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A Mantra For Everyone

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Feb 29, 2008 in communication, relationships

No matter how perfect a submissive I am, I cannot control everything that might affect my dominant’s mood, nor should I try to take responsibility for them.

No matter how powerful a dominant I am, I cannot actually force my submissive partner’s behavior, nor can I be responsible for  their actions if they are doing what they willingly choose to do.

No matter how much I give back in service to the community, I cannot hold myself emotionally or mentally responsible for a group’s well-being, nor should I continue to give back out of obligation when giving diminishes my energy rather than enhances it.

No matter what level of respect or etiquette I observe in any group that I attend, I am responsible for my own actions and ethics, and I deserve to be treated the way that I treat others.

No matter how good a top I am, I should never feel like I can’t talk about my concerns or worries out of fear of being thought of as “less than”.  A good top admits fault, learns from their mistakes, and cultivates a sense of humility.

No matter how good a bottom I am, I cannot allow others to make choices for me unless they negotiate that action, and I consent to it.   Being a bottom does not mean that I am not strong, intelligent, and capable.

No matter how little I think I know about “this stuff”, I have something to teach other people around me.  My life experience is unique, and my perspective is valuable.

No matter how much I think I know about “this stuff”, I can always learn something new and potentially life changing, even from someone I might least expect to learn it from.

No matter who I am, having a healthy self-esteem is one of the keys to having  a healthy relationship with anyone else, regardless of type power exchange, number of relationships, or type of relationships.  If my self-esteem suffers, no amount of lovers or play partners will make it better.

No matter what, I must remember that knowing where my responsibilities end and others begin is the key to peace of mind.

 
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From a piece I wrote in October 2007…

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Feb 17, 2008 in teaching

To the folks in the BDSM & Leather Communities, a few words of caution:

The Cult of Personalities that we create are, by far, the most damaging things in the community as a whole. Nobody has a lock on the best way to do this. No scene personality is what you think they are. Nobody has all their shit together – trust me on that one.

That presenter who looks like they know everything? They don’t. They know what they’ve learned so far, whether through personal experience or learning from other folks’ experience. They don’t know everything, and they can’t be expected to be a total expert. Really. So don’t fault them when they admit that they don’t know the answer, or when they stumble in an area that you thought they should know better about. Likewise, if they try to act like they DO know everything…prepare to take them with that big grain of salt that all of us should carry around.

Do not feed or tease the trolls. There are a number of people in the BDSM scene who have named themselves “personalities”, whether because of presenting a class or two, or throwing good parties, or putting together/staffing an event, or whatever they feel that they’ve done that entitles them to special treatment. In many cases, they use the words “do you know who I am?” or “I know these things, I’ve been around and I can tell you that I’m doing the right thing” without any sense of irony or humility. Challenging them, while occasionally good for your own soul, may be the equivalent of ramming your head into a brick wall of ego. Calling attention to their behavior may just give them the feeling that stirring up drama is a dandy thing for them to continue to do. Your best action is to back away, nodding and smiling, and go find someone who has more of a grasp on reality to talk to.

I’m not going to even touch on the people who have become big fish in little ponds, play wise, and think that they’re entitled to certain levels of respect because they can aim their whip a little more accurately than the next person. Frankly? No. There are bunches of assholes with perfect aim. Doesn’t make them any less of an asshole.

The best gift anyone in the scene can give you, whether you’re talking about a presenter, or a player, or just someone who has been around a long time, is the gift of their honest experience and their authenticity. It’s a gift that allows us to look within ourselves and, hopefully, become more and more of the person that we want to be, in all areas of our life – not just the kinky stuff.

 
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The teacher as outsider…

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Feb 7, 2008 in communication, teaching

In IM earlier today, a profound statement was made:

…it’s the people on the fringe who can help those in the midst the most

I’m still thinking on this one. It came up in a discussion with a trusted mentor and dear friend about the feeling of not being a part of a group, or feeling like one doesn’t fit in. I posited that perhaps some of us need to have the feeling of not fitting in, for whatever reason. He followed up this comment with the fact that Moses, after leading the Israelites to the promised land, was denied access to it himself.

Those who guide are often those who do not achieve. They give up some of their own personal goals in order to help others to reach theirs. They are the teachers who challenge the young, brilliant minds of our next generation. They are the parents who, having never reached the educational or professional pinnacles that they hoped for, encourage and support their children to rise to their own hopes and dreams. They are the partners who ensure that the house gets dealt with so that their lovers can go out and make things happen.

Just something that I’m gnawing on. Thought provoking.

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