I was reading an article about the new International Power Exchange couple for 2014 – Stefanos and Shay. I was curious what they were like. Then I read this part of the article:
Why did you decide to compete?
(part of answer removed for brevity …)
I think people can perceive Master/slave as “the way” to do power exchange, and if that specific dynamic doesn’t work for them (as it didn’t for us) they may feel that they’ve “failed” at power exchange. Discovering the vast array of alternative power exchange dynamics out there was an epiphany for us, so we are passionate about increasing awareness of these dynamics!
Now that part surprised me… the concept that if M/s doesn’t work for someone, they consider that they’ve failed. The question to my mind was – “why see it as failure?”
So in thinking about this, part of what slave angie wrote about the other day about “slices of life” brought an answer to mind. Many people will look at how others “do it” and rate themselves. The things they see at the dungeon, at the play space, at the bars, at the events and munches… these all are slices and usually ones with a lot of of the negativity taken out. Most people don’t feel comfortable showing up to a munch in a bad mood, or arguing, or to an event and sharing how sick they feel or how much pain they’re in or how the bills have racked up and everyone in the house is stressed out beyond belief…
So when M/s relationships hit these situations, or they fall into ebbs/ruts, or things happen, not a lot of people talk about how to deal with it. Or know where to go. There are resources – events, MAsT chapters or Power Exchange discussion groups, or even other couples… but it’s hard to go up to someone and say “Hey, this really fucking sucks right now and compared to ‘Master Shiny and slave sparkles’ over there, we feel like complete failures.”
Yea, I get that. So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that the concept gets extended to “I’ve failed at Power Exchange period” but I was.
Part of that goes back probably to that slave angie and I were just too damn stubborn to call things failures, although we came close once.
Also, we know how hard this is. That’s probably why our blog/365 sometimes reads as a diary of “hard day” “bad day” “we struggled” — but we are doing that in part to say “Hey, this isn’t easy. It’s not the erotica. It’s not 50 Shades or Marketplace or any of the shiny that you read on K&P on KinkyNet… it’s real, it’s got real life in it, and real life is a pure sadistic bitch.”
And yet, it is also beauty. What lies at the top of each hill we struggle to climb? A beautiful view. What lies at the bottom of a hill that we might stumble down on? A wonderful valley. And those things, those successes, those moments and times when things click, when service is effortless and Mastery feels like music, when it all works, those are the times that we revel in and recharge and rebuild.
We say that when we got into M/s, we “threw out the rulebook” and there’s a great deal of truth and freedom in that. We didn’t have a lot of expectations of how it should work. When we said “we are Master/slave”, it wasn’t with the idea that we’ve already reached the 36th chamber and defeated the boss. We learned to accept that this would be a constant journey with ups/downs.
That’s not to say that there weren’t the comparisons. I remember more than one occassion when slave angie would read a blog of “slave sparkles” and how wonderful things were and how easy it was and she would compare and think herself less. It took some time of working that out – to understand that I set those expectations… but it’s easy to get caught up in that. Hell, I am constantly learning from others, but it takes confidence in yourself to say “I’m going to pull that from this person… ” and not get caught up in comparison-wishing.
So I get how failure could be seen… and there are just people who are not cut out for Master/slave. It’s just not going to work, but it’s not a “failure” to admit such and to say “this isn’t for me…”
I don’t see folks in Sir/boy, Daddy/girl, Puppy/handler, Dom/sub, or any of the other combinations as “less” than “Master/slave.” Different for sure. I think of Master/slave as edge players in relationship dynamics, but that’s my own opinion, which won’t buy me too damn much these days. Not everyone wants to do edge play, or do that kind of edge play. Not everyone is suited for that… but that doesn’t make their rigging, or their flogging or their particular S/m play any less fulfilling, less of a journey… because it’s their journey.
So I’ve wandered a bit so let me try to make this clear – I hope there is some way I/we can reach out to people and say “Failure is not an option.” If you find yourself in the hard parts, that is normal. You can look at our blog, or come talk to us, and find that out. If you decide that M/s absolutely is not for you, then good for you! Find what works, and make it yours.