Topspace and topdrop
i've been in topspace, and experienced topdrop, on a number of occasions[a]. Here's a short summary of my experiences with both, and what i've learned.
For me, topspace involves an incredible feeling of power - a power constrained, yet one that could be overwhelming were it to be unleashed. It's a power that comes from not only having a substantial amount of control, but also being very aware of that; and it typically involves a sense of strength within a centred calm, rooted in knowing that one can dictate that things will be _thus_. More generally, it feels like being in ‘flow’[b], like being very present and “in the moment”.
However, my experience is that topping can also induce feelings of:
It might well be appropriate to manifest and express these feelings during a scene. Continuing to do so outside a scene, whether to a scene bottom(s) or to people in general, is another matter. i feel that, after a scene, it's important to try to pay attention to your social behaviours, and reflect on the extent to which others have consented to being treated as ‘lesser’. If you find yourself treating random hospitality or retail workers as peons, rather than as fellow human beings deserving of basic respect, you should take some time to bring yourself back down to earth and ground.
For me, there are two aspects of topdrop: the sense of power and/or superiority draining away of its own accord, and actively working to ground oneself.
Feeling the sense of power-over[c] drain away can feel depressing, to greater or lesser extents, due to a sense of loss. There might be an active internal resistance to letting this happen, for whatever reason, and this can in turn lead to the sort of social issues described above.
Some things that i find can me help one ground / “come back down to earth” are interactions with water and/or earth, like:
- drinking water
- eating ‘satisfying’ food
As i wrote in a post a few years ago:
[T]ops can need aftercare too. i'm not at all suggesting that scene bottoms should be the ones providing it: as much as possible, i prioritise the aftercare needs of the bottom well before my own, because i regard that as part of the responsibility of being a top. At the same time, there have been occasions where a scene has had significant emotional impact on me, and i've keenly felt the absence of aftercare supporting me through it.
Where possible, it can be helpful to ask someone with topping experience if they would be willing to be available for ‘debriefs’, in whatever ways would work for both of you: in person, via phone or video call, via instant messaging, etc. This should be someone with whom you're comfortable feeling somewhat vulnerable, as you might need to talk about things like feeling ashamed of enjoying dominating / hurting / controlling someone, how a scene went wrong and how you might have contributed to that, struggles with coming out of topspace and/or into topdrop, etc.
Topspace can be a peak experience, and topdrop can be correspondingly intense. Coming out of topspace can be challenging, but recognising and acknowledging the presence of topdrop can allow one to take steps to mitigate it. Including reaching out to others: being vulnerable can require strength, but can help one learn and grow as a top.☙
[a] As i'm basically not vers / a switch, i've only been in subspace once, a number of years ago - it was an amazing experience, and one i'm glad to have had, but it's not something i have an active desire for.
[b] The Wikipedia entry for ‘flow’ describes it as:
the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting transformation in one's sense of time.
[c] i use the phrase ‘power-over’ as something distinct from ‘power-with’ and ‘power-from-within’, a distinction i first learned from the writings of pagan author Starhawk, but which might have been first made earlier by someone else. As i understand them, ‘power-over’ is about dominance and control; ‘power-with’ is power in the context of peers; and ‘power-from-within’ is about internal strengths and abilities.