By Clara Autumn
Asking a good Dom when she realised she was one is like asking a thirsty person when they first tasted water. I honestly don’t think I could pinpoint a specific point in history when I found my persona of power. There is no dividing line where I turned around and pronounced my love for adoration and all things a little bit deviant. It’s been a slow burner for me over many, many years, and one that has developed alongside my mental health persona.
Facing those who were happy
From the early stages of adulthood, spiralling down into hormonal depression and trying all the antidepressants under the sun, I found comfort in the bizarre, so I used to love getting dressed up. That meant dressing elaborately in tight PVC wiggle skirts and waist-clincher corsets that make breathing a luxury.
The restriction that provided, and the illusion of grace that came with it made me feel good. I could have been wanting to curl up under the bedsheets and cry inconsolably. However with the assistance of a heavy face of make-up and tight lace wonder, I may not have been happier, but I felt more capable of facing those who were.
My dosages were growing
As my collection of corsets grew, so, sadly, did my dosages. Having been diagnosed with severe depression in my early teens, the tables turned in my 20s with the realisation that I indeed had the family illness. It turned out that I lived with bipolar disorder. Later I was diagnosed with bipolar rapid cycling.
Around the same time as my diagnosis, my lifestyle reverted back to where I felt comfortable and in control. I guess for an ex-self-injurer it would be a familiar place of solace. However this wasn’t just me wanting to control the shitty things that were happening in my life, my marriage, or my headspace. This was something different. I just wanted to be the fiery, wild, confident young woman that I had pulled out of the ashes of her own personal forest fire. After all, I had made it into adulthood.
Finding myself, feeling where I was, I went about my rebirth into the realms of comforting deviance. Perhaps I went about it in the wrong way. I jumped on a train and booked an expensive hotel. I packed my best sets of stockings and underwear and invited another man to help me take them off.
Yes reader, I know. But we can’t all be virtuous all the time, can we?
My safe spot is a little more ‘shiny’
This brush with a rush of endorphins carried more punch than Tyson. It was short-lived, and then I had to face the reality of going home. I was faced with once again being the person that my partner expected me to be. That meant a good housewife, dutiful mother, and hard worker. It meant acting stable.
The sad fact of it, is that I never wanted to be someone’s stability.
People don’t seem to desire the quirks you lay on the line for more than a couple of months. Afterwards, you open yourself up to being moulded into a watered-down version of the person who’s bursting to get to the surface, where the air can reignite her fire.
I invite you to think of your safe place, the one place in the world that makes you feel warm and fully embraced. Is it your mother’s house? Your local? A familiar beauty spot? Well, mine looks a little more ‘shiny’.
My first event
The first time I went to an event was after a long period of depression, after recovering from a spinal injury. I had picked my outfit out weeks previously. A plunging neckline, long black cocktail dress, skyscraper black stilettos — and a surprise underneath.
As I walked through the doors the atmosphere was neon but welcoming. Much like going to a good family-run coffee house, but with more rubber and BDSM. As I wandered to the bar, I instantly had an attractive long-haired man offer me a drink. I politely declined.
Wandering around for a while, I observed the etiquette and seminars that were being taught. I noticed that my fellow observers were in a state of considerably less dress than myself. This sent me to the changing room to see if I could rectify this.
As I walked over to the changing room, the bass from the heavy metal vibrated through my heels. I strutted past the weird and wonderful. Older men coming in, in suits and jackets, and coming out dressed as maids. There was a Trans couple wrapping each other in cling wrap. It was a heady place for the senses.
No one batted an eyelid to question how you looked or who you were. There was nothing but beautiful acceptance of the quirks in the human disposition.
PVC, not pills
Being a little nervous of my outfit on walking out, I was glad to hear the familiar voice of an old friend.
‘Oh my, you do look beautiful, Mistress!’
Somehow, the fact my scars were on display didn’t matter in this arena where every form was respected.
I know what must be crossing your mind, dear reader: diagnosis of bipolar, history of self-injury, queried childhood abuse… leading this woman down the path of sexual deviance as a mask for her own psychology?
You would be entitled to your opinion, but it does not mean I will agree. There is indeed a parallel track between the growth of my dominant persona and that of my mental health journey, but with one difference.
I am not my illness, I choose to be who I wish, and the two are not mutually exclusive. ‘PVC, not pills’, has been my mantra this month, when wanting to reach for the PRN stash.
I will lay this out in terms you will surely understand as the intelligent reader you are. If you could have a few thousand people an evening adoring you for who you are, how you look, and the persona you project, wouldn’t your ego lust for a little of that after the battering that reality gave it?
It was a long while back that I first logged into my online page and started hosting evenings of polite discussion with a following of willing compliment donors. While most presume that anything out of the realm of the vanilla is going to be a dirty and tainted experience, it was anything but.
I spent a few evenings a week, for longer than I remember, getting myself ready in an outfit that showed nothing yet looked fabulous, doing my hair, and painting on my persona to perfection.
That self-care and transformation into a more beautiful, confident version of myself was better therapy than I had ever received through conventional means. This is something I hold the key to and can unlock and use whenever I need to. The comfort and security of someone that will never let me down. Mistress Malice.
She steps in
Over the years the boundary of the Mistress beginning and Clara ending have become somewhat blurry. There are times in life when I need to be assertive but feel broken, and she steps in.
When I can’t stop crying and look an utter mess, she runs me a bath and washes my hair. Even when I was recovering from my recent suicide attempt after a painful heartbreak, I felt her tapping me on the shoulder. She reminded me she was still there and that it was OK to feel pain.
During times of pain, when needing healing, I have a handful of dedicated Subs that I turn to for affirmation and devotion, no matter how long I duck out of the scene for. Much as you would with your friends, but with fewer monthly gratuities.
Do what you need to do
Despite recent life events I feel stronger and able to face life, a life that incorporates all the elements that are important to my whole self. I may not be perfect, I may not be able to make things how I wish they were. But I can try to recover from the pain that has led me to fall into the arms of someone Amazing. The Mistress.
Our paths of recovery are not linear; we will not become happier or more recovered through the same means. I very much doubt my way is everyone’s cup of tea! But I wish to illustrate to you that there is no ‘right’ way to recover.
You do what you need to do to get strong again, my friend.