Each day in September, I will be posting a question about submission, along with two responses- the first written five years ago and the second from today. I welcome all who wish to join in this exercise to post your own answers in the comments, adjusting the question if necessary to suit your own roles and sensibilities.
How socially connected is your submission? Do you look for others to talk to about your submission for support or networking? Do you go to events or connect through another sort of social grouping either in person or online?
2012 – Public
I can relate to this very well “Some find me rude because they think I am distant and unfriendly but in truth I just get scared and overwhelmed. I wish I were different.” Lurking for years helped with this- just being able to observe and absorb many positive views on TTWD. Writing is still somewhat scary (I can’t tell you how much I admire your openness), but has been a powerful experience seems a step in the right direction.
And congratulations on three million hits! Your site and others like it have helped me feel more comfortable with submission. It is wonderful to see the happy, joyful side as well as to hear from others going through similar struggles.
2012 – Private
I attended a few munches with a local BDSM support group in college. It took a few months to work up the courage (and develop escape plans) before I attended, but I’m glad I did. It was a small, isolated town and the group became a haven for people with many types of alternative lifestyles- a recipe for enlightening conversations. I think that in college, the feeling of isolation from the real world, along with the feeling of general exhaustion, lowered my inhibitions enough to attend, as I’m not sure I would be able to do something similar now.
My exploration of blogs started in college as well. I had stumbled, explored, and read a few sites regularly at that time, but started reading more avidly after graduation. Reading other people’s thoughts on this subject became a substitute for the munch conversations.
The writing back thing is new, and still scary. It started with an e-mail to one blogger who seemed to have a deep understanding of the parts of submission that chimed with me. I never expected the message to blossom into a conversation, but it did and has helped me sort through a bunch of things I’d previously spent a lot of energy not thinking about. I found there was a big difference between reading the thoughts of others and trying to string together coherent thoughts of my own.
I keep expecting rejection though, for someone to point out that I have nothing of value to add, that I don’t understand this and that my voice is not wanted.
I’ve also told two close friends about this. The first asked all the wrong (right?) questions when I was in a state of tequila-induced honesty shortly after I attended my first munch. The second was more recent. I needed a sanity check in this exploration. I needed someone to confirm that I was doing this safely. I also wanted someone to know a bit more about this if I did decide to date someone who shared these interests. It seemed prudent given the potential complications to have someone who knew where I was and what I was doing. Plus, my inner engineer wanted a backup to my safety system.
Both of these friends have been remarkably supportive (both also knew me well enough that this probably wasn’t particularly shocking, and had enough already had enough dirt on me that it wasn’t a big risk). I have no desire to tell anyone else from my normal life though. It’s just not relevant to daily life, and no one needs to know.
I am writing this on my way to a munch.
It feels like I’m nearly always on my way to a munch or event, or more casual gathering of kinky friends. It’s taken over a huge portion of my life. It feels like a healthy invasion- emigration left a void where most people have social lives, and my blog and FetLife stepped in to fill it. This has not gone unnoticed by my vanilla friends, but that’s a subject for another post.
As much fun as these gatherings are, I still highly value the connections I’ve made virtually. Blogging has helped me to connect with people all over the world with whom I share a niche aspect of kink. The friendships I’ve formed online feel just as potent as those tempered over a spanking bench.
However, the most poignant connections have been those rare opportunities to meet in person authors whose writing has encouraged and inspired me. It is a lovely experience to carry on the same sort of conversations over a pint as we had begun over email, to see that the person has lived up to many aspects of the image they project online, to know that the real world and the internet world are not as separate as they may sometimes appear. To all of those who agreed to meet, thank you very, very much.