January/February 2001
Picture Hereby Miss Ayme

I liken it to being taught to row a boat upstream, against the current - because that's just the way it was done and everyone else did it that way. Then one day I got fed up with expending all that energy, getting nowhere, and decided to stop rowing and let the boat turn around of its own accord. It was a joy to discover I could now coast downstream, getting farther than I ever had before, and using my energy to steer instead of for propulsion. It was an epiphany: discovering the truth of my life and then taking steps to live my life within that truth.

In the Spring of 1991 I began living fulltime as a woman, taking the name Ayme Michelle. And I've been one of the lucky ones in my community - blessed with the love and support of my entire family, my friends and co-workers. I don't know where I'd be today if it wasn't for them, and every morning I say a little prayer of thanks (to whatever corporeal deity or existential being you're comfortable with), grateful for my good fortune and good Karma. The rest, as they say, is history.

About six years or so ago, I became interested in the BDSM lifestyle after getting spanked during some loveplay and found myself incredibly turned on. I figured if I could be honest with myself about my gender incongruities, I could be as honest about what got me hot and bothered. So another quest of self-discovery was begun leading me across the country to join various groups, meeting interesting and intelligent people and developing skills and techniques within the dynamics of true power exchange. While I identify

primarily as a submissive (and an Alpha one at that!), I have also acknowledged the presence of some dominant energy (stemming from what I call "residual male programming") and enjoy the ability to switch and express that from time to time.

I'm currently working as a Senior Administrative Assistant for Wells Fargo, Telephone Banking - Human Resources in San Francisco, CA. I'm also the Editor of The Channel, a monthly newsletter for TGSF (TransGender San Francisco, formerly ETVC) - a post I've enjoyed for almost three years.

Digging In The Dirt...

In the two years I've been Editor of The Channel, I haven't really talked much about my interests in the kink community. Oh most know that I'm active in that scene as I've mentioned it here from time to time. But I've generally restrained from delving deeper into what drives me, what possesses me to participate in the leather community, as this is a transgender-oriented newsletter after all. But after my separation from Micheal and Oklahoma (a relationship that was founded upon our interests in BDSM), I have been doing much soul-searching this past month since my move. And it boiled down to what I wanted from the lifestyle versus what I NEEDED from it.

Many years ago, when I got playfully spanked during some love play and got incredibly turned on, I began to realize I had these feelings - much like what we, as transgenders, go through when we realize and act on being "different." Well I've always maintained that if I could be honest with myself about my gender incongruities, then I could certainly be as honest about what turned me on. And so a quest was begun to learn more about why Dominance and submission, fetishes and perverted activities were so compelling, not only to me but also to many, many others as well. After years of research of legitimate documentation on the subject, and admittedly a lot of personal experimentation, I can now openly and honestly say, and I am compelled to share this with you, that BDSM is not a game to me any longer. It is my life. I confess to you that I crave it, I want it, I desire it, I wish for it always, and yes...I NEED it to make me a complete person, more so (surprisingly enough to me) than having my final surgery.

And it's not just about kinky sex in one's bedroom (or where ever your perversions lead you). Dominance and submission, true power exchange, lays so much further beyond all that. As an Alpha submissive, I have a need to surrender my personal every day life power, my own personal control, into the hands of a powerful, knowledgeable, firm and loving Dominant, be they male or female. It is incredibly centering to acknowledge to one's self, that all you need to make you blissful is to be at the feet of one you adore, totally trusting them to teach you; to guide you to the dark places inside, and lead you safely back again into the Light. And in accepting that power from you, the wise Dominant will undoubtedly wield that control to satisfy his/her own whims and desires, yet all the while holding your gift tenderly, protecting it from true harm, cherishing its rare beauty, and valuing you as his/her most precious possession.

I have always identified as a submissive, but about a year ago I began to recognize again these odd feelings, and something finally clicked with me about why dominants enjoy topping so much; why it turns them on, why they do the wickedly delightful things they do. The best Dom/mes are the ones who want their subs to serve them out of love and respect, and not from fear, and are careful to administer punishment or discipline only as necessary. To have all that power in your hands! When you're standing over your bound, naked and helpless playtoy and realize they have willingly and consensually given you this control over them, it's enough to make you weep at that total trust. It's as if you are now God and free to do as you wish with no recrimination...it's heady stuff!

I suspect that my own dominant feelings spring forth from the masculine energy that still lays there - my "residual male programming." The soul-searching I have indulged in has revealed to me that there's nothing I'm ever going to be able to do to make it go away and disappear entirely. So I'm going to stop wasting my time trying, and learn to express that energy. As such, since I need D/s in my life...in a 24/7 relationship...the Dom/me I am fortunate to find one day, I hope, will reward me with a slave of my own to play with from time to time.

Truth In Packaging?...

The people in the groups I belong to are enthralled, captivated and curious about my presence among them. Both men and women alike find my non-op status titillating and desirable. And as a self-confessed Exhibitionist, I enjoy the attention and the notoriety that status affords me. Suddenly, I like being a non-op transsexual woman - even more so than I ever have before! In an incredibly short span of time, I have plunged headlong into the local scene and have managed to enjoy some of the most satisfying psycho/sexual encounters, enriched with real value and true meaning. And it's due in part to acknowledging that dominant energy trapped deep within me.

And having expressed that energy - bang! Suddenly I am no longer floundering in the Ocean of my Life, thrashing about for a lifeline. I have my head above water. I can't see the shore, but I'm swimming in the right direction. In recognizing and acting on my ability to "switch," there is now the whole other half of the spectrum to explore. And actually, I have Tess (and her Master) to thank for that. But with their help, I learned a much more valuable lesson on my recent introspective journey.

When Tess and I first chatted, I initially mistook her interest as one of a sub seeking a potential Domme. Naturally I was flattered and began flirting. An exchange of photos took place and I was further intrigued as she was pretty. And then she told me she was "BBW" (for those needing a translation, Big Beautiful Woman). When she divulged this to me, I reacted to the stereotype and thought then that I would probably not be attracted to her after all, and would not desire her as a submissive. I'll admit to you now that I've always held a person's looks high on my criteria list. She also told me that she was collared by a Master, but by then we had made a date to meet. Needless to say, by the time we met for lunch I was hugely embarrassed at my breach of protocol, but somewhat relieved that I was "off the hook" because I would find her unattractive and so pose no threat to their relationship.

Well we met...and I was enchanted. She was so open, and giving of herself, reassuring, attentive, smiling...a sensuous mouth, and brilliant flashing eyes, and this oh so romantic drawl of an accent that made her just adorable. We had a delightful meal and shared many things together about our lives and interests. I couldn't have asked for a nicer time. And I went home that afternoon and had to reflect on my prejudicial expectations of Tess and how it had all changed in the time it took to eat a salad and drink three glasses of wine.

And what a delight it has been for me to truly appreciate a stranger's inner beauty for what it is. And I grimace now that I had the capacity to be so shallow. If it took leaving San Francisco and journeying through this time and space with Micheal and Oklahoma, and led by my heart again to Minnesota, to appreciate, respect and come to love anybody regardless of their weight, their skin color, or their gender, then it has all been worth it. Just today Tess said to me: "I think we all want to be loved for who we are, not what we are. And if transgenders are finding that to be a problem for them, they should first look inside their own hearts and clean up the cobwebs first...you said it best with what goes around, comes around."

Today, I find Tess breathtakingly beautiful...and yes, desirable. And the lesson I learned? A surprisingly simple one: Don't judge a book by its cover. I implore all of you to dust off your own book covers and take a good look inside. You're not necessarily going to find anything kinky in there (lord knows there's enough of that on the Internet!). But if you can come to know and understand - to love, desire and even need the story, the person within - and express him/her outwardly with happiness, and in the true joy of being alive - surely it all comes back to you.