Not Facing Reality
By Isobel Silkwood

Reposted with permission from the SM List:

As I read through the posts this morning, most of them debating the semantics of words such as "owned," "master," and "consent" I am once again struck with the rather depressing thought that a lot of what gets fantasized, ritualized and endlessly argued in the BDSM world are the ways people invent to sooth their deepest fears about reality.

The reality is that we are basically alone and isolated from each other -- inside our own brains, inside our own skins. We reach out to others, trying to connect. We seek intimacy -- or, at least, some of us do. Others avoid it. We both desire and fear deep connections with others -- on the one hand, we kinda want to lose our individuality in someone else's; on the other, the loss of the self is a kind of death, and it must be resisted at all costs. We want respect and admiration and love from others -- and we treasure the little signs that indicate that we have earned it. We fear the loss of our relationships, and we try to do everything in our power to ensure that we don't lose whatever intimacy we've managed to forge.

So folks want to "own" or be "owned," as if that could ensure permanence and certify that we have the love, respect and admiration of at least one other person. Folks want to be addressed with honorific titles, 'cause it makes them feel more secure in their power. The more folks address them that way, the better -- especially if those people are strangers to whom they don't even need to prove themselves. Proving oneself worthy of respect, after all, is pretty damn hard in this world.

Other people convince themselves and their partners that the relationships can never end -- at least, not unless *they* are the one to end it. What a lovely dream! How soothing to one's deepest fears about loss, abandonment, and loneliness!

Maybe because I'm older than a lot of you and have pretty much seen it all, done it all, and written books about it all <s>, I no longer expect life -- or other people -- to dance attendance on my personal dreams and fantasies. No, I'm not a cynical person -- I love life, I love the world, I love people -- well, *most* people <g>. I reserve my deepest respect for the truth, and I hate dishonesty and have no patience with false illusions.

I'm beginning to wonder whether there is anything I can really contribute to a BDSM list anymore. Many of the issues folks seem so passionate about leave me shaking my head in wonder and disbelief.

Copyright 1998 Isobel

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