Wicked Trifecta – Or 2 out of 3 Ain’t Bad.

We just returned from Edmonton and the Wicked in the West conference. It was celebrating it’s 3rd year, and this was our second time attending.

Our second go ’round with wicked can be captured with a statement I thought of while in the car home. “Our first Wicked was like finding long lost family, this one was like coming home to them.”

I attended many of the classes that focused on the Journey of why we do what we do, how we got there and how to foster community. As per usual I learned a lot, about myself, my authority transfer, my Friends, and family. To each and every one of you, Thank you for having the hard discussions, letting us into your lives, and your transparency.

I have to also take a minute and recognize all of the WCPE and WCBB competitors, it takes a huge amount of courage to open yourself up and let people (in some cases relative strangers) put you under a microscope. Your commitment to sharing your passion, dynamic, and expertise is worthy of so much respect.

I have to confess, I do feel slightly guilty about not being able to meet as many new (to me) people as I would have liked. In the organized chaos of coming and going, play, and reconnecting with our western Brothers and Sisters, I felt a bit selfish for not being able to carve out more time.

Last year We attended with the intent of experiencing as much as we could at a Con far from home, meeting people, and learning from as many people as we could, this year for me, Wicked felt different in a few ways but no less game changing, and certainly caused no small amount of self reflection.

I learned the importance of family and being present with those we love for their milestones, Thank you for including me, and allowing me to share in your moment, and everything after.

I learned that I care little about judging pasts, but care deeply about how it helped turn them into humans I have taken to caring for a great deal in a short period of time. Thank you for your vulnerability, your wisdom and welcoming us as family. I will say it again – One day we’ll sit down and I will hopefully be able to share my past with you, so you will understand.

I learned the value of connective energy – from a few people, thank you for allowing me to share your energy, your joy and your catharsis through our scene (with one beautiful human) and being there for the others while you were having hooks thrown.

I learned the value of working on being a hedonist a little more, be in the moment, enjoy things for what they are. My head fuck things up a lot – and sometimes I need to listen to those that love me, and those that challenge those preconceptions I have. 10/10 would be less awkward. (Ok, I’m still going to be awkward, but I’m more OK with it now)

I learned the value of accepting a compliment at face value, I’m lucky to have friends in my life that see things more clearly than I do sometimes, and need to accept good council all the time, not just when it suits my comfort or narrative.

I learned I have things to do, and things I want to accomplish rather than just existing, I have found my way to continue to give back, I promise to try and live up to the idea of being a lynchpin because I think I understand now.

I learned that though I may not always agree with my Leather Family, We are still family, and I continue to be impressed, humbled and blessed to have you all in my life.

I learned the value of second impressions, especially when they are  close to chosen family sometimes the person you first meet, isn’t the same person the second time.

I learned that my girl is even more amazing than I thought, and although people may come and go, she is my constant, unwavering partner in life, love and so much more.

There are other lessons, other thoughts, and memories, but these are the ones I have been chewing over in my coconut the past week. I am sure as I unpack more I will have more learning, lessons and love to reflect on.

Thank you Nelson and imp for giving all of us a place to come home to every year and reunite, meet, and learn together. It’s a gift I can’t adequately thank you for, ever.

So that was part of my Wicked Family experience.

I learned.

I laughed.

I grew.

I was loved.

In Leather,

Jason/Syn

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That Tiny Voice Gets Louder.

Conferences are interesting things.

Classes, people, Organized chaos, family, and friends, new and old.

For me these are just a few of the reasons I go to them. As a wise friend of mine said “That’s my favorite part of conferences, not the classes, the moments spent over a scotch or a meal, just visiting with people important to you.”

There’s the problem for me – My social anxiety lies to me a lot leading up to events like we have in just 9 days. Over the last year and a bit My (our) journey has put me in the path of some of the finest people I have ever met. hg

It’s hard to come back to the middle of nowhere and just sit it out until we can be reunited with Family and Friends again. Disconnection, and social anxiety sometimes has me questioning whether the connections I feel to people are real on their end too.

I’ve learned to write in order to express thoughts and emotions I can’t unpack inside my own head. This is both a good and bad thing though…. I write pretty clinically, I have a lot of time to think, measure, and decide how best to word or say something. It helps me see things in a different way, I can be a very spur of the moment and emotional/extroverted in person. You never really know whats going to come out of my mouth in pursuit of a laugh. After all, if you make ’em laugh, you have a way better chance of making them like you. Because of the disconnect between me as a person, and me as a writer – I absolutely suck at bridging the two together.

I see Dance card threads, people connecting, flirting, all the other stuff that happens around a gathering of us being imminent. It’s a piss off to be stuck between being excited, unable to express that, or involve myself in things I want to, Not to mention feel apart because my head is being an asshole.

Anxiety and awkwardness seem to be the norm for me, it’s less with my girl, but still there too, I’ve always struggled with it, it just seems amplified around conventions and the longer we go without seeing family and friends.

Some days I wish I could be more of a hedonist, more able to express things, and confident enough to do so.

Anxiety is a bitch.

It’s a tiny voice that gets louder some days.

It lies to you.

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

 

 

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

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

Reflections on a Long Term Power Exchange.

Earlier this month my little fae and I celebrated 9 years together, and almost all of that time was in one form of power exchange or another. We’ve transitioned from Top/ bottom to Dom/sub, to Master/slave and to what we are now (it could be taken as some form of Owner/property and Leatherman/leathergirl).

So the big question is what has allowed us to last as long as we have? Over the years I have learned some things that have surely helped, but not all the learning has been easy. Worthwhile, yes, easy, no.

I thought to myself that sharing a few of the things I have learned about power exchange might be a good idea.

You will fuck up – a lot, and that’s ok. Through mistakes and the ownership of them, your best growth can, and will happen. Nobody is perfect, even Masters, contrary to what they’d have you believe. I’ve fucked up quite a few things with my little fae, but through communication, analyzation, and adaptation we’ve moved forward, and carved out things that work for us. Your journey will no doubt be different than mine, but by stowing ego, and thinking critically you can help your power exchange grow and create long-lasting pillars to build the foundation of your power exchange on.

It’s ok to have a slave who is smarter, more professionally successful, or further along their path than you are. We’re all human, with our own strengths and weaknesses. We end up being a product of the people we surround ourselves with. My little fae is far more professionally successful and intelligent than I will ever be (even though she tells me I’m crazy). I value her input on how to better (more professionally) handle work issues, advice on people, and her experiences in the community from years ago. Does this diminish the person or Master that I am? fuck no. If anything, it makes me a better person, partner and capable of making better choices for us. Put aside the pride and realize you have a whole pool of knowledge to draw from.

Be open and honest about needs/wants/desires. I’ve been blessed that my girl is open minded and fairly receptive to just about anything. She would do anything I asked, however, it’s much easier when they are receptive, encouraging and excited. For a long while I found it hard to talk about (what I considered) some of my weirder fetishes, Cuckqueaning, Degradation, and humiliation, even heavy S&M play.  Once I learned that by using my words I could find a partner I wasn’t miserable with and even might have some kinks in common with dating, fucking, play and power exchange got easier, more enjoyable and downright eye-opening. If you’re in a power exchange that can’t deliver on your basic relationship needs, then why are you even in it? Can you compromise on yours and your partner’s desires? Do you REALLY need something, or is it a want? As a Master these are important questions – Sure, you may -want- a supermodel who cooks like Nigella Lawson, fucks like Angela White, and Dresses like Dita Von Teese, (or is that just me?) but do you NEED that? Be realistic and honest.

Don’t fall in love with your own legend or pretend to be something you’re not. It’s great to take pride in who you are, and what you do – however pretending you’re something you’re not, or allowing untrue stories to proliferate WILL be damaging in the long run. Again, we’re all human – this wonderful mess of personality, skills, faults, and virtues are uniquely yours. I’m confident in the fact I am VERY good at Rough body and impact play of all intensities. I am also confident that I need work with Cigar play and confidence approaching potential partners. Would I attempt to mentor or teach someone either of these skills? Not a fucking chance, I’d end up at the least giving bad information that might cause someone to correct them later (and I’ll look like an asshole), and at the worst severely injure someone.  Consider it negligence or unhealthy ego if you will.

Don’t overload yourself to the detriment of your primary relationship. Now, this isn’t just poly people. Having a slave/property (S-type) in general can be a lot of work, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Priorities here are important. A good slave can be incredibly self-sufficient once they reach a certain point, Give them their instructions and off they go. However, if your plate is too full with work, family, other partners, and all the obligations that come with life, then you need to perhaps step back and prioritize the things you need to keep your relationship healthy, not only with your slave, but with yourself and others. Take time for reflection, self-care and making sure your energies are being spent in a way that enriches your power exchange(s).

Be part of your kink community. Go to events, meet people, volunteer or organize. Masters too should serve, service to one’s community and others is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Knowledge, experience, and opinions. All of these things can foster discussion, and in some cases growth for other people – help build the community you want to see, and your life will improve because of it, and so will your power exchange.

Finally, something I find most important. Never stop being a student. Learn voraciously, read not just things about the lifestyle, but read books on management, psychology, and philosophy. Apply the principles to your life and power exchange, learn from others mistakes, and how to avoid them yourself. Be a student of life.

Have fun, be silly, laugh often, play hard, and be open to experiences.

Adapt and Survive.

 

Just a few thoughts from a long-term power exchange.

 

Regards,

 

Syn

Another Trip Around the Daystar – Reflections on the Journey.

Well, another trip around the daystar is done. I turned 38 this year.

I was always wondering how to mark this occasion, I do every year. Drinks with friends, time with My little fae, a dinner date with my other partner, and surprisingly a lot of introspection and planning.

So what have I learned this year?

First and most importantly, I learned that going forward, my slave and I together can tackle anything that comes our way. Even more so than the years past, we’ve begun planning for the future. From our engagement to Attending Wicked in the West, and everything in between. We want to move forward, and experience – do different and new things. We want to help grow Leather Culture closer to home, and in the process grow together as Leatherfolk.  Our power exchange is stronger than ever, but we’ve realized it doesn’t exactly fit into a nice neat box, Master/slave, Owner/property, Leatherman/Leathergirl, we’ve come to be so much more than when we started this crazy ride just under 10 years ago. I am beyond grateful.

I’ve realized even more than last year, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s OK. When you meet me I am equal parts smartass, sarcastic, and introverted. I will good-naturedly tease, and some can’t handle the reality of my relationship with my little fae. I know some people think I’m an asshole, but those that look deeper, or catch on that I’m rarely serious are the type I’d rather surround myself with. For friends, family, and tribe, I would do almost anything – and I have also realized that being able to balance healthy “giving” and receiving of energy sometimes I have to say no, or enough. Authentic people who care will respect that, and if they don’t then it’s their loss, not mine. That’s self-care, not greed or being a poor friend.

In the last bit of this year, I’ve also come to the conclusion, that I am the one in control of the things I experience, and associate with. I’ve taken steps to experience Polyamory in a healthy and less reckless/more organic way. My little fae is fully on board, and I am blessed that my other partner is and was a dear friend first, Her and her primary. I’m looking forward to the future there, it’s just tricky for me having to experience all the “firsts” of a new relationship so many years down the road again.

I have also come to the conclusion, that I am an equal opportunity Sadist/Master. I could see our house having a boy in service, just as evenly as having another female, Sex is a separate issue. We still want to find another partner for U/us, however, I’ve also become more accepting to the idea of Dot having a sub/play partner as long as there is no other dominant in the picture, that I think would create a hell of a mess that would be detrimental to our goals. Poly was never off the table, it is my reaction to it which has undergone a change.

I’ve come to realize that My Leather has always been a part of me, but as I get older it evolves. The core tenants have always been there, but I am less apologetic and ashamed of everything else than ever before. I used to worry about what people would think of the person that I was, but thanks to some self-improvement work I’ve done, that no longer matters. In the end, having people who have a problem with who you are and what you’ve become can be more of a yard stick for progress than anything. Leather is no different, authenticity will breed haters, that’s how you know you are succeeding.

Going forward I’m going to continue what I have been doing, I will adapt when I need to, continue reading the works of the stoics, and other modern thinkers. I will continue on my Leather path, and do so with my little fae at my side (not to mention others if they will walk with me).

I think I have a good plan for the next trip around the daystar. I’ve made progress this year mentally, physically, philosophically, and emotionally.

All in all I am very pleased with the year, and can’t wait to see what lessons and experiences are waiting for me in the next.

Regards,

 

Syn.