Possession Ponderings

I woke from a dream last night, unable to return to dreamland from the abruptness, the discomfort of the vision I had left.  2am holds all kinds of thoughts to sit with the self.  I sat with possibilities, with passions, with fears, with a regret or two.  I thought of childhood desires and adult adventures.  I pondered love.  I thought of possession.

Now, in this case I am speaking of ownership, to have, to possess or hold as mine.  Possession, it is fair, in my ramblings do not always have to do with such things.  Sometimes possession is a conversation of spirit through flesh, white clothing or furs dancing wildly in the woods or across polished wooden floors.  But no, today, last night, in the dark with myself and no one else, I thought about ownership and possession.

My Boy.  My Treasure.  My partner.  My lil’ monster.  My love.

It’s a simple enough thing, this word “my,” a possessive term that means that it belongs to me.  That it’s value, or place in the world, can be charted off the trajectory of me.  Growing up a young feminist I was taught that possessive terminology for people is a slippery slope- my wife a small step up from my slave in the eyes of women battling against my, this my an excuse to batter and break and harm.

I had already thought long and hard about this notion of objectifcation, a reduction of person from human-hood to thing-hood.  I for one am not against it because I am an animist.  I strongly believe that things have souls, have spirits, have purposes and passions on this planet.  This chair, green velvet, has held stranger after stranger in its arms, coffee stains wiped away and made ready for yet another day.  I can close my eyes and feel them telling me secrets of conversations overheard.  It is a surprisingly mellow chair, contemplative.

I am fond of being seen as what I am.  Not necessarily who I am, though that is nice too.  But there are people who are hammers, some violins, some empty journals, some comfty chairs.  If I come in searching for a comfty chair and enter into a relationship with a hammer instead, complaining every day that we wish they were more like a comfty chair- is that their fault?  And should we find ourselves with a violin and it will not make music, is that the violin’s fault, or the person playing it?  Will yelling at the violin help?  Will beating it change the tones that come from it?

These things I have pondered before, for many pages and many hours (I have an entire essay in Sacred Kink even), but today my brain took My a step further.

I have found a degree of peace over the years with objectification, and in term with possessive terms.  I know myself, to a greater degree than many folks seem to have met and chilled with themselves.  I know what kind of person I am, and how I treat objects in my life.  I can warn a person coming into my life, interested in being “my lover” what the likely behavior pattern will be.  It is not so different from knowing how I will treat “my jeans.”  I adore denim.  I fetishize it.  I can run my hands along row after row of jeans in the store.  I may try on twenty pairs, see how they fit- but when I find ones that fit me and my style, I obsess.  I wear them as regularly as I can within a rotation with my other favorites.  Some stay with me for years in and out, but others only last until a huge ink stain makes them no longer fit for public consumption.  Some sit in closets and are pulled out when the time is right.  Some are passed on, handed off with cherished love.  Some are kept in drawers, a secret to pull out when few are watching (my 38x38s, rediculous feats of denim engineering).   But some of my jeans don’t live up to my lifestyle.  I wear them out too fast, and no matter how much I adore them, after I patch them three times or have shrunk two sizes, it just isn’t working out any more.  I let them go.  I have gotten a bit better over the years, trying to see if they can be taken in, modified, worked around the new me.  I got a new lease on life on my 1880s style jeans that way, but I let the relax fit 40s go… we just didn’t fit any more.

So that is my jeans, or is it my lovers?  What of my…

and then I freeze, deer in headlights, as I hold the image of this amazing being in my minds eye and realize what I want.  I want Mine.

In relationships I tend to play it defined.  Tell me who you are, what you are, and I can treat you as I treat that thing you are.  If I know you are a violin I can play you, even if you whisper your violin nature under the sheets instead of crying it to the wind.  Are you a comfty chair?  A porcelain dish?  I will treat you as you tell me you are, as we craft our identity together.  I invariably treat a boyfriend differently than I treat a husband, a slave, a mate, a best friend.  I niche and box and label- happy to pull of labels and put on new ones, happy to multi-label, my label-gun in hand.  You don’t have to fit in a box- if you want to be my scintillating squirrel of sensual silliness, I will type you out a label and embrace it wholeheartedly.  It can be in foreign tongues, I will learn what the symbols mean raised in white over the black tape.  I will invent new words with you, help you write your own lexicon through our interactions.

But it is safe.  My relationship with Ming was as “My Service Slut” when we finally nailed one down- one that stayed with us for almost 2 years until in Connecticut surrounded with snow and friends we realized that she could not give me service, and was in fact not the slut she wanted to be.  If two of your three words do not apply, how can I trust the third?  By brain whirled and spun.  We almost broke up.  We scrambled for the label gun, and hurriedly typed in “My Girl Pony” because she was still mine, she was my girl, and she was my pony.

But it instantly transformed how I treated her.  Instead of being her Sir, I shifted full time into being her Daddy, a thing that had been a part time role before, a sideline affair of the heart.  But when Service as the second word was replaced with Girl, my map said that was were I was supposed to go.

My world is made of lists.  As a creature who meets thousands of people a year, without lists I forget.  I even have lists for friends.  I have “must read’ filters on Facebook and Livejournal, my ‘monsters’ list on twitter.  For a while I even had a ‘partners’ list a few years back so I remembered to actually read what was going on in the life of my own partners.  I really forget otherwise, loose track of the lives I care about.  I just get so focused on what is in front of me that I let it slip.  The amazing thing about list making is that I can shelve emotions with the labels, archive them, pull them out years later.  When Rune and I reconnected earlier this year, having not seen each other since before my transition, we both, as archivers, picked up as if only a few hours had passed- my neck held in his claws as he ordered me to cum in a parking lot as the sun went down.

So what happens with this desire.  This voice that looks at the being before me and says simply, mine.  Not MY HOUND, MY BOY, MY PROPERTY shouted loud as I had with Hunter.  No, simply and clearly, MINE.


Where are my rulebooks?  My partner, My Treasure, My Boy… these things have guides, easy strings to pull in both direction.  These things are not wiped aside with the simple proclamation Mine, and yet the space is there for- so much more?  Space to bend and move and grow?

And yet the fear!  Fear in the shape of longing to take on not just “Boy” shaped, but all of them shaped.  They come with all this muck and complexity and strangeness and can’t I just want the safe parts, the parts I know how to handle?  If I have no manual, the possibility of my own slipping up, my own breaking this amazing thing, this Mine… it scares me.  If it is mine and I break it, I don’t know what shop to take it to.

They asked me about collars, when I said I had no desire to collar them.

Collars come with locks, with things to keep away.  A sign that says taken.

This Mine is like my wisdom- I want to share it with the world… just with the knowledge that it is mine.  So they pointed out that the three jewels of Buddhism are jewels shared with the world.  My treasure, my- mine… is very clever.

To have a Mine tantalizes me.  The work involved will be quite a challenge, as we expose our hearts piece by piece in both directions in the adventure known as transparency.  If I am to know them and how they fit into my life, they must know me and my life, I must know me an my life, to be able to know them.  If their identity can be attached to the world through the possessive, by knowing “if you take two steps to the side and one forward from Lee you will find them”- then we must know where and who I am as the rock to build this from.  Or perhaps we will find out that our center is on wheels and can go wherever we want it to go…


I look forward to exploring you.  To exploring us.  Bumps and chipmunks and all.


Lee Harrington

Lee Harrington is an internationally known sexuality, relationships, and personal authenticity educator. Having taught in all 50 states and in 6 countries, he brings a combination of playful engagement and thoughtful academic dialogue to a broad audience. An award-winning author and editor on gender, sexual, and sacred experience, his books include “Traversing Gender: Understanding Transgender Journeys,” and "Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond," among many other titles. He has been blogging online since 1998, and been teaching worldwide since 2001. Welcome to his world, and your chance to expand your mind and heart alike.


  1. This, all of this. Thank you.

  2. Pingback: Rope Ritual, Life Ritual » Graydancer

  3. Good point. I hadn’t thuohgt about it quite that way. 🙂

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