Most people I meet tend to see things as a small sequence. Sure, they’ll admit life is complicated as are its connections; but ultimately, they’ll fail to grasp the whole bunch of straws. Writing has made me appreciate how things don’t exist in a vacuum. You never realize how small you are until you drink in the bigger pitcher. Nothing is really inconsequential. Maybe incredible, ignorable, but never irrelevant or independent. Take Me to Church taught me just how much of it all is a domino effect.
Looking back on my life, I’ve always been into the supernatural—which isn’t as cool or abstract as it sounds. I used to hallucinate and have waking dreams. Meticulous monsters molded a sense of pervasive paranoia that haunts me to this day. No matter how hot or cold, I can only fall asleep if I’m safely cocooned in covers and listening to my headset or cradling my cell phone. When I was a little girl, the monsters were what you’d expect: the typical terrors of ghosts, mutants, or brooding axe murderers. As I grew older, the monsters manifest by my hands—or rather, my thoughts. Instead of the culpable clichés fostered by films and TV, my new monsters were faceless. They were no longer agonizingly recognizable. My villains were visceral voices whispering in my ear, gnawing into my conscience whenever I dared to feel remotely happy.
So, I guess it’s more than a little ironic that I study supernatural folklore. But this isn’t going to turn into some emo, borderline goth monologue about how I’ve been drawn into the darkness and snagged some undead boyfriend who showed me the light. That’s just a little backstory that feeds into the domino effect. It started with an intimate fascination with the occult, destructive fears and superstitions. I never once thought I’d actually study it—until my undergrad when I fished for electives and amongst what I could fit into my timetable, decided to take my first religious studies class. Then, I took some film courses which showcased a score of epics drawn from religion and folklore. When I did my first thesis, I’d officially landed on horror films.
The big link I’m getting at here is religion. Most of my family is Anglican. I went to church most Sundays until I turned eight; coincidently, after my grandmother died. She was the one who took me to church and reinforced the Good Book. She was also the one I was closest to, and she promised she’d always be with me—which everyone else thought was an odd thing to say since she never breathed that conviction to anybody else. Even though she wasn’t around to take me to church anymore, I never stopped believing. But I did lose faith. I still have yet to fully find it. To this day, I wonder just how much of life boils down to divine destiny versus earthly, explainable forces. And I just ran with that curiosity after I fell into existentialism, another school of thought I found in university.
[Tweet “Financial domination is more a less a service #findom”]
After existentialism came erotica, which quite honestly was something I was always into. I got my first taste of Anaïs Nin when I was twelve, and most of my grade school teachers wrote into a fat file of how odd they found my fascination with flesh and the immediacy of intimacy. Once I started to correlate the carnal with the corporeal, it drove home just how scared I was. I didn’t fear the unknown. I was terrified of the uncertain. No bible or existential epic could grant me guarantees. The only thing I could count on was writing. So, I started to write. And write. And write.
Then one day, Clark came along. So, you’re writing a story, huh? I think it needs a guy in a suit; a guy with a good head on his shoulders and in his pants. Maybe even a guy keen to conscience. You know, the kind who stands his ground but isn’t afraid to get on his knees. He adjusted his tie, leaned in to whisper sweet somethings into my ear, and the rest is history.
After Mercy Me wrapped up, I started to hear from Vera. She must’ve caught Clark getting too comfortable. The next thing I knew, she was perched at my other ear. Like Clark, she led me to some deep and dark places well beyond the books. These people are sheep, she crossed her arms. All the world’s a feast for fame and fortune. These people will eat you alive while you starve for their approval. So make them starve. Let them feed into your superiority complex. I couldn’t help chuckling as she leafed through The Professor. And Jesus Christ, forget about this guy. People are just going to stare harder if you don’t—and they’re the ones staring. This chump couldn’t even look you in the eye.
She rekindled my BDSM affinity, a carnality I’d cultivated over the years that went cold. Which led me to findom also known as financial domination. It never once occurred to me that there was any likeness to that and how Vera interacted with Clark, but one reader got me thinking about this once he brought up Vera’s ‘hypocrisy’ as someone who so casually calls bullshit despite accepting Clark’s cash. The distinction for me is that Clark isn’t actually paying Vera for anything. She asks him for a loan, he agrees, and proceeds to open his heart—and everything else—up to her as they grow closer. When it comes to findom, people open their wallets exclusively. That’s not to say people are just flushing funds into this fetish. I’ve known women who were FinDommes—a moniker for Financial Dommes/Financial Dominatrices—who’ve gone on to be Mistresses as well as selective or exclusive sugar babies. Some have just found their soulmates and now live in monogamous or polyamorous D/s relationships.
But that’s not what happens in findom—or at least, what I’ve come to know as the usual findom arrangement. Financial domination is more or less a service. As in, subs/slaves/bottoms pay to serve. Unlike a regular Dominatrix, money is inherent element. Capital is a mandate. A Dominatrix is a church. So is a Financial Dominatrix, but She gleans most from the collection plate. My church is built on my writing. I task people to earn the privilege to oblige me. I invest essays to incense their insecurities, their irrevocable ineptitude, and their penchant for pain. They invest capital and essays of their own, reveling in their inadequacies while I absolve them because I’m figurative above them.
The dominos sure fell in some interesting places. I went from fearing (and studying) gods and monsters to emulating the two. I can’t help wondering how ironic it all feels. To think that the erotica and romance reader demographics are mostly women hot for Doms, while realms like findom are reigned mostly by Dommes. You’d think for all these fangirls going gaga about a crapshot book mooning about some inner goddess, they’d be more keen to assume a throne. I can’t lie. I like the sound of my name garnished with the titles Miss, Mistress, Goddess, or Lady beforehand. Even though I don’t see myself putting that on a business card anytime soon.