For the Alliance – MMO’s and Kink Compersion.

Ever since I was young I’ve played video games, both competitively and recreationally. It’s just part of my life, who I am, and no small part of my self care.

One of the biggest online games I ever played was World of Warcraft (WoW), it’s a fantastic world with no shortage of things to do, from questing/leveling to Player versus Player, an in game economy, and the really big draw: Raiding.

Now when I started playing, I was coming over from a Player Vs. Player Driven MMO I was incredibly serious about – I was also very good at it. I tackled WoW with the same optimization fervor that I had in my previous game. I spent a whole day researching what Race to pick based on the Class I wanted to play to get the best synergy I could.

I started playing and leveling with a friend, and quickly realized the closer I got to the raiding and “end game” that I was woefully ignorant of mechanics, Gear and other things that set the “serious” players apart from the casuals. So I sought to inform myself, I read a lot, I did a lot of trial and error, and I sought out guilds (groups of players with a common purpose) with a heavy focus on raids and raiding. This is where I found my First guild: Advent Children. I met some of the oldest and longest Friends I ever had there – From Kithus the surly fucker from Boston, to Lecithin the (then) 14 year old girl who was one of the top players in the guild. These people and Samma (my mentor) basically elevated my knowledge, game play and became some of my closest friends. Over the years some left, some came back, and we found new people that shared similar goals.

This might seem an Odd thing to write about in a BDSM context, however, I have to admit as a I progressed in my years as a newbie, to a veteran raid leader, to part of a top 50 world progression guild. I learned a few life lessons too.

The Great part about MMO’s as well as communities is that you have so many people inhabiting the same spaces, however for different reasons. There’s PvP’ers, Raiders, achievement whores, Auctionhouse superstars, The list continues. As a raider I sort of stood apart from the rest of the community, My entire existence online was focused around my Role as a raid leader. Farming materials for raids, reading fight strategies and watching video’s, and showing up for 5 hour raid nights 5 times a week. Because of this I had very little in common with many casual players or other inhabitants of the game world. I rapidly out grew people I started playing with, along with members of other guilds on our server.

The Same can be said for the kink community. I want to explore, I want to do next level shit with others who want to do next level shit. Because of this, there are people I (or we) outgrow, or never connect with. This too, is OK. Social circles change, we progress around a different path, or simply take a different direction from those we were once close with.

Another thing I learned in my time in WoW, is that people will hate your successes, not everyone mind you, but enough. Let them hate – we used to have a saying “Are you paying for my subscription? No? well when you are, you can tell me how to play”. Over the years I was accused of everything from cheating, to running illegal programs, to bribing people to “carry me along” with real world money…. For the most part, your haters know fuckall about you beyond the story they’ve made up in their heads about you. Do you, the people who want to do epic shit with you WILL find you or vice-versa. The ones who choose to pick at you from the shadows or whisper in ears are generally just unhappy, jealous or just plain incapable of compersion of any sort.

In the end We, as members of this bdsm collective, are all here to participate in the amusement park of activities available to all of us. We all share common problems, issues, and interests. However, we don’t all get to be porn-stars, hardcore BDSM “legends”, or Fetlebrities, what we do get to be is anything we desire, why not gravitate towards people who will help you along that path, or at the very least let others who are doing what they want the fuck alone as long as the behavior isn’t damaging.

Politics, Influence peddling, and snide remarks aren’t going to enrich the culture we inhabit, Compersion and focusing on your own growth and journey will. You just might get lucky enough to find a guild, tribe,family that shares your passion for improvement.

Regards,

Syn

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Vulnerability: Owning my Shit.

Lately I’ve been talking a lot about Healthy vulnerability and what that means to different people, how we can be vulnerable with others, and boundaries when choosing to be vulnerable.

For myself something I have always struggled with is sexual expression and discussion in how it relates to me and my needs, wants and desires. There is a small voice in the back of my brain that adds shame, anxiety, and forces me to fight more than I should to express myself. We, as humans are sexual beings and in the sex positive spaces and conversations I find myself in, vulnerability in expressing these things are something I -need- to get comfortable with.

My thoughts on why this is necessary are hard to put in words, so this might sound a bit muddled.

Aside from my own needs to communicate (I talk ALOT in case anyone is surprised by this revelation), my nesting partner is someone I not only desire, but want to be vulnerable with – she has, over the years, helped me to become the best version of myself I have ever been. This alone deserves complete transparency, openness and implicit trust. Over the years she has helped me explore my sexuality, kinks, and done so with zero judgement, I detest the term, but for lack of a better one: she has been my safe space.

Sexual Compatibility and Ethical non monogamy is something else on my mind in this regard. Polyamory, and that we are in an open (albeit selective) relationship, opens so many doors that took me a long time to become comfortable enough to address…I understand that all Poly and ethical relationships don’t revolve around sex, but for me, a lot of my connectedness comes from sex, S&M and taking care of the people who I choose to spend time with, however that manifests. My Comfort with these sides of myself is important in pursuing these needs and wants, so that I can find people who will enrich my experiences, and in turn perhaps I can enrich thiers.

In my travels I’ve also done no small amount of self discussion and reflection on my sexual orientation, for years I defaulted to heterosexual. I was really unaware of Pansexuality, gay, and all the other stops along the sexuality spectrum. So I went searching and exploring. I can say with positivity that I am 99.5% straight, however it took a lot of exploring to be sure. I love women, I love their bodies – small, big, thin, muscular, athletic, curvy… Sexually they just do it for me. I should point out, that as un-PC as it sounds, male genitals are the hang up… I just don’t find they do anything for me.

The last part of tying it all together? I need to get more comfortable in asking or communicating what I want, and the narrative I have kept for far too long.

A few months ago I had a pretty heavy talk with a Sister of mine, in front of her partner (a Brother) and my girl. I felt comfortable for the first time in a while to have my little dark corners flooded with a spotlight. It was bad enough she had to grab me by the beard and force me to listen, but I did.

Really a lot of the things I have started exploring and trying to work on boils down to confidence, and cultivating a lack of fear. In the end I have been ruled by old patterns and habits that tell me I’m not attractive enough, or desirable, or not pursue something because I don’t offer as much as the next guy. I short change people and their thoughts by offhandedly dismissing compliments, and anyone that knows me can tell you that someone could say right to my face they find me attractive, and my brain will simply ignore it. I have worked actively in the last few months to change my thoughts, as well as my acceptance of these things, because it’s not fair to me, and not fair to others.

So why did I write this whole rambling mess?

Simply, put – because I need to work on these things, and I understand that without putting a voice to them and making them visible, then I will simply ignore them long term hoping they go away.

Vulnerability isn’t pretty but it does help build trust, both with others and yourself. So here it is, some of the things I need to work on, they have a voice now, they have Substance, and they will be easier to work on because I gave them that push into word rather than thought.

Regards,

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

Live, Thrive, Be Better.

This day started on a completely different trajectory than it ended on.

Woke up, had some time with my little fae, went to work, and started writing. I had a clear and definitive topic, I spewed out the initial thoughts, and they do need to be expanded on and cleaned up, but that will likely happen tomorrow.

So work ended and I headed to the gym, just like I do 4 times a week, I was pretty excited since I was too sick to go last week. Chest day went very well and I have to admit, immediately after setting a Personal Record in bench press I was thrilled!

However, sometime between my last rep and pulling the weight off to start my assistance work – Something happened. I was hit with the biggest wave of futility I’ve experienced in years. I usually work out with as much intensity as I can muster, I focus and work until I can barely do another exercise, and I love it.

Today my depression came back more vicious than I’ve experienced in years.

My sauna time, shower and walk home have been filled with me revisiting things I long ago made peace with, from old embarrassing moments to arguing with myself about why I go to the gym every day since it’s obviously (to me) not doing shit. I originally started this with 90% vanity and 10% lifestyle in mind, and I’d be lying if I didn’t still feel like a fat asshole pretending to be a powerlifter. Logically I KNOW my body composition is changing, I KNOW I’m getting stronger (the number tell me so). but my weight hasn’t moved (the scale is bullshit, I know, however 260lbs at 5’9…. :/).

I KNOW it’s a long game, not a sprint.

I KNOW it’s my depression coming back like it does every year.

I KNOW once it goes back to a small voice in my head I’ll realize I’m being silly.

I KNOW I’m my own worst critic, and depression helps out with the criticism.

I KNOW I have room to improve.

I KNOW it’s not an excuse to be mentally abusive to myself.

I don’t KNOW why I do it every year.

I don’t KNOW what triggers depression.

And I don’t KNOW if tomorrow will be a better day.

I do KNOW that it will be better eventually.

And that is life with depression.

That is better than I was when this started.

That is the process of living with it, Be better than you were.

That’s life. That’s Mental Illness, That’s me.

Regards,

 

Syn.

Fear, Growth, and Keeping things on the Radar.

Fear is an odd thing. We all have fears, some more than others, fear is part of this weird cocktail of emotions that make us human.

I was raised to be fearful of change, I love my parents, but they’ve been stuck in the mindset of fearing change for more years than I can count, or remember. Time and time again I will say something and my little fae will say to me “That’s your Mother talking, Sir.” and she’s not wrong. That is her loving way of reminding me that I need to take a breath and alter my thought pattern on whatever we’re talking about.

As of late, my Mother’s voice has been in my head a lot.

So what change am I fearful of?

It’s hard to explain, with our goals for the upcoming year I am less fearful and more restless, I don’t like dragging my heels when it comes to things we want to get done. Where I am concerned, in order to progress with self, I have to address a few things and hope for some self-acceptance.

All my life I’ve struggled with body image and acceptance. In high school, I was a huge geek who preferred to read and play video games rather than sports – My formative years during puberty were spent being turned down by girls in favor of athletes and in other cases someone who wasn’t fat and could talk to girls without turning beet red. Now I understand this was in some cases twenty years ago, but the lessons and head fuckery still pop up today. Even in front of my little fae I can still be self-conscious about my body hair, and figure. I am getting better a little bit at a time, However, it’s a slow process and one that is hampered by the fact that certain people in the lifestyle can be shallow. I might not face the direct cruelty that teenagers are capable of, but if you think men aren’t held to a beauty standard, even in a body positive space like the kink community, you’re kidding yourself. Don’t believe me? Look up “bears” on fetlife, and try to find something that doesn’t revolve around a relationship based on fetishization outside the gay community. I’ll wait. Even now, during operation look better naked, I’ll still be a bear – I’m built big, and the downside is, I don’t have the height to match. Lol.

The other thing I fear and more immediate in nature is confronting my Wants and Desires in regard to the lifestyle. My needs are well met by my little fae, and I’ve tackled a few wants, I have Lola as a partner as well, who understands healthy polyamory more than I would have guessed, she and her primary have been amazing as we explore this. There are other things than what I mentioned in my previous post which I consider harder to simply talk about and even acknowledge they exist as a thought in my head. Some of these things are desires, some are wants. Some are relatively tame, and just need some further work to make a reality. Others will need some help from self-acceptance, and conversations with my little fae and perhaps Lola -if- I think she can help. it’s a scary thing opening up some of your deeper and more closely guarded thoughts, even to people you love and trust.

Now, this point isn’t so much fear, as confusion. For my entire life, I’ve identified as straight, however, there’s always been that little voice in the back of my head that isn’t so sure. I should clarify this before I go any further. from a purely physical standpoint, I am definitely attracted to women – curvy, bigger, muscular, average, athletic it doesn’t matter – I love ALL female shapes and sizes. As of a year ago (think), I found myself attracted to a MtF transgendered Pre-op woman, I love her brain and her personality, and in the process, I found there may have been some pants feelings attached to this. Now, nothing ever came of it, and probably for the best – she and I are what I would consider great friends, and her partners are fantastic. It just put the thought in my head, that I might be “Pan-curious” – hey, if people can be bi-curious or heteroflexible, I can be Pan-curious, maybe I’ll meet a brain at some point that does it for me again. Or does that make me queer? It bears some thought.

It’s Ironic I saved this one for last, as my little fae was just here to drop off some things at work, and get her collar put on, so she read everything up to this point prior to it being finished.

This one is one I always battle with, I always have a low-level fear of fucking up, or not being “enough” for my little fae. I am told time and time again by people that she’s too good for me, or that I’m in the way and if I wasn’t they’d “steal” her. I’ve had people say this directly to my face, and sometimes in front of her, both men and more often, women. Now I should point out that more often than not I ignore them out of hand, but cumulatively even though she tells me there’s no chance, that little voice in the back of my head sometimes gets just a bit louder. I wonder if someday I’m not going to be enough to help her when she hits a low,  I wonder if someday I just won’t be…. enough. I have to wonder if I can continue to provide what she needs to be a healthy and happy girl, at least to the best of my ability. It’s a dumbass way to think, but when dealing with the gremlins in your head, you have to realize it will happen.

In the end, fear is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to progress out there. For me posting this here is a step towards healthy vulnerability and addressing some harder topics for me, they are topics that don’t really fit with the normal narrative for me, these are things I don’t have solutions for – and really lack any sort of cohesive plan, but they do bear acknowledging and remembering they are there.

 

Regards,

 

Syn