Archive for the ‘Coming Out’ Category
Every time I’ve gotten stuck for words when someone (non-kinky) makes a comment about BDSM, I later think, “it would be so much better if I could just treat it lightly, act as if I don’t care what they think, joke about it.”
Last night, someone visiting me and my partner: “You should just get a live-in submissive to do all the housework for you.”
My partner: “I don’t think that’s how it works…”
What I wanted to say: “Well, we already have a live-in submissive, but I really don’t kink on housework.”
Of course, I didn’t think of this until I was already walking away from the conversation.
If I could just say things like this instead of feeling so afraid, so terrified of what people think…it would all be so much easier. Joking about it, speaking as if it were the most normal thing in the world for me to be talking openly about being a submissive or a masochist — speaking from the assumption that the other person is totally okay with BDSM sexuality, and allowing myself to be surprised if they’re not. Oh, you didn’t think about the fact that you might be talking about me? Does that change things? Does it make you feel awkward for making that joke? Does it make you feel uncomfortable around me? If so, you’re going to have to address that, now. It forces things out into the open, and once they’re there, once we get the point of actually talking about these things, I can hold my own. I know the arguments, I know my positions and can defend them. That’s the part I’m good at. If I can just get there, just break through that wall of fear preventing me from making the first step…
What am I so afraid of? That they’ll think my being a sexual submissive means that I’m a pushover and a weakling in the rest of my life. What’s the best way to get them to not think that? To be assertive and open about being a submissive. To preemptively disprove their notions about what a submissive is, what a masochist is. To speak with confidence — as if I were the one that was normal.
Okay, so I’ve had a few days now to actually sit back and start processing everything that happened on Saturday, and it isn’t all of it good. I’ve now heard from several people about some bad stuff that went down at the party (mostly involving inappropriate behavior / nonconsensual touching) and am actually sort of surprised that nothing worse happened. Folks in the Anarkink group have started talking (okay, emailing) about what was good and what we need to do better, and most of it has to do with being clearer on boundaries and such beforehand, keeping our invite list restricted, making sure people are monitoring scenes, checking people who are out of line, and providing safer sex supplies. All of which is good, and all of which is stuff I’m sure we would have done had we been planning a play party. Which we weren’t; we had planned a fundraiser party, a dance party that featured some performances and a spanking booth. We just hadn’t planned for the event turning into a play space, and weren’t prepared for what to do when it did happen. That said, I still think people did a really good job under the circumstances.
As soon as I let myself relax, after the party was over, I completely crashed both physically and mentally; I’m now fighting an awful cold and have spent the last three days since the party largely in bed or curled up on the couch under a blanket. I keep lapsing into crying fits that appear out of nowhere. The thought of any sort of responsibility, any task to accomplish, any project, fills me with renewed anxiety.
Honestly, it wasn’t so much the work involved with these events—though that did factor into it—as the emotional stress of, well, being out. For nine hours I sat with some stacks of zines and buttons and answered questions like “Anarkink? What’s that?” or “So what’s with the blue and black star?” I didn’t encounter any real drama, nor did I end up having real conversations with anyone about BDSM or why it’s important to talk about it. And when I noticed the two friends that I’m most scared of being out to walking around near where I was tabling, I stood up and pretended like I wasn’t tabling, but looking at zines at the table next to me. So in terms of really confronting my fears around being public about this sort of thing, I only made it about halfway. And I still felt completely fucking destroyed by it.
I know that it was all worth it. I now have a handful of friends that know about Anarkink and my involvement with it, so by extension that know (and are ostensibly okay with the fact) that I’m kinky. I helped make more people aware that Anarkink existed, which will hopefully bring more folks into the group, get a wider variety of faces and voices and perspectives, and get more ideas about what this group should and could become; ideally, this will also mean that we’ll have more people who can take over the organizational aspects of keeping the group going. And we also raised a couple hundred bucks to donate to the Long Haul Infoshop, our new meeting space, which should cover us for the next year.
But right now, it’s really hard for me to want to do any of this at all. We’re meeting again next Thursday, and I honestly don’t even know if I want to go. I was excited about the idea of starting up a small distro for kinky zines, and now I have little interest in it. I was even starting to consider contacting other people to help organize a KinkForAll in San Francisco, but after this event, I’m not sure I could handle it. I sort of want to just get back to having sex, in private, and just being happy with that.
I know in a week (or maybe even less) I’ll feel completely differently. But it’s going to take some recovery time.
After the Anarkink meeting the other night, I casually mentioned to someone that I really love flogging, but can’t do it as much as I’d like because my roommates are often home. The person I was talking to was shocked. “You’re in the closet with your roommates?”
“But is that really tenable?”
“Well….no, I guess not…”
“I mean, I can understand not being out to your mother or something, but it seems like that’s something you’d want the people you live with to be comfortable with…”
The question of just how out I should be has been coming up a lot recently, and with increasing frequency as the Anarchist Bookfair approaches. I have taken on this project of ensuring Anarkink’s presence at the bookfair, and that means me sitting there among hundreds of other anarchists and probably a good number of my friends, handing out flyers for an anarchist BDSM party and selling kinky zines. It means me explaining what BDSM is to curious people and defending it from angry ones. It means me having to talk to my friends about this anarchist BDSM group I’ve been involved with for months.
It scares the shit out of me just thinking about it.
And yet I still want to do it.