I've been doing this all my life.
Not always with the whip and not always getting paid, but in some form as long as I can remember. I used to call it by different names.
When I was a little, I had a box of toys. Opening that box meant more than just building things. I created characters with difficult lives, full of marriages and mortgages. They were little block people yearning to be free. I would one day become of them, of course. Where did I get these ideas? Where did the characters come from? Why did I recreate them in my box of toys?
When I was a teenager, my box of toys was gone. Instead, I had friends (mostly boys) and they liked a game with maps and dice, dragons, and elves. I spent countless hours planning adventures for these friends to live out, I wanted them to like Me, of course, but it was more than that.
I dated a little before college. Then, a lot. Horny, interested, and numerous. I devised a way to test potential mates. I told myself then it was a practical way of reducing my choices. Was that really it though? We played a game. A game of questions. I set the stakes. A gift if I won, usually something like laundry or something from the student store. If they won, we went on a date. I still play this game today, by the way. Now, I let them set the stakes. It's the answers to the questions and their desire to win that arouses Me.
Career and family dominated life for a time, pushing The Game into the shadows for a while. It was still there, though. Lurking. Every now and then it rescued Me from a stagnant relationship or terrible job. I learned the uses of stockings and the riding crop to heal my marriage. From fantasy and games, I listened to the pieces of my friends' souls crying out for attention.
It was my soul that would be in danger soon. I never saw it coming.
All of us, you, Me, everyone were plunged into the deep. In the darkness, I lost the love of my life. I lost the ability to do my job. Fire, hate and sickness cut a path across the world. In their wake, the world was changing. What could I do? What should I do? How would I survive?
I tried hiding. Tinder, Twitch, and Bourbon kept Me safe for a little while. Isolation wasn't it. Just dying, slower.
I tried finding another partner. Always those stories ended the same way - with Me running away. I was trying to restart my old life. I needed to accept. I needed to stop trying to write a new ending to that story. That story was over and it was time for a new one to begin.
I ran into the street. I screamed and fought. I didn't know what else to do. Soon, the screaming died down and I still needed to survive.
Somewhere in the tears and the booze and the fire and the fear I made some lists. It was a year of lists. Things I Need:
I need to be my own boss.
I need to help people in a direct way.
I need to fight systems of oppression.
I wrote these down somewhere. On an envelope, I think. Like so many notes scribbled while on the phone. I do remember rewriting this list more than a few times. The final one looked like this:
Great. These are the things I care about. These are the things I need. So, what can I do? What am I good at? What am I willing to do? What do I have to offer? Here's another list:
I'm a good listener.
I'm a curious lover.
I'm good at designing and playing games.
After many phone calls, therapy sessions, and lists I was still nowhere. I know. I know. Shut up. You know the answer but I didn't. Not yet.
My girlfriend at the time asked Me for a sexy evening of spanking and bondage.
We had flirted with it for a while and both admitted to enjoying rough play early on, but this was different. A real play date. I readily agreed. This was a first for her and I wanted it to be perfect. I woke up that morning invigorated. I planned the scene. I went to the hardware store. I practiced a tie. I chose an outfit. I answered the door. I don't think either of us were prepared for how deep this experience would touch us.
I remember it vividly, even without the pics I kept. The morning I spent hiding zip snares on my bed posts. The texts i exchanged frantically with my mentors. The way I cleaned my house. I must have spent a hour lacing myself into that corset. It was cheap and beautiful and I swore at it like truck driver until it was in place. I brought out my suede thigh high boots from retirement in the back of the closet. I found my glittery pink riding crop, a relic left behind by my ex, polished up and oiled and ready for new service. I remember the taste of the gin and dancing, one hand wrapped around her leash, the other twirling in the air, singing along to Cyndi. Feelings come rushing back and I am there, even now, typing this from My desk. I want to cheer them and clap and shout out to that Me and say, "Yes! Keep going honey. You're almost here!" The tears roll and I'm so fucking proud of us.
We never really played like that again and the relationship didn't last, but I was awakened.
I have always been but sleeping until now. These pages will keep my confessions, those of a part time dominatrix. There are many things to whisper in this booth, many steps from this point in the story to where I am now and many more to go. I offer them freely for you, in hopes they enlighten and enliven.
The Game has always been there. The pieces are different now. Now, it's The Work that calls Me. The stakes are real. The experiences are breathtaking. It is my pleasure and my privilege to be here with you today.
Mending wound. Freeing desire. Fighting shame.