Thoughts On Imitation

Flattering, isn’t it?

I try to be the best I can be. I hope it’s not arrogant to say. I know I can always be better and try to learn from everything that happens how I can achieve that.

But what I try very hard not to do is copy anyone. I follow my own instinct. It’s my way of following the advice I had as a teenager about how to get a girl to like me:

Just be yourself,

I got lucky, because I was told the second half of that advice: “…because if you’re not yourself, it’s not you she likes.” In my life, by being myself and being honest about my desires, my instincts, I’ve attracted people who are attracted to someone like me.

Honestly adapting and taking on a change if you see something that you admire in someone else, something that you feel should be a part of who you are is to be applauded, of course. I made a change like that a few years ago and my life is better for it. I carry around far less anger now, but the change I made was only to work on something I wanted to do anyway, to take an existing characteristic and build it. But just changing how you present yourself, or what you claim about yourself is deceitful, unless you change the substance, too.

So when people tell me that someone has done something or said something that I’ve said or done, that they’re downright copying me (my avi for instance) I wonder who they’re trying to impress, and whether they really think the deception will be sustainable. I also realise they’re dooming themselves to misery, because they’re trying to attract people who’d prefer me to them, and not attracting people who’d prefer them to me, or someone else).

If your instinct is quite different from mine, then why try to masquerade as the same? You’ll only attract people who you’re not right for, and be constantly disappointed. When you and I talk to the same person and they realise who’s genuine and who’s a try-hard, there’s nothing to be gained by trying to say that you’re more like me than me, perhaps by suggesting that there’s a lesson in trust to be had – portraying me as the one that can’t be trusted – when it’s you that have shown consistently that you’re untrustworthy, that you’re engaged in a masquerade. You only dig your hole deeper.

Change your avi when I write a blog about branding, change it again later to one like mine, study my blog and pass off phrases from it as your own, try to pretend to be like me… After all, you’ve changed, right? Always changing. At least, that what you hope people will think.

Do it all, but sooner or later your instinct will come to the fore. Your deception will be obvious, the person you’re talking to will have a Necker Cube moment. Unless they’re very easily led, of course. But if they are, then you’ve no need to copy, you can just do your usual manipulation, can’t you? After all: You’ve changed (again, and again, and again…)

Seriously, if you keep having to tell people you’ve changed, had yet another epiphany, then you must know you keep messing up, know your behaviour and style aren’t working for you. Why not be true to your instinct and find people who it’ll work for? Or actually change.

Or maybe that’s too difficult. Maybe that’s a change too far.

Just be yourself, because if you’re not yourself, it’s not you she likes.

Unless, I suppose, you’re just deeply unlikeable and you know it.


© Charles Rochester 2016

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Thoughts On Behaviour

Very rarely you’ll meet someone you can trust. Unquestioningly, completely trust.

But every day you’ll meet people you can trust to be true to their nature. People just can’t help themselves. They have to be them. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If they’re fundamentally a good person, then you can rely on them to do good things. Few people consider what they do to be bad. But we all have a different idea of “the right thing” in a certain situation so it’s sometimes difficult to predict what a person will do.

But hang around long enough and you start to see that in similar situations, people repeat their old behavioural patterns. Think of your friends: How often does that girl pick the man you all know is wrong for her? How often does that man get bored with the girl that 6 weeks ago he was telling you was the love of his life?

People get stuck. Like a record. (for those under 33⅓ they were round black things that played glorious analogue music before music got seedy). You can recognise these behaviours in people you’ve known for a while, talk to your group of friends about it and either laugh, lament or worry as the same failed stories unfold in real time again and again.

But there’s hope. The patterns of behaviour repeat because the situations are the same and the people stuck in the same mindsets.

You can change the outcome, stop the repeating failures not by changing what you do, but by changing why you do it.

Changing what you do might help, but will be unsustainable if if it’s against your  character. Things will start to improve, and you get lulled into a glow of success, just in time to decide you can safely go back to your old ways, and old path to failure. Change how you do something and you’re still aimed at the same outcome, you’re just trying to get there by a slightly different route.

Changing the “why” fundamentally changes the “what” and the “how”.

By changing your intended destination, you have to rethink your route. And crucially rethink how you view success. So your behaviour patterns automatically change.

But it’s not easy, the unlearning of lifelong habits and social conditioning. It helps to have a navigator who understands you, understands what you need to achieve. Someone who will encourage the behaviour that will have a positive impact on you, be proud of your progress and your achievements. And discourage the bad old patterns that haven’t served you well in the past. And we’re back to that person you unquestioningly, completely trust.


© Charles Rochester 2016

Thoughts On Subspace From Above

Earlier this week I posted Thoughts On Subspace, a rather analytical view. Of course, I can’t write about the experience, the sensation of Subspace from firsthand. I’ve never experienced it, other than from my view of it from above…

But from above, watching my sub’s descent into subspace is utterly beautiful. Her growing vulnerability and dependence as she sinks deeper is something I’ve tried at times to describe in #InspiredByYou posts. The trust she places in me as she descends is total. It has to be, because the most obvious feature of her descent is her gradual and progressive loss of awareness and function as her mind focusses more and more on the immediate now.

It’s as if she’s carrying heavy burdens, but gives them up to me one by one, trusted to hold them, take them for her to relieve her of them, to allow her to grow closer to the pure essence of her, unencumbered by the world. As she gives up her strength and her burdens to me, the endorphins and serotonin focussing her more and more she gives up the less important things first, keeps hold of the more important functions; memory, breathing, consciousness, until last but even those are given up to me in the end.

Watching over her as she falls, as her breathing changes, as her worries fall away, her eyes flickering, glazing, her body and responses a puppet in my control; relaxing, coming, yielding as I choose.

Knowing her as well as I do, being together as long as we have, and being trusted so completely, I’ve been able to associate certain things with the descent into subspace, meaning I can use them as keys, shortcuts her body and mind recognise to open the door, allowing her to fall swiftly to my care, triggering a rapid descent into her space.

The ultimate of subspace is for a sub to lose everything, leaving just her instinct. To be a creature of the moment, no memory of a life before, no thought of a time after. Just sub and her Dom, her sensation and need to please him. And for her to give me all her burdens, to forget her worries, to place herself in my hands, losing her memory, her ability to speak, to count, forgetting even her name leaves her in that state, with only her desire to please me, the whole world being just us.

Once she’s deep in, that memory works both ways and she’ll not be making memories of what’s happening, time will pass without her noticing. This is why her trust and my understanding of her needs and limits is so important.

What could be more pleasing to a Dom than to have his sub give herself so absolutely? To be given all these burdens to bear for his sub, to placed in the position of caring for her, protecting her, accepting the gift of her mind, body and self in this complete way, to be trusted to give and take pleasure from her as I see fit while she’s so vulnerable, to regulate all her sensations to maintain, deepen subspace, to care for her mind, body, emotions as she returns and for the time after is deeply fulfilling. In those moments, it’s impossible not to be drawn into her space, to share to some small degree the bliss I see on her face. My own endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin kicking in to a far greater extent than they do for a simple orgasm. The experience of guiding her, holding her, providing her with what she needs in that time is for me the ultimate not only in sexual gratification but in emotional fulfilment.

I’m very lucky to be so trusted by my sub, and to understand her so well that we can maintain very deep levels of submission for quite some time. I truly find it the most beautiful and intimate experience.

It has the effect of drawing me in. Opening the door to a ‘Domspace’.


© Charles Rochester 2016

Thoughts On Insomnia

What is it, brain? What is it that you’re ruminating over? You think I’ve missed something, something I’ll notice if you just keep playing random shit over and over?

How far back are you going? A day? A month? No can’t be a month, can’t be further back since the last time you pulled this crap.

What is it? What have I forgotten to do, to what snippet of information haven’t I afforded the appropriate relevance? What pattern have I not recognised?

None, that’s what. I pay too close attention to the things that are important. And if it’s not from one of those, then it doesn’t matter, does it?

Fuck off, brain. Or I’ll drown you in whisky. Oh. That’s it, isn’t it. You want a drink…


© Charles Rochester 2016

Thoughts On Subspace

For me, seeing The Girl in subspace is one of the most beautiful and fulfilling experiences I have.

Taking my sub there, ensuring she gets the best from it is both a responsibility and a joy. The better I can make it for her, the better it is for me. The better I understand it, the better I can make it.

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This is one of the areas that my professional knowledge helps me. Knowing the physiological responses I’m inducing enables me to control them, heighten them, or regulate them. Taking the time to know my sub and her responses so well has enabled me to hasten or slow her descent into subspace, to keep her there, or allow her to return from it. Even so, I’m pleased to say there are still surprises, much to learn.

So, what is happening? Bear with me…

Endorphins:

There you are, a beautiful gazelle living on the savanna. Wandering around, minding your own business when all of a sudden you feel the heavy thump of a predator’s paw on your rump, and it hurts. Has your flesh been torn off, your leg broken? It doesn’t matter, one of two things are going to happen in the next few minutes: You’re going to run away, or you’re going to get eaten. What you need right now is a hormone in your system that can raise your pain threshold for those few minutes. It’ll either help you ignore the pain while you run. Or ignore the pain while you get eaten.

Adrenalin:

That’ll help, too, rushing into the parts of your body you need to use right now, helping you to run, focussing your little gazelle mind in the task at hand.

You can see quite quickly how these two hormones provided a survival advantage, why they evolved.

Before the descent into subspace a sub has a latent loading of adrenalin, manifesting as arousal. During play, primarily impact play, a Dom can induce the release of endorphins.

The endorphins raise her pain threshold, so to maintain subspace firmer impacts are needed. Rush in too quickly, though, and the endorphin dump wil be too large, mistakes too jarring and subspace lost and subdrop deeper.

Deepening subspace gradually, controlling the releases of endorphins, means a sub can become tightly focussed, her world becoming only the immediate, the present. Her Dom.

But a sub isn’t a gazelle, she has a complex brain, a mind, a sentience that the gazelle doesn’t have. This is where two other hormones come into play. Because our brains are much more complex than a gazelle’s, endorphins trigger the release of oxytocin and serotonin. A sub will feel a euphoria from the seratonin, accompanied by a desire triggered by the oxytocin not to run but to give herself.

The balance between the hormones leads to an ever increasing focus on the “now” as the brain tries to retain consciousness, using all its available function in that task.

Properly managed with a close attention to her responses, a Dom can induce a primal level of awareness without conscious thought, other altered states of consciousness or take consciousness away altogether. He can recover her, or keep her in subspace for sustained periods. And it’s beautiful.

It’s this cocktail of hormones that cause the ‘in the moment’ focus of subspace, the intense euphoria, the deep trust. But also the memory loss, and it’s the depletion of these hormones, particularly serotonin that causes subdrop while the body builds up the levels again.

Managed with practice during play, subdrop can be minimised (though not eliminated) by ensuring a measured and consistent release, by not overstepping pain thresholds, but following them, by ensuring not all her serotonin is depleted, and by drawing her out of subspace gently, tenderly.

During play saying something or acting in a way that jars against a sub’s instinct, will cause her to flip into flight instead of relinquishing herself. The descent to subspace lost, the conflict between euphoria, trust, the need to submit and the sudden immediate realisation that something is wrong, causes a worsening of the conditions that will lead to subdrop, exaggerated again by the knowledge that she was yielding when she shouldn’t have been. This is harmful to a sub. Rarely do I say it, but if a Dom has made a sub feel that way, she should give him a wide berth from then on.

Because even if he then says the right things for a while, this hypnotic subspace can open subs to abuse from predators, who’ve learned just enough about them to convince them they’re safe. But if the instincts don’t match, if a Dom has made a sub feel unsafe once, a sub will never feel safe enough to yield as she needs. That knowledge will mean her complex non-gazelle brain will always retain enough awareness to be able to run away, instead of relinquish.

And if she’s doing that, she can’t drop out properly. And it’s when she’s dropped out that the psychological aspects kick in, and the true depth of trust and beauty seep into me too.

After this rather analytical Subspace post, I’ll follow up later in the week with another, more expressive post…


© Charles Rochester 2016

Thoughts On “Good”

What means someone’s being “Good”?

As is true for many in D/s, telling The Girl she’s a Good Girl, is very important to me. But what is that? What constitutes “being good”? And how does it relate to being a “Bad Girl”?

I know many subs would play at being a bad girl, or be treated by her Dom as if she’s been a bad girl for play. Role playing at being a Bad Girl for her Dom’s enjoyment, or role playing the receipt of punishment for her enjoyment, is in itself being good. But a sub should never be honestly treated by her Dom as if she’s been a Bad Girl if she hasn’t, because those lines shouldn’t be blurred. If she’s been Good she shouldn’t be punished, or you’re positively encouraging her not to be good. Of course, what constitutes punishment and reward differs depending on where you sit on the BDSM spectrum, as does the language you use to frame your behaviour.

But what does “Bad” and “Good” mean, then?

I’ve said before (very proudly, I might add) that The Girl has never done anything that I’ve had to discipline her for. (Yes, she did her taxes on time. Phew!) Bad leads to Discipline. For me it’s far easier to define Bad than Good. “Bad” would be something that isn’t true to herself, is done with hurtful intent, weakens the bond between us, or is against her best interests.

It doesn’t follow that everything “UnBad” is “Good”. There’s all those things she might do that lead to correction, for example. These things aren’t “Bad”, she and I are not harmed by them, they are rules we have that are part of an ongoing game that resets every time she receives the correction she’s earned. In part, they exist to facilitate that correction, to give a pretext to her submitting to my Dominance and the entitlement to correct her that she gives me as part of her submission.

But when is she a “Good Girl”?

There’s so many ways she’s a Good Girl. I’m going to stick to generalities, though…

Everything that leads me to tell her she’s a good girl is linked in some way to her submission to me. Either submitting physically, her training, her enabling me to care for her, her obediently following an instruction, or doing something without instruction because she knows it’ll please me.

Importantly, after she’s accepted correction (or discipline, had that ever been necessary), she’s a Good Girl. Whatever has happened before, the slate is wiped clean. Anything I haven’t attended to is my responsibility. Nothing can be brought up later, nothing can be left unaddressed, nothing can be left in the freezer. In this way she always knows where she stands, need never worry that I’ll drag something up at a later date.

Like the things that earn correction, without the specifics of “us”, many of the “Good” might seem trivial to others. But once the context is added, once the intent is understood, they become important. They bring us closer; by deepening her submission, by strengthening the rituals and understanding of needs that have evolved between us, and by ensuring that I can take care of her. Crucially, we both gain fulfilment from them: It means I can tell her she’s a “Good Girl” something that makes my day, and means she knows she’s pleased me, which makes hers.

Just as there’s a “Bad” that fills a different place – a “lower” place – than correction, there’s a level of “Good” that exceeds our existing context and inhabits a higher plain. Far less rare than the never-happened-Discipline, these are her achievements beyond the completion of tasks, they earn more tangible rewards, just as the “Bad” would earn tangible Discipline (if it ever happened). These are the things that make me burst with pride (like last Saturday). Achievements in her life, completion of training, or overcoming a boundary of trepidation to please me, for instance.

She knows that the greater the achievement, the more pride I feel and the more pleased I am. I know that would be reward enough for her. But these things earn rewards beyond my praise. Not because she needs them or asks for them, but because I need to show her.


© Charles Rochester 2016

Thoughts On Triggers

We all have them.

Triggers are an irrational over-reaction in the present to a trivial reminder of something in the past. A reminder that holds an echo of a dramatic or painful event, or a fear. Triggers aren’t rational, even if their origin is known and understood. Importantly, they can be good or bad.

Two or three years ago I was walking along an unfamiliar high street and, on catching the rare and distinctive whiff of a paraffin heater’s exhaust, was overwhelmingly taken back to my Grandparents’ kitchen in the 70s and 80s. The last place I smelled that smell and that I associate with wonderful childhood memories.

Triggers can be anything; a word, a song, an aroma, an object or an event. An old liaison of mine had a clear trigger of Hugo Boss aftershave. If someone walked past wearing it she’d be a quivering mess for a few hours (and obviously not in a good way). While most of us would be repulsed by Hugo Boss aftershave just as a matter of course, this was a deep emotional distress caused by an event in her past. There was nothing to do but to let her work through it, even when it meant she had to sit as far away as the room would allow until she could come to me, knowing I was there, caring, waiting for when she was ready.

The first time it happened around me I knew what the historic event was, but had no idea about the aroma trigger, or was even aware that she had been triggered to the event I knew about. It was alarming, I was being shut out, I didn’t know why, I felt blamed, I felt I’d done something wrong. It was hours before she could tell me what had happened.

The important thing to remember when someone you care about is triggered is that the nature of triggers are that they aren’t about what’s happening now. They’re not about what you did. Just that something now holds a mirror up to something in the past and triggers the feelings you have about that. There’s no blame or malice attached.

But triggers happen and it’ll seem that way. When they happen, we need to be supportive of each other. Triggers can come between people through a lack of understanding. But they aren’t things that should get between you, they’re things you understand about each other and support each other over. Crucially they can be subverted, turned on their head and used as opportunities to draw closer.

You talk normally. You reassure, even though you both know there’s nothing in the present that needs reassurance. You make it a joint experience, and in doing so you show you’re the safe place, the place where the trigger can’t hurt them.

We need to be sympathetic, supportive, that’s all. Give what needs to be given. You’ll get back far more.


© Charles Rochester 2016