While we all experience a mix of motivations (often based on specific circumstances), most of us have one underlying motivator which drives us. This is what gets us excited to get up in the morning, what makes us want to reach for the next level personally and professionally. Back in my leadership class for a couple of days, I learned the ABCDs of motivation:
This really struck a cord with me as comprehend immediately resonated deeply. I chose my current career path due to my thirst for knowledge. It was vitally important to me to have a job where I would always be learning. In each of my past positions I have become frustrated and unmotivated once I mastered the specifics and started to hate going to work. One of the trainers leading this class said that he would bet our mission statements reflect our underlying motivator. I absolutely agree; “I choose to live passionately” and “Break the mold” both reflect my desire to learn, grow and be a part of positive change. All three of these are highly indicative of comprehension as my primary motivation.
Throughout the course of this blog, I have explored my desire, my need to submit. Having so easily accepted comprehension as a driving force in my life, I can’t help but compare and contrast this to the exhausting fight toward self-actualization regarding my submissive nature. It seems incongruent that I was able to so easily and serenely accept the former and fought so hard against the latter. Perhaps others encounter similar difficulties in accepting their penchant for participating in BDSM; in fact just last night I was trying to convince a friend that gaining pleasure from causing pain to others does not make him a bad person. Perhaps this difficulty is simply an issue of culture; knowledge, intelligence and independence are highly valued in the western world while BDSM is considered dangerous, wrong and even abusive by main-stream society. Add to this the horrors I experience at E‘s hand and perhaps my struggle to own my submissiveness makes sense in comparison to the ease of accepting my desire to continually seek knowledge, a trait considered to be admirable by my culture.
I have spent the majority of my life actively working to mold myself into a different, better person. I have worked hard and overcome much to create the person I am today; however, some things are beyond even the formidable power of my own stubbornness and will. I gradually discovered this after years of denial as I finally began to see that submissiveness is an integral part of who I am, a piece of myself I had no choice but to learn how to live with. Over the last couple of years I have eased my way from learning to live with my submissiveness to embracing and even celebrating who and what I am. I have integrated this fresh understanding as a part of my core identity; as a symbol of this newfound pride I now wear a BDSMblem around my neck at all times.
As I mentioned earlier in this self-portrait series, at the top of my list of core values is service. I am an internal processor (I think through things rather than needing to talk things through) and have always used self-reflection as a tool to better understand myself and guide my decisions. What I find interesting is that although the attainment of knowledge is a driving force in my life, knowledge did not directly make the list of my top five core values. It is perhaps reflected in #5, growth, as wanting to be a part of positive change is a major component of having comprehend as one’s primary motivation in life. Looking at it from this angle, it is easy to see how my desire to serve compliments this particular value and motivation. Through serving, I gain satisfaction and fulfillment from participating in systems change and (as with all change) also have the opportunity to grow from these experiences personally, professionally or both. I use self-reflection to help me contribute as much as possible so the best outcome is achieved for all involved. In case this isn’t apparent by this point, I am truly not a competitive person. Above all else (and in spite of this being a far more difficult path) I am a collaborator at heart. Even as a natural-born leader, I lead not by force but through collaboration; I sincerely believe that the group is stronger and more effective working together than I could ever be working alone.
I have recently discovered a pervasive sense of freedom as I have shed so many layers of guilt, shame and fear. In the past I have feared even myself, so afraid was I to trust. Now remade, I am stronger; I have the most incredible, never-before-felt sense of fitting in my own skin. For the first time in my life I know who I am and I am at peace with myself. On a related note, I recently got my nipples pierced. H’s birthday is this week and I finally decided to do it in exchange for his acceptance of my soon-to-come new tattoo. Although I blanched from the idea in fear of the pain and out of concern for my motivations, I do not regret my decision. While I initially saw this as an extremely submissive and symbolic act, over time I realized that this is only true in the context of that type of relationship. The relationship between H and I is one of equals, in which case my new piercings are simply a sexual accessory of sorts, nothing more. They seem to be healing well; I don’t find them particularly arousing, finding myself rather ambivalent about them. However, I do look forward to H being able to express his appreciation properly once they are healed! I find I am so much more sure of myself now than I have ever been before; this sense of authenticity is so exceptionally freeing and empowering! I am a phoenix, risen from the ashes of my dark past.