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xmag.com : December 2001 : Darklady

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there with open arms and open eyes.

--"Drive," by Incubus


What a difference a year makes. 365 days. 52 weeks. 8760 little hours. All behind me now. All inside me now. A part of who I am and who I will become.

Another sad divorce. Eccentric advances in my marriage-eating career. Deliciously unexpected love affairs: an artist, a writer, an editor, a politician, and a photographer. Piercings. A change in political parties. A trip to Washington, DC, and the Supreme Court building. A cross-country adventure from New York City while history was
making headlines. Seemingly endless opportunities to put love, honor, service, commitment, trust, courage, and communication to the test while propelled by Destiny and burning with ambition.

"Life is sometimes clearest when seen in the rear-view mirror..."

It was early December when Polymnos answered my call; found me like a sad, pretty girl in a bad French film, living in an electronic window, rarely sleeping, rarely eating, driven but without focus or direction. Shortly after picking the lock on the puzzle box of my D/s fantasies, we realized that we had found more than we had expected. The Fates have a sideways sense of humor and follow the ancient tradition of giving great gifts accompanied by challenges. Creative thinkers and lovers rise to the occasion, seek solutions, explore further into the frontier, shed their tears, face their fears, and move forward. For me, poly and kink are about creating connections of lasting value and recognizing that this generates change that, ideally, results in growth. But growth rarely comes without its share of discomfort. How we deal with our discomfort has a lot to do with how healthy we grow.

My year of growth has repeatedly inspired me to investigate my heart and
my mind, to explore the far reaches of both. It has resulted in some of the best writing I've ever produced, some of the greatest insights of my life, some of the most profound joys and most unutterable sorrows. And, although I'd change some of the details if I could--it was all worth it. Life is sometimes clearest when seen in the rear-view mirror, so it's important to pay attention, look sharp, remember things for later--and keep in mind that if it takes time to learn to drive, it must certainly take time to learn to live.

As part of my self-education and self-investigation I recently participated in an online survey regarding attitudes and practices affiliated with "Dominance, submission, slavery and service." The survey's goal is to "dispel myths and misunderstandings" associated with these behaviors. Whether it accomplishes this or not, it certainly caused me to think about my own views concerning them, especially about the various virtues and values I hold dear and feel can be expressed from within their social paradigms.

The 45-minute questionnaire poses many questions about motivations for submission, responsibilities of Dominants for their submissives, and ideal characteristics of both. I was surprised to see how similar my responses to questions about each partner was. How strong both my ideal Dominant and submissive traits were, how relatively unimportant physical discipline was compared to willing and devoted service. How vitally important intelligence, patience, honor, and love were for earning and providing such service. I did not see a system of inferior and superior partnerships but of complementary strengths and passions, combining to create a greater--and growing--whole. Readers interested in participating in this survey can do so at the Jack McGeorge Research site, located at www.dss.sexresearch.org.

But perhaps most importantly for me was the rush of awareness that washed over me as I answered questions and relived memories, realizing how many wonderful experiences the past year has afforded me. Since that pivotal e-mail in December I have learned and felt so many things, have returned again to
live in my body, love with my heart, and dare to dream with my spirit. What a difference a year makes.



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