Saturday morning I woke up so nauseous with excitement and anxiety I honestly thought I would have to run to the bathroom at any moment. I walked around the house getting ready to leave for Spanksgiving in St. Louis holding my stomach and whining to Daddy “I am soooo nervous!” See, a few weeks ago Daddy and I were invited to attend Spanksgiving for a day so we would have the chance to meet Susan Wright, The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom Board and the organizers of the event, members of STL3. Since Daddy and I have never attended a lifestyle event before, we had no idea what to expect.
Not only that, but I had no clue what I was going to say to the woman who I have heard so much about throughout my research on consent and BDSM. She had become this mythical creature, much like a mermaid, who I thought I would only hear her singing from afar but never get the chance to catch a glimpse of. I was about to finally see this mermaid, up close and personal… as long as I didn’t get sick on the way there first.
We made it safely
When we got to the hotel I had to take a moment to compose myself before I could actually get out of the car. Daddy sat with me, giving me words of encouragement, and after a few minutes I was READY! We walked inside, The Kit in one hand and our digital tickets ready. The lobby was sequestered by hanging black drapes so you couldn’t catch a glimpse of the kinky activities beyond it and registration was nestled off to the right. A young lady scans our tickets and another gentleman hands us our badges as he gives us the run down of their electronics policy (for those curious it was: “If we see it out, we’ll confiscate it and destroy it”). We grab a Spanksgiving program and walk around the corner to browse through it for a moment before we head down the hallway.
Around another corner, right before the main area, is the NCSF table. We chat for a second with the man at the table and grab a pamphlet. He notices our “What is your Safe Word?” buttons and we quickly describe the Fifty Shades of Grey movie event we are planning. Right next to their table is Denny, a tattoo artist who is tattooing during the event. As much as I would have loved to stop and talk to him as well, I’m just too distracted. It’s getting close to starting time.
We walk past a Greeter who is checking badges and into the area where the classrooms are located. We find the room where NCSF is presenting their “Consent Counts Panel Discussion”. There were about a dozen or so people in the room. I’m thankful it wasn’t a large crowd. Susan starts off by introducing the board members who are present and then begins the discussion. I am in heaven. She speaks so passionately about her work, about what NCSF is doing and then we get a sneak peak of the results of a recent NCSF survey “Consent Counts”(opens as PDF).
The results are great discussion points about what consent is and isn’t, why some results were different than expected or so similar to those in the vanilla world. While on a topic of consent violation, a lady, tightly holding the hand of her partner, tells us her story and I have to hold back tears. She remarked that because of police involvement she never got closure with her ex and I have the chance to ask her whether she thought a drop-in community center would have been beneficial for her (since this is ASI’s goal) and she tells me she believes it would have helped to have had community support like that.
The discussion is marvelous, I love every second of it and I sit there soaking in everyone’s comments. Before I know it, a hour and a half has gone by and the panel is over. A line of people waiting to talk to Susan forms and I wait my turn, nervously wringing my hands. I remember we brought extra buttons and a few business cards with us so I grab one of each from The Kit.
Then it’s my turn.
“I don’t know if you heard we were coming, but I’m…”
I hand her my card and before I can finish my sentence she exclaims “Oh, you’re that girl!!!”
We chat for a few moments, we hug, she puts our button on and then we part ways in the hallway. Of course, that’s a very shortened version of our encounter. 😀
Outside the classrooms is the Silent Auction table full of all kinds of goodies. Everything from a spanking bench, Hello Kitty blinking lights, event tickets and fetish wear. We knew we weren’t staying until closing time, so we just browsed. We heard later the silent auction raised over $1700 for local food pantries! I’d call that a success!
Down the hall and overflowing into another large room is the Kinky Shopping Mall. There are corsets, knives, rope, exotic wooden paddles, beautiful chainmail jewelry and so many wonderful and unique items. Daddy and I make a trip around, stopping at The Violet Wand store to check out the selection of medical and electrical toys. We pick up a new wartenberg wheel at Damon Dark‘s booth, marvel at Industrial Disease Toys’ amazing Triple Play Toy System and I fall in love with a beautiful purple leather Dragon Tail whip at Chicago Tool Works. Although I mentioned almost everyone, there were more, so if you’re interested you can check out a full list of vendors online.
Maintaining the Mojo
We spent the thirty minute break between classes shopping and then decided to attend Boi Kris’ class “Maintaining the Mojo”, which is about overcoming life’s “speed bumps”, “fireproofing” your relationship and rebuilding trust.
This was a really great class that involved us splitting from our partners and breaking up into small groups. First, we determine that most relationship issues come down to a breach of trust and then we briefly discuss Kacie Cunningham‘s “Seven (very difficult) Steps to Rebuilding Trust”. I’m not going to give those away, as they aren’t really mine to give and, besides I want to encourage everyone reading this to attend Kris’ workshop, or read Kacie’s book “Conquer Me“, for themselves.
Next we broke down the possible issues we face in our daily lives into “Physical”, “Mental” and “Emotional” categories. Each individual group discussed a story about a “friend” who had a problem in one of those categories and made suggestions as a group on how to support and repair those issues through the other two categories (i.e. If your “friend” is in a long-distance relationship with their partner (distance being a physical issue), then they can provide mental and emotional support to each other through texts, phone calls, snail mail, etc)
It was interesting to hear the different situations people were facing and being in a group with new ears gave fresh perspective on our “friends'” issues. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Kris and his beautiful partner Sarah were able to inject humor into this pretty serious topic with ease. You could really tell that they had this amazing chemistry comprised of support, understanding and the ability to poke fun at each other once in awhile.
I learned a lot from the class and found the “hands-on” approach beneficial, whereas I don’t know that I would have taken away quite as much if they had just stood in front us and talked. By the end of the class, I realized Daddy and I had been working on our own version of Kacie Cunningham’s “Seven Steps” throughout our relationship and even though we had come to a point where communication and compromise had become sort of a natural process for us, it definitely is still a hard one. It really is amazing what you can overcome when you work really hard at communicating openly with your partner and make a true effort to squash bad behaviors.
Time for Some Fun
As if we weren’t already having a blast, now the mentoring dungeon, little and pet play spaces were roaring! As a little, I was immediately drawn to a table full of coloring books, stickers and temporary tattoos. I was coloring a beautiful princess, using way too much pink, I got a “tattoo” and then we wandered into the mentoring dungeon. Of course, the very first thing you notice is the lightning-like *crack* of whips. Or maybe not. Maybe you noticed the human cage or the St. Andrew’s cross in the back. The room is huge and full of people. There are several sections set up for different types of play, with small groups around each area watching as someone demonstrates.
After we watched a few people practice cracking their whips I gravitated towards CBS’ violet wand set up. There were two tables of lovely electrical goodies. He asked if we had ever played with one before and then offered to show us how it worked. He goes over some safety questions with me and then some good information about how to properly use a violet wand. THIS is how it is done folks! Always go over safety before play. Always.
First he attaches a large lightbulb and tests it on himself before easing towards my exposed arm. I barely feel it. He attaches a smaller lightbulb next. It’s a little more powerful, but not necessarily painful. He shows us the difference between bare skin, direct contact to skin and contact through clothing and then tries out a few more attachments before we say thank you and step away, the hair on our arms sizzling.
Daddy walks out of the Dungeon with a huge grin on his face, ya know.. that sadistic grin your Top gets when they really enjoy themselves? That kind. At the sight of that grin I suddenly found myself slightly nervous about adding an electrical toy to our collection, yet excited butterflies fluttered in my stomach at the same time.
The Warrior Princess Submissive
Before I get into Michael’s class, I want to say.. two hours is not nearly enough time to play in the little area AND in the Dungeon between classes. *pouts* Next time, we will just have to stay for the whole weekend! (Do you think that’s a good excuse to give to Daddy?)
After leaving the Dungeon, Daddy and I snuck out for a bite to eat and returned, probably a few minutes late, with much excitement for The Warrior Princess Submissive workshop. When we walk into the room, the staff is already having to bring in more chairs! Daddy brings a few extra in with us as we walk in and places our seats in the back.
Mike is already in swing, giving us the background of how the WPS came to be and what his BDSM philosophy is. The Warrior Princess Submissive is that head strong, independent, in charge person who you would never envision kneeling at the feet of anyone, yet at the end of the day.. they come home and do just that. They can spend their entire day ordering people around at their job, but when they finds themselves in the presence of “the one”, THEIR master, THEIR Dominant, they are submissive. They may even be conflicted about their submission, unable to mesh it in their head with their feminist viewpoints or their position at work, but in their hear they know they are submissive.
While Mike discusses what kind of characteristics a WPS has, how to know if you are one and why he believes Warrior Princess Submissives are going to be the BDSM community’s saviors, there is loud laughter, lots of heads nodding in agreement and even I have to hold back tears. I can *feel* in the room, as I watch Dominants kiss their submissives on the head and hold them tight, that so many people are finally finding their place- as a Warrior Princess Submissive.
Writer’s Note: Michael Makai (real name: Charles Michael Segaloff) recently plead guilty to a lesser charge after a runaway minor was found in his home and allegedly was involved sexually with him and his girlfriend. “Michael Makai” was sentenced to two years in federal prison. Tymber Dalton has done a marvelous job following his case and making the information pertaining to him available here. We are leaving our review of his class up as it was a part of our overall experience at Spanksgiving, but will not recommend reading any of his books. They are haunting reminder that even predators can find themselves comfy within BDSM.
It’s not Over yet
We now had been at Spanksgiving for almost eight hours and since we had left our little monsters at home in the care of family members, we knew it was time to head back. But, of course, we didn’t want to leave without saying thank you to the people who had made our trip possible! We quickly ducked in to the “Staff Only” room (with permission of course!) and said thank you to members of STL3. I left with a huge smile on my face and a sense of disbelief.
I was in state of ecstasy for the rest of the weekend and even today, four days later, I am still connecting with all the amazing people I met. I’m digesting all the fantastic information we received and working with a new fervor.
We may have only spent a few hours at Spanksgiving, compared to the hundreds of others who were able to stay the entire weekend (I envy you people!), but I had an experience that will last me a lifetime.
About the Presenters:
My sincerest apologizes to everyone I referred to in a generalization. I was so excited I forgot to take note of everyone’s names! I remember your faces, I swear and next time we meet, I promise I won’t forget!