Friday, December 31, 2010

Kaelah's Corner (Dec 2010):
Curse My Name

I've written this post yesterday afternoon. Meanwhile I have thought about simply deleting it because it is quite personal and was written in a very sad and shaky mood. But Ludwig is of the opinion that I shouldn't throw it into the bin. I already see a few things a bit different by now, so I've finally decided to publish yesterday's post, but with some little changes which are highlighted in italic. So, here we go:

Actually today's post should have been the second part of the account of my first topping experience. However, it isn't. Because I'm not in the right mood. I'm sitting here in front of the computer, my fingers are cold and there are still dry tears on my face. No, I haven't been spanked! The reason for my disturbance is Sacher-Masoch.

That guy is in my life for only three days now, but I already hate him. Ludwig started reading „Venus in Furs“ to me and I realised from the very beginning that everything in me struggled against having to listen to that story. We only made it to page 58 of 141 pages and listening to that first part of the novella already cost me a hell lot of energy. Today Ludwig wanted to read the next section and I completely shut down. So he gave up and decided to leave me alone for a while.

I tried to understand why the book is so horrible for me. First of all, it's about kink, a topic that touches me personally. Then, when I'm read the story by Ludwig I can't „escape“. There's no reading faster when the story is disturbing me, no quick breaks when it's getting too much. But what's so bad about the story? I think it's the characters and how they treat each other. Right from the beginning it becomes clear that the relationship between Severin and Wanda, the two main characters, must have ended in a disaster. He is alone, he has written down their story and he is of the opinion that one must treat women hard and disrespectful in order not to lose their respect. One can only be hammer or anvil. It's a point of view that makes me very sad. As does the whole story.

Severin wants to live at the mercy of a cruel woman and pushes Wanda, who dearly loves him, into that role. Obviously he regrets that later. I don't know why, but I feel awfully sorry for the characters and having to watch them walking into their doom is almost unbearable for me. Obviously I don't have any protection mechanism that allows me to only be an observer. I can't stop thinking of what experiencing a situation like that would mean to me. It makes me think about my kink and how I don't want my kinky life to be. And it makes me feel like this story represents a form of kinky life which I neither want to experience nor want to be confronted with (especially if I can't do anything to change the protagonists' minds). I get completely overwhelmed and all I want to do is run away.

The same thing happens to me from time to time in the online spanking community as well. Reading too much about master-slave relationships, dark scenarios and severe beatings suddenly makes me panic and want to stop reading about kink at all. I can't just look at these things from an outside perspective. I always ask myself what they mean for me, why I am different and whether that makes me less brave or less desirable. Especially when I read about concepts I can't understand, but which are interesting for Ludwig. That gives me the feeling I'm not good enough for him, not open enough, not tough enough.

A few days ago, Ludwig saw a picture from one of the Headmaster's study films on another blog. Instantly he began to smile. „That whipping bench is really fantastic. The girls look extremely beautiful on it, especially when they throw their heads back during the canings. It would be great to have a similar bench.“ My stomach churned. I know that Ludwig wants a bench like this. I don't. The reason is simple: I wouldn't be able to see it as our bench, it would always be the Lupus-like bench and therefore it would always be connected with those good-looking brave girls who filmed with them. In other words, it would be nothing else but a reminder of my limits, my struggles with the concept of severe play and my resulting insufficiency. How could I ever enjoy erotic play with that bench?

At the same time these thoughts make me angry as well. Because the rational part of me knows that I don't have to feel insufficient at all. While Ludwig and I have common interests and opinions, we have different tastes and preferences at times as well. Accepting and loving each other the way we are is part of the challenge of a relationship. Either it works or the relationship won't survive. But being different and not being able to share every single fantasy with one's partner definitely isn't a reason for feeling bad.

Well, I guess that's just how it is. Concepts which I don't understand tend to scare me. Of course I can deal rationally with that fear most of the time. But sometimes, like today, it's getting too much. Then I have to protect myself by shutting down because I can't protect myself when being confronted with these things.

But honestly, I don't really want to be different. Having better protection mechanisms would be great sometimes. But then I wouldn't be the person that I am, would I? And luckily I have strategies that help me when I'm feeling overwhelmed. One is talking to friends or writing blog posts and asking the readers whether they have made similar experiences. Another one is listening to music that helps me to release my fear and anger. The most fantastic song I've recently discovered is from one of my favourite bands, Blind Guardian. It's called Curse My Name. Listening to it helps me to sort out my mind and to release agressions at the same time. Unfortunately there is no evil king whom I could hunt down in order to feel better. Because the reason why I'm uncomfortable lies within me.
As for Sacher-Masoch, he might have enjoyed the process of being hunted down, anyway...

Well, but I feel that writing this post already made me a lot calmer and happier. Maybe I'll even manage to read the rest of that damn story! I guess reading it myself would be easier than being read the story because it allows me to walk the way into damnation with the protagonists faster by going into turbo speed reading mode.

And as long as Ludwig is able to deal with my strange reactions from time to time and I can love each other despite of our differences, as long as I don't lose my friends and as long as there are good songs to listen to, there is nothing I can't sort out and nothing I have to worry about for the upcoming year. Thanks for reading this rather unusual post, thanks for all your comments and the new insights you gave me in 2010 and a Happy New Year to all of you!

Update: Of course I've read the whole novella tonight and I'm feeling much better today. Sacher-Masoch's final conclusion at the end of the story is even quite nice, although I don't fully agree with him. After having finished the novella I have been able to sort everything out, to find out what I like or don't like about the story and what it tells me about my kink. My standpoint is clear and solid again and I was reminded of a few things by the story. I think I'll write a bit more about it in a follow-up post next year. Take care and see you all in 2011!


! said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Kaelah. It's good to read about you working through your emotions and being able to move on. Certainly not a post to toss in the trash bin. Now I am only left with a slight sense of curiosity about that novel...


Happy New Year, I'm looking forward to catching up on the posts here.


Ursus Lewis said...

Happy New Year Kaelah and Ludwig. Keep your good work here up. I love to read this blog. I wish you all alot of nice spanking plays in 2011.

Rich Person said...

Well, I was waiting on the video to download, so I went over to Au Fil des Jours and behold:

Are you everywhere now?


Stan/E. said...

Well, Rich, its a very personal choice to speak of my german friends and "blogofthemonth" them...

I liked their video so much (because of many reason, the first one is "truth and real", the second should be "love", I guess) that I decide to share with my french audience. I discover the Palast long time ago (and even spoke of Kaelah "naked in snow") but I am sure a lot of readers in France did not knew the blog. So...

Redhead said...

Very briefly. Regarding the bench, some people, I’m one of them; enjoy their kink by responding to it from within. There is no sense of dependency on artifacts or others – other than being/having a partner who’s self-confident in their competence and naturally in a similar mental wave—one who understands the amount of control and power to be exchanged on a specific occasion. Absolutely no sense of domination or submission, rather two people trading facets of their trust and their gifts of good-humored obedience to the moment they can offer to each other. In that envelope, anything becomes organically possible, possibly more testing and extreme than several outside the envelope would ever like to endure or envisage, but always totally owned by the participants. External influences (e.g. the bench) can be aberrant one day, but later, as our needs and fetishes change, develop and coalesce, tastes like my sister’s repulsive one for blue cheese, become acceptable, desirable, even craved for.

It’s years since I read VIP/F, but recall Severin’s manipulation of Wanda disturbed me. But then, it was written in an era where Nietschen philosophies, the ‘Sturm und Drang’ (Storm and Urge) movement in music, Schnitzler’s ‘Reigen’ and other ways of expressing inner repression where starting to flicker and spark, sometimes producing rather bizarre explosions of thought – and like most explosions, the consequences were seldom predictable or controllable! (Redhead Freud on male ejaculation? Nah!!!) Have authors and poets wrung their reasoning dry simply to get a drip of an excuse to describe a core desire? Desires that today we naturally accept as our right to explore and enjoy in any consensual way we chose, including using acute and prolonged physical discomfort creatively and artistically to serve them.


Pandora Blake said...

I got really excited when I found Venus in Furs - finally, an expression of the dark images I thought I'd been alone in enjoying! - but I found it similarly disappointing. It wasn't later until I realised that this, like my other favourite when I was younger, Exit to Eden, both portrayed D/s relationships as dysfunctional.

Actually it's funny, because Venus in Furs gave me the vocabulary to start my own first D/s relationship. In play I was very much a bottom and masochist - but in the emotional foundation of our relationship the power very much rested with me. And that was encoded when we got together - I knew he'd been interested for ages, I knew we had the same fantasies, and eventually I consented to go out with him on the basis that I was Wanda and he was Severin. It's a wonder we ever managed to kid ourselves he was the dom - the power imbalance was pretty explicit. And, yeah, dysfunctional.

Wouldn't it be lovely if functional, healthy D/s was normal in BDSM erotica, so we had some positive models to follow growing up?

Kaelah said...

@ !:
Yes, I guess in this case getting through with the whole novel was the right choice. I can't find the whipping scenes erotic at all (not even the one M/M scene!) because the scenarios don't fit to my kink. But at least the story made me think and Sacher-Masoch's conclusion can even be seen as a positive one. I think he missed the most important points in his conclusion, though. As I said, I'll write a bit more about this, soon. Maybe you would even like the novel, not everyone is as complicated concerning scenarios which do or don't work as I am! ;-)

@ Prefectdt:
A Happy New Year to you as well! It was good to hear that you finally made it back home. I so hope that your dog will get well soon!

@ Rich:
Yes, we're taking over! ;-) Joking aside, believe me, we were as stunned as you are when we saw that Stan/E. kindly declared the Rohrstockpalast “Blog of the Month”. That was a very nice surprise!

@ Redhead:
I can understand that Ludwig wants a bench like the one in the Lupus films. I think it is not only because he admires their work and the bench would remind him of their good movies. I guess the most important reason is that he likes the position the bottom takes over that bench and the kind of movement the bench allows. Obviously Ludwig isn't the only one who likes this bench very much, otherwise the bench wouldn't have been copied by other producers. I would prefer a bench where the upper part of the body is a bit higher than the bottom and I would prefer ropes instead of leather straps. But, as I said, the main problem for me is that the bench would always remind me of the films and I would always have the feeling that I have to compete with the girls starring for Lupus (which wouldn't be true, Ludwig surely wouldn't compare me to these girls and give me marks).

Concerning Sacher Masoch: I think his main point is that it is difficult to live a life as equal mates, as long as men and women haven't got equal rights and possibilities in a society. So his main point in “Venus in Furs” is a feminist one. And Sacher-Masoch doesn't seem to be a guy who had issues with his kink or suppressed anything. But I think that he forgot to mention in “Venus in Furs” that self-respect and accepting one's partner as they are are also important preconditions for a life as equal mates, no matter whether the relationship includes consensual CP play or not.

@ Pandora:
That sounds like you had a very unique relationship there, indeed! I agree with you, the main problem of the relationship between Severin and Wanda is that for several reasons it isn't a healthy relationship. As I already wrote in my reply to Redhead's comment, Sacher-Masoch blames the social conditions, especially the inequality of men and women. But I think he missed some points here. I'll write more about this in my follow-up post!

Peter8862 said...

I can understand Ludwig's liking for the Lupus bench. It's simple and stable with an attractive concave top. My adjustable design however, has the great advantages of being ergonomically ideal for hand, cane or whip, of being cushioned and much more comfortable with head higher than bottom, and, from your personal viewpoint, carrying no hint of association with the Lupus bench. It readily becomes a coffee table or flattens to stow in a wardrobe or car boot. Need one say more ?

simon said...

happy new year kaelah and ludwig looking forward to more kinky stuff this simon.

Indy said...

Thanks for another brave and very interesting post! Your reaction to Venus in Furs reminds me strongly of the reaction I had to a vanilla (albeit with plenty of whippings) book, The Color Purple by Alice Walker. I got about a third of the way in, and it was too dark to continue. Eventually, I made myself keep going and realize I'd quit at the nadir of the book. The rest was quite positive.

As for BDSM material, your reaction reminds me a bit of mine to 9 1/2 Weeks, which I saw in my early 20s and absolutely hated. I especially hated that my then (and not for long) boyfriend loved it. Looking back, I don't know whether I hated it so much because I was afraid of my kinky side at the time, or because it actually sucked. I suspect the portrayal of BDSM activities as dysfunctional may be part of it. Maybe I'll go back and watch it again at some point to find out.

Happy New Year!

ps my word verification starts with "arnica." Is that some kind of warning?! ;)

Kaelah said...

@ Peter:
Your bench is very practical and comfortable, indeed! :-)

@ Simon:
Thank you and a Happy New Year to you as well!

@ Indy:
I wish you a Happy New Year as well! Sounds like a lot of kinky adventures are lying ahead of you (at least due to the word verification oracle)... ;-)

Unfortunately I didn't like the rest of the novel much more than the first sixty pages... Only the last four pages made it a bit better. Until then it is just the description of a very dysfunctional relationship.

What made me struggle the most was the attempt to explain my negative reactions to Ludwig and to accept the fact that he didn't hate the book as much as I did. Ludwig also finds that the relationship between Severin and Wanda is dysfunctional, but he is more of an observer and doesn't react as emotionally as I do. And he likes Sacher-Masoch's final conclusion, so he thought that I should read the whole book in order to understand what it is all about.

Honza said...

this bench is realy great. For Top and also for bottom. I would like to advise Ludwig to get one.

Rich Person said...


I think it was a good call!

Kaelah said...

@ Honza:
Did you try that bench (or a similar one)? I agree with you that it looks quite comfortable (and safe) for the bottom and it also seems to make sure that there is a very low risk of any mishits, so the position is good for the top as well.

@ Rich:
Thanks! :-)

Honza said...

@Kaelah Yes, I have some expiriences. More of them as a bottom, some as top.
As a top, it is safe. You can not "mishit" and also no moves bottom one.
As bottom, comfortable, no problem with changing position and also safe to men's parts.

Ludwig said...

@ Redhead: I could not relate to Severin's manipulation of Wanda, either. He was not only "topping from the bottom", but trying to make his perfect vision of a domme out of a woman who did not seem to have any disposition for BDSM at all. Obviously, that can not work. And it would have no appeal for me whatsoever, as a bottom or as a top.

(There are parts of the book where Wanda tells Severin that she is starting to enjoy having him as her slave, that maybe he has awoken traits of her personality and desires of hers which she was not aware of before. But I am not sure whether she really feels that way or whether she is simply saying it to fulfil his fantasy.)

I think your cultural associations are a bit off, to be honest. The Sturm und Drang movement, for instance, lasted roughly from the 1760s to the mid-1780s, a full hundred years before Sacher-Masoch wrote Venus in Furs.

@ Indy: You remind me, I still have never seen 9 1/2 Weeks. I'll have to one day. I am not sure that it is a film I would like, but it is one of those much-talked-about films which one should have seen at least once, I suppose.

@ Honza: Well, thank you for the advice. Maybe Kaelah will get a Lupus bench one day, after all. We will see.

Kaelah said...

@ Honza:
Safe to men's parts? Hmm, now you've created some very delicious pictures in my mind... Maybe one day Ludwig might get his bench after all? I'm just not sure how much he'll appreciate it when he finds himself securely tied to it??? ;-)

Oh, and very interesting profile, by the way! I'm absolutely with you about Jethro Tull. I love their music and had the privilege to see them live twice (one time alone and one time with Ludwig).

Honza said...

I thing, he will like this bench. It is great. And also for him, it's very nice view on you on the bench. I hope, that you both will like this bench.

Yes, I like Jethro. I have also been on 2 conserts. One with Ian Anderson, that one was great. But I have been there as photographer and that annoyed me. Hope to have another chance.

Kaelah said...

@ Honza:

“And also for him, it's very nice view on you on the bench.” Yep, I fear that's what Ludwig is thinking, too! ;-)

Has there ever been a Jethro Tull concert without Ian Anderson? I always thought that Jethro Tull IS Ian Anderson (plus some other musicians who change over time)? ;-) Visiting a concert in order to work there surely isn't as much fun as visiting one in one's free time. I cross my fingers for you to get the chance to go to another Jethro Tull concert without having to fulfil any job responsibilities.