Let me be the first to say congratulations. My fellow Chicago kinksters have started a serious and necessary open dialogue about an important topic. You’ve caused us all to stop and question ourselves, our actions and our interactions.
That’s about where my congratulations end. Here’s where my rant begins. When I first “joined” the kink community, I felt like I was wearing a scarlet “N” for newbie. Perhaps it was just the company I kept, but I felt preyed upon now looking back at it. I felt uncomfortable. I felt like I was being taken advantage of. I didn’t know any better and I was horribly naive. I trusted people I shouldn’t have, opened up to people who later turned on me, and found myself hurt beyond words when spilling my heart and soul out backfired.
I did a lot of things I wished I hadn’t. There’s still things I wish I could go back and redo mostly because I’m not proud of the decisions I made and the things I agreed to. I let the excitement of “HOLY SHIT! You can do that?!” overwhelm my sense of self and sense of what was right for me. That’s one of the things I forgot – I had nobody to look out for me except me. I figured older, wiser (ha!), and more experienced people had my back and wouldn’t do anything for, with and to me that I wasn’t ready for. I will never point fingers, name names or call those people titles that they don’t deserve. Why? Because I take personal responsibility for my own actions. Don’t get me wrong – I do believe said persons deserve “blame” for their part in my undoing but I played my part as well.
Not many of you know that in October of 2010 I went a little crazy. I had a bit of a breakdown. Why? Because I put my heart out there and had it flung back at me. I was under attack for expressing myself. I was idealistic and thought that if I expressed what I held in my heart, nothing bad would happen. Oh how little I knew of the world. Turns out it was the ammunition some people needed to fling mud in my face and make me the social pariah at the time. In the span of a few hours I went from having friends to feeling like I was under attack from all sides. I withdrew almost completely from all forms of kink. I didn’t play. I didn’t talk. I didn’t fuck. I didn’t even damn well touch anybody for almost 16 months.
It was in those 16 months that I truly learned that there is absolutely one person in the world I could trust – me. There is ONE person who will and must look out for me at all times – me. If I couldn’t trust myself to do that, there would be no hope of ever trusting anybody else.
There is an inherent power dynamic in what we do as kinksters. That can’t be denied. There will always be someone who holds more power and someone who holds less. Should that more powerful person bear more burden of protecting the less powerful person? Of course. To say any different would be to undermine the entire power exchange relationship. But to say that more powerful person bears the entire burden is to throw the idea of personal responsibility completely out the window. Perhaps I am advocating for an antiquated notion; perhaps I am “past my prime.” I don’t really care.
This is my form of therapy. This is my solace. I did things I’m not proud of. I did things I wouldn’t advocate anybody do. I said yes to things I probably should have said no to. Maybe I’m the one seeking forgiveness for my sins. All I know is I’ve come to peace with my past and I’ve become a better person for it. I’ve become a more responsible person for it.
Bravery comes in many forms. I’ve seen lots of it in my life. I could list examples of it until I’m blue and still wouldn’t even touch the surface of it. I will say this though – bravery is admitting when you’re wrong and trying to make amends for it. Bravery is using those past wrongs to be a better, stronger, more responsible person and moving on with new purpose and conviction. That’s what I aim to do every day.
Say what you want about me. I’ve turned my corner and I refuse to look back.