Thursday, October 20, 2005


Gabriel's been musing about the ethics of Master/slave relationships over at Once Bitten . There is surely food for thought in what he has written. It is worth considering, for those of us who do this, and for those who read about those of us who do this, or care about those of us who do this. The notion that there is (or could be) some ethical / philosophical foundation for our practices is, I believe of value to explore.

However, Gabriel's discussion, and the re-exploration of the Myers Briggs type profiles of these last few days has pushed me off in another direction. Coupled with some sort of low-key murmuring coming from various comments here and there (on our blog and on others as well), I've begun to hear a sort of sound that I suspect asks the question, "why do you do this?" It is really about the wonderings of people who, when they see obvious discomfort, obvious struggle, obvious unhappiness, consider whether the relationship dynamic that I live within, and even the relationship itself might be unhealthy, abusive, or even just plain wrong. There've been intimations that my Master is just an awful, abusive, evil, rotten, worthless, son-of-a-gun, and the general sense from more than one corner is that, if I were in my right mind, I'd be out of here.

So, I've been in a mood to ponder the "why" question of staying in a relationship when that relationtionship is not (at least in the particular moment) one that is an easy fit, or in its present configuration or manifestation making me "happy."

I'm feeling like I can do that today because I'm actually feeling pretty solid, stable, sane, and yes, even happy.

It should go without much explanation, that my relationship and my choices are mine. They fit me, and they work for me. What I have to say here is in no way meant to be prescriptive or descriptive for anyone else. Nor is what I have to say here intended to elicit praise or admiration or sympathy or support from anyone. I am attempting mostly to make things clear for myself.

Ours is a relationship that is grounded in deep and abiding love and affection. It is also firmly founded in an M/s (total power exchange) dynamic which includes SM elements (primarily erotic and disciplinary adult consensual spanking). We believe that we were "meant" to find each other, and that we have quite possibly (likely) shared other lifetimes together. There are many specifics of out power exchange dynamic that would seem very informal, perhaps even casual, to an outside observer. That is what works for us. There is underlying that, an absolute definitive line which we understand which binds us together and which is, for us, not subject to question.

It is that line, when it becomes evident, that I believe brings some to a point of questioning our relationship. Because, when I run up against the line, in places where it actually matters to me, I react. Sometimes sharply and sometimes with a great deal of intensity. To become intensely and immediately and fully aware of the exact place and moment and manner in which one has lost some part of a formerly held bit of personal control can be shocking. It is radically different than to simply contemplate the possibility of that eventuality.

I am a strong-willed, intense, bright, proud woman. Such places give me pause. Sometimes they cause me pain. Sometimes they even frighten me. I react. I struggle. I rage. I curl into a ball of fur and claws and spit and hiss and get downright ugly. I am not an easy slave. I think that Tanos has written about the reality that he refers to as "reactance" within Master/slave relationships. I first read about it on the Internal Enslavement website. It describes the internal resistance that can be experienced when one encounters these moments where what was "mine" becomes suddenly "not mine." When that becomes an actuality beyond just a theory, it can be a real shock and can generate a very visceral reaction.

I honor and envy those for whom the path into slavery is peaceful and serene and calm. I am in awe. It is not the way I seem to go. Each new stretch is a stretch.

I still stretch. For me, this is a learning experience. A path to walk. I chose this, knowing that there would be joyous and glorious moments, shared with a man that I loved, and that I knew loved me. That has remained a core truth. I also knew there would be challenges. Some of what I imagined, what I feared, has never materialized. Some of what I never imagined has come to be my life.

I learn daily.

When I lived inside of a socially sanctioned, completely normal, absolutely vanilla marriage, raising two children, and doing all the regular stuff that my society had taught me I would and should do, I encountered things that stretched my ability to encompass them. I had days that made me terribly unhappy, and I ran through periods of great emotional upheaval and bitterness. I came to view that relationship as a laboratory for learning about life, and more importantly for learning about myself. I came to know the limits of my patience, the depths of my strength, the power of my love. In the end, I came to know fully who I was and was not. I understood that it was better to live free and outcast than to be "accepted" if that meant I had to live a lie of a life. It was because of the crucible of that sad marriage that I garnered the courage to take the steps toward finding the road out into the possibility of my life.

I know that some see my struggles and my sorrows and my anguishing over the hard days, and wonder if I've made a good choice. That is perhaps my failing. I do not sing enough of the sunny songs and the happy days. Still, I know the whys. I know that I am well and strong and deeply loved and cared for in the depths of a family that is good for me. I know that while I may rage and growl and whine and whimper, that the One who holds me WILL hold me (tightly or loosely) as He sees fit. I know that what others see of my life is only what I write here, through the haze of my wonderings. Somedays that is clearer than others. None can be blamed if the words do not paint the picture better, brighter, calmer, sweeter.



At 1:06 PM, Blogger Her said...

Couldn't we ask the "why" of every relationship we're in--bdsm/poly/etc. or not?

I mean, why does anyone choose to marry or mate--marriage is never 100% happiness all the time. Much safer to be alone, no one to disagree with you or challenge you.

The more I read and learn and write myself about D/s (and M/s) and their dynamics, I discover only that the varied types of human relationships still wind up in the same place--jealousy, self doubt, risk, openess, boundaries, walls, and ultimately, if you do the work, true love and happiness.

At 3:08 PM, Blogger padme said...

Gosh, this was a beautiful blog post, Swan. I think that people should live their lives the way they want to. I love Vancouver because there is a lot of open people here and less likely to judge.
I was also in a vanilla marriage and terribly unhappy. I ended it and a bunch of women from my church group wouldn't talk to me and judged me harshly for my divorce. I ended my marriage to be with Master Anakin and people hated him for it. My brother wouldn't talk to him for years. They called him the "other man". People judged us. He was called evil and a asshole and a lot of other names.
I believe that everyone should be happy...and you sound like you are. Trust in that me that is the key....being happy...being content...being solid and sane...and enjoying one's life...
I wouldn't worry what other people think. People will always have their opinions. What matters is what is in your heart...
You have no idea how much I respect you, Swan. :)

At 7:20 PM, Blogger Willow said...

I know sometimes the comments people write can make you feel judged. They read your words when you are sad and want to make life better for you. You have a gift for expression. You touch people. People care what happens to you.

I have to admit that over the past weeks I have felt a wide range of emotions myself. From sadness for your pain to envy that you are able to touch people the way you do. People reach out to you. They love you. They want you to be happy. That’s a marvelous gift you have.

And how do you share that gift? By baring your soul in your words. It doesn’t really matter whether your words elicit happiness or sadness. What matters is the brutal honesty with which you write. Anyone who reads your blog gets that.

Even more than that, you share a great love with Tom and T. We all know that relating is not all about sunshine and flowers, even though there are times when a few more flowers would be nice to help balance things. Without some pain and struggle there would be no growth. And where’s the fun in relating if you can’t have a few tiffs to kiss and make up after?

At 8:39 PM, Blogger Jo aka SeaRabbit said...

I'm very happy to see that you found back your balance.. you were feeling very hurt... and I know what it is...
I reacted to one of your post while I was myself quite upside down and questionning all I was doing... no suprise I went quite harsch...
Well... I see you can work it out... but it is a situation that I wouldn't be able to deal with... and I reacted with my own perceptions, my own sensitivity.... I often forget that the way I react isn't always the way others react... even if at the end... I manage also to find back my balance... and to be happy again...
I presume that's what we call life... ;-)

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Joy said...

Right on swan! No relationship, vanilla, M/s, poly, whatever, is 100% sunshine and roses. The struggles, the growing pains, they're part of it and just because we encounter rough patches doesn't mean we should give up and walk away.

I think that's a failing of our society, everything is disposable, even relationships.


Post a Comment

<< Home