. Be of use – Master, slave, it doesn’t matter: The highest form of humbleness comes from being of service to someone or something worthy of your effort.

Respect everyone who deserves respect. From the most wealthy CEO to the bartender keeping you in good booze – We all end up in the same sized box. The true measure of a Leatherperson  is how you treat those who can do absolutely nothing for you. It can be as simple as a please and thank you to the kid at the front counter at McDonald’s, it’s the same please and thank you would give to the guy signing your cheques.

Be honest. Not only with the people you meet, be honest with yourself. Be honest about your strengths, your weaknesses. Be honest about every little part of yourself about who you are, who you want to be, and whether you are living a life that is authentically your own.

Be loyal to the people that deserve loyalty. I have Dot, our Leather family, and another house we are part of who have my implicit loyalty. All they have to do is ask, and if something is in my power it’s theirs. I would defend them to the ends of the earth because I trust they would do the same for me.

Integrity. This one is rather hard to quantify, integrity is different for everyone. Because I believe myself to be a person of integrity – I will do my utmost to conduct myself living as close to my morals, beliefs, and honor as a man of my word, because to me that is integrity.

I will never stop learning, never stop growing, stagnation is a slow death by doing nothing, Always better yourself, and move forward.

That is My Leather path.

In the end, it’s not about clothes or any one sexual orientation.

It’s about being unapologetically you, having a guiding set of principles, and living the fuck out of them every day.

So, here I am two and a half years later.

I have grown.

I have lived authentically.

I have evolved.

I have much still to learn and work on.

I have a Leather Path.

I hope you find yours if you are looking.

In Leather,

 

Syn.