It has been roughly a year since I began blogging. At the time I was working on two book manuscripts, but there was so much other stuff going on in my life and my mind that I needed an outlet. Enter the blog.
My forays into D/s were in part motivated by a desire to feel “it” in relation to a novel I was working on…and a wish to explore love in the context of submission…surrender as bliss.
What do I mean? Since I was young and first experienced a crush (boy, it was always for the prettiest girl in my class, and I can still feel them fresh), that love yearning that existed in me was tied to submission. And as I have grown, particularly over the past year, I have discovered that there is a kind of bittersweet poignancy to how I feel love, and how central submission is to that, but also how tightly bound up with gender it is. Love for me carries nothing of a desire to conquer. It is open and soft, purple and warm, and requires me to be vulnerable. It is like offering my heart each time.
Do you know the Irish Claddagh ring? I didn’t either, at least not until recently, and then I saw one in a jewellers and asked about it, as it seemed to express in jewellery how I felt when I was taken by someone. And then I began wearing it…and it symbolised at the time that I had given my heart to a dominatrix. And that is how we come full circle, as sitting at the root of my explorations in D/s is this question. Can a woman love and respect a submissive man? The answer is, of course, and nowadays, we finally have people emerging from the shadows who live this way. But growing up as I did, I was presented with biological, social, and other arguments against it…and in my darkest moments, wondered when, if ever, would a woman that I had a crush on, would see the submission in me, and want it, want to feel it wrapped around her, sustaining her, feeding her, loving her?
Of the two books I was working on, one of them was about exactly this. There was a dominatrix and slave out there who had totally inspired me, and I was desperate to meet her, and him, to talk about this. That didn’t quite pan out, but she has become a kind of pen pal, and she writes to me only rarely, but when she does, her messages seem to land in my inbox with a timing that I could only describe as divine. And her “voice”, the way she writes, speaks so clearly and beautifully, that I am blessed to have her as a guide. Last year, I had reached a kind of impasse that can be best be described as a struggle to write about things that one has never done, and she and her slave had reached a kind of D/s nirvana, a kind of beautiful equilibrium point, even though she is a professional and he is a client, they have found perfect harmony as client/provider, master/slave, have achieved a deep and lasting relationship that is also a friendship, but that is not in competition with her own loving relationship outside of the D/s dynamic. Bliss.
“Write what you know,” is one of the great truisms. I needed to do so that I could feel what it is really like. I also had a desire to soak up what happens in the world of the pro-Domme as some basic knowledge of this was central to the storyline. Please don’t misunderstand, this “research” was incidental to a genuine desire to experience and explore, and to go into D/s as deeply as I could, as quickly as I could.
I am not even vaguely suggesting that the explorations I made were not deeply emotional and spiritual, so fresh and new, and utterly unexpected. They were. And I found my muse in a dominatrix who altered the course of my life.
And that really worked at the beginning, as I found my creative impulses go into overdrive. It was delirious. But it didn’t last. About 6 months in, things began to go off the rails…and I take one measure for this…I stopped writing. I was still blogging, but that isn’t the same. There is something about the intent of writing a novel or a cookbook that is absent from a blog, which is more like an exercise in thinking out loud—at least for me—and something I was never really very good at. Major alarm bells.
But post away I did. And my daily postings soon supplanted the 1,000 word a day minimum that I had set myself, and which had coalesced into the 15 chapters of the novel that I wrote a draft of…And then, it all stopped.
What are people reading
It seems that I have ended up writing most about D/s. That wasn’t my intent when I started, though I can’t say what was. I guess it was going to be organic. My favourite posts, the food ones, the recipes, are the least popular. The most popular by far are the ones I write the least frequently—the ones on wellness, health and fitness. While the kinky/BDSM ones are the most frequent, they are only middle-of-the-road in terms of readership. Oh, and the implosion of my marriage seems to be popular.
Conclusion, I’d like to step back and take a look at what I am writing and why, and to align that with my life and this blog.
Where this is going; where I am going
As soon as my D/s relationship ended, my creativity came back. I have two posts left on this topic before I drop it for a while—one I wrote and didn’t publish last November, about what was going wrong and why the D/s dynamic had become untenable…and the second, a gratitude post, on what I have learned and how I have grown. But my deliberate writing—two cookbooks in process, and now the novel coming back into shape, and in serious need of editing, are competing for time and attention. I have an editor for the two cookbooks, and that means pressure, deadlines, time in the kitchen, and a very methodical approach to working that will result in finished books.
I also feel that they are representative of the future. Though these books will be published under my vanilla name, the time is coming very soon when I will be able to link my vanilla name to my this blog, to my transgender self, to live entirely without shame.
Coming out is really just shorthand for being me. And this has all kinds of implications not for who I am, but for what I do…I believe very much that what defines personhood are acts. The closer I get to being truthful, the happier and stronger I become. And while being transgender is a big part of it, it is true of all of it. Shame has no place in life. It is a cancer, and it needs to be shed. When I am out and about, I do feel that I am creating space not just for myself, but for other people who live in fear, who live in shame. I have yet to experience negativity. And I think that what you give is what comes back to you—when you put out positive energy, people respond to it with positivity.
I wrote about taking the train with several hundred people who were frowning at me in one way or another. And I didn’t care. I felt a swan. And out of this sea of people, a woman said to me, “he says the dumbest things,” of her husband who was standing next to her…and then she said, “where are you from?” with a big smile as she took in my outfit. I told her. “Oh, do you speak Italian?”
“Yes,” I said.
“I am Italian,” she said, “but I don’t speak a word of it. I got a letter from my cousin, and I’ve been carrying it around for years hoping to meet someone who spoke Italian. I’ve got it in my car, can I go and get it?” We sat down together, and I told her what it said. She was delighted and very grateful. And there you have it. The beauty lies all around us…we don’t even need to go and look for it. It will find us.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.”Aristotle
This isn’t first time I have referred to this inspiring quote. I see this quote as a happy bedfellow for the following morsel from Arabic culture:
“The measure of a person is the works that they leave behind and the love that they cultivate in those around them.”Arab proverb
What this all means for me is that how I live my life is changing and changing radically for the better. I can’t think of a time when I have been happier, or busier, and this is a bit nuts considering the chaos in my personal life. I guess that means that it is a good thing.
There are a series of threads that have run through my whole life, passions, hobbies, interests, but without a unifying theme. I begin to see how connected they are. They are all about healing. At the start of the year, I began a Master’s program on the healing arts at a wonderful Ivy-coated New England University. It is an eclectic degree, and one which takes in a wide variety of disciplines, from food and nutrition, to herbal medicine, to gender and politics. I had originally thought I would get a license as a psychotherapist—a kind of fallback for the retirement life I seek, but I missed a deadline, and in truth was not overly enamoured with the years required for licensing, the pain of having to intern for a few years before being able to go into practice, and then being tied to the state where I qualify–and I am not even sure I really wanted to make that kind of one-on-one therapeutic relationship a calling.
As my hypno-therapist says, “you don’t need a piece of paper to be a healer. In my case, it did help you to find me. But I am a spiritual healer, that is why I am here.” She is right.
Even so, psychotherapy idea still sits in the program that I have designed in conjunction with a distinguished faculty member, and one who has encouraged the diversity of approach to the various topics. Think have and have-nots…a kind of scourge of the modern world. It is hard to fathom that the United States is now the most unequal society on the planet, in the history of the world…and that is a backdrop to all of the topics, whether that is food, access to healthcare, economic opportunity. My coursework explores this central theme from an economic, political, and social justice standpoint, but in the end, it is about doing…the kind of practice (or praxis) that is consistent with the theory.
The path that lies ahead of me is to be a healer, and I know exactly what I am aiming at. I want to see the end of toxic masculinity.
And as I begin to find a groove in this material this is what will shape this blog going forward, as well as my non-blog writing, and more acutely, my life.
Too much Work
I have been “on the beach” for the past two years, in a kind of weird situation where I am being paid to not work…and since I am congenitally unable to sit still, I have filled my life with all kinds of fun things: sport, reading, beach lazing, writing, a rollicking time with a dominatrix, active engagement with 4 therapists and peripatetic engagement with several more. In short, boy, have I had fun.
And so, in the spirit of getting to the end of my Masters faster than the recommended pace, I decided to double up. After all, I wasn’t working, so had the time. Forty hours a week seemed doable. But then I got a full-time job, and so now I have 80 hours a week committed. A friend helpfully suggested that I postpone the course work, but no way. Could never do that. What this means, however, is that until this semester ends, which is July, I am going to be flat out.
Throw into the mix one sold manuscript, another one being actively pitched—and both of which are in the hands of an editor, plus this burning desire to crack the novel having now figured out how to write it, and I am swimming in it…not a moment to spare.
Father, Father, Where Art thou?
And my father is dying. I am not feeling what I “should” be feeling, but I have posted about why. I visited with him over the past days at his bedside in hospital, and I remain dumbfounded by his inability to reflect on anything, to reflect at all on his role in the destruction that lies around him—his own divorce, his philandering, bullying, and brutish behaviour. His physical and verbal abuse of his children, of his spouses. I remain flummoxed as to why I am the only child he never struck (that isn’t to say that he didn’t physically dominate us in other ways), not even for a spanking. Even my sister got hit. The only guess I have is that he saw in me that it was a red line, that either he didn’t dare, or that he knew of my sensitivity, sensed it, respected it.
I forgive him for his abuse and for his lack of introspection, but I don’t think I will miss him. I lost respect for him as a child, and it has never come back.
But who knows. I may have no clue about a hidden emotional landscape that will come bubbling to the surface upon his death. My mother’s death is what provoked this journey in the first place. The feeling that the roof was lifted off of my life.
No time to blog
Not surprising really, is it?
I’ll be back with the two posts that I have on the range…and from time to time, others that have been written, just not edited (in other words, catching up, recalibrating)…and in the meantime, I’d love to hear from anyone about what resonates here. I do love the feedback from those who have found in these posts something that has helped them in their own lives. Who could ask for more?
And where will this lead? I see this blog flowing with my direction of travel, leaning into the wellness space more and more, leaning into the food world more and more. Somehow reading about a cake recipe thus far has been less interesting than reading about whippings. Oh well. Will have to think about how to reconcile the two.
I also think I need to work on making the site “better”—the links more relevant, the way recipes work more useable, to make the content and menus easier to navigate…to tie the themes together more explicitly. Plenty to do. Thank you for being here.
What’s it mean? It means taking the time to be intentional. To be conscious. Aware of what I am doing and why. And not hiding behind a wall of busy-ness.