My father was one of several lifetime, unlimited AAirpass holders American claimed had breached their contracts. A few months later, my father sued American for breaking their deal, and more importantly, taking away something integral to who he was. They fought out of court for years. The story became front-page news. The LA Times. The New York Post. Fox News. A slew of online outlets. The obvious story is that my father was a decadent jet-setter who either screwed or got screwed by American; depends on your take.
Dad has loved to travel for his entire life. His father, Josh, was a navigator in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and ran a company that manufactured paper and artificial flowers, traveling worldwide and telling stories about the places he went. Make sure you have your tie on. He wrote his college application on a typewriter at a hotel beach in Hawaii and mailed it from a post office in Osaka, Japan. He flew to Europe several times a year and went to live there after graduating in That December, he joined the wallet business — a company my grandfather had purchased — doing sales.
He had an apartment in Manhattan on East 89th Street, but mostly, he was at the wallet factory in Oklahoma, or traveling, both for work and play. Transitioning to finance, Dad moved to Chicago in for a stint at Smith Barney, and according to him, became the second highest-grossing stockbroker at Bear Stearns in , where he worked for a decade. Later, he focused on investment banking, and also became the largest shareholder of the financial corporation Olympic Cascade, the holding company of a brokerage firm, National Securities. Through it all, he continued flying. Airports and airplanes — they were who Dad was.
Then, having the cash after a good year at Bear, the investment in an unlimited pass made sense. In September , five months after my brother, Josh, was born, and three months after we moved from downtown Chicago into the north suburbs, Dad bought his unlimited lifetime AAirpass. My father was 37 years and four days old when he dated the check. Two years later, which was one year before my younger sister, Natalie, was born, he added a companion feature to his AAirpass, allowing him to bring another person along on any flight.
This changed the game, not only for him, but our entire family. My parents decided early on to take separate planes so that in the unlikely event of a crash, at least one of them would be alive for their three children. Officially a customer for life, major U.
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He knew every employee on his journey — from the curb, through security, to the gate, and onto the plane. None of us has ever met her in person. But Lorraine was family. Her Southern lilt, a speakerphone staple at the dinner table. While my father befriended dozens and dozens of American employees throughout his tenure as one of their top fliers, and while we knew plenty by name, and vice versa — from skycaps to Admirals Club employees to people who worked at the ticket counter — no one played a role quite like Lorraine.
Lorraine and Dad became fast pals. Bean tote bag more times than I can count , and magazines from foreign airport lounges. She says they shared inside jokes — a lot. Dad gifted the miles and upgrades he accumulated throughout his life — both before and during his AAirpass tenure — to dozens and dozens of people over the years. Once he upgraded my cantor and his wife to first class from Amsterdam.
He regularly let relatives and people in crisis come along in his extra seat. He helped get other people where they needed to go. Just that his AAirpass was about more than solipsistic travel. It allowed him to build relationships. Make connections. Form meaningful bonds. And it allowed other people to access the world like he did. M y friend Phil likes to say my father ran his life like a corporation and raised me in it. His underwear was pressed. UPS and FedEx came nightly to our driveway to drop things off, pick things up.
He had packing down to a science — sets of clothes folded and fitted into plastic cases, cosmetics ready to go. We had a whole suitcase closet in the basement, and at some point, he turned the downstairs guest room into a staging area for packing, his clothing and cosmetic sets stacked in laundry baskets. A fun party trick was bringing people inside — his business associates, my siblings and my friends. Sometimes we used the items ourselves. Often, we gave things away. When he went to India twice as a family, several times he alone for work , he brought things along.
Like travel, for Dad, the Secret Room was an extension of souvenir collecting as a kid. Steven Rothstein was there. He was very much there. And always in touch. I mean, he used a phone … he was one of the first people with a cell phone. Most of my life, I focused on how Dad was always on a plane. When I think about it now, when he was home, he was there: sitting with me on my bedroom floor, or at the dinner table, or coming in to kiss me goodnight.
He has a presence. Not only a loud voice, but also a boom of self. He arrives. He is both taking off and landing at once. If there was a chance he could come home and stay with his family overnight, he preferred that to any hotel in the world. I wanna go home. I wanna be with my family. Dad was an airport celebrity, and when we traveled together, it embarrassed the shit out of me. Like riding a cart from security to the gate because as a family, we ran late — Dad has a knack for rushed arrivals.
Or walking into the Admirals Club locations and having the folks at the front desk know us by name, which was really kind, but also like … I was a kid. Or when in second grade, he took me to Japan for the weekend because he wanted me to experience an inaugural flight San Jose to Tokyo. We were in the bulkhead, the first row of any flight cabin.
As we landed, there were reporters flooding the jet bridge to photograph the first person off the flight. Technically, based on his seat, that was Dad. But as he figured out what was happening, he insisted I go first so I could be the star. I stood there with my 7-year-old smile, bright-colored headband, and long V-neck Limited Too sweater hanging down to my thighs.
I was mortified. But Dad wanted us to experience absolutely everything there was in life. He wanted to take me to all 50 states by the time I was We put a big U. But I sort of doubt, for the most part, they had the kind of wanderlust and open-mindedness and fascination that your father had with the world, and still does for that matter. It was woven into your tapestry.
Into the fabric of who you are, and how you look at other people and the world. I understood the weight and privilege as a kid. I understood — we all did — that the AAirpass meant my father could travel and do business in unprecedented ways, and it allowed our entire family to travel in ways few people on earth could. We got the privileges, all of them, all of us. I ask my sister, Natalie, a psychotherapist living in Chicago, her earliest memories of traveling on an airplane: landing in Australia at age 3, walking down the aisle as the plane was still moving, and someone grabbing her to keep her safe.
But I was aware very early. Wont to interrogate privilege — race, class and otherwise — I pry. Did she really get that first class was different than the rest of the plane? It was clear I was surrounded by mostly people who had a lot of money, and I was always one of the only kids in first class, and that felt weird and I always wanted to be with other kids in coach.
That trip to Australia I was in fifth grade was our first big international family vacation. You and Josh are in all the black-and-white-check stuff. It was so unusual to be Americans at Christmas in Tokyo. It was about seeing the world …. We wanted to connect to the people. For a while we were in touch ….
We would send him pictures and things. People enriched us. Hopefully we enriched others. She starts laughing as she recalls a time we visited the Holy Sepulchre in Israel and Dad got in trouble for laying down with his yoga strap, trying to stretch his back in front of the church. The travel was first class, the hotels were first class, but the experiences were very real and authentic. O n October 6, , Josh — 15 and a half — was hit by a car while walking down the sidewalk.
A car had pulled an illegal U-turn. To avoid a collision, another driver accidentally accelerated, swerved up onto the sidewalk and flung Josh into the side of a building. His head hit the building. He was knocked unconscious. My uncle Jeffrey called me from Scarsdale and told me to get on a plane. It was my first month of college; I rushed to the Philadelphia Airport and bought a ticket home. It would be at least another 15 years before I could descend the American Airlines baggage claim escalator without going into a trauma shock.
Over a thousand people attended his funeral. Lorraine helped get people on flights. Ernie from American says it was sad to watch Dad when they occasionally saw each other over the years. His only son. Outwardly, his strength was renowned. But I knew how much it impacted him … I know his children meant more to him than any business deal, than any situation in life that could come up.
I had asked Dad what the media tends to overlook when they cover this story. I was just very confused and very lonely and I was calling American Airlines because they were logical people for me to speak to. They knew me. I knew them. I knew their names. I knew their lives. I knew that a husband and wife both worked at the Raleigh-Durham reservations office of American. So by calling the number, I was able to talk to somebody in my loneliness.
I talk to Natalie, who was still at home with a front row seat to his grief while I was away at college. She tells me about the shame Dad felt when people in our community often pitied him after Josh died — and still do to this day — as if he were a broken man. But the airport and American were where he was still treated like a full, whole man.
I went into the ticket counter. I checked in my luggage for London. Turns out a letter had been drafted to notify Dad that they were concerned with his behavior and use of the pass. But they decided not to send it. I was probably more shocked than anyone else. He called someone in the baggage department at Heathrow, who assisted. Aamil never made it to Sarajevo.
In fact, that was one of the last times they ever spoke. Ultimately, Aamil disappeared from our lives. Dad went home. Told Mom. Got in bed. And slept for the rest of the weekend, and arguably — at least figuratively — for a really long time after that. And I had no idea how I was going to live my life the way I lived it. His blood. It was his superpower. Dad was one of a few lifetime, unlimited AAirpass holders that American had been monitoring and claimed had breached their contracts.
But now, after years of quiet and secret investigation, apparently Dad and others were costing American too much money. Even though Dad had dealt with the reservations agents on an almost daily basis, it was the revenues department that got involved, interjected, and launched an investigation that brought the whole house down. The dollar amount was based on the value of the lifetime unlimited AAirpass the last time it was sold for public consumption — though American had stopped selling them in , a Neiman Marcus catalogue offered them for 3 million bucks. A primary issue in the case was whether American properly terminated his AAirpass Agreement based on Section 12, which read:.
According to Lorraine and the legal documents, a longtime American employee launched the investigation, looking into several other AAirpass holders, including Dad and Jacques Vroom, another lifetime unlimited customer, whose AAirpass termination also resulted in a lawsuit. I reached out to American Airlines for comment on this article. Truth is, AAirpass was — even in its earliest, earliest days — a failed program.
As for the case, American anticipated a resolution without a trial; Dad anticipated a trial by jury. They spent the summer of debating — back and forth — over the fraud clause, and whether it was ambiguous or clear. Then, American counterclaimed, saying Dad broke the contract by improperly using the companion feature. In April , an American employee had approached Dad and asked him to stop, as security measures around flying had clearly started to shift after September So he stopped.
Only Dad knew how to drop everything and fly. That was his superpower. He had wings. Yet American Airlines agents condoned it for decades. They had won. As mentioned, the judge issued a summary judgment. Then, the Court of Appeals affirmed. Dad had lost. The appeal stayed until American exited bankruptcy in December And the final chunks of paperwork were filed in early But it never really quieted.
That my mother, two uncles and an aunt all went in for depositions, or that hundreds of legal hours and thousands of dollars and documents unfolded. This spring, after gaining access to the court documents, and reading over 80 documents in full, I call Dad as I leave my writing space at p. I say this is clear: What American did to interpret fraud was out of line. During the same time period, he booked 2, flight segments for travel companions, and 2, were either canceled or a no-show.
I tell him I need to maintain my journalistic balance and integrity. Under those terms I bought the extra seat. Anyone I wanted. He wanted to be alone, just as had always been his booking practice on many airlines, even well before the AAirpass days.
He liked his space. He liked access to bringing extra carry-on bags. He liked some privacy. The airplane was his home. He was at home. People buy extra and empty seats all the time. A permanent extra seat for life — whether another human was in it or not. Here is why. I was up and [alone] in my home office and bored. So I would call the number for the AAirpass desk and talk to the agent about the news or the weather or about Paris or little London.
Then, after an hour of nothing they had to hang up. So I would make a reservation and ask them to fax it to me. Then the next day I would take the fax and cancel the reservation. I needed someone to talk to at midnight. The number was open. His understanding was that fraudulent behavior was limited to giving the AAirpass to someone else — which he never did.
I still have never ever ever booked any reservation online. I always use the phone. So their own agents never stopped me from anything. Real depression. On his iPad, he FaceTimes me from his hotel room. It took away my hobby. I thought that I could go to Sweden for the weekend in July and pick up flowers when I was They stole the very thing that caused me to give them a half a million dollars in the first place. And a half a million dollars is probably like 5 million dollars today.
And they did it maliciously. So maybe someplace in between. Or maybe my mind goes back and forth. Of course, racial and class privilege, body ability, access to health care and support, and other privileges obviously play a massive role. But the inside spectacle of pain is traumatic across the board. So it was a huge loss, and it was shitty timing because it gave our family an opportunity to still travel, to find the joy in travel. Hong Kong. New York. We inherit things from our kin.
As an internationally touring poet, performer and educator, when I am on tour, I am alive. I know how to operate an airport or bus terminal or Amtrak station or a rental car. Natalie does too. People have come to me about their hatred or fear of flying. A certain amount of time in the sky that belongs only to you.
Regardless of your seat. Of course, I recognize that because I was socialized to fly in first class, my feelings about travel are biased. Even though I fly economy now, even though my eyes can tell the difference, somehow my body does not.
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I am in the air. I am free above the world. My best friend, Chloe, recently asked me what my favorite airline is, given all the travel I do. I feel nostalgia. Fargo is on my bucket list! I am yelping at this point. Literally hitting my leg and chair audibly. Suddenly, I feel like Dad must have felt talking to her — laughing, joking, dreaming up trips. Some people inherit money. Or trauma. A host of other things. I thank her and wish her a beautiful day.
From a near-death experience that shook a family to its core to a shocking proposition in a therapist's office, Believable explores how our stories define who we are. I n each episode of Believable , we dive into a personal, eye-opening story where narratives conflict, and different perspectives about the truth collide. These are complex and suspenseful audio stories that expand to say something larger about the role of narrative and identity in our lives. Episode 1 of Believable , which is now live, is about a woman who bounced around state institutions and foster homes as a child, always wishing for the family she never had.
Until one day she finally gets what she asked for — and then some. How a brilliant scientist went from discovering a mother lode of treasure at the bottom of the sea to fleeing from authorities with suitcases full of cash. Thompson had long insisted that he suffers from neurological problems and chronic fatigue syndrome, which impairs his memory, and that his meandering explanations were a symptom of the distress foisted upon him.
Thompson was genuinely sickened and overwhelmed, however, and he found it extremely frustrating that nobody seemed to take his condition seriously. In the 30 years since, the weight of the find had upended partnerships, ended his marriage, and set loose the specter of greed. What began as a valiant mission of science turned into something else entirely. O n September 11, , about 7, feet beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, a set of glowing orbs moved smoothly through the darkness and illuminated the mysterious world below.
That far down there are few currents, the water is close to freezing, and it is almost pitch black. The only light typically comes from the bioluminescent creatures that float by like ghosts, but in this case the lights were from a six-ton, unmanned vessel. The Nemo , looking like an industrial freezer with two robotic arms, made a small adjustment to its thrusters and hovered above the scattered remains of a sunken ship. Video of the wreckage was relayed to a vessel bobbing above, giving the crew — and the world — the first look at a ship whose location had stymied treasure hunters for generations.
It was the SS Central America , a massive side-wheel steamship that sank in a hurricane off the coast of South Carolina in Illustration of the S. Central America before its sinking. Photo courtesy Library of Congress. The find was remarkable for many reasons. The artifacts eventually recovered from the ship were a window into a bygone era and gave voice to the hundreds of people who were pulled into the abyss.
But the discovery was also a spectacular victory for pocketbooks — the ship was carrying gold when it sank, and lots of it: coins, bars and nuggets of every size surrounded the wreck and covered its decks and rotting masts. And that was only what the crew could see — somewhere in the remains were said to be between 3 and 21 tons of gold, a haul some experts valued at close to half a billion dollars.
For Thompson, the Edisonian genius who masterminded the expedition, the discovery was the first salvo of what looked to be a long, impressive career. He became an American hero, a mix of brains and daring in the tradition of the scientist-adventurers of yore. Words: 3, Published: September 14, by Erotic Dreams. Emma thought she could manage without her married Master. Besides, she needed to get on with her life and her biological clock was ticking. Realising she was wrong and desperately needed Him, she invited Him for a chat in a hotel room. He came to repossess her with his bag of tricks and his wife!
In this story, she is taken a lap dancing club to broaden her horizons with both men and women. Date the list, and add this to your medical history file. Be sure to update the list as needed. Activity: If you have not had a thorough general physical for more than three years, schedule an appointment with your doctor for one. This is especially important if you have any unusual health problems. Exercise: Answer the following questions in detail and be scrupulously honest. A positive answer to any of these questions does not disqualify someone for service.
It is vital, in any case, that your trainer have this information to help maintain your personal safety. If you are working without a trainer, consider the implications of your answers. Would a lifestyle change or professional assistance make it easier for you to serve? Do you have any allergies? Do you have any dietary restrictions? Are you vegetarian or vegan?
Do you have any chronic illnesses or injuries that trouble you? What sort of treatment do you use? Do you wear eyeglasses or contact lens? A hearing aid? Do you use any drugs including alcohol or tobacco recreationally? What and how often? Are you currently struggling with an addiction? Are you aware of any body image issues that trouble you?
For how long? Are you in recovery from an addiction other than alcohol or drugs? For how tong? Did you suffer any abuse physical, verbal, psychological, sexual, spiritual Have you suffered such abuse as an adult? How have you learned to heal these wounds? Do you have any history of abusing others?
If so, what steps have you taken to change this pattern?
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Lesson 6. Expectations: the Training Contract The purpose of a training contract is to spell out, in detail, the respective responsibilities of the trainer and the trainee. Such an agreement states that both employer and employee reserve the right to cancel the agreement at will and explains the process for doing so. This generally includes the requirement that either party give written notice the other in the event that the agreement is to be dissolved.
Further, it specifies the starting date of employment, a job If you are working with a trainer, no doubt he or she will have a standard contract for you to examine. If you believe that you will be unable to fulfill any clause of the contract or do not wish to do so, it is your right - indeed, your obligation - to ask for further negotiation until you can reach a mutually agreeable compromise. How can a slave working independently draw up a contract? Since a training contract is an agreement between two or more people, clearly an individual cannot be subject to one.
Miss Abernathy instead suggests that such a submissive write a Statement of Purpose in which he or she makes a personal commitment to work through the training program. Since you are essentially both trainer and trainee, be sure to specify the responsibilities you have toward yourself: excellent self-care, sufficient food, sleep, exercise, and recreation, and most of all, compassion. Suggested Reading: Manual, pp. XL Basic Training Lesson 7. In the strict sense, they would be correct. And what about the situations in which no verbal command is issued? Perhaps you are faced with a difficult choice and the dominant is not present to guide you.
Exercise: After you finish reading the instructions for this exercise, but without looking around you first, close your eyes. Now name three things in the room that are behind you, to your right, to your left, and in front of you. This exercise will have given you some insight into your skills of observation. The next time you are in an unfamiliar environment, try the exercise again.
Does being in a new place change your observations? Now you will learn a technique to help you observe not only your physical surroundings, but also yourself. Activity: Sit comfortably with your spine straight. You may choose to sit in a chair or cross-legged on the floor, as long as you can maintain the position for at least 20 minutes. Do not lie down, as this posture encourages drowsiness. Now, close your eyes, and draw your attention to your breath.
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Observe how the breath enters your nostrils as you inhale and exits as you exhale. Focus your awareness on the point where the breath enters and exits. If thoughts or feelings surface -and they will -simply return your attention to your breath. Do not judge or follow your thoughts; simply return to the breath. Count 10 full breaths in and out. When you are finished, slowly become aware of your surroundings.
When you are ready, open your eyes. The purpose of ihis meditation is to help you quiet your mind and to be able to observe the flow of thoughts that arise as you do so. The content of the thoughts is irrelevant. What is important is the insight that the mind is in constant motion, and that it is very difficult to stop or control that motion. We also observe that as thoughts arise, so also do they pass.
Try this meditation every day for at least one week; you may choose to make it a regular part of your training. At first you may only be able to count a single breath before thoughts and feelings come crowding in. This is normal. If you persist - just letting the thoughts pass by like boats on a stream - you will be able to distance yourself from your thoughts and feelings. This distance will allow you the space to name and describe your thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them.
Suggested Reading: Any book or tape by Fr. Thomas Keating or Thich Nhat Hanh. You need not be Catholic or Buddhist to appreciate the universality of the meditation techniques they teach. Along with awareness of your inner workings, it is important to cultivate awareness of your physical self. Most submissives find it very difficult to hold their bodies still for any length of time, but this is a vital skill for a slave.
Activity: For this activity, you will need a watch with an unobtrusive alarm function, ideally one that emits a single beep. You will be carrying this alarm with you through your day. Set the alarm to sound at 11 minutes past the hour. When the alarm sounds, bring your attention to your physical posture: Where are your hands? Are your legs crossed?
Is your back straight? Your jaw tense? Do you feel any pain in your body? Are you moving any part of your body jiggling your leg, chewing on a pencil? Now, reset the alarm for the next hour. Activity: Do you remember the card game Memory? In it, a special deck of cards or two complete standard decks are dealt out face down in even rows. The first player turns over two cards. If they match, the player removes them from the table and takes another turn. If they do not match, the player turns them back over and the other player takes a turn.
Whoever makes the most matches, wins. Try this game alone or with a friend. It will help you to develop better observation skills. Lesson 8. Obedience II: Awareness of Others The slave-in-iraining has to strike a careful balance between self- observation and awareness of others. A slave is often called upon to respond to requests indicated by the slightest hand gesture, the half-smile, the raised eyebrow. In this lesson, you will learn to tune back in to the important messages.
Exercise: Think of someone you've met in the last day or two. Can you give the following information about the person: eye color? How would you characterize their mood or state of mind at the time you met them? Now, think of someone you see daily who is not a close friend. This might be the person who sells newspapers on the corner, the counter person at your Training with Miss Abernathy Can you answer the same questions about them?
A variation on this activity is to read the name tags many retail workers wear and address them by name. List five non-verbal cues for each emotion. Nierenberg and Henry H. Calero is the classic book on body language. Note that their study focuses on white Americans; people of other cultures and ethnic groups within the United States and abroad may use other cues.
Activity: Go to a busy public place, like an outdoor cafe or a park. Close your eyes. Using your other senses, locate the person who is physically closest to you. What can you say about that person? Can you identify their gender, age, or ethnicity? What can you say about their voice? Can you smell perfume or some other scent? How heavy is their tread? Based on the information you gather, how would you describe this person? Now open your eyes. How accurate was your assessment? This activity will teach you three important things: first, to use your senses to their fullest; second, to be aware of the limitations of your senses; and third, to notice the extent to which your assumptions can influence what you perceive and how you interpret sensory input.
It will help you sharpen your observation skills and hone your menial abilities. Lesson 9. Perhaps you found that you slump. Or you chew your nails. Or you chatter when you get nervous. Not only are these habits inappropriate for a slave, but in dealing with them early on in your training, you will gain the added benefit of developing another vital skill: self-discipline.
Activity: Continue to practice the focusing meditation described in Lesson 7. Meditate for 10 minutes daily, and gradually increase your practice until you are meditating for 20 minutes at a sitting, twice a day. Exercise: Name five individuals who embody the virtue of self-discipline for you.
They may be public figures or people known to you personally. What can you learn from them? Suggested Reading: Read a biography of one of your personal models for self-disciplme. Note the challenges that person faced and how he or she overcame them. Lesson Slave Journal: The Discipline of Self-Disclosure By now you will have started to develop the skills necessary to name your emotions and needs more clearly. These skills have an outer and an inner component.
On the outer side, you will be better able to inform your trainer of any difficulties that arise and will be able to answer probing questions about your current state of mind. On the inner side, you will also be cultivating for yourself the habit of Self-Observation. Increased Training with Miss Abernathy The present lesson provides yet another technique for communicating with your trainer and working out your own processes.
Starling this week, you will keep a written account of your life in the form of a slave journal. If you are working with a trainer, you will be turning over your journal to that person at regular intervals for evaluation. It can be more or less detailed, more or less accurate, more or less honest, but it cannot be more or less correct. The only way you can fail at keeping a slave journal is by not writing in it. Activity: Buy a special notebook or diary to use as a slave journal.
It need not be fancy or expensive, although if a blank bound book is within your means, you may find it lends an aura of gravity to the act of writing. But even if your slave journal is a cent spiral-bound notebook, it is an important facet of your training. You should also make sure that you have a pen not a pencil with which you can write easily for hall an hour. What should you write in your journal?
Entries need not be long, and they do not even have to relate directly to the training process. What is important is the regularity with which you write and the effort you put into naming your emotions and experiences. Activity: Review the affirmations exercise in Lesson 1. Use one of the suggested sentences or compose one of your own. Before you begin to write, kneel down as you are able for a minute and clear your mind. Visualize yourself speaking openly and honestly with your trainer or Owner whom you trust implicitly.
Imagine that person responding firmly, but with deep understanding and care. Now, repeat your chosen affirmation: I devote myself to service. I serve for my benefit and that of others. By serving, I fulfill my highest calling. Then write in your journal. When you have finished, repeat your affirmation quietly to yourself. Exercise: This exercise is for slaves who wish to use the slave journal as a preliminary tool leading to voice-training. Do not use it until you have been writing regularly for at least one month.
Try writing in your journal without using the capital "I" to refer to yourself. Later, you may want to avoid personal pronouns and possessives altogether: this slave spent the day cleaning Mistress's boots and was content. List three possible solutions to this problem, Suggested Reading: Written to help creatively blocked artists, Julia Cameron's best-selling book.
Voice-Training I: Silence It may seem ironic, but the first step in voice-training is learning when not to speak. For slaves, this will be most of the time. If you have been working at the meditation practice suggested in earlier lessons, you are becoming more accustomed to silence. We live in a frightfully noisy world, and it is important for you as a slave-in-training to be able to filter out background distractions and focus on the task at hand. Developing inner silence is one effective technique to accomplish this.
Another is the simple practice of choosing silence. Exercise: Sit quietly in your home with a pen and paper. For five minutes, just listen, as if you were listening to a piece of music. Then write down everything you can remember hearing. Activity: At least once during this week, consciously choose silence. If you are accustomed to chatting with co-workers during your lunch break, eat out Training with Miss Abernathy If you suffer a petty insult on the street, do not respond.
If you are tempted to make a cutting remark, stop. Say nothing. Just once. If you usually listen to the radio in the car or watch television in the evening, take a day off. Notice how external silence helps you focus on the internal voices Voice-Training II: Forms of Address Whether they realize it or not, most slaves do have a certain level of voice-training. In non-scene life, what dictates when you use such a title? What cues verbal or non-verbal tell you to show respect by using a title? Is it possible to be disrespectful while using a formal title?
What titles have you been called? Exercise: Select a title that denotes dominance to you, and for one week, address your slave journal entries to that figure of authority. Do you find that your tone changes? Are there things you neglect or choose not to write? Why or why not? Suggested Reading: Any secretarial handbook will list political, academic, and military forms of address.
Familiarize yourself with them. Note that the form used to address the individual directly sometimes differs from the form used in correspondence or when referring to someone indirectly. Personal Care and Fitness for Slaves When you spend a great deal of time caring for the needs and desires of others, it is all too easy to forget to care for yourself. How many times So no matter how pretty your manners, how manifold your accomplishments, if you are lacking in matters of personal hygiene, you will not go far as a slave.
Slaves cannot afford to be overly fussy in matters of appearance, but they neglect the basics of the toilette at their peril. Exercise: List all of the personal care products you use: soap, shampoo, toothpaste, moisturizer, shaving cream Activity: If you use only the most basic grooming aids soap, shampoo, and toothpaste, say , indulge in some bath oil or a scented soap.
If you have more shades of lipstick than the Queen has jewels, try spending a weekend using just the basics. Activity: Treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure, facial, or massage or all of these at a day spa or salon. Alternatively, you can create a spa experience for yourself at home. Basic fitness is also important for a slave.
A light exercise program Training with Miss Abernathy A brisk daily walk and some simple stretches or yoga postures will do wonders for both your body and your spirit.
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Activity: Rent or purchase an exercise video that teaches basic stretches or yoga. Establish a simple exercise regime for yourself: a walk around the park, some deep knee bends and shoulder rolls If you work at a desk, be sure to get up at least once every thirty minutes to avoid tension and injury. For further training, see the lessons on shaving and cleansing enemas and douches. Men's magazines like GO and Details offer grooming lips as well. In our culture, women are all Loo often inundated with advice on how to make themselves more attractive, most of it rubbish.
Beyond the basics of cleanliness, sufficient sleep, and good posture, forget everything you've read about the wonders of cosmetics. What holds for men, holds for you, with or without Miraculous Anti-Wrinkle Gel. Fidgeting is unbecoming in a slave. Luckily if you will , modern life affords us all ample opportunity to practice our waiting skills. Activity: The next time you find yourself waiting - in line at the supermarket, on hold on the telephone - try this simple exercise.
Observe your body and adopt an alert but relaxed posture. If you are standing, try moving your legs apart slightly so that you can balance evenly on both legs, rather than shifting your weight from side to side. Keep your knees slightly bent, not straight. Now, quiet your mind by breathing slowly and evenly. If you have been meditating regularly, this process will have become almost second nature.
Allow your eyes to maintain a soft focus on the floor approximately six feet in front of you. Repeat your chosen affirmation to yourself silently. One of the most common errors slaves-in-training make is to fidget with their hands. This next activity will help you become aware of your hands. Activity: Stand with your weight balanced evenly on both feet, remembering to keep your knees bent ever-so-slightly. Allow your arms to hang comfortably at your sides. Consciously tense your hands by balling them into fists, and then release.
Pianists will recognize this as the correct hand position for keyboards as well. Now sit down on a straight-backed chair and rest your hands palms-down on your thighs. Now turn your hands palms up, Again, they retain the natural shape when relaxed, without stress or strain on the arms or wrists. This is a pretty, receptive posture and should be adopted when sitting or kneeling. Activity: Stand and hold your arms behind your back with your hands together over the base of your spine.
You may have to hold one of your wrists with the other hand. See how long you can maintain this posture without fatigue. Activity: Kneel on a soft surface like a rug or folded bath towel. Rest your buttocks on your ankles. Position your hands in the receptive posture described above and lower Training with Miss Abernathy Try to stay in this position for five minutes without moving. Safety Warning: If you have knee problems or feel any pain when kneeling, do nol do it. Practice standing instead. Always be sure to inform your trainer if you experience any physical discomfort from a posture.
Suggested Reading: For information on other useful basic postures, see Manual, pp. Voice Commands and Body Positions Slaves must be able to respond to verbal commands without hesitation. If you are asked to move, you should do so quickly, but gracefully. Do not run unless specifically commanded to, as it greatly increases the risk of accidents.
If you are working with a trainer, you will be drilled until you can respond to voice commands with ease. If you are working independently, the following activity will help you. Activity: Using a blank cassette tape and a tape recorder, make a tape that includes the following commands: Come here, go, attend, present, open, down, worship, wait. Wind the tape forward, then speak one of the commands into the recorder.
Wind the tape forward again a space, then speak another command. Try to vary the order of the commands as well as the length of time between them. You may also want to give two or more commands in quick succession. When you are finished, you can play the tape try a Walkman and assume each position as you hear it. Please be sure to do some basic stretches before you begin to avoid straining yourself. Obviously you should only practice at home or in some other private place. Practice both walking and crawling.
Activity: Record a second tape, but this time speak the commands more rapidly, one after the other. Allow approximately three seconds between commands. Count one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand silently between commands. With practice, you will be able to move gracefully from one position to the next.
You may find it helpful to practice in front of a mirror. Try the exercise naked as well. Activity: After you've been working with the command tapes or a while, try videotaping yourself as you assume the various positions. You should work toward smooth, fluid movements without jerks or stops.
Resources: If you are not used to much physical activity, you may want to take a stretching or beginning yoga class. There are many exercise videos available to home use as well; choose one that emphasizes flexibility. Safety Warning: If you experience pain during these exercises, stop. Be sure to do some simple stretches before you begin to minimize the chances of pulling a muscle. Exploring Feelings about Punishment As we near ihe end of the Basic Training section, we turn to one of the more troubling topics: punishment.
Few people enjoy punishment for its own sake; some find it exciting in the context of erotic role-play. Nevertheless, most slaves will see the importance of some form of discipline as a pedagogical aid. All punishment need not be corporal: in fact, I have found physical punishment to be among the least effective tools, as it tends to throw the slave into a vat of roiling emotions many of them shadows of childhood that make it impossible for the slave to think clearly.
I do not suggest that punishments per se be imposed slaves until they have completed at least the most basic aspects of training. This is for the simple reason that, unless slaves have been taught what exactly is Training with Miss Abernathy Hence the delay in attending to this delicate, albeit important, matter. Exercise: Choose the answer that most accurately reflects your feelings. You discover that you have made an error in a report that could cause your company to lose a significant amount of business. What do you do? I run off a errata slip to be included with the report, and give it to the person sending out the mailing.
I inform my supervisor of the error immediately. I stay late to retype the report. I say nothing and pray the error won't be noticed. But I worry for weeks about the consequences. They were too busy to notice anything. The most important thing for children is that they. The hardest punishment for me to take would be The stupidest punishment I've ever experienced was It would be easy for me to At least I'd understand the problem better. At least I'd have done the right thing morally. At least I'd know how to do it better the next time.
At least it's over right away. When I was punished as a child, I mostly felt In slave training, I think punishment is And one more question: Now, count the number of times you chose a , b , c , and d for questions If you chose mostly a answers, you tend to be sure of yourself and your abilities. Why rock the boat? You may have grown up in a busy household, so you learned to handle crises for yourself.
You tend to focus on the end result, not the means. You may have a hard time if you are punished for philosophical or ethical reasons, especially if no obvious harm resulted from your actions. If you chose mostly b answers, you are not often in charge and prefer to have a superior to confer with. If you are reprimanded, you want to know what, specifically, you did wrong and how to avoid the same error in the future.
If you chose mostly c answers, you lend toward perfectionism. You want to see an error corrected at all costs. You may tend to overemphasize your intellectual side and may respond to punishment by berating yourself. You value fairness and balance, so you want to see the punishment fit the crime. Consequently, you may find corporal punishment frustrating or degrading. If you chose mostly d answers, you tend to stew over errors you make, but are afraid to admit them, fearing the worst. As a result, your self-esteem suffers. You may have grown up in an authoritarian household, or your parents may have been emotionally distant.
You may suffer from fear of abandonment. It is very difficult for you to confess wrong-doing, but you find it cathartic to do so. You crave positive reinforcement and supportive attention. If you are physically punished, you need reassurance that you have not failed totally. If your answers were evenly divided between several letters, take note of any insights you may have gained from the exercise. What do you most fear about punishment? What childhood memories does it evoke?
What, in your view, is the role of punishment in slave training? You may wonder how question 10 fits into this scheme. Devising punishments for masochists remains a perennial problem for slave trainers. Unlike other submissives, masochistic slaves-in-training rarely derive benefit from corporal punishment, since they experience pleasure in intense sensation. The solution, of course, is either to punish masochists with a type of sensation they dislike or to avoid corporal punishment altogether. If you are working independently, this lesson will have served as an exercise in greater self-knowledge.
Miss Abernathy cautions you against self-inflicted punishments, as it is all too easy to lose perspective. Instead, note your shortcomings in your slave journal. The Collar The collar is the symbol par excellence of slavehood. Unlike the slave journal, which legally and morally is yours, the collar remains the possession of the Owner and must be surrendered upon demand. While you, as property, have no direct say in the style of the collar - that is for your trainer or Owner to decide - it may prove useful for you to think, in theoretical terms at least, about the collar as symbol.
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Exercise: Write a paragraph describing your dream collar, What kind of material is it made of?