The Master/slave Flag Signed ’round the world

Click on each thumbnail to see the many Master/slave community members who signed the flag!

Background – there is a flag that has been used to represent the Master/slave community. First presented to the world by Master Tallen back in 2005, it has been adopted around the world as an easy to recognize symbol of the M/s relationship dynamic and the M/s family’s contributions to the greater kink/alternative sexuality community.

When slave Angie and I became International Master/slave in 2014, we had an idea of what we wanted to do. We wanted to travel as much as we could, visit as many MAsT (Masters And slaves Together) chapter and and Power Dynamics groups as we could; go to as many events that featured tracks and classes on the Master/slave dynamic, meet and get to know as many Masters and slaves across the world as we could! Tall order, considering when there are over one hundred MAsT chapters alone, and the identification of “Master” and “slave” is as broadly used online as you can imagine.

A lot of previous titleholders have told us that sometimes the purpose and meaning of the title-year finds a person in unexpected ways, and that was very true for us. We were attending IMsL (International Ms. Leather) in April of 2014, when we were asked by a very sexy leatherman from South Africa, Jaco Lourens, to sign a flag. Jaco is Mr. South Africa Leatherman 2009/2010. He was touring the States and had brought a Leather Pride flag with him for everyone to sign and then take it back to South Africa to share the US leather community with his home country.

What a wonderful idea! It was then that we decided to do something similar – we would get a Master/slave flag and have everyone that we meet sign it. We would show it where ever we went, so that folks in the Master/slave community would be able to see that they weren’t alone.

There’s a reason that we felt that “we’re not alone” vibe so strongly. Back in the mid-2000s, as slave Angie and I struggled with our path and growth as Master and slave, we looked around for “people like us.” Other Masters and slaves who had similar beliefs and approaches. Surprisingly, we weren’t finding too many of them. Not at the munches or the various discussion groups. There were a few who identified as one way or the other, but their form of M/s seemed to focus solely on sexual and S/m than what we were looking at – service and a “higher calling” as we felt it. There wasn’t a MAsT chapter in Chicago that was open to straight couples; the only Chicago chapter, at the time, was for gay men only. We eventually found our M/s tribe, but we never forgot the feeling of being alone – and we never wanted anyone else to have that feeling.

So, we ordered the flag (actually, 2 of them) from Lifestyle Sewing. I told Nancy that her flag was going across the world, and fortunately we received it in time for it to come with us across the ocean, as we traveled to meet up with the UK Master/slave community – visiting the first European MAsT chapter – MAsT: Plymouth. They were so excited to be signing the flag, we even got a paw print of their chapter mascot, the completely adorable grey-hound, Treacle.

That flag became our constant companion for the remainder of our title year. We took it across the US – California, Arizona, Texas, New York, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan… more than 10 states all told. We also took it around the world, as it came with us to the UK and then on across the world to Australia, where MAsT chapters and Master/slave folks from Sydney and Melbourne signed it. Events like Great Lakes Leather Alliance, Master/slave Conference, American Brotherhood Weekend, Southwest Leather Conference and South Plains Leatherfest. MAsT chapters and kink events, we shared the M/s community with people through the flag and they signed it. Virtually every inch of the face of the flag has a signature and message on it.

The thing we took away from our experience with the flag, as well as from our title year, is that there is a very vibrant, but still small Master/slave community. Now, we’re donating the flag to the Leather Archives & Museum, so that they may display it and have it available for the M/s community of the future – so that they too can see that they are not alone, that there are “people like us.”

And pictures of us with the flag from our title year.

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Presenting the flag to Master Rick Storer at the Leather Archives & Museum in Chicago.

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A most epic drop

I think one of the unwritten effects of stepping-aside of being heavily focused on kink/leather events and presenting is that the stress it creates on a body and psych. There is a huge reward in doing something we were called to do, but the amount of home-body-ism that we’re both feeling, the illnesses we’ve suddenly been dealing with and the almost nesting we’re doing seems to fit a rubber band effect of having stretched ourselves very far, then suddenly, it’s over.

In the end, we’re doing OK, but this has been a bit of a rougher landing than we anticipated. I’m very much home-bodying on painting my little figures, playing games and just enjoying some down time. Slave Angie has been doing much the same, while preparing for her upcoming surgery.

During this ebb, we’ve been sharing a lot of how we’re doing, with some scrapes and glitches. Transitions are not easy and we’re feeling our way through this one. I can feel a sort of “leveling out” happening, as we get to figuring out what this feels like. Plus, the month of May always brings IML (International Mr. Leather) to our lovely city of Chicago.

(Picture – that’s what that drop feels like – from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=3127&picture=top-of-highest-cliffs-in-the-world )

Coming back to Earth

With our stepping aside as the current International Master/slave, the drop has been quite sudden and a little more steep than either of us thought. On top of that, my work has ratcheted up a few notches and let me know that the flexibility we’ve enjoyed with the title year is now over. THUD. Back to earth. Adulting sucks sometimes!

On top of that, a member of our leather family is ill and in the hospital after a suicide attempt. THUD THUD.

Add on top of that, we’ve had busy nights each night this week. Not a lot of connection time as I had hoped. THUD THUD THUD.

Add in some financial realities which have reared their heads, on top of the normal stress and it just makes for a “What the hell… can I go back to 2014!?!”

In all seriousness, this too shall pass. The Sun comes up tomorrow. We’ll get through it. We’ll move on. Some of these things, we saw on the horizon, and it’s just now that we can devote the full attention and energy to them.

This is the part of the whole deal that they can’t prepare you for. That sudden end of the year, that sudden drop, that the spotlight moves on (for better and for worse) and it’s now up to you to say “OK, what next?” and to take care of yourselves.

Of of the things that our title adventure has done has been to put us through reforging our relationship again. Toughen it up, hone the edges and show us just what we’re capable of. There’s a different feeling in us these days, a feeling of “fuck yea, we did it, we got this, we can get through just about anything” that comes with having done it. That’s the bonds of a long term relationship, the foundation and the bedrock that is solid and has gotten even more solid through these experiences. It’s those things that we’ll use as we adjust to the changes going forward.

Ohana and Thank Yous – our Step-Aside Speech

Slave angie and I stepped aside this year at this past weekend’s South Plains Leatherfest. SPLF is the home of the International Master/slave contest. We’ve had a wonderful year, but it was time for our year to come to an end and new titleholders to be selected.

A quick explanation because I know that the terminology of leather/kink titles and title-holding can be a little odd to folks who don’t know about them. “Step down” or “Step aside” is what happens when the term of the title is complete. Most titles go for about a year. So when that year is up, the current titleholders step-aside or step-down and new titleholders are chosen, if there are contestants. Usually, the out-going titleholders are allowed to make a speech, to put an end-cap on their year, perhaps to share it and to let people know how they feel about the year.

We weren’t able to shoot video, although we’ll watch YouTube and Leatherati’s channel to see if they did. We were, however, allowed to make an audio recording, which we’re very happy to share here with you. This speech was somewhat planned, somewhat ad-lib, but very much from the heart about our “ohana”, our journey and discoveries.

We’re also happy to say that our successors are Master Kevin and slave feyrie from the Southeast region of the US. As I said to them – “Buckle up. It’s one helluva ride.” We both wish them well and hope they have as much fun in their coming year as we did this past year.

[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 )

[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

Australia traveling – leaving Sydney

As fast as it came, now it’s done… tomorrow, we fly out of Sydney to Melbourne. Looking forward to meeting our friends there, but sad as we really only scratched the bare surface of Sydney itself. What a gorgeous, beautiful city and surrounding area. We made it to the Blue Mountains and Manly Cove/Beach. We toured the Opera House and drove around the city. We met some wonderful folks in our workshops with the MAsT: Sydney chapter alongside the SLPF (Sydney Leather Pride Foundation) (I think that’s what the F stands for… )

If you’re in the Melbourne area this coming weekend, we have workshops on Friday evening and Saturday – info is on Fetlife with the MAsT: Melbourne group.

As for us, we’re hanging in there. A lot of touring and walking has us dead on our feet tonight. Had a lot of fun, but these crazy trips feel a bit like hanging on for dear life and enjoying the ride.

Here are a couple of pictures we’ve taken along the way.