It’s lonely at the top…

My brat has written a couple of rather courageous posts recently. And it’s a funny feeling, when you’re communicating on a daily basis (and hopefully communicating well, though that’s always a crapshoot *g*), to discover things you hadn’t known via a blog post.

Fizzy’s basically a good girl (which is why she’s my brat) and a good person (which is why she’s my friend). And I forget sometimes just how much she struggles with that battle to be a good girl. Such as the recent confession about how much she hates confessing. When I told her I didn’t expect to interrogate her about misdeeds when it comes to agreed upon rules, she readily told me she would let me know when she broke them. And for the most part, she does. She usually does so with either a joke (which made me think at first she was taking it lightly…I know better now), or sometimes slips it into conversation and quickly tries to change the subject (this rarely works *g*).

She told me that her previous top enjoyed prying things out of her — he thought it was funny to see her try to wriggle out of things. And I can understand that point of view as well — when you’re playing with your brat any excuse to make her squirm is all part of the game. However if you’re serious about breaking certain habits, or achieving certain goals, then I expect that we would both respect the process. I will put up with some playful evasion as part of interaction between brat and top, and I also understand apprehensive evasion when you know you’ve done wrong. But because of her post, I’m now also aware of the discomfort that comes from anger and impatience at your own shortcomings, and I have a better appreciation of what it costs her to obey what I thought was a simple request.

This got me musing, not for the first time, about how it’s a bit easier to admit to weakness when you’re a bottom/brat. Now I’m not dismissing her courage and openness — it’s admirable when anyone opens up and discusses their feelings publicly. In fact her bravery is what inspires me to post now, even though I’m not sure I can mirror her example.

Let’s face it, tops are supposed to be nearly invincible. Sure, we know intellectually they’re only human. We see messed up tops all the time. We see them making mistakes all the time. But while a brat almost by definition is expected to make mistakes (else why would they need tops to correct them?), a GOOD top is expected to rise above that.

Fizzy has told me she doesn’t expect me to be perfect, and hearing about my imperfections doesn’t make her respect me any less. And I do believe she’s telling me the truth of how she feels. And yet…and yet….

I don’t think I believe it in the very deepest part of me.

A long time ago, when I was still very much a switch, I met a brat who wanted me to top her. She had more experience in the scene than I did, so she did her best to mold me into the kind of top she wanted. Once, we were comparing opinions on a spanking video we’d both liked, and I described how it looked as if the spankee’s bottom was just REACHING for the spanker’s hand. I guess I had put too much empathy into my description, because she emailed me back with a dismayed, “Are you bottoming out on me? What have I ever done to deserve that??”

I was shocked. I didn’t even know what she was talking about. I soon learned it was that my behavior had strayed from the definition of toppiness, and that has stayed in my mind ever since. I’ve also read many blogs, boards, and comments where brats have posted and admitted they don’t ever want to see their top in anything resembling a submissive position. They admit they would lose repect for them. And by “submissive position” they mean everything from bottoming to anyone, to appearing weak or uncertain. True, most of these are women talking about the male tops, so there is that added “men should be men” mentality going on. But it’s true for women tops too.

More recently I had one bottom/brat admit to me that she wanted a top to be a TOP. She was willing, for politeness’ sake, to offer comfort/discipline at times if that’s what her top wanted. But her heart wasn’t really in it. And that stayed with me too. Brats/bottoms might be polite about your weakness to your face, but underneath….don’t they all want a top to be a TOP? After all, that’s what they signed on for, isn’t it?

It might be easier if tops could at least go to other tops to discuss these things. But from what I’ve seen, they tend to keep to themselves — as if showing weakness, even to other tops — is simply not done. Of course, I might be the only one bothered by this. *wry grin* It occurs to me my switch orientation might have me identifying with bottoms in a way that REAL tops aren’t bothered with!

One last thing — I’m not complaining about my lot. I enjoy topping my brat…sometimes I enjoy the hell out of it. *eg* I think I am pretty lucky to have found a brat who’s understanding and mature. I gain satisfaction from being a top in a way I’d never imagined I could. And so far we’ve managed to work out any issues in a way that’s very reassuring.

It’s just…as a top, it’s tough to be the real you, when you know the real you isn’t a perfect top.

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40 Responses to It’s lonely at the top…

  1. Tigger says:

    I LIKE knowing my Top isn’t perfect! Makes me feel better about all the ways I struggle too. But…we discussed this before we began the relationship and I knew going in that supporting her was part of my role as Bottom/Brat. I also empathize with Fizzy’s methods of “slipping in” the confessions…I do that, too! “oh, by the way…” Really, Alyx, think about it. Who wants to start a conversation saying, “Guess what I messed up on today!”

    • Alyx says:

      I think the fact that you have a switch for a top might make you (as it does Fizzy) a bit more aware of the “other sides” to your top. But it’s nice you feel the way you do….nice for both of you. πŸ™‚

      You bring up a good point regarding confessions, Tigger. But what’s wrong with “I’m sorry, I have to tell you about a mistake I made”? Or “I screwed up today….want to hear about it now, or after you have a good stiff drink?” πŸ˜€

      • Tigger says:

        About confessions..I know I’m going off topic..sorry…
        First of all, Alyx, stop making sense!
        Second of all…remember, the sooner I tell, the sooner I have to talk about it, and the sooner I’ll end up punished.
        I think my Top is right…maybe my Brat side is really strong…

        • Alyx says:

          Sorry, Tigger, making sense is part of the Top’s Manual…chapter 2, if I’m not mistaken. πŸ™‚ And along those lines — the sooner you end up punished, the sooner you can enjoy the cuddles and feeling of release afterwards. Okay, maybe there is also that burning throbbing feeling as well, but surely the lightness in your heart more than makes up for it, right? πŸ˜‰

  2. Fizzy says:

    I think the real you is a perfect top.

    As an example: that last week when I finally got down to work on my term paper and was doing everything I was supposed to, the real motivating factor was something you’d said that definitely came from your sweetness and vulnerability, not your toughness and wisdom. (although those have definitely been – wince – powerful motivating factors as well!) I wouldn’t want to bottom to anyone who wasn’t like you.

    So I think we know every brat is not for every top, why does every top have to be for every brat? or…do YOU want to be different?

    And bravely posting things like this is one of the ways in which you earn my respect all over again every day. *hug*

    • Alyx says:

      I said something which motivated you to finish your term paper?? What the heck was it — let me know so I can use it again! πŸ˜†

      No, I don’t want to be different. (Bit of a challenging tone there, my little brat. *g*) And I don’t want to be for every brat either. So if you are happy, then I am happy. And ditto on that respect thing…you know that, right? *cuddle*

      P.S. You’re the perfect brat. *vbg* No, really, I’m sure MANY people would agree with me! πŸ˜‰

  3. sandy says:

    Good to see you back, it’s been so long I thought you’d been kidnapped!

    I think this is one of those times when you should listen to your brat…she’s talking perfect sense!
    Everyone has different needs/expectations, and one persons idea of the ‘perfect top’, is probably someone elses idea of the ‘perfect nightmare’!!
    My opinion is only based on what I read here, but it sounds to me as if you might be carrying a little bit of insecurity based on past experience. My advice… let it go, and enjoy the relationship you’re both lucky enough to have. I bet I’m not the only one who’s extremely envious!!

    All the best to you both.
    Sandy.

    • Alyx says:

      I think you’re right, Sandy, I’m letting past (bad) experiences color my view. And my brat does have her very sensible moments, ’tis true. πŸ˜€ So that’s good advice. Thank you as always, my friend.

  4. lola says:

    I think you are a wonderful Top and an even more wonderful person. You are real, fun and understanding – “perfect” doesn’t exist and whoever claims to be is a robot – someone following a “script” for the role they think they need to play. You guys are lucky to have each other and, like Sandy, I am a bit envious ! Do you have a twin sister?

    • Alyx says:

      LOL, Lola! Thank you for that boost to my ego. πŸ˜€ No, I don’t have a twin, and if I had a toppy sister I would probably have roped her into helping me with Fizzy! *eg*

      I think you’re right that we’re lucky to be compatible, because that’s the important thing. It’s good to see the number of brats out there who don’t think as I feared. πŸ™‚

  5. Ney says:

    Alyx, i was intrigued by your topic on Topping. I am a bottom but was in a relationship where i had to top. Well someone had to lead and my partner sure didn’t want that role.my partner craved being topped and enjoyed all the life that comes w spanking/discipline. I only mention this to give reference for where my opinion comes
    from. I believe that tops just like everyone else have worries, missed opportunities, questions
    about what to do in certain situations. If they can’t talk to their bottom then they should seek out a confidant. I really think however that you should discuss these things with your bottom if that is a solid relationship. I think bottoms no matter how bratty they. Can be would be hurt or feel that you don’t trust them with some of your most innermost thoughts. I remember a wise
    Top giving advice to someone very recently only it was the opposite(the bottom was hiding
    feelings from her top). And you, i mean that wise
    Top said that they should share those thoughts.
    I’m just sayying that in most cases if there is
    mutual respect and love then there should be
    openness and honesty. Of course I am a bottom and a brat by nature so i could just be yanking your chain.

    • Alyx says:

      Ney, I really appreciate your input, and I think what you say makes a lot of sense. It’s reassuring to hear that brats and bottoms like their tops to be human. And you’re right that probably the one I should be discussing it with is my bottom. However that’s part of the whole problem sometimes — tops are supposed to be infallible, and ESPECIALLY so for their bottoms!

      Though I do believe everything these brats and bottoms are telling me about “being vulnerable is okay,” I think if a top is constantly uncertain or constantly needing help their bottom is going to eventually get fed up with it. That’s just human nature. So the best thing is to find a nice balance, and I think I will be able to do that as long as our communication remains good. πŸ™‚

      (I don’t think you were yanking my chain….this time. *g*)

  6. meridith says:

    From this bottom, you’re a terrific top. I admit that when I was new at bottoming, I admit to feeling as you described once or twice, but as I grew into it, I learned that the range of emotion was what made my top so good at what she does. In my opinion, it’s what makes things…good.

    • Alyx says:

      Hi Meridith, and welcome! Thank you for contributing your opinion, and thank you even more for admitting that you did have that viewpoint a bit when you first started. Maybe those are the opinions I’ve been reading — those that are just getting into discipline and haven’t come to appreciate that “range of emotion” you speak of. I’m happy you and your top have each other, and that things are good. πŸ™‚

  7. SP says:

    Wow, heart felt reflection from a wonderful top …
    I’d like to offer lots of hugs to you! *hugs*

  8. Ney says:

    I figured some of the writing I did on the post above would be sketchy at best. Pardon the grammer and crazy hard returns. I was typing that on my “smart” I phone and I was having trouble. So anyway, sorry it is written a little haphazardly. Ney

    • Alyx says:

      No problem, Ney. I’m amazed at how the world is heading in the smart phone direction. I may be forced to catch up….eventually. 😦

  9. Loki Renard says:

    Now THIS is a good post. Here’s the thing. I think you’re right. I think a lot of brats / bottoms (especially those new to the scene, or playing primarily online, where fantasy is able to reign supreme) do dream of the perfect top, and yes, they are put off by anything less than 100% topliness, whatever they consider that to be. I know when I was a baby kinkster many years ago, I had high ideals of what a top should be – experience proved them pretty much all entirely deluded and wrong.

    A bottom with a little bit more experience, one who has banged her head against the fantasy world once or twice and discovered that anyone who seems to be too good to be true usually is, is able to appreciate a top not as a fantasy play thing, but as an entire person who yes, has weaknesses.

    Let’s face it, anyone who claims to be 100% top at all times in all things is probably wildly dysfunctional as a human being. (And yes, I know I’ve said I’m alpha as fuck before, but I assure you I was joking πŸ˜‰ The human experience does not lend itself to perfect control – not over oneself and certainly not over anyone else. Attempting to always be in control, and to always top, is a sign of someone close to the edge.

    Unfortunately, some bottoms and submissives crave nothing less than ‘total control’ from a top and find more laid back tops quite distasteful. That craving is understandable, but it’s rarely achievable, especially in real life. I think a great deal of friction in top / bottom relationships could be reduced if we remembered that even the best top has days when he or she feels lost and down and in need of comfort and care. Or sometimes she just needs to get the dishes done and sweep the cat without having the bottom feel that she doesn’t care.

    • Alyx says:

      (“Now THIS is a good post”…were the others too fluffy? πŸ˜€ Just teasing you, Ms. Renard. *g*) Thank you for your very thoughtful comment, Loki. I was very much hoping another top would post and give me her view on the matter. The brats and bottoms have been wonderfully reassuring, and maybe they do represent the majority…I don’t know. But I do know the “pressure to perform” as a top I was talking about exists…it’s not a figment of my imagination. You’re probably right, as others have pointed out, that experience brings more realistic views on the matter.

      I am especially grateful for your last paragraph — sometimes we just need a break, and sometimes we need to be taken care of. As I said before, I’m not complaining about my lot…I know what I signed on for too and I have absolutely no regrets. In fact, I’ve found gratification in my role in ways I never imagined. But I guess we all — brats and bottoms and tops and switches — just need to be human beings and nothing else sometimes.

      • SP says:

        New entry in DSM-V:
        TFS (Top Fatigue Syndrome)

        Symptoms: as described on Alyx’s blog
        Treatment: a fabulous vacation that offers extreme pampering including numerous visits to spas, cultural excursions, five star hotels, pool side massage, fancy drinks, steak dinners, chocolate desserts, … among other treats which may be of a kinky nature …
        Prognosis: Excellent!

        πŸ™‚

        • Fizzy says:

          heh I like the way you think, SP. That’s exactly what Alyx needs. And if it makes her too relaxed to spank? So be it. πŸ˜€

          • Alyx says:

            Did you not see the “other treats which may be of a kinky nature,” Fizzy-brat? That means the kind of relaxation that comes from turning a deserving bottom bright red! Then we could both lay back and enjoy….well, you’d be laying on your tummy, but I guarantee you probably won’t want to move for awhile. *eg* πŸ˜€

        • Alyx says:

          Wow, that IS a fabulous vacation! Are you organizing tours, SP? You know you would make a fortune, right? πŸ˜‰

  10. micah says:

    I’ve hesitated about posting, Alyx, because your words strike so close to home for me. As you know, I’m a switch and new at the entire scene.
    As a brat, I’ve been relaxed and for the most part, at ease. As a Top, I’m constantly trying to evaluate my response to my brat’s needs. Am I giving her what she wants and needs but not going too far? Am I conducting myself in a way that keeps her respect while still being the real me?
    I have decided the best way to handle it is to simply be myself while still keeping in mind what my brat needs, just as I would any relationship. I figure if I try to maintain a persona that’s not natural for me, I won’t be able to maintain it.
    The problem, though, seems to be the expectations that everyone, including myself, have for a Top. It’s been surprising how some people’s responses to me have changed….sometimes subtly and sometimes not so subtly.
    But, really, the only opinions that matter are the two in the relationship. I’ve never seen a relationship that ran smoothly without working at it so I’ll work at this one as well. With or without the labels of Top and brat, it still comes down to how the two feel about each other. It’s really no one else’s business.

    Thank you for writing “It’s lonely at the Top”, Alyx. Makes we realize we all have issues to deal with: whether it’s a brat dealing with the ability to submit or a Top struggling with expectations, we all have to figure it out for ourselves.

    • Tigger says:

      Ah..you’re a great Top, Micah. I’m a lucky brat! *grin* And, you’re right…the relationship doesn’t work without communication and I’m lucky enough to have a Top who’s willing to talk things out and listen to my point of view and my feelings about things. Don’t let other people try and make you someone you’re not.

    • Alyx says:

      I think your conclusion about being your self is the way to go, Micah. And yes, I know about the expectations that are put on tops, including the ones we put on ourselves. In fact I think I’m fighting with those the most. But I agree with you that what it comes down to is the top and the brat concerned, and nobody else. Thanks for your input, sweetie. πŸ™‚

  11. Katherine93 says:

    I’m with a switch, and I am a switch as well. (I found this out recently) I understand a brat’s need for the top to be TOP, but all tops are human. My top said that they would like to be able to mess up without judgement. I was at first shocked by the fact that they felt I was judging them. But, I was, and now they’re always honest with me, and I always correct them.

    • Alyx says:

      Hi Katherine, thank you for giving us the viewpoint from a switch! (Who’s even with another switch….that’s great! πŸ™‚ ) I think both brats and tops worry about being judged. But when you find the right partner, you realize they appreciate you being exactly as you are, and that’s a wonderful feeling.

  12. Biggles says:

    Alyx,
    What a wonderful post. As a majority brat (very occasionally top), I can say that although in a discipline situation I would expect my top to be calm, rational and decisive, I would never expect her to act this way all of the time. All relationships should be give and take, and what use am I if she doesn’t trust me enough to allow me to give her the comfort that she needs from time to time? I don’t believe there is anything ‘weak’ about showing your emotions as a Top – Tops are human too – and, like others who have commented here, I think showing those emotions is both normal and healthy, as well as endearing!

    • Alyx says:

      Thank you for posting, Biggles, and even more for those very reassuring words. It’s good to know you as a brat have realistic expectations of your top. I’m curious, though — when you are acting as a top, do you never feel pressure to be a perfect top? To remain calm, rational, and decisive at all times?

      (Good to know we can be human…and even endearing. πŸ˜† )

      • Biggles says:

        I think when I’m acting as a top I’m generally ‘in the zone’, so I tend to act calmly etc etc. I certainly couldn’t maintain that all the time and I’m not in any kind of relationship that requires me to be a top all the time. Frankly, I’d find that exhausting! I also don’t believe in a ‘1 top fits all’, so my perfect would be someone else’s imperfect; remembering that helps me to not worry too much. Generally I know when I’m not in the right mindset to be a top, so I’ll delay that dynamic until I am; I guess that gets me round the ‘perfect all the time’ problem.

  13. bijou56 says:

    Wow, Snu (my Top) and I were talking about this just a little while ago. Snu is an artist and a emotional person which is one of the reasons I fell in love with her. When a top chooses to share their softer side with their brat I believe this is more powerful than any dominant action one could take. To me, the majority of Brats out there want to feel taken care of and secure and believe that a Top should provide that feeling constantly. When I crave perfect dominance from Snu it is usually when I feel as though my life is out of control or when I am very self-conscience. I need someone to take control so I can sort out my emotions but what about Tops? In my experience if your Top is having an emotional time and you try to take control it will not soothe her it will just piss her off. Don’t try it you will end up one sore Bottom with one sore Top! πŸ˜› I find the best thing to do when Snu needs comfort is to become more submissive than I usually am and try to show her that she is still on Top even though she feels weak. Make her food, put on her favorite movie, or whatever makes her comfy and throw a few “ma’am”‘s in sporadically because it will help her feel secure in her role and you secure in yours. Plus if you ever get frustrated because your Top isn’t Topping enough just remember that they rarely get to have any bratty fun and I think that will get them some sympathy! hahaha Great post Alyx! You really got everyone sharing on an important issue.

    • Alyx says:

      Thanks for this lengthy response, Bijou. It put a slightly different perspective on things which I found very interesting. I like the way you worked out for yourself the best way to support your top and make her feel better. It’s great to hear about DD relationships that work. Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

  14. Kayla says:

    Okay I have read and reread this post a few times. Okay here is my random opinion. I have absolutly no experience as either a bottom or a top (good start I know) however; there was a part of your post that struck a cord with me. It’s something I have already noticed about you. You stated that because of your switch orientation you might be able to identify with your bottom in a way that other Tops aren’t bothered with. It’s true, you do seem different then other Tops. Through your writing and conversations I have always felt that you were softer then most Tops. Now I don’t mean that in a bad way either. I just mean that you ooze compassion.

    When I first heard about this type of discipline it was shown to me in a way that made it appalling. Ideas about the type of people who engage in this active were born out of other peoples imaginations and ignorance. It’s because of who you are and how you present yourself that I personally felt comfortable enough to learn about a “world” that is very different then my own. You have humanized something that, as Loki said, people fantasize what it’s suppose to be.

    It’s no different then women who read romance books and wait for this perfect man/women to sweep them off their feet. It’s just not reality. You are reality. You are a human being who has a wide range of emotions and suffers trials and tribulations like the rest of us. I do agree with the others that you have to find your “fit” when it comes to relationships and you may not be a fit for everyone. I think you judge yourself much to harshly. No one is perfect. To error is human. To admit your capable of errors makes you a great Top.

    I know that if I ever needed a Top, and even though the line would be long, I would wait in it for a Top like you.

    • Alyx says:

      Kayla, that was truly one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me…thank you! *hug* I can’t tell you how touched I am that you feel I have compassion, and that you would trust someone like me with the gift of your submission. (Well, for lack of a better word. Because I think most brats are not submissive, and I think that’s a good thing. But “the gift of your brattiness” doesn’t have the same ring to it. πŸ˜€ )

      I just want to clarify that I didn’t mean that most tops don’t bother to identify with their brats or care about them in the same way. I think tops can be wonderfully empathetic and caring. I just meant if they’re not switches, they probably don’t struggle with the opposite side of their personality quite so much. But no regrets here….it’s like double the pleasure, double the fun, y’know? πŸ˜†

  15. Kayla says:

    Gift of my brattiness. *LOL* I like the sound of that. I don’t think you would consider it a gift as much as a trial in patience.

    I wasn’t trying to say that Tops in general were not empathetic or caring. That’s actually a scary thought. I just felt that you would have an advantage over them since you are a switch. A little inside knowledge. Now that could be a good thing and a bad thing for a brat. *L*

    • Alyx says:

      Ah, okay. A little inside knowledge does help, I think. As to whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, I will leave that to Fizzy to judge! πŸ˜†

  16. Gracie says:

    I’ve never commented on a blog before, but I stumbled across this tonight and I really feel the need to say thank you. Thank you for this post and for the rest of the clear, intelligent things you write. I hope you’re doing well and recovering quickly and ready to enjoy the holidays!

    ~Gracie

    • Alyx says:

      Thank you, Gracie. I’m happy you enjoyed my writing, and even more pleased that you took the time to comment. I am recovering well and enjoying the holidays with a visiting friend. Hope you enjoy yours as well. πŸ™‚

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