Posts tagged ‘loss’


My Journey Towards Liking The Smashing Pumpkins.

When I was in high school there was a terrible day, an awful day I don’t think I’ll ever be able to think about without ending up in tears. I was in Transition Year, and a really special girl was in the class with me. She wanted to be a journalist (at that time, who knows what she would have ended up being. But what ever it was in the end, I know she would have excelled at it.). She was beautiful. She was smart, I mean cutting herself on herself sharp. She was easily the best student in the year.

Then she went to a concert, and died.

I can still remember the last time I saw her as if it were happening right this moment. She was laughing at the reaction of the rest of the class to her having dyed her hair. She’d used one of the then new, Schwartzkopf colours. So her hair had this almost holographic purple sheen to it. She was so excited to be going to Dublin to a concert the next day. The last words we ever spoke to one another were.

“I hope you have fun.”

“Aha, see ya Monday.”

I never saw her again.

If you’re a fan of The Smashing Pumpkins from those days you know precisely what happened next. The crowd surged at the stage. The band asked them to chill-out. The crowd ignored them. And somewhere in the crush that girl was swept from her feet, and died a horrific death. That was 17 years ago, and I still some times have nightmares where I imagine how she felt, what she thought, how it hurt her.

All I can say for sure is that they had to have a closed casket funeral. I sometimes wonder if that was a gentle blessing, or the worst curse to those of us who remember her. I know that after her funeral I refused to ever go to a funeral again. And to this day I haven’t.

If you’re wondering why this all affected me so deeply, it’s probably important to know that I had a huge crush on her. To the point where that last sentence I spoke to her had been the most words I’d managed to string together for her in weeks. I’d hoped to ask her out before the holidays, I didn’t expect a yes, but…well anyway. That’s the heart of why.

I’m not proud of what I’m about to say, but here goes.

I hated The Smashing Pumpkins after that.

Loathed them.

Every time I heard even the first bar of one of their songs, I would feel sick, then want to smash something, or someone.

I wanted them to just fail, go away.

I wished they’d never formed.

It took me 16 years to realise how, nuts, my reaction was. It took me sitting down and forcing myself to listen to the entirety of “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” to realise that it wasn’t their music I hated. They’re music is pretty good. I mean, to me at least, it’s pretty middle of the road, semi-maudlin, overly opinionated 90’s music. Rather typical of the era. But it’s definitely good.

Once I came to that realisation I decided to sit down and work my way through their back-catalog. And as I listened I started remembering all the times I saw her listening to them on her Walkman (Damn I’m old.) before class. How much she smiled when she listened. How happy they made her. And after 16 years it finally clicked.

I blamed the bands music for the death of someone I liked.

Not the band as such. But the music itself.

These days I rather like The Pumpkins. I don’t actively seek them out, or own any of their songs or albums. But if they come on I don’t change the channel anymore. Which is pretty big progress I guess.

Well anyway, ya, that’s my story.


HMV, if only I’d known how much I’d miss you.

I spent last weekend in Cork visiting the mammy, and one of my adopted lil sisters. *waves* Hey Neads, so Bif Naked huh? I actually managed to have a pretty funky good time. A Friday afternoon was spent wandering my home city, checking out the shops, and more so the many, many gorgeous female Corkonians. Seriously, why did all the insanely beautiful Cork women decide to come out of hiding after I moved to Dublin? Is my raw sexuality, and sensuality that scary. (Yeah, I don’t believe that last part either, have ya seen me? Raw mincemeat is more like it.)

Very cheap things were bought, a laptop slip cover for my new baby. 10 Euro down from 75!

A pair of John Rocha leather gloves that were supposed to be for my Partner in Crime but which barely fit my moms barely adult sized hands…woops. 18 Euro from 40.

Three Xbox games, Gears of War 1, Golden Axe: Beastrider (cos of the very hot redheaded amazon on the front cover), and Lost something or other (you kill things and then huddle up to them to keep warm before killing more things. Basically a cross between The Lord of the Flies and the first half of Empire Strikes Back.) Should’ve been 25ish Euro, I got them for 15. *fist pump*

Noticeably absent from that list however, for anyone who knows me well, are DVD’s.  I collect movies. My house has somewhere in the region (now) of 300 movies, and probably a dozen box-sets. But the important point to be made at this stage is that I’ve never paid full price for any of those movies. None of them. I will not pay over a tenner for a movie on DVD, and I won’t pay over twenty for a box-set. Let’s put it this way, I’m still waiting to find a copy of Ironman 2 at an acceptable price to round out my Marvel collection.

So, back to Cork last Friday. I’d found gloves, games and laptop accessories. So I decided to use the last of my unassigned money for the weekend to find something cool to watch with my Mom on Saturday evening. I toddled off to the place where HMV has stood on Patricks Street for my entire life. But of course it’s closed down.

Hmm, Virgin, or whatever company own the site of the shop formerly known as Virgin. What The Hell?! Why is there a Dealz there?

Golden Disc’s? I’ll be honest here. I couldn’t remember where Golden Disc’s had shops in Cork so I gave up at that point.

Now G.D. I can take or leave. I always could, it’s never been that great a shop. Virgin, or whatever the last shop on that site was last called…meh. They never had deals that were that good. But HMV. Oh HMV come back to us! My great joys in life the past 9 years or so have been in descending order.

My Partner in Crime. (And my other girlfriend/Slavegirl at the time.) Hubba Hubba!

My friends. They kind of rock collectively, as well as rolling individually.

Video gaming, and watching movies.

The bargain sections of HMV.

My kinky toy-box.

Thrift shops.

Kari Byron.

My electric blanket.

See how high HMV is in that list? Going to Liffey Valley Shopping Center really meant “PiC you wander the clothes shops, I’m going to wander HMV and spend hardly any money on a shit load of movies, or secondhand games.” And now, Liffey Valley just means…New Look. Which is great, don’t get me wrong. Cute staff, and sort of affordable clothing, even if they own nothing what-so-ever that fit on my feet.

HMV has been the unknowing savior of this girls sanity so many times. Those days when I’m in too much pain to sit on the frikkin’ toilet, watch a movie I love, that I bought in HMV. Just finished all my creative work for the day? Reward myself by playing a game I bought in HMV. Feel down over being the only girl in sight with a hair color more commonly seen in Anime or Hentai? Wander through HMV, at least one member of staff would have nutty hair, and cute tats.  Need a birthday present in a hurry? Everyone likes music, or movies, or games, hmm gift voucher, ah HMV.

I’d known they were gone for a while now. I’d even walked past the Liffey Valley branch several times, staring wistfully at the closed shutters, wishing I could wander through it one more time. But last Friday struck home to me just how badly I’m going to miss HMV now that it’s gone. And yes, some other company will buy it, and reopen some, if not most, of those stores. But, it just won’t be the same.

So HMV this one’s for you. And me and Neads. Bif Naked, take it away.


BDSM How it could/should be – The Mistress Alone.

Sometimes it happens. No screw that. Usually it happens. The Mistress finds herself unworshipped, and undesired. What in any other sort of life would be simply called, alone. But a Mistress can’t be simply alone. Usually my BDSM articles are kind of generalised advice, based on a lifetimes worth of personal observations. Then towards the end I use a story from my life to put what I’ve been writing about into a nice simple to understand context.  Usually. Not this time.  This article is purely about what I am experiencing right now. About having been someones world, then suddenly not.  About being a Mistress alone, and let me tell you this to begin with, it’s horrific.

Where to begin, when there’s no clear beginning…with a description I guess. I am Amanda Harper. See me there? That’s right I’m the nearly six-foot tall, buxom, busty girl with the facial piercing, the tattoo and the hair that was blue, but is now purple. I’m 33 and all of my adult life I’ve believed two things more strongly than almost anything else. No-one loves more deeply than a good Mistress, except maybe, just maybe a good Slavegirl, or a parent but that’s sort of obvious.

I don’t value money, or things.  They’re just a way of keeping score. And they can be taken away from you. I believe we only truly own two things, our bodies and our feelings. Well bodies start to depreciate pretty much from day one, but feelings, they’re valuable, precious, priceless even. So you won’t be at all surprised to hear that love is the most important thing in the world to me.

I love a woman. An amazing woman. She’s quite a bit older than me, and she saved my life. Literally, saved my life. When we met I had just started to transition. I was malnourished, emotionally shattered, lost, and scared. Surrounded by friends, but still alone. That woman gave me a home, home is where you’re loved without condition. She would one day become my Mistress, some day I hope to be collared by her. Belonging to her gives me the anchor that lets me turn my emotional bow into the currents that would otherwise capsize me, taking me down, probably never to recover. Belonging to her makes me feel what I hope every good Slavegirl feels, lovingly valued.

But my submission to my love is only half of who I am. There’s my other half.

I was loved by a woman. An amazing woman. She wasn’t all that much older than me and I have to believe I saved her life. When we met she needed someone to show her how to live long enough to achieve her life’s dream. She was lost, and scared. She one day became my slavegirl, leashed though never collared. Her belonging to me made me feel what I think every good Mistress truly wishes for, loving fulfillment. Then we ended, our relationship had run its course, her life’s dream had been achieved, and it was now time for her to move on and live her life.

It happens. It’s life. It fucking sucks.

So I am now simply Amanda Harper, slavegirl.  The Mistress has been packed away until she’s needed again, if she is ever needed again. Maybe it’s better this way. No potential for hassle for my Mistress from my submissive, no disruptions to life. But it still feels very much like some of the colors have been removed from the world.

I’m two people, in everything. I’m Amanda the woman, while also being Amanda the hermaphrodite. I’m Amanda the slavegirl, but I’m also Amanda the dominant, even if that aspect has been folded up and put aside for a time. When I deny part of who I am, the world around me starts to dull, echo, life stops being quite so vibrant. I’ve come to terms with that part of life, after all it’s impossible for life to always be filled with vibrancy and adventure.

I love being a good Slavegirl. That’s what my Mistress deserves and it makes us both happy. But I’m starting to desperately miss the time when my dominant side was loved by someone. Not least because in my BDSM philosophy a Mistress without a submissive is just a girl with some very odd skill-sets. Very, very odd in some cases.

So some of you are wondering why I don’t just go out and grab a new Slavegirl. Well, while submissive people, are frankly, dime a dozen. Good submissives are rare. Slaves are rarer still and good slaves are like chicken teeth. Add in often being house bound due to seemingly unending ill-health and…well you have heart-break, that never seems to end, with no end in sight.

The Mistress alone. The title of this article is a lie. There’s no Mistress alone here. Just a Slavegirl who dreams of again someday being something else, a loving Mistress as well as an adoring Slavegirl. But that’s something I, or any dominant without a submissive, might never get to be again. So instead it’s time for the girding of loins and embracing all the other joys life provides.

Cupcakes anyone?


Grief and the transwoman.

On Wednesday morning my grandfather died. He was in his mid-80’s and was in his third year after a diagnosis of vascular dementia. And I hadn’t seen him since I was 16. And now I never will. I loved my grandfather, I thought of him most days. Wondered how he and my grandmother were doing. Wondered if they were happy, and well. Wondered if he had a new calf being built up for sale. Wondered if he’d gotten into any new fight with some random member of the family. But mostly I wondered if I was ever going to get to show him what I grew up into.

Some of you must be wondering how do you go from 16 to 33 without seeing a grandparent. Well it’s surprisingly easy if you have a dysfunctional family, and change gender. Here’s the story.

When I was 16 my uncle got married. It was a typical west of Ireland wedding, church, food, enough drink to lay out an entire marine corp. It was also the first time the wheels came visibly off the wagon of my parents marriage. My wonderful father (wonderful to be read in a tone of seething anger) spent the week we were up there cracking on to every younger woman he could find. He even went so far as to feel up one in the back seat of a car, while my mother sat in the front passenger seat chatting with one of my uncles. That was the first time I ever punched someone, I was so angry at him.

Anyway, something happened at the after’s of the wedding. I’ve never found out what, but my brother and I were sent back to the family home early. And the following day we all went home to Cork, with my father in the blackest mood I think I’ve ever seen anyone in. I assume he tried it on with he wrong girl and she…made issue of it.

This led to a coldness between my father and his parents. So that accounts for the first 10 years of their absence from my life.

Then in the same year I came out as transsexual, my parents split up for good. And my father refused to tell his parents either piece of news. He went as far as to threaten me with serious violence if I contacted them myself. Because and I quote “They’re old, they wouldn’t understand.”

So now I sit  here writing this seething at my father’s cowardice, his philandering, his lack of everything I find valuable in life. Honour, duty, dedication to family, honesty. Seething also at his brothers who warn me through him that I wasn’t to show my face in Mayo. Furious that I never got to see my granddad again before we lost him first to dementia and then finally to who knows what. Furious that I never got to see my nan again before a stroke robbed her of her memory of me in any form.

I never got to show them that I had managed to survive. That I had become a better person than even they had hoped I could have been. I never got to show them the novel I’ve written, the first person in my family for at least three generations to achieve something so profound. I never got to show them that I had grown into someone they could be proud of. And now I never will.

Some people say you choose to be gay, or transsexual. Would anyone ever choose to lose their family like this? To be cut off, even threatened to keep their silence, to keep away?

I always believed my grandparents were under-sold by their own children. I agree they might never have understood why, but I believe they would have accepted what I’ve become. And while I sit here crying for my granddad, I can’t help wondering what he would have said to me if he could have just once met his granddaughter, instead of the miserable the girl who was just pretending to be his grandson.

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