topthemonkey: (Default)

So, the monkey and I happened by Leather Etc. in San Francisco yesterday afternoon.

While I've never been overly impressed with their quality, they do have a lot in the way of selection, and that's been my primary interest.
Every time I pass by there, I catch some of their display windows and it made me wonder.

After all, the monkey now sports some Breast Reduction scars, like at least a few of my friends do, both my trans friends as well as those who, like the monkey, had the procedure done to alleviate severe back pain.

Some Background

In doing breast reduction work, there are basically three types of incisions they can do, shown well at the bottom of This Page. In short, the monkey had the most intrusive type of incision: the "anchor", and coming to terms with these new scars has carried some stresses.

Anyway my thought is that a chest harness serves to draw the eye away from the scars, and by contrast, makes people look at the gear. I was even hoping for something that went under the breast and hid some of the scarring.

While we found a few things that were interesting looking, what we eventually decided on was an "X" harness, with an O-ring in the center and buckles in back, attached to another O-ring. It's made of exceptionally soft, almost glove-quality leather, and the monkey wears it really well.

If you've been to the Folsom street fair, or just tried to visualize the word "beefcake" you know the kind of thing I'm talking about. This type of harness is nearly synonymous with the gay leather culture.

Putting it to Use

While my initial interest was in having the monkey wear the harness like a collar, as an "around the house" sort of mark of being in a submissive mode, or perhaps just as a "wearable handle" to use to toss her around a bit, once she got home and tried it on, she bent over the bed, and I experimentally tried her from behind, in a sort of "so if I were to do this, would you be comfortable with that." Was he ever.

At that point I discovered what I should have known all along: It's like wearing a set of handlebars for sex from behind: Snug, stable, comfortable. And with her over the side of the bed, we went at it. It was awesome. And unlike most of the other gear we own, this is designed not to restrict movement, but to enhance it.

So again, I say, dear SF Leatherman's Community: Why didn't you tell us these things were this awesome?!

topthemonkey: (Default)

Sometimes, I need to just cry.

I'm in a distance relationship, where I'm the mostly-dom half of our D/s pair. I have a high-stress position at work, with no real set hours (things can break any time at all). I run IT for a local convention. I run a webhosting service. I'm head of my household of presently-one, but maybe soon The Monkey will move back.

And every once in a while, things just go horribly wrong, because of other people's lack of planning, because of shit situations, or just plain bad luck, things break.

In 95 percent of the situations, I accept it, move on, solve the problem. Hell, I was hit by a car and woke up in "crisis mode" and started polling the people staring down at me for status updates. Sometimes, the minor things build up in what the author of Hyperbole and a Half calls a sneaky hate spiral, and even then, I cope with it mostly through minor bouts of insomnia, comfort food, and minor amount of self-medication.

But, sometimes, despite months of planning and acceptance that things "will be okay", backup plan on top of backup plan, things go awry, and the reality of "you're not in control here you moron, did you think for a moment you ever really were?" crashes down.

Sometimes, like the main character from fight club, I need cry. I need to trip off the "always in charge" circuit breaker, I need to be put against the fence, flogged till I sob, and made to go to sleep, nose still snotting.

Like a bone that needs to be re-broken to set, I have to occasionally lose control of my life and myself to be able to reclaim it.

This is one of those times. Unfortunately, the subset of people I trust, who are local, and could see myself letting do this is pretty small right now.

Can anyone else identify with this need?

topthemonkey: (Default)

Things have been interesting and rough here, but if you don't recall, my name is D, and I'm Very Much In Love with a space monkey.

However, in the spirit of the day I wanted to record a snippet of conversation here:

This is not the monkey speaking, but someone else I care about very much. Someone who today, I told I loved. Not because of a hallmark holiday, but because the time was right and I was sure.


"I want you to be happy.. I also want you to be proud of me. You're more of a father figure than my own dad or [redacted] ever was because you are just.. that kind of person. I want to make you happy and proud. I want to learn things from you as well."


As for the rest, the tale of the monkey and I? It goes on, and I hope to be able to tell you all it very soon.

topthemonkey: (Default)

Note: this entry was started december 3rd. At that time, the monkey had not yet departed for the holidays. Much else seems still time-relevant although some of it has come to resolution. Other things are more pogniant now.

I admit that in the past I've written some mean and at some points bitter things here. And I'll further admit that I haven't been blogging lately, because when I write upset things, the monkey worries about how other people will see her.

Our sex life is fairly diminished to the point of her getting me off before bed. We don't "play". Our local playspace has closed down and there's some "issues" with the other one, in the city. I feel disappointed enough in so many other times we've tried to play that have ended badly, that there's a number of things I can't be bothered to try.

She recently made friends with a couple at a coffee shop in the city, and started playing with them regularly. She did things that I wasn't okay with, and things that I would have told her "absolutely not" had I been asked about them beforehand, which I feel I should have been. But I wasn't. When she asked about "can we do knifeplay" she wasn't clear on the fact that they'd also be doing deliberate marking and scarification. They did pattern-based knifeplay that, nearly a month later, looks as though it's going to scar. She was having penetrative sex with one of then when the condom broke, and I wasn't told until a few days later, after being woken up from a dead sleep.

She continued to ask for sleepover time with them, even after sending me a text that said "Don't want anymore sleepovers for a while, too much time away from you." Even when she made plans and I told her, outright, to break them, that I needed her there tonight, she went to them. And I went for the Nyquil, because it was easier than trying to address the disappointment to someone who wasn't listening.

I told her I don't want her to see them anymore, and she hasn't, but I still feel like I've lost something. I look at the marks on her, and it feels like she's not mine, and I just see disappointment, bordering on disgust. I don't feel either she nor her new partners have been responsible people, and I feel they've done damage, both to her own body as well as in my trust and feelings for her that may never heal.

At one point, I blurted out that I think we should just break up. I stated just a few minutes later, that I was in no place to be making any decisions at that point and didn't mean it. It's crossed my mind, how things would be different, how things would be easier, how things would be harder. I dwell on those thoughts when I'm alone and out of touch with her.

She's gone back to the other coast for the holidays. I'll be alone for Christmas and New Years, and I'm dreading it already. I thought I had made my expectations and wishes clear on that front clear as well (that we'd go together, after the first of the year) but she has her emotional and familial reasons for wanting to travel now. I fear that eventually I'm either going to start suffering serious depression, or I'm going to turn into a workaholic and spend every night at my office till 5am, only sleeping when exhaustion forces me to.

The monkey recently sat and let her hair be shaved down, partially as my own assertion that she's mine, and partially as an allowance to go see her play-partners (this was before I told her not to see them anymore), and I recognize the sacrifice that that represented for her. But there's other things she could be doing, some of them so trivial: "I want you to walk to the library and return your books", "I want you to apply for some jobs online", "I want you to call your job and ask if they're keeping you on", "I want you to make another appointment with your therapist", "I want recycling to go into my car whenever I get home", "I want the sink empty of dishes every night". None of this is new.

To put a customer service spin on it, my expectations, from a variety of sources and not just the Monkey, aren't being met. I feel incomplete and unsatisfied, and I feel like I work hard and deserve more than this.

As she's at home, I suspect there are at least a couple of people she'll be sleeping with. One of them, her old Dominant (who she never really cleanly broke up with, they're "taking a break"), I am oddly okay with. Another, well, has been discussed before, and we call him "X" here. He's the one that casually forces himself on her, and she complies. More often than not without protection. And I've never been okay with any sexual interaction between them, and have made no mistake about being inexplicably clear on this.

I sent the monkey a text earlier saying "Have you done anything yet this trip that would upset me?". No answer. I wonder.

update: Yes.

Losing It

Jun. 1st, 2010 03:51 am
topthemonkey: (Default)

The Monkey has been struggling with "freak out" attacks for as long as I've known her. These are times when she'll scream, and then start hurting herself, attempting to bite herself, or hitting her leg or her head or some inanimate object. There are weeks our of the month when this is a more likely occurence, mainly before her period starts.

Handling this behavior is somewhat of a challenge to me. I usually do the worst possible thing in response to this: I fight her, or yell at her, or tell her to "shut up". These things don't help, but I can't maintain rational behavior when I have someone screaming in my ear. Sorry. I don't think that's an unreasonable expectation.

Today, she missed a train to go see her girlfriend. And screaming ensued. I told her, in the spur of the moment "okay, now you're not going at all." I said it because I didn't want to feel like I was rewarding this behavior, and because I was angry that such a beyond-her-control thing could cause this.

I tried to take her phone away. She cursed at me (a common one is "fuck you"), she threatened to bite me, and she cried a lot after that. I got out of the car, walked around to her side, wiped her tears, and held her, and we worked out a plan to recover from a missed train.

And within a half hour, she was remorseful, and just felt more terrible about herself for having done and said those things.

I hate this. I hate that there's something inside her so broken that this is the default action. The fact that she screams in her sleep seems to suggest it's a "hardwired" behavior, not something conscious. I hate that the drugs she's been assigned for this basically knock her unconscious for 8 hours. I feel as though it's the action of some spoiled child who can't get their way: except instead of not getting her way from the parent, her unconscious expresses this frustation at someone to whom screaming at will not help. Screaming at me will not make the train stop, it won't help her find the bra you can't find, and it won't fix her back problems. Neither will hitting herself, the interior of my car, or me.

Worse still is that she's been warning me of this. "If I feel the need to smash something, don't worry, it won't be your laptop". The best I can relate it, I suppose, is to Tourettes Syndrome. (I went to a High School that had a program specializing in it). One of my friends who had it explained their tics as "I know it's coming, and I can delay it, or hold it back, but it actually hurts to do it". That is, knowing it's coming doesn't mean you can stop it. Just because it's exploding slowly doesn't mean it's not exploding.

It saddens me that she does this around me because she feels safe enough to do so. Her girlfriend has never seen her like this. She doesn't (generally) do it in public places, or crowds. Just when she's with me. Should I feel privileged?

I think the best/only things I can do here, sadly, are preventative:

  • If you can't make a train with 20-30 minutes TO SPARE, you're not making it. You don't know if I might have to stop for gas or have trouble with the car. You can't predict when you'll lose something and we'll have to go back upstairs for it.

  • Need to develop a better meditative/relaxation technique. Yoga, breathing, stressball you carry everywhere...anything.

  • You can clearly recognize when is the worst time for this. You know when a storm is brewing, how can we work with that? Can you go somewhere, alone, and do it, and get it out? Scream into a pillow? Tear up a phone book?

I've got a pounding headache and it's 2:30 AM. I'm still at work. The monkey is off with her girl. And even despite writing all this, I don't feel totally calmed down.

topthemonkey: (Default)

I know the monkey had started to (on paper) write an entry, but I'm here in front of a keyboard so I'll have at it.

We're still both poly: she in the "I get romantically involved with other people" (just one person, I feel terribly full with Top and her) sense, and me seemingly in the "I take on, train, mentor, and work with other people" sense. I'm still not 100% happy with all phases of her relationship, but I'm working toward it.

The monkey has another Mistress as well, a cruel one who has also been making demands of me. Her name is Sallie Mae. I refer to her as an abusive spouse, generally. While the monkey is at this point spending her own money (that she had previously given to me) on these debts, it is only a matter of a few months until that runs out. Next month, I think. On top of other debts I'm now paying for her. Top is referring here to the hospital bills incurred after we were run over in late December.

It bothers me that the monkey has a masters, and it's not really being applied. I suppose I see it as a tool: if I had determined that I had the need for an expensive tool, that I'd be certain of its need, and its use before undergoing on purchasing it, knowing full well I'd be paying it off for many years.

Here's the thing
. I didn't have a good enough GPA in undergrad to get into a PhD program in the humanities that was remotely attractive, so I went into the Masters program viewing it as a bridge to a PhD program, to show prospective schools that I was capable of doing grad work. About halfway through my Masters program, I realized that I was rather sure a PhD program, at least at this point in my life, was not right for me. The program I attended was actually geared towards working teachers who wanted more credentials. So, uh, if I got a job teaching I'd start off making more money (in theory) and it would make me more attractive to schools I applied to work at (again, in theory) but (a) I have no teaching certification and (b) with my social anxiety where it is, I don't think it would be wise to enter teaching at this time. Though in my job searches I have found part time English professor openings at community colleges, which I actually think might be a good idea.

I've been pushing her, gently but persistently, to find work. I somehow think she'd do okay as a barista at either Starbucks or the local chain: the time on her feet would probably not be great for her (my back/neck/shoulders are in pain every day lately, made worse by activities like doing the dishes), but it's customer facing, and would give her some experience. Maybe some social comfort. I've also told her to submit an application at the library to become a page. Thusfar, it's been a big problem. It terrifies her. The most I've been able to do at this point is get her to fill out a template job application, so all her info is there for when she fills out others.

We have a bookstore within easy walking distance, where she might do well, too.

The eventual goal here is that she manages to cover her student loans, and put at least 10% away to savings: the rest, as far as I'm concerned, can be "fun money". Comics, dates, road trips with the girlfriend, trips to literary conferences. I have not asked the Top to pay for any of these things in the past 5 months, at least. He has offered on a few occassions to buy me comics, I have expressed hesitance, he has insisted. I handle the living costs.

She told me last night that she really doesn't feel like a "good slave." I don't believe this to be the truth at all. I'm guessing he means that he believes me to be a good slave, not that he disbelieves the validity of my feelings on the matter. I always see room for improvement, but I know she's fighting the good fight against depression and other personal problems. I know it's not easy.

Right now, I've been putting most of the focus, every day, on printing out a list of things I'd like her to do throughout the day. This has really helped. Chores, personal projects, GRE work, grooming. I've forbidden her to get on the internet each morning until she's both eaten and showered (this has been good for me); there's been too many days in the past I've come home to find her still in what she slept in. (At some point, I would love to be able to have software to do this.) On this list I try to put our evening's plans, as well as something I will do for her that day. I find that unnecessary; I mean, letting me know probable evening plans is nice, but so far as doing things for me every day, you already do that, just by being my Master.

She's been back in therapy for a month or so now. It took more than a year of asking to get her to do this. Because I feel guilty about the cost.

She'll be going back to the chiropractor tomorrow. This too took many months of prodding. Because I feel guilty about the cost.

Maybe, slowly, taking care of herself will not be such a hard concept. We're working on it. It's tough because Top didn't know me 5, 10 years ago. He can't see how far I've come, how bad things were at times. Yes, I had a job then, which is a big sign of progress to him. But my mental health state was far, far worse than it is now.

We went through our Netflix queue and tried to delete all the "depressing" movies from it. We've been watching a lot of Miyazaki, and we've been slowly going through Night Court.

I still love her more every day. I have been feeling similarly.

topthemonkey: (Default)

As mentioned in our last entry, the monkey and I are trying to adapt to poly.

I'm hurting about this. I'm feeling jealous and resentful, which, despite being my apparent right, makes me feel really, really unfair. Does a person have a "right" to feel jealous and resentful in poly? I'm not sure.

During some pillow-talk, I told her "I'm not going to give you a contract that says you can see this girl. I can only speak to my feelings now, and to my desires for you: I am not happy, but I can see you are, and that's important." I'm hoping I'll adapt. Then again, during that same pillowtalk, I told her that I also had no bias against this person, unlike a previous relationship I'd stopped the monkey short on, and had to assert benefit of the doubt. I mentioned to her that she's had numerous other friendships with people I loathe, so this is nothing new. I can only think of my friendship with the previous partner you just mentioned.

Put most harshly, my feelings are something along the line of: you can have permission, or you can have me happy with you right now. Pick one. That's also very black and white.

We sat down and found the time to talk about her new girlfriend, perhaps even enough for me to try and mentally arrange things in a way I'm comfortable with, a way that her new girlfriend (who is also dominant of her but not like the Top is, I'm not her slave, which she knows and respects) fits into my own dynamic, which is to say the "divorced parent" analogy. I think this analogy is far too harsh, and minimizes "Daddy'"'s role. Daddy pays child support and she lives with me, mommy cooks better and does better things. "Better things"? It would mean, quite frankly that I would be able to at the very least send an email to her saying "don't forget, the monkey has homework that needs to be done, please make time for this"...or something. (Note that the "mommy" and "daddy" titles are for the benefit of the reader: ageplay is not assumed here, on any party), although I do see the monkey in a somewhat adolescent light at times, I don't see her as inherently capable of taking care of herself, and I don't see her as capable of getting things she needs to done. This hurts me, though I know it's founded on much empirical evidence.

The monkey's expressed that this girl is respectful of our relationship, and has even gone so far as to leave notes for me thanking me...on the monkey. But either she didn't use a permanent enough marker or the monkey showered really, really well, because I wasn't able to see them. Which is a shame. It wasn't permanent, as she thought it was.

Of course, now, as I write this, the monkey is off on the other coast, having sex with someone else. Someone who paid her airfare so she could go out and visit friends. And all she could say to my objections is "you said it was okay." You gave me permission. I asked specifically, can I leave for these dates to go there and stay with this person. You said yes. I gave him the go-ahead to buy the tickets, he spent his money. It no longer involved just me. I made a commitment to another person, and he would not have gotten his money back; also, I think it's really rude to cancel on people at the last minute, particularly when it's a big thing that's planned. Which is just the world's biggest angry button for me. I previously have gotten angry responses when asked if she could get herself off and I said no. I think I responded angrily twice in over two years. I previously have said in frustration "do whatever you want", which meant "okay, let X rape you". (She concedes that I have good empirical evidence against her always being able to make the best relationship choices). "Always" should get more emphasis here I think.

And this time, I said it was okay because I felt guilt about making her cancel her family trip back over the holidays, and because travel is...uncomfortable at best for me (I'm heavy) so this is not something I can really do with her. But as she reminds me, I still said yes.

Yes, I said it was okay a month ago, and I had no idea the headspace or state our relationship would be in now: at a time when I most desired stability and reinforcement, and togetherness, and time to adapt to the new status quo, I get more of the same poly rammed down my throat, and I get to be without her. It's too much, too soon, and it's moving too fast for me. I didn't think I was ramming anything down your throat. I didn't realize these events would coincide.

In a recent conversation, she told me she'd rather have her girlfriend pick her up when she returns than see me immediately. That really hurt. This was based directly on an extremely hurtful private entry the Top had made that I had read that afternoon. 

It's making me question way much more than I'm comfortable with. I wanted to do things with her before she left, but there wasn't the time. I wanted to put her collar back on her, but I'm afraid of hurting her back or causing more problems with airport security.

I'm letting the hurt and the anger and the fear, uncertainty, and doubt shadow the love I know I have for her, and want to show her but can't. I hate this.

topthemonkey: (really)

This isn't a disclaimer per se, I just want to explain a few things. I think this entry portrays me as a pretty crappy slave, and I generally don't think of myself that way. The Top puts more emphasis on my mental illness issues than I would like, both in this entry and in general. I know those who know me well will not do so, but a caveat: please do not take this entry as representative of me as a person and/or slave.  My own disclaimer.: You're not a crappy slave at all.  You're wonderful, and the whole point of this Journal is that people know it.

The monkey was having a hard time with her PMDD a few nights ago, and it came down to her attacking both herself, and me. It was spurred by her telling me not to do something (I think but am not sure I was hitting her butt with a crop, gently), and me laughing about it, because it seemed like a silly request: one I would honor, but the fact that I was smiling, laughing, light hearted, set her off. Actually it was set off by this: The Top took my glasses and was laughing at my squinting. I protested and he told me it was adorable. I was very frustrated.  As I remarked to you on IM just now, it kinda...remined me of Velma from Scooby Doo for reasons I can't quite explain.  I love the little pouty face you make when I take them.  It's the same pouty face you make when I take your nose.  If it's a serious thing, then we'll work it out.

She got really angry, and started biting and pinching me, trying to wrestle it out of my hands. I kept pushing her off, but she kept coming at me, despite my saying no.

After, she wound up on the floor, crying, for several minutes, not liking who she was at all. And I held in things I wanted to say, because I didn't think they'd help. Yelling and screaming wasn't the answer, but neither was laughing (you considered laughing at my crying?). I wanted to tell her "stop crying, you're being ridiculous, get off the floor", but that would have brought tears, so I stood, and watched, and let her cry out. That was kind of depressing, being curled up in a ball on the floor and having you just stand there silently, making no gesture towards me, not offering tissues.  Given what had just transpired, I wasn't sure HOW to react, honestly.  I offered you a paper towel, tho.

It all happened so quickly I can't honestly remember events now, but maybe she'll fill them in.

The next day, when I brought her out of bed, I put her leash on, and as she was using the bathroom I got a set of cuffs, and told her she was going to get her hair cut for attacking me. She immediately said "red". After a moment of trying to convince her otherwise (you said that I was calling red because I did not trust you, which did not jive with my understanding of safewords or trust), to which she replied "you're not honoring red?" I went with it and took the leash off, I didn't have the typical "correct" reaction of saying "there, there, it's allright". I just felt bitter and angry. I don't think there's any "correct" response though perhaps some are more productive than others. Very rarely do you say "there, there, it's all right" when I call "red.No, the response I'm describing is the typical response most people use in red, that we use in Yellow.

In the BDSM context, "red" is supposed to stop an intense scene (I would contend that it is intended to pause whatever activity is going on. "Intense" and "scene" are so subjective I disagree, though.  Think of the attitude it's given at our local playspace.): safewords are mainly used in places where other forms of communication break down, for example, during a flogging screaming "stop," "no," "ow," or crying or struggling. We use it more thoroughly, but she's used it in the past against taking a bath (I don't remember that one), or getting up after not having had enough sleep, or doing things she felt were embarrassing, as opposed to painful. There was context to all of those, and just saying it like that makes me seem like a brat. Also, "red" is not limited to when things are painful; more often than not, when I have called it the reasons have been emotional. Red is also useful when approaching a "hard limit." For us this generally means permanent damage. Her hair is not quite a "hard limit," as such. Though if I had my druthers it would be. This may be something we can talk about.  I don't want to concede it, though.  Your body is mine, love.  We've cut it short before, and I've told her of events that will lose it for her, without question.

Throughout the day, I continued to feel pent-up anger and aggression, and in the evening, I simply stated the sum total of what had been going on inside me. She asked a question about something else (I have no idea what, or if it was at all related), and I realized that the level of honesty was to the point where I needed to say them, and that it wouldn't be damaging to say so, and I said it:

"A real slave would have sat down and taken her punishment like a good girl."

Her response was "are you trying to get a rise out of me?". I explained that I wasn't, that I had just been thinking of how "real" the BDSM element in our relationship felt, discussing it with a friend. Recalling how insulted I had been when another friend had said something to the effect of: "as much as you guys like to claim you're 24/7, you're really not because you don't have complete control over her." I asked other deep questions like "do you like being mine?" and "do you like wearing that collar?" Make no mistake, this has come up in discussion before, what if she no longer wanted that aspect of our relationship (in hypothetical terms, not because I've contemplated leaving I was going to put that, but thought this entry was already getting tangential enough) -- but in this case, there was no doubt that she wanted it.

He also said he wished that I would of my own accord prepare to be shaved down.
I told him that his anger would fade faster than my hair would grow back.  I wasn't doubting that.  Neither should you.  What you should worry about is if my anger fades before I'm done buzzing down your whole scalp. Some time passed, maybe 5-10 minutes, and I was thinking about whether or not I was going to do what he wanted. On her own, and without being ordered, she went over to the bathroom area and took out the hair clippers (we actually use pet-grade clippers, they can tear through the thickest hair better than most home-grade stuff), and got out the handcuffs and the leash. I cuffed her and told her to sit down.

Before I turned on the clippers, she looked at me somewhat defiantly and said "I'm doing this for health insurance". Actually I said that I was earning my health insurance, to which you agreed.  Indeed, my memory was a little fuzzy. I also said that I wasn't sure if the fact that he was willing to risk whatever anger and resentment came was a positive or negative thing.  How much resentment are you feeling? She cried a bit while I did it, but in the end I only buzzed off a few inches at the base of her neck, and then brushed the rest of her hair back and put it in a ponytail.And you were intensely aroused.  I was aroused after.  I don't recall being aroused during.

I have no doubt that if I would have taken more, that she would have grown more upset, and who knows, that day may come at some point. Like some of the most severe punishments our relationship has seen, I didn't want to do a set amount, I wanted to do it until I wasn't angry anymore. The "beat her until I'm not angry anymore" can work out better or worse (on my side) than the set number method. The fact that she took the punishment on willingly...did a lot to alleviate that anger. But I needed also to make it clear this wasn't just a "mindfuck," wasn't just a case of my making her sit down to see if she'd sit.

But this time, I don't think I ever wanted to shave her down to nothing: I like seeing her long hair as a length of how long she's been with me. We've trimmed for some split ends, so really, it's more like "I've been with you at least this long." What I wanted was to see her put on the cuffs (it's a bit tricky to handcuff your own hands behind your back), sit down, and take it like a good girl. I wanted to have her there, helpless, and say "I'm sorry," and know that absolution was there. I wanted her to trust her master instead of calling red as soon as the order was given. And in reading this after I write it, she may once again feel bad about it.

As her master, I need to show her that I've given it chance after chance, but that I need to push, ever gently, on the rules here, and hold her to them. That's the problem, though. If it happens and you don't punish me, over and over again, of course I'm not going to take threats of punishment seriously. We discussed this.  Which is why I was annoyed at your calling red.  It does not work well for me. She's expressed this. I told her while she was showering that after it had grown in, if she did it again, I'd shave off the same spot, and if she more bad things before then, I'd just take more. I would much rather let her slide on dishes being left in the sink on a night she went to bed sick, than let this go by. Yes, she was in extreme emotional circumstances, but that explains it, not excuses it.

Make no mistake, if I find her doing something like using drugs, or deliberately not taking her meds, or something like that, I won't hesitate to take everything, but having it groomable is a work-related thing, to at least some degree, and it does affect her self esteem. It's not self-esteem exactly. It's really complicated. If I wanted to damage that, I could of course be evil and strike fear into her with the words "reverse mohawk" or "mullet."

In short, I believe there would have been far less angst if she'd have tried hard to believe that I understand her attachment to her hair, and understand the relationship between it and her self-esteem. See above. One of the things she needs to understand is that I'd rather -- much rather -- have us both know that all's forgiven, but she's going to look a little less like she wants to, than have us see each other in ways we don't want the other to see. I would rather look at her and see a girl who made a mistake that will take a few months to fully fade, but whom I forgive fully now. The physical matches the emotional, and it makes sense to me.

Note carefully that I've told her if she wants to dye her hair, that she may (after discussing it with me) but after she does, once her roots start coming in, she's getting buzzed down to nada. Because she's as attached to her hair as she is, she hasn't tried using it to "buy" anything with it, although if she did, it might work. I never even thought of that. That's not really how my mind works.

From a slightly more kinked perspective, I like the concept of this kind of haircut. It's something I associate with learning, and privilege. It's an extreme change of appearance that leaves no permanent damage. New slaves are "fuzzy," and longer hair comes with age, experience, and time. You earn your long hair by not making the mistakes that cause you to lose it, or in a more extreme sense, because you're required to cut it regularly. I also like it because it counters some of the norms of traditional beauty, at least to some degree: reference Natalie Portman's character in V for Vendetta, or in a more extreme example, Britney Spears. (To be fair, Natalie looked hot, Britney didn't, but the pics of Britney were pretty badly candid.) And I'd be lying if I said I didn't love the feel of it under my fingers.

I wonder sometimes, what will happen if it gets worse with age. I love her dearly, and know that she loves me. I know that sometimes when TheCrazy sets in, it's easy to lose sight of that. She's already on a cocktail of medications, and I'm loathe to add in Yet Another to the mix, when many forms of birth control could cancel out existing medications.

I need to get a pic of the back of her head put up before it grows out too much.

topthemonkey: (Default)

Originally Started: 2009-08-06 20:19:18

When I say "large router" I mean in a rolling box the size of a refrigerator.

We were moving it in a large pickup truck, and no less than three coworkers (two of whom were above me in the chain of command) wryly complimented the pretty multi-colored rope (dark blue and orange MFP) I had found to secure the stuff.

Am I that transparent?

topthemonkey: (Default)

a friend is in the area, interested in meeting up for lunch

Me: I don't often get to that part of the city, but I own property in the area...who can recommend a place for foodz.
Him: That was a beautiful ellipses.
topthemonkey: (Default)

This is what I just sent to the owner of sub-shop.com

Autumn,

I just received my most recent order from sub-shop.com, after waiting on a few backordered pieces. It wasn't worth the wait.

I realize most of the things I bought are sale items, at a close-out rate (and probably discontinued from here on out), but I have several things I picked up from you a few years ago, and the quality of items sold is just not what it used to be.

The plastic ballgag trainer you sold: I can tell why it's on sale. But what your site doesn't do is allow customers to provide feedback, or make notes about comfort of one item over another (more expensive one). I've since modified it to remove the plastic ball, and I'll probably be putting my own ball or bit in.

Your current "web of desire" training collar is made of a fairly rough material, and the work is pretty shoddy. The material's misaligned, not cut straight, the thread colors aren't even a close match. The material's also much rougher and less wearable. While no photo exists that can let you "feel" the materials, I'll probably go through in my blog and do a side-by-side photo comparison of other aspects later.

Looking at a model from a few years ago, when it was available only in black, made by a company called "Bondo", they were much better. (Do you have contact info for them? I'd like to get more from them.)

I notice the same thing in my cuffs. The first cuffs I ever bought from you in mid-2000 were comfortable and saddle-soft, although I've since had some parts replaced. Subsequent ones were rougher and not as wearable (and I'd since contacted you about it.)

I realize you've had to grow quite a bit, as BDSM got more popular. I also realize there's margin decisions being made here, and the economy is hard.

Anyway, while I'll be picking up the occasional sale, I don't think I'll be recommending sub-shop anymore, to anyone.

-Me

topthemonkey: (Default)

The monkey and I have joined our local dungeon/play space. We went to orientation earlier this week where we toured the facility (but didn't play because the monkey had forgotten his ID), and last night, we used the place for the first time.

I should mention that when I met the monkey two years ago, playing in public was very much a hard limit. I wouldn't say "very much." Some time at a fetish con, and living with a few kink-friendly people have changed that somewhat, but a new place with new people is still a stressful experience.

We got there around eight, after having dinner with incredibly slow service in a normally-good Mexican chain, but the monkey was having a bizarre personal fixation problem: he wanted a new pair of shoes, because he's been stubbing his toes rather a lot lately. In fact, he had been obsessing over this for most of the evening, despite the fact that I felt he wouldn't be wearing them most of the time. In my own entry I'll explain this. Anyway, after signing in, we ran out again to do this:we were in an unfamiliar area, and finding a shoe store proved rather stressful. We eventually found a PayLess, but I'm generally not a fan since they tend to fall apart. The monkey did his usual retail-female-uncertainty thing, trying on several pairs of open-toed things and mid-height heels (I did not try on any open-toed, and I wasn't being uncertain I was trying to find a pair that fit) (neither of which would do anything to offset the accident-proneness), and we eventually settled on a nice set of male dress shoes for him.

I got him back to the playspace, stripped him to his underwear, took his glasses, and put him into a small floor-cage while I went and used the bathroom. I took out some toys and laid them out on a chair and on top of the cage, and went and attached one half of our suspension cuffs to some ceiling-chains that were nearby. I exposed his back, and his butt, and got going.

However, after bare-handing him a few times, I started to see the angry expression: the expression that shows the monkey's going to break, going to snap and take an alternate, Sybil-like tone, and get aggressive with me. He growled a few times. I pushed a bit, encouraged him to communicate more, told him it could stop any time, and we kept going. I used a crop, a rod (both very nice things), as well as both of my deerskin floggers on him. (I love this new flogger, it's just so pretty. I really need to put a picture of it up here at some point.1.) He told me that his arms were tired (I said my shoulders were starting to hurt and I'm trying to be more conscious of such things since I've started regularly going to a chiropractor), and he needed something to lean against, and I moved him over to a very heavy St. Andrews Cross: really well made, with adjustable restraint points. I put the suspension cuffs up on those, and as his tits were just straddling the "X", put a set of clamps on those as well, so if he backed off, the chain would tug. I continued flogging, quite hard, with the Big Flogger, really developing a good rhythm and form.2, moving along to my other toys, the rubber one occasionally, covering his entire back side pretty well. I wasn't going for catharsis or anything like that, but it got to the point where I could hear him sobbing, and I looked and found his nose runny. I got him some tissues and let him down, and after some brief cleanup we headed to the "cooldown area", a lounge of sorts, and met some of the group. The timeline there is a little messed up. I was crying a good portion of the time I was on the cross, the Top knew and asked me if I wanted to continue and I said I did.

I cannot express enough how awesome and comfortable these people made me feel. While I of course don't mention names (hell, even our own), it was a very friendly, fun crowd, easily relatable, and very accommodating. I got a chance to play show and tell with our suspension cuffs, and tell brag about the deal we got on them, and the like.

After some others proceeded in for another round of playing, we did too. This time we wound up in the "medical play" room, where I tied the monkey to a stirrup table with a plethora of a rope, put a spreader bar between his legs, and gagged him with a roll of vetwrap (as in, just popped the roll in his mouth). This is the condensed version. A few people walked through the room while we were going at it, all were respectful, none conversed unless I started it, but I tend to like over-the-shoulder conversation. At one point, a couple giving a tour peeked quietly in. The Top waved at them. It was very surreal.

We hadn't brought any lube, or a vibrator, unfortunately: I had told the monkey to, but he had felt that he wouldn't be at that level of comfort on this trip. Consequently the only lube we had was some SurgiLube that was already there, and I worked him up for what was probably close to 45 minutes before he dried out and my arm started getting tired. He tried to tell me through the gag that he needed more lube and how to better finger-fuck me, but I was trying to be cautious as we'd never used this product before. He seemed okay with it, so I slathered it in, and went back at it. Another few minutes of (ahem) deep tissue massage, and he was ready to come. However, I need to mention something here...when I thought he was getting close, I *ordered* him to come, and he did, within a few seconds. This...amazes me. It's been a stressor before, both for him and for me, gives him performance anxiety, and he handled it so well. I think a big factor in that is I'm trying to let myself go and be more obvious when I feel myself getting close and the Top has also gotten better at picking up on when I'm on the verge of orgasm.

Again, cleanup. Again, back out to the cooldown area. The ride home was nice, too, we talked a lot. I shared some radically honest things about an ex, and the best sex we had ever had (the ex and I). I also related that because this dungeon requires condoms for vaginal and anal penetration, that I didn't think I'd be having much sex there. I revealed to the monkey that there's a loss of some sensation since my hernia surgery. Not a lot...just coupled with the additional loss of sensation of a condom, it's just not...nice. I like the closeness of flesh on flesh; I think once the monkey gets his wisdom teeth out and his TMJ under better control, we may do more oral there.

Thoughts for future visits:

  1. I need some kind of transporable gear carrier. I ideally like the "street salesman" case, a suitcase with unfoldable legs type thing, but other things are workable and my mind's now going at it. I am in favor of buying a case from For Your Nymphomation, perhaps this. Or just a good duffel bag.
  2. The lockers they have there are just a few inches too short for some of our impact toys. But they bend.
  3. Other people I'm working with have expressed nervousness at public play but feelings of being okay with being a helper, one to go get water and get me toys, and otherwise observe. I'm thinking a blue play-collar (get it?) for this purpose might be great. Oh look, sub-shop's having a sale, and this is on sale too.
  4. Buying some food in advance. I'm thinking hitting the nearby subway would have probably been a good idea. This kind of stuff is exhausting. I really only like Subway sandwiches immediately after they're made. Otherwise the dressing soaks in and it's oogy.
  5. Other things, I'm sure. Things the monkey will add, I'm sure.

1. Hell, I need to have one of the slaves photo-catalogue all our toys here, and rate them on cost, history, and pain factor.
2. I believe flogging is somewhat an art and a technique, and I'd actually like to make up a flogger Kata

topthemonkey: (Default)

In my last post I attempted to once again review our "Rules of Engagement" for using this Livejournal to interact with the public and our friends. As promised, in this post, I plan to speak briefly on those same topics and how the blogging engine could be improved for these points.

Posts

As noted before, this is a shared Journal. Livejournal has two journal types: personal, and community. In a personal, it's ideally designed for one person. In a community, the poster is shown on all community posts (e.g. user "Bob" posting on community "Foo"). There's no way to configure a community as "anonymous", so that only the community owners/moderators can see who posted things, and so I would log into LJ with my "normal" username and just post here as I would to any other community. Or perhaps, instead of putting my "normal" LJ username on, allow me to define a community-specific nickname, like we currently do with tags. It's a little annoying, but we've got established workarounds for it.

Annotation

Since LJ assumes one person is doing all the edits to a post, our annotative style is also largely a hack. Having wikipedia-viewable revisions, with the ability to review (settable on a per-post basis as to if anyone can) and revert posts could be incredibly useful. While I don't use the WYSIWYG editor (I edit in raw HTML) it might be nice if each "user" could have a default style for new text (i.e. mine would be bold, the monkey's would be italic).

Privacy

This is a big one for me. I would very much like TopTheMonkey to be a closely guarded secret, even to its very existence. It's syndicated on several RSS feeds (like hackersluts.com). But it's shown in a few nifty tools like the LJ mindmap thing that "hey, you seem to have a lot of friends in common with TopTheMonkey. I'd really like two options here: One that lets US control if the journal will show in other people's "friends" lists, on their profile. The other that lets people optionally show it.

Yes, there's the moot point that even if TTM is not showing on your friends list it will still show on your friends PAGE, which really can't be helped. But if people are looking to know what kind of friends people keep, or find mass-correlation, people look at the profiles, not read all the friends pages.

Comments

Another thing that's lacking heavily on the LJ side. Enough-so that I'm going to make a list:

  • There's no way on a public journal to make a "private" or "forced screened" comment.
  • There's no way to reply to a screened comment without de-screening it.
  • There's no way to post comment-specific rules on every comment page (i.e. "don't use our real names")
  • There's no way to "censor" a comment: i.e. post an edited or blacked out version of it (I would be happy to selectively replace text with XXXXX but not have the ability to do direct edits -- again, if someone used my real name is a good example). I can already think of an easy way to enforce this with diffs.
  • There is no way to anonymize a comment publicly, but show the owner privately (i.e. to the journal owner).
  • There's no way to make an anonymous comment, but ensure that you get replies (i.e. so LiveJournal knows but you do not).
  • There's no way to make a *screened* comment public-but-anonymized at the journal owner's discretion (i.e. when you de-screen it)

Conclusion

Thanks for bearing with me on this. There's a lot about LJ that could be improved in this way, when talking about everything from rape recovery, to drug use, to personal history, where better privacy is just possible. I doubt that any of this will effect change on the LJ side, but it's a poigniant topic in my mind for other reasons. I promise, the next entry will contain some sexy things.

topthemonkey: (fight club)

Hey there!

As I've recently invited many new people to join and read our little production, I figured I'd take a moment to reiterate how this journal works. This will be a two part post. The first part will focus on how we work. The second part will focus on what specific features LiveJournal or another site could do better to serve our needs. (And there's a lot on that second part). It's my hope that the final version of this post can be linked to from our profile page and/or memories.

Why we do this

The name of the journal comes from the fact that one of the first times that the monkey and I played, I shaved his head down to nothing. The reference is from Fight Club, where the character Tyler Durden remarks of a short haired minion: "Like a space monkey ready to be shot into space". Also, later on, when the monkey's hair grew out, he looked quite a bit like a fluffy spider monkey.

We do this for a number of reasons (and I'll leave it to the monkey to comment on hers). I'm an open-source advocate: if you come up with something that works, I believe you should share that knowledge with others so they can acheive the same results. I believe peer-review and public sanity-checks are an important part of any process, and I want to be able to share what I have, fully, with a select group of friends who know where to look.

Posts

Both the monkey and I post to the same journal. We have different speaking voices and tones, which over time you may be able to pick up. I (the top) am a computer type, an open-source advocate, and a programmer. The monkey is a feminist, a liberal-arts major, and a book lover. If the tones aren't obvious, You can tell who is posting mainly by the tags: almost all our entries are posted with the tags "entries posted by the top" or "entries posted by the monkey".

The monkey is genderqueer, I use both sets of pronouns for him, both in real life, as well as on this journal. I've been told by some people that this is confusing, but it's really simple: if I'm talking about someone else, and using pronouns, it's the monkey. I try lately to keep the pronouns the same from paragraph to paragraph, and to lead each paragraph with a reference to the monkey by name.

Annotation

On many entries, the monkey and I will respond, inline with the text of each other's entries. In general, we do this by editing the entry, and adding text in bold (for the top), or italics (for the monkey). Sometimes, comments are posted in reply to other comments, but we strive to maintain conversational readability. We could use have used colors, but typing <b>this</b> is a lot simpler than typing out <font color="red">this</font>. Usually, when we annotate, we append this to the tags, e.g. "entries annotated by the monkey".

Privacy

The monkey and I have been in past relationships, with people we'd rather not be reading this. We believe in plausible deniability. While we are present on other kink-related sites, we do not use our profiles on that site to refer to this journal, nor do we list our usernames for those sites here: we may pass this information privately to people we trust, but even then, on those sites, there's no connection to us, directly.

The monkey and I don't use our real names. We don't use the names of our friends. We refrain from mentioning much about geography. While our journal will show on person A, B, and C's friends list (on their profile), you cannot view on this journal's profile who has it friended. If for some reason a person would rather not be seen as having such a journal friended, they can either bookmark the journal itself, or syndicate the journal's RSS feed.

Because the bulk of entries are posted publicly (the exceptions are works in progress, or cases where things have been said that need to be "swept", things said by mistake and the like), the user-experience from reading via the RSS feed is remarkably the same as reading via a friends-list. We rather enjoy knowing that anyone could read this: I (the top) find it makes the medium more liberating, a more lasting memoir than something left only to be read by a select group. We have a term for this: "texthibitionism".

One of the biggest reasons we use livejournal is because it's easily anonymous, simple to use, and it's one of the most common blogging communities out there. Tools are set up to flag that yes, this content is adult oriented, while at the same time not requiring any special web hosting account, software to maintain, or money to pay. When posting images, we only tend to post to the journal's image hosting feature itself, or direct-link, thus everything's kept on neutral sites.

Comments

By default, all comments are screened. If you tell us it's okay to unscreen a comment, we will. Livejournal will not let you reply to a screened comment, so in order to reply to any comment, it has to be de-screened for at least a moment. If we're going to reply to you, your comment will be visible for at least a moment, although we general compose comments offline, de-screen entries, post a reply, and then re-screen both your comment and ours. (If this sounds arduous, it's because it is.)

We have had at least one person admit to using our real names in a comment, in order to ensure we wouldn't de-screen it. If you want to be sure your entry stays screened: just ask!

Conclusion

What I hope to do tomorrow is take each of the points above, and turn them on their head: in this post we've detailed what we want to do and why. Tomorrow, I'd like to suggest better ways that all of this could be done. The point is that right now Livejournal may be one of the best vehicles for this medium, but if we could design it from scratch, or suggest features, where would we go?

Any questions?

topthemonkey: (Default)

The monkey and I recently came across a friend looking for advice, who is new and inexperienced to the world of kink.

For various reasons, I was unable to offer it to them directly, but I put a good deal of thought into it, and it was what I feel is good generalized advice, so I'd like to offer it here.

I am "the top". I hate labels. They imply things that are not true. I think labels are often useful. I just wrote several very-long entries stating that I see people as "subs" meaning "subordinate" to me, people who would be students, who would seek to learn. I don't call myself a "Master" or a "Dominant" or "Lord Vader" or any of the other crazy titles that some people make up. I also mis-use the label "subs" to define any of:

 

  • Submissives who serve me
  • People who are collared, but who do not serve in any sexual or BDSM sense
  • People who Just Don't Have Their Life Together, or who in a social setting consistently fall under me.

 

I only use it for the first one. I don't do the obnoxious capitalization of Me/My/Mine that some of these people do. I don't attend a week-long course at a "Master's Academy" and believe that qualifies me to dominate someone, whose loyalty and trust should be earned over time and with effort.

As occasionally happens, the problem I had in trying to offer insight and advice became an issue of the medium versus the message, the semantics versus the sentiment, and the adversity versus the advice.


The monkey and I recently talked about this book over dinner. I remarked that I could probably write an entire counter book and call it something like "Game Over: how to rise above the meat-market mentality and find a loving life-long relationship". It apparently involves several techniques for getting women to follow you, mostly by being enigmatic and dishonest and by tearing them down. Eh, not exactly. It's about manipulation in a more general sense. Read this article to get a better idea. Keep in mind this book is not at all about S&M.

The monkey and I are in the kind of relationship that most people normally mis-associate with demeaning behavior: the kind of behavior this book advocates, where a submissive is told "you're worthless" or "you're nothing" or "you're pathetic". That's really not what the book advocates, and from speaking to others this sort of degradation is more an "in the moment" type thing. I don't even use these kinds of words to describe really anyone I care to know, submissive or not. Everything I do with the monkey is intended to nurture, to bring him up. If there's punishment, it's to remove previous wrongdoing and get on with our lives, instead of letting things linger. If there's anger, it's because that's what I'm feeling and I'm trying to be forthright in making that known so it can be fixed.

My advice-seeking friend recently confessed to us that they had had experiences being dominant with a partner in the bedroom and enjoyed it. They also professed that they felt somewhat above their partner for various reasons, and wanted to control other aspects of their behavior (such as life improvement, and reduced drug use) but were met with opposition and eventually a walking-out on.

She asked me for advice on how to explore these aspects of her personality. To be fair, it felt as though she wasn't even sure WHAT she were asking me for, and a lot of it just felt like a braindump.

She mentioned that she liked being worshiped, like a goddess. I address that specific desire individually:

Being worshiped is great for a scene. It's great for bedroom play. It's wonderful for a one-night stand. It's good for a spicy night in an otherwise vanilla relationship. That seems like a pretty big jump for a vanilla couple. There's ostensibly no shortage of submissive men willing to do this for either a short or long period of time, but IMHO, it's not healthy. Constant boot-licking will eventually get old for both parties, and it doesn't expand to the full basis of a relationship. It doesn't scale. It can't. Besides having no variety, and getting fiercely repetitive, it lacks a karmic balance in that one constantly gives, the other constantly takes, and things get out of whack. One could argue that both parties are taking something from the experience.

If you are interested in learning more about Kink, and about yourself, here's some advice:

Find a mentor. I don't think this is necessary. Learning about this takes years and years, and it's a slow journey. I feel this depends on how general the area of interest is and what the tentative goals are regarding bdsm. Find someone that can introduce you to people, and show you the ropes. I hope that wasn't an intentional pun. Who can tell you where to go for good toys (I learned on my own), and who can tell you where the good parties are assuming you are the sort of person who has interest in bdsm parties, which not all kinky people are. Who can give you the education that need to be able to play safely and be sure of yourself, but who you won't think it trying to oppress, dominate, or control you. Find someone you can sanity-check your experiences with: "Is it okay to do this or that?" or "He wanted to do X, is that even possible?" There are communities everywhere for this. Collarme, Fetlife, etc. There's clubs and groups in your area (in every area). Find one.

Read some of the blogs and books the monkey posted about earlier.

With regard to actual bedroom sex and play, assuming in all cases consenting, aware, adults:

Be open minded. Discuss things you'd like to try. If you know and have some experience with your partner at least a little, there's leeway for at least a bit of spontaneity. If in that case there's something you want to try, try it. Want to grab their hair and pull them into you? Want to give them orders? Try it, gently at first. I feel you should not spring these things on a partner out of nowhere. Even if you've been together years, if you haven't discussed the aforementioned actions, you don't know what the reaction is going to be, and it could be pretty awful. Learn your partner's cues: what he does when he likes it, and when he doesn't, and work based on those. I strongly discourage relying on perceived cues. Ask for constant feedback. If you want them not to touch you with their hands, say that. If you want them to do ONLY what you say, then say that. Get where you need to go, get your partner where he needs to go after, and enjoy the experience.

If this is a type of relationship where you'll be able to them neutrally at an "hours later" time, then open communications: Ask your partner afterward, what he thought of it, and listen to the response. (Did you like it when I did X? Was it nice when you did Y? (Or, be a "real dom," and claim that you don't care!) I suspect that's sarcastic. Tell him what you thought of it. Learn about yourself. Learn about them. The only caveat here is to be mindful of risks. If you want to try something more extreme, do your homework. Do not assume that your partner has done all the research. If someone wants you to do something that they swear up and down is safe, but that you doubt, trust your instincts. Unless you say "yes," it's rape. Your body is your own, and no matter how dominant you are, his isn't.

With regard to a relationship:

You're asking me for advice on self-discovery, and how to find someone who will meet this side of yourself. "I want to be worshipped" is not the terms of a relationship. It could be. I am in a long-term relationship, and that's where my advice would focus, so here's some of that:

Be Honest. Be open. Be loving. Be caring. Be a friend. Be a lover.

All of that transcends being a dom or a sub; transcends Kink or Vanilla, and all of it describes what I have with the monkey. It's the greatest thing in the world when you have it, and I wish everyone could have it.

Getting into a long term relationship can come on quickly, but at some point, you need to examine your needs, and the needs of a partner.

You could say "I want a car with leather seats and an Ow-ooga horn." That covers a wide range of cars, some of which run, some of which don't. Some will break down on you, some will fall apart on you. You owe it to yourself to lay out everything. I could find you a ford pinto with SOME kind of leather seats and that kind of a horn. You owe it to yourself to detail what you WANT, what you NEED, and what you'll settle for.

Just as I did in my last entry, you should do the same. Here's an example based on the monkey and I:

I expect from the monkey:

 

  • Honesty, whenever possible.
  • Sex on a more or less regular basis
  • The ability to call you demeaning things Yeah but he does this really playfully.
  • You to be able to learn your limits
  • My house clean and in order The house being a studio apartment.
  • For the monkey to be able to take care of himself
  • For the monkey to do (school/work/etc) what he needs to be fulfilled

 

I provide for the monkey:

 

  • Guidance and feedback
  • A firm hand and rough sex when he wants it
  • Food, shelter, clothing, books, health insurance

 

I will not abide:

 

  • The monkey being involved with one abusive partner from his past
  • The monkey self-harming
  • Self-abusive or demeaning behavior

 

There's more, of course...and maybe one day I'll detail it all, but that covers the basic needs.

If you have a list in advance, and know what you're getting, know the parameters of the relationship you want, then, be you dom or sub, you're more prepared for it.

It feels like there's so much more I could write, but this was the advice I had prepared, so that's the gist of the post I'm making, albeit reworded.


In closing, I apologize if this entry seemed rushed. I may have some refinements to do, but I needed to get it out so I could get on with my day. I've had a rather angry night. Luckily, I have a very good editor-monkey.

topthemonkey: (Default)

Note: this is the final part of a five part entry, posted in five daily parts. It's strongly suggested you start with the first, here, and read from there. Note that single-spaced, this series of entries comes out to nine pages in OpenOffice, so the daily breaks are for both digestibility as well as readability. On the same note, I think I may get more useful comments and feedback with multiple parts. Please note:I state defining principles of a lot of what we do here, ergo comments are not only welcome, but requested. They are screened by default, if it's okay to unscreen please tell me. This notice will appear on each entry.

In the previous four entries, I covered, as straightforwardly and as honestly as I could, my belief systems, how I see people, and my justifications behind it. It may make me seem unfair, or self-centered, but I'm being open here: I forge the types of relationships I forge. Throughout it all, every time I've found myself posting something that I didn't see as accurate, I stopped, backspaced, and went over it. Any time I found myself saying something that I couldn't believe I'd said, but then I found to be true, I forced myself to leave it in. Sure, copy editing, spelling corrections, and restructuring happened, but I couldn't let what I felt escape the entry.

Part 5: Explorations in Radical Honesty

The Monkey and I recently watched an awesome Fox show starring Tim Roth called "Lie to Me". The show is about a team of "deception experts" who are able to tell when people are lying by facial micro-expressions made for less than 1/5 of a second. It's based on a real person, Paul Ekman, who pre-reviews every episode.

In this show, there is a supporting character named Eli Loker who adheres to something called Radical Honesty. The link there is to a wikipedia entry, and a copyrighted series of books and self-help lectures, but it's a very, very simple concept.

Say what you're feeling. Say what's on your mind. I've always tried to do this on some level with the Monkey, but now, I'm pushing it one step further, even removing the last of the filter. It also implies things like "don't ask questions you don't want an honest answer to". I suppose the classic "does this dress make me look fat?" would be an example. Supposedly, if the show is to be believed, the average person lies three times in ten minutes of conversation. About past experiences, about knowing things they don't, about seeming more right than they are. About the time, number, and frequency of sexual encounters. About inane things. About important things. And it comes to the point that you start to get not only used to it, but believing it. It's a filter that takes things from the speech center of your brain, and embellishes, polishes, omits, and distorts. It's a bullshit filter.

I've often said that the relationship I've had with the monkey has been one of the most honest and open ones I've ever had, but there's still been things I've been less than true about: a friend I had let be dominant over me, previous experiences in life, things as minor as a food allergy I've claimed to have ever since I've known her.

As I worked to shut down the filter, over the first few days I felt like I was drunk. I babbled incessantly. In fact, I gestured as I normally do when drunk. This is actually not surprising, as being drunk shuts off the same filter, so my brain was in a similar mode. I said every thought that popped into my head, no matter how inane (and given enough caffeine, there are quite a few of those). I've mentioned numerous things to the monkey, and with at least a few other people, in both emails and IM conversations, I've simply gotten things off my chest, cleared the air, said things I hadn't said previously or been saying to try to be nice, to be tactful. For some people, in IM, as soon as I saw their names something came into my mind, I realized it was true, and typed it: some radical things about ways I had damaged relationships, people I had wronged, opportunities I had missed. Every time I think about other things in the past that I might have said that are even the most bit misleading, I blurt them out. I correct myself constantly now, until I'm sure meaning is straight. Conversations are just a little stressful with the monkey. If I'm upset, I've been saying it lately instead of keeping calm. This may pass, it may not.

Being this honest doesn't mean the complete lack of tact, and it doesn't mean the complete loss of at least a little sugar-coating. If someone's wearing something that makes them look bad, there are a couple ways to say it as opposed to first-instinct. "That's not attractive on you" gives the same message as "God that makes you look ugly". I suppose the most important thing may be to respect people's limits: if they tell you outright that they don't like this, then I suppose like everything else, there needs to be the capability of safe space.

I would love to have this concept with everyone who wears a collar, and I would love to have it be bidirectional, but like so much else, that part wouldn't be mandatory: some people could only take it on after a long time, and some people never could. Some of the guidelines I've mentioned previously start to approach this, though.

I already push subs to this: to tell me what's wrong when I ask, to tell me what their needs are, to tell me when they're not okay instead of shelling. I especially insist on "safewording", and giving me status updates when you've got heavy stuff going on, either inflicted by me, or by life in general. I think on this one, I'm going to lead by example. Some of you reading this may have already seen this if you've been speaking to me.

Once I've explored it on that scope, I may employ it with my greater circle of friends and acquaintances in general. I'd honestly love to be able to employ this in my work life as well; but there are walls. Mentioning your love life at work (especially when you're into BDSM and are poly and at least a little bit bi) is a little bit weird, and just a little bit dangerous, but I can at least shut off the bullshit.

I freely admit that I can't do it with strangers. Not yet, anyway.

Conclusion

I'd like to thank anyone who's read all the way through to this point. It's been an interesting writing experience, and it's been useful both to hone my writing style, as well as to get a lot of things out of my head and into text, both about the past, and about the future: where I've been, where I'd like to go. How I've lived, how I'd like to live. While I have been told by some that I write using a very knowing/knowledgable tone, the truth is, just like everyone else on the planet, I'm still learning and still figuring it out. People are complex, and when you have multiple people, in multiple co-mingled relationships together, that require the degrees of trust these do, it can be difficult, and there can be numerous unseen variables. I don't propose to be an expert. I'm a programmer, a techie, a appreciator of hard science: I analyze things, and I come up with logical conclusions and relationships. People aren't always logical, and they don't always adhere to rules.

I need to be honest with myself as well: perhaps, in all this, I'm just trying to come up with some method to bribe/nudge/push people into fitting into my definitions, or rule them out. I can't honestly know, and time will tell.

For those of you who haven't been regular readers, please know that comments are screened, and that I love/crave feedback. I tend to reply to screened comments, which requires me to de-screen them momentarily (obviously if you have the option to email comments turned off, you miss out). Once this entry has had time to "set" for a while, I'll likely add them to this journal's memories listing.

topthemonkey: (Default)

Note: this is the fourth part of a five part entry, posted in five daily parts. It's strongly suggested you start with the first, here, and read from there. Further parts of the entries may be further edited based on comments, and are also still being copy-edited, but if you would like to read it all-at-once, it's available here (although it has since exceeded the max length on LJ so only contains the unposted portions). Note that single-spaced, it comes out to nine pages in OpenOffice, so the daily breaks are for both digestibility as well as readability. On the same note, I think I may get more useful comments and feedback with multiple parts. This notice will appear on each entry.

Welcome again. In our first entry, we focused on introducing the people in my "circle", those that I've chosen to keep close to me, to share my style of thinking and my rather uniqe kink-biased-but-not-required viewpoints. In the second entry, I described how I generally tend to measure people, generally judging them on their merits and achievements, and on my perceptions as a person, and what I perceive of a person when I decide to offer them a deeper, more intimate level of trust. In yesterday's post, I detailed some mistakes, misconceptions, and problems that had come up with one friend.

In this entry, I would simply like to focus on the criteria I think that should be determined clearly, as a common denominator. This entry is going to be a little different, a list of lists, so to speak, but that's the format it takes best to.

Put another way, this is like saying: I know the people in part 1, I've come to see them a certain way based on criteria in part 2, and while I'm offering assistance in various ways it doesn't mean I see them as terrible or weak people. Because of some things that happened in part 3, I'd like the people in part 1 to read, understand, and comment on the stuff in part 4, here. This is where it all starts to come together. As always, comments are appreciated.

Part 4: What a collar means to me

What submission means to me is simple: ultimate trust. "I submit to you" == "I put my life in your hands". What that requires, and means, is a bit more complicated. Some of these may sound a bit Asimovian.

What I want for all my friends, collars or no:

  • I want them to be happy. Doesn't mean I want to help make them so, but I don't like seeing anyone unhappy, and if I see a person unhappy for an extended period, I might not want to see them so much.
  • I don't like hearing my friends use words like "stupid", "ugly" or "fat" to describe themselves.
  • Along the same lines, I often take offense at the words "just" and "only". As in "I am just a..."

What I will do if you are given my collar:

  • It means that I pledge to help you in any way I can, if it is within my means to do so and if it does not endanger me or others in my charge.
  • It means that I will try as hard as I can to be honest with you, and to tell you what I believe to be true. This hasn't in the past meant outright full-disclosure, but that may change soon.
  • It means that I genuinely care about things that are going on in your life, and that affect you: your career, your love life, your emotions, your rage.
  • It means that I will try and meet your needs. They may not always be what you ask for. If I feel you need to talk and are shelling, that means I may try to draw things out. If it means you're drunk and need to not drink any more, it means I'll see you safely to bed and give you a warm blanket.
  • It means that I will listen to you. If you say you can't handle a particular method, means, or approach of working with you: I may explain myself, but I won't force it on you.
  • It means that unless you ask, I may discuss your problems with other people in the circle, to be sure my advice and approach are fair and well-grounded and are in your best interest.
  • It means, outright, that you will not intentionally hurt or damage yourself, and that I will not be tolerant of you hurting yourself.
  • I will ask you about your long term goals, where you want to be in life, where you see yourself going. It means I'll ask how realistic you feel those directions are, and how I can help.
  • I will work with you to set longer and shorter-term goals for yourself, and I'll keep tabs on you as often as we agree is comfortable.

What a collar does not (necessarily) mean, unless we discuss and arrive at these together:

  • It does not necessarily mean I have the right to simply use you as I see fit.
  • Doesn't necessarily mean I have the right to take you away from other aspects in your life: family, friends, religion.
  • Nor does it necessarily mean I expect you to be romantic, or sexual, or BDSM-involved with me. I have at least one person on the list above who I don't think I've so much as hugged.
  • It doesn't mean I have the right to discipline you like you may have read about the monkey having in this journal.
  • It does not mean I can make you do anything you do not want to do.

What I expect you to do if you wear a collar:

  • I expect you to be honest with me. I don't want full-disclosure or radical honesty (see the next section) from everyone, but I at the very least expect not to be lied to. If there's something you don't want to tell me, then say that: I'll respect it far more than a lie.
  • I expect you to tell me about any problems you may be having. Much like my friend in the previous section, I'm fine with "I'm having problem X, but I've got it under control".
  • I expect that if I'm offering advice, that you listen to it. Feel free to rebut it, but listen to it all the way through. I'm verbose if you give me a chance, I give details behind my logic, and will explain things to the nth degree. Once I'm done, feel free to tell me you don't think it works for you, optionally tell me why. But please listen. If I feel after offering it repeatedly that it's not the right kind of advice for you, I can work to change what I offer. If I am simply cut off before having that conversation, I cannot.
  • I expect that if I'm making you uncomfortable, you tell me. If a situation I've put you in is making you uncomfortable, tell me. You can use the standard BDSM "yellow" or "red", or you can casually take me aside, or you can simply say "you're hitting a comfort limit here".
  • I expect along the same line as above that if I'm asking a line of questions that are awkward, seem to personal, or that you outright feel are none of my business, you will tell me. In a perfect world, no subjects are taboo, but that can be a level of trust that can take years or longer to build, and I feel it would be unfair (except in life-threatening situations) to require that level of disclosure outright.
  • Finally, if I am in a sexual relationship with you (and this is not at all a requirement, note the "if"), it is imperative that you let me know of any risks you may be putting me, and the other people I relate with, at by sharing that level of intimacy with you. If you have a new partner who doesn't believe in being tested or who you are unsure of, it's my right to know that if you're going to continue that with me. Note of course that if you're in such a relationship, you're putting yourself at risk at well, but in this case, I need to protect the others by insisting on this.

Everything else is negotiable. Absolutely everything. Note that I mention clauses above that apply IF we are intimate, but there's no real protocols or standards defined. Just some very light, base expectations. On the actual protocol level, and slightly more infuencing of day-to-day behavior:

What I would LIKE to expect of you if you wear a collar:

  • As of now, four of the people above have made up HTML forms that they are required to submit to me, daily, with it being a requirement for a fourth person by next Wednesday. These forms detail how they've served me, and served themselves; how they've made progress on issues they're tackling, and what they're working with. In all cases, I asked them to come up with the entries on the forms, as it's an important factor to me what they feel is important. (That may be cheating, mentioning that). I'd like everyone to be submitting daily or at most weekly reports to me. It takes only a minute, and it's a good self-checking exercise.
  • It's completely optional, but I give collars to be worn. I tend to discuss it with people beforehand, what they'd like or not. Some people keep them close, some wear them around wrists or ankles. Sometimes there's a symbolic representation, like a body piercing (but not a tattoo). While I'm normally scientific, I'm slightly pagan in the concept that I believe you can draw strength from me by wearing an object linked to me, and I see myself as a strong person. I'd like it if they are worn at least:
    • in my presence when I'm at home.
    • optionally in my presence in public.
    • optionally when you're on your own, either at home or out.
    • I also like knowing that you're wearing it when addressing me from a distance, either online talk, or when filling out your daily report.
    • When you need to be reminded of your place, or you need (as above) to draw strength.
    • If my relationship with you is sexual, then perhaps while masturbating, or even while having sex with others.
    • Alternatively, some other ritual, like holding it for a minute, warming it with your hands, kissing it, polishing it, saying my name while holding it. In short: I want it to be a significant object that you show respect to in a certain way. You can even opt not to tell me what that way is.
  • In deference to the above, if you're an actual slave-type collared person, then I will probably dictate that you wear the thing all the time, and will make sure to buy you something shower-able, comfortable, and lock it on all the time. But even then, it's a negotiable thing. The monkey has worn his almost a year. It's titanium. And apparently only sets off airport metal detectors if we're at threat level orange or greater.
  • For submissives and people with a sexual relationship, I tend to like body shaving. Whether or not you do this if you are only trying out that kind of play is up for discussion.
  • I expect you to be at least comfortable with the concepts of bondage. That is to say, comfortable with the monkey wearing his collar and cuffs out in public.
  • I'd like you to be open-minded. Trying new foods, trying new experiences. Yes, some of this may involve trust exercises. It may mean wearing a blindfold to try new foods, for example, which some people would consider kinky, but which I would just say is defeating a visual bias (and puts more focus on taste and texture). It may mean, if you've done something wrong, even if you're not into BDSM, trying a punishment I'd use with a submissive; which can be writing assignments (either self-exploratory, or repetitious), being made to stand in a corner, or even outright physical punishment (which we would discuss beforehand, and which would not under any circumstance be compulsory). It's not required, but I'd like you to be able to say you tried it.
  • I'd like you to be drug free. If you do things recreationally, we can discuss that. (And with at least one of the people above, I am now somewhat in control of that). I would like to know that decisions you and I will make together are done without any external influences. This generally includes being a non-smoker as well (see above statement about hurting yourself). It also means telling me when you've done what if anything.
  • I'd like to be able to influence your learning process. This may mean being given books to read, and it may mean doing book reports after. It may mean learning skills common to mine, so we have a shared base of understanding. I'd like all my subs to learn at least HTML, as well as one programming language, for example.
  • I'd like you to have a standard way of addressing me. "Sir", "Sensei", "[my name]-sama", or even another name that doesn't imply anything like that: just something that shows you are to see me in a different light than how others see me, and that you call me by a name you call no other by.
  • While this normally implies to people in the sexual/submissive frame of mind, I have a certain attachment with hair: while it grows back quickly, I took both the Monkey's, and another slavegirls's early in their relationships. I contemplate that I'd like to require a certain commonality to hairstyles: at the moment, I simply feel buzzing down an inch or two of hair at the nape of the neck, even when a collar is first given, would be a nice thing, something that everyone who had a collar would have in common (it's also something I like the feel of under my fingers, and as the neck, especially the back, is a good control point, it's a nice place to have one's hand anyway). But again, this is in no way compulsory; simply a nice thought.

It's a long list. And before giving such a wearable to anyone, now that the list is out and formalized, I want to be able to have people go over it, to agree to a common set of terms and protocols and expectations; to decide on anything they can't handle (or may not be able to handle initially but want to be led toward; or things listed here that they want). I don't want to draw this out like a credit card contract, or a cell phone agreement: to be weaponized and to give me a number of ways in which you can breach the rules later, but simply because I'd like my relationship with you (and yours with me) to be one where you know what to expect. That doesn't mean it will be boring, nor does it mean it will be draconian, or like a bad porno. I enjoy my life, and I want to enjoy it with other people. I just want to have a set of expectations about the people I am closest to.

In our final entry, I will detail one other interesting aspect of myself I'm trying to explore: a way to completely clear the air. If you have been reading the meta-post on this, most of the final entry needs to be fleshed out a bit more, based on recent experiences.

topthemonkey: (Default)

Note: this is part three of a five part entry, posted in five daily parts. It's strongly suggested you start with the first, here, and read from there. Further parts of the entries may be further edited based on comments, and are also still being copy-edited, but if you would like to read it all-at-once, it's available here. Note that single-spaced, it comes out to nine pages in OpenOffice, so the daily breaks are for both digestibility as well as readability. On the same note, I think I may get more useful comments and feedback with multiple parts. This notice will appear on each entry.

Welcome again. In the last two entries, I have focused on introducing some of the people I care about in my life right now, and then on describing how I see friends: how I size people up, and how I offer to take them under my wing when I feel they need help in life. I detailed that, for a number of reasons in the past, a number of people are no longer in my life, due either to changes in the way we see each other, or simply the fact that they do not align with the way I need to see the world, and do not contribute to the sense of stability and control I need to feel in my life. Often it's a harsh process when that happens, but I always wish the best for people this happens to: I feel if we are destabilizing each other, we are best out of each others' influence.

Part 3: Her

However, in one such circumstance, I made my decision, the person has waited a year, and has recently sent me an LJ message asking for my number. I decided that I wanted to get my thoughts in order before speaking to them, and that is part of the driving process in this entry.

Herstory

I saw this person as a "sub", in many senses, and I also detected an interest in Kink. Perhaps this is part of the problem. I'd tied her up once or twice (note:fully clothed, but demonstrating technique), I'd taken a few impact toys to her (also fully clothed). I'd employed her to keep my house clean. We'd shared a few intimate moments in a hot tub and a shower after, where nothing happened, and I enjoyed the fact that nothing happened: the trust of being able to do that was more a mental high than anything sexual could have been. It really felt special to me. I tried light bondage with her once, cuffing her up, naked, to a ceiling-hook in my basement, but again, nothing was penetrated in any manner like that.

She had alienated at least a couple friends at that time. There were numerous circumstances where she would refuse to be around if other people were around. I told her I didn't care what friendships she kept, that I would be her friend regardless and that she was always welcome with me. Later, I told her I loved her, and meant it. Before I moved away from the area, I gave her a collar that had previously belonged to another friend, who I felt no longer needed it.

Months later, I had her over the house where I was staying (several hundred miles away), which was a D/S heavy house. The homeowner at the time had a propensity for being pushy and somewhat sexually aggressive and inappropriate, albeit in a gregarious way. I offered to have her wear the collar again, as a signal that she was under my care and not to be touched. She turned it down. I made no pressure about it. I am not implying that she was to be touched anyway, nor that it was something "none of this would have happened if...", but people in these circles tend to "get" that symbol, and respect it as I would.

She was going through a lot of odd personal issues when she came to visit (major family problems with a relative in the hospital), but a lot of inappropriate jokes (about rape and chloroform) were made, and it put her off. She wandered outside the house, alone, and got herself into what I perceive as a dangerous situation: She started wandering the streets, and random people started following her around in a car. She didn't seek me out for help, and didn't call me once she had gotten into trouble.

Note that while she was trying to be independent, this type of behavior serves to reinforce the "helpless" thing that makes me read "sub". Even a peer would say "I'm going out for a walk, I have my phone" instead of just disappearing. I would have seen her as more capable if once problems occurred, she'd have reached out and been disclosive, even in just so much as a "I'm in trouble but I think I can handle it, if I don't call back in 20 minutes call the cops" sort of phone call.

Hell, when I took her from home, I was the one she left with, was staying with. If she had wound up dead in a ditch, who would have been questioned by the police?

Either way, I wasn't aware of the problems that were occurring, or if I was, I wasn't being made aware enough. Despite being in a house of friends who had all seen each other naked, she slept with the door locked. She went home a day or two later without incident.

Her visit: the aftermath

Later on, on LiveJournal, she had some things to say about her experience: vague posts about men in general and about our cowardice as a gender. I did everything I could to correct the problem with Mr Rape-Jokes, and he apologized profusely, to her directly, but it was his problem to correct. I don't know if they've ever sorted it out. I don't really care.

At the same time, through comments and threads and my own conversation to her she told me that some of the things I felt we had shared, that I felt were special and trusting, were simply because she had been at a low point at the time, and this left me feeling hurt. She also had some comments about my relationship with the monkey, and whether or not she felt it was healthy. I in turn saw this as the worst type of hypocrisy: someone attempting to become a therapist, but who had led herself into so many other situations, someone who wanted to counsel families, but couldn't gain the strength to either rectify or leave her own alcoholic, codependent, abusive environment. I felt it was clear: she needed to be left to make her own mistakes.

I remember that her sentiments about the most important relationship in my life made me very angry at the time, and this was at a time when other people were blatantly saying unfounded things about my relationship with the monkey.

Regular readers of this journal and would-be friends would do well to understand this if nothing else: You don't have to know every detail of my relationship with the Monkey. You are more than entitled to your opinion about it. But if the end result is that someone who thinks that the most fulfilling relationship I've ever had: an honest relationship between two consenting adults, is unhealthy, then the last thing I need is doubt where I've found an abundance of clarity. The values discussed here are both personal credo, and religion to me. I believed that then. I believe it now. I'm more than willing to keep my kink out of your face, but I don't want a friendship with someone who is disgusted with what I have.

I felt like I couldn't help but see her as a submissive: consistently putting herself in vulnerable places. Despite her assertion that she wasn't, I knew how I perceived her, and I couldn't change it. I felt as though I had taken advantage of her, that I had somehow let her down, that despite everything we had done being consensual, that I had taken advantage of her. And I didn't want to keep seeing her that way if she didn't want to be.

That combined with everything else, caused me to simply say "okay, have a nice life then", to have a friend make arrangements to get the collar from her. Sadly, the friend claimed that I do this with a lot of people in an on-again-off-again manner. In reality, the friend was an ex I had been guilty of that on-again-off-again behavior with, and that was probably why it was "everyone".

She gave up the collar. I have no idea where it is now, hopefully destroyed or buried, but I don't really care. She left me a nasty voicemail saying if I tried to come back again she would "laugh in my face."

...I still love her. Damn.I wrote that, and can't delete it now. Radical Honesty in action. I wish I could turn the feelings I have off, but it's not in my nature. The monkey told me months ago that she (the friend) had told the monkey that she was going to reach out to me.

It took strength (and months) for her to even get up the courage to send me the message she did. It may take months before she calls. In the meantime, she may or may not read this, but at the very least, I'm sorting out my own feelings, trying to be as honest with myself as I know how. (And as you'll see in part 5, I'm learning a lot about how to be honest with myself).

I suppose what I want from her is understanding. Understanding of my relationship with the monkey, and understanding of what I want for her.

I don't know who she's become in the past year. She may no longer fit the mental image of "sub" that I had classed her in. She may have moved away from the abusive family situation she was in, she may have corrected the relationships with her other friends. She may be in a better space job-wise. She alone can determine how I will see her, and how she wants to be seen.

Her legacy

One thing is for certain: while I've gotten quite good at ignoring the cries of "let me back in" that inevitably happen when I "close the door" like this, I've responded to her where I haven't to others. I've put the hours and hours into writing this entry that I have, and I am now waiting on her. The fact thatat I've given her even this limited power over me annoys me, but there may be a benefit. I'm trying very hard to see this time as an investment. I've sent her my numbers, and she can call when she needs to, or she'll be forgotten again. I'm not going to poke or prod.

What is certain, however, to me, is that there were crossed expectations. Despite my best attempts to explain what I felt, what I meant, what I wanted to be and do for her, and what I expected in return from her, we didn't meet up on it. We weren't honest with each other. We weren't able to put everything else aside as one should be able to do with someone you trust at this level: and I'll learn from that. I'll draw everything out now, give it all to people in writing, point them here at these entries. Hand them a simple list of "This is what to expect, This is what it means, This is what it DOESN'T: shatter any previous misconceptions someone may have just because it involves a symbol associated with kink and slavery, and cause them to realize that just because I'm in one such relationship, does not mean all must be.

The stress and the upset that's come from this can be prevented in the future.

In the next section, I detail what it means to me when I give out a collar, in the context of simple bullet lists, and go into what she could have expected, and what standards I expect the Monkey and I, both individually and as a unit, to carry forward with anyone else to receive such a thing.

topthemonkey: (Default)

Note, this is part two of a five part entry, posted in five daily parts. It's strongly suggested you start with the first, here, and read from there. Further parts of the entries may be further edited based on comments, and are also still being copy-edited, but if you would like to read it all-at-once, it's available here. Note that single-spaced, it comes out to nine pages in OpenOffice, so the daily breaks are for both digestibility as well as readability. On the same note, I think I may get more useful comments and feedback with multiple parts. This notice will appear on each entry.

The doors I've closed.

In yesterday's entry, I covered the diverse group of people who have given me their time and attention, and who have chosen to do me the honor of calling me "sir". Sometimes, I decide I want to commit to people even greater, and want that relationship to be symbolic. I guess that brings me to what "submission" and collars in general mean to me, and what a dominant and a submissive are.

When I first met the monkey, I mentioned that I had given collars to a lot of people I knew, and the monkey was rather taken aback at this. I tried earnestly to explain that it didn't mean the same things to me that it meant to her, and she asked me not to buy any more gear for anyone unless I discussed it with her. With the exception of a few books for someone, I haven't. Strictly speaking, I don't count books as gear, but I'm being fully-disclosive here. Radical honesty and all that.

Friends, and implied hierarchy

The monkey often feels I tend way too often to see things as black and white: you are either sick or well, sane or crazy, useful or not. I recently stated in a conversation with the monkey that I tend to see all people as either Dominants, Submissives, or Peers. While the monkey took some offense at that at the time, I feel I can turn that around a bit now and put it in a rational sense.

In everyone's life, there are people who have control over you, and there are people you do not. There may also be people you have control over.

For example, a cop pulling you over: face it, he has control over you as long as you're there. I'm not interested in debating this: anyone wise will just give him the respect he needs, and get him out of your life. Your boss at work, sure, there may be job negotiations, but either you answer to them, or you quit, get fired, transfer or are promoted. You may have a friendly relationship with him, but he can still pull rank. In the company org-chart he's either above, below, or parallel to you.

Your friends are peers, usually. You may have friends that you always answer to, that you will always do what they say; and you may have friends who are the same way for you, who will always do whatever it is you do, who are people pleasers. If you call that a "perfect peer", you may need to think over it a second time, but there are likely people for which there's an even exchange, you give them advice, they give you advice. You take turns picking up the lunch tab. You offer mutual input to common problems and discuss things logically. Neither of you is a natural leader over the other, neither of you depends heavily on the other, and the relationship of X to Y, is the same as Y to X.

The line of friendship is a blurry one. You may find that you may have friends who you are both stronger and weaker than, in various subjects, but in almost all societies, a pecking order and a sense of hierarchy tends to emerge. The same is true for those above you; let's say you have an eight-years-older brother or the like. You listen to what he has to say, you give him at least some degree of respect, and he may in fact have pounded you a few times when you're kids. Later in life, he's the godfather of your kids and giving the speech at your weddings, the one who tells you what to expect because he's been there before. While he's not your boss, he's above you in some senses, and you both accept it.

In the third category, not everyone has underlings. Not everyone is capable of handling it. If you're a parent, your children answer to you, at least in theory. If, as above, you have younger siblings that you take care of, you have this. If you babysit, if you're a team captain or a scout leader or a club president, you lead, and to whatever degree, no matter how democratic the process, they follow. Note carefully that there's nothing wrong with being a "sub". Some of the strongest, and most capable, wonderful people I know are subs. When I was 21, I had a friend aged 15 who was my shadow: we went everywhere together, just hung out, I picked her up to run errands with me, we watched anime, I invariably fed her, and it was known by parents and friends that if she was with me, she was safe. There was nothing sexual, nothing romantic. She was just someone who was always at my side. There was also no power struggle, either: the roles made sense. We've drifted, but she's still in my life, in an outsider-sort-of sense. She's become a peer in almost every sense of the word. She's graduated. I've told her, on many occasions, how proud I am of what she's done for herself and what she's made.

I simply have started to see all relationships like this. You're a peer, you're above me, a peer or below me. Most of you are peers. Two other possibilities: I don't know you well enough or I just don't want to know you. (as an aside: if you want to know which you are: ask me and I'll tell you, it's not supposed to be a secret). You can have different roles where these apply (i.e. with coworkers who are also friends), but in a singular context, I feel I'm better off knowing the score. In determining this, I tend to rate people on a few qualities:

  • General Intelligence. Are you conversible, alert, well-spoken? Are the lights on and are people home?
  • Specific Intelligence. If you have knowledge of a subject, and I see that your knowledge of it is well-rounded and extensive.
  • Abilities. Can you do something I cannot? Something that shows either inate talent or years of effort? Something that shows a passion in learning?
  • Appearance. I tend to ignore weight, and I tend to ignore style of dress. I don't believe clothes make the person -- just look at Paris Hilton or Rod Blagojevich. I do look at cleanliness, grooming, and scent.
  • Strength of character and self-esteem. Is it there, or is it not? Are you taking care of yourself?
  • Outright demeanor: Are they a good, caring, compassionate, loyal person?

(As a humorous aside: I just looked over the above list and realized it conformed with another standard rating system. This wasn't intentional, but for those who understand the following [WIS, INT, STR/DEX, CHA, CON, ALI], it kind of makes sense.)

My father, rampant alcoholic that he is, claims he has two overall categories for determining if a person is worthwhile. "Would I buy this guy a drink?" and, more importantly, he says: "Would this guy buy me a drink".

The reality is that we ALL size people up using our own criteria, even if we don't want to admit we're doing it. I'm just trying to be forthright in my hows and whys, trying to hard-categorize.

More than Friends

I have known a number of people, who I see having trouble in a number of ways, or who are going through (or who are about to go through) a particularly difficult time in their lives. Very often, I will take a friend aside and ask, in earnest, if they want my advice and help in a situation. It requires an emotional investment on my end, but it also means that I can change someone's world for the better. I'm sure some of you know people like this, people who consistently show inability to self-manage. People who stir drama in situations, people who have a number of conflicts with people, many of them self-started. Sometimes they're a genuinely good person, but odds are against them: they're out of shape financially, terribly in debt with no hope of recovery, or in at least a few cases, too young to be able to manage their own life. If I see enough redeeming quality above, enough potential to care and be a good person, and If I care enough about a person, then I make myself available, and move to work with them. I move to be a person who is above the bullshit, and who won't get trapped in the situation of "all my friends are turning against me."

Yes, I have a hero complex. I fully admit it. And yes, to my BDSM-addled brain, stating "I'll be there for you" means giving a person a collar, and explaining to them and everyone else that it's not about sex, or kink, or fucking; and explaining to everyone else that it doesn't make any of the other people I care about any less special. it's about being the person to both take care of, and be in charge of another when necessary. Like a pet, the person you open the door for on a cold night. The "family" you met in the list above? These are the people I would do this for. These are the people I would choose to walk beside me.

Recent Edit. One reader of this chapter told me it sounds like codependence. I bring up my relationship with the monkey here. My definition of "codependence" is "two people who cross-enable each other's unhealthy behaviors". To take a chapter from the animal and plant world, the monkey and I are "symbiotic". Or we are "interdependent". We both get wonderful discussions, great sex with things we both enjoy, affection, mental stimulation from each other. She gets health insurance, a roof over her head, all the soy-based food product he can eat. I get meals made for me, laundry done, the house kept, and the comfort of knowing that she's growing as a person under my care, and helping me to do the same, helping me to become a better master.

Section four of this series will focus on that, and will focus on what I want to offer people who I give this level of attention and involvement to.

Why I'm need to be in charge to be closer.

In my work life, I feel it is a journey of discovery: I work in a place where I am good at what I do, but where the development of skills is a solitary path. I do what I do because I am good at it and because it enriches me. I choose the path that career takes. Ultimately, I am in charge of my own destiny there. There are other people to ask for help, and of course I report to people, but I am able, in this job, to be who I am at home.

I need to be able to see the monkey as under me, in every way. She may be more well read on some topics, and I in others. She may have a degree I do not. We talk like normal people, we debate and discuss things -- but the lines on the org chart are clear: she calls me sir consistently, and I call her Boy. I need to be able to apply this paradigm evenly to other parts in my life. If I learn to be a better speller to write work emails, I will apply the same to personal writing. If I try to be more well-spoken at work, I will continue to use the same voice when with friends. When defining a new behavior, applying the same logical arrangement unilaterally helps to strengthen the system in all cases. I need to be the dominant in situations involving these people I need to be in control, and able to solve problems.

No longer friends

In the above "job" situation, the "quit or be fired" is what I call a "radical relationship change". Not all relationships can take such a change. Some people break up and remain friends. Others break up and want nothing to do with each other. In some cases, there is an off-again-on-again, but I've found in that case, the relationship isn't changing at all: the status quo is just an oscillating state that has probably been there the whole time.

In several situations, especially in the past, I have had such a drastic change. With my family, with former roommates, with friends. Still with other people, I can think of several examples of people I've cared for as above, people who were always at my side, who I'm proud to see have grown into peers.

However, the opposite is also true: if I find that you and I conclict constantly, or if I see you unwilling or unable to accept help (and I'll offer). If I continually feel then I can't trust a friend, then I need to make the opposite decision. As I explained to a recent commenter, if you are floating in the sea, and I have a boat, I will offer to pull you in, or I'll move on. I can't stand there and watch you drown, it detracts from the need to get everyone else where we're going.

Several times in the past, I have seen people one way, and because the terms I'm laying out here were not clear, they did not want to be seen that way. In an edit, the monkey asked: Couldn't the terms have been clear and they just didn't want to be seen in that way?, referring most likely to one specific person, (who has her own section, in the next entry). The answer is honestly, no. I will see you as I see you. I'm not going to lie to myself to convince myself that you're a strong and capable person when I honestly believe you haven't achieved that level: it does neither of us a service. If you don't like the way I treat you, because of how I see you, then you alone have the power to change that. It's not set in stone, and it's hard to change a first impression, but you have the power. The criteria above will determine that.

If I do not see you as a capable person, talking to me will not change that: your actions will. If I see you caught in abusive relationships, if I see you doing things that serve only yourself, if I see you dishonoring your friends, the way I see you is the least of your problems. If you do not like the way I treat you because of the place I've put you (which in most cases will still be fair and civil, but terse and maybe at arm's length), then I can tell you how to change it, if my opinion matters enough to you that you're willing to change. Choosing not to associate with me is always an option. I'll still give you a ride home when you need it and give you the time of day, just don't expect me to be interested in your life, or care because your abusive boyfriend knocked out another tooth, or willing to listen to your problems.

Even then, very often, this has meant simply letting go and ending communications: closing a person out, deleting them from friend lists, and realizing I'm better off not trying: realizing in some cases "we continue to not see eye to eye, we keep oscillating, we continue to hit misunderstandings and false accusations, and I need and deserve solidity, (and so do you!), please stop trying". In other cases, it's meant that I put effort into maintaining a relationship, and I felt the relationship was strained, or an interruption in the life of another. Or simply that I asked a person to try out BDSM, as I had always seen them as subordinate to me and simply wanted to formalize it, and they rejected it: I know that if I hadn't closed the door, that I would have gone on continuing to try to see them that way, which in turn would have made things worse. In still others, it has meant a person who had dominion over me was not worthy of my respect. In a select few cases, it's because I felt I had hurt the person, and didn't want to risk further damage or was "resigning in shame" as you see happen so often in the government. In some cases, it's because the other person did the same and decided they didn't want to maintain a friendship with me, which I feel it would be hypocritical not to respect.

At some point, I may make these all into a list of "failure modes", and then cross-reference it over the doors I've closed. This is not the place for that.

In most cases, I've felt content to leave that door closed, even when people have come back to me months later. There was a significant enough amount of emotional spendage involved in the decision to close the door, as well as the events leading up to it. The asking to reopen causes more, and actual reopening would cause far more, and the potential of a repeat. Most of the time, I don't even answer anymore.

I should mention of course that it terrifies the monkey whenever I end a friendship. The monkey asks me, whenever this happens, what will happen when I no longer decide a relationship with him is worthwhile. I see this as a highly unlikely occurrence: the monkey and I try very hard, despite all the difficulties to be honest and open with each other. When I'm disappointed, it's clear. When I'm proud, it's clear. And when improvements need to be made, it's stated, and they're made. He has continued to grow as a person in the time I've known him, and while the possibility exists that at some point in the distant future he may decide the role we've forged for him together is no longer his chosen path (or I may decide the same for myself). All I can say is that if it comes to that, we'll handle it together with love, as we have all things up to this point.

That's all I have here. In the next entry, I hope to speak of one particular door I've closed in the past. While I normally tend to make my reasons and logic clear to the monkey, we've disagreed on some of them. The monkey is not going to change my perception of the situation, nor change my mind, but I'd rather present my own viewpoints and let people try to understand what I feel. My desire is not to convince anyone, merely to lay my cards on the table and be radically honest (which I'll touch on in part five).

topthemonkey: (Default)

Note: this is a five part entry, posted in five daily parts. It's strongly suggested you start with the first, here, and read from there. Further parts of the entries may be further edited based on comments, and are also still being copy-edited, but if you would like to read it all-at-once, it's available here. Note that single-spaced, it comes out to nine pages in OpenOffice, so the daily breaks are for both digestibility as well as readability. On the same note, I think I may get more useful comments and feedback with multiple parts. This notice will appear on each entry.

Meeting the family

I recently remarked to the monkey that it seems that, in my BDSM-related life contexts, I have the full spectrum of gender-feelings pretty well covered in some very special people it's my privilege to know.

I have in my life the following. I am numbering them only so I can refer to them later easily, and I'm not trying in this list to fully explain their sex/gender/sexuality:

  1. a genderqueer and queer bio-female (the monkey).
  2. a cisgendered bisexual bio-female
  3. an ftm
  4. an mtf
  5. a hetero bio-female
  6. a female whose ideal sexuality would be to go "nullo"
  7. and of course a mostly hetero cisgendered male (myself).

Not all of the above wear my collar. None of the above save for the monkey do, in fact. Several are obedient to me, most have called me "Sir" or "Sensei" in the past.

Which I suppose brings me to where I introduce the folks above. I'm not giving them nicknames, or anything else right now. I'm not sure this journal will come to be about them. It's called, after all, TopTheMonkey for a reason. It's about me as a top, the monkey as a not-top, and our interactions. Any of those three. Even mentioning these people here feels like a violation in those terms.

  1. You know the monkey. This is our space. I won't get into expansions here.

  2. This is my other girl, who serves me in a technical sense: my IT department and accountant. From a fetish side, she is a dirty, dirty girl and deeply kinky. She handles clerical work for me. She understands the computer systems I prefer to use, and is slowly learning programming languages I prefer. She is second on the list above. Major points of development are emotional maturity, self-esteem, and better socialization. I want her to be a stronger person. She is an ocean away, but spent a month with the monkey and I last November/December. It was in many ways a stressful visit, and most of this is probably best served in another post. What I will mention is that as one of her first acts as a sub was to be beaten a number of times with the monkey's punishment stick, then to have her head shaved. (The monkey and I started out in a very similar way). From a "service" side, she is under consideration for receiving a collar: she wears one when she's with me, but it's not the permanent one.

  3. This person has recently announced his male-ness to the world, and makes new discoveries every day. The monkey has loaned him a number of great books and I hope to grow them further together, hope for the monkey to be a resource for him to use and have them able to learn from each other. However, the thing to mention here very cautiously, is that my role to this person is less master and more Sensei: In this role, I am life-coach and conscience. I am the person who one must ask for permission before doing something one knows is wrong. While I can imagine him in some limited kink scenarios (wearing cuffs, being on a leash, or maybe serving in some ancillary "assiting" factor during play), I don't really have a sexual interest. In fact I've stated that because of FTM and body-image issues, I may see the definition of "naked" for him as "chest binder and underwear", never stripping off what he needs to be what he truly is. Goals in development here are life-bootstrapping, debt control, self-honesty, and the process of fully embracing the person he's becoming. Relationship is similar in some ways to #5, below.

  4. Our MTF is mainly here to fill out the grid. For the longest time, he/she called me sir (I use that he/she syntax to state that the history predates transition, not to be crude), and I'm remaining available to answer questions to her, but she's in her own relationship with another bio-female. I recently proposed having her out to play and was told it would be at the discretion of the comfort of her partner, who had been feeling increasingly possessive and protective as she became more female. At this point, I graciously suggested that she stop calling me "sir". There's potential there, but it's a long story and would involve a lot of work and negotiation. I should mention also that #4 and her partner knew #2 long before I did. There's other issues there that are best reserved for other entries.

  5. Aah, this one. Someone I've known for years, who is going through several rough places. She recently (within the past year) had her husband decide he couldn't handle his role as a parent/husband, and left for greener pastures. Divorce is still pending. No child support has been paid. Her family's been supportive and helping, but being alone is hard on her. Right before he left, however, they were trying to get back into kink, which was a long time interest of hers. Since then, she's been exploring the local scene on FetLife, but has encountered quite a number of people who are unable to make a commitment to her, or be honest about why. She deserves better. I don't feel I can commit either, as she's in the Midwest, and seeks monogamy, and also says she would safeword if there were another female involved in a scene. I can be realistic about that, though. What I am able to do, however, is give her someone to report to, to be obedient to, to act as she would for a potential master, to try to satiate at least part of the need. She doesn't call me Sir yet, although I may change that. Currently goals are similar to #3, keeping life together, self-improvement, putting what matters (family, her daughter, her safety) first (and not accepting compromise), being communicative and honest, and acting as a master would want her to ask. I tend to give her not "orders" but "suggestions" in a verb tense I'm not sure the name of: "I believe you'd be able to masturbate tonight" or "Your master would be very upset with you." I use this verb tense with #3 quite a bit as well, speaking about how I'd handle a situation if he were collared.

  6. This friend, also someone I've known for years, lives about five hours away. She's a total sweetheart, and is on an interesting voyage of self-discovery as both an artist and a person. Similar to #5, she's recently separated from her husband, but in this case in a poly-gone-wrong sort of sense. She's worked in the sex industry in various senses, and would be quite interested in having her sex completely smooth and featureless. Oddly, this appeals to me (in another person anyway, I like my own parts as they are), as a way of saying "this relationship can never ever be sexual". We haven't spoken much very recently as she's been on several interesting quests. I know what I'd like for/from her, but I'm not sure if she's ready for it.

  7. This is me, the top. Clearly, like the first item in this list, you know the last well enough.

That's the end of this section. Hopefully, you already see that not all of the above are "submissives" in what many would consider the classical sense. In the next entry, we'll cover how I've come to start seeing nearly everyone around me through the same paradigm, and how it's caused problems, and may have pre-empted others.

Once again, comments encouraged and welcome

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October 2012

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