Risking It All To Be Ms. Margaret

by Ms. Margaret Davis

Before I was Ms. Margaret I was someone else. I did all the right things, had a wonderful job, and lived in some beautiful homes. Like so many with a strong sense of make believe and romance, I could never find in my relationships a sense of going beyond what was “normal.” My desires went to a strange place and I relived scenes I had seen on television and movies. My passions were something I couldn’t communicate without fear of ridicule, sarcasm and ridicule being high forms of entertainment in my family.

When I found what I thought was a man who could “take charge” or make the adrenaline flow, I fell in love and married. I would have submissively stayed with this man forever had I not come into some very clear information from two different unlikely directions.

First, the facts on spousal abuse came out and whether I was looking for the information or not, I knew for years I was a classic case. All the manipulation, intimidation, control and blame issues were present. There were several physical incidents — but not as many as other women had so I didn’t give that aspect as much attention as I should have. I loved him so much, I overlooked my own needs and committed my life to the success of my family.

The other trend that became known was the idea of “mean sex” as Timemagazine falsely labeled it. Other publications did a better job but the concepts of dominance and submission in a loving relationship became an open adventure to explore. I looked at some of the pictures of these horribly scary women who couldn’t dominate a gold fish and I thought how wrong they had it all. I had taken charge in many portions of my life, but I did it with more style and class than what I saw in the books. I became intrigued with the idea but I never thought I would go that route.

It was nearly Christmas one year and my husband came into the room in another one of his rages saying that there just wasn’t any money. We were not going to have Christmas at all.

How could I let that happen? How could I explain that to my children? I looked in that magazine and knew I could do a better job than these women for that kind of money. So without thinking I ventured into a world I knew nothing about. It was a horrible risk, but in the name of saving my family and paying the bills I would do anything. I didn’t want to get into anything sexual or into erotic dominance. All I wanted was to be a nurturing dominant who spanked.

Thus, Margaret was born. I gave her that name to protect my privacy and family. She was a super woman of great taste and culture. A strong authority figure who always did the proper thing, including taking charge of unruly “children.”

At the time she was a cartoon I invented but as time passed I realized I’m more she than I thought. Back then she was the person I always wanted to be and now I really am.

To my surprise I did it. I made some money and was willing to stop the sessions, but I had found another world. I started getting calls from all over the country. People contacted me who just wanted a simple mothering kind of ritual — a ceremony of loving discipline that only a parent could create. I found and met a very interesting world of people and knew I had a calling here but I couldn’t figure out what it was.

In the next few years I shared so much of what I learned with my husband. His reaction ranged from ridicule to disbelief. He was uncomfortable with dominance and submission, so I tried to keep my “second career” something we didn’t talk about.

Time passed and I learned more. I found the community loaded with women who were abused but were also into some serious scenes in the S&M clubs. I researched abuse and I researched “play.” The key I was missing in my own life was the magical word “consent.”

The more I read on abuse, the more I realized that nothing in my marriage would ever change. It was time to leave. For fear of his following me I knew I had to go far and fast. That would take money and friends and as I looked at my resources I found I had both in the D&S (Dominance/Submission) community. Abuse is not allowed there. The community was the antithesis of all I knew. I needed a world where tolerance, respect and imagination was the norm. I was safe in this new world and so I left.

Margaret wasn’t a fake persona anymore. She was the real person that I had to be to rise above the obstructions. With great planning and dignity, “Margaret” — the woman of strength and wisdom — helped me leave an impossible and incurable situation. My birth persona was in ruins; Margaret was intact.

Leaving was very frightening. I’ve never been so frightened in my life, and I care never to be that scared again. In order to find a safe and sane haven, no one noticed that I left my children, my home, most of my belongings, my pets, a job I loved, and my friends. The saddest part was the children. There was so much no one knew, and I feared I’d never have the chance to explain.

Within a year the children came with me, but learning a mature way to cope with anger was a chapter still to be covered. I thought I had protected the future by hiding my secret but some things live on with the next generation. It doesn’t stop until you make it stop. I went for help. I took a stand and our life ahead is looking much brighter.

After the first two years of moving out my health was affected to such an extreme that I would spend days in bed always sick with something. My family rarely called and seemed ambivalent to what was happening. They didn’t understand and still don’t. My husband, who had always hidden his “Mr. Hyde” personality from everybody, worked hard and fast to win their sympathy.

If only they could see what really happened. I knew I had a calling, and it has become more apparent as I happily stay where I am. The scene is constantly being entered by a new level of enthusiasts. Since this is an adult recreational community, the rules are not always discussed in your local sexuality classes. There are rules of safety and rights for submissive and dominants. Trust, communication and respect reign or you are out. Word travels fast about people who are known as anything other than safe and sane players.

I’ve been invited by different groups to come and give talks on how to enjoy the scene. I use my talents as a mother and performer of sorts to educate some very vulnerable, loving people who deserve the best. My age and my matronly appearance are in my favor. It’s easier to listen to Ms. Margaret than Mistress Tattoo with her red Mohawk haircut, painted-on leather pants and spikes around her throat.

The reason I continue my work is this: I wonder so often how many women, like me, went looking for dominance, submission, romance and passion and by accident, or through lack of information, found themselves in an abusive relationship. What felt like exciting play in the beginning, in the end turned into deadly punches. What appeared to be a brilliant mind “taking you” was a person intimidating and manipulating you. It was tolerable until you saw what it does to children. Life is manageable until you see you are completely stressed to the limit and not coping with daily life. Then it’s time to move on.

When you leave there is something no one tells you. You go alone. Not only do you mourn the loss of the marriage and your home, but you mourn the loss of family and friends who refuse to picture the truth. You mourn the arrogance of those that would make judgments. “What did you do to make him so mad?” “It’s your fault.” “You really are sick.” “Did you try counseling?” (Yes, thank you. Four times.)

It takes a persona bigger than the one you were born with to survive the exhausting and emotionally draining move onward. You live perplexed because if you committed suicide, the act you often thought of, they would wonder, “Why didn’t she tell us?”

I started my sexuality with a submissive posture looking for my larger-than-life dominating John Wayne or Clark Gable, who naturally would “take me.” As I got older, I realized that taking the dominant posture was equally enjoyable. Which leads me to wonder about submissive men in their personal relationships. A man with submissive tendencies has similar thoughts about being taken over by a strong woman, but it’s not the fashionable, manly thing to admit.

In his private quest he marries an assertive woman. Now I ask, is his partner dominating him or just being rude? If she is consciously dominating her man, there is an awareness of his needs and respect for his fantasy. If she’s just being obnoxiously haughty and manipulative, then we’re talking about a woman with no manners and no respect for her partner. Her actions are selfish rather than giving. It’s abuse. Her behavior has nothing to do with mature mutual pleasure. I’ve seen submissive men go along with this because no one has put the picture into words for them.

In a perfect world these things would “just happen” without talking about it. Since this is not an ideal world, it is imperative to communicate each other’s needs, fantasies, and pleasures. There are respect, boundaries and knowledge of limits. Most of all, if necessary, there is a safe way to call a stop. The relationship thrives on mature, logical communication and respect. It’s a freedom I’ve never known.

My health has not returned to what it was before and, thus, is unlikely I will go back to a career I loved. I enjoy the life I have created in New York and this unique community. I can determine my own hours and be my own boss. I’m doing well now, but the solution wasn’t anything a counselor would advise. I went down a different road and “did it my way.”

I have a nice relationship with my Higher Power and I intend on going to heaven. I used to attend church every Sunday, but since the separation I shudder at the sound of a shouting, preaching male voice. Going to church brings back deep feelings of guilt, blame and inadequacy. I hope that somebody in heaven sees my role on earth as a good cause. If not, I’m in big trouble and way out of luck.

In premarital classes and sexuality courses they talk about all the medical, financial, and religious issues brought to a marriage but they leave out the fantasy, the mental pictures of romance and play that make us feel whole. What would be so wrong to make this more of a topic for discussion? Straight vanilla sex is okay for the first ten years, but there may come a time when you want to try something else.

What is so wrong with encouraging lovers to “escape” reality and let their minds wander where they can “play.” Why are courts allowed to use these intimate secrets as tools for divorce? Why are therapists allowed to call scene players sick? Wouldn’t it be better to encourage people to communicate their passions and respect everyone’s right to hear the beat of a different drummer?