[M/s 365] We’re all not so different

19 hours in a metal tube. That’s about what it was like in flying back to the States from our vacation in Australia. Time seems to stand still on a flight like that – the Earth gliding by underneath. I am pretty much sick of watching movies right now, and I’m missing my new friends from the land down under.

The trip to Australia was filled with workshops and meet-n-greets with the leather, kink and Master/slave communities. We met a cross-section of experiences, genders, orientations and approaches. Far more names and faces than I can possibly remember, but the overall impression I was left is that none of us are so different.

We have different words, different approaches, different experiences and expectations, but whether we’re in the UK, Canada, across the US or even now on the other side of the world, we’re all asking similar questions and looking for similar things – validation of who we are, expression of our kinky/erotic selves and the hope that we’re not so alone or different or bad for wanting these things that we feel so deeply. And whether we’re in a MAsT chapter, a munch group, a leather house, a poly family or a long term committed monogamous relationship, we seek others like us to share and learn from.

The year is almost over for slave Angie and I. And we are left with that impression from traveling around… that we are not so different, and that we can do wonderful things together.

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[M/s 365] Not so 365, But Always 365

1081-1262536827vxcPThe “A post a day” routine has become very hard to maintain, especially with the holidays merging with travel, merging with leather and club events, merging with MAsT events and still the usual to maintain – house, job, grandkids, life. One day moves into the next, and soon you have a year almost over, but a year of so many good things, things that we’ll remember for a lifetime.

This past weekend, we traveled to New York and visited with the Central New Jersey MAsT chapter. Very interactive presentation on “ebbs and flows” from people who truly live what we live and face what we face. The social time afterwards was a mix of overcoming my Aspie shyness and feeling at home with people like me. If there’s one skill I’ve definitely sharpened this title year, it’s been to be able to get over my shyness and come out of my shell, and not have to “fake it till I make it.”

We weren’t able to attend the Metro NYC MAsT chapter’s party, JetBlue decided to reschedule our flight 2 hours earlier. We had a very slow, sit around Sunday and strangely enough, I started getting very homesick. Maybe it was being in such a warm, welcoming space in our friend’s home, opening up their apartment to us to use. Slave angie and I played some Dungeons & Dragons (yes, we play, a solo game that I ran for her a few years ago, and we’ve recently picked back up.) and eventually headed home.

Home. The living room remodeling, the getting back into gaming, the unpacking of the minuatures, the assembling of new furniture for the living room – all of those things are making me feel very grounded in this little circle of angie and I. A sense of the familiar, of the things I love to do as pastimes, it’s helping to fill a bit of a void right now.

Transitions are hard for me. When I transitioned from a way of life prior to getting super involved in leather, M/s and the titleholding and presenting, it was tough. It left me feeling a bit lost and I switched jobs at that same time, so everything felt up in the air. Right now, I think there’s a little bit of that going on. While we have three months left of representing our title, I see the homestretch and the final goal. Of saying “we did the best we could, we went out and shared who we are with as many people as we could” and feeling that we probably could not have done any more than we’re already doing.

So that probably all has contributed to the lack of posting. And yet, with all those things, I’m using a little inspiration to keep me grounded in M/s and leather too… we have a weekend coming up of fundraising at a leather bar that we’re helping with, the Chicago MAsT chapters are meeting in a joint meeting on Domestic Violence, we have another fundraiser that we’re attending and then our leather club’s Annual General Meeting on Sunday – and I know next year I’ll be getting back into the flow of keeping the club going and growing.

I’ve also been reading Laura Antoniou’s new book “The Inheritor” which is the newest chapter in her Marketplace series. It’s not out until February, but she had a Kickstarter recently and one of the perks is getting it early as an e-Book. It’s really good, and it’s been poking me in strange ways, and I’ve been feeling motivated to push through the crud and really enjoy myself. Angie’s got a few cane stripes and a bit more of a firm hand on the leash the past few days as a result. I’ll take the motivation and assistance to get past my natural winter hibernation.

And, on the horizon, I’ve received a request for something I’ve not considered in the past 11 years.

Speaking of which, I’ll close this long missive and say this to slave angie – “Happy Anniversary. While it’s been 9 years of marriage, it’s been 11 years of ownership and it’s been a lifetime, one day at a time, for us.”

[M/s 365] Travelogue – Denver MAsT trip

This weekend, we’ve been immersed in the Denver area MAsT (Masters And slaves Together) community. Both to come and share our experiences and journey as well as learn from the folks here and connect with the Master/slave community. Friday night was a wonderful meet and greet – wonderful hors d’oeuvres, very passionate and engaging conversation with friendly folks. It’s these moments that I wish I could somehow freeze-frame and share with others because these are the moments that really make all the work so worth it – to be around “people like us.” Exchanging ideas and experiences, sharing a laugh and story.

Yesterday, angie and I taught for almost three hours on the cycles of M/s – D/s relationships – “ebbs and flows.” It was held at a local restaurant that treated us extremely well – a BBQ joint called Bennett’s BBQ. The food was good! I’d give them four stars. The presentations went well – we are trying some new techniques based on TED talk approaches and it seemed to go well. Breaking things up into 20 minute segments. Last evening, we shared some personal time with folks at a private dinner event and it was wonderful!

Today is more MAsT and M/s relationship sharing and learning and then we’re on a plane back to Chicago – four day turnaround and we’re headed to Cincinnati and West Virginia. Whew!

We have loved our time here, and very grateful to the hospitality of everyone and the MAsT chapters here. I hope they feel like they got as much in exchange, because we really feel blessed with their kindness and welcome.


Some thoughts about Denver and our trip:

The view here is so moving and spiritual. I’m a woods/forest/hills/mountain man. Give me the earth and rock. Seeing the Rockies is so moving. We drove by Castle Rock yesterday and were so enthralled, we forgot to take pictures. It’s so deceiving to look at “how close” those mountains are and they aren’t that close, but they beckon to my soul. “Come to me. Come explore those valleys and streams and hills.” It’s probably why I dreamed of being a hermit last night.

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The Denver M/s community, I’ve seen at least 5 to 6 times that number, as of Sunday morning. It has almost felt like going back to Master/slave Conference, or to Power Exchange Summit, where we were in an M/s “bubble” – surrounded by people like us. The conversations and exchanges have been personal and impactful – passionate people who want to explore. It’s exciting to be around and it gives me hope and ideas. Things are in cycles, and I believe that my home community, Chicago, is just at a point where the community is small. Right now, the number of “out” Master/slave relationships that I’m aware of in Chicago, through MAsT attendance and/or anecdotal knowledge,  I could count on two hands and have some fingers left over. Those that I have seen define themselves by authority/surrender dynamics as versus sexual dominance or control mechanics. This isn’t a criticism, it’s just a fact. There might be more in the TNG groups or just in more private settings, but it is hard to know for sure.

Like anything else, communities are grown and nurtured, and if there is one thing we’re bringing back to the Great Lakes region and Chicago from the titleholding year, it’s a passion to increase the knowledge and experience of people interested in authority/surrender based relationships. We don’t want anyone to say “Where are people like us?” if we can help it.

7611_725191027574237_5134663846644436381_nMy slave has impressed me to no end this trip. She had to learn a new way of teach our “Ebbs and Flows” class, and adapt to it pretty much in a week, she had to learn and execute service at a formal dining event with people she really didn’t know all that well, or had just met. On top of getting ready and taking care of my desires. She’s done an outstanding job and I’m very proud of her. She always rises to the top and moves mountains.

Good slave.

 

[M/s 365] Formal Dining and the random bits

Tonight, we’re setting in motion something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time. We’re working with friends in Chicago to set up a Formal Dining class and then hopefully next year we can set up our dream of a recurring Formal Dining evening.  I’ve participated in a private formal dining experience a few times and they’ve always been enjoyable experiences. I’m sure being a host will be a different sort of experience, but it’s one I absolutely think would be a fantastic experience.

Tomorrow will be a trip down to Evansville IN to meet with the MAsT chapter there and meet the wonderful folks downstate. We will be presenting on Health Issues/Disabilities in M/s. This has been a class we’ve taught a great deal in the past six months and I find that we are refining and updating it as we go. Most recently at Satyricon, a topic came up that we haven’t thought of or done a lot of research on, that is, how does a Master or slave go about the business of dating and meeting people with either an obvious issue/disability, or a hidden issue/disability that needs to be disclosed at some point (or does it?). It was a tough question and we didn’t get much time to chew on it. What do you think about that question?

I’ve been working through a Household Manual creation exercise courtesy of the class from Southeast Leatherfest given by Wen and Tess of The Service Arts – http://theservicearts.com. If you are of the type of Master or slave who wants to find organizational tips or tricks, or an intensive class on creating a manual, this is a good one to attend.

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[M/s 365] The value of Master/slave events

Slave angie and I are here in our Master/slave bubble at the Master/slave Conference in Washington DC. It’s a four day event with nearly 500 attendees focused on Master/slave and Power-exchange dynamics, as well as the Northeast Regional Master/slave conference. It’s the rare event that focuses strictly on M/s dynamics and P/e dynamics, very similar to Power eXchange Summit we visited in Columbus in June.

I deliberately called it a bubble because of the focus and time it gives us to connect, to think, to be among like-minded people who are also focused on the M/s dynamic. We’ve found that is so important to help us – sometimes to learn from examples, or to hear some speak about their experiences and come to a realization. Last year was a blur, but this year, we are gravitating towards classes and discussions that touch on things that are going to help us here and now.

These types of events were unheard of when we started out – while there were kink events and some of those events had relationship classes, the focus and depth of developed knowledge to share and learn from wasn’t there in the Power Exchange area. It was only 4 years removed from MAsT 1999 that we started our journey. MAsT 1999 is marked as the event that started the movement of education in M/s dynamics in the US.

These events, like the classes at GLLA, like going to MAsT meetings, are really what feed us, give us those connections, that sharing and learning and teaching in return. This is our community and our source of knowledge and personal experience.

And now, time to sleep. More classes tomorrow!

[M/s 365] A sacred space

This weekend’s trip to Toronto had a special ending for us – we were invited to present to the MAsT: Toronto chapter, with people visiting from MAsT: Ottawa as well. I was very excited to be a part of another meeting of people from MAsT chapters far from our corner of the Midwest. I find that I learn so much, even if the meeting is as quick as this one had to be… our flight wasn’t going to wait for us.

The presentation was about Spirituality in M/s. It was special to me because I took a class that Master Morris and slave jonathan gave at Southwest this past January, and taught the class for this MAsT meeting. With permission of course – when I asked Master Morris in January if I could use his ideas, he told me “steal all of it as you want, use all that you like” (paraphrasing here.) Well, Sir… your class lived on and it was such a special moment – I came out of today’s meeting as energized and inspired as I had from attending and witnessing Master Morris’s class.

metal-72785_640It’s not my place to share what was spoken, or the methodology used in the class… that is a sacred space. I find, though, that when I am very present and aware and focusing on how my spirituality and M/s have come together, I find words tumbling from my lips that I barely knew I was thinking. Opening my heart to that moment, to express what angie and I have… sitting here 8 hours later, it almost feels like a dream, but it wasn’t. And I will treasure that moment, despite being the back of the Black Eagle and the noise and interruptions… of having that sacred space to have a fellowship that is very rare.