The kids will be ok

My mouth was moving, and my brain was sitting back, listening. That’s always an abrupt realization, that I’m speaking and those words are coming from SOMEWHERE, but I have no idea where.

“The kids will be ok.”

I’m at Master/slave Conference this weekend with slave Angie and I was teaching a class on M/s and Leadership. A fun class, one that I never know how it’s going to go, so each time I teach it, I’m a nervous bundle. This time, the class was wonderful. The vibe was open, people were sharing and I was in a great place. Then came the question… “These young so-called Masters and stepping out when they’re early 20s and thinking they know everything..”

That’s when something in me started speaking .. The kids are going to be OK. They’re going to figure it out.

Look, I was 20something once and I was trying to fuck ALL the things. I knew it all, the world was completely open to me and it was amazing! I was invincible, I was hot, I had all the answers!

Then I was 30something, and that was the point I was busy trying to still be 20something. It wasn’t until I hit late 30s/early 40s that I finally pulled my head out of my ass and started learning and listening. I realized that the things I had seen in my late 20s/early 30s… they left an impression. They made a difference. I had learned something from them, even if I didn’t act like it.

Oh gods, I made all the mistakes of y0uth though. I was arrogant. I did dumb things. I didn’t listen. I broke hearts and got into things I shouldn’t have and on and on… but I was OK.

“Well, what about that damn Internet?!”

Well, what about it? OK, the Internet is a vast pool of information, where facts and fantasy live together. Context is hard. Critical thinking is very much needed. But is that any different in magnitude from what I had to go through as a kinkling? No. I could barely find information, what little there was. That was our hurdle. Lack of information. Lack of safety. Lack of understanding the fire we were playing with. But you know what? Those mistakes made me who I am today.

So yes, the kids of today, they have tons of information but the hurdle of context and figuring out what is good information and what is bullshit. But they’ll be OK. They’ll learn. They’ll grow. They’ll make mistakes and it will make them into wonderful leaders and teachers and really hot, authentic kinky folks.

Just like we did.

My job is to do what those old farts before me did… be there. Share the information, watch the mistakes happen, indulge in one or two knowing smiles/nods, but always accept that they’re going to be OK.

After all… I’m 50sometihng and I’m still having fun and learning, and making mistakes. Just don’t tell my body that I’m not still 20something…

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[M/s 365] Phoenix / Southwest Leather Conference Travelogue

It’s been awhile since we were on the road, but Southwest Leather Conference was just held this past weekend and both slave Angie and I attended. It was a nice kick in the rear to get us to shake off the holiday/recovery rust and get back on the road. It’s the beginning of our final sprint as International Master/slave 2014, with traveling to Phoenix, the Mr. Chicago Leather weekend, our two weeks in Australia, a final regional event at Bluegrass Leather in Louisville and then… we finally return to Dallas with duct-taped luggage and many stories to tell.

This conference bills itself as the “woo conference”, as in woo-woo spiritual practices and beliefs. A great many of the classes are about spiritual and S/m practices, or spiritual and M/s – D/s relationships. There are a number of spiritual events, drum circles and a “Dance of Souls” which involves the participants being pierced with hooks or wire w/bells and dancing in primitive rituals with drumming. Pretty intense stuff! Along with all that, SWLC holds a Master/slave title contest and a Bootblack title contest. These feed into International level contests.

A year ago, I had some pretty amazing and intense experiences at SWLC. My history with spiritual is a mixed bag, one mainly of “unbelief” of specific things, but a willingness to accept that I simply don’t know what lies beyond death and the unseen. Although I don’t necessarily subscribe to a belief of afterlife/reincarnation, I also don’t discount it. Last year, I had several experiences that led to me to ask a lot of questions, and then let those questions rest for awhile. This year has been too intense already with the titleholding and travel.

Slave angie was asked to participate as a judge for the M/s contest. For those of you unfamiliar with how “leather title contests” work, you basically agree to “compete” to become representatives of what the title stands for. For the Master/slave titles, our job is to teach about M/s, be sources of information, to represent our dynamic. It’s not about being the “twue M/s” as much as it is about being authentic M/s. To “compete” for the M/s title, you attend an event with a contest, such as SWLC, you participate in an interview where you are asked (grilled) about your dynamic, you demonstrate you can present by teaching a short class, you get up on stage in front of the attendees and give a two minute speech and then answer a “pop question”, usually either a silly or serious nature.

So with slave Angie busy, I presented on Slave Positions, with the help of boy Nick and Irish Girl. I love teaching this class, as it gives someone the ability to put their power dynamic into a real physical expression, and we get to explore how anyone, no matter if you bend like Gumby or not, anyone can feel sexy and demonstrate their obedience and surrender. It’s such a wonderful class. Along with slave Angie, we also presented on Spirituality in M/s – a facilitated discussion where participants get to share how their spirituality manifests itself in their power dynamic. With crayons. It’s so much fun!

Between angie’s responsibilities and my presenting, we didn’t have a lot of time to do much else, although we did make it to Pappadeaux in Phoenix. Wonderful food! We’ve been hearing about it from friends and decided to check it out. Highly recommend the Phoenix location, the service was top notch and the food was very delicious!

The weekend closed with the Dance of Souls. All weekend, slave Angie had felt very tired and judging is a serious business to her, so she was very focused on that job. I had felt like an anchor all weekend. A shoulder here and there to people who needed to share about hard things. An anchor to angie. And yet, my erotic energy was extremely high. I felt like I was floating on a sexual cloud all weekend. So the Dance of Souls, we decided to witness and not dance, but during the event, I ended up “drumming” on angie’s body with rough body play. Slapping, punching, rhythmic patting, the drums would get so loud that my bones and heart were almost in rhythm. I haven’t heard drums like this since listening to the Kodo at the old Chicago Shriners theater.

The weekend was also filled with being at the contest evening events and congratulating the new Southwest Master/slave couple from Denver Colorado – Sir Gareth and toi, and the new SW Bootblack Shelly. We got to hang out with wonderful Masters/slaves and leather men and women. Wonderful conversations, cigars, it was just a wonderful weekend. And the weather… Phoenix was a lovely change to the 70s and sunshine from the single digits and snow of Chicago.

We flew home on Monday, the only hiccup was a very long and lengthy search of my carry-on, due to some police-grade heavy-duty handcuffs that I had won in the silent auction. I think the poor older gentleman searching my luggage was more discomfited by the floggers and cuffs and slave Angie giggles than myself.

Next up, Mr Chicago Leather weekend, then we head to Australia!

Please Tell Us What Is Needed – Crowdsourcing New Presentations

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The very first time that slave angie and I did a kink presentation, we weren’t sure what to think. The audience was kind, but the experience was slightly terrifying. Since then, we think we’ve improved quite a bit. We’ve overcome our shyness and awkwardness. We’ve figured out how to work with each other, when to take the lead, how to flow back and forth.

We’ve also paid attention to what works. We like to experiment with new ideas, with subjects and techniques that make for a more intimate, more responsive, more empathetic approach. We’re trying to move away from the standard approach to the 90 minute event format. We’re encouraging folks to look at this like an on-going discussion – one that we’d love to keep going with people who want to share and explore a subject with us.

In that vein of experimenting, we’d like to know what you’d like to know.

Continue reading Please Tell Us What Is Needed – Crowdsourcing New Presentations

[M/s 365] Being a better presenter – more 1 on 1

A suggestion for event producers and kink presenters – an alternative to the 90 minute lecture. The discussion on BDSM certification, Race Bannon’s comments on mentorship and 1:1 or intimate education, and a plan I have for an M/s intensive has led me to want to suggest something a bit different to event producers.

There’s a rush to have more classes, more presenters and more-more-more. I get that – with the proliferation of events and contests and classes everywhere, it feels like that in most metropolitan area, every week has something different to go see. That might not be doing our community any sort of service. In the face of more-more-more, how are we going to promote real differences in our education? How do we really address the issues, the questions, the problems that people who come to our events want to address? How do we, as presenters, get those opportunities at events where it feels like the flow and pressure is to have students run from class to class?

An approach I have seen, and want to continue pursuing, is the idea of promoting 1 on 1 interactions between presenters and people attending. That if a presenter wants to make themselves more available, that they are comfortable sitting with people in a smaller group or more one on one environment, that events promote that and make that a bigger feature of the event. Rather than having the presenter cram in two or three classes, how about one class and an opportunity in a room where presenters can interact with smaller groups? Or, alternatively, teach smaller/shorter classes and then allow for the opportunity for one one interaction.

TED

The science behind the 18 minute TED talks seems to be pretty sound. What about running 20 minute classes with 20 to 40 minutes of one on one opportunity?

Take our Ebbs and Flows class, for example. I imagine that in twenty minutes, slave angie and I could speak to the points of our class very well. After 20 minutes, we have a sign up list. If people have questions, if they want to explore something more, or if a smaller group wants to explore a specific point, then we have an hour (in a 90 minute slot) to do exactly that.

“Hey everyone who is waiting – a number of people want to explore the idea of creating a specific ritual to ground yourselves in an intimate part of your dynamic. Anyone else interested, we’ll begin in 10 min.”

This is not to say that we start running 20 minute class sessions (although truth be told, I’m starting to think about doing exactly that, in breaking up our classes into smaller, more focused segments…) but to take a different approach.

PXS (Power eXchange Summit in Columbus OH) and SELF (Southeast Leather Fest in Atlanta GA) come to mind as two events that promoted more intimate interactions. At PXS, the producers were very up front from the beginning that we as presenters were expected to make ourselves available for questions after classes, to be present in the social areas, and they challenged attendees to take advantage of that. SELF did something where there were “minute mentors” where people would be available to talk about specific subjects/issues. I’ve seen other events auction off “1:1” sessions as fund raisers.

Why not make this an integral part of our events? Using the concept of promoting some sort of 1:1 into how we present and how the events work with their presenters and attendees?

I get that every presenter might not want to do this. We like to go to events to enjoy ourselves and have fun and learn ourselves. Opening yourself up to that sort of intimate teaching might not be what someone wants to do. And that’s OK, I think there is room for different approaches. I think that if presenters want to, if they feel comfortable doing this, they should be encouraged, supported and events could provide frameworks where this sort of activity could happen.

What do you think?

And please… if you are at an event where slave angie and I are presenting, please don’t hesitate to ask us for some 1 on 1 time. This is what we’re here for as presenters, as titleholders and as people who want to share our values and lessons with our M/s, D/s and kink communities. Worst is that we might ask to do it at a different time during the event.

[M/s 365] Lessons from S.E.E.K retreat

After having some time to process it seems like time is just flying by me these days. It’s so hard when i’m trying to get my thoughts down from one event to the next. So i try. This past weekend i had attended the S.E.E.K submissives retreat. I had an amazing time and the surroundings were beautiful. Only one brief moment late saturday night i had gotten homesick. But that’s an always thing for me and i lived.

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First lesson– Culture plays a role in how we feel a sense of belonging. From commonalities to terminology it differs. The Leather slave, Fetlife, or munch & dungeon going and even title holders. We seem to have differences in where we feel a preference to relate and feel our bonding.  For instance this came up recently, i was asked to wear “formal” to serve at a diner. To a leatherwoman what does that mean ? I’m pretty positive to the group i will be attending our definition is not the same. So this past weekend we set all other things aside to come together on the same grounds and share our experiences, joys and sorrows in this journey as slaves & submissives

Second lesson – No matter how much time i have in the game i feel a sense of awe in the newcomers and less experienced. I take inspiration from them just as much. To see the doors are wide open for them is so exciting and joyous,

Third lesson –  I need these kinds of connections more often to reassure myself and not feel so alone in an ocean, Not sure how the is going to work but i’m going to take them every chance i get.

 

 

[M/s 365] big tough leather girl … ummf !!

Ok so i tried LOL. In the morning i am on my way to SEEK submissive retreat all by myself. Equally excited and in knots. I happen to have this irrational panic when i get lost that really is awful. With lots of help i now have handwritten directions from Master, a printed off map from Google maps and a Garmin. So this just might cover it. It will also be one of the very very rare times i’ve given presentations without Master, There will be nobody to look over at and say “what am i talking  about?”

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Master assures me i can do this and i’m really looking forward to spreading my wings, After all, big tough Leather girl here UMFF!

[M/s 365] 50 Shades of reality

50ShadesofGreyCoverArt(Originally posted this on Facebook) I’m (we’re) going to do it…. I’m going to read 50 Shades. Yea, I know. No, really, I know. Trust me, I KNOW!

When I posted this to Facebook, I got many reactions as I expected – the “oh gawd, that book is t3hAWFUL!” but I also got some thoughtful notes from people looking at it the way I’m looking at it. I’ve lived through the time of the Beauty Series, of the movie “The Secretary” and the movie “The Pet” and we survived. I don’t see 50 Shades as being some sort of kink killer or permanent flood of kinky touristers, but I do see that will happen for a time. I was raised from a “kinkling” on education, on being open and honest to those who seek that path… so if someone comes into our world through this book, then I’d like to give them some lifeline away from the erotica and into what it really takes to make this sort of relationship work. Not that we have all the perfect answers, but we do have our answers for 11 years and counting…

If Angie and I are going to teach about the realities and journeys of Master/slave, if we’re going to have to translate between 50SoG-speak and our language, we have to know that language. With the movie coming out in February, interest in kinky relationships is going to increase dramatically. This presents opportunities for education, or perhaps just for helping people avoid doing something to their relationship that they might not be ready for, or think all the way through.

I know enough of the book, through reviews and readings, to get the general gist of the evolution of the (dysfunctional) relationship in it. So, if I can juxtapose our experiences in M/s and contrast/compare, this could serve as a 50 Shades of Reality. That was the purpose of this blog, but I can see where doing something more focused and accessible might be a good way to fulfill our job just a little bit more.

The things I do…

… so can I borrow a copy from someone? 🙂