The Butchmann’s Experience

Rage.

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?

hulk

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.

 

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[M/s 365] A moment of perfection

“Present.” I told Angie last night, as we prepared for bed. She did so.

I ran my hands down her body, watched her face as she slipped into that place.

So did I.

Moment of perfection, of connection. That’s why, despite that folks talk about how much hard work M/s is, or have their own projections of M/s, these moments of connection, of when I feel the surrender, when I can almost taste it on the electricity of the air and connection between us – that is why I do this. Because this is where I want to be.

(picture from: http://pixabay.com/en/dress-reticulum-shoulder-view-495160/)

[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!

[M/s 365] Marriage and M/s – Windshield time discussion

Slave angie and I had a very interesting discussion on marriage and M/s as we drove to Cincinnati this weekend. Probably one of the best talks we’ve had in a long time.

A couple of weeks ago, after I had written the post “Marriage and M/s“, we were having one of our many IM discussions we have during the day… and then out of left field…

s. angie: would you have preferred we did not marry ?
Michael: blink. not at all. it makes perfect sense and was the right thing to do.
s. angie: is there a value other than legal rights to you in it ?
Michael: I have an answer for that, but I think this is a conversation to have face to face. It’s an involved answer.
s. angie: i see

So at this point, I’m hearing the proverbial ice crackling as we are proceeding in this conversation. So, because this was probably going to be an involved conversation we tabled it.

So fast forward ten days later to our drive to Cincinnati. What I found out was that marriage, to slave angie, is tied up in her spirituality and religion. That because of how she was raised, because of how she saw her spirituality and our M/s, that the marriage added a specific spiritual component. It was hard for her to define, and she pointed me to the “Good Wife” Proverb in the Christian Bible (Proverbs 31:10-31):

10 A capable wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.

To her, having grown up with teachings like this, and how she ties her spirituality to the things from those teachings that speak to her, there are many aspects of M/s that sound like the definition of marriage. So to her, in her heart, the two are intertwined.

I asked her “if we weren’t married, would you feel like something was missing?” and her answer was yes. That she would still be happy in an M/s relationship, but that this added dimension of marriage tied it in more completely to her.

It was a very enlightening conversation, because it’s only been in the past couple of years that we’ve started opening up our spirituality and exploring it. So discussions like this are wonderful, as we learn new things about each other, even 11 years later. You would think we would have talked about this a lot sooner, but it was one of those conversations that we didn’t have the language for when we were first putting together our M/s relationship. I think we both were just doing what we felt was right, and didn’t quite have those words and paths to go deeper like we do now.

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[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.