Besides getting the regular email updates from Submissive Guide, I also get the email updates from Submissive Guide’s sister site, Dominant Guide. For those of you who don’t know yet, Dominant Guide is the Submissive Guide for dominants. Like Submissive Guide, it’s a great site and is packed full of great articles. I’m sure you’re all sitting wherever, reading this from your laptop or smartphone, or other handy electronic device wondering what the heck is wrong with me. Nothing out of the ordinary, I promise. The reason why I get the email updates from Dominant Guide is yes, the articles are mainly geared towards those who tend to hold the other end of the leash that isn’t attached to our collars, but it never hurts for those of us with the leash attached to our collars to read about points of view from the other side. The lead contributor, Morgan, once again wrote something that really grabbed my attention and has rattled around inside my head since reading it. If you haven’t clicked the hyperlink above to read the article I’m talking about, I highly suggest you do.
Morgan’s article is talking about shame. Shame is one of those nasty and not fun feelings that each and every one of us has felt many times throughout our lives and will probably experience god only knows how many more times as we continue to live. Shame is also one of the many emotions that go hand in hand when living or participating in the lifestyle. I’m sure I’m getting a few strange looks, but let me explain. When I first knew I was interested in the lifestyle, I was feeling a lot of things. Nervousness, curiosity, excitement, and shame, to name a few. Even though I knew the lifestyle is what I had looked for, I still felt ashamed for wanting to be a part of it. I felt what I was doing was wrong. That I shouldn’t enjoy being called a filthy whore and being dragged around a room by my hair or being restrained to whatever random piece of furniture and spanked until my back side was black and blue. Despite enjoying all of this, not only enjoying, but feeling empowered and whole for the first time in my life, I still felt shame. The very things I was enjoying and made me feel alive, made me feel like I was doing something very wrong. Something that I knew if anyone else knew that I was doing, I’d be in a bit of a pickle, to put things mildly.
After getting involved with the local munch, I met so many wonderful people and couldn’t understand how they dealt with being in the lifestyle and not feeling ashamed and I should have asked, I could have asked, but I was too embarrassed to. I felt like I couldn’t admit to feeling this shame because it would make me weak, or a freak of nature or put some other stigma on me that I didn’t want to deal with. Why? Because I felt I was the only one who ever felt this way. I thought there was something wrong with me for feeling ashamed of wanting to be a slave and a masochist. So, I sat back, enjoyed the company, and carried on like I didn’t have a care in the world. Slowly but surely, the feeling of shame started eating away at me. Whenever I was being scened with, the thoughts that would go through my head was that I’m a bad person for wanting this and enjoying this and I deserve to hurt. Granted shame wasn’t the only factor that played into my mindset while scening, but it was a factor. People started to realize there was more going on with me than what I was willing to admit to. They tried to get me to admit what was going on, but I couldn’t. Embarrassment, shame, again, kept me from really enjoying myself and becoming the person I wanted to be.
I can’t exactly say when it happened or what happened to make me change my mind, but there was a point where I quit feeling shame for doing what I enjoy and what makes me happy. One of those difficult growing pains we all go through from time to time. In Morgan’s article, one thing she says that shame is something we learn, not something we’re born with, which is true. The things that we learn and internalize are things that are imprinted upon us by family, friends, society and it takes a lot of time to undo that imprinting. Just because certain things, especially activities in a BDSM relationship, are considered bad by society, doesn’t mean that they’re bad and that we’re bad people because we chose to do these things. One thing that helps heals these feelings of shame is being involved in a good community. I know now that if I had talked with the people from the munch about the shame and guilt I was feeling, I probably could have gotten over these issues sooner than what I had, but then again, I had to be ready to deal with these feelings. The same goes for anyone else. The things we do and the things we and enjoy don’t shape the kind of person we are and remember, you’re not alone! Also, check out this follow-up article by Morgan where she talks about how to deal with shame.