My Secret

It was May of 2014, a t-shirt weather day in Orange County. I was at my sister’s house in Yorba Linda. It was early afternoon, my sister was at work, so I was home alone, in her giant 4000 sqft cookie cutter house. I had just got in the night before. I had quickly settle in, as I usually do. I was in my loose-fit tank top and shorts, sipping tea out of a pyrex measuring cup. The giant granite kitchen island was my default desk that day. I sitting on a wicker Pottery Barn barstool at my computer, doing e-mails. It was early afternoon when my mom arrived and came in from the garage. As usual, she carried her many bags of stuff and set it down by the sectional sofa in the family room. My mom was still on her fleece zebra print PJ’s, her usual attire, since she never leaves the house. And when she does, it’s only to go to my sister’s house, which is 7 minutes away.

Hi Mom.

Hi “con” (which means child in Vietnamese)

She looked tired, like she hadn’t slept in days. She told me to come over and and sit down next to her (in the family room). She said she had someting to tell me and had been waiting for me to come home to tell me in person.

What was it?  I thought it was about her.

Is everything okay? I asked.

She said that she knows what I’ve been doing.

Hmm what is she talking about?

She said that my sister told her that I have a job where I do “bad things” to men.

Then she told me what happened. Apparently, my sister had come to her (last month) crying hysterically and told her how I have this job where disturbed men have me do obscene and terrible things to them. I tie them up. I beat them. I piss on them. And it was just a matter of time before I would be assaulted or arrested, and my whole academic career would be ruined. When my sister tried to show her the photos and videos of my website for evidence, my mom had to excuse herself to the bathroom. Shetold me that she felt like her insides were being ripped out. That gut-wrenching nausea that my mom was describing to me, I felt it in my own stomach when her words started to sink in.

Oh my God, was this really happening?

The secret I had kept for a decade and thought I could take to mom’s grave had been handed to her like it was stained, filthy dirty laundry. Now this secret is hers to hold and to hide now. And there was nothing I could do or say to take it back or protect her from it.

I mean I wanted to tell her it wasn’t true, because I knew that’s what she wanted to hear. I wanted to retreat back to that moment before the truth came out. Because I can feel the pain of reality was too much for her.

But it was too late, the walls of my carefully constrctred double life came crashing down and she saw all of me and I had nowhere to hide. And just like that I saw her image of me in her eyes unravel: her valedictorian, Bill Gates scholar, PhD golden child, the one she never had to worry about, the one she always loved boasting about, her point of pride had now become her pain, her greatest shame. She told me that nobody can know about this. That her daughter, the one with such a bright future ahead, was actually, doing this. There was no word for what I did in Vietnamese. Or at least I didn’t know what the translation for sexworker or dominatrix was.

I tried explaining to her what I did. How the men I saw were not “crazy.” How they were, in fact, the sweetest and kindest people I know. They were lawyers, businessmen, managers, students, normal people who just wanted an outlet.  I told her of my slaves, men who were alone in their desires, and some who couldn’t make changes in their lives for themselves, but for me, they could curb their addictions, change their diet and lifestyle and tap into their well of creativity.  In me, they found their catalyst for change and self-improvement. It was just a different but highly effective form of drama-therapy. Through consensual pain and submission, I could heal people in pain. To my surprise, my mom, this super traditional, conservative immigrant from VIetnam, listened, and kind of got it. But in spite of that, I couold tell, she still couldn’t accept it. “What would people think?” she asked. That trumped everything in her mind. “Please don’t let us lose face,” she told me, “You have to quit.”

For days after, I thought about it. Quitting. I thought about all the amazing relationships I’ve built these past ten years. I thought about who I am, a healer, an empath, an explorer, and how this job has allowed me to be all of that. I thought about my freedom, how I’m the Mistress of my own time. And wherever I am, it’s where I want to be. I thought about all the friends that I have mentored into becoming professional dominatrices and how much joy I get out of being a Domme Mom. Instead of having babies, I bring awesome, beautiful pro dommes into the world. I thought about how rare it is to find your passion in your work. I thought about how with every year, I love what I do more and more, to the point where I know that this is my calling. I thought about this unconventional life that I’ve created that fits weird me so perfectly. I thought about how lucky I am.

But I was stuck. How do I live the life I want to live, yet still be a good daughter? And by good daughter, I mean 1) making your parents proud and 2) never making your parents worry about you.

“You can’t make mom happy being a dominatrix, “ my sister had told me. And for a long time I thought she was right. That’s why I kept Colette, my domme persona, a secret from my family. Because I knew they wouldn’t understand it and would try to squash it. But then I realized there’s a reason why most people don’t understand this thing that looks so dark and immoral from the outside. It’s because those who are on the inside, like me, keep it a secret. We keep this shadow part of ourselves private, in fear of not being understood. But it’s actually our very secret that perpetuate the misconceptions surrounding it.

My secret is the reason why my family doesn’t understand me.

That was a revelation.

And then I also realized that I’ve been operating in this rigid binary of either I quit being a dominatrix or else my folks can’t be happy.

I actually need to believe that there is a world


where I can be a dominatrix

and everybody will understand and accept me.

And that’s when I thought, Wait..

What if I create that world?


Back to when you said yes to me