OUTING – A Call for Best Practices and Solutions

We ended our last blog post by saying the community has become treacherous. Many are leaving precisely for this reason. Because they feel UNSAFE. The creation of SAFE SPACES counts and is directly connected to the enjoyment of the freedom to live your life in a manner of your own choosing.

CONSENT is also vital and important to the perpetuation of healthy communities – everyone can agree on this.

Individuals among us who violate this sacred standard of behavior, who engage in the practice of outing others, including on social media – essentially weaponizing social media, are vectors of significant harm to the community at large. By their actions, outing others in social media they are responsible for the creation of spaces that are inherently NOT SAFE. IT is fine to bring attention to issues in the community, yet it is NOT fine when that “attention” includes outing on social media or bullying.

“Cyberbullying can be as simple as continuing to send emails or text messages harassing someone who has said they want no further contact with the sender. It may also include public actions such as repeated threats, sexual remarks, pejorative labels (i.e. hate speech) or defamatory false accusations, ganging up on a victim by making the person the subject of ridicule in online forums, hacking into or vandalizing sites about a person, and posting false statements as fact aimed a discrediting or humiliating a targeted person. Cyberbullying could be limited to posting rumors about a person on the internet with the intention of bringing about hatred in others’ minds or convincing others to dislike or participate in online denigration of a target. [2]

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EVERYONE should feel safe. EVERYONE. Including those you do not like. Anyone who feels that safety is ONLY for those they consider to be worthy is part of the problem. Individuals who engage in online outing included.

By their actions they are also CONSENT VIOLATORS and ONLINE Bullies who embolden others to act in similar ways.  As an example, Since our original post we have received screen captures of further outing violations by those who are also TITLEHOLDERS. You can see these screen captures of outing by Moxie Minion- Northwest Bootblack 2018 here, slave Tabitha- International Ms Bootblack 2015 here, and also in a thread of Teagan- International Ms Bootblack 2018 here. We have only left the names visible of those who are out on their Profile or if the name is the same as their scene name. We have received other screen captures but it would be impossible to share those images without also outing those individuals.

Some of you, having observed this behavior have asked what you can do to protect yourself or others from being outed.  We do not believe that the responsibility of creating SAFE and CONSENSUAL spaces lies entirely with leadership, but that each person is personally responsible for proactively making decisions that contribute to their own safety as well as communicating with Leadership.

At the same time we also believe that that Leadership is responsible for …well…leading. The reality is that many leaders of conferences, groups, contests etc; are TOTALLY unaware of the forms that outing takes today. They are often so focused on prohibiting things like bringing cameras into the dungeon that they have a blindspot when it comes to how often online outing occurs

This current environment is RIFE and reactionary with accusations of a lack of safety without offering real plans to solve issues going forward. Being solution oriented we have come up with the following proposed solutions and ACTIONABLE guidelines. This is not exhaustive by any means yet we hope it is a step in the right direction to serve to protect and maintain the standard of consent within this Lifestyle while not preventing holding others accountable. These are SUGGESTIONS only.

Now before we begin let’s start with those who may have issues with what we propose:

“I’m an Activist, Influencer, Leader, Titleholder etc; – it is my JOB to speak out against injustice you just want to SILENCE me!”

Not at all. Feel free to say WHATEVER you WANT to say! In fact – you are totally free to NOT like whomever, for whatever reason. What you are NOT free to do is to weaponize social media in an attempt to harm said person or persons.

  • Do NOT Assume ANYONE is out.
  • In Lifestyle forums such as Fetlife use the persons scene name.
  • On mainstream forums be careful to ONLY use a scene name WITHOUT using vanilla or mainstream legal identifiers.
  • Avoid seeking out mainstream information in regard to individuals or contacting them on mainstream forums. WITHOUT their consent.
  • If using screen captures be careful to blur out vanilla or MAINSTREAM information including names.
  • Do not give out location information as this crosses a dangerous line – potentially exposing people to individuals prone to use violence as a communication device -many of whom may not even be part of any community.
  • Speak to your local community leaders to ensure those who violate known community rules are addressed. If someone has committed a CRIME report it to law enforcement or otherwise utilize the criminal JUSTICE system. That is why it exists.

WE believe in Reconciliation FIRST!

If you are a person who has engaged in this behavior:
  • Stop this behavior immediately. You can remove all traces of this behavior and STILL stand for what you believe in and speak about issues that are important to you.
  • Say “I’m Sorry” or post a public apology for your behavior. You did public harm and so your apology needs to be public as well – this goes a long way in healing.
  • Don’t tolerate or excuse this behavior in others. Tell your friends and associates that this behavior is damaging, may violate certain bullying laws and that you will not associate with it.
If you run a conference, group, club or event:
  • Create a very strong and clear zero tolerance policy statement AGAINST outing – including social media. Fetlife has a policy against doing this – your event, club or conference needs to have this in place as well – this is really the ONLY way to insure that you have a SAFE SPACE FOR YOUR ATTENDEES. 
  • Create a policy to ban people from your group, conference etc. if you have been provided evidence of online outing  – while it can be difficult to prove offline outing …with screen captures you can definitely prove outing on social media. 
  • Create a strong zero tolerance policy against outing for all of your presenters, teachers and speakers – anyone found to be engaging in outing behavior on social media will be banned from your event and will not be allowed to teach or speak at your event in the future. 
If you own a title:
  • Create a zero tolerance policy of ’NO OUTING’ for your title holders – if they have been found to engage in outing behavior online their title will be pulled and they are no longer welcome at your conference. 
  • Create a strong zero tolerance policy against outing for all of your judges – anyone found to be engaging in outing behavior on social media will be banned from your event and will not be allowed to judge, teach or speak at your event in the future. 
If you are a judge, presenter or are thinking about running for a title:
  • Ask conferences, producers, groups, and clubs directly to see written documentation that they have a zero tolerance policy specifically against online outing. 
  • If they do not have a policy in place – ASK THEM to put one in place immediately in writing for your OWN protection.
  • Refuse to attend, teach, run for a title in any event that refuses to have a clearly stated zero tolerance policy regarding all forms of outing behaviour. 
If you are an attendee, presenter, titleholder or judge:
  • Do NOT assume ANYONE is OUT! Even if they seem to be. They may be out to you, but not in general.
  • If you know of clubs, organizations, etc.. that don’t have a zero tolerance policy in place, use your influence to request that they do so immediately.
  • If they refuse to put a clear zero tolerance policy in place, use your influence to let others know that they do not have a policy in place and that attendees may be at risk by attending their event. 
  • Consider posting in the APPROPRIATE spaces a list of conferences, clubs, organizations that DO have a “No Outing” policy
  • Consider posting the following on your Fetlife profile if you have one “I do NOT Consent to having my Lifestyle persona, or scene name linked with my LEGAL (aka vanilla or mainstream) name, location or profile on any form of social media. Doing so is called “outing” and is a form of cyber bullying and a consent violation. “
  • Judges – specifically consider asking the following question of contestants; “Is there any reason to ever out someone – and to whom?” There is a world of difference in outing an abuser/assailant to law enforcement for JUSTICE and outing someone whose views or personality you don’t like for a VENDETTA

It is our sincere desire that these guidelines will assist you in taking PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for your OWN Safety.

Lastly, our intention is that this will be the LAST thing we have to share in regard to this particular issue and we can get back to writing about how YOU can create and sustain POWERFUL power exchange dynamics.

Not Our IMSL 2020, OUTING IS IN VOGUE…

OUTING: Definition; Outing, also known as doxing, refers to the act of openly revealing sensitive or personal information about someone without their consent for purposes of embarrassing or humiliating them. This can range from sharing someone’s legal name and personal or employment information with the kink community at large, to weaponizing social media by posting personal information connecting a persons scene name with their mainstream identity and/or information. 

We’ve received a number of messages from those in the scene wondering what happened to slave Namaste’s Fet profile. 


A very highly regarded Master and Mistress reached out to us this morning. 
She asked if we were okay and expressed REAL CONCERN that this was done. And she said… “She OUTED you… and that is NOT okay” 


Immediately we could see the ripples. How this says a great deal about our standards as a community…and it’s so much bigger than US.
One of the things we had to edit about our “Telling the truth” post (here) was that the person who accused slave Namaste of being  transphobic OUTED her. 


and… she’s a titleholder. 


In the midst of the drama, and addressing so much of what occurred we didn’t think it mattered. 
Why?

Because only ONE person had the temerity to TELL her that she outed slave Namaste. 
ONE person. 
Out of HUNDREDS of comments. 


She screen captured items from slave Namaste’s mainstream FB profile with her LEGAL NAME on it and shared it with her KINKY audience AND told everyone where both Master Obsidian & slave Namaste would be presenting. 
And NO ONE said anything. (we have blurred her name so as not to out her)

Just consider that for a moment. 

Imagine yourself in that situation

Imagine this being done to you. 

Imagine what it could cost you in regard to your children, your employment, your LIFE. 


Yet… the ONLY thing anyone cared about was her slanderous accusation.  And her lie that M/sC pulled US (when in fact we pulled out so as to not allow drama to detract from the conference)


This is terrifying to us.  That a blatant OBVIOUS act like this is tolerated.  That this is considered “Good behavior” by others. 
She was actually called a “whistleblower” by a certain individual defending her. 


Hardly. 


Since then we’ve noticed others doing likewise. Sharing LEGAL names and locations on the Book of Faces in their zeal for call out culture.
In some sort of bizarre misguided attempt at justice people are listing on MAINSTREAM platforms others FetLife names and legal names. And this is CONDONED. (BTW… if you have been assaulted and want justice, this is what the LEGAL system exists for – NOT social media)  – 


Her behavior – as a titleholder has now EMBOLDENED others that this is the standard, this is Okay. 
Is this what we want? Titleholders that use their voices to OUT people? 


So why do we call this “NOT our IMsL”? 
Because this person is currently Ms Texas Leather 2019 and will be competing for IMsL in 2020. The larger community and judges need to be aware and decide if THIS is the behavior we want representing us… and what this means for the FUTURE of this community. 


Recognize that you’re responsible for who you ELECT to represent you, and who you celebrate in WRONG DOING to others. Title producers  and judges need to remember that giving someone a sash and a back patch means they represent YOUR title and that says something about the DIRECTION you condone.


When we celebrate and condone Call OUT culture… it leads in swift order to OUTING culture.  
And yes… for many it has no real effect…but let’s be honest, for the vast majority the effects of that are DEVASTATING.  After all thats why so many in the Leather and BDSM communities have 2 profiles on social media or do not friend kink folks on social media. 
For fear of this. 


At one time we would have thought this was simply the nightmare of a fearful mind…that no one in this Community would EVER violate one of our most sacred rules. A rule that is based in safety, privacy and CONSENT.   


Now we realize the monsters of nightmares walk amongst us with a sash and a Title. 
Be careful out there, these Leather waters have gotten treacherous- those circling fins aren’t dolphins they are SHARKS.

It is time for the Truth to Come Out

For the past few weeks we’ve been relatively quiet as accusations have been hurled about and our names have been dragged through the mud by people who don’t know us, have never met us and would NEVER say the things they are saying online in person. 
 
Our tendency has been simply this… I have nothing to defend. 
Period. 
 
Therefore when asked to defend ourselves we simply declined. 
 
Those who know us know the truth and those who do not – don’t really care about it. 
 
That said, because many of the details DID NOT occur online- it’s time to give Power to TRUTH… and let it do what it does. 
 
Leather families are complex. They can be prone to drama.
 
Ours has had it’s fair share. Master Obsidian started Sankofa Leather Tribe years ago to begin to bring some Leather households of like mind together in service to each other and the community as well. 
 
Over time one family began to become more and more antagonistic, both of other families in the Tribe and towards Leather leaders in general. For years they sowed discord in the family and were very vocal of their contempt for certain conference producers and individuals in the leather community. We would explain and defend as they were new to the leather community. (Interestingly many of those we defended are now supporting them in their malicious attacks of us…how ironic). After years of a tendency to use character assassination and hostility as a communication device we had enough and this family was removed from Sankofa Leather tribe. 
 
One of our basic Tenets for House Obsidian is always civility. 
 
And so we were civil when we would see them out and about in the lifestyle.
 
Recently the s-type turned Dominant of this same household won a title and began to use her platform to launch what we call “Social Justice Terrorism” – this is when a person uses their “Voice” on the platform of social media to assassinate the character of others by using incendiary language that creates knee-jerk emotional responses in order to further ideological goals.
 
And no, the use of the term Terrorism is not extreme…it is in fact scary in it’s accuracy.
 
“… terrorism mercilessly destroys social values on the pretext of protecting superior values. People, with low social status, display aggressive behaviour patterns and violent acts to earn respect, attract attention and realise themselves. At this point, radical terrorism provides a great opportunity for these unqualified people to gain glory, protect their honour and thus achieve status” (1)
 
If you use a term like “racist” for instance in labeling someones speech or actions – most people don’t ask in response “Is that really racist?” Because to ask this is akin to being a racism apologist – instead most people will sympathize and support because EVERYONE wants to be perceived as a “good” person… and besides no one would say it if there wasn’t SOME truth to it… right? 
 
This tendency is PRECISELY what SJT (Social Justice Terrorists) rely upon. They use these acts of social media violence “to earn respect, attract attention and realize themselves”. 
 
They rely upon the hot and fast nature of social media, they rely upon people not thinking for themselves. They rely upon a lack of temperance and questions. 
 
In the SJT world- the person who strikes FIRST is the victor – because any response other than “You are right” is painted with additional scorn, derision and character assassination. 
 
This person – screen captured a FB post that was written by slave Namaste and called her trans-phobic – while simultaneously posting information telling her audience where we would be presenting next and cautioning attendees of that conference to not attend our classes. 
 
Not to mention – and perhaps just as importantly: In so doing on SOCIAL MEDIA this person violated one of the most closely held and sacred tenets of this community – OUTING both Master Obsidian and slave Namaste on Facebook. 
 
Slave Namaste is NOT transphobic (something that when mentioned in rebuttal to what was being claimed – caused others – even transpeople who defended her- to ALSO be labeled transphobic, among other things..) 
 
The writing that was called transphobic can be found here, along with Namaste’s writing on the subject.
 
We are not in any way ashamed of our stance on these issues. As parents we feel strongly about the rights and RESPONSIBILITY of a parent to PARENT their children – and that such parenting and guidance does not END when it comes to issues of gender. 
 
We believe that some misguided parents misusing this authority and responsibility and harming their children does not make ALL parents suspect. 
 
We believe strongly that schools do NOT have the right to supersede parental authority unless the parents can be shown to be abusive. 
 
We believe those who say they knew they were Trans from childhood and needed parental support.
 
We also believe those who say that they THOUGHT they were trans and realized they were not and appreciated the parental guidance THROUGH it. 
 
To paint our perspective on PARENTING as TRANSPHOBIA is twisted logic and pure lies. 
 
To jump on board this crazy caravan because YOU don’t want to be considered transphobic is cowardice. 
 
That said, that was not the end. 
 
Master Obsidian is on the board of Butchmanns. 
 
Butchmann’s owns the SWLC and engages the executive director and by extension all the support teams and volunteers etc., to put on the SWLC conference. 
 
The board recently informed the committee that based upon the negative behavior in the community of the scheduled Emcee  that the board believed that it was not in the best interest of the SWLC conference to contribute negative energy to the conference by providing her a microphone and a platform.
 
The Committee put in place to run SWLC did NOT want this person removed. They REFUSED categorically to remove the emcee. They then issued the board an Ultimatum… she stays or fire us. 
 
Now, it should be said that the board OWNS SWLC – the committee serves at the pleasure of the Board of Directors and has no right whatsoever to hire or fire an emcee without the Boards consent. 
 
Butchmanns decided that this person should not be the Emcee at SWLC because this is not the first time she has used her platform to cause division in the community – and given her reputation for the same, it was decided that energy was NOT welcome and would not be given a platform (or a microphone) representing the SWLC or Butchmann’s Inc. 
 
After a long discussion between the board chair and the committee – during which the board chair was informed that the committee had planned to engage this Emcee anyway – with or without Board approval – and if the board did not agree to their demands, then the board was free to fire the committee. (This actually goes without saying because the committee serves at the pleasure of the Board, not the other way round – so in essence the committee actually fired themselves due to insubordination) 
 
Unfortunately as all of this is taking place – someone comes forward accusing a well known ritual facilitator and leader of a group of misconduct and consent violations from 2 years ago. Following this others come forward with other accusations going as far back as 12 years. 
 
The committee wanted to ban this person from the SWLC conference – even though this person apparently had no plans to attend SWLC. 
 
In some weird way…the Committee begins to conflate these things in their re-telling- saying that the Board removed them because they wanted to ban an abuser. 
 
This is categorically NOT TRUE. 
 
To add weight to their story the committee keeps saying “Well are all of us lying?” 
 
To this I would say YES… they are. 
 
Proverbs 6:16-19
16These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

 



Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism, Colombia University Press, New York 2006.

slave Namaste’s Keynote Beyond Leather

I’m very honored to be the Keynote speaker today –I’d like to Thank Sir Top and slave bonnie for asking me, and to Thank my Master for His permission. This may indeed be the briefest Keynote you have ever heard…LOL

A few weeks ago I was listening to a Jewish elder expound on how Lobsters grow. So for those of you who do not know – when it’s time for a Lobster it leave it’s shell it begins to feel uncomfortable. That discomfort signals the Lobster to grow another shell and shed the old one. As the elder was speaking he brought up the idea that when we as humans are in growth – we like the lobster experience that same discomfort how we RESPOND to the discomfort is what is different. Instead of beginning to grow a new shell and shed the old- we seek out various ways to keep ourselves comfortable in the old space.

We are the only living beings on the planet that do not naturally make space for our own growth.

Growth is challenging. It’s not pretty. It’s raw and tender by turns. It’s terrifying. And yet it is also inevitable. The only alternative to growth is death.

Every month many new people find these beloved shores and every month many of our elders and more seasoned members leave. Our community is in a state of extreme flux. However one thing that we do know is that this discomfort is a sign of growth and it is how we respond to this growth that truly matters.

One of our guiding ideas is to be all candles and no darkness (well maybe a bit of darkness….lol) In the exploration of this I invite you to begin to go one a journey into 7 Principles or candles which – when adopted by the Leather and BDSM communities – can help us to understand and co-exist. The thing about this is in order for these things to be EFFECTIVE they must be applied- not universally – but individually. See its easy to see what someone else should, or could do with these principles. It is much more challenging – but also much more EFFECTIVE to ask the question What does this mean for ME” and “Is there anything here for me” –

 

  1. The world is what you think it is – In Leather!

When I first heard someone tell a new leather person that they could define leather however they wanted to- I was offended – this was not the leather I was taught. This was not he Leather I had grown to love, respect and identify as. When I began to sit with this idea I realized that under it was a deep fear. A fear that the things that I held dear could in some way be diluted or diminished by what others did. I grew past that when I began to understand that it is EACH persons job to speak thier truth. Each elder, each seasoned leather veteran. Each person who represents a sub group, a title, a household – speaking their truth allows those who are new to our fair culture to find the notes that hold the most resonance. For some it’s low protocol for some high. For some it’s traditional and for others progressive. For some power exchange and others stand alone kink. The beauty of this lifestyle lies in the ability of each of us to create our world – or to find our home planet among a constellation of stars – each beautiful in it’s own right.

Our perception is both our observation and our interpretation of what we observe.

 

  1. There are no Limits- In Leather

Think about it. When this first began as a “community” it was hidden, secret, coded. Now kinky things are sold at the mall. High schoolers walk around with collars on and know all about kink (I should know I have raised a number of teens!). You can find books about power exchange right next to the Joy of Sex. No longer relegated to the darkness kink is found right up front at the Sunday matinee. While it is natural for our first inclination to be The Horror!! The Loss!!! When we really think of it – this is all pointing to one thing- there are no limits in Leather. If we as older Leather people can learn anything from TNG we can learn that Leather isn’t the scary specter it once was at least not to vanilla people. Which is a bit of a mind fuck – because rather than us being concerned about scaring the vanillas – it is we who are now being invited to shed our fear – in the form of shedding our limitations. Where have you been hiding? Where have you been afraid to express your truth even in your relationship? Where have you – even in this community – been living a lie? Releasing our limitations is first and foremost about letting go of the hold they have on us- so we can give our new kinklings permission to do the same.

 

  1. Energy Flows where Attention goes- In Leather

Our attention matters- because the things that we pay attention to the most receive that energy and GROW… they can flourish like a bountiful garden or they can swell with infection like a cancer. It all depends on what we are making the center of our attention. When I first came into the community – the center of our attention seemed to be hot sex, sizzling scenes, and finding out where we fit based upon our longings and desires. After all it took us so long and many of us fought so hard to get here. Many of us lost friends, family, church , jobs because of our proclivities – so when we FINALLY got here… our focus was firmly set on what we wanted. Well – the times as they say are a-changing. Now – as I said earlier – it is easy to find and express your kink. You needn’t get the buy in of others or even be a part of the “community” to proclaim your identity on social media, start a group on meet-up, or your very own wordpress website. Heck you can self publish your own manual of kink on Amazon even if you’ve NEVER played. This is a LOT of change in a very short period of time. And with this change comes chaos – and it’s that giant squeaky wheel that gets the oil of our attention and therefore our energy. Many munches are taking the form of a town hall meets PTA meeting. All of the energy is going to discussing, abuse, political activism, who’s oppressing whom, and the latest war of the groups. Now I’m not saying these things aren’t important. They are – however we would do well to take time to do a self check to see how much of your attention is going to the negative elements as opposed to the positive. Where is your attention? Believe that – it is also where your energy will go as well. If we spend all of our attention chasing the demons around every corner- it is any wonder we have so little energy left for a hot scene, cultivating meaningful relationships, or creating the resources that our community needs such as housing for our elderly.

 

  1. Now is the Moment of Power- in Leather!

I have spent a lot of time with leather elders, hearing their stories – enjoying the time getting rooted and grounded in our history. The thing is while yesterday holds many warm and fuzzy memories and while tomorrow holds a bright future it is NOW that holds the power. Now we are determining what traditions are precious enough for us to pass down. Now we are making tomorrows memories, now we are writing the book that will become a part of history. And that’s the paradox – in order to stay in the now you have to allow yourself the fluidity and power to have ALL of you present – NOW. What leather woman, man, beast or other are you NOW? That’s what counts. What kind of friend? Master? Slave? Dom? Sub? Leader, teacher? NOW matters. So often many of us are hyper focused on what we WANT our community to be- based on an ideal perfection that is simply impossible based upon the flawed and human beings that inhabit it. And yet- all I can do- and what I MUST do – what I hold the responsibility to do and what is the most beneficial thing to do is to be the BEST me that I can be – NOW.

 

  1. To love is to be Happy with.

I hear all the time from people that they Love Leather, they love the community, they love their Master, slave, leather family etc; And while I don’t disbelieve them – I do wonder if we understand that Love is about Happiness. Many of us grew up in families or cultures where love meant suffering. Love meant sacrifice. Love meant pain and hardship – and so the more we devote ourselves to something that causes us stress, pain, suffering and more the more we feel like this is an expression of love. But what if – we’re wrong? What is love really is about not how much obligation and sacrifice we can have but how HAPPY we are? What if as a slave my love for my Owner is known by how happy he makes me? What if I show my love for Leather by telling stores not of my suffering- but of my joy? Yes the community began in a somewhat hostile environment but we must begin to feed ourselves a different fuel if we have any hope of being healthy. Healed. Whole. That fuel is our Happiness.

 

  1. All power comes from within – in leather

There are two people who basically are the rulers of this community. I know – you’re a bad ass and no one rules you- but these two people are reall the puppet masters behind the scenes pulling all the strings. No – I’m not talking about “the man” – I’m talking about WE and They. We (LOL) have a tendency to think of what WE need to do and about what THEY need to stop doing. When we talk about what we all need to do we- each of us- automatically give the space of our power away and make ourselves unable to act. WE- as a community – don’t need to get rid of predators- because when we say “We” that makes it’s someone else’s responsibility. But if I say “I” then it’s MY responsibility. The same is true when we think of THEY. Don’t talk about how THEY are destroying the community – talk about the specific person that you saw do the destructive act- or better yet talk TO them. Don’t talk about how THEY are disrespectful or THEY have no relevance- talk about the person who disrespected YOU– or better yet talk to THEM. This is as they say “Grown folks” conversation. And it’s time for all of us to grow up by assuming our power and having some long overdue conversations.

 

  1. Effectiveness is the measure of truth- in Leather

Our community is growing. It’s changing – as are we all. We live in a time where our community is no longer within a 50 mile radius of our homes- but it is now global. And we’re still trying to figure it out. How do I form genuine connection? Who can I trust? Where do I fit? What method is the right one for me? Heck – what Identity is the right fit? This principle- that effectiveness is the measure of truth is one that is deeply embedded in my Masters Household. We live by it. Whenever we are doing something – be it business, child rearing, or our M/s – we ask the question periodically – but ESPECIALLY if we are considering if something needs to be changed- how effective is this? So the question is – how do we determine effectiveness? We look at a few key areas- Is it based in love or fear? Do we feel expansive or contracted by this? Is it growth or mere consumption? Does it elicit my power or invite victimization? All of which comes down to- does this benefit my evolution as a HUMAN? Yes- I know it’s easy to forget but before we were leather – we were human. We were flesh and blood, emotion and spirit with longings and desires. Our desire for connection is what brought us to this space. And whether we know it or not it is the longing for that –connection- that we all have in common or we would not be here. When I came to this principle I realized why t held such weight in our household- because indeed all the other principles can be summed up in this. The effectiveness of our actions to powerfully and profoundly connect us to ourselves, our Beloveds, our Humanity and to one another is the measure of our truth – In Leather.

 

Thank you

 

Civility for slaves pt 2 – Acknowledge your Master

My apologies  that this is a bit delayed- apparently a week goes past far quicker than I thought…LOL

So the second rule of civility is to Acknowledge others- especially Acknowledging our Owners.

So often as slaves we can be incredibly self referenced. Everything is all about us- and if you are involved in the greater Lifestyle community this is promoted as what M/s is all about – Master calls this “slave centric M/s” – where the needs of the slave is what the dynamic is all about.

If thats your thing dear heart I honor your path- but thats not the type of M/s that we practice – so you may desire to stop reading now.

Every action done in company, ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present. ~George Washington.

I’ve noticed in recent years the idea of the power slaves has often meant a slave who is down right rude or “in your face” when it comes to interaction. All grace and civility (if any) is reserved for his/her Master.

The thing about that in my estimation is that regarding people as worthy of respect is an inside job- often slaves who are seething with rage at the world- also have that same sort of resentment and anger towards their Owner – but they do not express it.

How much more helpful is it to make the Acknowledging of others a part of our behavior without feeling that it diminishes us in any way.

Acknowledging others importance, existence, feelings and thoughtful actions are all valid and wonderful aspects to cultivate. And cultivate is what is required in our 1st world country where we tend to take things for granted.

And that brings us back to our Owners.

Do you acknowledge all of the Dominance and Mastery you are honored to receive from your Owner? Do you consider your Owner’s feelings before you respond or react?

Giving honor to others is not something that they should have to EARN – respect is something we can freely give because respect only expands you- it can never diminish you. Even if the person you were giving greater honor to ends up behaving in a dishonorable manner- it does not in any way diminish the beauty of your giving them honor.

When we do not acknowledge others we wound them in 3 ways.

1- Inconvienance or indifference

2 – Denial of existence or loss of face

3 – Conflict with their own sense of appropriate conduct.

This is true of our Owners as well. When we do not acknowledge all they do, we put then in the unfortunate position of having to decide if thats something to correct us for or something that should be allowed to slide. We shame them or wound their pride. We say that we are indifferent to their humanity.  Furthermore if we treat others in this way – we make the statement to the word that THIS is the value system of our Owner.

While there has been much dialogue about if a slaves behavior represents his/her owner or not- it’s really very simple – most people will assume the slave is a reflection of her/his Owner.  Under this ideation – what is my behavior communicating about my Master?

Questions for consideration and reflection:

  • How can I give greater acknowledgement to my Owner?
  • What am I NOT acknowledging as I should?
  • Are there any people specifically that my Owner desires me to Acknowledge more that I’m not? (elder in the lifestyle, Senior Masters or Senior slaves?)
  • Has my distraction by things led to my lack of acknowledging of people?

In submission and surrender to Him,

~slave Namaste

Attention Counts – pt. 1

As I was cleaning out my email account I came across a topic that Master and I studied about 6 or 7 years ago.

Civility.

I had begun writing a post to use as a series of topics for a Local Leadership group we were running at the time. Interestingly we closed the group due to incivility – and yet these beautiful tools still apply.

When I looked at them I saw them as incredibly apropos not only to governments and social groups but also RELATIONSHIPS including the Power Exchange variety.

My hope is that I’ll be able to post my musings and insights on how to apply each of the 25 Rules of Civil Conduct taken from P.M. Fornis Work “Choosing Civility” (It’s worth every cent. Buy it. Go ahead I’ll wait)

So the First Principle is:

 Pay Attention

kitten attention

I can think of no more important tool for a slave to have than the ability to Pay Attention to his/her Owner.

The principle form that the work of love takes- is attention ~M. Scott Peck

Regardless of if you consider romantic love to be a part of your M/s dynamic or not- I don’t think any of us would deny that slavery itself is a work of love. This may be spiritual love, transcendent love, love of ones place or position, love of service or surrender, love of feeling the force of another’s will over your own.

This type of love is one that is not often understood by many. Those who are fed by autonomy do not often understand the symbiotic nature of this dynamic.

And that symbiosis is why it requires us to pay attention.

In the early days of the dynamic the Masters Will is like a strong spice that you’re not accustomed to. It’s everywhere and often easily identified. It pushes you outside your comfort zone. It demands from you more than you fantasized about.  During this stage paying attention is often the height of your obedience . You can’t intuit or get it perfect because you’re learning. Often the slaves attention is focused- but far more on themselves and their ability to be a “good slave” than on the Master. This is an easy mistake to make and will often lead to far more pain and suffering than is necessary.  Because of this focus on self and the learning curve its easy to feel like failure is innately part of enslavement.  It’s not dear heart. Gently turn your attention away from you – and towards your Owner. Allow His/Her will to be you compass, your axel, your touchpoint.  Devote your attention in Their direction. It makes all the difference.

In the years of 5+ (this may take longer if you don’t live together, or depending on your Masters style of Mastery) you have most likely internalized the Masters Will – this is where paying attention is something you have to bring up and out. It is far too easy to become complacent. The Master speaks and the slave obeys slowly. Or the slave obeys automatically – but without attention. The word in this time is present. Your ability to pay attention via the ability to be fully present in the moment to the Masters voice, mannerisms, movement, breath. To maintain that tension and cultivate it is what renews the passion and sustains your devotion. Yes I know how to make the coffee correctly- but can I do it not just technically perfect- but with devoted presence. (I promise that cup of coffee tastes better) – At this point you’re going for nuance. A person with a refined palette can taste the differences between Himalayan sea salt, and fleur de sel, but it requires paying attention. This is how refinement is created.

Questions for consideration and cultivation:

  • How much attention can I pay today?
  • What am I spending my Masters resources on in the form of giving it my attention?
  • Where was I MOST present today?
  • Where was I least present?
  • How long is my attention span (How long can Master or someone else speak before I start thinking of other things, or forming a response)?
  • When I paid attention what did I notice that I didn’t notice before?

In submission and surrender to Him,

~slave Namaste

3 Ways The Loyal Opposition is killing your Power Exchange

Screenshot 2014-10-12 22.25.08In parliamentary systems of government, The Loyal Opposition is a term applied collectively to the opposition parties in the legislature to indicate that the non-governing parties may oppose the actions of the sitting cabinet while remaining loyal to the source of the government’s power.

In many power exchange relationships, I’ve observed a similar phenomenon – that the person subject to the power (most typically the slave or submissive) is often allowed tremendous latitude and is permitted, or even expected to oppose the will of the Master on a philosophical, or emotional level  – as long as they are compliant to the wishes of the Master at the end of the day.

The reason why the concept of The Loyal Opposition (TLO) makes sense in a parliamentary system of government is that it allows for any minority party within the government to actively oppose a specific course of action without their ultimate loyalty to the crown or system of government being in question due to their actions. The concept allows for the dissent necessary for a functioning democracy without the fear of being accused of treason.

When I’ve asked those that practice this form of power exchange what the deal is, answers vary – most of the time the Master or Dominant explains that they have adopted a Commander In Chief type of role in the relationship that permits or tolerates a TLO presence. Some indicate that this approach is their nod to giving the slave or submissive a measure of ‘freedom’…others believe that one can never truly know another persons internal state – what the slave thinks and feels is their own business (and cannot be measured) vs. that which they actually DO on the other hand, which can be measured and at the end of the day is more important than how the slave feels or what they think in the privacy of their own heads.

I believe that the Master has both authority and responsibility for the slave and for outcomes in the relationship.  I also believe that the M/s dynamic is intentionally NOT a democracy.  Anticipating, and being tolerant of occasional resistance is different than encouraging and supporting open opposition. Believing that they are the same thing will eventually put the hurt on your relationship.  After witnessing a number of P/e and M/s relationships crash and burn, here’s why I believe TLO is a terrible philosophy to adopt or allow within a power exchange relationship.

1. TLO encourages laziness. Power exchange takes work, plain and simple – especially in the early stages of a relationship. Doing the work of a master involves being conscious, being present and intentionally putting yourself in the best position possible to receive out of the relationship that which is internally fulfilling to you.  – but that’s only one part of the equation. The other part is that the person that willingly places themselves in a subordinate or surrendered position – the person that aspires to serve or to be a slave also brings a set of needs and desires into the relationship that are as precious, as relevant and necessary to the success of the dynamic as that of the Master. Some masters mistakenly believe that the best way to honor such desires is to offer such a person that which they themselves consider most precious – the privilege of autonomy, the ability to self-direct.  So they are well-meaning when they ‘allow’ the slave to oppose them, to continually assert their independance and to play the role of The Loyal Opposition.

I have to say this – and I cant emphasize this strongly enough….. if this is you; STOP DOING THIS SHIT IMMEDIATELY. YOU ARE KILLING YOUR RELATIONSHIP AND YOU DONT EVEN REALIZE IT.

Think about it.

That which is most precious to you – is TOXIC to your slave or submissive.

Not toxic in the literal sense – they arent going to expire from an overdose of Mastery-ness…..but you ARE planting seeds that when fully grown will be the opposite of the surrender you desire.

It certainly doesnt work the other way round; What if she had the power to offer YOU the opportunity to experience that which SHE feels is most precious to her? The privilege of surrendering and being of service!!! YUM!!!! (did you throw up a little in your mouth?) Im always amazed at the numbers of Masters and Dominants who consistently do this and are then mystified as to why the length of their relationships are measured in months, not years.

Moreover, a master that tells the slave or submissive ‘Feel however you want, just make sure you ultimately comply with my wishes, places the power exchange in the relationship on auto-pilot, or even worse, places the slave or submissive in the dubious position of mastering themselves.  Dont get me wrong – I LOVE surrender…but that beautiful garment is tailor made for my namaste alone in our relationship. I have no desire to try it on for size and I categorically refuse to put my cover on her head even in jest to see how cute she’d look as a little Master. Screenshot 2014-10-13 00.25.15

DO NOT CROSS THE STREAMS!!!!

2.  Its a waste of valuable resources – Entrainment in the biomusicological sense refers to the synchronization of organisms to an external rhythm, usually produced by other organisms with whom they interact socially. Entrainment in the power exchange sense describes the phenomenon of the Master intentionally and consistently synchronizing the actions of the slave or submissive with the Masters will, most often through repetition. For example, a speech protocol that is performed every day, multiple times a day will be more effective in deepening the power exchange relationship than an elaborate ritual that is performed twice a year.  That said, Masters that have a TLO friendly power exchange relationship tend to eschew the ‘bells and whistles’ of power exchange and often fail to understand how protocols, rituals and other rites of the power exchange dynamic can be powerful allies in deepening and strengthening the bond between Master and slave.

3. It compromises alignment of will – A fundamental priniciple of our dynamic is what I have coined “Alignment of Will”.  My slaves will must align with mine.  It is not good enough for her to merely obey, and to give the external “Yes Sir”. I must have the internal alignment – that internal “Yes Sir”- as well. That internal “Yes” can not be faked. It can not be “acted”-  it’s either there or its not…and when it isn’t there, I know it and I generally won’t rest until I have it.  Obedience is wonderful, but obedience without internal alignment is unsatisfying to me on an energetic level.  I want her to not just comply with my wishes or agree ‘in principle’ with my philosophies – instead it is my desire that she is to feel as I feel concerning the things that I desire most.

At the end of the day, why deny yourself and your charge the sustainable pleasure of using as many resources as possible to reinforce and deepen the relationship? As Masters and slaves we are attracted to our respective roles in the relationship because of the pleasure we receive from the experience.  If this relationship style did not please me in some way it would be pointless to pursue. It pleases me to give directives as much as it pleases my slave to be both the recipient, and the instrument of my will. Her response to my leadership gladdens my heart, the way she talks to me in respect and love is a constant source of healing and pleasure to me. When she inquires and I tell her how I feel about something – it is a joy to me throughout our discussion to see her work through acquiring an understanding of how I feel about the subject at hand and to then align her will with my own.  These facets of our relationship are precious to me. If I take a hands-off approach to portions of that process and basically leave her to her own devices with respect to how she feels and thinks about my directives and what I feel is important, I deny us both not only the extreme pleasure that the M/s dynamic has to offer, but also negate much of the power of the relationship as well.

There is no room in our relationship for The Loyal Opposition.

Things to understand if you’re friends with a slave

I live my life in surrender.

That may sounds obvious- but actually sometimes it occurs to me that it may not be as understood in practical application as it is in theory.

Yesterday a very close friend and I had a call scheduled. For both of us this is a rare treat.

I waited and waited for her call. No call.

An hour later she sent me a response to my message stating that her Master had called her away.

I TOTALLY understood that – and we had a good laugh about the need to be flexible when you are a slave or are friends with a person who is enslaved.

I personally enjoyed the  brief discussion and the opportunity to experience that because all too often I have been on the receiving end of another response when I’ve had plans that I’ve made altered because of Master’s will.

Even with other slaves.

I’ve had slaves become irritated, annoyed, angry or frustrated with my inability to attend or call or what have you.

I’ve often found that odd. Recently I realized that because the Lifestyle has changed and anything can be defined as slavery- many have no experience with interacting with a person for whom EVERY area of thier life is under the authority and control of another person.

Here’s the reality:

If your friends with a slave she may be called away unexpectedly.

If your friends with a slave- she may not be able to do everything she thinks is a good idea to do.

If you’re friends with a slave she may not call (or show up) at the agreed upon time.

If you’re friends with a slave she may disappear on you unexpectedly.

If your friends with a slave she may change her interests inexplicably.

If you’re friends with a slave you can usually expect that she is not keeping any secrets from her Master (you can ask about this one)

If you’re friends with a slave her eating requirements may change on a dime

If your friends with a slave she/he may have protocols that make no sense to you

Of course all of these things depend on the slave and on the type of dynamic they engage in – so ask. Often slaves who live with their Owners seem to have more restrictions than slaves who live apart (just because they have more time to themselves). When Master and I lived apart I had a lot more girl time than I do now. When He worked at an office many miles away I had more free time. Now my time is at a literally premium.   But also understand that if you have slaves who are friends of yours – they usually aren’t flighty if they have to beg off- they’re just in Service!

In submission and surrender to Him

~slave namaste

 

I AM His Will

A few weeks ago I was talking with one of my BFF’s – she is also a slave and she said to me “Your life sounds horrible to me”

I laughed and said “Thanks” because I knew what she meant.

My life as  Masters slave is quite different than her life as her owners slave.

Master has a HUGE Vision. Our lives are often busy with periods of do-nothing in between. Even during those “do-nothing” period we’re still very busy with the children, the animals, the local groups and the building of our businesses.

My friends life is more still. No travel. No public speaking.

While we both do not work for anyone outside of our Owners- our lives look different.

This is why I often say that any ideal of what slavery looks like will be a 30,000 foot view- a Template at beast. Because the Reality of living as His (or Hers as the case may be) – will be substantially different.

Long ago when I was a little girl I wanted a little house at the foot of a hill. I envisioned myself living right where a forest turned into non-forested land in a small cottage with a twirl of smoke coming from the chimney. This was not so much literal as symbolic of the sort of simple life I desired.

But I AM His Will.

My Owner desired a lifestyle that is sort of a mixture of Movers and Shakers meets Homestead. LOL We have chickens (we had goats), and children and quietude at our house. We rarely entertain at home. We recycle. I engage in food preservation such as canning and dehydration as well as making much of our own products such as detergent and body butters.  We also travel at least once a month, have cause to dress up in ball gowns and tuxedos from time to time, and speak in front of hundreds if not thousands of people a year. Why? Because this is His Vision

And I AM His Will.

When I say “I am His will” What am I saying.  This is a step further than even the alignment of will that I often write and speak about. Like many things it is a process. For me it is the hearing of His will, the understanding of it as much as I can grok at any one time, the beginning to align externally and internally and eventually – the BECOMING. To internalize it so deeply that there is no place within me where you will not find it.  For some things this has been very easy and taken mere moments for other things – due to the complexity of the idea or worldview, or my flexibility (or inflexibility) in that area – it took longer. Either way it is always the goal.

Some slaves have told me that they find the idea of alignment of will to be so HARD. It seemed so extreme and far more challenging than giving mere compliance. I can understand how the idea initially feels that way – especially when most writings concerning Power Exchange seem to promote an internal rebellion with an external appearance of obedience.  For me though – incongruence is the WORST thing. Behaving one way and Feeling another internally is the height of inauthenticity. And while this is often a PART of the process of alignment of will and becoming the will of a Master- it is not the end point. It should be considered a liminal state not the destination. By becoming His will there is not separation no internal conflict between my wants and desires and His wants and desires. There is a simplicity and peacefulness.   I have also found that by becoming His will – I am spending time studying Him deeply. Seeing if there is anyway where I need micro aligning the way a chiropractor manipulates the spine back into alignment.

I Am His Will.

And it is my honor and pleasure to be so.

In submission and surrender to Him,

~slave namaste

 

Surrender and Grace

surrender woman picture pands

 

 

I believe surrender and grace are inextricably connected.

Often  have heard it spoken of as if they occur simultaneously or if grace brings surrender. I have also heard them used interchangeably as if the are the same.

I believe that order counts and I believe that the act of relinquishing to the Surrendered Life yields a grace that can not be experienced UNTIL you surrender.

By Grace I’m referring both to Favor and beauty of form and movement.

It’s something that goes beyond the technical movement. It is found in the sublime contentment that only comes when you know who you are and where you belong.

It follows the giving up and the ceasing from struggle.

It comes from leaping and not looking back.

It is about timing and fluidity. It can not be rushed and checked off of our to-do lists. It can not be found in our tendency towards intellectualism. It must be lived. Much as bread must be kneaded and then allowed to rise – in trust and a patience that what needs to occur will.

There is a courage that is produced in this state – and this courage brings a stateliness. A sense of nobility.

A Grace.

I can recall a Domina telling Master after He had changed my name, we had been within our dynamic about 2 or 3 years- that she had known be by my other name – and she struggled to see me as the same person.

Not because I looked outwardly different – but because my energy was entirely different.  She called it Regal.

Master recalled it to me and I remember blushing and not really understanding until later what she saw.

This is why I believe in 2 types of surrender. surrender (little s) hat is action specific and Surrender (big S) that is transformative to the blood and bone of the slave.

This is the Surrender that births Grace.

In submission and Surrender to Him,

~slave namaste