I have been fortunate enough, at an early age, to have mentors in my life. Not just people who tell you stuff or instruct you; I am referring to people that give something of themselves whilst at the same time impart wisdom and support you. My first real mentor was my father, who from a very young age taught me how to fish, hunt (yes, we lived in London, but we had a car!) and shared his knowledge and love of the countryside. I can tell you the names of trees, bushes, flowers, weeds, birds (the colour of their eggs and the songs they sing), every fish that swims in our waters, and how to catch them. Insects, mammals and all things found in and near ponds were netted, explained and released. He mentored me in behaviour, manners and how to defend myself. Not all fathers do this I know, and for that I realise I was a lucky kid. It is strange that he knew all this information considering he grew up when London was being badly bombed in WWII and only got to the countryside very rarely. Someone must have taken the time to share their knowledge also!
My second was a person whose name escapes me. He was an aspiring supervisor/manager where I worked and at the age of 18 I really had no direction. He offered me the chance of sponsored further education, encouraged me and sought me out to check that I was still attending the extremely boring classes. His intervention in my life allowed me to break free of a circular lifestyle that I would have stayed in for a long time for sure. Having only completed 1 of a 2 year course I was successful in moving from a manual work role to administration and more pay. The course not only provided me with new skills, it allowed me to network with peers with whom I would not have interacted with on a daily basis; this taught me a much larger lesson in that it is not always what you know, but who!
In my early twenties I joined a military organisation. I had plans of having a fulltime military career when leaving school, however, circumstances did not allow that to flower. This new opportunity allowed me train as an instructor and realise a skill I never knew I had. I was, without doubt, in my ideal environment and becoming quite successful. In the course of 12 years I had climbed the ranks and achieved more than I thought possible, that was until I met someone who had a plan! A senior officer, with a talent for accelerated promotion and getting things done took an interest in me. He shared where he saw himself in 6 years and where he saw me in his new structure. To be taken into the confidence of someone widely respected is a massive ego boost and to a certain degree made me feel, ironically, bullet proof. If you have ever been in a similar situation you will know how that unfailing self-belief repels all negativity in the world. I applied for jobs time and time again in my civilian world and time and time again was rejected. I set my sights very high, and each time I fell only to get back up and try again. In the background my military career was just rosy and things were taking shape as predicted. I had inherited other mentors who were in the most parttime, but nontheless very helpful. And then one day I applied for a role in my civillain job that was beyond my own perceived ability, and I got it.
Now this may all sound just wonderful, however, before I burn this house down before your very eyes, there is one other person that I had a man-crush on. Not a romantic crush, more of a ‘fuck me you’re an amazing teacher and dangerous’ type of thing. His name was Neil and at the time he was my Aikido instructor. He was one of many extraordinary men running the local dojo, but Neil was more than an instructor, he was a mentor for sure. He cared what you thought about Aikido, he cared about how it helped you and he cared about you after making tears squirt from your eyeballs in pain. He made you feel indestructible with the skills he imparted, he pushed you to limits you didn’t think were possible and aside from all that, he was an ordinary person in the street. He worked in a factory driving a forklift truck. At lunchtimes he would take his fishing rod and sit for 45 mins eating his sandwiches and watch a small bright orange float bob about on the surface of the canal that bordered his warehouse waiting for a fish to bite. He lived a simple life, a contented one, and yet beneath all that ordinariness, he was an influencer of behaviours and skills beyond anyone I have ever met.
So, to the burning of the house as promised. All that has been spoken so far is a distant memory, for I have been around long enough to pack a lot in! I made the decision to leave all this behind one day in the vain attempt to save a marriage that was broken long before. You do these things, grand gestures, that you think will cause so much heat it will burn away the sins of the past and you’ll become reborn out of the ashes. You don’t, it’s a myth. You just move and pack the issues up in a brown box with the toaster and glasses wrapped in newspaper. What you should have done is examine the contents of the box before packing it away. It is possible that the marriage was as irreparable as the smashed glasses that got hit by the toaster in transit! The life I left behind contained many things, including several mentors that made me a far better person.
Having a mentor in D/s is no bad thing I would argue. In fact, I would say having more than one would be a good idea. Please do not think I am saying this is mandatory, each to their own. There are times, however, when someone, other than your sub, who is emotionally invested in you is needed. We sometimes go by the slogan that life should not become so big that it dwarfs your D/s dynamic. Great idea, but not realistic. Life can be really fucking hard sometimes, and once you have overcome the life issue, it is time to re-establish the D/s connection; I am sure you have been there before? A mentor who knows you well, and someone you have let in beyond the great walls of bravado, can help. They can challenge you, push you, remind you of who you are and maybe tell you how they managed something similar and give a bit of themselves over to you.
I am a strong believer that we are tribal by nature and having that wise person to turn to in the village of life is important. I would like to have more mentors in my life and have made a decision to find some. I no longer wear a uniform of any kind (role play doesn’t count) and my needs are now very different, as are my developing skill sets. To become good at what I like will be much easier with a likeminded mentor on hand to support, and of course there is always the possibility someone may ask the same of me one day!