January/February 2002

Picture Hereby Miss Ayme

In Slavery There Is Freedom

God, I can't believe I just wrote that! It sounds like something Hitler or Stalin would roar in one of their thundering speeches, or a slogan emblazoned over the gates to a work camp. Making a statement like that these days is an open invitation for reprisals and recrimination. Perhaps some red neck Yahoo will use it to rally the good 'ol boys 'round the Confederacy again. My brothers and sisters of color would have every reason to take offense. And it's certainly a phrase that would raise the dander on most conservative vanilla folk.

But put within the context of the BDSM lifestyle, I know many "slaves" out there who would find nothing wrong with it, and in fact would wholeheartedly agree. Anyone not involved in some way with our Lifestyle would certainly wonder why this is. Slavery is a powerful word and conjures up horrible visions of shackles and squalor, neglect and abuse. To them, they cannot conceive the notion that anyone in their right mind would suffer to live in such a way, let alone willingly. It is appalling enough that traffic in human slavery for profit is all too real, involving millions of children for God's sake, and insidiously present to this very day - even here in the United States.

But you and I know that our concept of slavery is quite removed from such ghastly and disturbingly lurid imagery. For us, to be a slave is to be fully aware of the ramifications of surrender, and to offer acceptance without reservation or hesitation. It is an informed, consensual decision - a free choice entered into without coercion or deceit. And an admission to one's self of the inherent need to be dominated.

Yet to voluntarily surrender one's body and soul so whole-heartedly is a fearful thing. It takes courage and a lot of trust to want to grow and develop under an Owner's guidance, removing the blocks and hindrances to your full service to his or her will. Your Owner will plumb the depths of your own soul and make you face the monsters of fear, doubt, and insecurity lurking within. You will be stripped of all limits, excuses, inner restraint, superficiality, false modesty and phobias. You will come to rely on and trust the Owner to protect, care and cherish you as property, as a valuable enhancement to his or her assets.

Ya Call This Freedom?

I'll admit it looks pretty one-sided at first glance. And everyone on the planet has their own concept of what freedom means to them. I mean, take a look around you right now. The slime oozing out from your television set is holding Freedom up to the masses the antithesis of Terrorism. It sucks you in and tells you Freedom can be found in buying Chevrolet SUV's with little American flags as standard, no extra charge. It's the travel industry grabbing Dubya's sound bytes to get you to fly again, while the Feds now have free reign to Profile America. It's being packaged as "Big Brother Knows Best - Trust Us With That Military Tribunal Thing," and "Ossama - Dead or Alive, I Don't Care." And there are the WTC victims and survivors and their numberless families and friends - where's Freedom for them? Freedom is everything - people are killing for it, and history shows us that we are willing to die for it.

So why do I think Freedom can be found in slavery, of all things? I suppose it begins, with me at least, during my transition from living as a man, to living as a woman. My freedom was to break away from the bondage and confinement of my expected and enforced masculinity. And when I finally did so, it meant everything to me. You can't imagine what a relief that was, as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It's been a Magic Carpet Ride ever since.

But as an extension of that, now that I've journeyed and explored the realms of BDSM for some length of time (not that I'm anywhere finished mind you), I understand now what it means to find freedom in surrendering control to an Owner. In becoming their property, their slave, I am to be mindful of their needs, wants, desires, pleasures and whims. My Owner is my sole focus. Aside from my natural day-to-day life, I have no need to concern myself with anything else.

Consciously entering into a D/s agreement as someone's slave is more frightening than anything spewed forth by the media these days. Yet when you find that One special dominant man or woman, that One who will accept your offer of slavery - then that's the moment when the real challenge and adventure begins. That's when you have the freedom to really live your life, be the real you. That level of nurtured and mutual trust allows so much to happen within you, without you, and between you.

And in the breakdown of barriers and confessions of honest feelings (no matter how hard it may be), it is there that I find my greatest freedom. I am exposed, naked, vulnerable, yet I am open and honest. I will be bound and disciplined, yet I am then free to focus, and comprehend the direction I am to go. I find letting go of responsibility, and surrendering all control and decision making, gives me an incredible sense of Freedom. Who wouldn't? But it's not the same as living your life irresponsibly.

The difference is what role your own sense of honor and commitment will play. Your sense of nobility and self-worth will determine what's meaningful to you. And therein lays your greatest freedom - to know you are worthy of your own life and to grow within it; to be free to give and receive love and trust and friendship. And share experiences unlike any other outside our Lifestyle. It's a sharing of our own humanity, an acceptance of all the flaws and faults and ugliness. It's about being honest and caring, and a desire to serve in the interests not only of your Owner, but also of your community, your neighborhood, your friends and family.

I thank God I live in a country where I can say what I want, and live how I like. Being an American is not only my birthright, but also a privilege. And for those who have given their lives to preserve my Freedom, I offer my undying gratitude. I pray that I am worthy of it. And in offering myself up to slavery, I give myself every opportunity to do so. I am suffused with a shiny, new life force that lay hidden within all the while - something clean, pure…simple. With my Owner as my Guide, all it took was a journey of self-discovery to find it and become spiritually attuned to it. And having found that peace in knowing where I fit within the greater scheme of things - well, what could be more liberating than that?