August 11, 2013

Individual Choice

Often I write that one of things that makes the BDSM different from the mainstream is the fact that those who are involved in BDSM consciously made a decision to pursue this path.  Few are raised in this lifestyle.  Instead, the average person follows the path of "normalcy" until he or she realizes it is not something that works.  It is only after one experiences an emptiness in the traditional model that he or she begins to seek something different. 

It Is Your Life

This might seem like an obvious statement but it is worth repeating:  It is your life.  Most accept this idea at an intellectual level yet operate from a completely different perspective when we witness their actions.  The conclusion I draw is that the majority of the population is enslaved by others.  This is true whether we look at the work environment where people are toiling away at jobs they hate.  We also notice this when one is consumed by his or her children and continually running around to appease them.  Another way this manifests is in the way people structure their relationships.  The overriding concept is what is considered normal with those who fall outside those bounds being ostracized.  Of course,  around the world, we see the effect religion has on different cultural norms and the influence over people's lives.

Embracing that your life is your own to do with as you see fit is a difficult concept.  At the core of this idea is responsibility.  If your life is your own, then you are the one who is responsible for choosing the direction in which you travel.  Naturally, when we look around society we see that responsibility is something most avoid.  The "blame" game is the common practice.  As opposed to standing up and claiming what is ours, most prefer to push the blame for their troubles on others.  It is far easier to attack one's parents for the results one got in life.  This is the "if they only ________" syndrome.  Adopting this approach allows one to shun the onus of the consequences he or she created.


Thoreau claimed that most people lived lives of "quiet desperation".  I will agree with this idea adding the caveat that those who are not in this category tend to lead lives that are outright chaotic.  The truth is most people are not happy with the choices they made.  Overall, they want more yet see no path out of what they initially created.  We all know that decisions have consequences.  Decide to get married and have children is a path that alters one's future choices.  I encounter many who went the traditional route only to determine it is not what he or she wanted yet have a couple small children.  Upon finding BDSM, the natural desire is to want it immediately.  Unfortunately, life does not work this way.  Unless the children are somehow cared for (or on their own), one's choices are limited in the present.  However, that does not mean future plans cannot be arranged.  The point is that one is destined to tend to the choices of the past before moving forward.

It is only when one gets desperate enough that he or she is willing to change.  Most did not approach BDSM as a means to improving one's life.  While there are many who are in relationships that can be viewed as vanilla (to start) before finding BDSM and implementing aspects into that situation, this is not the norm.  Most of us reach the breaking point with traditional relationships since they ended as catastrophic failures.  The proverbial square peg in round hole applies.  After decades of emptiness and a lack of fulfillment, we find BDSM to be something to strikes at a place that is deep within us.  It is only because we suffered some desperation through our pursuit in the vanilla world that we became open to a different way of doing things.  This act places us in an entirely different category than most.


The problem with exercising individual choice is that it puts us at odds with the rest of society.  Since most are unhappily following along with the dogma that was served up to them, the same individuals become resentful when someone does not follow suit.  The old saying is misery loves company.  It is easier for one to pull another down as opposed to exerting the effort to improve his or her plight.  When one exercises individual choice, it makes the fact that another is not painfully obvious.  Hence we find ourselves in a situation where we are at odds with those who are closest to us.

Many have felt what it is like to be ostracized by family and friends after making the decision to life within the BDSM world.  This is one of the main reasons why I tell people, especially newcomers, not to announce one's decision to the world.  The truth is most do not understand and those that do tend to be resentful at our ability to make a decision for ourselves.  These individuals say things such as "I only want what is best for you" and "I want to see you happy" yet their behavior tells a different story.  What they actually want is you to be happy doing things how they believe you should.  Stray outside the bounds of what they feel to be "normal" and watch the reaction.  Tolerance is not a word that I would use to describe the ensuing behavior. 

Overcoming this fact is one of the main issues people face when chasing after what they want in life.  BDSM is no different.  Those who enter the lifestyle are going to encounter some resistance somewhere along the way.  Naturally, the older one is, the less people that person most likely has to answer to.  In our earlier years, it is parents who are the main figures we feel accountability towards.  Even in our 20s and 30s, these individuals wield great power over us.  They often see us still as children at this point wanting to direct our lives as they see it (for those with children this age, I am sure you are doing this also).  Breaking a decades old habit is not an easy thing to do.

An interesting thing can also arise as one gets older.  Once the influence of a parent wears off (or they die off), one often finds him or herself beholden to the children.  Now we see different individuals with an opinion about how we ought to do things.  In most environments of this nature, the idea of mom or dad choosing to live as a slave is not palatable to them.  Instead, one risks being ostracized by family members simply because he or she chose a path better suited.  As they say, you can choose your friends but you cannot choose your family.

Be mindful of this when you are approaching this lifestyle.  I commend you for opening yourself up to the idea that there is something better out there for you.  However, be prepared for some of the pitfalls that come with exercising your power of individual choice.  You are going to see many who will be resentful at you for doing this while others will ostracize you because they do not agree with your decision.  In this light, remember you alone are responsible for your happiness.  Is this a responsibility you are ready to handle?


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Lord on August 13, 2013 at 6:40 AM said...

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Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blogs for a couple months now, and I would like to say thank you. Being a former vanilla female, coming into the BDSM world, I've found helpful advice and tips from you and your readers. Insightful to say the least.

It would be wonderful if most people shared your views. Just sayin'.


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