Semantics and Stubbornness

April 11th, 2013

Once more, with feeling. Two humiliation play classes, one emotional masochism class, several blog posts, several more emails, and various verbal discussions. And it is still on my mind. Well, let’s get it out here and see if I can reach any conclusions today.

Objectification – “the treatment of a human being as a thing, disregarding his/her personality or sentience. Sexual objectification – the practice of regarding or treating another person merely as an instrument (object) towards one’s sexual pleasure.” (Wikipedia)

Objectification in play, can have two different formats. You can be used as an object – a lamp, furniture, a sex toy. Or you can be treated as a thing with no regard, or even disdain, for your personality, sentience or worth. These are two very different things. The first, being used, for me, is not at all humiliating, or degrading, though it could be for others. Being used is something I rather enjoy. The latter is specifically about humiliation and degradation, something I am struggling to define my interest in. First, we get into the semantics of those words.

“Humiliation is the abasement of pride, which creates mortification or leads to a state of being humbled or reduced to lowliness or submission. It is an emotion felt by a person whose social status has just decreased.” (Wikipedia) “Erotic Humiliation is the consensual use of psychological humiliation in a sexual context, whereby one person gains arousal or erotic excitement from the powerful emotions of being humiliated and demeaned, or of humiliating another.” (Wikipedia) “To reduce to a lower position in one’s own eyes or others’ eyes.” (Merriam Webster)

Degradation – “decline to a low, destitute, or demoralized state” (Merriam Webster), or “the process of deterioration of characteristics of an object with time” (Wikipedia), or “treat or regard (someone) with contempt or disrespect.” (Google)

Basically, as a form of play, these are about bringing someone low, treating them and making them feel like something less than they are. (Yes, yes, you can’t ‘make’ anyone feel anything, how about, creating an environment that encourages them to feel that way?) I looked these up and provided the definitions I found, because I was having trouble in my own head, with my own understanding of the terms. Humiliation is feeling bad about yourself, your actions, your thoughts, your desires. Degradation is being torn down. Degradation is generally humiliating, but humiliation doesn’t have to be caused by degradation. The two do go fairly well hand in hand.

So, why are these things stuck on my brain? We tried it, it went horribly wrong. And we eventually figured out the problem: I was not fully separating self from scene. I am a writer and my own worst critic. I am a perfectionist and cannot stand failures in myself. It seems like playing with humiliation and degradation would be a bad idea. But I am a(n emotional) masochist and I’m stubborn. I don’t even like failing at failing. (No, that isn’t called succeeding.) I enjoy being beaten to a pulp, physically and mentally. I find it cathartic and stress-relieving.

So, I keep coming back to – okay, so you want to play rough? How can you do it safely? Which seems counter-intuitive right off the bat. ‘Can’t do that.’ ‘Too dangerous to self and relationship.’ ‘Why would you want to feel like that?’ And on and on. Is it just a case of wanting is not so pleasing a thing as having? Is it like the interrogation scene? What I really want is the challenge and this is the easiest way to label it? Probably. I love being challenged, mentally and physically. (Hmmm, what kinds of other mentally challenging play could I do?)

I’ve also gotten a recent inkling of kink as ritual ordeal, to come out the other side stronger. And this definitely seems like something that would be good for me – to face all the negative feelings about myself and come out the other side knowing that those feelings are false and wrong. (Not to mention that I should really get better at dealing with and accepting failure.) I am working to become stronger and more independent than ever before, and so this idea appeals to me on a personal growth level.

There we have it. A much better exploration of where my head is at with all this than I’ve managed in quite a while. Hurray for having my head back on straight again. 🙂

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Reality is Better than Fantasy

November 4th, 2012

This story starts with an elderly gentleman buying Fifty Shades Darker from me yesterday. He told me that he really liked the first book. I told him that others had said the books each are better than the previous. He gave me a disbelieving look/sound, and said that the last one is called Freed, how could that be better than the other two? I checked myself from going too deeply into it, and said, that while I had not read the books, “freed” didn’t necessarily mean the relationship ended. He nodded, but I don’t think he understood what I was trying to say. No, I don’t really want to know if the relationship ends in the third book, and they get “free” of each other. But I do think it’s important to understand that freedom inside your relationship and inside your kink, is a great reality, regardless of whatever fantasy you’ve built up in your head.

Onto another fantasy. Interrogation. I mention it here and there, I write fantasy ones. I get worried that I’ll never get an interrogation scene. I talk about why not. But this morning, it occurred to me that it’s a fantasy that doesn’t mesh with my reality. I don’t really want an interrogation scene. I mean, sure, it’s fun to fantasize about, and write about, but what is it really? A stranger trying to torture information out of me, without a care for me, my safety, my sanity or anything but getting that information. Again, a sexy fantasy, of complete loss of control.

But where’s the reality, what is it that I really want out of such a scene? What I really want and enjoy in extreme scenes, is the challenge, the push, the seeing how far I can go. I recently read a summary of a biography written by a woman with dwarfism. It was a teacher that first called her a dwarf and asked her what she could and couldn’t do. The summary says she has spent the rest of her life pushing herself to do more and more. I was diagnosed with RA in HS, but in college, when I saw the fencing club, I decided to do it. So what if I couldn’t straighten my right arm, or if my left knee didn’t bend or straighten fully? I would push myself to do what I wanted to do. My kink is similar, I love to push myself, to see how far I can go, what I can do, in spite of assumed physical or mental limits. Most importantly, I love doing so with him, because he loves me, cares about me, but is also willing to push me further than I think I can go. A lot further. And still knows how and when to stop. Not some random fantasy stranger who I don’t know and wouldn’t play with in any case. Reality is much better than fantasy.

There was a third part to this topic, but I’ve lost it in the football game. 😉

 

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What I Like and Why

May 31st, 2012

So, let’s say someone new came up to me and asked, “Hey Imp, what do you like to do? And could you tell me why? What about those things interests you?” How would I respond, at this point in my life?

Hey, random person. Welcome to the community. I like to do a lot of different things, for a lot of different reasons.

Well, Imp, that’s not very helpful, could you be more specific?

Sure, random. I like bondage, sensation, deprivation, fear, pain, suspension, sexuality, dressing up, fire, electricity, corporal punishment, erotica, mind fucks, new experiences, serving, bootblacking, learning, teaching, submission, power exchange, biting, sucking, cuddling, challenges, sub space, and a whole host of other things.

Wow, Imp, that’s a lot. Could you tell me about all those different things?

Sure, random, let’s start at the top.

Bondage. I love bondage. Always have, always will. Cuffs, shackles, stocks, straitjackets, rope, saran wrap, or just mental. I love it all. But some for different reasons than others.

Cuffs, shackles and stocks. These are the stuff of erotic fantasies for me. Prisoner fantasies, slave fantasies, and the like. These are things for “bad girls” and as such, turn me on to that mindset. They are solid and secure and sometimes painful. They are a solid reminder that I am in bondage to the one who holds the key. I am at his mercy until he sets me free.

Straitjackets and saran wrap or mummification. These are the all encompassing, all enclosing, complete restriction of movement. They can be comforting, a big huge hug from the one who put me in it. A place to sink into myself with the outside kept at bay. Or they can be complete vulnerability. I am trapped, only allowed that which he gives me. Whether that’s simply air or pleasure. Only free when he allows it. And oh so helpless and available to whatever he wants to do. An excellent power exchange.

Rope. Glorious rope. I didn’t know how much I would love rope until it was used on me. I didn’t know I would fall in love until I first smelled hemp, and then he suspended me. And I was done. Forever a rope slut. Rope is a multitool. It can be used for sensation, for decoration, for bondage, for suspension, for pain, for pleasure, for service, and if you have enough, even for mummification. Rope makes me incredibly happy. The bite of the rough natural fibers on my skin. The taking of my power bit by bit as each limb is confined. The sense of freedom when I am held in its complete thrall.

Sensation and pain. So many different types of sensation. Floggers, whips, paddles, canes, drumsticks, clamps, clips, clothespins, slapping, spanking, body punching, kicking, biting, pinching, pressure points, scratching, knives, violet wands, stun guns, TENs, massage, wax. I’m sure I’m forgetting some.

Corporal punishment. Spanking, floggers, whips, paddles, canes, punching, kicking and drumming, all excellent examples. Let’s start with rhythmic fun. Floggers, canes, and drumming can all be used to beat someone to music, to a rhythm. This can take us both into space. Feeling connected as one as we flow and move with the same beat. Relaxing and soothing, it can also send me into the most incredible high. Spanking and paddles, also belts, are in the fantasy category for me. They send me into that “bad girl” headspace that I find so arousing. Pain space. This is where whips, body punching and kicking come in. They don’t fit in the first two categories for me, but if I want intense sensation for the purpose of going into pain space, they are added to the list of all these other tools. Pain space, for me, is a place where I fall into the pain, and enjoy both the pain and connection to the one causing it. Catharsis is another part of corporal for me. All these tools can be used to cause me such intense sensation that I am pushed through pain space into an emotional release.

Body manipulation. While I’m talking about spaces, and body punching and kicking. Let me go quickly to pressure points, biting, pinching and massage. These, for me, are direct, personal intense sensations. Biting goes into arousing fantasy, vampires and the like. Pressure points and pinching and focused intensity. He is close up, exploring my body and reactions. Some of them are painful, some of them are pleasurable. But they all make me want to kiss his hands afterward. I like the closeness, I like the personal intensity. The direct energy exchange. Massage has this, too. The closeness, the energy. It also has the element of service that I enjoy when I’m giving it. Or when I’m receiving, it makes me feel cared for and appreciated.

Sexuality. We are sexual beings. And we all express our sexuality in different ways with different people. Depending on my mood and my partner, I enjoy kissing, hugging, cuddling, nibbling, licking, orgasm control, masturbation, oral and sex. Physical connection, intimate connection, can be soothing, energizing, or just plain crazy fun.

Deprivation. On the opposite end of the physical, is the lack of input. Sensory deprivation. Sensory deprivation makes me depend on whatever I’m left with. I sink into my body away from the senses that were taken away and if I have anything left, all focus goes to that. If it has all ben removed or reduced, I’m often able to just float away deep inside. It’s incredibly relaxing. And can also be used to intensify whatever sense is left. Touch becomes so much more intense when you cannot see, hear, or smell. You are focused on the only thing you have left to sense the world around you. Pain in such a state is so much more intense for me.

Clips, clamps and clothespins. I’m not even sure how to categorize those. Pinchy things, I guess. These can be great fun and are usually a test in endurance. Last night, he showed up with two bags. One of 50 teeny tiny clothespins, and one of 24 two inch long clothespins. He decided our faces were his canvas, and went back and forth between all three of us, putting clothespins all over. It was crazy and intense and fun. I had to walk in place and keep touching him to ground, so I would keep breathing properly. These are an interesting category. They are intense sensation, and it just ramps up as you go along, without even having to do anything. And when you’re done, the fun isn’t over. You still have to take all those little things off. Which hurts a heck of a lot more in an instant than they have the whole time they’ve been on. This is why zippers are such great fun. Taking a whole line of them all off at once, can send me into such a great pain space high. This is one time when orgasms are especially appreciated for me, as a way to channel the energy created.

Electricity. Ah, electrical energy. In this category we have TENs, violet wands, electric flyswatters, and stun guns. TENs is a lot of fun. It can be therapeutic to tense or sore muscles. It can be silly giving over of control. It can be used to make Jenga a hilarious game. And it can be used to cause intense sensations and pain. Violet wands are one of the few things I top, for the crew. Anywhere for gentle vibrations of a massage, to sharp jolts of pain. Happy tickling sensations, to skin burning zaps. So versatile and fun. Electric flyswatters and stun guns are the next step up. Sharp, painful sparks when there’s a gap. Muscle jolting when held tight to the skin. For me, just the noise of these sends fear shooting through my body. Sends adrenaline racing, and depending on what he’s threatening, can drive me straight to tears. Delicious.

Fire is another of those adrenaline rushes. Someone is lighting you on fire FFS. It’s a nice warming sensation, which can also be slightly painful, but the fire is generally gone before the pain really starts. I’m not into burning/branding of the skin. But the fear. The primal fear response to being light on fire, is intoxicating. It brings my focus in to just that. Nothing else matters when you’re on fire. Then there’s sparks. Not electrical sparks, those don’t bother me. Fire sparks. A lighter, a sparkler, a log popping in the fire. Terror. Pure terror for me. This will bring me to tears faster than a stun gun, if I’m forced to be close for more than a couple sparks.

Fear. Oh yeah, fear. Sparks, needles, snakes. Fire, stun guns, flyswatters, gags, being in pain and helpless and abandoned. Fear is delicious. Adrenaline rushes are great. Phobias will bring me to tears and panic and breaking points. So they are dangerous to play with, but so far, have all gone well. Being brought to the point of panic, and then pulled right back to keep going can be an amazing power exchange, as well.

Power exchange. Submission, serving, mind fucks. All the mental stuff. To take me out of my head, to give up control. To take care of him and his boots. To dress up for him. To just simply be for him. To challenge myself. To be forced to think and use my brain. To be turned around so hard and fast that I don’t know where I am. To be scared and aroused and dropped all through the power of his voice. So many different head spaces and power exchanges. It can be absolutely amazing.

New experiences. Learning something new. Teaching someone something new. Trying something new. Helping someone else try something for the first time. There’s nothing like it. The joy, the excitement, the energy of new is unique and incredible.

And then there’s this. There’s writing about it. I love writing about it. Writing erotica about it, blog posts about it, journal entries about it. Sharing, processing, explaining. Teaching, learning. Writing it down gets it out of my head and into a place where I can look at it. Where I can share it with others. Where I can learn about myself and really see my own thoughts and reactions. Down on paper or screen, it’s not all jumbled up anymore. It’s clear and it’s wonderful. I hope you all think so, too.

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Rope Scenes

July 14th, 2011

I’ve posted a lot about rope. About why I like it, what I like about it, about scenes I’ve had with it, about buying it, about learning to tie it. There have been a lot of classes on rope lately, with more coming up, especially at COPE in September. The most recent was on Eeling. And he said he learned more about me by attending than about the subject, because he and I don’t play like that. Way back when we first met, he challenged me to get out of a tie, but not since. Our scenes are about other things that escape. So, it brought to mind today, what kinds of rope scenes are there, what kinds do I enjoy, and what do I get out of the different kinds?

Suspension is one, well, two really. There are high-flying suspensions, and there are static.

High-flying suspensions I have written about a few times, describing particular scenes or the freedom in it. The care for comfort of the tie, and the attention to detail of the rigging are very important. Swinging from a point 15-20′ in the air by thin ropes tied around the body is a feeling like no other I’ve ever experienced. We compare it to a swing set of childhood, or a roller coaster ride. But it is so much more than the first, and so much more sensual than the second. It is about trust and control. Giving it all to the person tying and flying you. One mistake and bad things could happen. But when it’s done right, with care and attention. The energy, the joy, the sense of freedom, is incredible. The dizziness from spinning well worth the feeling of the spin. The rope marks can last for days, bright red lines where the ropes lay, holding you in the sky. And for me, the scene doesn’t end when I’m back on the ground. I float as he unties, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, leaving burns with the lines. And then I sink back down to earth, surrounded by the rope, coiling it up, breathing it in. Landing mentally, only when it is all put away again.

Static suspensions share a lot of the same sensations and feelings with high-flying ones. But they tend to be more sensual for me. More about the rope touching and holding. More about the feel of him close to me, often playing with me while I’m suspended. Static lends to deeper space, less wide-eyed excitement. I sink into rope space whenever I am tied, but when left to hang in it, my mind sinks deeper into my body. Feeling everything. And floats out to him, feeling the energy and the exchange.

A similar state is achieved through floor scenes. When he ties me, not to a suspension point, but into a ball, or a hog-tie or some such, self-contained tie. These, though, have me grounded, literally, and mentally. I am not floating away, finding the freedom of being suspended. I am tied into myself, molded into the shape he wishes. I am made vulnerable in a completely different way. No longer is my life hanging by a thread, but rather, I am at his mercy. I am where and what he wants me to be. I am bound and helpless, and available for whatever he wants to do, with less safety concerns to distract. (Yes, there are always safety concerns, but not maintaining steady breathing, or a numb limb isn’t going to end a ground scene nearly as quickly as a suspension.) Floor scenes can be as simple as tying and leaving to melt, whether in a ball on the floor, or walking around with just the upper body bound. Or tying and then tormenting – whips, floggers, paddles, pinches, nipple clamps, tickling, what have you. A fully sensual and power exchange scene for me.

Coming off floor scenes, there are bed scenes. Tied down to a bed, for sex and torment. To be tied completely open and vulnerable. These have a different feel from ground scenes, for various reasons. One, obviously, if the intent is sex, is quite a bit different than the above feelings. But the other, for torment, is still different, too. Tied in a ground tie, immobilized and tormented is one thing. Often you can’t see what’s coming, or you can curl and squirm at the very least. Tied out spread eagle, unable to even pretend you can protect or defend yourself. Waiting, watching, often enduring torment that you can do nothing about. It is a similar, but uniquely delicious space. For me, there is far less sinking into the rope in these scenes. Sometimes I use pulling on the rope to process the pain, or as a focus point, but these scenes do not take me to rope space nearly as much as a ground tie.

The last type, I want to talk about is what sparked this post. Eeling. Getting out of the rope you were put in. I used to do this type of scene with the other a lot, or folks on the crew, just playing around when we were bored. See how long it took to escape a particular tie. Or tie myself up so the other could watch me escape. Or be tied up and left to escape on my own. Or one particular friend like to keep adding rope as I would untie the first few. These were interesting scenes for me. Scenes of challenge. I like challenges, challenging myself, being challenged. The ties were puzzles to be solved. And learned from. I love learning, too. I started learning suspension ties by untying them. I learned a lot about floor and bed ties by untying myself. There was discussion about what about eeling turns eels on, and about the rollercoaster that eeling scenes can be. For me – the joy of being tied, the thrill of the challenge set before me, the frustration of a difficult (or improbable to escape) tie, the thrill of getting a knot undone or getting some slack, the frustration that it did no good, continuing on to either end with the satisfaction of escaping, or the arousal of surrender. These scenes can be very tricky. The frustration can overwhelm, or the eel can cause themselves physical injury, or panic can set in (especially when combined with abandonment). But if the balance can be maintained, the frustration can be channeled and the panic controlled, and injury avoided, I enjoy these scenes very much if it is what the top is also after. I am not one to get out of any rope put on me just to see if I can. I like being in it far too much for that.

Are there any other types you enjoy? Do you have a favorite? What about the different types do you like?

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Trust Your Body, Trust Yourself

April 21st, 2011

A friend wrote last month how she is finally learning to trust her body, through kink. I have been at odds with my body since I was sixteen, almost half my life now. I fight it, I ignore it, I push it. But to trust it? I’d rather challenge it and defy it. She wrote she is no longer a mind in a body but a mind that is a body. I like that idea, and so I’m going to start a rambling exploration of my mind and body tonight.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few years in bondage, and in rope suspension. One of the first things he taught me was that I have to listen to my body. That I have to communicate to him what it is telling me. Where there was pain, pinching or discomfort. His suspensions were not meant to be painful, the ropes were there to support, not to hurt. This was a bit of a mind switch for me, because the other’s bondage was often painful, was often part of our sado-masochistic play. I had to listen to my body and trust what it told me. I had to be able to judge when I was done, tell him when I needed to come down. I could push myself only so far. And yes, I often tested those limits, pushed myself just a little further than I maybe should have, challenged myself to just one more swing, or just one more spin. I had to trust my body, but I also put trust in my mind’s ability to recover when I pushed just a little more.

If it hurts, don’t do it. It hurts when I do this. Don’t do that. Pain is the body’s way of telling us something is wrong. But I’m a masochist. I enjoy the intense sensation of pain and the effects it has on the body and mind, when it is pain I am choosing to experience. I kneel for half an hour in meditation, some days it hurts, but I usually ignore the pain and push through. I ignore the body’s cry for relief. I play in ways that cause pain, that cause a fight or flight response, and I ignore the body’s protests. My mind overrules my body. My pleasure overrides my pain. But isn’t this trusting, too? Trusting that even though my nerves scream, my body can take it. Trusting that after, I’ll be okay. I ignore the usual signals, and trust that real damage is not occurring, that my body is not as fragile as some might think.

Is it trust? Or just defiance?

I trust my mind within this body. I trust myself to know my limits. I trust myself to judge when it is too much. I trust myself to beg off or say no. I trust myself to know my body. And I trust my partners enough to crumble and fall.

I trust my mind, but do I truly trust my body? I listen to it, I respond to what it tells me. But I often feel like a mind trapped in a body, unable to feel the way I want to feel, unable to do everything I want to do. I trust that it will not break. I push it and challenge it, and I hope that it will not fail me. And sometimes it does, but more often than not, it doesn’t. In kink, anyway. It fails me, day to day, simple things like opening and reaching, but it rarely fails me in play. It limits me in play, for sure, depending on the day, but when I choose an appropriate activity, it holds up, it withstands, it survives, usually as long as I want and need it to.

So, do I trust my body? I do. It frustrates me and I defy it, but ultimately, I trust it. What other choice do I have? It’s my body and it gives me such pleasure to balance out the pain. It does what I need it to do, if not always what I want it to do. And the better I treat it, the better it does. RA is not who I am, just a thing I am dealing with. Trust is earned and my body has put in the work.

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Reflection

May 20th, 2010

These last few weeks, I have not done justice to myself, my partners, or to you, my readers. Last week’s post was the best of the bunch, a description of a wonderful scene. But what has been going on? What’s been happening along my journey? What were those cryptic and scattered posts about? And what ever happened to those needles? Let me begin by acknowledging my failures and then discussing them.

Firstly, when I brought him the needles, I did not beg for him to put them in me. I had been told to do this, and I had agreed to do this, but I did not. Since realizing that failure, I have only begged for the needles twice in person and once on IM. Other failures and issues have come up, and I do want the needles and we have talked about them here and there, but I find myself putting aside this want while I work on other things. It is important to me, but I continue to give other issues priority.

My second failure was letting fear and uncertainty keep me from going into object space. I was not initiating it and when he tried, I was putting him off with some form of ‘not yet’ and then not going back to it myself. Since acknowledging this failure, I had two evenings when I began initiating but did not follow through, one evening when I followed through and only slipped up once, and one evening when I followed through for a majority of the evening, but then let outside influences disrupt my focus.

I also had last week’s scene where he put me into object space for the majority of the scene. I felt very grateful that he was willing to take me there again. Within the scene, it was also a very helpful anchor for processing as he had taken away my anchors of sight and touch. The focus that it created put me in a mindset of being an object for his pleasure and his use and allowed me to not just endure, but enjoy the pain, the fear, the tears and the relinquishing of control.

My third failure involved acting like a spoiled little child. I did not just question his decisions, I flat out told him no. I whined that I was learning and and that I was doing what he asked, all the while, doing the exact opposite by the very objections and fight I was putting up. I let my initial confusion turn into fear and doubt instead of being clear and accepting and communicative. I was so far into myself that I could not even see what I was doing. He took the time, once again to hold up a mirror and shine a bright light on it until I could see. He gave me back the paragraphs I had copied for him about being looking beyond imperfection, being happy, working hard, doing without question, being intelligent, helpful, serving and not letting fear and doubt get in my way. I had failed to do any of these things, and I was to keep the papers until I could actually live up to them.

The previous day we had a scene which had me kneeling for forty-five minutes, fifteen longer than I had ever previously done. It began with begging for the needles, and ended with the only thought in my head being that I could not get up until he told me I could. I had given over all my wants and needs to that one single thought, that one want – to please him at the expense of all else, by staying on my knees. It was quite a delicious scene, to let go that fully – freeing, and cathartic as I cried for the last ten minutes of it. He ended it by lifting me off the ground and onto the couch, covering me with a blanket and bringing me water. Our time was limited that day, but he made the most of it, for us both.

The next day, he had concerns that I needed time to reflect on that scene. Walls were broken down and I needed time to reflect and heal stronger. He also had concern for the number of people installing programming in my head and the possible dangers in that. Conflicting programming could lead to hesitation and doubt. Two people pushing the same button could take things further than intended if they did not know what the other was doing or thinking. This led to more communication with all my partners about wants and needs. Defining boundaries more clearly for all involved.

My fourth failure was being presumptuous and selfish and in a hurry. I tried to give back the paragraphs. I tried to play the I’m learning card again, forgetting that what he was asking of me was not just learning, but doing – putting the learning into action. And putting it into action consistently, not just for a few days. Giving the papers back was not ‘the next step’ it was four or five steps further along my path. I had only just begun putting my lessons into action, and in fact, just two days before, I let others ruin my focus and keep me from doing what I wanted.

I spent this conversation on my knees, where I had gone to offer the papers. He kept me there until I answered his questions. I stayed there because I had put myself there, offered that submission to him, and it was his until he was done with it. I did ask to get up once and accepted his denial. At the end, he set a timer for five minutes and told me to think about how not to end up there again, not on my knees, but having failed in that way again. He would burn the papers the next time, if we both did not agree I had lived up to them. I do not know how long I was on my knees that time, over thirty minutes I know, but beyond that it did not matter. I focused on what I had done and why, and on putting learning into action. When the timer went off, he asked me if I needed to get up. I said yes, and he told me to stand. I forced myself up onto completely numb feet, using the table for support. Looking into his eyes, and using my drive to do ask he asked as motivation, I was able to stay upright while circulation returned. Determination and motivation are wonderful tools.

My fifth failure was lack of focus and attention. I had some trouble assisting with suspensions last weekend. I had not been keeping up my tying practice. I did not read situations as quickly and as well as I should have been able to. I did not keep my eyes moving between all the participants of the scene. I am grateful that he was able to communicate with me about these situations and explain to me more clearly his expectations. We had five good suspensions each night, and the patrons all enjoyed their flights and are eager for more. I have since practiced my ties, and have a clearer idea of my responsibilities in our scenes. I expect further insight on this topic once we have both had time to reflect and discuss.

So, where does all this put me now? I am learning and growing and doing. I am making mistakes, I am failing, but I am still moving forward, albeit sometimes with tiny steps. I am lucky to have him holding my hand and guiding me – showing me the path when I lose sight of it or get turned around. Our love and trust for each other keeps us together, and enables us to overcome challenges, failures and miscommunications. The image of a feudal system just came to mind: I serve him and he keeps me safe. Sometimes, he asks more of me than I think I can give, but his belief in me moves me to go beyond my own expectations and push harder and reach further than I thought possible. I have a wonderful life, wonderful partners and I am learning and growing and doing more than I ever imagined was possible.

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