Pure, red-hot, all-consuming rage.
My pulse is pounding in my ears. My heart is beating so hard, a brief thought that I might feel palpitations.
The rage is screaming down my nerves, down my spine. My jaw is locked. My eyes are narrowed. My breath is shallow.
Someone is whispering close to me to someone else, I think. SHUT UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP! I WILL RIP YOUR FUCKING TONGUE OUT!
Someone, with a frame drum, raps out a sound over me. My body jerks in surprise. MOTHERFUCKER I WILL TEAR YOUR BALLS OFF AND SHOVE THAT DRUM UP YOUR ASS! I shake my head and grind out the words “No! Stop it!”
I am lying on a massage table, wrapped in saran wrap and a bit of duct tape and I am feeling murderous rage, the type of which I haven’t felt in decades.
But let’s take a step back… what am I doing, why am I mummified and why the hell am I ready to Hulk-out and go into berserker mode?
The Butchmann’s Experience is billed as:
… an experiential weekend offering opportunities for self-discovery. The event uses hands-on basic SM practices to explore awareness of internal direction, and it uses the practice of Master/slave dynamics to mindfully observe inner resources and qualities that are transferrable to our relationships in life.
The activities of flogging, ritual temporary piercing, mummification, and Responsibility-Obedience practice are further explored through in-depth discussions. The weekend environment is structured to encourage safely entering new experiences, with the Faculty members supporting each individual’s unique experience.
We’ve heard from many friends who went to it that it was “life-changing”, “amazing”, “I go back every chance I get” and a lot of other glowing reviews and stories. It seemed like an opportunity for slave Angie and I to have an experience and see what we could learn.
I did the research to know that there are several aspects of the Experience that might provide a lot of opportunities for us. Part of the experience is to explore M/s dynamics in a safe environment, under the watchful eye of the facilitators, in a very structured and protocol-heavy way… SHOULD you choose. Another part is to give and receive floggings, piercings and mummification… SHOULD you choose. Almost every aspect of this was optional – the water was put into the glass, but you had to make the choice to drink it.
So we arrived at the location in Cincinnati Ohio this past weekend. While Butchmann’s is based out of Phoenix, Arizona, they also do “On-the-Road” experiences in other locations. Some of the weekends are pansexual, some are men-only or women-only. For the weekend, the cost was not that prohibitive at all, though we did have to pay for our hotel, which was fully explained.
At the meet and greet, we saw that we knew over half of the attendees and half of the facilitators. It was comforting in some sense, but a bit intimidating, because if this experience lived up to its reputation, we would be experiencing and sharing in very vulnerable and intimate/deep ways. Not sexually, but far more personal and revealing of our hearts and souls than we were used to.
One of the things that happens is that couples have the opportunity to go through the weekend “together” or separate. The class is divided into “Masters” and “slaves.” I put that in quotes because those are the terms, but it is not an M/s relationship where we go home with someone else. This is not Master-swap or slave-trade reality TV. It’s simply a structured way that the participants explore concepts of service and M/s based activities. Primarily through heavy protocol based activities.
Slave Angie and I discussed our thoughts on the drive from Chicago to Cincinnati – a long 6 hours – and we both were aligned on how our best growth comes when we are out of our comfort zone, when we are challenged. So, I decided that she would be assigned to someone else and that I would be assigned a stranger. Tough! I’m not one to easily share or to easily receive service from others, so this would already be a push.
As well, I had decided to experience all aspects of the S/m – give and receive a flogging, give and receive a piercing, and go through the mummification. It was less about turning into a bottom and switching and more about understanding and experiencing the full range of activities.
I’m going to skip ahead, now that I’ve laid out the what’s and why’s. There is so much to process and think/write about from the weekend, that you would be reading a novel in one post. Let me instead go back to the mummification.
The weekend had been a very heavy set of experiences, and most of them were surprising to me, although they all had been positive and very enlightening. I ‘expected’ (hahaha!) that the mummification would be the same. I wasn’t scared or feeling claustrophobic, truth be told, I was more worried about slave Angie in that regards. But I saw she was under the expert care and she looked and “felt” OK, so I was OK as they wrapped my shoulders arms, chest and legs. With a bit of wiggle room in the fingers, and my head unwrapped and my feet unwrapped, I was laid back on on the massage table and a cloth laid over my eyes.
I closed my eyes and began to breathe in a meditative way… in through the nose, out through the mouth. Count the breaths to 10, let the thoughts slip away… and I felt it in my stomach. A warning flicker of energy. Breathe… breathe… breathe… a bolt of energy shoots up my spine. Rage… growing… what the fuck is? Why am I getting angry… and then it was just pure emotion.
Just pure anger and rage, formless, no focus as much as I tried. I must have twitched or shifted because one of those not doing the exercise came over and asked me if I wanted the cloth back over my eyes. I don’t remember what I said, but it felt like venom spitting out of my mouth.
It burned and flickered like a flame. The rage. All I could do was flex and strain. I managed to poke a couple of holes in the saran wrap. HA MOTHERFUCKERS! I OPENED IT UP! YOU CAN’T SEE ME OR KNOW HOW MUCH I WANT TO HIT SOMETHING, ANYTHING, SO GO HAVE YOUR FUCKING KUMBAYA TRIPS BECAUSE I AM DEATH, THE DESTROYER OF WORLDS!
I remember arguing with myself WHY THE FUCK AM I LYING HERE?! JUST SIGNAL AND THEY’LL CUT ME OUT. FUCK THAT!!! I’M NOT A WEAKLING! I CAN SURVIVE THIS! I remember getting angry at slave Angie. I wanted to free myself, but because I was close to her, she’d probably hear it, feel that I was not in a good place and it would ruin her experience. And I was angry at that. Why should she come before me?!? What kind of an asshole am I to want to possibly ruin someone else’s experience?!?
And on and on the anger went. It was so unreasonable and a small part of me was just sitting there, observing.
Eventually, I managed to roll my head enough that the cloth came off. One of the facilitators came up and I manage to spit out “I am done.” the required three times. She cut the saran wrap up to my waist, looked at me and said “You can do the rest.”
AT LAST!!! HULK SMASH!!! I tore off the rest of the wrap, I attacked it, I shred it. Fuck this shit! Fuck this exercise! I fucking hate this! I was so angry that I was shaking and could barely stand, but I did because dammit, I was going to!
The odd thing was that almost as quick as the anger came, it left. I was there to help cut slave Angie open and greet her with a glad heart and smile. I joked and chatted with everyone during lunch and participated in the group talks after, but I was dreading the debriefing from the mummification. I was sure everyone else had a wonderful journey of exploration and here I was, going to be the downer of the party.
So everyone shared in the debrief, and slave Angie was in tears about her experience. So it came down to me and another person, who I knew had a great experience… so I told them.
And of course, the people around me had seen, felt and known about my rage, my anger and the energy I was apparently VERY obvious about! *sigh* Hulks apparently cannot hide. What was amazing was that not only did they accept my experience, they validated it as genuine, as “OK” and as perfectly acceptable as the happy-trails that others had felt. Even with the point that “I intend on never ever fucking doing that again!!!!”
I’m still not sure what the anger was about, where it came from or why. I know that when I was younger, that anger was a constant companion. I was always angry. It was quick and fiery. It was a source of strength and of focus and passion. I played angry, I fucked angry. It even used to be that in some S/m scenes, I would tap into that energy… so that it was like using high-octane additive to the energy of the scene. Hard to describe, but there it is.
I only know that this was an experience I do not regret… but do not want to feel that anger again. I’m sure I’ll get an idea of the “why”… or maybe I won’t. Maybe it was just provided to me and now I get to do “something” with it.
I will write more about the Butchmann’s experience and the lessons that I might have from it. I know some already, and I’m sure more are coming. But this… this was riding the lighting.