Humiliation Play: Repairing Ourselves?

There are many, many reasons for people to get into a kink, especially one like humiliation play.

Lots of people say, “Humiliation? I would never do that to somebody! Why would anyone want to be humiliated?”

Well, first off, humiliation play is — well, play. Tying someone up, putting a gag in their mouth and making them drool on the playfloor is not the same as pointing at someone in a crowded classroom and yelling, “Ha ha! You’re stupid.”

The other day, a parent in a grocery store was shaming her child for having dropped a bottle of something off the shelf. She made her stand in front of the clerk and apologize, red-faced and staring at the floor. The clerk’s heart went out to the little girl and he bent down and said, ‘It’s okay, honey. Sometimes things break.’

Mom was trying to teach her a lesson, and shame is an important tool in the arsenal of many a parent. Without embarrassment, how can they socialize their children?

Well, i’m not a parent, so i’ll stop here before this starts to sound like criticism.

In the process of raising us, it is the job of our parents to teach us how to process emotion. They kiss our boo boos, teach us delayed gratification when crying doesn’t get us a lollipop


and later coax us through broken hearts with boxes of tissues and a whole host of other things that come up all through childhood. This is how we prepare to be emotionally mature adults, able to process and survive the pain of adulthood so we can put away misery and experience joy.

But this one thing, shame, is something that many parents don’t want their kids to be able to process. This isn’t conscious on their part, i’m sure. All they know is that they want their kids to be grow up to be adults who don’t regularly urinate on the neighbors’ lawn furniture.

An admirable goal, by most standards.

But what do we do when we’re faced with genuine humiliation as adults? Sitting in a staff meeting being berated by a bullying boss in front of everyone. Walking through a crowded square and realizing your skirt is tucked into your underpants at the back. Or being in a store and dropping a jar of something expensive and messy in aisle 3. And worse. There is far worse.

In the process of trying to train us, the tool has become a weapon, and every future bully and asshole can use it against us.

So what do we do?

At the direction of someOne we love and trust, we get down on our hands and knees and fucking drool, saying


to the bullies and generally insensitive clods. We throw it right back at them. And while we’re on the floor, crawling and drooling and begging for release, we are learning, and healing, and finding our way to a place where we can survive that staff meeting and untuck the skirt and not hide under the bed for the rest of the day.

So, my request to parents (again, i’m not a parent) is please be diligent that your parenting tools are actually tools and not weapons that could be used against your children later.



TLDR: Take a moment each day to be grateful for what is good in your life


i haven’t blogged for a while, and i have a little time, so today, let’s talk about gratitude.

We live in a world where we get the facts. We can look up the nutritional value of a thing, find out what rocks are made of (i’ll save you the trouble of googling – rock. Rocks are made of rock), see the traffic on a video cam before we leave for work and all sorts of fact-y things.

These things don’t make life good. They don’t actually make it bad either, but we’ll get to that. A fact, in itself, is neither good nor bad. It is amoral.

Good or bad is the value judgement that we attach to it. And we are free to choose.

Case in point #1:

Two men in their fifties go to the same office on the tenth floor of a twenty story building, each of them to pick up a cheque for a million dollars.

One man collects his cheque, takes an elevator down, meets his wife in the lobby and takes her out to celebrate.

The other man gets in an elevator, takes it to the roof and jumps off the building.

Why is that? Think about it; i’ll wait.

Hm hm hmmmmm….

Okay, so, the first guy is a blue collar worker, has worked all his life to care for his family and he won the lottery. A million bucks! He’s blissful. Taking the wife out, gonna pay off the mortgage, all of the things.

The second guy is a blue blood, fallen from Wall Street, and his million dollars is the last dregs of a multi-billion dollar family fortune.

You see? Same facts, different circumstances, different attitudes, different value judgements.

“But wait!” you cry. “They each have good reasons for how they feel!”

Of course they do. The feeling is valid in both cases.

But feeling isn’t thinking

Lots of people think that feelings are an ending, but they are in actuality a beginning. We start with the initial POW! reaction to a situation, such as seeing an accident. Then we let the reaction flow through us, we process it, and we think.

It is the thinking that leads to action, not the emotion.

The accident scenario is the safest one i can think of, so i’ll stick with it. Much better than, say, came home and found your spouse cheating or you got caught robbing a bank or whatever, so…

Case In Point #2:

A bunch of people are standing on a sidewalk and a truck runs over a cyclist. The cyclist is pinned, another car crashed into the truck, someone spilled a latte — it’s pandemonium! Everyone on the sidewalk gasps, some scream.

Fast forward ten seconds. What is everyone doing?

One woman starts to cry and runs away. A young couple get their phones out and start filming, holding their phones in trembling hands. One man blinks a few times, shakes himself and runs into the fray, shouting orders, going to the cyclist. A woman dials 911, stays on the line and walks calmly toward the accident giving the operator details.

They all are experiencing the same situation. Each one has placed a different value on it. Some had the initial emotional reaction and didn’t process it, such as the woman who ran away — she experienced fight or flight, and fled without thinking. Later, she will tell her friends, and probably her therapist, about this terrible thing that happened to her. (Yes, the cyclist pinned under the truck is the one who had something happen to her. The irony is thick with this one.)

The couple filming responded to their fear with what they consider the standard pop culture response — get it recorded. Wouldn’t occur to them to offer help or call for help. The knee jerk reaction is as far as they go.

The man who ran in to help? This is the guy who went, “WTF?!” and had a moment. Then he moved through the feeling, thought, “Oh, that’s WTF” and rationally chose an action.

The woman who called 911 is clearly the coolest cucumber. She reacted emotionally, then reached for her phone, setting aside her own trauma in the perspective that another was in much worse distress. Calling emergency, giving them the life-saving information they needed to mobilize the troops, plus staying cool enough to walk into the fray and still communicate clearly — well, she’s a rock star, as much as the man who jumped in. They both may choose to go to pieces later. But for now, they are the cyclist’s greatest assets.

The message is clear here: We Choose.

A situation is a thing we can’t control. Our initial emotional response to it is something we can’t control.

The value judgement we place on it is something we absolutely can control.

So, Gratitude…

i got a phone call a few weeks ago that someone dear to me was in a terrible accident and had only hours to live. The next phone call, a couple of hours later, was that he would live, but he would never walk again.

Because of that first call, the miracle of his life is so precious to me that being unable to walk is secondary. i experienced a couple of hours in a world where he would leave us forever, and to have him here on Earth, even if he can’t walk, causes me


i am grateful that this man may never walk again because he lived long enough to ride a wheelchair. FYI, he probably will walk. His physiotherapy is excellent, and he can even stand for a few seconds if he holds onto something.

But you don’t have to wait for something to happen to be grateful. You can decide to take a moment each day and think about what joys you have in your life, what great people, that beautiful tree you passed on your way to work, even that excellent bowl of cereal you consumed for breakfast.

We can all make different choices, ones based in the best of us, or ones drawn from the worst of us. The man who took his wife out to celebrate the million bucks could have not told her about the ticket and skipped town. The man who leaped off the building could have taken his humiliation and turned it into humility, moving into the next chapter of his life seeing it as a great adventure and an opportunity to rebuild. my nephew, that strong, wonderful boy, could sink into despair about his terrible predicament. He has not done that, FYI — he is upbeat, loving to his family and determined to get well.

The couple filming the accident could have called 911 on their phones instead of gawking. The woman who did call 911 could have said, “I’m late for work. Screw this, the idiot cyclist was in the wrong lane.”

And you can choose, too. You can choose to focus on everything you don’t have, every wrong that’s been done to you, every crappy job and broken shoelace.

Or you can look around you and find the grace, find the love. Find the community. Put down your drink or your weed and find the genuine joy that surrounds us all the time.

Today, i am grateful for you. Every last one of you. xo

End Rant

This International Women’s Day, I ask you…

This International Women’s Day I ask you…

…to be the change you want to see in the world.

To be independent in ways that matter, and let your people help you in ways that matter, without calling it helplessness.

To be more than angry at injustice: to do something about it.

To think of yourself as a first class citizen, and to not listen to others, including other women, who call you subordinate.

To understand that to be a strong woman does not mean being a bully. To not hide abusive behaviour behind the banner of Feminism.

To look around you, see a woman who needs to borrow your strength, and tell her, “You have the power, my Sister.”

To understand that to be a powerful woman is to still be a woman, not a woman with masculine qualities. Womanhood is powerful by its own nature and doesn’t need the masculine to help it.

Share this with the women in your life. And the men who love and support them.

Print it off and shove it in the bums of men who don’t get it. 😀

Second Class Citizens My Ass

A friend of mine has dual citizenship, and he is livid. Prime Minister Harper has really done it this time.

Bill C-24 literally creates two classes of citizens in Canada. First Class Citizens are born here and have only citizenship in Canada. Second Class Citizens are people who have emigrated here, and people who were born here but have dual citizenship. Second class citizens, including those who were born here, can have their citizenship revoked.

And this decision can be made by a bureaucrat, without benefit of judge and jury, and their decision is final. There is no appeal process.

blink blink

Wait… what???

i’m sorry, did i go to sleep in modern day Canada and wake up in Nazi Germany?!?!

They are saying that this is part of the war on terrorism. Jeez, one attack in a hundred years and we’re becoming a police state?

Holy Fuck That, Batman.

It is widely known among politicians that you need a good disaster to put fear into people so they’ll let you trample their rights. i have been watching this happen since 9/11 in the USA, but i didn’t expect it in the sensible north. The attack on Ottawa was terrible, but why do my friends here, thousands of miles away and perfectly innocent of any crime, have to pay for that man’s actions?

This is the last straw. Please, for the love of all things Canadian, do NOT vote that idiot back into power in the next election. At this point, i will take even the Marijuana Party over him. It’s like he is intentionally trying to mow down the country…

Happiness Is Not A Random Occurrence

Sunny day on my toes.

Sunny day on my toes.

My roomie has a second job where she works with one other person, let’s call him Bob, and the guy is chronically depressed.  As they chatted while working, he started talking about how he feels like committing suicide on a regular basis.

Suicide is one of his favourite topics.  He gets people to freak out, try to help him, tell him why life is worth living and why he’s such a great guy, and other assorted attention.  This has been his process since childhood, and he’s in his late thirties.  We have known him for over a decade.

So, Roomie decides not to play anymore.  “How would you do it?” she asked, and they embarked on a discussion of ways and means.

Jumping off a building was a choice, and she replied, “Yes, but make sure you don’t land on anyone.”  Then she started talking about how cool it would be to go around and find donors for your organs before you kicked off.  He blinked at her, like the idea of caring for the health and safety of another was foreign to him.  Depressed people can be deeply self-absorbed.  i personally think self-involvement is one of the root causes of depression, as it severs our connection to the tribe.

Over the years, I’ve noticed a few things about Bob.

  1. Bob wants drugs to make him happy. They are anti-depressants, sleeping pills, lithium, whatever may be the drug of the day.
  1. Bob makes little effort to improve his own life, beyond applying for more free stuff from the government.
  1. Bob feels that no one in the world has ever suffered as he has. *gurl sneezes and it sounds suspiciously like ‘Auschwitz’*
  1. Bob feels no responsibility toward the happiness or well being of others, but feels the world owes him everything.
  1. Bob believes that happiness is an occurrence, and equates it with the absence of pain.
  1. Bob lives in constant fear.

Happiness is NOT the absence of pain

If bad stuff has happened to you, and if you are chronically unhappy, you may think you would be happy if all that bad stuff hadn’t happened to you.

You’re wrong.

The most joyful people you will ever find are those who live in war zones.  Their senses are sharpened, they are acutely aware of the fleeting nature of life, and they live every day as if it were their last, because it may very well be their last.

Happiness does not come from the absence of bad experiences.  Take away the pain and joy will not automatically fill the void.

This is why medication will only take you so far.  Yes, if your neuro-chemistry is out of balance, your doctor may give you medication to correct it.

But joy does not come out of a bottle.  A happy life cannot be prescribed. Damaged people don’t get fixed by blaming the world for their unhappiness.  And the television does not hold the answers you seek.

Happiness Takes Work

If we want to have a happy life, we must first accept the fact that happiness is not an occurrence, but a consequence.

Happiness occurs when we do things that our bodies and brains perceive as Good.  Real, honest Good, like eating nourishing food, participating in an activity we’re genuinely passionate about, expending effort toward a worthy purpose, setting goals and meeting them, establishing a solid core value system, learning, growing, connecting with the tribe, building a tribe, challenging ourselves, etc.

Not artificial good, like watching a TV program, bashing politicians, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, criticizing everyone around us, eating junk food, picking apart someone else’s accomplishment, dwelling on bad experiences of the past or any of the other gazillions of self-indulgent things that feel good in the short term but only feed the worst of us.

Do you want to be really, genuinely happy?

Find the best of you.  Feed it.

Look around.  Forget for a minute about your incessant needs.  What do others need?  How can you help them?

What is your purpose?  Why are you here?  Who are you?  Roll up your sleeves and dig into these questions with gusto.  Without the answers, we are no more than automatons, empty vessels ready to follow like sheep anyone who comes along with an idea that ‘feels okay.’  People like Charles Manson.

It takes a lot of courage to live a happy life, but courage is a muscle.  Flex it, and next time it will be stronger.  And the time after that, even stronger.  And so on.

And one day, seemingly by accident, you will find that you are too busy living your richly satisfying life to dwell on past hurts, insecurities, social anxieties and the like.

There is so much joy in this world.  Go find it, bring it home, make love to it and watch your demons fly away.

Oxygen is your friend

i know this seems like a cheesy, eighties workout video, which it is, but so many people i know can’t do the higher impact exercises, like running or swimming. Also, if you have sleep apnea and/or asthma, your body may not be getting properly oxygenated in the normal course of a day.

The most fundamental aspect of life is breathing. We can go days without water, weeks without eating, years without love. But without oxygen? Literally, you will be dead in minutes. So why do we take it for granted so badly? We buy bottled water and organic foods, but pay no attention at all to the air we take in.

Oxygen feeds everything important in your body. Muscles, brain, heart — soul? How fulfilled can we be if we have no energy and our brains don’t work right? How can we climb out of a pit of depression with a fuzzy brain?

i discovered this type of exercise a lot of years ago, and every now and then i remember to do it, especially at tax season when i’m sitting at a desk a lot.

Remember to try for an oxygen-rich environment. Indoor spaces, like offices and houses, have a lot of influences on the air quality, like heating, cooking, dust, mold, breathing, etc. Even if you can crack a window when you do it, you will increase your oxygen intake.

Try it with me, if you’re so inclined. i will be doing about fifteen minutes a day throughout tax season. Wish me luck. 🙂