Tag Archives: choices

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The Zen of Landing Badly

I recently had a reminder that asphalt ain’t good eatin’.

I can’t play the victim card here. I fucked up. All my fault, 100% dumb-ass coming your way. I knew I was cutting it close between an intersection curb and a truck waiting for the light, and foolishly tried to ride through anyhow. Handlebar whacks mirror, down goes me. Mashed my face, my knee, my thigh, my hands, everything. I was so bruise-spotted, I looked like a human-leopard hybrid.

Oddly, it’s the third time I’ve been injured since late May. First time, I literally fell off a bar stool at the pizza joint, flat onto tile floor. Incredible fluke – Not only did I not hurt my back or head, I didn’t really get hurt at all. A couple days’ stiffness, and I was basically fine.

At the time, I was thick in the mire of a three-month contract that upended my life balance far more than I’d intended, so I wasn’t getting out much. I was counting days, like a schoolkid, until July 1, when the contract would be gone. Summer! Whee! I planned to blow off writing until the fall.

I shit you not, June 30th, 11:50pm, hours to go before my “So, our contract is up” email is to be sent, I’d been watching TV from the floor, went to stand, and heard CLICK as my knee popped out of joint, my tibia grossly cranked to the left. Horrified, I hopped to the kitchen on one leg, got an ice bag, and for no reason, the tibia popped back into place. Boom. Back like bacon, baby.

That boo-boo, unfortunately, did inconvenience me. I couldn’t walk much until the end of July, and most of the month’s summery fun eluded me.

Life removed the distraction of summer because I just couldn’t get out. I channeled that inconvenience into finishing my cookbook. Finally done  (it’s really good! buy it and support me), I once again felt like a kid getting outta school for summer. I was excited to cycle, be leisurely. I’d rode my bike daily that week. Bliss, whizzing through August air, sun beating down.

Five days into “summer break,” I whacked the truck mirror. Now I’ve been home licking my mental wounds for much of the last nine days. Once again: “I could’ve been hurt so much worse.”

It seems fortune has a twisted sense of humour in the dog days of summer.

Look ma, asphalt for eatin'.

Look ma, asphalt for eatin’.

School of Hard Knocks

Shit happens. Ask me my top ten life mottos, that one makes the list. Shit happens, it is what it is, que sera sera. Cliches to live by, my friends.

I’ve ridden the rides in this injury-filled park one time too many and I don’t need to be uninvited from the party anymore. When it’s time to go, I’ll grab my coat and be gone.

This is one of those times. Injured three times in three months? Yeah, okay, universe, you got my attention. What’s the lesson?

That’s rhetorical, people. I already think I know.

Writing well is a gift. It’s a privilege. It’s also a craft. It requires great sacrifice and dedication to accomplish matters of note. It’s not some flip of the switch. Like sailing a long ocean voyage, when finding one’s sea legs can take some time, getting a good writing flow takes a while of testing the waters.

Where the craft part comes in is where the sacrifice plays out too — daily duty, workworkwork.

Opting Out

I know writing is a choice. You see a keyboard, you sit, you pound it out. It’s like the old Hollywood movie trailers — “One man, alone in a foreboding wilderness… where only he can decide–”

The struggle that constantly assaults me is guilt. I feel like a failure if I’m not doing the outdoorsy-n-awesome things the locals here pride themselves on doing. Oh, look, someone else climbed a mountain and parasailed before landing on the moon for a local, organic picnic with cheese they hand-pulled at dawn. Thanks for the shame, Instagram.

I wish I could write in other places, but I’m a creature of habit and I like to be at my desk. I like the noise my keyboard makes, the rattle the keyboard tray emits under my staccato-fire key-whacking, the distance of the screen from my eyes, how I squint when I’m lost in thought and the creamy walls blur before me, while I listen to the white-noise whoosh of cars under my window, always noting the sea breeze blowing in and stiffening my knuckles. It’s my thing. This is where I do it.

So as summer days pass and nights get longer, cooler, and darker, my Catholic upbringing leaves me pounding the keys in shame and guilt at my desk, as others pass my window in their shorts and sunglasses, oozing optimism for a fun day ahead or the fatigue of a great day behind them.

And there I sit staring as they pass me by, me in my passive glory, ever the observer.

Of People and Places

But that’s writing. It’s not a party favour. It’s not a group activity. It’s a dark and dingy thing done alone.

There are different kinds of writers. Ones who write on events and places, happenings and zeitgeists. They need to be in the thick of it to serve it back to the masses. Then there are the those who slip away into otherworldly mental caverns. No safe place for others.

I’m the latter. My introversion can be extreme. A party of one works all too well for me. Three months on an Irish coast with a broken phone, only sheep dotting the horizon, and wine to keep me warm while winter winds howl and the skies cry, that would be a vacation for me. I might commit a serious crime if it meant time in isolation like that.

Paradox of paradoxes, for convenience and more time alone, I find myself living on the edge of the busiest part of my town. The most crowded, superficial, hyped, over-marketed part of my city. Rare does even a moment pass when people aren’t walking past my writing window. Isolation? Beyond my four walls, I think not.

Unlistening to the Machine

Part of me is very much of the “So? This is who you are. Just own it. Who cares?” mentality about self-imposed isolation. But I also think the world is beautiful, nature is powerful, and if I could have more of it with less of the humans in it, that wouldn’t be so bad. Humans aren’t so bad in small doses, either.

But society tells me Summer is fun! Go do summer! There’s only so much summer, so go out and play, kids! Whatchoo sitting inside for?! Don’t you know only losers don’t play outside? Come on, kids! GET HAPPY — it’s right there, outside your house!

It’s something I only want in 90-minute spurts. It’s not a lifestyle I seek. I don’t need to be on the Tilt-a-Whirl of the big-city life. Getting happy isn’t gonna accomplish my dreams. It ain’t gonna write my books. It’s not gonna pay my bills.

People who don’t understand introversion think people like me opting out is “sad” or “lonely,” but we think it’s sad and lonely that they can’t enjoy being alone in the same way we can. As Oscar Wilde wrote, loving oneself is a life-long romance. Even if there’s no one around to see it.

Among my favourite places to go alone: The sea.

Among my favourite places to go alone: The sea.

Do or Do Not, There is No Try

The trouble with writing a book, for any author, is it means sacrificing time you can spend earning other income today on the dream that it will earn income for you well into the future. This is where the stereotype of the broke-ass writer comes in. I have to cut back on my earnings AND my spending to be the writer I want to be. That’s sacrificing on every level.

That’s the risk we take when seeking the elusive dream of passive income and royalties. Passive income, that’s money you don’t have to run ragged on the hamster wheel to bring in. That wheel spins on its own, in theory.

The best way to grow that passive income isn’t to keep talking about the one book, it’s to continue writing others so you’re attracting new audiences.

For me, that time is now. I have to write more, produce more, and promote myself at the same time. All of it must be done at the expense of everything else in my life. Less time for leisure, less time to earn “real” money on the side of my primary job, less time to exercise, to cook — everything.

The longer I wait, the more interruption it causes in flow on all sides, the less then that momentum can carry me.

It’s a matter of discipline now. And my summer, as little or as much may remain, is a distraction from that discipline.

Dinner is Served

Which brings us back to the asphalt.

That day, I’d been meaning to cycle to the Gorge and sit under a big leafy tree as I considered my choices. Do I take more time to enjoy summer, or do I finally concede this summer’s a bust and writing must be my focus while the motivation burns?

For good or ill, I needed no leafy tree for the pondering. Life threw me to the curb and said “Eat this.”

I’ve never felt more strongly that I was getting told what was what. Writing, life said, was what my days had to be about for now. It was safer, for one. No moving parts, except on the chair.

If I barrel through this year as a writing tour de force and accomplish all the goals I’ve got bopping inside my head, I’ll have no regrets for the choices I made this week.

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Road Warrior

Sometimes when life knocks sense into you, it can be very literal about it all. It gets literal with this girl.

It took three injuries in a little over three months, but the Zen of landing badly has taught me a thing or two about a thing or two.

Sacrifice, choice-making, focus — all these themes played on a crackling, staticky loop in my head for days. Here’s hoping they echo loudly in the wintery, writerly months to come, ‘cos I know what road’s ahead of me — asphalt, curbs, potholes, and all.

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The Will to Write: My Story

On Twitter, I just described the sound float-planes make as “They sound like a riding lawnmower mated with a drunk bee.”

It’s not the greatest thing ever, but for the first time in a while, I wanted to describe something, and it came out the way I was thinking it. You think that SOUNDS like a logical turn of events, but when you’re a persnickety writer like me, it happens far more seldom than we’d hope.

I’ve had a pretty intense bout with writer’s block this year, and only lately am I starting to want to write again.

I’ve been creatively recharging this summer via doing this kind of photography.

I’m not sure if it was really writer’s block and not just mental fatigue. Last fall I had the most complicated time-management ever, too much commuting, etc, then I was planning the move here, executing it, et cetera. Writing was work in a life that already had too much work. I was drained, uninspired, and had fuck all to tell you.

And, frankly, gets to a point where sitting down and NOT thinking is about the only thing you want to do. Just… not think. Nothing. Boom. Chill. Disconnect. Enjoy. Rinse and repeat.

For writing is a burdensome thing.

And I don’t mean your food reviews, your educational or business writing. That shit almost writes itself because you know the bones of it, so you sort of just have to flesh it out. It requires craft, but it’s not so intimidating creatively.

When you’re writing on personal or creative themes, writing is a place you go to all alone. You can’t get handheld in writing. It’s you and the screen, man. Mano-a-screeno.

It’s genesis of something from nothing. What do you feel like writing today? It’s taking ideas out of dark mental corners and poking a stick at ‘em.

Me, I’ll admit it, I’m a fucking scaredy-cat sometimes.

It’s easier to do non-fiction personal-based stuff for me, I think, because the places I go to in creative work have been pretty heavy. I write death well, I find. I do really much darker stuff when it’s creatively rooted. I’m a little too aware of it, and I’m not a big fan of the delving I do for those writing things. Or, I haven’t been.

I can’t imagine it’s all sunshine and roses being in Stephen King’s head, and that’s almost the genre I like to write in, but more Denis Johnson-ish.

I’ve had moments of writing fiction and such over the last years, but it was really about 16 years ago that I was last focused on doing creative writing. I dismiss myself from it because I don’t take myself seriously.

But I should. And now I am. Or, well, soon I am.

I moved here to pursue writing. I moved here to put the brakes on and turn my life 180 degrees away from where it was.

Have you ever seen the movie The Wonder Boys? I think the ending’s a bit of a sell-out, but let’s face it, sometimes life actually works out, so maybe it’s buyable if you’re a less skeptical soul like myself.

Anyhow, there’s this whole bit where Michael Douglas’ a loser has-been author-cum-professor whose book-in-progress is read by his student Katie Holmes, and she tells him how he’s always teaching them in class that writing is about making choices. She points to his manuscript and says she feels like he made no choices.

Life’s like writing. It’s about making choices.

When life was sapping my will to write ergo be myself, my choice was to get the hell out of the city that was distracting me so constantly and move to a quiet seaside small city on an island so I could find myself and be the writer I ought to have been by now.

I read not too long ago some famous creative talking about some writer they love, saying the guy took time off writing to “have an interesting life.”

I promised myself I’d do that in my new city. Take a break, enjoy it, and in the winter get my focus on.

After all, life isn’t interesting when you’re a writer. You turn off the TV and turn on the mind’s eye. You sit, you tap your fingers, cross your legs, uncross them, lean on your elbow, scratch your head, and occasionally come up with a few words before you decide your back’s stiff and you need a cup of tea.

That’s writing, I’m afraid, in all its unsexy glory. It’s a triumphant assault on everything that’s fun in life.

I mean, I live HERE. Would YOU rather be writing, or exploring for your first six months?

And it’s probably why I love it and wish I could latch onto it without so much “shoulda coulda woulda” bullshit that happens when one’s failing to adopt the new “habit” of writing.

But I’m a Canadian. In three months, I’ve gone from having 18 hours of daylight a day down to 12 hours. I’m desperately trying to enjoy the rest of this amazing “Indian summer” as the air freshens, breezes intensify, and leaves go Technicolor.

Soon, we’ll be down to 10, then 8 hours of daylight. Winds will howl across the Pacific and beat the hell out of my little coastal community. Night will consume a full two-thirds of every day.

Writing is something that lends itself to the winter season. Every author has wanted to start a story with “It was a dark and stormy night” with good reason. Because they’ve got a glass of wine, warm slippers, and a November storm is crashing upon their windows. It was indeed a dark and stormy night, and the writin’ was good.

No, it is not often indeed that a writer says exactly what they mean to say when they meant to say it. It’s why, for every 10–15 things we write, maybe one is memorable.

Once in a rare blue moon it happens, and what do you do then? You write more and more and more, day in and day out. You devour words of every kind, you explore where they take you, and you hang on for your life.

Real writing is an unseeable journey. It’s like most things in life, you think you know where you’re going, but very often you’ll arrive having taken a path you could never have predicted.

But that’s the fun in it.

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The Creativity Conundrum

Either it’ll move me
or it’ll move right through me.”

- Gordon Downie

Lately, life dictates that I consider my creative avenues and where my priorities lie, like anyone who choses a creative life to pursue.

By DAVE DONALD from THIS Magazine

The “money” route is easier. Always is. Paying rent’s so rewarding, never mind buying food.

But I was raised Catholic. Religious allusions are never far from mind, especially where the proverbial root of all evil is concerned.

The devil I know — that of paying rent, taking an easy way out with a “Yes, master, and how low should I bend?” kind of agreeability — is hardly shameful. Better writers than me have sold their soul and ink blotter just to make it through another dry period.

Then there are pompous but admirable asshats who never figured out how to sell out, like James Joyce and his times sleeping on a cot in the back of the Parisian bookshop Shakespeare and Co. Poverty’s a suit a lot of writers have worn with pride.

I don’t know.

I really struggle with this, even though I’m pretty sure I know where I want to go, where I need to go — where I will go.

In my long and storied past, I’ve made the mistake of trying to sell out and capitalize on my writing, the bad way. I fucked that up. It messed with me creatively, it robbed me of excellent chances, and left me with creative scarring and a bruised ego.

As this opportunity approaches, I’m left considering my options. I’ve also got risky big projects in mind for proposing, but I need to wrap my head around each. And develop serious guts, say no to other things, and believe in my outcome.

I don’t think my creative dilemma comes down to a matter of soul or integrity, though. It’s not such a high-minded ideal, though artists over the centuries have made it seem as such.

I think it’s a really matter of pragmatism and/or individual work methods.

If you want to do something to the best of your ability, you must do it with the entirety of your focus. Spreading yourself thin and making yourself a jack of all trades is great if you’re content to be well-spread over life, but for those of us who have ONE goal, ONE dream, doesn’t it make more sense to pursue it 100%, rather than diverting efforts?

I don’t want to live out my days writing ad copy or jingles. I have a journalism degree. I have a vision.

You may scoff at the idea of “journalism” today, but I sought my degree out of worship for everyone from HL Mencken to Samuel Clemens,  all the way through Barry Farrell, Lester Bangs, Hunter Thompson, on up to Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, and anyone else who threw their voice into the social fabric that built our world.

I went to school out of belief that a single story or photo can change the world, like when the photo of a head on a stake in the Congo in 1880s became the catalyst for the first-ever worldwide human rights movement as the beginning of the Congo’s Rubber Genocide was establishing itself. (See Adam Hochschild’s brilliant King Leopold’s Ghosts to learn about this under-discussed attrocity.)

Fuck TMZ and every other site that denigrates that which I studied out of my own foolishly naive and youthful reasons.

I still believe in truth. My truth, your truth — whatever, so long as authenticity defines it.

The heart wants what the heart wants, and I know what I want to do now.

I just hope financial necessity doesn’t force my hand. At this point, it’s not.

In the end, I don’t have to prove or explain myself to anyone. I need to respect myself in the morning and feel like my life has a clear direction. That’s it. You want my shortlist for basic emotional needs? That’s where mine starts.

There is limit of compromise for anyone. You have yours, I have mine.

Creatively speaking, Gord Downie’s nailed it for me in The Tragically Hip’s song lyrics that opens this piece.

If it doesn’t move me, it will move right through me.

Creatively, I need to care. I can phone it in, I just find it hard to live with myself when I do.

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Extreme Writing 101: Scab-picking

The phrase “Physician, heal thyself,” is meant to be a dry poke at the medical profession. You may be god-like, but you can’t fix yourself.

Writer, heal thyself,” however, isn’t a poke, it’s a goal.

In talking with a friend over dinner last night, I likened writing to the extreme sports of the artistic world. No other art requires one to be so isolated and confrontational, so alone and challenged, for so long. It’s an endurance sport, one with almost impossible odds. You’ll never say everything you want to say, you’ll never be as complete as you want to be. You never get to the end and go, “WOW, look at what I did!” like when one climbs a mountain; you’re always flawed and missing a certain something.

There is no “right” way to write, unlike what the schools will tell you. Grammar isn’t even as rigid as you might think it to be. Schools of thought exist on many different grammatical styles. The most hotly contested wordgeek event of the year is the Oxford Dictionary releases annual new words. “Unfollow” was a big one last year.

There is a right way to do the writing, though.

From a place of truth. Honesty. Rawness. Forget what your mother taught you about picking at scabs. Rip that motherfucker off.

This book I’m writing is highly cathartic. I’m forcing myself to be more honest there than I am for you. It’s not that I’ve been afraid of sharing those truths with you… it’s just that I think it’s kinda like how women shouldn’t wear microskirts — don’t just give that away, honey.

You haven’t earned the right to know about my deepest, darkest passages. This needs to be a two-way street. Right now, I give to you, you take, I get nothing. But that’s the way of the blogging world.

In a year or two you’ll be able to buy your very own copy, and feed the belly of this beast. That’s when you earn it. And that’s not me being a bitch, that’s a brutal fiscal reality.

What, I’m supposed to eat idealism for breakfast? That’s how it works if I choose art, not ratrace? Really?

There’s not many things in this world that I love to do, am good at doing, and see myself wanting to do for the rest of my life. There’s nothing, actually — except writing. For that to happen, for me to pull these scabs, spend late nights staring in blackness at a cieling I can’t even see, as I think of topics I want to tear apart, I need to pay my rent.

At some point there enters into this a consciousness about you, my audience. I know you’re there. I can now engage in a monologue that’s both true to me, yet relatable for you.

It’s an interesting consciousness. An even more interesting exercise.

If I was in grade three, I’d simply explain it as: I find writing weird, and writing for an audience even weirder.

It’s something I know in my heart I’m very good at — but I see myself as being very good at writing the kind of thing I like reading; not necessarily “very good” at the craft as a whole. If I was GOOD, it would have to be harder for me, right?

Then again, I’ve never really tackled fiction. Who knows, right? But, still, I don’t follow traditional writing schools or all the Proper Things To Do. I’m not even very linear, I go all over the place. But nothing comes more comfortably for me in life than writing.

I was talking with writer friends about Twitter — they don’t follow me and I don’t know if they’ve even seen my Twitter stream, but I pepper the thing with one-liners. I’m all about the jokey stuff and scathing observations. And one says, “I don’t understand some people — how they just post all their best stuff, great one-liners. I mean, you could spend up to 60 minutes composing a single tweet…”

And I said nothing. I’ve never spent more than two minutes on a single tweet. Never! It just pops in my head and BOOM, there it is. There are so many areas in my life that DON’T work efficiently, though.

But there? Writing? It’s seldom a struggle, not anymore. For six years, I’d have better luck squeezing water from a rock than pushing out readable words, but once I found my way out of that writer’s block, I’ve never gone back.

At some point, you gotta figure out who’s the lion (the writing) and who’s the tamer (me), and then it’s all about remembering who’s in charge.

It’s my extreme sport. I’m always pushing to see what new thing I can say, what new button I can push. It’s what I really, really enjoy doing — whether you’re reading it or whether it’s gathering dust until it finds its way between covers or never sees the light of day. THAT’s my extreme sport. That’s where my life’s legacy will probably be found, in words I’ve cobbled together over decades and credos I’ve hammered out one phrase at a time.

There are people who go their who life without ever knowing who they are.

I may be broke, facing losing my job in the coming days, unlucky in love, always rehabbing, waging battles with ADHD, and any number of other things…

But I know exactly who I am, who I want to be, what’s important to me in life, and what I cannot live without doing — what’s as important to me as the air I breathe.

Writing makes me one of the richest people I know.

Hopefully I can take that figurative statement and make it literal in a “Holy shit, we’re capitalists?” kind of way over the next year — but not at the risk of losing my soul or my self.

Some prices can’t be unpaid. That, too, people can go a lifetime without learning.

Like I said, I’m one of the richest people I know.

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So, How’d I Lose 70 Pounds? MY Weight-Loss Secret.

THIS POSTING’S DEDICATED TO ANYONE WHO THINKS THEYRE STUCK BEING FAT. It’s not all hand-holding and gentle. I cut through the bullshit. You want your reality check? Start here. Oh, and I’m not selling a fuckin’ thing. I’m just trying to help you do what I’ve done, because it’s WORTH it.

I get a lot of people asking me how I lost my weight. Like there’s some magical store you can walk into, point, and say, “I know, I’ll do it THAT way.”

After a lifetime of being fat, trying shit, and finally figuring it out, you know what I think? There’s only one way to lose weight. Continue reading

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Whip Me, Beat Me, Slap Me – Just Don’t Judge Me

While all the good little people were out getting in touch with their god of choice, I was having a lovely Sunday morning watching a BDSM fairytale, Secretary.

I’ve been meaning to see Secretary since its release in 2002, as I’ve been a lifelong fan of James Spader ever since I loved hating him in Pretty in Pink when I was just 13.

I remember being apprehensive about the movie, though, way back in 2002. BDSM, I thought, was largely for Weirdos. I suspect the movie was the first really mainstream movie to introduce the lifestyle to a large percentage of the population who probably walked out of the theatre with a silly grin pasted on their lips. It’s not so bad, they likely thought. A little odd, and weird, but certainly not this horridly perverse thing their churches had them believing it was.

Since then, my eyes have opened. No, I’m not into S&M, though I don’t mind a little smack on my ass from time to time, but I’ll probably never join the movement. I ain’t, however, writing that in stone.

The movie Secretary does not dispel the notion that those who gravitate to this pain-for-pleasure lifestyle tend to be somewhat broken inside. It echoes the common perception that the participants are hurting after a life of shortcomings and trouble, and this is their way of finding a coping mechanism. Control the pain that pains you, and you will control the life around you; this seems to be the prevailing wisdom.

So there are those who scoff at them and scorn them, as if they should find healthier mechanisms for dealing.

Aren’t we all hurting to a degree, though? Don’t we all nurse regrets and fears and wishes and wants? Sure we do. But the rest of us got the magic “All Better Now” button installed when we were manufactured. Or did we? Hmm, perhaps we could use a little coping, too.

And what would you suggest? How about a more socially accepted method? Alcohol to cure to ills? Cocaine’s making a comeback, you know. Perhaps cardio-holism is more your thing. Sweat, then, baby. How about a double-banana split? A bag of Doritos? How about shoplifting a new shade of red lipstick? Say, I hear they have a double-bill at church this weekend.

The point is, we all confront our demons in ways particular to us. The notion of willingly allowing ourselves to be hurt seems to be one that most people can’t handle. It’s not as if life doesn’t bruise us often enough as it is, is what people think.

And, sure, there are some right-fucked sadomasochists out there, but there are also some incredibly well-balanced ones as well. It takes all kinds, just like bowling. The thing is, do you understand why you like to have pain inflicted on you? Are you aware of what it does for you? By that same token, are you aware of why you want sex and romance to be all feathers and soft kisses?

It’s all about self-knowledge, this life thing. The more you know about what motivates you to do what you do, the greater your grasp on things will be. If you’re oblivious, then you’re in trouble. Simple.

I’d argue that the person who likes only the soft love – the gentlest of kisses, the lightest of touches – is equally as mentally ill-equipped as the out-of-touch person who prefers only pain. I’d say that they probably fail to realize just how sheltered they’re trying to be from the harshness of reality, and that they need to wake up and smell the rough sex.

I think anyone who’s only into pain for pleasure, and has no other outlets, is unbalanced. Just like in Secretary, there are plenty who like a little roughness and pain in between the soft kisses and lingering caresses. Balance is good. Experimentation is good. Sticking to vanilla all your life, or just Rocky Road, is probably never a healthy way to go.

There is nothing wrong with loving a little roughness. There’s nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to enjoying your lover smacking your ass so hard it’s red when they’re done. There’s simply nothing wrong with liking anything, as long as you understand why you like it, and you’re not just using it to cover up the ills of your existence.

Society doesn’t understand BDSM, and they’re not going to anytime soon, either. Acceptance is increasing, but as long as it’s all the hardcore folk riding front and centre and playing the roles of spokespeople, there will always be a negative perception about the lifestyle.

It is what it is. Enjoy what you do, and know that being discreet doesn’t mean being ashamed; it’s simply self-preservation in a society that just doesn’t understand. Sounds like being gay in the ‘40s, don’t it? Oh, well.

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