The standard Zulu greeting translates into English as “I see you.” I’ve always loved that little piece of language for all it says about connection. It doesn’t waste time with “hello” as though there is meaning in empty words. It doesn’t ask anything of you. It simply sinks beneath the flesh and finds connection there, and nothing characterises that better than BDSM for me. There can be no pretence here in the tears and the sweat and the cries. I see you. You see me, and we’ll never go back to being oblivious to one another after this.
I once knew a man who thought he could fix all my problems. When I left him, I swore never to get involved with someone who saw me as a puzzle to solve. I once knew a man who told me every single one of his life’s puzzles without once telling me how he felt about them. When I rejected him, I swore never to waste my time on someone who was too oblivious of himself to see anyone else. I once knew a man who threw money at my puzzles as though life could be bought with two months’ salary and a bonus cheque. I once knew a man who was blind to all but himself, but then I met someone who trusted me to solve my own puzzles.
He sat easily with my tears, as though he didn’t need me to be happy in order to feel comfortable in my presence. He saw me because he wasn’t trying to save me. That’s why I’m looking for a man with open eyes–one who makes me feel at home in the world, who reminds me I’m competent enough to live my life without his help, who focuses instead on that still point in the centre of our connection, where he and I cannot hide.
Power exchange is like a magnifying glass. It will show you things about a partner that you will never find in any other way, and there are two ways to respond to that: by glossing over the scars and bliss as though they don’t matter, or by opening your eyes.
I once had a dominant who punished my flaws. He wore his sadism like a mask, and I was always scared to show him who I really was. I once had a partner who dominated my lust and happiness instead of my mistakes. The strings he chose to pull drew out my strengths, and so submission made me feel powerful.
The standard Zulu response is “I am here.” When I responded to him, it was to say, “this is me. These are the things I usually hide. This is where my hopes are. This is who I am. I am here.”