Broken Magic: on recovering after losing D/s

Originally posted on Jeff’s journal on Fetlife. Click here to view comments or leave your own.

Most people I know who have suffered a loss of love tend look, as you would expect, like people in states of deep sadness and grief.

Many people I know who have suffered a loss of D/s tend to look like their normal selves – only shellshocked.


Their expressions seem oddly wooden. Their response times lag a little bit behind what would be normal for them. They sometimes look and act, to put it bluntly, almost like people with PTSD.

I’m not speaking, here, of people who have necessarily suffered abuse. I’m just speaking of people who’ve lost some sort of powerful D/s connection.

I see those people at events, at home, in social settings, and they often seem much like themselves – only they don’t smile so much, they don’t laugh so easily, and when I look at them – when I look at myself – that appearance is curiously hollow.

Why is that? Why not ordinary grief? Why this numbed uncertainty?

Let me answer with some nightmares:

  • You need to run.. You need to run from something terrible.. But you have no legs, no wheels, no locomotive force.
  • You need to speak.. It’s desperately important.. But you have no voice.
  • You need to explain something.. Something that matters more than anything.. But you have no memory.. You can’t even remember what your name might be.

Because that’s how it is for some of us. We reach for something that’s a part of us, and it’s not there.

We can’t access it. We’ve lost something, and sometimes we think that what we’ve lost is the need itself. Sometimes we’re numb enough that we believe that. And that’s when the need pushes itself up out of your heart and into the back of your brain. For me, it’s like a physical presence – an emptiness in my chest, a weight in my skull.

For many of us, we knew we needed – or really, really wanted – D/s, or something like D/s, before we really knew what it was.

We had that feeling of need, but we never really knew quite how it would feel until we experienced it. And for those of us who’ve been fortunate, that might have been one of the last times we had the need, without the mechanism to achieve it.

I don’t mean that we’ve never been lonely, or unpartnered.

I mean that D/s grows and grows and has more impact the more you do it; that’s one of its greatest strengths.

Only if it’s grown very much since the last time you were in this place – then suddenly, the loss is greater.

It’s like panicking and forgetting how to swim – it’s terrifying if that happens in a swimming pool; it’s potentially fatal if it happens in the ocean.

Don’t worry, though.

Living without D/s won’t kill you.

At least, not all of you. At least, not all at once. Just the best parts of you, the parts that are most vital, the parts that are most alive.

…or so it feels like, to me. But I know better. It’s hard to remember, but I do know better.

So let me drag this truth past the heavy stone in my mind. Let me pull it from the hollow thing that is my heart, because though my heart feels empty, I know it is not. Let me turn to the nightmare and say:

There is another side to this.

I know pain in ways that people outside of our world do not.

I know denial. I know waiting.

It doesn’t matter which side I know it from; I have been an intimate of these things, and I know they have made me better, made me stronger, made me less a slapdash creation, and more of what I really am.

I may not feel the energy or the passion, but I earned my knowledge through work and ordeal, and you can’t take it from me.

You can make my inside desolate for a time, but someday, I will be full again.

And when I am that full vessel, I will pour out wealth and abundance all the better, I will flow far greater, because inside, I will never forget having been empty.

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