Top space and self care at eighty-five mph

Top space is an emotional and psychological state. It occurs when some dominants hit their version of “runner’s high”. Last weekend, I attended an event in Tampa called Florida Power Exchange. This was a first for me; I’ve not been to a convention or gathering in Florida since we moved and there was some hesitancy on my part. You never know what you are getting yourself into when you are joining a new group but I had a wonderful sistah who encouraged (read: threatened me with physical violence) to attend. Within minutes, I realized my fears had no reasoning. Not only were we welcomed with open arms but there was no feeling of “new” … it was as though we had always been a part of their community. (One particularly helpful bunny even brought me in to where I could get the good coffee while waiting for our room). From there, it was a whirlwind of classes and networking and socializing. From Thursday through Sunday, Melissa and I shared food, community, laughter, inside jokes, and a sense of family with people that we’d never even known existed on Wednesday. There was a slow slide into Top space for me that began with that cup of coffee.

Top space begins

Top space makes everything feel more intense. Your body floods with hormones that make every sensation stronger and can affect you mentally, emotionally, and physically. In most instances, this occurs while involved in a scene but it can also happen because of environmental factors, like what some attendees of intensive conventions or educational panels have expressed. You are there, in those moments, sharing a commonality with everyone around you for a weekend, or sometimes longer, and when it’s over, you feel adrift. As though you have lost something so valuable and important you might never get it back. And this can lead to what we refer to as “drop”, or crash. For as euphoric and beautiful as Top space feels, the inevitable crash can and will ruin your entire day.

Environmental top space

On Thursday, we attended a class on Dungeon etiquette, presented by a woman who goes by the name of Lady Leigh (she owns The Loft NC). Rather than a formal presentation where people sat and took notes, we were just sitting around a table, talking, and showing certain points. Her collared submissive was also present and that man made me laugh so hard I think I broke my spleen.

From there, we attended classes and presentations that spoke to everything from archetypes to mental health in the fetish community. A wealth of information that helped both Melissa and I to come together in a way that we had begun to lose. We found our solid footing in sharing our experiences with those around us. And while we did not get to take part in any of the dungeon activities on Friday and Saturday evening, we did still enjoy being around everyone. We volunteered helping to direct people to where they needed to be for classes. I had the privilege of helping in the aftercare room, which is where people cuddle together and start to come down from a scene. The beginning of Top drop as well as bottom drop.

Top space ends

After a particularly intense session, your feelings and emotions are all over the place. It’s like running on pure instinct and is exhilarating. But it can also be exhausting. For all that Top space gives you a “high” if you come down too quickly, you can feel physically ill. Your body gets the chills and all that energy has with nowhere to go. The aftercare room is a quiet place, filled with pillows and blankets and sheets of all different textures and feels. A Top will usually bring their submissive or their bottom to the room and cuddle next to them, wrapped in blankets and pillows. It’s a time of bonding, with soft touches and soothing words.

I was honoured to be able to help some of the members as they settled into their places. At one point, I cuddled with a man I’m just going to call Cuddles (you know who you are). By the time you are ready to leave the aftercare room, usually both partners are in a much clearer head space. Their bond has been re-forged and the trust between them is solid.

Top drop at eighty-five miles per hour

When it comes to environmental Top space, it’s harder to come down. For me, it’s a feeling like an anxiety attack; my body starts to buzz and I fidget more. I spent five days surrounded by people who understood me, embraced me, and taught me. When the time came to leave on Sunday, I thought I would be all right and while I might have a little anxiety about “con drop”, I would be in a good place to take care of it.

Have I ever told you how much the universe hates me?

Eighty-five miles an hour. I’m traveling down I-75 and suddenly I start to feel like the car is too small (I drive a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited with a V8 and 4WD. Small is not the world to use for my Wally). I’m holding onto the steering wheel and white-knuckling the drive. I know damn good and well I must get home and I started to compartmentalize my drop so I could get us home. For my girl, I will always do better and be better to protect her. I managed (barely) to get us home and we both collapsed.

Self Care

Today is Tuesday and I’m still going through Top drop. I hadn’t realized how much I miss having a community until I came back and saw this one. The warmth and compassion they express is amazing. They emphasized, several times, self-care. I should take care of myself to be able to take care of my wife; remembering to eat and drink, to rest when my body says to rest. There are snacks always at the ready and my huge pink water bottle is always full. I have started to let the control I have over the box I compartmentalize in relax so I can process everything.

There were several moments that were so special to me. Hearing someone say, “reclaiming our negative words” about being a Dyke or Queer. Hugging damn near everyone at the Town Council meeting we had at the end of the conference. Seeing all the leather families, vests, and love. Watching those in service shine as they catered to their partners, or even to some that weren’t. The sounds of leather slapping skin, and the inevitable yelp that follows. Next time, I’m going to bring my toy bag. Next time, I’ll potentially have someone to play with.

I promise … it only hurts until I stop, sweetheart.

2018 FPE – You Are Not Alone is going to be magnificent.


D. Jordan Padrona

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