Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Harsh Reality of Glee! or Better Personal Processing Through Television

There has been a very important storyline on Glee for the past several episodes. Coach Shannon Bieste, a very large and physically imposing woman who's also a complete softie at heart, is married to Cooter Menkins, an OSU football recruiter. 

On the May 1st episode it became known that Cooter has a temper, and that he hit Coach Bieste. It started as a joke that several of the girls made when they saw the coach with a black eye - because who would ever hit her?! But that's exactly what DID happen, and after spending the episode denying the truth, she finally admitted it to the girls, at which point they serenaded her with the most moving rendition of Florence and the Machine's Shake It Out that I've yet heard.

Here is where I really need to applaud the writers. True to life, and true to my own experience, Coach Bieste did not immediately leave her husband. Wouldn't that be tidy? We could wrap it all up in one nice little message: If someone hits you, you leave them immediately, and wow, isn't that easy? 

No, it's NOT easy, and it wouldn't have been realistic either. While I'm sure that there are people out there who have left after the first verbal or physical attack, I highly suspect that those of us who try, try again are in the significant majority.

Those of "us," you ask? Yes, Us. Just like Coach Bieste, I don't look like a woman who would allow myself to experience partner abuse, particularly more than once. Most people who meet me see me as strong, capable, self-aware, and confident. How could such a person stay in an abusive situation?

For Coach Bieste, it was her fear that she'd never find another person who'd love her. It was only when she heard her own fears in the voice of one of her students that she realized she wasn't alone, they weren't true, and that she finally took action. Watch the May 15th episode to see her transformation. She and Puck do a cover of Taylor Swift's Mean, and I have to say, I think their voices are lovely together.

For me, it was the fear of ending up alone; and not knowing how to set and honor my own boundaries, and not believing that I deserved to have entirely inflexible boundaries at all; and a false belief that leaving him would have been Quitting, and that I was not allowed to quit until I had given every single thing and every ounce of energy that I could possibly give, because "I am not a quitter."

Accordingly, when I finally left - and it was one of those dramatic 'shoving clothes into a bag and running out the door to a friend's waiting car crying and sobbing and scared for my life' events that I thought would never happen to Me - it was the end of giving everything I have just because I have it to give. Some people don't deserve everything I can give. Or, if they do in the beginning, they lose it the moment they hit me or call me nasty names during a disagreement. Them thar's my boundaries, son, and that shit just don't fly with me anymore.

When I left, it was the death knell for "I'm afraid to end up alone." I'd rather live the rest of my life alone than scared for it, or bruised and in pain, or suffering the beginnings of PTSD, or walking on eggshells because I never know when he's gonna start yelling at me next.

Now, you've got to be aware... if they were like that ALL the time, we'd never have gotten involved with them in the first place! They are often very sweet, loving, passionate people, if damaged, and it occurs to Us that it's for that loving side of them that we stay. But it's also for our own damage that we stay, because no fully self-respecting, self-loving, and self-honoring person would allow that kind of abuse (unless it has been explicitly negotiated and serves some other purpose, as in a BDSM context).

So it is that I am extremely proud to be a fan of Glee, and that I applaud their writers for portraying the challenging truths about partner abuse. By taking the honest road, they have allowed me to see myself in Coach Bieste's struggle, and I have cried for who I was and what I went through. Instead of portraying Shannon's husband as a villain, they showed him as a man under stress, repentant for his actions, with a quick trigger toward violence. I think that was the right choice. Making him a "bad man" would have been too easy. 

Besides, it's never really about the other person anyway. It's about your own ability and willingness to stand up and say, "I deserve better, and I will have it NOW."

To all of you who have experienced partner abuse and left, I applaud your courage. For those of you still in abusive situations:

You are not alone, and you deserve better.

Copyright 2012, M. Makael Newby, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

E-Dating Don'ts - #2 Don't be a pest.

Do NOT keep contacting someone every day after they've told you they'll get back to you soon.

He contacts me at 9 AM on Wednesday, but his profile is incomplete and I tell him so. He apologizes, finishes his profile and messages me again, and again, and again, finally asking if I've run away after reading it.
My response:
"No, I've been extremely busy living my life! I probably won't see your profile until Saturday. Have a wonderful end to the work week!"

He apologizes for being a pest, but he's just so excited and hopes I'll get back to him soon.

On Thursday, he messages me again, and again, and again. Ever single time I receive his message, I am reminded of something that I still have to do in the future, and it takes my focus away from whatever I'm currently doing in the present.

My final response: 
"I told you I'm busy. I told you I'd get to your profile ON SATURDAY and get back to you. Today is FRIDAY. Every single time you send me yet another message, even a small one, you are showing me that you DIDN'T LISTEN, and that you can't respect boundaries. You're doing the adult male version of, "Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom! Mom!! Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

Accordingly, thanks for helping me come to a decision about my interest in you. Thank you, and no, I'm not interested. Have a lovely weekend and good luck finding exactly what you seek on OKC!"

NOW - I have to apologize to the offending suitor. It may not be that he doesn't respect boundaries, only that he's overly enthusiastic, and not exercising the requisite self-control to keep it in check. My mistake. I'm totally sticking by Didn't Listen, however.

DO listen to the other person's response, and honor their timeline.

If someone says that they're busy and will get to your message on Saturday, do not message them again until Sunday.

If they say that they'll get back to you "soon," or using some other term that has no specific definition as a time period, wait at least one week before checking in again.

If you have checked in after a week, and you do not get a response, leave them alone. If they are interested, they will contact you. In the world of E-Dating, you are not entitled to closure.

Persistence is checking in every 2-4 weeks. Multiple emails to a total stranger each day is Being a Pest.

Copyright, M. Makael Newby, 2012 - All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 18, 2012

E-Dating Don'ts - #1 Don't be blank.

Do NOT contact someone when your profile is blank.

Really? What am I supposed to glean from a blank profile that's going to make me want to talk with you?

"Ooooh, a blank profile. Finally, a complete mystery!" NOT.

DO put quality content into your profile. 

Tell me a bit about who you are, and what you're seeking from this site. Remember, I'll be reading your profile looking for the following:

Do we want similar things?
Can he provide what I want?
Am I a fit for what he's seeking?
Is this someone I'd enjoy talking to if we ever met?

If your profile is blank, or populated with one-liners (EX: Self-Summary I'm a nice guy looking for love. What I'm Really Good At Cooking.), you aren't giving me enough information to determine the answers to the aforementioned questions.

If I've got a ton of free time on my hands, and I'm on the site just to meet as many people as I can, I may choose to meet you anyway! If, on the other hand, I'm serious about finding a partner with whom I can create a deeply fulfilling relationship, you are wasting my time.

One liners tell me that you aren't really serious. You're just poking around on this site. Which is fine! And, it may not get the results you want. Your profile doesn't have to be a masterpiece (like mine, *cough cough*), but it does need to tell me enough to spark some interest, enough for me to be curious to discover more.

So set aside an hour and put some energy into your profile. The results you get will likely be consistent with what you put into it.

Copyright, M. Makael Newby, 2012 - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Appeal of (Self-)Control

Yes, yes, it's well known that I'm a service submissive. I hate to say no, I love to please, and I enjoy giving the control to my partner both in bed and out of it. However, that doesn't mean that you can simply walk up, say hello, and pin my hands behind my back! I don't know you – we just met! Before I'm a sub, I'm a grown woman, and I need to be Wooed before I can be Taken.

You couldn't help yourself, you say? Well, that's about the perfect approach to make me end this quickly, and here's why... What happened to your Self-Control?

Stealing a kiss may seem a little thing, but stealing three, or five, particularly in the face of my resistance and discomfort, sets a precedent and a pattern. Similarly, your lack of self-control raises the following questions:

How can you control me if you can't control yourself?
Power exchange is a complex undertaking. True, first and foremost, as a sub it's my responsibility to control myself in your service. That said, you still need to be the one running the show, plotting the course, and guiding the action. If you can't control your own impulses in the most basic of circumstances, how can I expect you to succeed with the added responsibility implicit in a scene?

How can I trust you to honor my boundaries in the future if you can't honor them now?
You kiss me, I lean back slightly. You lean in further, grab me and pull me closer. I squeal and lean away again, and say, "I need more time. I need you to go more slowly." If, soon thereafter, you grab me and forcefully pull me close again and plant another passionate kiss on me, we've got a problem! 

I do not want to say no to you, but my boundaries are my responsibility. If I speak them and you roll over them, you have just become UNSAFE. What happens when a boundary shows up while I'm tied to the bed... will you roll over that one as well? 

Not speaking my boundaries is on me. Once I speak them, it's on you. If you then do not give me the space I've requested, I WILL start pushing back, and pushing you away. If you don't want that, get a grip on the larger picture and back the fuck off.

How can I trust you to be the one in charge, if all it takes is a blink of my eyelashes or a flash of skin for you to give in?
If you are so enraptured by my beauty that you simply can't resist me, you have just given ME the power, and I don't want it! 

Be the man in this relationship - be stronger and more clever than me. Don't let yourself be manipulated by my beauty and charm. There is something extremely sexy in a man who can resist me, who can say, "Yes, I see that you are lovely, and I desire you, and I'd love to touch you right now. And, I am willing to sit right here until you come to ME to be touched." Now THAT's control.

So when I tell you that I need more space, step back and give it to me. Want what you want, but do not think that you can simply step in and take it. It MUST be freely given. Taking what you want right now is the booby prize, and will ultimately cost you the game. Show me that you are strong enough to resist me, that you are in control of your desires instead of the other way around, that you have enough insight and vision to see beyond an urge to what's possible, and the wisdom to allow it to mature. 

The vine of a fledgling relationship will not grow faster because you yank at it... tugging only disturbs and weakens the roots. Nurturing the foundation, with safety, honor, respect and integrity, will allow for succulent fruit and the delicious taste of success and fulfillment. 

Believe me, I'm worth your patience.

Copyright, 2012 - M. Makael Newby - All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Vanilla Adventure

I only came to think of him as Vanilla after he started proudly chanting, "You like a Vanilla!" Before then he was just the guy I was dating, one with curiosity and some good instincts, if no previous D/s experience. And then he started calling me "Kitten," and it was all downhill from there.

"Downhill" in that I fell for him, fairly hard. "Fairly" in that I only got to see him every other week, due to his co-parenting responsibilities, that we knew we were coming to this relationship from disparate backgrounds (Him: old-fashioned Southern gentleman married for 19 years; Me: alternative sexuality educator, recently divorced after a short marriage), and that there was always a question of whether or not we'd find "enough" common ground.

Nonetheless, we're both what he calls "love bombs" - complete lovers and givers - and we co-created a feedback loop of sensual, loving touch, fully-expressed and adventurous sex, curiosity, open communication, and spoiling one another that transformed my experience of how a relationship could be. He gave me the chance to Allow myself to be spoiled by another, and to give completely to someone safe, and that is a gift. I hope he hasn't spoiled me TOO much. :)

You see, I expanded his horizons so much that when he recently visited his ex-GF, for the first time since we'd met, and told her all about us and our adventures, she at first recoiled. Then, she thought it was hot, and they ended up in bed together. (Which, on it's own, is so not a problem for me, though I'd have wished to know about that possibility in advance.) And now, rather than exploring his D/s potential with Me, he's going to investigate what's possible with Her. *sigh*

Now, to be fair, this happened on the very same day that I told him that I need to also date explicitly Dominant men to discover how much D/s I need. We were both sad, uncertain of whether or not his traditional mind could handle me romantically dating other men. Two hours later, however, he'd made his peace – so much so that he took me in front of the living room picture window in the most D/s sexual act we'd ever performed together! I was thrilled, and tingling for the rest of the day. I had renewed hope, and was VERY excited to continue our D/s experimentation together.

Alas, it seems that he'll be taking that experimentation elsewhere - not because HE wishes to stop seeing me, but because SHE cannot handle him seeing us both. They're wondering if the kind of openness and experimentation that I brought to his life is part of what was lacking between them before. He has to find out or he'll always wonder.

Here's the funny...

He now (finally) understands how someone could be poly.
If it hadn't been for me, he wouldn't be back together with her.

Accordingly, I'm sad. I love the man, and for the foreseeable future, I will miss not only his kisses and the addictive way that he touched me, but his laughter, his humor, his genuine caring, his insight and self-awareness, his generosity of spirit, and so much more.

AND, I'm very fulfilled in my mission. I got to BE an extraordinary, loving partner, and I got thoroughly loved and spoiled in return. Yay! I found (and encouraged) a lost dominant lamb, and led him back to the herd. He's just chosen another shepherdess, I suppose, and I thoroughly support his choice to follow his heart, even if that leads him away from me.

We both have investigation to do - apparently we'll be doing it separately. Losing "us" has created a big open space in my world. I choose to trust that the Universe has something even better on deck.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Risk of Being Female

The Risk of Being Female

It’s a very different experience to be a man than a woman. As obvious as that sounds, I wonder that we don’t usually take the time to distinguish just how true that is.

For example, let’s talk about Risk and Fear.

During one of the courses I’ve been taking, the point was made that women, as the generally physically smaller and weaker gender, feel fear more often than men. “Really?” I thought, “I’m not sure about that.” And then the point was driven home.

While visiting Oakland in early January, I stayed at a marina. The bathhouse, about 50 feet from the gated dock, required keycard access, which I had. Early one morning, I crept off the boat and took myself to the bathhouse to freshen up. As the dock gate locked behind me, a semi-shabby man approached me. I immediately noticed that we were alone on the boardwalk.

“Got a light?” he asked.

“No, sorry,” I said, “I don’t smoke.”

“Ah,” he said, as I continued toward the bathhouse.

“You’re very pretty,” he said.

“Thank you,” I replied.

“You got a boyfriend?” he asked, now starting to follow me toward my destination.

“Yes, I do,” I lied, smiling through my increasing discomfort.

“You engaged?” he asked, getting closer as I ran my key card to unlock the door to the ladies room.

“Yep! Sorry!” I said, slipping hurriedly into the restroom and pressing the door shut behind me, now officially upset.

“That was disturbing,” I thought, shaking off my jangled nerves.

I was brushing my teeth a minute later when the doorknob rattled and the door shook in its frame.

Now… Here is the thought process I went through…

  1. Is the door locked fully? Yes.
  2. Can I count on anyone coming to save me? No, it’s very early in the morning, and my friend is still asleep.
  3. Do I have my phone? No. SHIT!
  4. Do I have a weapon? No, just the key to the gate.
  5. Is there anything else here that I can use as a weapon? No.
  6. Is there any other way out of this room? No, just the door.
  7. Can I see outside? No, the ventilation grate in the bottom of the door provides no view and the windows are too high.
  8. Can I climb up to the windows? No, so they’re also not an exit.
  9. What if he’s still outside? Then I’ll fight if I need to. I’ll start by screaming loudly and often.
  10. Should I open the door slowly or quickly? If I open it slowly and he’s right by the door, he could grab me and push me into this room. If I open it quickly and bust a move at least I’ll be a harder target to catch. I just risk looking silly to anyone else nearby.
  11. Do I care about looking silly? Yes, but I care more about not being raped.
  12. Am I ready to do this? If I have to… GO!

I slammed open the door and ran out of the bathhouse. The boardwalk was empty. I did a 360-degree visual scan of the area, confirming that I was alone. I then walked to the gate and let myself back onto the dock, heart pounding, body flooded with adrenaline.

HOW MANY OF YOU MEN THINK THIS IS CRAZY? If it had been you, would you have gone through that same process? Would you have even given it a moment’s notice?

HOW MANY OF YOU WOMEN CAN COMPLETELY RELATE TO MY RESPONSE? And how often are you hyper-aware of your environment and any possible threats to your safety?

Now that I tell the truth to myself, every time I walk my dogs, I am aware of any person who approaches me, particularly if it’s a man.

Are they a threat?

Should I make eye contact or not?

Are they bigger than me?

What’s their body posture and what does it say about their state of mind?

Please note that I have never been attacked by a stranger! Consider that this may simply be the way of the feminine mind. We are, for all extents and purposes, the (physically) weaker sex.

What can be done about this? Can I turn off my potential-predator reflex? Probably not, nor am I sure that I’d want to. It’s not keeping me from fully engaging in my life, and it could actually save me one day. Perhaps it already has.

What I CAN do, is increase my confidence in my ability to defend myself should the need occur. Krav Maga, here I come!

All Rights Reserved, M. Makael Newby, 2012


My good friend, Erik Oberholtzer, co-developed and teaches the Tieryk Method, a self-defense technique designed for women who simply do not have the time to keep up with defensive systems that need to be constantly practiced in order to be effective. (Such as most martial arts.)

This one-day class covers Situational Awareness – how to relate to your environment and hopefully avoid an attack, Technique ­– how to defend yourself when you have to, and Legality – what to say and do after an incident to avoid legal counter-ramifications. I have absolute faith in Erik and highly recommend that you consider taking this course!

“Erik and Ty offered me a technique to handle aggressors, but more importantly, how to feel and be powerful, avoiding danger before it ever presents.” – Amy Fields

The next class will be held in NW Portland on Sunday, March 11th from 12-5 PM. Please see contact for additional information, and invest in your confidence as well as your safety. (I’ll see you there!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Chivalry & Service in the "Modern" Era

I recently read an inquiry regarding the view of Chivalry within the LGBTQ community. I, of course, am unable to reply on behalf of that community, given that I identify only as bi-sensual and spend much of my time with generally straight-leaning kinksters. Nonetheless, I found the inquiry irresistible! And BEHOLD... my response.

I'll start from a clear definition of Chivalry:

1. the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms.
2. the rules and customs of medieval knighthood.
3. the medieval system or institution of knighthood.
4. a group of knights.
5. gallant warriors or gentlemen: fair ladies and noble chivalry.
6. Archaic . a chivalrous act; gallant deed.

Which leads me to Chivalrous, which is, I believe, the heart of what you're describing:

1. having the qualities of chivalry, as courage, courtesy, and loyalty.
2. considerate and courteous to women; gallant.
3. gracious and honorable toward an enemy, especially a defeated one, and toward the weak or poor.

Now, everything I say from herein is my opinion, based on my experience and education, and largely an open inquiry given that I KNOW I don't have the final answers. So here I go, and I'm a bit of a writer, so please forgive the length of this response...

Consider that a desire to be chivalrous may have less to do with one's biological gender or sexual orientation and more with the level of masculine or feminine energy (or association). Given that we each have both within us, how might the following apply to the LGBTQ community? If the masculine has evolved to protect and provide for the feminine, might chivalry be a naturally masculine act? Might it be naturally feminine to receive? Masculine and feminine are, again, energies that we each flow between in this context, having nothing to do with one's sexual biology or orientation.

Consider then that feminism has done a disservice to many of us. (That's right, I said it.) In the fight to make available to women more options in the workplace and rights in the world, the option of remaining OUT of the workplace got devalued. Accordingly, I was raised that I should be strong, capable, and independent, and not NEED anyone to do anything for me. Make my own money, pay my own way, buy my own house... basically do it all myself. Which lead to stepping into the role of protector and provider and dwelling in my masculine energy most of the time.

I'm good at providing for others, because I'm also very service oriented (and I'll come back to Service shortly), and it is exhausting for me to constantly provide for myself. It's all providing with no receiving - YUCK! It has only been in the last year that I've begun to allow myself to want want I want, which is to dwell in my feminine as often as possible. And when I do allow the masculine to protect and provide for me, and I receive it graciously, my life gets much easier!

IMHO, there can be a two-way exchange in the providing of chivalry. The returning side is called Appreciation. It has also been referred to in this thread as graciousness. I understand that it may not be expected by the chivalrous provider, and you cannot deny that it feels good. Here's the challenge for the "modern" individual (raised in the feminist era)...

If we return to the definition of Chivalrous, you'll see "gracious and honorable toward an enemy, especially a defeated one, and toward the weak or poor." Accordingly, an individual raised in the mindset of "I shouldn't need anything from anyone" may perceive a chivalrous act as an implication that they are defeated, weak, or poor, thus requiring defensiveness and posturing to prove otherwise. Sigh - there's little room for gratitude when defending.

I believe there is a crossover between Chivalry and Service. Since the definition of Service comes down to "providing a helpful act," certain chivalrous acts could also be viewed or performed as acts of service, such as opening doors for people, taking a lady's/gentleman's coat, helping someone carry something. Perhaps it depends on intention...?

For ME, Service is something I provide, Chivalry something I receive. The idea of receiving service makes me balk, it turns my world upside-down in a disturbing way, and when I think of Being Chivalrous it feels like stepping into my masculine energy (which for me is being manly). I can perform the same function from my feminine energy by Being of Service. Hmmm, interesting!

How do you relate to Chivalry and Service?

M. Makael Newby, 2011 - All Rights Reserved -