Thursday, July 07, 2005

Knightfall 19: Walking on a wire

Two months have passed since my last Monk update, and almost three months since my "escape" from his clutches, so you'd be forgiven for assuming that that particular chapter of my batlife is over. In fact, I even thought for a while about renaming this series of reports something more optimistic, since I wasn't feeling particularly "fallen" anymore.

As it turns out, though, I am still prone to relapses from time to time. Had a close call with near-disastrous results around Memorial Day, which strengthened my resolve for a month or so, and then last week I felt the strong desire to put myself in M's path again. Can't say that impulse has quite left me yet. (As always, I'm mindful that M is a regular reader of this blog, so I can't reveal too much about specific strategies here.) I keep expecting--hoping for?--a phone call or some other invasion of my space. Suffice to say I'm torn--yet again--between the desire to be a free man and a strong hero, and the yearning to submit to the depths of degredation. M is well aware of this ambivalence and exploits it at every possible opportunity.

It occured to me the other day that the overt antagonism between the two of us is something that distinguishes our fantasy relationship from the conventional master/slave dynamic (and, yeah, I'm aware of how odd that phrase sounds), at least as I understand that. When I see men on leashes wielded by other men in leather bars, I assume the leashees are there by choice, not because they've been captured, held against their will, stripped of all their secrets, and transformed into something they abhor. (That list of abuses belongs in quotes, of course; in earlier entries here I've described my superhero-downfall saga as being "consensually non-consensual," or words to that effect. I know full well this is all a game, but I do put my whole self into the playing of it, which often entails fighting back as hard as I can.)

Built into the Monk/Bat saga is the notion that I don't want to be defeated by my mortal enemy, that what has happened to me is a degredation, an obscenity. And throughout the events of the last year or so I've noticed that when I'm not in contact with M I long to be, but the minute I actually encounter him, I don't feel particularly good about it. It's an intense feeling, to be sure, and enormously enlightening, but I can't say it's a happy one. I don't enjoy, at least not in the conventional sense, being the servant of another man, being the bad guy, the loser... but those fantasies are still very strong for me. As I've noted before, I generally feel most vulnerable to M during periods when my daylight-world self esteem is low, or simply when I'm feeling drained. Fleeing him was accompanied by an upswing in my mood--I felt good about myself again because I'd broken free of him, and I was probably able to break free because I felt good. Lately the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction again, so it's no surprise that I feel the familiar pull of the gloating nemesis who gives voice to the very things I'm so used to telling myself about myself.

It's often said that art comes from pain and unhappiness, and it's true that stories about happy people are usually not very interesting. So the question becomes: is it better to be a happy person with no story to tell, or a miserable one with fascinating adventures?