I think I'm at another major checkpoint here. I've begun to gingerly step out of the shadows and from behind the curtains into a more public, active role in the community.

This past Saturday was Twisted Toyland at a local club. It's an annual, pansexual shopping and networking event similar to Winter Wonderland, just older and bigger. As always, Loki and I went to check things out and see what trouble we could get into. Brian and Leo joined us, along with ragincajun and His new boy, J. Alan and Nitro were manning the front counter representing Panther L/L but made frequent trips to check in with everyone at the corner of the bar we took over. Our group was rounded out by DJ and Brad, a relatively new guy.

So, back to the checkpoint. Loki voluntold me to help Alan and Nitro with a skit. Previously, I would have backed way the hell out of that. I've never really been confident acting, much less acting in a BDSM skit. But there's been a certain shift in my comfort levels with things like this. As evidenced by my exploits on this blog and elsewhere, I'd hazard to say that I'm actually pretty good at this BDSM thing. People tend to be really good at doing something they love and, well, here I am.

In one of my first posts here I said that I didn't know what my limits are and that it would almost certainly cause problems in the future. That issue raised its head on Saturday right before the skit. I'd spent most of the day serving as the go-to punching bag for pretty much everyone in the group. Pinching, tickling, gut punching, biting, you name it. I'm just fine with this, I'm a bit of a masochist and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't enjoying the attention.

Like most things though, a little bit goes a long way. About half an hour before my call time, one of the hetero ladies came over and asked Loki if she could abuse me a bit, as she'd been dying to do so all evening. Loki obliged her and she tore into me, finishing me off with a few hearty bare palm slaps on my back. I broke. I could feel tears welling in my eyes, my back hurt like hell and I didn't want to disappoint Loki. After she left, I whispered that I wanted to sit down with Him for a few moments. He obliged.

After everything I'd done that day, it felt good to finally relax with Him, even for just a few minutes. At one point I had to stifle a few sobs into His neck. I don't know where they came from, but they weren't the happy tears you get from a good scene. I'm chalking it up to being overwhelmed.

I joined Alan, Nitro and a couple of other volunteers backstage. I was still feeling a bit emotional and I warned them both that I might chicken out. If you know Daddy Alan, you know He has a certain demeanor, a persona that works really well for Him. But that all vanished the instant I told them how I felt. He assured me that they wouldn't hold it against me if I did. Nitro hugged me. The skit started, the two ladies went ahead of me, I took a deep breath and walked out on stage.

...and I NAILED it. As I got off stage and made my way through the crowd back to Loki, more than a few people stopped me to say how great the skit was. So now Loki gets to deal with my ego. :D

The take away from all of this is that I now know roughly how far I can push myself. I'm not mad at anyone, nor is any one person at fault here. This event was inevitable and it's better that it happens now rather than later at something more intense, like MAL. I'm just glad that I've been fortunate enough to be surrounded by a bunch of really cool people.