Ten was born prior to my first Playa. Since it’s also a Playa name, that is kind of cheating… you’re supposed to get your Playa name –ON- the Playa. But meh, petty details.
I had a very different life then—collar and ownership and all. I literally belonged to someone else. So yes, it was true, those who said it was a phase.
The man who owned me named me. Slave 10. The number. Not just because that was all I was. But because I was his perfect 10.
We’re different people now. But I’m still Ten. I’m not a number, and not just someone’s Perfect 10. The word is now personified into the person you see before you today. The person who came to Playa del Fuego and left a changed woman. Who took the collar off, but still remains active in the BDSM community. Because that’s who I am now.
You ask about BDSM? As a “community”? Those who aren’t a part of it will never know how strong we really are. A BDSM “community”—it’s a hard concept for those who think it’s all about beating the snot out of people for sexual gratification. But I assure you, I’ve never felt more a part of something, more supported, and more self-aware before I found my kinky chosen family.
I never fit in anywhere. I never belonged. High school, college, even with those of similar age in the workplace… I was always different. I mean, I got along well enough, I had my fun. But never fit in. Never got let in.
Now. I know what community is. My first chosen “home” where I could be me (Ten) was Dressing for Pleasure’s The Crawlspace. Master Ed and Karen took us in and accepted us as family that very first night. I learned so much there, about different fetishes and people and statuses--- and about uniting under one flag.
It was there that I met Firefly who would take me to my first “big event”: Black Phoenix’s Winter Solstice. It was a sleep-away event where I stayed in a hotel and attended classes during the day. I met soooo many people. And it became apparent that people accepted me, as Ten. The person who I had to hide from others. That I wasn’t strange, crazy, or a burden.
Since then, Ten has attended many events. And Ten has spilled over to daily life. I introduce myself as Ten to most anyone new I meet. I am called “Ten” by both of my roommates, the kinkster and the ‘nilla both. Few people know me by my old name anymore. Those I still talk to from my old life (not the ones that simply keep tabs through Myspace and Facebook status updates), know about my lifestyle… and while they may not want to know details, they accept me as Ten as well, even if they call me by my given name.
Which is why I don’t hesitate anymore in declaring that name dead. While I’m not legally changing my name, please note, that if anyone ever asks if “Ten” is my real name, I will now say, "Yes" emphatically.