[M/s 365] The year is over!

A little over a year ago [1], we started a project to blog daily about our lives as a Master and slave, as well as our lives as the International Master/slave titleholders.

Today, that project and that year is over. Last night, a new couple was named International Master/slave 2015 and we have stepped aside. Tired, luggage duct-taped, wallet a little (a LOT) lighter, but we are so much richer for the experience.

We wanted to show the good, the bad, the ugly and the amazing in our dynamic and our year. It’s been a crazy, whirlwind year. We learned a lot about each other and the small, wonderful M/s community around us. In a few days, I’ll hopefully be able to post the video of our step-aside speech, depending on how it turned out.

I don’t know what our future project for this blog will be, but it will not be ending! We’re not going anywhere. Although we never got much traction on our “ask us anything” posts (are we that scary? 😀 ), we did hear from people that you do read us and you do like our posts. Thank you for sharing that, and for sharing our year with us. We’re thinking about doing some video blogs going forward, as that would be a medium that slave Angie would be good at, I think. I’ll continue to write, although without the pressure of trying to do something daily. THAT will be a relief!

Thank you. Thank you for your comments, for your words and just for reading and being here.

[1] According to the Internets, it has been 1 year and 6 days, or 371 days. 🙂

(Picture from: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=93446&picture=race-track )

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[M/s 365] In sync

Packing has always been a stressful experience, or at least it was the first few times we did it together. Over the past year, we’ve come to be a well-oiled packing machine. A combination of using our favorite list service, Cozi (http://www.cozi.com) and just the experience and trust. I can pack in under an hour for a 5 day trip, and slave Angie has learned her rhythm and how to use the tools to not forget things. I’ve learned to trust her, that she will get it done, and she’s learned to accept and cope with my Aspie-OCD tendencies. The melt-downs now are very few and far between. We still forget something now and then, it wouldn’t be a trip without something being forgotten, but by and large, we are in sync and on the roll.

That whole experience is a microcosm for how M/s operates in the long term, I think. It is very rare for an M/s relationship to fire on all cylinders right off the bat. Sure, there’s the New Relationship Energy thing going, all is shiny, but eventually that new shine gets rubbed off and the learning and growing takes on a new direction. Now this is for keeps and I think it is here where couples learn the ins-and-outs and what is going to make them be in sync. It takes time, energy, communication and by that, I mean real communication – the soul searching within one’s self to know and acknowledge what is going on, then the sharing of that and listening, really listening to the other. Sure, Master commands, slave obeys, to do that effectively and positively requires real effort, finding the tools that work, finding the internal mechanisms that help get one through the rough times.

Packing used to be chaotic, stressful, lots of expectations and energy spent on things that just didn’t work. But, that was part of the journey and learning experience. So too, the M/s dynamic. And just as we didn’t stop traveling, so too we don’t give up on our dynamic. The tough times are when it’s really worth it, the growth is possible and obstacle is just that… something to be overcome.

One of my personal dangers and struggles with being in sync is complacency. I get comfortable, I get locked into a particular thing (hello Elder Scrolls Online, or Skyrim, or Dungeins & Dragons, or stock car racing, or … ) and I will assume that the “in sync” is going OK. But like any other skill, practice makes perfect, and practice and exercise need to happen. Those skills we learn in being in sync, that energy and emotion where we have that connection and we “feel and do” without even being conscious we’re doing it, that all needs practice and not setting aside. I’ve learned that to my chagrin a few times in the past. So I know it is there and when slave Angie raises the “I’m missing you, Master” flag, I’ve learned to recognize it.

There is no other feeling like being in sync though. When the two move as one, when it is so effortless and we work together as a well-oiled machine. It just feeds my ya-ya on how I always pictured an erotic M/s relationship should be.

[M/s 365] One journey ends, another begins.

splf2015

In about 36 hours, we’ll be taking our final flight as the current International Master/slave to return back home to South Plains Leatherfest and our step-aside. An extremely bittersweet moment. We’ve mostly kept it together, mainly by being busy (hair-on-fire busy, actually) but like any other journey, time and the travels come to the end of the journey. (PS. If you’re going to be there, please come say “HI” please!)

We started out just under four years ago and the people we are today are not the people who nervously decided to send in an application to a brand new state contest. We will be learning lessons from this journey for years to come, as we move on to new things. We are starting to think about all that though. On our way back home from Louisville this past weekend, we were remembering some really funny moments from our year, and the good moments.

We both agree that the best part of this whole journey has been to share and learn from so many people across the world. Talk about privileged! To have had the chance to meet wonderful people and learn a little bit about them, about their hopes and interests and dreams and questions. When else would we have had this chance to be so blessed and to have found a vibrant, passionate community like the Master/slave community?

We’re going to have more to say when we get past this weekend, but in the meantime, I wanted to share bits of the “The Road Goes Ever On” from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. About ourselves and the couple who will be on the road next come this Saturday evening…

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!

Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.

(from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkein)

long-way

[M/s 365] Feeling it

We finished our last event as the current International Master/slave titleholders in Louisville this weekend, having a wonderful time in Louisville at the Bluegrass Leather Pride weekend. Bittersweet and actually a little rocky – slave Angie wasn’t feeling well and I was just “off” in how I felt like our classes flowed. Folks seemed to like them, and learn from them, but you know how it feels when you’re not hitting the notes or doing the things that you expect to be doing? It was one of those.

Thinking on that reminds me that sometimes we’re not feeling our roles, we’re not feeling particularly Masterful or slavey-like. Feeling sick, life has us down, or we’re just tired, or for whatever reason. This is the point where a segment of the kink community says “well, go ahead and put that on the shelf, go back to being ‘real’ and when you’re ready, pick it back up again.”

And for many folks, that works. That approach is valid for people who need to have D/s and M/s be something that is a scene, or a thing that is an assumed role.

I used to be like that, but I’ve changed and slave Angie has changed and now — well, it’s like from the Velveteen Rabbit, when Skin Horse explains the change:

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

Our hair has been loved off, and we’re probably a bit shabby with the new relationship energy worn off, and time has whacked our joints a bit… but even with the energy being off, even when we couldn’t visit the dungeon because it wasn’t a good day, we’re still who we are, we still process those feelings and those moments and yet we are still Master and slave. That bond, that surety of who we are grounds us, and we know that we’ve become and there is no going back. Once that door has been opened, and those changes have happened, well, we can’t put it down. And I wouldn’t want to.

It was scary and the hugeness of this whole thing still leaves me in awe, although now it’s not so scary. Rather, it’s the comfort and security and knowledge that despite how we’re feeling it, we are who we are.

[M/s 365] Playing the Master card

“… because that’s what Master wants.”

Simple words. Simple phrase. I call it playing “the Master card.” At the end of the day, with all of the authority lying with me, I can say “because I said so” and that is the way it is. No explanation needed, no discussion has to be had. No compromise. My way or the highway. I can say it pleasantly, I can say it angrily. It’s the line that doesn’t get crossed. “Because Master said so.”

I think that overusing the Master card would be harmful to my M/s relationship. There is never a doubt in my mind that slave Angie would follow me even if I played that card each and every time… at first. After awhile, it would start to feel all one way to both of us. If I’m leading in a vacuum, without regard or interaction, it becomes sterile. And that’s not what I’m really after. I don’t want an underling, or a functionary, simply mindlessly obeying orders. I want a companion who has surrendered to me – but one where there is a natural, comfortable, daily communication. That communication is there if she’s curious, if she wants to know context, if she wants to learn more to be of better service, or even if she wants to offer a possible alternative, or if I want to explore an issue and search for the best, most harmonious answer.

And yet, sometimes I think under-using the Master card can also be detrimental. Sometimes, the situation calls for it and if I don’t play it… well, Nature and strong-willed slaves abhor a vacuum.

I’ve been thinking of how to explain when and how I know when a simple “because Master says so” is required. It’s hard to know, because it can be stressful. It can be involved with an upset, or lead to an upset, or it can be part of a correction. It can be a moment where I don’t read it right and put my foot down, only to realize I put it through the floor when it wasn’t required. That’s part of the deal of being on the Master side, and knowing that you might not get it 100% right 100% of the time.

Part of that card is also letting slave Angie work through the issue. If the situation is related to an upset, or my slave is obeying, but I know she is struggling with some aspect, I have to let her work through it at her pace. Pushing isn’t going to get slave Angie anywhere – she’s going to eventually get to a point where she can either communicate her struggle and we talk about it, or she’s going to overcome the hurdle and grow from it. When service is hard is when we have the most opportunities for finding new places in ourselves.

If you haven’t guessed, we had a situation in the past couple of days where I had to say “Master said so” and it was involved with a minor upset. I let her work through it, although it wasn’t much of a pleasant night for either of us, as the upset happened right before bedtime. It was really minor as compared to what I’m writing about, but the situation made me take a look and break down how the “Master card” works.

(picture from: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=484&picture=a-credit-card )

[M/s 365] Ask Us Anything – the LAST ONE!

Wow, time flew by so fast, that we’re already at the beginning of March, which is roaring in like a wet, cold, angry lion! Didn’t even notice that we had hit that time for “Ask Us Anything!”

This is the VERY LAST “Ask Us Anything” … as in 2 weeks, our 365 days of (trying to) blog daily will be OVER! We’ll go back to a more normal “when we have something really good to say” schedule, I think.

So…

At the end of the month, we give our readers a chance to ask us anything. We’ll answer it in a post within the next week. It can be about anything… our life, our protocols, our sex life, what our plans are, what we like about being titleholders… what room are we planning to destroy next in the remodeling.

… So ask away! Anything about our past month, or something we’ve written about, or something you’re just curious about?

February was a whirlwind month, with our Australia trip and now the upcoming step-aside has been very much on our minds. Thank you for sharing our adventures with us.

– Master Michael and slave angie

[M/s 365] Our story on StoryCorps and more about being out

Last week, slave Angie and I interviewed each other about our M/s dynamic and story for the StoryCorps project, a effort by folks to get stories of Americans into the Library of Congress for historical documentation and purposes. They describe themselves as “one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition and on our Listen pages.”

storycorp

It was a wonderful interview, ranging from our first interests to how we came into the scene, to how we discovered M/s and to how we live our M/s on a daily basis. What a wonderful thing to be able to send into the future.

The only real issue came up when it was time to release our story, the question of the possibility of having our real names made available on NPR and the Internet made us really evaluate what we wanted.

You see, the process of being “out” for us has become a complex one, especially in light of what we’ve seen now in two recent public negative reactions to the concept of a consensual, erotic Master/slave relationship. We’ve always been on the practice of “not hiding, but not forcing our way into the conversation.” In other words, if people want to seek us out, if they find us, we are who we are and that is what they will see. At the same time, we understand the risks and therefore we take a light step. We don’t want to force ourselves into a conversation. And having a snippet of our story end up on NPR’s “Morning Edition” with our real names wasn’t something we wanted.

Unfortunately, StoryCorps doesn’t (yet) have a release system that would allow me to use my authentic, but scene-only name of “Master Michael” if the story made it onto NPR/Internet, and yet have my real name as part of the recording kept at the Library of Congress. I had to make a choice of one or the other – use my scene name for both media and historical purposes, or use my ID name, or limit the release. Ultimately, we chose to use our ID names, but limit the release.

I don’t want to give StoryCorp bad press here, because the recording was amazing and the experience was wonderful. We’re thinking about editing it and releasing it here on our blog. I think that we should be able to record our stories and share our experiences. And they were willing to listen and talk about it, but ultimately it wasn’t the choice we wanted to make. I think that might be something they want to consider in this age of Facebook-name-antiLGBT-activism, LGBT people still being bullied and murdered, consenting kinky adults being forced from their jobs and losing their children. We all have stories to tell and share and put forward into the future.