One of the most common fetishes is a foot fetish. That was one of my very first experiences with BDSM before I even became a domme. I knew a writer who would discuss his kinks with me over tea when I was just 20, and he mentioned for as long as he knew, he’d loved feet.
Retrospectively, he linked it to his mom’s friend’s feet. She used to visit and wear heels in the house. He was so little then, so her heels were at his eye level. He learned to associate femininity and eroticism with her feet.
That’s particular to him and everyone has different reasons for liking different things, not to mention, different moments in which it dawned on them why they have a particular fetish. But what I can tell you empirically is that I’ve gotten the most requests for foot worship out of any other fetish. I remember being at the dungeon too and how common it was with other women, especially women who had feet that were “different” in some way, say, extremely small. There was a girl at the dungeon whose feet were size 5 and men would often buy her shoes so they could worship them.
Historically, I’ve hated whenever my feet are worshipped. If you know me, you know that I often run around barefoot and my feet often have bug bites or scars. My toenails are often fucked up because I don’t like getting pedicures. I just don’t like my feet touched that much. When I used to be booked for these sessions (note, I don’t do classic BDSM sessions at all nor cater to fetishes) I’d zone out and let it happen. It never felt great, quite awkward actually, and overall there was something uncomfortable about the experience that was psychological, one I didn’t fully understand until today.
For the past few weeks I’ve had pain in my feet, left foot always. It popped up after I had a deep healing that revolved around ancestry and family. A spontaneous sprained ankle made it so I could hardly walk for a few days, and I pinpointed it to an injury I sustained when i was 5-6 in ballet class. It felt faintly related to my mom as well, I couldn’t fully recall. Sometimes after healing, old injuries pop back up to release the emotional energy and trauma.
Over the course of the next few days I kept noticing how one of the numbest places on my body are my feet. I barely pay attention to them and often wear shoes that hurt. Sometimes my feet bleed and I don’t even notice, I just keep walking. I rarely wear socks (I forget) even in the brutal NY winter, and for as long as I can remember my mom always made an issue out of not wearing socks, because she associated a birth trauma to her having cold feet. Apparently in Chinese medicine, having cold feet really does hurt the body in some way that affects childbirth. I can’t remember exactly, but for my mom it was a deep pain so that’s why she monitored me so closely with regards to keeping my feet warm.
Anyway, I didn’t think that was the FULL reason for why I dissociate from my feet so much. Yes I have a tendency to avoid all the things my mom nagged me about, but it felt far deeper. A few days ago I twisted my ankle when I wasn’t paying attention going down the stairs. Again, I sprained my left foot and ankle. With the rush of pain, I also felt a deep emotional pain too that was released. There’s stuck energy in my foot- where was it coming from?
Relating to the body in metaphysics and healing, it is said that our bodies encode signals in various areas. It’s informational to tap into where something hurts, on what side it hurts, to glean the bigger message. Feet of course, relate closely to the root chakra, relate to grounding, relate to your connectedness with the physical world. WIthout your feet you can’t walk, you don’t have ground to stand on. This is therefore connected to family, to ancestry. The left side is the feminine, so sometimes maternal energies can be buried on this side, and it is also reflective of the past.
What dawned on me was: my grandma had her feet bound. She used to show me her deformed, worn feet and talk about how they were bandaged. I remember how lopsided she looked, with her body so big, tapering at such small feet that could barely hold her weight, how her gait was affected and she limped. I knew that my great grandmothers had their feet bound in ways that were much more tragic, often having their feet and toes ritualistically broken and manipulated from the time they were toddlers. Walking in pain was necessary, and not only necessary, but an indication of worth. The smaller your feet were, the more “valuable” they were. I remembered the extensive history of bound feet in China. Women’s mobility was completely hindered to be more attractive. They literally couldn’t walk by themselves sometimes, and lived in awful amounts of pain. It became part of life. Part of survival (if you had pretty bound feet it gave you a better chance to be married off to a better family- that’s really one of the only things that ensured a better future for women, so it was often a desperate element) and part of my culture’s collective female wound. As we come to find in healing, much of what we heal ourselves from are subconscious, genealogical, cellular. There was somewhere subconscious in which I too, thought that walking around with pain was normal and it had not yet entered my consciousness as to why. The oppression I felt in uncomfortable shoes felt tolerable, almost expected.
Not to mention, these feet were fetishized. Husbands would use bound feet to masturbate. They became an object, a tool, for male pleasure. It became a symbol of female oppression and objectification. The message was, the female body suffers pain for male pleasure (which is too, a larger conditioning I struggled with and didn’t understand why I had it at all, when I was young). Again, I’m sure that’s subconsciously a core part of my discomfort with my feet being fetishized or worshipped. It oddly felt disempowering, and a regression.
Today I realize I don’t have to have my feet “bound” in any way, literal or figurative. I can stand on my own two feet and walk my own walk. I choose to be aware of all these components that have restricted any of my ancestors and recognize that it stops with me.
Just because someone’s speaking a lot doesn’t mean they’re communicating a thing.
You can also be very quiet and still be communicating. Non-verbal communication is said to be 80% of the actual conversation.
With that said, I believe myself to be an average writer, with an above average ability to communicate.
We can break down communication to:
Intent, Clarity and Delivery
To communicate effectively, we need to know the intent, or, the message that needs to be conveyed. Are you sharing how you feel, or intending to elicit a reaction, response or action from someone else?
How clearly are you delivering that message? And how do you deliver that message? Is it by writing, by speaking, or through a non-verbal display either energetic or physical?
Bad communication would be if what you’re saying isn’t in line with how you’re acting. It’s also when your intention is obscured either because you’re manipulating someone, or because you yourself have no idea what your actual intention is. Bad communication is unclear, confusing, evasive, filled with mixed messages, assumptions or often has no specific intention. You leave someone in the dark to guess what you mean through inconsistent actions, withholding or deliberate cold shouldering.
Energy can communicate a lot too. Someone’s energetic state can show you that they’re sad, when they’re acting happy in person. Or, someone can be very distant, but their energy can be clingy and invasive.
I believe the first step toward effective communication is making sure that YOU are effectively communicating with you first. If your mind and body are disconnected, that’s going to make communicating effectively very hard because your feelings are not in line with your thoughts and sometimes you may not know how you feel or what you think. Great communication starts with great communication internally between mind and body, so that which is communicated is a thoughtful negotiation between the two, a consensus already established within.
If we are blocked off from ourselves, we cannot communicate with the outside world.
The second is recognizing how we best communicate. Some people are gifted orators, others are better at writing. Some are great at communicating right away, others need some time to process. I myself am a more effective communicator when I have had some time to process. So I’ve learned to tell people I need some time to reflect. There are some discussions I feel are better handled verbally so that emotions in that moment can be pure, and others that may be a trickier subject, would benefit from clear and detailed, unemotional writing.
All in all, if we can all work on our communication, there would be less miscommunications. I do believe that miscommunications whether with ourselves or others are the cause of a lot of grief and suffering. If we can all become better communicators, we can streamline so much and also save so much energy!
Personally, communication is so important to me because we had a continual lack of communication in my home growing up. My parents couldn’t communicate with each other, and couldn’t communicate with me either. In fact, I was punished for attempting to communicate, cold shouldered, or blatantly ignored (my mother would get up and leave). Sometimes I would tell her I loved something she did and for no reason at all, she’d stop doing it just because I communicated it to her.
Their chosen method of delivery was shouting and their messages were inconsistent and confusing. I made it my focus for a lot of my life after seeing what damage could be caused by a lack of communication skills in life, in all relationships- how much tension and resentment can be built up and poison the household. I’ve lost so many friends because we couldn’t express our needs or feelings directly or, one person or another expected the other to be a mind reader. I wasn’t always a gifted communicator, in fact, I was a poor communicator for much of my life because I was never taught, in fact, my basic abilities to communicate (and we’re all born with them- our first communications are emotional: crying, laughing, etc..) were broken down. Luckily, these skills can be built with conscious effort.
I’ve definitely expected people to read my mind because I’m projecting my own expectation- I sometimes can read minds because I’m so intuitive, but not everyone has that skill. Sometimes I wouldn’t say what I meant because I was scared of being judged, other times I didn’t know what I meant at all. A lot of times I never expressed disappointment, I never “corrected” someone’s poor behavior, and instead just opted to freeze the person out because I expected perfection and anything but would be a slight. I assumed that people didn’t want to change or adapt to me, and maybe that came from an underlying assumption of low self-worth, that people weren’t willing because I wasn’t worthy. I was afraid to communicate because I felt so rejected so much of my life for attempting. I was afraid if I told someone what I liked, they’d stop doing it.
I was very lucky to have had an entry point to clear communication through BDSM, where communication is a core part. The negotiation is straight forward and important, and the more direct it is, the better a time can be had. These are tricky territories we’re navigating based on personal triggers, likes and dislikes, so the more upfront someone can be, and the more ability you have in prompting that open communication, the better. And that too is an important skill- there are characteristics you can hone to open up communication so that people trust and feel safe to communicate with you— i.e. being less judgmental, more open, more present, more validating.
So again, BDSM’s application to life is huge!
One of the first things you’re asked to identify is whether you’re a domme, sub or switch, in BDSM
I decided upon entering BDSM professionally that I was a domme. I wanted to let go of disempowering scripts and conditioning that tells women they need to be submissive and docile, and that dominance is a turn-off. I wanted to grow in my dominance and learn to call the shots. Some women who are dommes are purely dommes, meaning, in no circumstances do they switch or sub. I however, wanted to be more flexible and sometimes switched, subbed at the beginning of my career. After being in this profession for many years, it starts to leak into your identity in all other spaces. It becomes either an outlet, or a lived truth that coaxes out who you really are.
Still, for years, I had no idea what my “orientation” was outside of BDSM professionally. There was a period in which I identified with my “domme-only” peers and would never, ever put myself in any situation that required me being less than a domme. Because for some reason, there was a negative slant they ascribed to the sub position- of inferiority. I started to grow out of that as I began paving my own way in BDSM. They’re both just orientations that need each other to make a scene. I saw them as neutral. I also began craving a safe space to be submissive in my personal life, and began experimenting in that regard here and there. I knew that to be an even better domme, it was important to understand the headspace of the submissive too.
What I then came to discover was how complex, yet simple, this all is. I’m never strictly one or the other- there are times in life when my energy and body language may be communicating dominance, yet my speech and conscious behavior may be dictating submission. There are times when the opposite is true. Still, I was happy and relieved to have found clear outputs of behavior- when I was domming, I was in control. I had the power. I feel that when we don’t grant ourselves outlets to express all sides of our personality, we can oftentimes hinder our development and these traits leak out in strange, shadow-like ways. For instance, if you continually play the submissive role in life, then you may become controlling, manipulative, codependent, aggressive in covert ways.
The healthiest approach is embodying duality and understanding that not all circumstances are the same. I could respond to someone’s energy and demeanor in a certain way, but I won’t know what (dominance, submission) they bring out in me unless I’m present with them and engage with what they’re communicating on all levels. Sometimes gender roles can come into play here, but what I used to think were power dynamics that were strictly associated with gendered roles in vanilla contexts and BDSM role reversals, aren’t that related afterall. Especially after you play for a while, or you begin to strip away a lot of the gender expectations from your own life and allow yourself the room to breathe. I identify as a woman, but that doesn’t mean I have to act like how women are conditioned to be, to be one.
So that’s why I think it’s a good idea to reconsider the idea of switch. Switch to me lays out a binary- Submissive and dominant, and I switch from one to the other. Yes it grants more fluidity than the other roles that are locked in one way of associating with power and control, but I don’t believe that it needs to be a one or the other, an established binary. I prefer to look at it as a whole- a totality of traits that can be expressed simultaneously or one at a time. I’m not a switch. But I’m not just a domme either. I’m a dominant in work, in some ways dominant in life but, I can be many things at once and so can everyone.