In Pursuit of the Odalisque

An odalisque is female slave or concubine that lives in a Turkish harem.

In art, she is often portrayed nude and lying on her side, sometimes looking straight into the eyes of the spectator with an unflinching, unapologetic gaze. It’s as if she’s saying, “My body is his, he uses it for his pleasure and I am proud of my service and my charms.”

Jean_Auguste_Dominique_Ingres,_La_Grande_Odalisque,_1814

As a fine arts student, I was captivated by the odalisque paintings from Ingres, Goya, Boucher and Lefebvre. Though I never told anyone, I had a secret desire to be an odalisque. I wanted to be owned by a master that knew that I was put on this earth to be his erotic plaything. I wanted to stay naked all day and dance to the beat of primal drums.

I was also seduced by the idea of being kidnapped solely for my beauty and what my body could offer. I fantasized about it all the time. How wonderful to be a harem girl; spirited away from my banal existence and forced to live in a palace full of exotic color, music and sex.

I would bathe and eat and sleep and please. That would be my life.

While nestled on a bed of silk sheets, waiting for him to summon me, I would get wet and needy with anticipation.

I couldn’t think of anything more glorious than to know my only job was to please a man. No paper pushing or emails or phone calls, just your body, your mind, your creativity.

An odalisque is a woman distilled down to her primal essence.

Yet it wasn’t enough for me to be a sexual object. I needed more. My master would love me, he would favor me above all the other beautiful girls in his harem. We would kiss until our lips swelled.

Before long, he would forget any of them existed and we could sink into silk sheets until we melted into one.


Header Image: Odalisque by Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1874).

Image within Post: Grande Odalisque by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1814)

Where the Light Enters

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” Rumi


I thought the wounds from my past were substantial until you left a hole in my heart so wide that its quivering walls began to crack open, revealing the vulnerable soul hidden inside.

Each cell in my body is on fire. I am pain and beauty and love.

Though I want to surrender to unending sleep, I continue on my journey. But how am I supposed to navigate life when my compass refuses to work?

My tears speak of my undying love for a man who has released me from his service. If two enter a D/s relationship together, it seems cruel that only one gets to decide when it ends.

But then again, in any relationship, one is all it takes. The moment a soul inches away from another, the ties that bind them together stretch and strain until they finally snap.

Though you let me go and I said goodbye, we forgot to tell my heart. She still believes, still hopes.

Once she yielded to your commands–tender and firm, loving and dominant–she never turned back. She transformed and now I can no longer control her.

You released me, but my heart is still in bondage.

I told her we’re not doing this again; love hurts too much. I told her to close and protect herself. She won’t listen. She just keeps opening like a rose welcoming the morning sun, leaving herself more and more exposed every day.

If Rumi was right, then I am about to burn as bright as the sun.


Expansion Sculpture by Paige Bradley

Where Has All the Color Gone?

What is this coldness in my chest, this gnawing pain that tortures me day and night? Oh, it’s the absence of you.

When you left you took all the color from my world. Now I’m locked in a gray, unsaturated prison of grief that remembers it once danced among a field of crimson flowers.


Photograph by Ideami, from the series, Loneliness.

Is it so Easy to Let Me Go?

“There were many ways of breaking a heart. Stories were full of hearts being broken by love, but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream-whatever that dream might be.”

Pearl Buck

Today was a cold, dark day, and not just because of the weather. I don’t know what it was that triggered it, but I was completely lost.

I had to run to the ladies’ room to cry, then I cried all the way home from work.

I reached out to you by getting back on WhatsApp. You haven’t read it yet. There’s a tiny shred of hope that you’ll reply, but I doubt it will make any difference.

I just don’t understand how you could excise me from your life with such surgical precision. We connected almost every single day for 16 months, James, and then nothing. It’s shocking to me and disturbing. It makes me wonder if you really loved me as much as you said you did.

I never loved anyone like I love you and being apart from you is tearing me to pieces. Yet not a word from you. Is it so easy to let me go?

I keep going through the past months in my head and how much love you said you had for me. But you never said I was the love of your life. You never said you had never loved anyone like you loved me. Even in my darkest days I cannot believe that you didn’t love me at all, but now I think you didn’t love me enough; certainly not as much as I loved you. That wound is going to leave a permanent mark in my psyche.

You said you were letting me go because you were becoming a burden to me. But that can’t be. I never said anything like that to you or made you feel that way. I have no idea where you got that from. God knows I have a lot going on in my life and maybe I was the one burdening you.

I can be a lot. I know that.

Or maybe you just stopped loving me. I hear there are people that can do that.

Guess what? I’m not one of them.