Subculture Spotted: The Kink Community & My first play party

This last Saturday I went to my first ever BDSM party. I went there with some fear and anxiety. I was afraid of seeing some acts that would make me uncomfortable and just be generally hard to watch. I was worried I would see abuse. It felt dangerous. I felt nervous. I was very afraid I would be approached to engage in play. I expected this to happen many times. What follows is a real story.
What I saw was beautiful, inspiring, and positive. My faith in people was restored and my fear relinquished.
I had been an honorary member of the BDSM fetish and kink communities for a few years now. As an honorary member I talked with my kinkster friends often and had expressed interest in going to their social meetups called “munches” and kink play parties. The first thing that struck me about these people was their raw honesty and apparent lack of fear. This is a very personal subject. Some would call it a dark secret. Most would include it in their “unmentionables” pile. But not Sadie. She’s an amazon.
In the BDSM and kink communities which from now on I will refer to simply as the community anonymity is important, but so is honesty. Everyone in the community has a kink name that is different from their given one. Or at least that’s how it should work. In practice I found that it is mostly the women who use pseudo names and the men keep their everyday names. I’m not sure why this is the case.
When Sadie first started telling me about her involvement with the kink community I was a bit shocked. Not by the types of activities she was describing but that she was telling me all these real things that happened. She was so honest, so open, so fearless. This was the first time in my life anyone had talked openly with me about their own sexual perversions. I soaked it in and asked for more…
Here’s some of what Sadie shared with me that I’d like to pass on…
  • structure within the community
  • sub/dom relationships
  • safety & consent
  • checking in with your partner
  • how to negotiate
  • how to be respectful
  • fire play
  • needle play
  • protocol parties
  • slave positions
  • munches
  • play parties
There is an order to things in the community. There is structure, protocols, safety words, and moderators. You are safer exploring your kinky side within the bounds of the community or at a play party than you are in your own home. Here’s why…
  • The community is serious about safety.
  • They look out for their own and guard against predators.
  • Your anonymity is valued, respected, and protected.
  • They are knowledgeable about their craft.
  • They negotiate everything.
  • They ask for permission.
  • They respect the bounds of your relationship.
  • Nothing is expected of you.
  • There is no pressure.
  • There are party moderators who job is to protect you and ensure the rules are followed.
  • Safe words are always used for slow down or complete stop.
  • After care is practiced to aid in the recovery of a sub after a scene is performed.
  • They are not judgmental.
They are not creeps.
They are just like you…and a lot like me.
Every community is different. If you are reading this and are involved with the kink community in your city please understand this is based on the community I am involved with. It can represent nothing else. This community in Austin is the only one I have known. Though I would like to know others. Just a disclaimer I do not presume to know or assume all communities are the same. Every community is independently operated.
Here’s what I know about the Austin kink community…
The Austin Kink community is a social one. They are out and proud. They gather in public and discuss their fetishes openly at weekly meetups called “Munches”. There’s a munch in South Austin and one in North Austin. Some people go to both but most go to the one closest to them. I have attended both groups.
The munch is a social gathering open to all. There you will find experts, amateurs, and wannabes. The munches are held at local bars and are well attended. There is no sexual play at a munch. You can talk to people about their experiences or about sports. You can meet other kinksters you might like to play with in the future. You can buy tickets for an upcoming play party (held monthly). You can negotiate scenes. And you can drink.
The first munch I went to was the South Austin munch. I went with a few friends. And I held on to that safety blanket for a while. Before this I had  attended a few private social events within the community so I already knew some people. Again, I was surprised at how friendly, social, and  open the people were. I truly felt welcomed and not just because I was fresh meat.
I talked to people about how they were first introduced to the community, their kinks and fetishes, and their experiences at recent parties. Then I saw Sierra…
She walked into the bar rather meekly, looked around for a minute, and then took up residence on a bench on the outskirts of our large group. I did not know her. I had never seen her before and I didn’t think she was part of the community. I asked my friends if they knew who she was. I was told “she’s interesting”. She was the most beautiful person in the bar, and by far the one I was most attracted to in the group. I had to talk to her. I wanted to at least try.
So I asked my friends to go over with me and make introductions. They kindly obliged.
“Hi, I’m Faye.”
     “I’m Sierra, it’s nice to meet you. Would you like to sit down?”
Yes, yes I would. We talked for hours. I let go of my safety blanket.
We talked about male sex entitlement, consent issues and gray areas, working in the adult industry, confidence, and how to guard yourself against verbal and physical abuse. She has been around the community for many years and would consider herself a bit of a veteran. She grew up in a liberal, sex positive household. From an early age she was familiar with or at least aware of alternative lifestyles such as polyamory, kink, fetish, and LGBT. Her parents raised her athiest/agnostic and so she had no religious influences.
I also met another girl that night. She already knew Sierra. The three of us spent a while discussing consent, rape, and the gray areas.
Sierra had a unique perspective on body and personal confidence. Sierra has been stripping professionally for the last two years.

The location of the party was remote. It was about 45 minutes outside of Austin proper. The roads we took to get there were really poorly maintained. It felt like I was on some kind of sex safari. I carpooled with my friends in the community. We were some of the first to arrive. Sadie wanted to make sure we got there in time for the hog tying tutorial at 8:30. The party would start afterwards.
When we first went inside the house the first thing I saw was a girl topless on the couch cuddling with another girl. I like this place already. Sadie gave me a tour of the house. It was a house, not a dungeon, a warehouse, or club. The main room you walk into when you enter the house was the designated social area and no play was allowed here. It included the living room, kitchen, and another room for recovery.
Everyone was smiling and friendly. Mostly they were catching up with friends and partners. It was a very social and pleasant atmosphere. We continued the tour and saw the different rooms available for play. The house was arranged in a U shape around a central room which I’ll refer to as the main play room. This central room was very large and had an open ceiling to the second floor where there was a convenient viewing deck overlooking the room.
The main play room had many tables some looked like massage tables, others were tables with benches meant for being bent over, there was a long solid wood table. The most interesting feature this room was a floor to ceiling spider web wheel made of wood and chain. A few of the girls were climbing it and sitting on the top. There was also a pulley system installed with a rope hanging from he ceiling that could be used for suspension. The main play room was very open and airy the rooms of the house were more isolated and much smaller. Many kind of play and scenes could occur simultaneously in the main play room.
The other rooms of the house were arranged around the main play room. There were two floors and an outside deck. The rooms were much the same. They all had massage and/or medical tables, large floor to ceiling wooden Xs, and various tie and suspension points. Oh and a mini-dungeon room, but it was more like a closet with a metal bars for a wall.
The party started with the hog tie tutorial in the main play room. There was an older couple there to teach although this particular play party was 35 and under. On the floor was laid out a yoga mat and many ropes or varying size. He started by binding the hands leaving a long piece of rope hanging to tighten. He then had the sub lay stomach down on the mat. He bound the feet leaving a loop available. He took the rope left over from the hands strung it through the available loop by the feet and cinched it up creating an impressive arch in the back. He explained at every step safety precautions including not making the rope too tight so as to avoid making the hands and feet go numb. He talked about how long a sub could safely stay bound before going numb in the limbs. He pointed out some major nerves to avoid wrapping or binding such as the radial nerve running along the outer bicep. After showing the basic hog tie he went on to a more advanced version including a chest strap. This more advanced version is safer for a sub to stay bound for longer periods of time. He showed how to create a chest strap so as to not choke the neck. There were many couples practicing the techniques.
After the tutorial session there was a race. It was a race to see who could hog tie their partner fastest but there was an added challenge. After being fully bound the sub had to pick up a plastic spoon in their mouth and put it in an empty solo cup without the cup tipping over. This is way harder than the picture happening in your head right now. The sub has zero range of motion, it was pretty amusing to watch.
Before the play could begin the moderators gathered everyone in the main room to go over rules of the party.
1. You need verbal l permission to play with another person, if they have a dom you need to request permission from the dom as well
2. Safety words for the party are RED means full immediate stop, and YELLOW means slow down and check in, a sub can use these safety words at anytime
3. If you here someone say RED and the scene is not stopping find your nearest moderator to report
4. Leave your area cleaner than when you came use sanitizer to clean after your scene
There were three moderators, 2 men and 1 woman. They were recognizable by the red armband they were wearing. All the moderators spent the evening walking around the house ensuring everyone was safe. I felt safe in this space.
I never heard RED being used at anytime during the night. I was never approached by anyone or creeped out by any of the party attendees.
Scenes I saw…
  • sub/dom flogging on X, later saw same couple having oral sex
  • one girl chained to ceiling and feet spread but locked together on floor, she was blindfolded, group of people playing with her, sensory experiences, many different textures, ice, feathers, fur, some flogging, pushing her back and forth, about 4-5 people playing with her
  • sub/dom spanking/flogging on medical table
  • needle play, stick design and making a flower
  • massage play, just massage
  • sub/dom girl/girl in mainly room, very sensual sub was on hands and knees on a table, dom started by kissing an touching her, then used a flog and spanking while intermittently touching her, dom was also spinning flog and kind of dancing
  • girl/girl/guy in a room with a medical table, girl was being play with by girl and guy, guy was giving her pleasure and fingering her, while girl was spanking
  • fire play on long wooden table in main play room, girl was chained to table, guy was playing with her, he had two candles, a butane tank with torch, and rubbing alcohol or some other accelerant, he also had a 2-tipped rod one tip was on fire and the other he used to rub the accelerant onto skin, he would make very swift motions of rubbing the accelerant on the skin lighting it then smothering it out with his hand. The skin was never on fire and the sensation was very brief. He also used hot wax to play. He also used chinese glass bulbs for suctioning to her back. This is called fire cupping. He would take the cup put the enflamed rod into it for a few seconds then immeditately turn the cup upside down and place it on the skin of the back. This was repeated until around 10-12 cups were on her back. The cups were clear and you could see the reddened skin being sucked up quite a lot into the cup, the skin looked rather swollen. He left the cups on for a while and then removed the one by one. They all left round red marks, one cup left a large purple mark. It looked bit like she had been attacked by a horny octopus.
  • free style wrestling/fighting sub/dom girl/guy on the floor of the main play room
  • full body suspension by pulley system in main play room
  • punishment in the mini-cage
  • saw lots of comforting in the recovery and living rooms, the subs were in cozy pajamas and wrapped in blankets while their doms and lovers gently petted and massaged them, lots of cuddling
  • group hug to finish off the night
They provided food and water/soda at the party. This party was dry meaning no alcohol was allowed. The food consisted mostly of a variety of weird oreos, I think someone went to the store and just said give me all the oreos you have. ALL THE OREOS YOU HAVE.

I dated a psychopath! – Recognizing unhealthy relationships & How to guard yourself

Learn how to recognize a psychopath, their characteristics and actions. See if you are at risk for being targeted and how to guard yourself against becoming a victim. Learn what happens when you are in a relationship with a psychopath, what it looks and feels like from the inside and outside. Notes from an interview with mental health professional and psychopath victim, Sara Elizabeth Brown. 

Characteristics of Psychopaths

  • they have a lot more energy than other people
  • they speak in monologue, interesting stories about themselves, people feel intrigued by them, they seem very interesting
  • they are addictive
  • smart
  • charming
  • charismatic
  • love predators
  • attack emotions, they start to manufacture emotions in you
  • they are excellent at reading people and will morph into exactly what they perceive you need and want, they will appear to be your perfect soul mate
  • progressing the relationship very quickly
  • jealous
  • extroverted
  • dominant
  • strong
  • status oriented
  • manipulative
  • doctors/lawyers

 

Are you at risk for being targeted by a psychopath? Characteristics of victims/targets.

  • they target people who could easily morph into what the psychopath wants them to be, people who are not strongly attached to their own identity, people who are unguarded
  • open, generous people
  • have a high moral standard, would not do to others what was done to them
  • someone who would not retaliate
  • nice, sweet
  • tend to take responsibility or take blame for things that happen even if its not their fault
  • highly empathic
  • disorganized
  • extroverted, strong
  • adventure seeking
  • did not necessarily come from an abused background, they’re are not re-enacting trauma
 Women Who Love Psychopaths by Sandra Brown

I felt like he was the one person who believed in me” -Sara Elizabeth Brown

 

On describing/depicting relationships with psychopaths

  • His Girl Friday (1940) really depicts what a relationship with a psychopath is really like
  • its not co-dependence and its not sex addiction
  • it actually looks like 2 strong people together, it doesn’t look like someone is a doormat
  • you will experience longing and obsession
  • you will feel repulsed and excited the entire time
  • the psychopath will positively reinforce your submission

 

Actions of Psychopaths in a relationship

  • The beginning (Idealization Stage)
    • love bombing
    • constant communication
    • they want to be with you all the time
    • constant and abundant affection, love, and sex
    • usually you feel like you’ve met the love of your life
    • mirroring (everything you are into they appear to be into as well)
    • everything about you is right, you feel like its too good to be true
    • you feel addicted to them, if you feel high around them, or feel like you’re on drugs around them
    • gets very sexual very fast
    • the will test and push your boundaries to see how far you will allow it, they are testing you to see if you’ll play
  • Middle (Devalue Stage)
    • their mask starts to fade
    • the psychopath will start making devaluing comments, that you will laugh off at first
    • after a while they disappear, silent treatment (the beginning of the devalue)
    • on the psychological abuse you endure whine a relationship with a psychopath
      “You don’t realize it’s happening, you don’t take it seriously”
    • you start to blame yourself for everything, you take responsibility for everything
    • negative conditioning, “they hook you into always wanting to please them, you get addicted to pleasing them”
    • they make you feel like you’re the crazy one
    • they want you to merge with them and lose your identity “That is the risk we are talking about, is you losing yourself. Its a serious risk, its a very serious risk.”
    • verbal abuse
      • ignoring you
      • gas lighting- “I think you’re imagining things, you’re blowing it up, you’re exaggerating”, it causes the victim to feel crazy, “you start to doubt your reality…which makes you more dependent on their reality”
      • triangulation- psychopath will compare you to the other women in your life
      • over talking- psychopath will wear you down by exhausting your attention, until you give up
      • they do something to provoke a reaction and then when you react they act like you’re crazy and tell you you’re being jealous, crazy, possessive
    • silent treatment
    • psychological torture
  • Final (Discard Stage)
    • the relationship ends

The stages of the psychopath relationship: Idealization, Devalue, Discard

 

How to guard yourself against psychopaths

  • don’t change your routine for them, anyone who tries to push you off your routine
  • your routine is your guard
  • don’t change your values
  • don’t give up on relationships with others (family and friends)
  • if someone makes funny degrading comments
  • if someone starts to make you feel crazy, they’re out
  • if someone starts giving you the silent treatment or disappears for periods of time
  • if its a maybe, its a no
  • if someone is oversharing too much
  • they’ll try to isolate you from friends and family “they’re not good enough for you, you’re so much better than them”
  • they’ll try to isolate you from everything that’s important to you
  • have a more fixed or guarded personality
  • know who you are
  • have hard rules for yourself, things you are unchanging on, “You don’t mess with my money and you don’t mess with my creative work.”
They can’t keep the mask up very long”- Sara Elizabeth Brown
Most people think of serial killers when you mention the word psychopath. It is true that most serial killers are psychopaths, but most psychopaths are not serial killers. Many are highly successful in life and business with no criminal record.

Personal biases on submissiveness & Why you should complain more

Don’t oblige anyone. Out of respect or subservience. 

Question everything. Why am I doing this? Is this good for me?

I’d like to start by talking a little about myself, about my own biases, and how I view this topic. The importance of recognizing bias especially as an author, to me, is under considered. I know my own history, but you don’t. I would like to share my history with you over the course of this blog so each article can be more objective or at least more understood.

I am a dominant woman. I’ve always been this way, I think. It is not necessarily related to confidence, it is more so how I think and act. I speak my mind with ease. I let people know how I feel, what I want, and when I want it. If something is making me unhappy you will know. I do complain, but I don’t see it as a bad thing. I don’t expect everyone or everything to cater to me. But I do think it is better that they are known rather than not. When my needs are vocalized I am leaving it up to other people to decide if they are willing and happy to cater to them. If I keep it to myself, I have taken power away from the ones I care about. I am devaluing my own needs by not expressing them.

If my needs are not expressed they are non-existent in the eyes of others. I am not giving those who care about me the benefit of knowing my needs. Some may see this as complaining. The act of complaining is often viewed as negative. It is discouraged. A person who complains is looked down upon, viewed as weak, as not being capable of dealing with hardship or pain. Why?

I think the reason lies in our inability to empathize with the person complaining. We cannot understand their pain. We cannot see why it is affecting them so much. We cannot understand why they would need to vocalize it, especially if it is not a pain we ourselves would disclose. If their pain tolerance is different than yours they will be judged. Even though I can’t see their reasons this does not mean the reasons are not there.

If I were someone else, if I grew up in their childhood home, with their family telling me stories, bringing me to church, being part of their community I would be them. If I went to their school, was bullied by their bullies, experienced their loss and hardship I would be them. Why would you set a standard for someone else based on your own life experiences? Just think a minute about this.

No one view of the world is objective. No one’s view of the world is objective.
Have you ever questioned someone else’s voting decisions? How they raise their kid? The kinds of jobs they will take to get by? Why they would pierce, slice, or color their body? I have. You have. I project my own completely arbitrary and randomly selected values onto them and feel they should understand and comply.
There is no universal standard of ethics, values, beliefs, or morals. So don’t pretend like yours is the shit. It’s not. It’s just yours.

Your standard is not mine. So stop judging me by yours.

Why you should cuddle with strangers… For your health

I have been hosting Cuddle Up! events in Austin since February 2016. These events bring a group of people together for a consent, boundaries, and empowerment workshop followed by a guided, freestyle cuddling session.

I learned you can say ‘no’ to someone for no reason, you don’t owe anyone anything” – Sara Elizabeth Brown

It’s as much a process of self discovery as it is self care. You will get rejected by someone or many someones at Cuddle Up! because we actively encourage it in this space. It is meant to be a safe space to experience rejection. A space where you are not the only one experiencing it.

I strongly believe the longer and more frequently you expose yourself to something, the less painful or scary it is. This is my view on rejection and other uncomfortable situations. What makes them uncomfortable is that we don’t know how to deal with them and we take them to mean something personal about ourselves. Any rejection we experience is a personal failure. This is almost never true of rejection at a cuddling event.

I sat down with varsity cuddler Sara Elizabeth Brown, who has attended more than 100 cuddling events. Here’s what she had to say about the cuddle party atmosphere: “It can feel like a popularity contest sometimes but there might be real reasons why someone might not feel comfortable with you.” You cannot know the reasons someone has for rejecting you. And at Cuddle Up! no one can ask you “why” you rejected them, its part of the experience and makes saying “no” easier.

Here’s what I teach at Cuddle Up!
  • how to say and feel comfortable saying “no” to what you don’t want
  • empowering yourself to ask for what you want
  • how to approach and talk to strangers
  • how to feel comfortable around people you don’t know
  • how to be fearless and brave
  • feeling more comfortable with rejection
  • dealing with uncomfortable situations
  • how to effectively give consent
  • understanding what consent is and what it sounds like
  • the difference between “no”, “yes”, and “maybe”, and why you should always say “no” if you’re a “maybe”
  • getting used and respecting “no”
  • how to respect the boundaries of others

Men and women experience this event differently depending on their past experience. Many women who come into this space struggle with saying “no.” They often feel the need to accommodate especially their lovers or partners.

You may come here and feel compelled to say “yes” to someone who asks you to cuddle maybe you feel bad for them or just want to be nice. You must say “no.” This is so important. At this event you will learn to put your needs and wants first. Your needs are important and just as important as someone else’s.

Sara comments on the experience for men at cuddle events, “I feel like there’s a lot of learning and growth for particularly women in that environment and men too its just different. Men have to give up their entitlement… a lot of men get in touch with how great it is just to hold someone and not have take it to a sexual place, a lot of times they’re really trained through the culture to get their touch needs through sex.”

What actually happens at Faye Fearless’s Cuddle Up! events:

  • workshop on consent, boundaries, and how to empower yourself to say “no”
  • cuddle positions 101, yes there are different ways to cuddle!
  • freestyle cuddling session, cuddlers move around freely, cuddle with whom they choose for however long they like (multiple partners encouraged)
  • cuddling, massage, hair petting, and hugs

Cuddle Up! events are fully clothed, non-sexual events. Cuddle Up! is for everyone, all ages, all professions, all backgrounds, all relationships! I’ve had married couples attend together or one member of a couple come alone. I’ve had groups of friends, poly people, singles, asexuals, and kinksters. This is an inclusive and welcoming space.

If you don’t feel comfortable in a co-ed space I also host women’s only events (anyone who identifies as a woman is welcome.)

“What actually happens after all that boundary stuff, what actually happens at cuddle parties normally, is it becomes this blissful, oxytocin filed, mellow event, where people just meld into each other and they get very high from this oxytocin high. It is a high. Your body releases this love hormone.”

Live your life having only what you want ever, and know you can change your mind at any time, just because you start something doesn’t mean you have to finish it.

Come for a hug and a cuddle, and leave with an empowered sense of self.

You are in full control of your life, you just need to take charge and tap in to your power.

You will learn to recognize your needs and wants and you will leave feeling more comfortable, more brave, and more loved.

Triggers of submissiveness: people, places, and situations

Things that make you passive, submissive, overly accommodating, or quiet.

Read through the list below, check mark anything you recognize in your own life.

I don’t stand up for myself when…

  • I am tired
  • I have low self worth or value
  • I have low self confidence
  • I am embarrassed
  • I feel uncomfortable
  • It is a taboo subject
  • I am at work
  • I’m with my kids
  • I am with authority figures
  • I am with a dominant person
  • I don’t value my own needs or wants
  • It’s not important enough to speak up
  • I don’t want drama
  • I feel it will not make a difference
  • I am being bullied
  • I am being socially pressured
  • I don’t want to complain
  • I don’t want to be annoying
  • I don’t want to be noticed
  • I don’t want to cause an argument
  • I am being passive aggressive
  • I think others should know how I feel
  • I think my partner should intuitively know my needs
  • I am in a group with more people than I feel comfortable expressing myself in front of
  • I am depressed
  • I am not feeling well mentally or physically

These are your triggers. Know them.

Do you feel less comfortable expressing your needs and wants to a particular person?

Exercises:
Write a list of people you have at times been unable to say “no” to. Include as few or as many names as you can recall.

Here’s what my list looks like:

  • My Grandmother
  • My Mom
  • That one, scary, dominant, ex-sheriff uncle
  • My teachers
  • Other figures of authority in my life

Who in your life do you most like to accommodate? Write down the names and your relationship to them. This can include people you make sacrifices for, people you like to see happy, those you live with and care for. It can also include people you know professionally or friends. For me, it’s a short list which includes: myself (this is always #1), and my current romantic partner.

How to clearly communicate your needs and wants (breaking the submissive mold)

No one can read your mind.

From passive to active, changing the way we speak to clearly communicate our needs and wants.

How to get what you want:

1. Speak clearly and directly, always.

“You should have known how that would make me feel.”

“You hurt me. I did not want you to go out and I should have expressed that directly to you. I should not have just said ‘do what you want, I don’t care’ because that was not true.”

2. Never make your audience deduce meaning or solve for x (feelings, wants, needs).

“Do you want to get lunch?”

“I’m hungry and ready for lunch. Are you ready for lunch and would you like to get lunch with me in 10 minutes? I want indian food.”

3. Be overly specific in your expression of needs and wants.

“I want an orange.”

“I want to go to the farmer’s market this Saturday morning with you and buy some organic, naval oranges.”

4. Don’t wait. Do it right now.

You should express yourself when…

  • the feeling is strongest
  • the need or want comes first comes to you
  • when you can clearly state what you mean

5. Your feelings are important and worthy of being expressed.

If there is anyone in your life that does not agree with this statement eliminate them. Not in the strictest sense though. They do not respect you and decrease your self respect, confidence, and independence.

6. Your needs and wants have great value.

You deserve to have your needs met and your wants considered. There is a difference between a need and a want. Make sure you know clearly if what you are asking for is a need or a want.

7. The needs and wants of others have great value.

Others deserve to have their needs met and their wants considered just as much as you do. Listen to others. Let them finish their thoughts without interruption of flow. Breakdown what they are saying and try to understand what they are expressing. Is it a feeling, need, or want? What are they asking from you? Mutual respect is the only way to get your needs met and your wants considered.


Still unsure how to clearly communicate what you want to? Sit down with someone you want to communicate better with. A partner, friend, or close family member. It should be someone you feel comfortable around to start. Each of you should answer the following questions. Answer each question one by one and discuss your answers to each after you have both answered.

Expressing how you feel:

  • How are you feeling today? ex. content, bothered, annoyed, happy, peaceful, loved, neglected, embarrassed, isolated, rejected, etc
  • How did you feel when you woke up?
  • What events throughout the day affected how you felt? What were the changes you perceived?
    Expressing what you need:
  • What is the most important need you have right now that is not being met?
  • Is this need dependent on other people?
  • Why do you think it is not being met?
  • Have you previously expressed this need?
  • How long has this need not been met, and how is this affecting your daily mood
  • What actionable steps can we take together to meet this need today? Break it down into 5 mini steps.
  • List 3 needs you have daily, is each being met? Why or why not?
    Expressing what you want:
  • Name 3 things you want at this point in your life. One should be immediately achievable in the next 2 days. One should be achievable within 1 week. And the other should be achievable in 1 month.
  • For each of the 3 wants listed above rate each on a scale of 1-10 how much you feel you deserve each. (1 being not at all, 10 being you really feel you deserve to have this)
  • Why do you think you rated your wants in this way?
  • Repeat this exercise at least once per month.

* If you regularly rate your wants at a 4 or below you may be undervaluing yourself and may be struggling with expressing yourself because you feel your needs and wants are unworthy.

 

 

Whatever your past looks like. Whoever you are right now whether naturally submissive or dominant I hope you will feel empowered to take control of your circumstances. You are in control. Even though you may not feel that power you have it. It just needs to be recognized and seized. Submissiveness is circumstantial and situational.It is not a defect. A personality. Or a state of being.It is not permanent. It is not a diagnosis. It is not who you are or who you must be.
Every day is an opportunity to practice.
Every situation is an opportunity for change.
Every circumstance you encounter gives you an experience for your book.
Each person you interact with can influence how submissive you act based on social roles or your mutual history.

How people think they should network vs What really works

I went to a networking event recently. It was basically a group of queer entrepreneurs and techies at a mixer promoting an upcoming SXSW panel.

I was not on my networking game this night. I was feeling pretty shy and unsure how to start a conversation with any one of the clique groups I saw standing about. Did they all know each other? Probably not, but that’s what I thought at the time.

Eventually I found some people I knew. I hovered around them awkwardly for a bit. A lady came over who knew the people I was hanging around and she started talking to me. She asked me what I do, but I could tell she was not invested in what I had to say. As soon as she could, she told me: what she did, what she could do to further my business and brand, she told me her name and asked me to connect with her on social media. She said she’d love to help me and loves helping small businesses.

She talked about her. She was trying to meet and greet in the most efficient way possible, by numbers. I didn’t remember her. I didn’t remember her name, until she found and friended me on Facebook a few days later.

I accepted.

Why? Because I also have something to sell to her. But we will probably never do business.

So what did she do wrong? Why was I not sold on her value proposition?

I don’t trust her. I don’t know her. She was not interested in me and she was not interesting or passionate enough for me to be interested in her and the products or services she is selling.

Here’s what she should have done:

  • Been engaged in what I was saying to her
  • Ask questions or for more information
  • Demonstrate other ways she could offer value to me other than selling her service
    • for example offering to promote my brand to her friends
    • sharing my events
    • liking my page right then and there
    • offer something unique
      • you are selling a service that others sell
      • what is different about the service you are offering?
      • is it cheaper? better quality? faster? innovative? more effective?
    • Talk about something other than work
      • asking what you do and what someone else does is not a good way to network
      • ask instead what they like to do
      • then you will hear about their passions instead of their responsibilities
      • if what they like to do involves what they do for work, you have a winner, a real passion chaser, these are the ones you want to connect with
    • Share personal stories, create trust where there is none, and establish that you trust them
      • trust builds trust
      • no one trusts someone who does not trust them
      • say something personal about yourself, make yourself vulnerable
      • it immediately establishes that you trust them, that you are putting faith in them to protect you in some way, whether it is to protect a secret, an embarrassment, or comforting you in a hardship, you are placing value in them by entrusting them with this personal story

How to be fearless & the most powerful words I ever spoke

Faye Hello…

I was not born Fearless. Not by surname, birthright, or character. It did not come by enlightenment or tragedy. It was not given. It was taken. Like most of you I was made fun of growing up. Children love criticizing anything unique in the individual. When you are young, homogeny is the goal. I remember this. I remember not wanting to be seen or noticed, except by my teachers. Teachers were safe.

But I did stand out. And there was no way to avoid it. Part of the problem was the frizzy carrot that sat on top of my head. The brown sprinkles covering my body didn’t help. Neither did being from away. I was not an athlete, PE was my doom. And I was in band. Yep, band. Many years before American Pie I made an arbitrary decision to play the flute. And I have never heard the end of it since. Fortunately, I don’t care. About any of it.

faye young

I love myself.
I love my ginger hair.
I love my paleness.
I love my brown sprinkles.

 

I truly, indulgently enjoy being me.
And that is worth most of all.

 

 

The 5 Steps to Fearlessness

1) Own who you are right now. Own your body. Own yourself.

I used to live and work at sea. I was often the only woman on board the ship. At this point in my life I was slightly overweight. One day a fellow crew member started heckling me about my body. He was telling me I shouldn’t be eating so many deserts because I was not thin and would regret it. What happened next shocked everyone, including myself.

“You know what…”, I said  “I like my body.”

The air was silent for a few moments.

“Well go eat some bon bons then,” He said. “I don’t even know what a bon bon is!”

That day I was awakened. I realized that I loved myself as I came. I accepted the body I had. His words faded and I remained.

When you stop judging yourself others stop judging you.

What else could he have done in this situation? He was trying to exert dominance over me. He tried to shame me into thinking I was not good enough. That I needed to be more, actually that I needed to be less. He failed. He held me up to his standard and I did not meet it.

He tried to take my power. He attempted to boost himself by climbing over me. But I cannot be overpowered. I am not weak.

Image Credit: Pillsbury.com

 

2) Don’t fear people who are different from you.

Actively find and invite into your life persons of many backgrounds. Get to know them intimately. Ask them why they make their decisions. Ask them how they see the world. Ask them about their hardships. Ask them how they grew up, what they were taught, and what they believe. Soak it in

If someone’s lifestyle, values, and beliefs don’t conform to the narrow set we grew up they are judged.

It sounds like this…

“I live my life right and you live your life differentlyYou are wrong, you must be.”

My values are what I have known. Therefore, they are the way things should be. We have trouble conceiving that someone else’s values could be “morally” right. This is because we only see the world through the lens of our own experiences.

The way things should be. There are many ways to be, none are right.

I recommend seeking them out.

Start collecting people for your Arc of Acceptance…

  • Ethnicities
  • Nationalities
  • Education Backgrounds
  • Grew up in other states than you
  • Live an alternative lifestyle
  • LGBT+
  • Religions
  • Political Beliefs
  • Values
  • Beliefs
  • Ethics
  • Interests/Hobbies

Image Credit: Love Actually (2003) Universal Studios

 

3) Don’t be afraid to be seen and heard.

How often are you noticed? How often are you overlooked? Which do you prefer. Confidence gives you the freedom to be bold and unashamed. If you’re not offending someone you are not living as you. Learn to be bold.

Here’s how to start…

Read aloud. Sounds simple, but It’s harder than that. You’ll see.

Sing aloud. You probably already do this alone. Start singing aloud in your car with friends. When you’re at home and have a song stuck in your head, sing it don’t hymn it.

Dance. Just dance. Do it in your living room. In your underwear. In the club. Don’t worry about if anyone else is around.

“Why would I do these things? I feel like I’m going to embarrass myself.” Reading aloud is good for your comprehension. So there’s that. But also, what you are doing is taking small bold steps. You’re starting to be seen and heard more. It may not feel good at first. But it builds. Another benefit of being seen and heard is you will quickly find out who supports your boldness and new found confidence. Are your friends or roomies giving you weird looks? Are they putting you down? Are they uncomfortable with a more confident you? If so, drop them. They are trying to liquefy you into chicken soup for their soul. Don’t be chicken soup.

Making someone else uncomfortable does not mean you are doing something wrong. It just means you are doing something different.

Image Credit: peregrinereads.org

 

4) Do not fear silence.

Magical things happen in silence. Sometimes they are scary. Sometimes enlightening. Take the risk.

I realized a few months ago that my entire day was filled with noise. Funny enough, I only came to this realization after sitting in silence by a stream in the woods. I had been actively avoiding silence for years. I would wake up and get ready for the day. This usually included a shower. The sound of water has always soothed me. Sometimes it would also include talking to roommates. I would come downstairs and the first thing I would do would be turn on the squeezebox and play a pandora station. I got anxious if the music didn’t get turned on quick enough. If I asked my roommate to turn the music on and he/she took more than a few minutes to do so, I would become mad.

I would listen to music all day. I would listen while I worked. I would listen while I read. I would listen while I drove. When I wasn’t listening to music I was watching a show. So when was I thinking? The noise drowns out the noise in my head. I was never able to hear myself. Never able to hear my own voice. I was drowned in un-original voices.

I never gave a thought to how few thoughts I was giving. 

Don’t be afraid to be alone with yourself. It can change everything.

If you try nothing else, then just try this. Read in silence. Write in silence. And listen to yourself.

Lee Family-157 copy

4) Do not fear growth and change.

Make a home with people who free you. Your friends should encourage the craziness of you. Take stock of the people you spend time with. Start with a list of the five, don’t include family. What do they have in common? Do they live similar lives? Marriage, kids, 9-5? Do they come from similar backgrounds? Are they homogenized? By homogenized I mean is there an expectation to be alike. How would your social circle respond to a new person in your life or a new passion? Is growth encouraged? Or is stagnation and “contentment” expected? If this group is homogenized, do you aspire to the lives they live? Is it truly what you want for yourself and your family? If it’s not, get out now. Seriously. Even if you resist they will indoctrinate you to their standard.

Think about what you are giving up to be part of the whole. You are giving up everything. A whole you for a partial them.

That’s a bad trade.

Up until now you have lived. Maybe you have felt like you haven’t been able to control the direction your life has gone. Things have just happened to you, probably some bad and terrible things, hopefully many good things too. All the circumstances that have led you to here and all the people who have affected you will remain. They are part of the story. They have shaped you. You cannot change who you are in this moment, but you can take control from here.

Stand with me, stand with other women, and say…

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