It is an emptiness, a hollow feeling deep inside somewhere that is difficult to describe and seemingly impossible to fill. It gnaws at you from within, a tiny itch that grows every day as you go about your normal daily routine. It is a tiny voice that interrupts you at the office, walking down the street or even at the dinner table surrounded by the familiar, asking, ‘Is this it? Isn’t there something more? I want to feel whole. I want to feel alive.’
It was this voice, this unquenched thirst, that first brought me to Illusions, nervous, anxious, longing for a new kind of sensation that could remind me that the world is still as full of wonder and excitement as I once believed it to be. It wasn’t a lack of life experiences that led me down this path. It wasn’t a lack of travel, a lack of culture, nor a lack of lovers or relationships. It was a realization that the ‘norm,’ the “vanilla,” the desk job, the scheduled car pools and play dates, mind-numbing television, artificial social media — none of this was particularly interesting or invigorating. I was stuck in a bubble of my own making. Life was a constant cycle of ennui and disappointment, complacency and longing. I didn’t want to just sip on what life had to offer anymore. My thirst had grown too dire and nothing I did to quench it was enough to satisfy. I wanted to dive headfirst into deep and dark waters of mystery, immerse myself in something new and powerful. I wanted passion.
That’s the thing about limits. We forget to stretch them, or we grow accustomed to the lesson that the boundaries set by society, by those around us, are set to keep us safe. In many ways, they are. But there are those of us who understand that life is not about playing it safe, it is about pushing these boundaries, testing ourselves at every moment so that we may grow. Innovation and inspiration do not come from the safety within a corral, but from what we encounter when we see what is beyond. It is when we push, take risks, try something new that we better understand ourselves, our own experiences and strengths. It is only when we see the world from a new perspective that we can truly appreciate what we have.
The world is made up of dualities, and we cannot truly understand one without the other: victory does not taste as sweet without failure, pleasure is nothing without the experience of pain. A “vanilla” life, a mundane routine, is like lukewarm water or bland food. I wanted more. My biggest wonder now is where I learned that we are not supposed to ask for more. Why do we as a society feel such a need to dictate what is right or wrong, what is deemed okay and what is judged as failure? I was determined to find out what was so wrong about the ‘wrong.’
BDSM was a culture I had yet to experience. It felt as though Lifestyle players were in an entirely different world from mine. My personal exposure had been limited to experimenting with light bondage or superficial spankings with romantic partners, but these experiences always felt off, a cheap masquerade of confusing emotions leaving me with more questions, more emptiness. Nothing felt right, nor did it feel like enough. I was always worried — worried not only about technique but about the consequences of expressing my desires to my partners, my need for more, more, more. I was worried about the stigma attached to ‘sexual deviancy,’ what my cravings said about me.
Working and learning at Illusions, I now understand what was missing. I realize now that there was a lack of knowledge, wisdom and especially a lack of safety. I was missing the major component of trust, and this kept me from truly opening myself to… everything. BDSM is truly a Lifestyle with a code of Honor, Loyalty and Dedication embedded within its core and within the men and women who honor the fact that it is not a world of aberrance, but a space of freedom. Freedom to explore, freedom to be open and honest without consequence, freedom to express who you are and what you want out of life. Freedom to seek, freedom to embrace, and freedom to grow.
It was not until my first one-on-one session with an experienced Mistress as a trainee at the dungeon that I truly felt this freedom. I began with anxiety and fear, but I believed in the trust I had for Her and decided to push myself: to exercise my will, to test my fears, to push the limits of my pain, and to finally let go of all of the control I have always tried so hard to hold onto. I closed my eyes as she placed a blindfold over them and focused only on the sound of her soft yet penetrating voice lulling me into what I can only describe as a meditative trance of extreme mindfulness in which all that mattered was pure sensation. All of my fears subsided as I began to understand. It was an experience involving a connection that was somehow spiritual, healing, rejuvenating. I came out of the session grinning, my muscles loosened, my mind cleared. It was a transformative hour, comparable to a day at the spa complete with a full, deep-tissue massage. I felt powerful. I felt free.
Illusions has since become a safe haven for me. The forceful and foreign energy I first encountered upon stepping into the Dungeon is one of passion, of strength, of community. BDSM is a world where I can fully embrace myself as a woman, as a sexual being, as a human. The experiences and interactions I undergo here are not about the physical pleasure I thought I was seeking, but more so the mental and metaphysical growth and exploration I did not know I needed. It is this liberation and wonder that now drives me every day and which I hope to share with any who have felt this same emptiness that overwhelmed me for so long.
I invite anyone who feels lost, wandering in a cloud of mediocrity, dissatisfied and unsatiated, to break away from the everyday confines that bind you. Let go of the anxieties that plague you when considering all that you are searching for, and quiet the voice within questioning you every step of the way. You are beautiful, you are worthy. There is no need to fear. You, too, are worthy of this freedom. You are worthy of this power.
When you finally allow yourself to let go, it will be like nothing you have experienced before. When you are ready, we will be here waiting.
There is no need to fear. Freedom awaits you. Embrace it.
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