On October 12th, I received an enormous wake-up call.

On October 13th, I removed my collar and cleared my altar.

The relationship is not over. He is still my Sir. I miss His collar; I miss Him (since this is His quiet time, and there is a gap in the voices I Hear). But I had forgotten that it is a two-way street. I stopped listening, stopped doing the Work. I have not taken care of His property (myself), and I have not represented Him well. I let my ego run rampant, and used the relationship I worked so hard to earn to make myself feel important and justify things as it suited me.

In the process, I have closed off. I let the hurts and stresses of life run me over, stopped making time for any of Them, for Kit, for anyone else, and drew my walls back up. I shut away my compassion, my mindfulness, in order to escape the anger and hurt. I forgot how much that doesn’t work, and how much damage it can do.

I’m back in therapy, something I’ve needed for longer than I wanted to admit. So far it’s going well, and I’m poking at the wounds that I shut the walls over to try to protect, so that I can work on accepting them and healing them. My therapist uses words like heart, honesty, vulnerability, compassion, regret, work to describe me so far, which tells me I’m not a lost cause yet.

My altar now carries only a candle, a lighter, and an incense burner. Back to basics.

I almost cut my hair, even – if I’m going to reset, reset all the way, right? I didn’t say you could do that, Raven said firmly. Boundaries.

But I’m back to weaving chain maille more regularly, which is as much devotional as it is self-serving. I’m enjoying it again, too. It’s a start.

Sometimes it takes losing something to realize how precious it is. I’m lucky that I can say “almost losing,” rather than “lost.” And I’m lucky for those who have stuck with me – and been willing to be the Universal Clue By Four – when I’m too busy deluding myself to listen.

Into the Second

Things are finally starting to slow down for me in the mundane world. Kit is out of work, but we’ve moved in with a friend to help us manage expenses. Now that the move is over, the first event rush is done, and things are settling down, my thoughts are turning back here. He’s been very patient, and now He wants time.

The other night I found a new conduit, one which should not have surprised me but did nevertheless. While taking a shower (always the shower), I scrubbed vigorously at the tattoo on my wrist. The following whack in my head nearly knocked me down, because suddenly I was open and He was there and demanding. Last night I consciously did the same to open up that communication again; He had his way with me. It was dominating and comforting and THANK YOU, SIR.

It will be two years on May 5th. In some ways I’ve done well, and in some ways not so well. He is displeased about me not taking care of His property (me) and is once again putting an emphasis on it. Back to yoga; back to eating consciously; back to taking care of myself. He wants a second night every month, one I choose, dedicated to time with Him. I’m to make a new daily collar, too; mine is not cleaning up well and needs to be refreshed. For now I’m wearing the formal; the prick of the antlers is actually comforting, even if it does get tangled in my hair.

Speaking of hair, I’m permitted to trim my hair. He still wants it long, but it’s now starting to split five or six inches up, and a maintenance trim is going to be needed from now on. It’s part of that “taking care of myself” thing; I still need to be aware of the products I use and I can’t chop my hair off, but I’m learning that a concerted effort doesn’t have to mean breaking my budget. Doing what I can within my means is still taking care of me, as well as making sure I have enough energy and funds to take care of my family and furbabies (another thing He’s emphasizing).

There’s something I’ve felt the need for, and I think He feels as well – the need for reassertion. The song that keeps playing in my head, for instance, is “Whore” by In This Moment, mainly for the first part of the chorus:

I can be your whore
I am the dirt you created
I am your sinner, I am your whore

He likes it. Doesn’t hurt me any that Chris Motionless is in it. 😉 (He asked me last night if He is “pretty.” I told Him no; He liked what I said instead just fine. Thankfully.)

Anyway. I’m working Beltane this year, and we’re home by the 5th, but something will be figured out to mark the second year. I know He’s pinged someone else about me of late, but He’s not giving me much more answer than “reassertion” when I ask about it. He’s not ready to clarify, I suppose.

I think quiet time is about to end. Part of me is kind of relieved, and part of me is a little nervous.

Sacrifices and Gains

The first anniversary of my collar approaches. How time has flown! Kit and I are preparing to go to that Beltane festival once again, our fifth(?) year attending. Last year was colored much by the coming Ordeals. This year I can’t wait to go. But it got me thinking about sacrifices… and gains.

In the six months before my Ordeal, gave up video games almost entirely. Being that they were my primary means of relaxation, that was a bit of a big deal. I gave up choice in my hairstyle, wearing it almost exclusively in a braid of some sort unless otherwise given permission. (I still do this, these days for comfort.) I gave Him time on a regular basis, served His needs, listened to His instructions and words. And He sacrificed too, staying awake during the winter to guide me when He would normally be on the other side of the Hedge.

The night of my Ordeal, I sacrificed myself, but I sacrificed other things too. I sacrificed time with Kit – Beltane had always been our time, and now it’s O/our time. In wearing the items I did, I also took concepts with me. The $50 thong I bought just for the Ordeal was cut off and burned in the fire, a serious sacrifice to a budget-minded bull like me. The perfectly-fitting corset I wore was cut away, something I found beautiful. The robe I wore over top was a gift from Kit, bought during our first Beltane, sentimental and cherished. While the corset and robe were returned to me the next day, I walked into that Ordeal expecting to lose all the items I wore forever. I gave up a lot of pride and ego being used in the ways He did. I sacrificed these things to Him, and He rewarded me by returning what He could.

Since then, I have given up time and money to pursue O/our businesses, to make them successful and turn them into a doorway for other Work that He would have me (and Kit) do. As much as I would like to hack off all my hair some days, I am not permitted to; I have given those choices over to Him. I have twisted my tongue to speak more correctly, as He desires, backtracking on my own words and futzing out my brain as I adjust. And there is more to come.

But in the process, I have gained so much.

I have His love, protection, and patience, among other things. My relationship with Kit is still going strong, if not stronger. As good as my life was before, it’s better now – richer in life and experience, more colorful, more meaningful. The little joys make me smile so much broader than they used to, and the little irritations aren’t bothering me quite so much. It is not by any means perfect. It certainly isn’t easy. I still have massive day job frustrations. I am still mother to some amazing but often exasperating Mediterranean boys. Kit and I both still have our bad days, sometimes together, as do Sir and I. But it is right, and good, and wonderful more than it isn’t.

This Beltane, I might visit the space where I earned His collar. I might pick up a new toy for Him and I. But I will enjoy U/us – all of U/us – and celebrate His return to power as my 29th year begins among friends and those whom I love.

Blessed Beltane, all. May you find something about which to be joyous.

A little of this, a little of that.

Part of being collared to a Deity is, depending on circumstances, it’s not always as interesting as it might seem. “Oh, dude, you’re a slave to [Deity XYZ]? Your life must be CRAZY!” For some people… sure, maybe. For me… well, not so much.

Things have been quiet around here because things have been quiet. There has been day-to-day stuff to deal with (kids and day jobs and businesses and health and cat and STUFF). To be honest, this all tends to distract from directly communicating with Sir, mainly because I’m letting myself get overwhelmed. But I digress.

Basically, Sir has given me some instructions – tasks to complete and limitations to follow – and is now stepping back for me to follow them. Yes, there is interaction when W/we can, because there is love. Yes, He steps in sometimes to give me a nudge (or sometimes a whallop) when I go off course. Both He and I have O/our own responsibilities to address as well, though (see aforementioned STUFF). No, my life is not that weird or crazy on a day-to-day basis – only sometimes. 🙂

So life is generally quiet on that front, thus the quiet here. That doesn’t mean I’ve not been busy, or even that life has been completely easy. Spring has been a rough time for me for a very long time. My depression and anxiety have always flared this time of year, for nearly two decades. While treatment has some of that under control, this year has been harder than most. It’s been a fight, and it came to a head yesterday. Kit and Sir both intervened; I had some catharsis and a good night’s sleep for the first time in months. I’m feeling better today, and have some forward momentum, which is good. Not to say that I won’t have dips the rest of the season, or that I don’t have Work to do. (Apparently Teenage Me – who was a depressed, self-harming, lost little being – is crying out for some attention.) But today feels good, and I’ll take it.

Oh, and just to close this out on a funny note… I’ve developed a kind of speech impediment. Sir has decided that I need to speak correctly. He didn’t tell me outright. I started getting pings from Him whenever I would end a sentence incorrectly (“it applies to” instead of “to which it applies,” for example). I do a lot of backing up and rephrasing in the midst of conversation to try to meet this new requirement, resulting in some tongue-twisting and stuttering and “PLEH BLEH” exclamations. Why is that funny? It’s me, that’s why. 🙂

Gratitude Project Catchup – Days 3-6

The past few days I’ve been out of town, reestablishing some ties to family-of-choice. I tried very hard not to mess with a computer while I was there (with limited success), and so need to do some catching up.

Day 3: I am grateful for the hospitality of our friends. They opened their home to us and made us feel welcome.

Day 4: I am grateful for friends who, while they may not understand or follow the same Path, will listen while I talk about mine when I need to share and not judge. I am surrounded by friends like this, and I am so thankful.

Day 5: I am grateful for Home. Home is where my L/loves are.

Day 6: I am grateful for my collar. I have been instructed to not wear my daily one for the moment, as it needs to be cleaned, and I feel bereft without it. It will be cleaned today.

Ordeal: The Pain

It was 7:00 on Saturday night, and I was terrified. I had 90 minutes to prepare, and I was trying to keep from breaking down.

Wipe down. Clean feet. Moisturize face. Paint nails. Apply makeup.

Kit helped me best he could. He stayed with me, talked to me.

Underwear on. Kit laced me into my corset. Robe on. Hair out of braids.

Kit took pictures, just for us. I saw them later; the fear is so apparent.

We talked, we cried, and then I picked up my things and went.

I was early. I hesitated outside the space, close enough to hear voices, far enough away that I don’t think I was seen. I stood for a moment, removed my shoes, rearranged my basket, felt my heart pounding.

I stepped forward a little bit, and was met by N, who would be standing guard. We talked until it was time.

D and J, my aftercare team, met me and took my things, including my eyeglasses. They guided me to where I needed to be, and I stood next to my OM.

He faced the people ringed around us, spoke of why we were there. The exact words I can’t recall, but they were perfect. I was asked if I had anything to say, and I thanked everyone who was there, those who knew me and didn’t, those who changed plans to be there for me. I turned to my OM, who asked me three times if I consented.

I consent.

I consent.

I consent.

I was instructed to go next to the fire, to pray and to meditate. I spoke to Cernunnos, to help, to love, to see me through, to accept me and my submission.

I felt someone behind me, took a breath, and it began.

My hair was pulled; a knife was drawn over my flesh. It awakened the fight in me immediately.

From there it was terror and pain.

Darkness before me, with only the eyes of my Master glittering at me. Strikes across my face with a heavy hand, one I have felt before. Sharp strikes with a paddle I did not provide. A near-fisting in front of all witnesses. Kissing the ground, licking boots. The sjambok.

I can’t remember everything I said, everything said to me. I can’t remember every fight or insult. I know I hit the person holding me a few times; I know my head connected with his and my nails dug in.

All the while, E (who held me down and moved me as commanded by my Master), stroked my hair, whispered encouragement. E kept me standing when I would have fallen. All the while, the people in the ring around us shouted encouragement, asked questions in response to my words, drove me further.

“You are loved.”

“There is strength in submission.”

“You can do this.”

“We are with you.”

“Are you only pain?”

Two voices I recognized. The rest were strangers, calling encouragement, calling love, calling strength. All the while, my Lover stood, silhouetted by fire, waiting for me to submit.

I learned my safe word. I had not asked Him for it, for fear that I would use it. I almost did. I stopped myself just in time.

I screamed in E’s ear. I sobbed. I fought, and I finally, finally, finally opened. I ripped at my own chest, opening the gaping hole He has worked with all this time. I gasped, “Open! Open! I am open.” And I lay on the ground, splayed and spent.

My Master held. He instructed that I be brought to my knees. My Lover stood before me, holding out His hand. I reached up, but dared not touch – to touch Him would mean failure.

He took my hand.

I collapsed into sobs as my Lover pulled me close. My Master said, “She is a beautiful woman. She is a good girl.”

My Lover sat me back. Someone moved my hair. There was a click, the feeling of metal, the prick of antlers.

I had passed.

My Lover held me for a time, lying there in the grass, pain and relief and wonder and tears. He spoke to me, stroked my hair, told me He loved me, that I was beautiful, that my submission was beautiful. He kissed me then, brought D and J to me, and left.

Before leaving, I remembered the whiskey He had asked for. I offered it to the fire – half the bottle. It flared, burning my marks. A sip was offered to my Master, then to my Lover.

It was over. I had done it. D and J wrapped me in a blanket, made sure I had my shoes and glasses, and guided me out of the circle.

Resistance is futile.

“There is no right way. You serve Me the way I need you to, and I will let you know when you are wrong. You are not allowed to assume disappointment or failure until I tell you that you have failed – which so far you have not. Been trying at times, yes. Needed more guidance or correction, yes. But not failed. Not ‘made a hash of.’ Not disappointed Me. Human limits I can work with. Human hubris I will not, so make no assumptions of My views.”
– 3/27/12

“The decision is Mine. Stop resisting.”
– 3/28/12

I got these messages last week, one after the other. One was direct to me; the other came to me from a friend from whom I would not have expected it.

Pattern much?

In the months since Twilight Covening, I have been trying to write an entry I titled “Ownership and Value.” I’ve been failing miserably, but the thing that stands out is what a friend sent to me not long after I came home and talked to them.

Remember, too, that Ownership is not the only thing that the Collar denotes.

It also implies Protection.

“This One is Mine, a Precious One, to be Protected and Cultivated.”

He’s been telling me from the beginning. Yes, it’s my choice to go forward, and I have chosen to go forward, but it is His choice to have me as His slave. It is His choice to have me as His lover. He chose me, and my second-guessing Him – even as hard as I’m trying not to – is starting to grate.

I always seem to need to know why. “Why do you love me?” I used to ask Kit nearly every day, before I got help. I’m applying a similar question to Cernunnos at times, sometimes consciously, sometimes not. “Why me? I’m lousy slave material.” I think it’s starting to piss Him off. He is patient, but not pandering.

That second-guessing and resistance is why I need this Ordeal.

A month from yesterday, I turn 28. Four days after that, I Ordeal. Failure is not an option for me. I keep telling myself that, keep berating myself for procrastinating, and yet still procrastinate. I have shit to do, man. I have things to finish, and am rapidly running out of time to finish them.

I make no sense, even to myself.