I don’t mean that literally, like the rays of the sun. Instead I mean it in the sense of everything happening in the light, nothing hidden or deliberately obscured in the shadows.
When I first asked Sinnjara to wear my collar, I told her I only had two real rules – honesty and transparency. Sure, I have protocols that I want to be followed, they all have their own meaning in my heart. But the two rules, they are the core of it all!
In short, I believe in the truth.
Just the other day, I gave an old quote to my Serafina and Sinnjara, I said, ‘The truth shall set you free.” I really believe that it does.
Completely bare honest truth, nothing held back, that’s what I desire. The kind of D/s relationship I want with my girls is all about knowing their desires, then using them for my own ends and means.
I repay their honesty and transparency in the same coin. The only thing I hide from them are the wicked plans my brain is hatching for their training and use. Sometimes it’s better if they don’t know those in advance.
Sometimes the truth is difficult. The thoughts we have aren’t always pretty. But when mistakes are made, and being human it’s inevitable that we ALL will make them, it’s important to me that we own them. If we brush our problems under the carpet, or sweep them out the door, they never were resolved. And those kind of thing tend to hang in the air, getting heavier and heavier over time, until their weight can no longer be borne.
At that point, there’s real trouble, and the recriminations can be worse still.
Why didn’t you tell me?
Why was this hidden?
What else are you hiding?
Those are the questions that often come to mind, And they can be destructive questions. Sometimes, it’s all heavy enough to end good relationships. And, that’s especially true when we start mixing BDSM and polyamory in as part of the relationship’s structure. It’s so easy for submissives and slaves, who tend towards shyness anyway, to decide they don’t need to bother Master with a difficult truth. “Oh, Master has had such a tough day, he doesn’t need the additional burden right now,” or so they can so easily tell themselves.
It’d dangerous territory to enter, at least from my perspective, when we decide to put off the truth. Soon enough, inconvenient truths are forgotten, pushed under the proverbial rug. When the rug accumulates enough of them, the “room” the relationship is inside doesn’t have secure footing for anyone. Sweeping things under the carpet will eventually catch up to a person.
Yes, it can be dangerous (or seem so) to be completely open to another person, but to me the dangers of failing to do so are far far worse.
I’m going to be honest here, I’ve got nothing. It’s not so much writer’s block, as it is a difficulty changing gears.
I’ve been obsessed with cigars of late. It’s a hobby of mine since last summer, but it’s really blossomed of late. My cigar obsession really took off since I started sampling a variety of different offerings from online vendors.
I was tempted to write a review of a cigar named White Obsidian. It is about the word “white” afterall, it’s right there in the cigar’s name. I received a 5-pack of mini White Obsidian’s as a freebie with a purchase I made last summer, and I did write a “quickie” review after sampling one, my first experience with the brand. But, I just didn’t find any justification for twisting yet another Wicked Wednesday topic around to match up with my personal cigar obsession.
I considered writing a post about white privilege. Certainly, it’s on topic for the prompt, weighty, and a current part of the conversation in the worlds of sexuality and kink. But, I just don’t feel up to tackling such a truly weighty topic at the moment. Talking about white privilege requires more than a little measure of introspection, as I’m certainly the recipient of said phenomenon.
Then I thought about writing a post that black was the new white, a thought I had after being told that I’m Sinnjara’s knight in black shining armor. I’ve always had a soft spot for villains, as I’ve always found that they are more complex and believable than their opponents. In the end though, I didn’t quite have the chutzpa to do that either.
Influenced by the title of a Netflix drama, I did come up with a name for the essay – If Orange is the New Black Then Black is the New White. But, that’s about as far as it got, and I’m toiling away here at 9:28pm on Wednesday night, so it’s not like there’s any more time to complete this weeks essay for the prompt – white.
It was truly a Wicked Wednesday however, as Serafina and Sinnjara got matching school girl outfits for Halloween. The white stockings they modeled, complete with a nice black bow at the top, absolutely completed the outfits. Can you say adorable?
If Orange is the New Black Then Black is the New White
There are lots of ways that we, as humans, communicate with each other.
Obviously there is verbal communication, that’s what naturally springs to mind for most of us when we hear the word. Once we are past a couple years of age, words shape our perception of things, and the spoken word is king. As children we spent hours upon hours listening to our teachers talk, likely far more time than we spend with our noses in books. Language matters. It is, perhaps, mankind’s most important invention.
But, for the purposes of today’s topic, I’m more interested in non-verbal forms of communication. The messages we send with the clothes we wear, as well as the products we purchase and use, are perhaps even more important in signalling who we are, than anything we might say.
Why is that, I wondered?
At least that was my response when I first started to ponder this question. Why can’t we just trust people to tell us who they are?
Then I remembered the old adage – “Talk is cheap!” Some folks will say most anything to get what they want, or so it seems. With that in mind, it does pay us good heed to look deeper than just listening to an individual’s words. As they say, “Actions speak louder than words.”
Which brings me to the topic of this Wicked Wednesday post – cigars. Ha! I bet you were thinking this was a post about communication – and it is that indeed – it’s just not a normal association that most folks consciously make. But, believe it or not, every time I light a cigar I am communicating with the world.
Cigars have a particular mystique about them. Their use makes specific statements about who I am, and what I value.
Cigarettes are for the poor. While advertising men once tried to make cigarette smoking appear to be a luxurious and decadent habit, the truth is cigarettes are vulgar. Being quick and easily available, they are the tobacco of choice for whores. And even without the vulgar association cigarettes bring to mind, I have to say that I don’t need to inhale smoke deep into my lungs to appreciate it’s characteristics. Nor do I need my tobacco laced with a variety of exotic chemicals, as is the common practice by cigarette manufacturers.
Smoking a pipe, on the other hand, is a decidedly middle class hobby. At least that’s the way it’s associated in my mind. Solid middle class icons from my childhood, the father’s of 1950’s television families in particular, smoked pipes. Pipes are also the domain of intellectuals, Albert Einstein smoked a pipe, as did Sherlock Holmes (perhaps the most prominent literary intellectual from my childhood.)
Cigars, however, speak not so much of working or middle class styles and aspirations, but instead signify to me icons of power and fame (not to mention infamy.) Cigars are an expression of machismo, power, influence, wealth, and sophistication. Politicians and mobsters (aren’t they really one and the same most of the time?) smoke cigars. Real adventurers, as well as action/adventure movie heroes smoke cigars, as do several of our former Governor’s and Presidents.
Cigars are celebrated. Barack Obama’s cigarette habit is a dirty little secret, something that certainly could not be said about Richard Nixon’s enjoyment of a fine cigar. Bill Clinton’s use of a cigar might have been a dirty little secret had it not turned into national news, but that’s the exception that makes the rule. I’ve known die hard republican right wing types that asked their submissive lady to give his cigar’s that special sort of wetting, all the while hoping it just kept his fellow libertarians from mooching. I hope, at least for both his lady and Ms Lewinski’s sake, that the gentlemen in question smoked something a little fatter than a 48 ring gauge.
Even our birth rituals point to the importance of the cigar. I’m quite sure that nobody anywhere has passed a pinch of pipe tobacco around to celebrate a new baby, nor do they pass around Marlboro’s. Indeed the cigar is unique in the world of tobacco.
smoke signals – communicating my alpha-maleness w/ cigars
As a alpha type male, when I light a cigar I send a clear message, a “smoke signal” if you will. I’d like to think that I smoke because I enjoy the ritual, because I find it to be a relaxing and fascinating hobby, rather than because it might make me look powerful, or dominant, or because it’s an expression of my personal sense of masculine pride.
Yet, my conscious mind knows all of those things. My head knows the message I communicate to the world when I relax and enjoy a fine cigar. There’s no telling what my sub-conscious mind has for reasoning, in terms of my motivation to occasionally enjoy a fine cigar, as that part of our brain is protected from our consciousness by a protective fog. But I am savvy enough to know the motivations are complex, and they probably just aren’t about me.
We, as human beings, are all social creatures. That’s perhaps the most disturbing part of conditions like autism, they rob us of that basic and essential human trait, the need to communicate and interact with others.
That’s part of what makes our interactions with each other so complex and hard to decipher. And that’s what makes the simple act of lighting a cigar a form of communication.1
to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe.
Archaic. to fear; be apprehensive about.
verb (used without object)
to be uncertain about something; be undecided in opinion or belief.
a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something.
a state of affairs such as to occasion uncertainty.
Obsolete . fear; dread.
Everyone has doubts.
Yes, there are people who do their best to project an image of themselves without doubt. But, in my experience, those are actually the people with perhaps the most self doubt.
I certainly don’t try to project such an image myself. Yet, I can tell you that when in doubt, I point fingers at myself. Perhaps I am among those who have the greatest self doubt after all.
Now, when I was growing up, there was an adage – “When in doubt blame the dog!”
Some people treat their consensual slaves like dogs. In saying that, what I’m meaning is that it seems to me that some dominants are quick to point the finger of blame at their submissive. That’s actually the opposite of my usual personal style.
If one of my darling slaves makes a mistake, I usually look first to myself. Perhaps I didn’t give instructions clearly enough? Maybe I wasn’t clear in expressing my intentions and expectations? Could it be that I didn’t properly equip my girls to deal with a specific situation?
Yes, I’m big upon accountability. I’m big on people owning their own shit. But when it comes right down to it, when I’m thinking about my girls, when I’m considering their actions and issues, I’m usually looking first to blame myself.
They have me to hold them accountable, to take them to task if they decide it’s easier to ignore a rule, or protocol, we’ve all mutually agreed upon. But then who holds the master accountable for his own foibles, if not himself?
My own doubts have been amplified of late. I wrote in a previous post about my issues with sciatica pain. That kind of pain brings big doubts to mind for me . . .
Why me? Why now? What if the pain doesn’t go away? What then? How much longer will I be able to handle the physical strain of being a proper Master? What will my girls think if I’m unable to play as dynamically as I once did? What will I think if that happens?
Yes, when it comes to the topic of doubts these days, I have plenty . . .
For your reading pleasure, an original story from the lovely and talented Sinnja!
In adding Sinnja to my leather family, we not only found a wonderful sister submissive for Serafina, and delicious masochist for me to torment, (not to mention wonderful lover, friend, and all around kinky girl,) we also found another contributor for my blog!
Here’s this week’s response to the Wicked Wednesday prompt. We hope you enjoy!
Charlotte knew her flight was going to be a challenge as she smiled sweetly and approached the sexy trio before her holding a small tray of champagne. Looking down at each of the appetizing men dressed in signature suits and polished shoes, she fought to control the desire rising within. That brought her a moment of pause, hoping that her soft white lace panties would be enough to soak up the moisture beginning to seep.
Damien could not help but let his eyes wander over the young woman’s body, it truly was nature’s interpretation of perfection. Looking to his brothers, he knew they must have been thinking the same for they also looked at the flight attendant with the same primal and carnal desire in their eye.
Charles leaned back into his seat watching the girl make her way towards them. Catching his eye, her sexy long legs wrapped in white nylons, a navy blue skirt that shaped her hips perfectly, and short black hair cut to frame her pixie face. The white button down shirt she wore did nothing to hide the sexy bra holding her supple breasts. The highlight in his mind was the blush on her face as she realized he was staring right at her. Charlotte’s nipples hardened instantly under his gaze and wolfish grin.
Mason noticed his brothers hounding stares but he could not blame them, the nervous, little orchid that now stood before them trembling slightly and smelling like sweet ecstasy was truly a sight. Taking a moment to stare into her crystal blue eyes that spoke of innocence, he knew there must be wicked fantasies hiding in that pretty little head of hers. Lost in her eyes, all he could think was he wanted her, she would be his.
“Good evening gentlemen . . . I hope this champagne will sate your desire . . . for some refreshments.” Charlotte offered the drinks in a soft halting voice. She couldn’t help hearing how it was full of undertones of her untapped desire. Would the brothers notice so easily too?
“No thanks darlin” said Damien. Of the three, he is the tallest, with slightly curled, blond hair, chestnut brown eyes, and a voice with a soft southern accent. Around his neck lay a small dagger pendant with a single emerald crystal in the center.
“Nah, but thank ya sweet cheeks” announced Charles. The smaller of the three, he is a well built brunette, with a thick muscled body beneath a dark ash grey suit, and hunter green eyes that hold a predatory gleam. A similar pendant with a bold, blue sapphire lay around his neck, in between the crisp white lapels of his shirt, resting atop a patch of chest hair.
“Mmmhhh, sounds divine doll,” Mason drawled. Upon hearing his words, Charlotte turned toward the last brother, gazing into those honey, almost golden brown eyes, demanding her full attention. Mason is an average size man with long, raven colored hair, a chiseled face, and a well toned body. A man of erotic fantasies, like his brothers, he also wears a small pendant about his neck. A deep, ruby red jewel glistens in the center.
Lost for words, Charlotte squirmed, adjusting her posture. “Yes Sir,” was her shy, almost whispered reply.
Mason’s lips curl into a tantalizing smirk, making her blush grow in intensity.
“Here you are, Sir” she spoke softly as she leaned forward intending to place the drink upon the table. But just as she moved the plane experienced turbulence. Causing Charlotte to lose her footing, falling onto her knees, the glass escaping her hands. She watched in dismay as the flute fell and came to rest against the crotch of the gentleman’s slacks, soaking them with the intoxicating sweet drink.
Mason arched his brows in surprise, his gaze traveling between her and the now empty flute.
“Oh dear, I am so sorry!” she exclaimed. She began to turn and get a towel, but was brought to a halt by powerful fingers grabbing a handful of her hair, forcefully guiding her face to meet the spot where the glass now rested. Her heart racing as she was close enough to smell the sweetness of the champagne and the unmistakable musk of his desire.
“Well doll, do not let it stain!” growled Mason while adjusting his grip on her hair, forcing a low moan to escape from her cherry lips, which surprised the brothers.
Charlotte is hesitant, kneeling before him, the blush burning at her skin making her wonder if it would become permanent. Her hesitation was not due to the situation, but because of how her body was reacting to the demands being placed upon her . . . She could feel herself dripping with desire, beginning to dampen her nylons.
Just as she was about to open her lips to oppose, a hard smack lands against the curve of her ass. She gasps.
” What ya waiting for sweetness, get on with it” spoke Charles.
She knew though, that it was Damien who had landed the stinging blow. She wanted to look over her shoulder to confirm her assumption but found herself unable to as Mason kept her head in place. Swallowing her pride, Charlotte leans forward till her lips meet the soaked but soft fabric of Masons slacks.
She could feel Damien’s hand traveling over her nylon covered thighs up under her skirt. Mason adjusts himself in his seat, moving his hips forward, forcing her lips to part, giving her a taste of the sweet champagne . . .
~ ~ ~ ~
Charlotte’s eyes snap open, staring at the dull white ceiling fan of her bedroom, her hands resting against her thighs, her covers nowhere to be found. With a sigh she sits up, resting her face in the palm of her hands, getting her breathing back under control. She could feel the dampness beneath her, bed soaked from her arousal.
“Damn dreams,” she mutters as she turns her head, noting the empty bottle of champagne that lay on her night table. Then noticing a small white card beside the bottle with the name Mason, and a phone number.
OK, maybe that’s really YKIOKIJNMK, or perhaps even TKINMKBTOK.
In case you don’t already know, or the post’s title didn’t give it away, YKINMK is an acronym for Your Kink Is Not My Kink.
All the rest of the alternative acronyms are just variations on a theme.
For instance, YKINMKBYKIOK then abbreviates Your Kink Is Not My Kink But Your Kink Is OK.
The other two you can figure for yourself. (Alternately, you can use the illustration that Marie Rebel, the lovely hostess/owner/beauty/brains behind Wicked Wednesday has so thoughtfully provided to accompany this week’s prompt – see below)
They are really all designed to provide the same message for the Kink/BDSM community. That is, in the end, a message of tolerance.
we are all outlaws
The reason tolerance is so very important is the fact that within the kink community, and especially within the BDSM community, we are all outside the sexual mainstream. It could be, quite accurately, said that we are all outlaws.
Although it wasn’t the main point of the essay, I touched on this in a recent post here at the Joy of Kink, “O” is for Outlaw No More.
It’s no longer illegal to be gay. It’s still illegal for me to spank my wife. A man no longer has to risk his home and livelihood to suck another man’s cock, but he’s still risking everything if he wants to tie his partner up and slap the cock (and or partner) around a little before he sucks it.
Kink is more common and more accepted in our society than ever before, yet we are still criminalized. When a reckless and misguided individual that was a part of the BDSM community began outing people, it was an offense worthy of being banned from the club.
Because we are all outlaws. Because some of our actives are at best questionable under the law, and at worst outright illegal, we all have a vested interest in tolerance. Your kink may not be my kink, but your kink is ok because we all have to be tolerant, lest the entire community dissolve into a battleground of criminal charges against most every participant.
what about YKINMYAYKIPFU?
Of course the message isn’t universal. YKINMYAYKIPFU does exist.
There’s a lot of debate going on at Fetlife right now about freedom of speech. The debate was sparked in light of the decision to place stronger limits on what cannot be posted and discussed at this site. This decision was taken after Fetlife lost their credit card processor, a result of hosting discussions on some subjects that are taboo.
One vocal group in the debate has been the coprophiliacs. They resent being lumped together with the pedophiles, zoophilics, and incest fetishists. I’ve also read a few rumblings from the zoosexual folk that they resent being lumped together with the pedophiles too. The incest lovers don’t really want to be associated with pedophiles either, at least that’s my understanding. Apparently being a pedophile is like farting in church – nobody wants to sit next to you!
Every one of those mentioned activities – coprophilia, zoophilia, pedophilia, and incest fetishism – is on the average BDSMer’s list of hard limits. Yet, each group had vocal adherents in the FetLife debate.
My point is that the philosophy of “Your Kink Is Not My Kink (and that’s ok)” runs into it’s biggest snags the more extreme the fetish becomes, not to mention the more it falls outside of “mainstream” thinking for the BDSM community. That’s because somebody somewhere is going to find one of your personal hard limits to be their greatest turn-on in the world. Does the philosophy of Your Kink Is Not My Kink (and that’s ok) apply to children, pets, shit, and relatives too?
lines drawn in the sand?
It seems that Your Kink Is Not My Kink (and that’s ok) works fine up to a point, but then there are lines drawn in the sand. Those lines are drawn based on what is considered to be “beyond the beyond” for the person drawing the line. I might allow in the zoophiliacs and the incest fetishists but segregate the coprophiles and pedophiles. You might draw the lines differently.
So, perhaps to be most accurate, YKINMK should perhaps be changed to YKINMKATOKUYKIJS – Your Kink Is Not My Kink And That’s OK Unless Your Kink Is Just Sick.
Dang, like debates about censorship, we are now on a slippery slope. Where do we draw the lines? How do I define some activities as “just sick”, but not others, when mainstream society considers most of what I do to be “just sick”.
Is it like the infamous quote by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, who quipped – “I know it when I see it” – referring to obscenity and hard core pornography?
Who gets to say where that line is drawn?
Certainly, there are cultures where sex with minors is considered acceptable. Some cultures have ritualized the act. Should they get a pass on the pedophilia restriction if it’s a part of an existing New Guinean religion just as some Rastafarian’s argue that they should be given an exception to the law for smoking their sacrament, which is the illegal drug cannabis?
YKINMK – Your Kink Is Not My Kink (and that’s ok)
It’s easy to preach tolerance, it’s much harder to practice. And the lines can get pretty blurry. If somebody else wants to hurl shit at their sex partner, it’s no skin off my nose.
Just don’t do it in my home and we’ll all be fine. You don’t need to offend my nose while practicing your kink.
Touch a friend’s underage daughter, and that’s a different story, at least for me. I’m tolerant, but there are limits!
Where do yours lie?
Your Kink Is Not My Kink (and that’s ok up to a point)
You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars.
~ Gary Allan
Jealousy . . .
It’s one of the most difficult emotions that we have to deal with in our journey as human beings.
Why? Because jealousy, at it’s worst, means you are unhappy because someone (or something) other than yourself is making someone you love happy. Jealousy as an emotion doesn’t feel good for anyone involved.
When I’m happy, I hope and wish for my friends, family, my love and my beloved[ 2. I refer to Sinnja as “my love” and Serafina as “my beloved”. Just because they are submissive to me doesn’t make them any less cherished and loved!] to be happy for me. But, that doesn’t always happen.
Sometimes my happiness can difficult for friends/family/love/beloved because my happiness might mean less for them. Less of what you ask?
It might mean less time together. Perhaps it means my attention will be more likely to be divided. The way I do poly it won’t mean that I’ll be absent more of the time, but that is often also the case for folks who are polyamorous. The addition of a new lover often also means the spouse with the new relationship will be physically present less for their existing partners.
There are only so many hours in the day, and the commitments I make to others usually mean less time for someone already in my life. If there’s a way around that, I’d like to know, because it seems inescapable, at least to a point.
Michael + Serafina + Sinnja
Jealousy is no more than feeling alone against smiling enemies.
~ Elizabeth Bowen
Serafina and I are poly, meaning we don’t confine our love to just each other. We love Sinnja, the wonderful submissive lady who wears our collar, but the fact that she is in our lives does change the relationship between Serafina and myself. In some of our past attempts at forming a triad, Serafina clearly felt as though she were missing out. No matter how I tried to reassure her, she always seemed to feel as though my new relationship meant a loss for her.
Thankfully, that’s no so much the case with Sinnja. The two ladies in my life adore each other. From Serafina’s perspective, our time together with Sinnja doesn’t mean just the loss of some of my one-on-one attention. Instead it means she gets to be with her friend and playmate Sinnja.
When I’m with both Serafina and Sinnja, for instance, it may be more difficult for me to give either one of them my undivided attention. They not only love me, but they love each other very much, so to my mind no one has lost. It may not be exactly the same as one-on-one time with me, but it’s not just a loss for Serafina either.
That’s how I do poly different. I’m not solely Sinnja’s Master, she belongs to Serafina too. My slave/wife has her own relationship with Sinnja. They are friends, confidants, and yes they are lovers too. But, that’s perhaps less the focus in their relationship with each other than in their relationships with me.
That’s OK, not two relationships are exactly the same. And, in a triad there are actually at least four relationships happening all at once.
Michael + Serafina | Michael + Sinnja | Serafina + Sinnja | Michael + Serafina + Sinnja
Now let’s be honest, relationships are not always easy things. Right now something around 50% of all marriages end in divorce, at least that was one of the most recent statistics I’ve heard for the United States.
So, we’ve taken a simple Michael + Serafina relationship and added three more to the mix. It’s a great prescription for everyone to have all their needs fulfilled, perhaps in ways that aren’t possible for a traditional couple. But, it’s also a prescription for lots of potential trouble.
I’m very optimistic that this time is THE right time for our triad. I see so much potential in our current relationship. To my eyes, the future is so bright it’s darn near blinding!
Well, that’s the case as long as we avoid . . . jealousy!
jealousy = insecurity
Jealousy is the fear of comparison.
~ Max Frisch
It could have been easy to feel jealous that anon-neighbor was getting my girl’s attention this night. Not for me! I just sat back and enjoyed the show!
In the end, most feelings of jealousy are based in insecurity. When we feel secure in ourselves and in our relationships, jealousy is rarely a problem.
For instance, my friend Cherub asked me not that long ago how it was that I wasn’t jealous of the relationship between Alpha and Serafina. The affection they feel for each other is more than obvious in the pictures I’ve posted of them playing. How is it that I’m not jealous?
If I didn’t feel secure in the love Serafina has for me, no doubt it would be easy to feel threatened and/or insecure. That’s where jealousy begins. But I know where Serafina’s heart lies. No matter how much fun she has with Alpha, she also knows where to find “home”.
As they say, home is where the heart lies. And, no matter how much affection she feels for my best male friend, her heart is here. I know that, I feel it in my bones. That is entirely what allows me to feel good in not only allowing, but actively encouraging Serafina to play with others.
I’d also be the first to admit that I’ve not always been so “generous”. In my prior relationship with Blissful Torment I struggled much more with poly. It wasn’t that I loved her any less than I love Serafina, it was entirely that I didn’t feel her love the same way. She didn’t give unconditional love very well, and that played on preexisting insecurities I had going into the relationship.
So for me, jealousy is almost entirely based in my own personal insecurities.
jealousy the opposite of compersion
The jealous are possessed by a mad devil and a dull spirit at the same time.
~ Johann Kaspar Lavater
I’m very fortunate these days. I feel self assured enough not to feel jealousy, but instead to feel “compersion” for Serafina when she plays with others.
If you aren’t familiar with the word compersion, it’s definition is relatively simple. According to the Urban Dictionary, compersion is “A feeling of joy when a loved one invests in and takes pleasure from another romantic or sexual relationship.”
Compersion is a wonderful emotion to feel. It’s said to be the opposite of jealousy. I can say with at least some certainty that compersion feels like the opposite of the green eyed monster.
Why then is it so hard to feel compersion and so easy to feel jealousy?
I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but the key to compersion in my eyes is building solid relationships. And, we all know that can be hard work, very hard work.
But, I have to say, in the end, the hard work of building a solid mature poly relationship is unbelievably rewarding. Just don’t think there are shortcuts, there are not. Jealousy can happen overnight, yet compersion takes real time to build. One false step along this road can be fateful and fatal to an existing relationship.
In the end, the big key is to avoid the green eyed monster, all too often the toll it charges is too large for a relationship to bear.
Jealousy – the Green Eyed Monster
Is she fine
So well bred
The perfect girl
A social deb
Is she the sort
You’ve always thought
Could make you
What you’re not?
Is she bright so well read are there novels by her bed
Is she the sort
You’ve always said
Ooo, my jealousy
Does she talk
The way I do
Is her voice reminding you
Of the promises
The little white lies too
Sometimes, tell me
While she’s touching you
Just by mistake
Accidentally do you say my name?
This week’s Wicked Wednesday prompt is about triggers . . .
The above screenshot comes from an article of The Guardian, which was linked on Twitter. If you have anything to say about trigger warnings, now is your chance. But you might want to read the article first.
The Guardian’ s article is (obviously) about the growing movement to attach “trigger warnings” to works of literature. It’s a very good read, and as Marie said, you really should take a couple minutes to take it in, if you haven’t already.
In case you aren’t terribly familiar with the concept of “triggers”, here’s a quote from Wikipedia’s introduction to the concept of trauma triggers.
A trauma trigger is an experience that triggers a traumatic memory in someone who has experienced trauma. A trigger is thus a troubling reminder of a traumatic event, although the trigger itself need not be frightening or traumatic.
Triggers can be quite diverse, appearing in the form of individual people, places, noises, images, smells, tastes, emotions, animals, films, scenes within films, dates of the year, tones of voice, body positions, bodily sensations, weather conditions, time factors, or combinations thereof. Triggers can be subtle and difficult to anticipate, and can sometimes exacerbate post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition in which sufferers cannot control the recurrence of emotional or physical symptoms, or of repressed memory. A trauma trigger may also be referred to as a trauma stimulus or a trauma stressor.
A trauma trigger can can manifest in a variety of forms from exhibiting a changed mental state or physical reactions. A person that is experiencing a trauma trigger may not even know this is happening.
I think that should serve as an adequate introduction to triggers for the uninitiated. And for those inevitably unwilling to follow the link to the Guardian article, let me quote the article’s summation:
There is something more important than a society that’s free from pain. It’s a society in which we feel. That, of course, is the intention of art itself: it’s not meant to shield us from pain so much as offer a vessel through which we can cope, grow and even move past tragedy. If we warn people with a flashing red light that inside great works of literature they are likely to find pain, we do a disservice to the conversations, and the healing, meant to come through the act of reading itself.
~ Jen Doll | theguardian.com | Tuesday 20 May 2014
In terms of journalism, The NY Times article is far more the more balanced of the two. The Guardian’s piece is more editorial in it is reporting, yet I find myself liking it more, as censorship isn’t a topic where my view is balanced.
trigger warnings are just a step down the slippery slope of censorship
My take on the trend towards trigger warnings will be neither balanced nor fair. I can’t discuss this topic rationally. It’s a pet peeve.
I despise censorship. I hate it in all it’s forms, as it’s just a way for one person to impose their views upon another. I don’t want to be inflammatory, but at it’s heart, censorship is intellectual fascism.
Censorship is also a slippery slope, once started down the path it’s not always possible to stop the descent from partial to total censorship.
no we aren’t talking roy rogers’ horse . . . but we could be!
I want to argue against trigger warnings first in the simple name of efficacy. Almost anything can be a trigger, as Wikipedia points out. The key quotation is, “Triggers can be quite diverse, appearing in the form of individual people, places, noises, images, smells, tastes, emotions, animals, films, scenes within films, dates of the year, tones of voice, body positions, bodily sensations, weather conditions, time factors, or combinations thereof. Triggers can be subtle and difficult to anticipate . . . ”
Diverse, subtle, and difficult to anticipate? Sounds pretty hard to avoid, doesn’t it?
Censoring great literature harms only the literature, and may actually protect no one. Memories never truly go away, they just disappear from the conscious mind to reside in our subconscious. Therefore triggers, by their very nature aren’t going to be easy to avoid. The subconscious mind has a way of breaking out and delivering it’s message no matter how much we might wish to repress it.
Sure, a trigger warning might prevent a passage in Shakespeare from causing someone to remember a trauma. But in the end, the trauma doesn’t go away, it’s going to resurface, just with a different trigger. Under that scenario, literature is harmed, and no one is really protected as a result.
What’s the point?
FetLife, censorship, trigger warnings, and me
My biggest problem with censorship is that one person’s vile, repugnant, and/or intolerable rant, is going to be another individual’s vital information.
For instance, I find FetLife’s rule about never mentioning underage sexual activity to be difficult. It’s not that I’m in favor of sexualizing childhood, I’m not! But, let’s be serious – a great many of us were sexual at an age we could never mention at FetLife. I know FetLife has reason’s for it rules, but that doesn’t mean that I agree, and can completely abide by even that form of censorship.
I am a sex abuse survivor. All of my abuse happened before the legal age of consent in my state. So I can’t discuss the details openly at FetLife. I can give generalized warnings, but to go into specifics of the “seduction” and of the abuse would violate the sites TOS.
I lost my virginity at age 13. I will write openly about that here at my own blog, but to do so at FetLife would violate their terms of service. My first experience combining bondage, sex, and submission was at age 17. That’s beyond the age of consent in my state, but it’s still within the realm of US and Canadian laws regarding child pornography. As such, real discussion of the topic is forbidden at the world’s largest social network for kinky deviants like myself.
I think there is important information to be shared from my youthful experiences. Just because they happened when I was young doesn’t make the experience any less valid. Writing about those experiences could be helpful to a youth who finds themselves in a similar position. There are things I might have done to avoid the abuse I suffered, if only I’d known. And there’s the biggest rub for me, in censoring information we find distasteful, we begin to imagine that the world is not a distasteful place to live.
I’m sorry but abuse happens. Child abuse happens. Sexual abuse happens. Terrible violent things are done in the name of religion, faith, misguided belief, superstition, fear, greed, and lust. I’m very sorry, but closing our eyes to them isn’t going to make them less likely to happen.
in protecting myself, I’m a censor, and hypocrite too
I just realized something. And it’s a little disturbing.
My blog carries a warning. To protect myself there’s a disclaimer at the point where a person enters my site asking that those under the age of 18 turn away. Everything I just said about providing information for youth in trouble is rendered moot if they observe the terms of my warning.
That bothers me. It bothers me a lot.
While it may not be a trigger warning, it’s yet another kind of censorship. It’s an example of what I just found myself ranting against, as I said that I dislike censorship in all it’s forms.
My final point is that it’s easy to point fingers, but perhaps a bit harder to put ourselves under the microscope.
I understand why I can’t discuss my teenage exploits at FetLife, they don’t want the legal liability they would incur in hosting such a discussion. I’m comfortable discussing generalities about my background here at my own blog, although I am careful to never give specifics about the sex acts from that time. There are lines I won’t cross either. But that doesn’t mean others should not be free to cross them, should they wish.
I believe in real freedom of expression, I hate censorship with a passion. Yet, I stand before you revealing myself to be a censor and a hypocrite too. The world itself sometimes forces us into compromises we don’t like, so it’s not always clear where to draw lines. We all do the best we can, and hope . . .
the truth is complex, and it’s not pretty
Trigger warnings themselves are nothing but a step down the slippery slope of censorship, the path to book banning and burning.
In part, that’s true because the modern world is a wildly confusing place. The terrible things humanity is capable of are astounding. The wonderful things humanity is capable of are equally astounding. We must acknowledge both sides of that coin.
If we don’t recognize the former, if we turn a blind eye to all that disturbs, we might actually detract from the later. In other words, we can’t celebrate the great achievements and accomplishments of humanity without putting them also into the context of some of our least attractive adventures.
The pinnacles we achieve only show their real height when we also acknowledge the depths from which we’ve come.
I’ve written before about our new love Sinnja. In fact, it seems that she’s been all over the blog for the last few weeks. It’s fairly rare to find a post that she’s not mentioned in during that time span.
Well, I’m here to talk about the relationship again. Imagine that, right?
The Wicked Wednesday prompt this week couldn’t come at a more timely point for me, as the word “considering” is on my mind right now, at least it was on my mind until this past weekend.
There was a change in my status at Fetlife over the weekend. I went from “considering” Sinnja to being listed as her dominant instead. It’s actually a more meaningful step than might be realized from the vanilla connotation of the words involved. And, in the end, that’s what this post is about, what it means to move beyond “considering” a submissive.
Collar of Consideration
The “collar of consideration” is often the first collar given as a part of a BDSM relationship. It indicates a basic commitment by the individuals involved, a commitment to explore the relationship. Although it’s not perfect, the best description I’ve seen written so far came from F.R.R. Mallory’s old Steel Door website, that’s now disappeared. Here’s an excerpt from that piece:
The first collar offered is called the ‘Collar of Consideration’. This identification comes from the Old Guard Leather community, the same source of the Safe, Sane and Consensual code. This Collar is traditionally given at the very beginning of a potential relationship. There are many variations on how a collar may be represented in actuality. It can be by a bracelet, waist chain, anklet or other choice. This is sometimes determined by the situation of the submissive such as job requirements etc. Sometimes it is dictated by the Dominant’s personal taste. The traditional or customary representation of the ‘Collar of Consideration’ is a leather collar in some shade of blue. The actual shade of color is not as important as the color itself.
The Dominant by offering this collar to the submissive is expressing an interest in pursuing a potential furthering of a relationship with that submissive beyond the range of a casual acquaintance or even the relationship between a Top and bottom. This collar is offered seriously and with intent. The submissive in accepting this collar from the Dominant is equally serious in their understanding that their relationship has moved into a different stage. The existence of the Collar of Consideration indicates to other Dominant’s and submissives that the Dominant and submissive are forming a potentially serious relationship. It’s existence acts to openly present to other Dominant’s that this submissive is ‘off-limits’ for the duration of the ‘consideration’ period and that honorable Dominant’s should not pursue this submissive in any manner.
It is understood that new relationships are fragile and vulnerable to both parties involved. Respect for new relationships is shown by adhering to the presence of collars and their underlying meanings. The ‘Collar of Consideration’ does not indicate a lifelong commitment between the Dominant and submissive but might be better considered to be similar to a pre-engagement ring.
I’m Facebook friends with Ms. Mallory, so I don’t want to get too far into the territory of criticizing, or deconstructing, another author’s work. That especially true for someone who I consider to be a sort of casual friend. Just let me say that the “Safe, Sane and Consensual” credo is not an old guard invention at all, it’s newer than that IMHO. The first paragraph is full of issues like that. That part of the essay I generally disagree with, but, plenty of that excerpt is spot on. Otherwise I’d not have bothered to share it with you, my dear reader.
Essentially, the collar of consideration is the high school equivalent of “going together”. Instead of wearing a class ring around the neck, it’s a collar. I don’t want to diminish the collar of consideration by comparing it to a high school tradition, certainly the collar of consideration is more adult and serious than teenage “love”. With that said, it is what it is. The collar of consideration is a step up from being play partners. The collar of consideration indicages a sort of conditional commitment. It says, at least from my viewpoint, that the individuals involved are exploring the relationship, but it’s too new to be truly serious.
Beyond Considering Sinnja
The relationship between Serafina, Sinnja and myself is still relatively new. We’ve only known Sinnja since December, that’s just six months. And, a lot of that time wasn’t devoted to building a friendship, or relationship, it was instead occupied dealing with the most severe Midwestern winter in my lifetime. We’ve only been “playing” with Sinnja for a couple of months now.
But the “play” has been pretty serious, and relatively extensive. We’ve found a wonderful chemistry, not just between Sinnja and I, but also between she and Serafina. We’ve spent every weekend together in that time, and the “weekends” just keep getting longer and longer. Our recent Mischief in May weekend lasted from Thursday until Tuesday, and what a marvelous time together it was!
We’ve shared. We’ve discovered things about each other. We’ve discovered things about ourselves too. We’ve grown, and we’ve grown together. We find ourselves making very serious plans together. Plans that involve far more than weekends and festivals together.
We’ve already grown far beyond simple consideration. It was time to acknowledge how far we’ve progressed.
The first step was a small private ceremony.
I spoke simply of how we’ve obviously moved beyond considering each other, and that it was time to officially acknowledge for the rest of the world what we already knew ourselves. The exact words I spoke were private. I won’t share them here.
No matter the words I used, the point was simple. Now it’s just a question of working out the details. We are far beyond considering!