I’ve taken apart chunks of my past lately. Examined them. Improved on the things I could, put aside the things I wasn’t ready to deal with, got rid of much of the baggage that I was carrying that made no sense anymore to carry. It’s been good, productive, helpful. There’s been an amazing network of people assisting along the way.

But now that I’ve done that, there’s an hollowness inside me. I’ve been kinking for 20 years. A dear friend recently wrote that they think they need to rethink the way they kink. I’m not far behind. How I kink now, and how I want to kink now is different from how I used to kink.

For one, when I first got started, I had a committed relationship and D type, all in one. We experimented with EVERYTHING. Some worked, some didn’t. Some thing I was into and didn’t have words for yet (cuckqueanery) and some things were too extreme to play with right away and we went about it too quickly and with not nearly enough conversation. (Inquire within. Not something I want to write about yet.)

There have been a lot of stops and starts since that first relationship began. I’ve been collared twice. I’ve been a long term Dominant. I’ve discovered I prefer far more extreme types of play than I ever expected.

Was never into needles…until I was.

Fire play intrigued the hell out of me but I had never met anyone that I trusted enough to set me on fire…until I did.

At one point, a few years ago, I thought I would never submit again. That I wasn’t good enough, that no one would ever want my submission…until someone did.

Currently, I’m in a severely liminal place. The most recent two major relationships in my life have both transitioned to something else in the last few months. One was a kink dynamic and the closest I’ve come to finding what I was looking for in that regard. The other (which isn’t kink oriented) has only beginning to transition. I left a job I adored (and finally felt good at) six months ago because I could no longer work in a toxic environment and got a new job that’s kinda like a corporate version of my last job, only without the communities I love and am part of.  I’m have to move, which means packing (and not the fun kind, which I miss).

Like, seriously. Life is severely liminal right now…and I’m having a really hard time with it. I’ve gotten the “Strength” card in my daily tarot pull multiple times and that’s great and all…but I’m tired. And hollow. I can feel my body screaming for kink. More specifically, for pain. I don’t mind the lack of sex because I’m a gray ace. But the lack of kink in my life is hurting hard (again, in the not fun way).

Some things are changing so fast I have to combat emotional whiplash. I’m feeling foggy, fighting depression, and not sure what the hell life will look like next year, which scares the fuck out of me. Part of me keeps yelling at myself that I shouldn’t be focusing on kink right now with everything changing. And I know enough to know not to look for new Relationships or long term dynamics, but when I say I’m screaming for kink, for pain…it’s felt at various times a little ridiculous how sharp it felt…until last week, when my best friend sent me this post called “load-bearing” from the Tumblr The Unit of Caring.

It’s useful to think of these things as load-bearing. They’re not just nice – they’re part of your mental architecture, they’re part of what you’re using to thrive. And when they change, life can abruptly get much harder or sometimes just collapse on you entirely. And this is usually unexpected, because it’s hard to notice which parts of your environment and routine are load bearing. I often only notice in hindsight. “Oh,” I say to myself after months of fatigue, “having my own private space was load-bearing.” “Oh,” after a scary drop in weight, “being able to keep nutrition shakes next to my bed and drink them in bed was load-bearing.” “Oh,” after a sudden struggle to maintain my work productivity, “a quiet corner with my back to the wall was load-bearing.”

Oh. Well, then. So perhaps kink is load-bearing for me.

When I was getting kink on a fairly regular basis, there was pain to help get me to that transient hypofrontality place of the deep now. There was service and pain to focus my brain, direct my body, connect me to myself and the person/people I was serving/bottoming to/submitting to. But, it’s more than that.

It was hard to figure out, but I realized through a scene I had once that kink pain and service makes me feel more me. Like, when my back is full of bruises or when my legs ache from kneeling, when I’m dancing through a rose flogging, or when I’m serving people or communities I care about, those times are times I feel most at home in my body.

Considering all that, this last paragraph from the “load-bearing” post makes a whole lotta sense:

When you know what’s important to you, you can fight for it, or at least be equipped to notice right away if it goes and some of your ability to thrive goes with it. When you don’t, or when you’re thinking of all these things as ‘nice things about my life’ rather than ‘load-bearing bits of my flourishing as a person’, you’re not likely to notice the strain created when they vanish until you’re really, really hurting.

What sucks is I didn’t have these words, this understanding until last week. And it does help to know now, but the hollow hurt is here, has been here, and I’m feeling a little frantic trying to find it play to help quell it. I’ve had tunnel vision in a few regards.

On the plus side, I am slowly setting up play dates with friends, which is awesome. I know I’m a Relationship Anarchist and have realized I have less interest in vanilla dating as much as I have in spending time with friends, being creative, and kinking whenever possible. And while it may feel sometimes like kink will never come back, that this load-bearing beam of strength and light in my life is gone forever, I also know enough to know that it’s felt that way before…until it doesn’t again.

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