Cultivating a Dominant Presence

Anyone can put on a corset and leather mini skirt.  Anyone can tie her hair up in a severe bun and draw on black eyeliner.  Anyone can wear thigh-high boots and swing a flogger.

Any woman can put on the costume.  But what makes someone a Dominant?

In a word: Presence.

A Dominant has to be able to command respect, embody authority, and basically intimidate the hell out of everyone when she wants to.

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Command respect, convey power, exude authority

I remember the first time I met my mentor.

I’d seen pictures of him, of course, but it was entirely different meeting him in person.  When he walked through the door, everyone in the building noticed.

It was like in those movies where the main character’s crush walks in to the party, and everyone just stops.  Time seems to move in slow motion as all eyes turn to the door.

That’s the way my mentor was.  He didn’t just have confidence; he had presence.

And it was intimidating as hell.

I knew immediately that’s what I wanted to be.

I wanted to be able to command a room like he could.  I wanted to be the one that made time slow down.

I had no idea how to be like that.  I had some major self esteem issues as a teenager, and when I looked at this confident, charismatic, knowledgeable, secure, self-assured man, I was 100% sure I could never hold a candle to that.

Who he was as a Dominant and a person was so far above and beyond who I was, it was like we weren’t even the same species.  I couldn’t imagine that I would ever be in the bracket as him.

Turns out, I was wrong.

Charisma isn’t something you’re born with, guys.  It’s not something you either have or you don’t.  And it’s not something you have to be a supermodel or a bodybuilder or a celebrity to have.

Anyone can master the skill.

And if you want to be a Dominant, you have to learn it.  It’s so much more important than the clothes or the dungeon or the toys.

It’s the difference between something you do and something you are.

But it can be difficult for someone who is new to the scene, who may not be naturally charismatic.

I heard a woman named Olivia Fox Cabane talk about charisma, using Marilyn Monroe as an example.

Everyone knows who Marilyn Monroe was.  She became the most iconic sex symbol and a powerful role model for women, so much so that she’s still a relevant figure, 50 years after her death.  She was a sex-positive, body-positive icon for women.

Many thought that her career was over when it was discovered that she’d posed nude before becoming an actress.  In the 50s, that was pretty much an instant career-killer.

But not for her.  It skyrocketed her career, and when she became frustrated with the sexist and misogynistic practices in Hollywood, she founded her own production company.

There are a handful of people in every generation who have truly mastered the art of charisma.  She was one of those people.

Ms. Cabane related a story told by a photographer who accompanied Marilyn one day.  Marilyn’s goal was to show the true power of charisma.  She wanted to illustrate to the photographer what her “secret” was, how she had harnessed this real-life superpower, and used it to propel her forward.

What Marilyn wanted to show was that just by deciding to, she could either be glamorous Miss Monroe or plain Norma Jean Baker (her real name).  On the subway, she was Norma Jean, but when she resurfaced on to the busy New York sidewalks, she decided to turn into Marilyn.  So she looked around and she teasingly asked the photographer, “So, do you want to see her?  The Marilyn?”  And then, he said, there were no grand gestures, she just fluffed up her hair and struck a pose.  And yet, with this simple shift, she suddenly became magnetic.  An aura of magic seemed to ripple out from her and everything stopped.  Time stood still, as did the people around her, who stared in amazement as they suddenly recognized a star standing in their midst.

No one bothered her or recognized her on the subway.  She was just one of many attractive young women in a big city.  There was nothing special about her.

But then, all she had to do was turn on that light inside of her.  A subtle change in presence, in posture, in expression, and everyone within sight of her noticed her.  She became that character in the movies who walks into the party, and even the photographer, who had spent the entire day with her, was awed by her presence.

That’s what charisma is.  That’s what it means.  And that’s just how important it is.

And no, it’s not reserved for the young, the beautiful, the rich, the famous.  Everyday people like you and me are capable of it.

Which begs the question, how?

I’ll probably write more on this subject, but the first step is the biggest, and that’s what this post is about.

The first thing to do is feel good about yourself.  And you don’t have to be a size-6, 22-year-old supermodel to feel good about yourself.

Feeling good about what you see in the mirror has laughably little to do with what you actually look like.

Everyone is eventually going to get old, everyone’s body is eventually going to decline.  That 22-year-old supermodel is going to wake up one day and see stretch marks, flabby arms, and sagging tits looking back at her in the mirror.

And then what?

If her self image is wrapped up exclusively in how she looks, her self image will decline as her body does.

You don’t want that.

It’s not about your appearance.  It’s about training your brain to focus on your best attributes, while glossing over the less-than-perfect ones.

As it is, most of our brains do the opposite.  It’s just a matter of turning that around.

Think of the brain like a muscle.  The more you train it to take certain pathways, the stronger those pathways get, and the more your brain wants to take those pathways naturally.

A tool that worked for me in the beginning was to use my clothes and makeup.  I spent hours and hours poring over fashion and makeup tutorials, learning how to accentuate the positives and minimize the negatives.  I probably know more about fashion now than I do about cars.

And I know how to make that knowledge work for me.

When I’ve got the right bra, the right low-cut top, and the right butt-hugging jeans, it’s hard not to like what I see in the mirror.

When I like what I see, other people notice.

I’ve been asked what my “secret” is, how I’m able to carry a room or talk someone into doing what I want, how I’m able to intimidate or allure, without saying a word.

But there’s no secret.  I’m not Heidi Klum.  I’m not some untouchable icon that other women could never hope to be.  I don’t have magic powers.

Guys, I need to stress this:

I’m not a model.  I’m only 3 years away from leaving the “Young Adult” club.  I’m fortunate in how I carry weight, but I’m a BBW.  Objectively, I’m average-looking.

How average?

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Please forgive the dirty mirror, my 6yo wanted to “help” me clean today.

This is a typical sleeping outfit for me.  Panties, a tank top, and a sleeping bra (which is just a fancy name for a sports bra that’s a size or two too small, tight enough to keep everything in place while I’m asleep).

You can see that my body isn’t perfect.  You can see the cellulite and the Mexican thighs and the big hips (I have reproduction to thank for that).  Pull up the tank top and you can see stretch marks and a C-section scar.  Pull the bra up and you can see stretch marks on my boobs from when they literally went from a DD to an HH in less than 3 months, then shrank back down to an F.

My BMI puts me in the top 47% of women my age in the country.  Literally the definition of average.  My face is average, too.  My forehead is high, my hair is fine, and my lips are thin.

I’m telling you all of this because it’s so important for people to understand that being magnetic, commanding respect, and exuding authority has nothing to do with the way you look.

There’s nothing special about the way I look.

But when I turn on that light inside me, I’m exemplary.

And people notice.

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As I said, exemplary.  And I’m actually about 15 pounds heavier in this picture, originally published in an older post.

And it’s not because I’m prettier or younger or thinner or smarter than anyone else.  It’s not because I’m a low-key superhero with magic powers.

It’s because I know how to use charisma.  And I know how to use it because I learned how.  It’s not something I was born with.  It’s not something that came naturally to me.

But I learned it.  And the first step was learning how to feel good the way I looked.  It wasn’t about waiting until the way I looked made me happy, it was about becoming happy with the way I looked.

Everything else comes from that.  Every charismatic and magnetic person started with that.  With feeling good about what they look like and who they are (this post focuses specifically on physical appearance, but feeling good about yourself as a person is just as important).

Feeling good about yourself means that other people are inclined to feel good about you.  And if you’re an average-looking person who knows what it feels like to be ignored and shrugged off, you genuinely appreciate the attention.  And when you genuinely appreciate the attention, you’re warm and friendly.

And when you’re warm and friendly, you’re likeable.  When you’re likeable, even more people take notice.

It’s a snowball effect that only gets bigger and bigger once it starts.

So how to start it?

It starts with putting on a nice outfit, looking in the mirror, and thinking, “You know, that’s not half bad.”

Do that often enough, for long enough, and it turns into, “Damn, that’s actually pretty good.”

And then, almost overnight, you find yourself commanding the respect and attention of everyone around you.