Emotional Blackmail

December 10th, 2011

Finally move to my new webhosting company so I can post this week’s post. 🙂

I read Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward this week, and while there is a lot to it, and a lot that does not apply to my own situation. I found myself realizing that while I don’t let others blackmail me, I may be doing it for them. I have hot buttons from my past, that I use against myself to control my current behavior. I scare myself into behaving certain ways, even though I don’t want to. So here they are, and my attempts to disarm them.

Fear of anger or raised voices. There was hardly ever any yelling in my house as a child. Occasionally, my brother or I got yelled at, but mostly when we were too young to remember or doing something dangerous. But there was a single instance where my father yelled at my mother, called her a bad name, and she left the house. I heard the yelling, I still don’t know what it was about, and I saw her drive away. She came back, I don’t remember how long it took, but that set a hot button in my developing mind. Yelling and anger equals a loved one leaving. I struggle with that one, I fear raising anger, I fear conflict. I have become a peacemaker, which is not bad, unless it is at the expense of my own needs or wants. I blackmail myself – don’t do that, it’ll make them angry. You don’t want to see them angry. What if you make them so angry they just leave? Which is unfair to the other person, I’m not giving them a chance – to react to what I want, or to show that it doesn’t make them angry. And unfair to myself – I am not being true to who I am.

Emotional responsibility. I know I’ve talked about this before. Especially in the Ethical Slut posts. But I find it hard to not feel responsible when my partners are sad/upset/depressed. Or at least responsible for making them feel better, or to avoid causing those feelings. Obviously, none of us wants to upset our partners, but I can also take this too far, into blackmail. Don’t say that, you’ll only upset him. It’s not really that important, you don’t want to make him feel bad. Look at how miserable he is, how could you do that? But I am not the gauge of what will make a person sad. I am not responsible for how they react and deal with things. I should not avoid things because they’re uncomfortable to talk about. It only leads to deception and bottling, which is way worse than a few tears before things get worked out. I can offer to help, and keep talking through things. But I should not try to stop someone else feeling their own emotions and reactions.

Self worth. I’ve often struggled with replacement fears since becoming poly. I’ve always struggled with my self image and self esteem. Those things have been growing by leaps and bounds since I found a community here that loves and supports me for who I am. But there’s a hot button left over from college and my second boyfriend. I tried to date him a second time(or was it a third, I had an odd dating record), late in my sophomore year. He told me, he didn’t need the ego boost that dating me gave him anymore. He was popular now. What a strange thing to say, and even odder still to internalize. What it wrote in my head was, I’m only needed by guys who aren’t confident or popular, I’m just an ego boost until someone better comes along. This has played a major role in my replacement fears – worrying the new girl is better than me, so I won’t be needed anymore. It took a much stronger sense of self, this last time, to not go there. I am finally fully confident in my worth, and did not feel that I even Could be replaced.

 

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Needs, Wants, Emotions and Logic

November 3rd, 2011

I don’t know what to post about this week. One of my best friends suggested monkeys. I’m not all that into animals, and monkeys tend to be into scat play, as well. So, I’m just gonna ramble a bit. Whirligig, whirligig, spin spin spin. OpenOffice tells me that’s how it’s spelled. Wants and needs, where’s the line? Emotion is to reactions as logic is to solutions.

Needs. There are physical needs: food, water, clothing, shelter, air. There are emotional needs: love, self-worth, respect, and happiness. Then things get a little muddy. Or perhaps they already were, as meeting those emotional needs can mean a lot of different things. And I tend to get a little muddier around happiness, though I put it on the list. Happiness is nonnegotiable, in the long term, but is unrealistic to expect every moment of every day. Things go wrong, arguments happen, mistakes get made, people get hurt, tragedies occur. But when all these needs are being met, including happiness, it’s hard to feel like life is all that rough.

Then there are the six basic human needs that they talk about in the kool-aid circles, let’s see if I can remember them: Certainty, Variety, Significance, Connection, Growth, and Contribution. I only forgot significance. And, according to Mr. Robbins, everyone puts very different value on these six things. Personally, certainty is the top of my list, followed by connection(love). The rest jockey for position regularly, with significance generally(but not always) coming in last in the broad scheme of things. They say opposites attract, so you know, with certainty at the top of my list, I’m attracted to people for whom variety tops the list. I couldn’t say for certain it is the Very top for all of them, but it certainly seems to rate high.

The ones I rate lower, I tend to feel cross over the line from need to want for me. But it’s that line that gets a bit fuzzy for me. I want to learn new things and grow, but do I need to? They say if you stop learning, you’re dead, but active growth often gets put on the back burner for me. I want to contribute to the world through my writing, but I don’t need to. I appreciate every private message saying how people enjoy my blog or got something out of it, and every comment that gets posted, but if it was really a need, wouldn’t I put more work into it? Significance is trickier. As long as I am important to the people who love me, do I really need to be important to anyone else? Given what I enjoy doing, and what my family do for a living, I’d say staying off the national or world stage is probably best for everyone. Variety. It’s true that I enjoy new things, that I like a lot of different kinks, that I’ve often had two or three partners. So, I certainly enjoy variety, to an extent. But I’m not someone who goes to a big event with a dance card, or is looking for many partners. I don’t want a stable, I just want all my needs and most of my wants met.

So, what about certainty and connection. Well, connection basically means love, and I’ve already listed that at the top. An absolute need. Certainty is what drives me crazy. Look no further for emotional break down than for me to not know what is going on or what to expect. Now, I don’t mind a bit of spontaneity, I enjoy unplanned scenes. But if I don’t know where I’m sleeping on a night, I get a little antsy. If I don’t know how bills are getting paid, I freak out. If a new shiny appears and I don’t know her intentions, or his, I get all wibbly-wobbly. (OpenOffice doesn’t know how to spell that one.) If I’m told something might happen, maybe, but I don’t know what, I get all nervous and jumpy. I like plans. I like lists. I like schedules. And yes, sometimes it’s really hot to be grabbed and dragged off at a moment’s notice for some unplanned, but much needed stress relief.

So what about that line? Needs – Wants. If I have all the physical needs, and emotional needs, and certainty met – is everything else just cream on the top? How do I judge happiness being met? Play makes me happy, not playing doesn’t necessarily make me unhappy. But not playing for a long time can. Or not playing when I really, really want to can. But then, I control my reactions (usually), so if all else is good, not playing shouldn’t make me unhappy. There’s always tomorrow, tends to be my rational to achieve that. Private time with him and hubby makes me happy. Not having that private time on a particular day is disappointing, but it’s not the end of the world. Spending time is always happy, but that doesn’t make not spending time a necessary sad. I think I’ve lost my point in here somewhere. I’m trying to sort out whether play, time and private time fall under needs or wants. Given their relationship to happiness. Which isn’t only direct, they also affect the health of the relationship, which is a source of happiness. They are all ways in which affection and love are expressed, but a lack of one does not equate to a lack of love. Most often it is a lack of time, or opportunity. So, they are not necessarily needs in and of themselves, but are wants which fulfill both the needs of connection/love and happiness.

Then we get down into specifics. Specific types of play, or time, or private time. Specific types of affection and attention. Those are certainly wants. None of them is specifically a need. They are, again, ways to get needs filled, and we often say “I needed that,” but I’d say they are strictly on the want side of the equation. We are referring to the emotional need that got filled by the action when we say we needed it. So, it seems, by my rambling, that for me, the more general a thing, the more of a need it is, and the more specific, the more it lands in want territory.

Toy commented to me she’d been advised to feel her emotions before solving problems. I agreed with this statement. Often, I react emotionally to things, and on the surface, I think the problem is one thing, but as I’m reacting and talking about how I’m feeling, I dig deeper and find the real problem. If I try to solve the problem at first reaction, often I end up trying to solve the wrong problem, or even one that doesn’t really exist. So, I’m learning to ride through the emotions, often getting him to help me dig into them, so I can find out what’s really bothering me and deal with it. A brown leaf, when cut off, doesn’t fix a poisoned root.

The other half of that, is if I ride through the emotions, feel them all and let them rise and fall. After it is done, then I can be logical and find solutions. Nothing drives me more crazy than when I’m reacting and being emotional, and he throws logic at me. I’m often not ready to be logical, yet. Though, sometimes, it’s enough to snap me past the emotions to the point of logic. Other times, I just need to cry, let it out, get all the emotional baggage out from behind my eyes and between my shoulders, or I’m just going to be useless and run in circles. Emotions are good for finding problems, logic is good for solving them.

 

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Keeping Control

October 21st, 2011

Control. I know I’ve written about control many times, in various different ways. Today, a thought occurred to me however, that I’m not sure I’ve clearly expressed before. I just reread my Power vs. Control post, and I see that I didn’t really touch on the thought I had today. I talked a lot about giving of power and control to a partner. But today, my thoughts are running along the lines of: you Always have a Choice. Meaning that both people have control.

I talk about giving up control, of just letting go. Of giving over to the sensations, the scene, the rope. Of not having to be in control for a little while. But really, it’s more about not being In Charge for a little while. I always have the most important control – control of myself. That’s not to say I can always move the way I want, do everything I want, or say everything I want. But I always have a choice. I can always say no. I can always say yes. I can choose to stop. I can choose to continue. I can control my reactions, my processing, my breathing. My partners tend to choose when I have orgasms, but I’m the one controlling myself so I that only have the ones I am allowed.

I talk about not giving control to someone who is not in control of himself. But it is equally important that I be in control of myself before, during and after playing. I’ve mentioned before, those days I just want tossed in a corner and left to brew. And then I’m not. It would be detrimental to my health, honestly. I get that way when I’m not in control. When I want a physical manifestation of control, because I’m not doing so internally. And it would be weakness to give in to that before I’ve regained control of myself. Sure, sometimes I want beaten until I cry, want a cathartic release, but when I can ask for such, I’m far more in control, and in a proper mindset for a scene.

So, in the way my brain is thinking today. I give up power to my partners, but I keep control of myself.

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Conflict & Communication

August 11th, 2011

One more time. Here is the final selection of my thoughts on The Ethical Slut, part two. Soon, I’ll get to Part Three. And maybe even a post about the 2nd edition of this wonderful book. This post is on conflict and communication.

“Good communication is based on identifying our feelings, communicating them to our partners, and getting validation from our partners that they hear and understand what we are saying.” (177) I wanted to start with this quote. It holds a lot of important things. First, identifying our feelings, being able to truthfully communicate with ourselves. This can be hard, we know How we feel, but not always why we feel that way, it can take some digging to figure this out, and sometimes we cannot see it by ourselves. Second, communicating to our partners how we are feeling. He cannot read your mind, now matter how often if seems that way. You have to tell him what’s going on inside. Then, the response, that the hear you, and then that they understand you. These are two different things, and both take a bit of work, on both parts. To hear someone else, above your own inner voice, and then to really understand what they are saying, not just what you think they are saying. All this goes into good communication.

“It is always tempting to respond to major relationship conflict by assigning blame. … Relationships tend to end due to their own internal stresses. … If you start looking at conflicts, problems and so on, as problems of the relationship, instead of trying to decide whose fault they are, you have taken an important step in solving them.” (165) A relationship takes two (or more) people. Conflict also takes two (or more people). Throwing around blame does not help achieve resolution to conflict, and can, in fact, prolong and heighten it. Yes, often, someone has done something “wrong” that caused the conflict, but there is usually more to it than that, a bigger picture, a bigger problem, that needs solving, rather than the minute details of that specific action.

“It is critical that everyone involved accept responsibility for knowing their own feelings and communicating them.” (192) “The I-message is a pure statement of feeling and there is no accusation in it.” (178) This first quote goes back to Tuesday’s post. Owning your own feelings, your partner did not make you feel a certain way, and is not responsible for your feelings. You are. And you should certainly communicate your feelings, but try to use I-messages. I feel this, instead of you made me feel this.

“We need to schedule discussions at a time when we can give them our full attention.” (175)
“Take TIME OUT to ventilate anger. Select ONE issue to work on. Make an APPOINTMENT to talk.” (177) On the way out the door to work, or to a date is not the time to discuss a problem. Nothing will get solved if one person is in a hurry or if both have other things on their minds. It is also important to cool down before trying to solve a problem. Yes, emotions run high, yes anger happens. But yelling and escalating emotions are likely only to make the situation worse. Picking a topic and a time to discuss it is helpful in several ways. It gives you time to ride out your emotions, to think about the problem, and to know that there is a space where it will be discussed and (hopefully) resolved.

“Once you’ve defined your problem and your goal, it’s time to start figuring out a good agreement.” (200) This is an important step. Really figuring out what the problem is, not just on the surface, but looking for rocks and holes beneath as well. Think about what you want to accomplish. What is your goal in this discussion/argument/negotiation? Having that in mind first, will make the discussion go a lot smoother.

“In order for a fight to be successful, both people have to win.” (175) “Agreements… mutually agreed upon, conscious decisions, designed to be flexible enough to accommodate individuality, growth and change.” (190) “Be clear, be specific and above all negotiate in good faith.” (193) “The purpose of an agreement is to find a way in which everybody can win.” (195) Once you know what you (both) want, it’s time to talk. Time to find a way for all involved parties to come to agreement, where everyone can be satisfied. It’s no good ‘winning’ the argument if the person you love is left miserable or hurting. Specificity, clarity and flexibility are all good things. Make sure everyone fully understands the agreement, that no part is unclear or vague so as to lead to another conflict. Don’t look for semantic loopholes, patch them. But also try not to create an agreement so rigid that it chafes. It should be something that benefits everyone involved and gets everyone’s needs met, and as many wants as possible. Relationships are not a competition, the only way to win is for everyone to win.

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Emotions & Validation

August 9th, 2011

Post three of The Ethical Slut, Part Two, is about Emotions and Validation. The previous post, on Fear and Jealousy, touched on some of these things, but this post goes for all emotions, positive and negative, and on into love and validation.

“Nobody makes anybody feel anything.” (119) “See if you can write about or talk to your friend about your feelings without blaming anybody.” (145) This is one of the hardest things for some people to accept. In a culture of lawsuits over spilled coffee, personal responsibility is all too uncommon. A person is responsible for their own actions (and reactions). For example, if someone spills grape juice on your favorite shirt, that is all they did. How you feel, and react, is your choice, your responsibility, not theirs. Which is also the same in reverse…

“What you are not responsible for is your lover’s emotions. You can choose to be supportive… but it is not your job to fix anything.” (119) The same as your lover is not making you feel anything, you are not making them feel anything either. You cannot change someone’s feelings, or fix how they feel. You can choose to support them, and be there for them, while they do so for themselves. But they have to do the work (as you have to do your own).

“Asking someone to listen to your feelings is different from dropping them in his lap and leaving them there.” (121) However, you do have to be careful that when you are sharing and working through your feelings, with someone else’s support, that you don’t take advantage of that person. You should not try to make it their responsibility to fix how you feel, or take care of your emotions. Nor let someone do that to you. Don’t dump your problems and emotions on someone else and expect them to fix it.

“We need to make the ethical commitment to own our stuff, and to let you own yours.” (178) This quote sums all the above up nice and neat. Own your own stuff, and let your partners’ own theirs. Support each other, love each other, but remember to be responsible for your own emotions, actions and reactions. And always, ask for help when you need it, for support, for understanding, just don’t expect someone else to fix you.

“You need to get clear that you deserve love and nurturance and warmth and sex.” (126) “You get to have all the comfort and reassurance you want.” (183) Self-esteem is a problem, there are so many attacks against our self-esteem in the world, that sometimes we feel unworthy, or undeserving. Of love, attention, comfort and reassurance. Sometimes we feel that we shouldn’t need reassurance, because that means we’re doubting, and how dare we have doubt, what kind of person are we to have doubt? Surely we don’t deserve love if we’re doubting. Ah, such a trap we lay for ourselves. Vicious little circles. We are human, we are imperfect, but we all deserve love, nurturance, warmth, intimacy, comfort and reassurance. Having a bad day, feeling down, feeling insecure does not negate these things, in any way.

“We are all human, we are all vulnerable, and we all need validation.” (151) “Make a list of everything you value about your relationship.” (150) I put these two together because validation can come from different sources. It doesn’t have to come directly from your partner. It can come from a picture on the shelf, it can come from happy memories, it can come from a list of wonderful things about your relationship. And yes, sometimes we need it to come from our partner. We all are vulnerable and scared sometimes, and need to hear ‘I love you’ or ‘I want you’ or ‘I need you.’ Sometimes, all it takes is a hug, but we all need validation sometimes.

“The real test of love is when a person – including you – can know your weaknesses, your stupidities and your smallness, and still love you.” (141) “Intimacy is based on shared vulnerability.” (173) We are all human. We have our faults, our strengths, our weaknesses and our foibles. We are all vulnerable, and in that vulnerability, we find each other. We find love and closeness. We find a link to each other. Love sees and accepts all that we are. It isn’t about overlooking the negative, but acknowledging it. Blindness helps no one, acceptance and understanding keeps love strong.

“He’s here because he wants to be, wherever “here” is. We are with each other, every day, because we really want to be.” (124) I left this quote for last, even though it’s quite early in the chapter, because this is one of the most important things for me to remember. Relationships are an active choice. We have chosen to be together, we have chosen to stay together. Every day, we choose to continue the relationship. There are bumps and blips and roadblocks, but every day the relationship continues, it is an active choice by the people in that relationship. If that’s not validation, I don’t know what is.

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Beaten in/to Submission

June 16th, 2011

They tell me that I don’t let things go. I don’t like letting things go. I’ve let too many things go already. Not Things – hubby will tell you I purge junk from our home far more than he approves of, usually followed or preceded by moving, which he also thinks we do too much of. But I don’t let of of people very easily. I don’t let go of negative feelings very easily – I tend to bury them if I don’t get them out quickly and they come back to haunt me. I do this with stress, too. I have very wonderful support and help solving problems and rectifying situations, but I hold onto the stress. I can’t solve other people’s problems, but I hold onto the stress created by the problem. Occasionally, it becomes too much. I am set adrift by my own emotions and hormones and I start drowning in the stress. At times like these, I run to the woods, I yearn for campfires, I want to cry, I want someone to draw the stress out of me, I want to be beaten to a pulp or tied too tight into a little ball.

Last week, I ran to the woods. I found quiet in the trees. But it was cold, and there was marching band practice nearby, and an organ and a piano. So, after watching some black-winged damsel flies for as long as I could stand it, I went for a drive in the country. Going a little too fast, but not dangerously so, and enjoyed the sunshine and the peace of having nowhere to be.

This week, I was beaten in/to submission.

When I was meditating early in the evening, my brain was wandering. Should I be Miss? Aren’t toy and I fairly equal come down to it on Monday night? Does Miss disrupt my subspace? Where do I find my submission to him these days? In my meditation, in the rubber bands, in my clothing choices, in my service to him. And lately, in our Monday nights, it has been a growing opportunity for subspace again. Something to talk about when renegotiation comes up.

He, toy and I played a bit. Seeing if I could keep a rubber mallet type thing going on her ass while he smacked us both with various things. Dragon tails kissing our flesh as we squealed. An electric flyswatter that had us whimpering before he even got near. A wicked stick. A paddle. Even the cricket bat that I immediately knelt up to receive. Then the order to snuggle while he had a conversation elsewhere.

Hubby’s girl was practicing flogging while hubby worked on my laptop. He was watching and called me over to be a practice bottom for her. Shirt off, bra off, glasses off, hold the cross. Show her where her aim was. A few strikes, she was nervous, he showed her his strikes, and they practiced a bit more. I love watching him teach. This is one skill I haven’t tried to pick up yet, as a top, anyway, though I occasionally ponder it’s physical benefits, if not my ability to top a flogging scene. Then he leaves her to her own devices and turns to me.

He struck hard and fast, just heavy, short leather floggers, though I could have sworn he’d grabbed the rubber mops. I clutched the cross and screamed and groaned and gasped and moaned. He dropped me fast, and I pulled myself back up the first few times. In tears so quickly. He changed rhythm, backed off, came on. Then I dropped to my knees and he kept going, so I curled up, offering my back, but unable to stand and he kept going. I worried that he would stop because I wasn’t standing, but he kept going.

I knelt, I crumbled, I twisted, turned and cried. He backed off for a moment and I dragged myself back up the cross. On he came, three strikes and I was down again. And he kept going. This time I managed to kneel properly a few times, between curling up into a ball and sprawling on the floor. Always conscious of where he was and trying to keep my back offered to him. I could not stand, but I did not want him to stop.

Toy was being teased for wanting to rescue me, just a little.

“Do you want rescued, Miss?”
“No, Toy!”

“Well, if you want more, you have to get up.” He chimed in. “If you fall again, we’re done.”

I got to my knees, not good enough, up onto the cross. Clutching it for dear life as he tore back into me. Screaming and shaking the cross, I don’t know how many I lasted, it was more than three, but not by much. I fell again, in tears, but not disappointed. Toy was there, against my side. I caught a breath, thanked her and asked for a moment alone. She went to get water, and I cowered for a moment longer, and then knelt properly, before the cross and just let myself cry. Just tears, no remorse, no upset, just tears.

I notice hubby’s girl didn’t stop the entire time. With all my screaming and thrashing right beside her, she kept on practicing. Good on her.

“Is that what you needed?”

“Yes, Sir. Thank you, so much.” Hugs and kisses.

Toy is nearby, with water. I go to her, snuggle and stroke her hair. I won’t go to the bed yet, I’m not ready to collapse. Stubborn, I drink the water, waiting for the shaking to start. Teasing and tickling for a few moments. Coming back to reality before I crash.

And I do. We go to the couch, she wraps me up and holds me tight while the cold and shivers run through me. It’s late though, so we’re up again in no time, packing up and heading home.

So, why did I say I was beaten in/to submission? What do I mean? I was flogged while in my submissive state. I was in subspace, standing there half dressed at the cross. I was in subspace, offering him my back, as best I could, no matter where I was. I was in subspace, unaware of the rest of the dungeon unless it intruded quite loudly. I was also beaten to submission. To points when I didn’t know if I could take anymore and let him decide. And eventually, to the point where I gave up completely, without any regret that I had not gone far enough. He even commented later that I’d given up. I agreed, he was tipping the floggers a lot and the sting became too much. But I was not disappointed in myself like I might have been other times. I went as long and as far as I could that night, and he stayed with me the entire way, taking every bit that I would give him.

Some people ask why I get flogged, more especially, why I sometimes get flogged like that. No long and gentle warm up, no tender cool down, no rhythmic six count to the music. Just rough and tumble, heavy strikes, sharp strikes, relentless strikes. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the former, too. But the answer is because sometimes, I need it. I need a cathartic release so powerful and strong, that nothing else will do. I need the stress to be ripped violently from my body because I cling to it so tightly that I can’t just let it go. I am so grateful that he is able to do that for me. And I love the marks and the residual pain that keep me glowing for days after.

So, readers, what do you do to relieve/release stress? Kinky or vanilla?

 

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Within Ourselves

June 10th, 2011

My academic pursuit this month, otherwise known as “I’m tired of packing project,” (unfortunately, yesterday, when I got tired, of packing I fell asleep instead of posting) is The Ethical Slut, by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt, which I posted about the first time I read it. This week, I read Part 1: Within Ourselves, and took down quotes I found pertinent or important to me. So, I thought I’d make this week’s post a discussion of those quotes. I divided them into five categories: Sex, Poly, Social Programming, Communication and Internal Struggles.

Let’s start with Social Programming. This group is about overcoming our social programming so we can live the life we want to live and be true to oneself. “Our programming is changeable.” “You are already whole.” “ Great sluts are made, not born.” “People… free of shame, would trust their own sense of right and wrong.” (pp. 6, 34, 59, 71) So, what do all these quotes mean to me?

I grew up in a religiously based household, taught ‘how things ought to be’ from a young age. One husband, one wife, kids, and pets. Sex inside marriage only. And no kinky stuff. So, the first quote, of programming being changeable. I don’t have to live with the programming my parents gave me. It worked for them, but it does not have to be mine as well. If it doesn’t work for me, then I can change it to fit myself. The third quote goes along with that. It takes work to overcome social programming, to make myself into what I want to be. I cannot just assume I have all the skills and understanding to live the way I want to live. I have to learn and grow and create my life.

The second quote. Being whole. Society likes to push marriage and kids onto us. You aren’t a grown up, until you’re married. You aren’t fulfilling your purpose until you have kids. And on and on. Not everyone wants to be married, not everyone wants to have kids. There is nothing wrong with either of these things. You are a whole person, in and of yourself, without the need for a relationship or offspring to validate your existence.

The final quote, came from Wilhelm Reich’s speeches to young Communists in Germany in 1936. He was speaking against free expression and sexuality, because this would prevent an authoritarian government. I think it is a good point, though. Without social programming telling us that what we feel is wrong and dirty, we would be free to trust our own judgment, our own selves, about what was good and right for us, and what was wrong. That would certainly reduce our unnecessary guilt and self-recriminations.

So, on that note, let’s move on to Internal Struggles, a lot of which come from Social Programming. “Each person owns her own feelings. No one ‘makes’ me feel jealous, or insecure – the person who makes me feel that way is me.” “Knowing, loving and respecting yourself is an absolute prerequisite to knowing, loving and respecting someone else.” “You must speak truth, first to yourself, then to those around you.” “Shame, and beliefs we were taught that our bodies, desires and sex are dirty and wrong, make it very hard to develop a healthy self-esteem.” “Do remember: your sexiness is about how you feel, not how you look.” (pp. 65, 67, 67, 93, 94)

To live this life, I have had to look inside me, to consider myself and my truth a lot more than I ever did before. I have to take responsibility for myself, my feelings, and my actions, something that in today’s society it seems to be more popular to blame others for. Yes, things people say or do upset me, but it is me choosing to react that way. Me choosing to let it bother me. Me choosing whether to talk to them about it, or brood silently. My choice to let negativity fester or toss it out into the light to die. To be in control of my emotions and my reactions, I have to know myself, love myself and respect myself enough to look for the truth in myself. I have to figure out what’s really going on inside me, so I can share it with those that matter.

A wonderful side effect of this lifestyle I have chosen, has been a much better body image and self-esteem. I grew up hiding my body, wearing baggy shirts and jeans year round. Boys hardly every looked at me before college, and I never gave them a reason to. One day in high school, my mother must have been having a bad day, because she told me I was fat. I took this to mean she thought I was ugly and unattractive. Just one stray comment and I held onto it for years. I didn’t believe that I weighed too much, but unattractive, absolutely.

Then I started dating, but I was still hiding in my clothes. Boys were interested in me, some told me I was attractive. But I didn’t believe them. I started having sex and doing kinky things. Boys didn’t run screaming from my body. That seemed like a good thing. My dad once told me I should get sexy underwear so I’d feel better about myself. That was strange. Dated some more, here and there and around the world. Still hiding. Got married, continued to hide, though I got cuter clothes from hubby and his mom. Other men were still attracted to me. That was strange to me. Why would they look at me? Talk to me sure, I’m bright and fun, but look at me?

We swung a bit and then became poly. We joined a few groups, and started going to events. I got more and more compliments, and people appreciating my body, my energy, my sexiness. I was encouraged to wear cuter (and shorter) outfits. I gained confidence in not just my body, but myself. The community is full of so many people of different body types, and people are attracted to them all. People are attracted to skin, to body parts, to men, to women, to everything and everyone. I learned that you don’t have to be perfect, or a certain size, shape, or height. You just have to comfortable and happy in your own skin. If you feel sexy(and sometimes even when you don’t), you are sexy.

Next, let’s explore Poly. “We tend to like our lives complicated, with lots of stuff going on to keep us interested and engaged.” “Is there some virtue in being difficult?” “The human capacity for sex and love and intimacy is far greater than most people think.” “What rewards can you foresee that will compensate you for doing the hard work of learning to be secure in a world of shifting relationships?” “I don’t have to fulfill every single thing my partner needs or wants.” “Faithfulness is about honoring your commitments and respecting your friends and lovers.” “You don’t have to force anyone into a mold that doesn’t fit: all you have to do is enjoy how you do fit together, and let go of the rest.” (pp. 7, 29, 36, 59, 59, 63, 73)

I’ll start at the top. Complicated lives. I’ve always kept busy. Band, theater, gaming, volunteering, writing, working, studying. My love life was often complicated, even before I came out as poly. I spent time with multiple guys, or with guys who had girlfriends elsewhere, or with different guys in different countries. I flirted online a lot, with men, women and couples. The first time hubby proposed to me, he was already engaged to someone else. I love order and organizing, but my life has always been fairly complicated. It’s not that I’m easy, I have standards, but I agree with Dossie and Catherine, why be intentionally difficult?

Our capacity for love and intimacy is huge. We love family, friends, lovers, pets, people we see on TV, even characters in books or shows. All in different ways, perhaps, but that’s a lot of love, and we always have more for new people coming into our lives. Why should romantic love be different? If everyone is honest and respectful, then, to me, everyone is being faithful. I always did like the song from Kiss Me, Kate with the chorus “Always true to you baby, in my fashion. I’m always true to you baby, in my way.”

Then we get to the rewards for all this learning and growing into the people we want to be. And the remaining two quotes answer that one. In poly, thanks to poly, I don’t have to try and be everything, and do everything, and fit into a mold of the “perfect partner.” I can be me, and they can be themselves, and we find out what needs we can fulfill for each other, and enjoy those things together.

This leads right into Communication, the most important thing, for me, in poly. “Consent – an active collaboration for the benefit, well-being and pleasure of all persons concerned.” “They may be shy in the seductive stages, and bolder once welcome has been secured. Women tend to want explicit permission, and for each specific act.” “Talk clearly and listen effectively.” “Being able to ask for and receive reassurance and support is extremely important.” “It’s vital to be able to give reassurance and support.” “Lots of hugging, touching, verbal affection, sincere flattery.” “You need to know how and when to say no.” “The historical censorship of discussion about sex has left us with another disability: the act of talking about sex… has become difficult and embarrassing.” “What you can’t talk about, you can hardly think about.” “Most of us have been struck dumb by the scariest communication task of all – asking for what we want.” “If you are not free to say ‘no,’ you can’t really say ‘yes.’” “You have a right to your limits and it is totally okay to say no to [anything] you don’t like or are not comfortable with.” (pp. 21-2, 49, 61, 61, 62, 62, 63, 95, 95, 101, 103, 106)

Several different subcategories here. Staring with general communication – being able to speak clearly as well as listen. I have learned, over the last few years, that what one person says and the other person hears, are not always the same thing. I have learned the importance of restating what I think the other person is trying to communicate, so he can agree, or try another way of explaining.

Being able to communicate needs and wants (as well as knowing the difference), and being able to hear the same from my partners has been vital to our relationships. I still have trouble taking about sex out loud, and am sometimes embarrassed to write about it. But we work together, and talk together, and we open with each other and I am more and more able to talk about it. It’s still not perfect, nothing ever is. But I am learning and growing, and overcoming the embarrassment and shame of my social programming.

Being able to ask for and receive reassurance and support, in any number of ways, can be hard. Why should I have doubts and need reassurance after all this time? Well, because I’m human, and imperfect and the little devil on my shoulder, or the little voice in my head gets too loud sometimes, and I need help shouting him down. And it has been very important to me, that my partners have been there to give me that. Even if all I need is a hug, or the words I love you, to calm me down, and even more so, when I’ve wanted a flogging or tight rope bondage.

Then there is consent. I like their definition: “an active collaboration for the benefit, well-being and pleasure of all persons concerned.” We want to have fun, be safe and healthy and work together for these things. Consent is for everyone, tops, bottoms, masters, slaves, doms, subs, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends. It is not just one person consenting to the other, it is both(or more) people consenting to each other. And being able to say no, is just as important as being able to say yes. You have to be able to say no, or yes doesn’t mean anything. There’s consensual non-consent, and there are no-limit slaves, but in the end, if you cannot ultimately turn and walk away, then you are not really consenting to be there.

On to happier topics – Sex. “Sex is nice and pleasure is good for you.” “We have never met anyone who has low self-esteem at the moment of orgasm.” “The existence of her clitoris was proof positive that God loved her.” “Sex is whatever the people engaging in it think it is… if you… feel sexual… that’s sex, for you.” “Sex is a healthy force in our lives.” “We like to think that all sensual stimulation is sexual, from a shared emotion to a shared orgasm.” “When sex becomes goal-oriented, we may focus on what gets us to orgasm to the exclusion of enjoying all the nifty sensations that come before (and, for that matter, after).” “Sexually successful people masturbate.” (pp. 4, 19, 27, 39. 40, 92, 96, 98)

We live in a culture of double standards. Sex sells – well, everything. But we are taught to avoid it, that it’s dangerous, that it’s only for marriage, that touching ourselves is disgusting. We are taught to be embarrassed by sexuality. But sex is wonderful, and it’s not just about intercourse, or orgasms. Being a kinky person, there are so many different ways that I find sensual and sexual pleasure. Being poly, hubby and I have a very strict definition of what sex is, in regards to our rules about who we can “have” it with. But that is about intercourse and sexual//reproductive health. We give and receive sensual and sexual stimulation with a lot of different people, in a lot of different ways, including our own selves. Intercourse is great, orgasms are great, but they are not the end all and be all of our sexual lives. We like things complicated, remember? I really enjoy the sex-positive nature of this book and the confidence it reminds me to have about myself and my desires in a culture that tells me I am wrong and disgusting in so many ways. I love my life, and I am happy with who I am.

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The Power of a Name

May 6th, 2011

I’ve written about labels many times, but I have generally ignored names and titles between people. By that I mean, I ‘ve written about labeling oneself Dom or sub, but not about calling someone Master X or Slave Y. Last year, calling him Sir was a big thing, part of object space, part of the game. But I never really wrote about what using the word meant to me. Hubby is my Master, I call him that when we play, and he calls me slave or little one, but I’ve never written about that either. Words are very important to me. Names, they say, hold power. Labeling yourself something is one thing, being called that by someone else, another. We all know the power of our parent using our full name in anger, or our loved one using a pet name in joy. This week, there was a question about what I would be called on Monday nights, by toy and by him. And it sparked a lot of different thoughts in my brain. I’ll try to get them out onto this blog if I can.

A long time ago, in a country far away, I had a Daddy. But he was Daddy for nonsexual reasons, so I never called him Daddy in bed. I called him Sir. He called me a lot of things. Including a few I didn’t like. A few that upset me, made me feel like less of a human being. I did not tell him, I didn’t know how to tell him, I was afraid to tell him. So, I tried to ignore those words coming out of his mouth, but they still stung. Years later, the other used them, in the same types of situations. And I let him, and they didn’t hurt anymore. They reminded me of the time when they did, but the sting was no longer there. They were entertaining and useful and sexy when the other said them. Words can hurt, but it is all in how they are delivered and received.

My name is special to me. I like it, I like how it is spelled. I like that it came equally from both my parents. I do not use someone’s first name in casual conversation with that person. It feels strange to me, to do so. Using a first name, to me, puts significant impact into what I am saying. If I am talking to someone, they know I’m talking to them. I don’t need to say their name unless I am trying to get their attention or if I want to emphasize what I am saying. So, when someone already has my attention, and uses my name, what they are saying has more impact on me. I honestly don’t know if other people feel this way or not.

Then we come to how I refer to people I am playing with. Sir, to me, is the most natural title or name for a male I am submissive towards. It is what I call male customers at work, though I’ve had a few object to that (Don’t Sir me, I work for a living.) simply out of respect and not knowing their name. It is a term of respect, deeply ingrained in me. Last year we made it into a task I repeatedly failed at by requiring it in every sentence to him. I guess I wouldn’t do well in the military, but we already knew that. But even then, it was couched in terms of my respect for him.

We are returning to that now, with the contract. We will respectfully call him Sir. I find that when using Sir, I will say it far more often than I would have normally used his name. It holds my respect for him, but less of the power of his name. On which point, his name, during such times that we are calling him Sir, is a safeword. It does have power. The power to alter headspace. To denote something is wrong, and that we need him, not the Dominant he is being for us.

I call hubby Master, because that is what we chose to use. He likes that term and he is first in my life, above any other Dom or Top that may be part of my life. He is the one who takes care of me, day to day and the one I come home to. I am collared to him, married to him, and forever his. That is what calling him Master means to me.

I have never bottomed to a female and used any type of label or title. There are a few who I call by their chosen names: Domina or Mistress or Lady. But these are just like using their first names, not out of any sense of my respect for them, just an identifier of who they are.

Toy is the first bottom I’ve had a name for. It is her relationship to us, and a tool to help her stay in the headspace. It is a term that she enjoys hearing, and depending on inflection, can be very useful in getting a message across. I am still learning about what this means to her and to myself.

So, what about things people call me?

Toy calls me Miss. A counterpoint to Sir. But not all the way up to Mistress or Madame. I wasn’t comfortable with those. They felt too high, too strong. I’m just the little d, afterall. Miss, I like. It’s what we call young women. I am very young in this topping role, so I feel that it is still respectful, and it fits me.

Hubby calls me slave or little one. Slave is the counterpoint to Master. It is filled with all those same feelings of love, and care and forever. Little one, is a term of endearment that has been used by several men. I am not tiny, but I am rather small in comparison to a lot of my partners. Certainly, I’ve been shorter than all of them. It makes me feel protected and cared for.

Other names I have been called(again, not labels, but names): kajira, slut, whore. These last two being the names in question in paragraph two, and most often used by the other. Slut and whore were used sexually, to heighten a moment, for dirty talking or teasing. To push emotionally and mentally. Kajira was a term of endearment, around our mutual love and use of rope in our play and sex. It held all the sensations and attachment of rope at it’s core for us. I was not just a rope slut in those moments, but a slave to the rope. And it felt good.

So, full circle, then. To what sparked this post. What, if anything, did I want him to call me during Monday playtime? I am terrible at naming characters in stories. In my erotica, I tend to write without names. I did not want to use names used by hubby or by the other. He had only ever used my name last year. Names from other venues had their own attachments. Toy had a few suggestions, but none of them felt quite right for us. In the end, he decided that for now, he would just use my name. As we have always done. As I am learning to do with Toy, he is able to do well, put the meaning behind his voice that he wants there by tone and inflection.

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Communication, Emotion & Insecurity

January 6th, 2011

I am woman, hear me roar?

So many things in that one little phrase and the way I typed it. I am woman – identity. Hear me – communication. Roar – emotions. Question mark – insecurity. I am secure in my identity, especially as a woman, but it is those other three things that trip me up. On a fairly consistent basis.

I am a writer, I communicate well through the written word. But that is almost always an impractical form of communication in the real world. I cannot write things down for my day job. I cannot sit with a notebook with my friends. I cannot use a whiteboard when I am talking to my loved ones. But, as I have posted over and over again on this blog, communication is of Utmost importance. In life, in poly and in kink. And in most of these cases, it needs be Verbal Communication.

Here is where the other two things come into play for me. Emotion and insecurity.

I am an emotional person and I am not entirely at peace with that. I cry when I’m upset or angry, and I am certainly not at peace with that. I have been working on both of these things. Accepting my emotional reactions, and letting them manifest through tears. I started to type there “when necessary” or “when appropriate,” but that is the trouble. I try to judge my emotions and bottle them if I think them too much. Now, it is a given that crying makes it harder for me to verbalize, and that is another reason I try to stifle it. However, that does nothing for communication. My emotional reaction, my tears, are part of communication. If I am upset, stifling the tears only stifles the communication of my reaction. If I hold it back, bottle it, and do not react, I am not honestly communicating how I feel.

This leads into insecurity. Sometimes, I feel like I am overreacting, or that my reactions are wrong. I let myself feel like my reactions, wants or even needs are not as important or are inappropriate and therefore do not deserve being communicated. I worry that my words won’t come out right and won’t communicate what I really mean or am thinking. I worry that I’ll say the wrong thing and offend someone. This also leads to me not asking questions when I am not clear. I feel like I should be clear, or I should work it out myself, or I’ll upset them by questioning them because I should understand what they said. It’s a vicious cycle that needs breaking.

So, where does this put me?

Thanks to a conversation with him this week, I was at a breaking point. This time, however, it’s a breaking point where I have found the leverage for positive change. This time, I’m taking the peak emotions and using them to move forward instead of curling in on myself. Through meditation, writing and discussion with him. I am able to see these problems more clearly than ever before and create a path to growth.

One, I need to ask questions. I need to trust that people do allow for my crazy. And if I need it to get the question out, I can always say, hey, this sounds crazy, but… because sounding crazy in the moment, and getting it solved, even if it is hard, is far better than holding onto it. Because that can lead to assumptions and false stories that only eat away at me.

Two, I need to allow myself to react. I need to not judge my reactions because that only leads to bottling and unclear communication. Tears are not bad, they simply are a reaction. Obviously, if I’m crying, then something needs to be talked about. Not allowing that reaction out simply allows the problem to continue, perhaps unnoticed.

So, let’s try that first sentence again, with feeling, confidence and sincerity.

I am woman, hear me roar!

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Putting Humpty Together Again

December 9th, 2010

I had a stray thought today, of putting all my writings, emails and musings from the past three months into a book and titling it Broken. That is not to say that things are fixed, but just my way of saying that I now can see a path forward. We broke things back at the end of August, the big risk we took, came to a screeching halt and disastrous end. I broke, trust broke, our dynamic and mode of play broke. Our relationship suffered and stuttered, but we held on to each other to keep that from breaking, too. It took us more than three weeks to figure out what caused the break. I spent the next month focused on healing from that break and the realizations we came to. I then spent the last month trying to find the path again. Setting goals, making small steps, offering service, trying to find common ground, trying to get back to where we were, or where we could be again. But, while some of it worked, a lot of it was just not connecting. So, I realized that while I thought I knew where he was and what it all had meant to him, I was apparently missing something in translation. We are all occasionally guilty of projecting our understanding of events on other people, and it occurred to me that I needed to sit down and talk to him and get things clear.

The first talk was last Thursday, for an hour. The second talk was Monday, also for approximately an hour. The third talk was Wednesday, starting at three in the afternoon and lasting for over four hours, then picking up again for a bit on the drive home late that night.

The first conversation got some things out in the open, but in a way that I did not fully understand. I left that conversation confused and hurt, but trying to process both those feelings on my own. I came to the conversation with one question – can we be the way we were before? The answer I heard was no. But I was unable to understand the reasons, I was unable to ask appropriate follow up questions, I was unable to let go and react to that answer, so that the conversation could keep moving forward. I heard a request for more time and more space, and so I walked away from that conversation too early.

I reacted privately, or as I would later put it, I overreacted privately and between violent movies with Hubby later that night. I cried and I had thoughts of him never wanting to ever play with me again. I had thoughts of no physical affection. And I knew these were wrong. I knew he had not said any of those things. We had both said how important our relationship was, and keeping that going was. But I was in emotional overreaction mode, and logic was waiting for me to finish and come back.

So, I let it sit. I did not have opportunity to talk with him on Friday. On Saturday, we were at the club, and we try to keep relationship conversations away from that public eye, or more specifically, those public ears. The night was slow, and a lot of our usual crowd was attending other events. He poked me and pinched, and made me squeak and squeal for a few minutes between electric scenes, and I felt a lot better. I had physical proof that I had overreacted on Thursday night.

On Monday evening, we spent the night in the kitchen. I watched him make beef stew from scratch. We talked about other partners, and ex partners, and work and crew and everything but our relationship and Thursday’s conversation for most of the night. He was waiting for me to bring it up, he was waiting for me to react. I was trying to give him space and time, trying to have a quiet evening where I did not add stress or pressure. Again, I was going at it the wrong way.

He finally brought it up, because he had concerns and questions he wanted answered, and he was, rightfully, afraid I was not going to say a word. He told me he was concerned that I had not reacted to the conversation. I told him I had reacted, but not in front of him. I explained that I had overreacted, and what thoughts had crossed my mind and that I knew they were overreactions. I explained that Saturday’s poking helped solidify that they were overreactions. I explained that I was giving him space. He pointed out that I misunderstood and not talking about things was not what he wanted. It never is.

His biggest concern, beyond worrying that I was bottling and not reacting, was around an inequality in our relationship. I was still serving him, providing service in a number of ways, but he was not giving me the usual exchange in return. He was deeply concerned that this would change my service to him, or that I would become jaded in my service, if I was not getting the things I wanted in return. I took a few moments to seriously consider this, think about my service to him and what it means to me at this point in our relationship. The more I thought about it, internally and out loud, the more I realized that it was not about that anymore. My service began out of a desire to thank him for scenes, putting the rope away after was the very first service I offered him. It continued as a way to show my gratitude for all that he gave to me. Now, I serve him because it makes us both happy that I do so. I serve him and take care of him because I like doing so, because I love him, and because he does take care of me in so many different ways that have nothing to do with kinky interactions.

We occasionally dipped our toes into other topics during that discussion, but kept returning to the above topic. Then his wife got home and our conversation was ended as the stew was served. It smelled delicious, and the little test bites I had were wonderful. But our evening was at an end, our conversation incomplete.

Tuesday morning, I chatted with Hubby about the conversation of the previous night, and he expressed concerns that I had not fully shared my reaction (my tears) with him. Hubby and I got clear about what was discussed and that more discussion was desired.

When he asked for my reactions to Monday’s conversation, I was in a hurry and tried to quickly summarize my gratitude for his concern the night before, and Hubby’s concern that I did not tell him of my tears. I did not communicate clearly enough, and our busy days distracted us both, so we left that conversation quickly, unable to find clarity at that moment.

Wednesday afternoon, I went to him, to speak in person and clarify Hubby’s upset and my reactions. I went step by step through my reactions, from Thursday night up through our ill-timed chat on Tuesday. I was reminded that while I am responsible for my emotions and my reactions, he cannot help me deal with them if I don’t tell him about them. And he wants to help me deal with them, and he wants to help me understand and not be confused, that is the only way we can move forward. He did not ask his girlfriend to back off, it was the kinky part that needed space.

Once that was settled, we moved on to my specific reactions, and confusions and misunderstandings. I told him things I had heard and not understood. I heard a suggestion that my offer of returning the paragraphs was a day too late to be accepted. He truly had only meant that it was ironic that I had made the offer a day after he realized he had been waiting for it for six months to no avail.

I heard him say he would think about suspending me privately, but not publicly. I reacted with hurt and confusion and tears. And this turned out to be a very important point in the discussion. This was the best illustration for me, that actually allowed me to hear and understand where we stood. This turned into a conversation about how deeply things had broken and how shattered the trust was. He was able to explain to me in a way that I could understand, that the trust that was broken by our object play, had been based on the trust we had created in the high flying suspensions, which had been based on the trust built by the static, simple suspensions that began our play together. With the shattering of that trust, it needed to be built back up again, and so, logically, a path to do that would be to return to the beginning. I had made offers of varying degrees, but all of them were too much, to far forward. What we need to do is return all the way to the beginning, and build trust anew. I have often reminisced about those quiet, simple, spaced-out suspensions. Flying is awesome, in every sense of the word, but my favorite memory is still a quiet dark night in his basement, hanging with him nearby. Looking at a simple ceiling suspension point, I feel the quiet pull of floating, bound securely and so free.

Our relationship is very different now than it was when we first started. In both senses of that word. When he started suspending me, I was new. new to the community, new to him, new to rope and new to suspension. When we started object play, we had just started dating, we had just started figuring things out as more than play partners. Everything was fresh and exciting and worth the risk. We knew there were risks to our play. RACK and all that. We acknowledged that this was play too risky for our primary relationships. We knew it could destroy our newly formed partnership. But we were willing to take that risk. We went running in with all the energy that NRE entails. And we had a good run, we explored and pushed and played. Then we crashed and burned. Fortunately, we had been together long enough at that point that we were able to cling to each other in the wreckage and not lose the romantic relationship we had created.

Now, as we look at starting over and rebuilding trust, we glance at the future, at where we might go. And we look at the past and where we have been. That kind of risk, that kind of danger, may no longer be palatable. We are deeply invested in each other now, in staying together and protecting each other and what we have created. We go forward from here, much more cautious about the risks we might take. Much more thoughtful about the dangers and rewards of anything we might do.

The conversation then turned to a touchy point. Is there a risk that I could go elsewhere for the type of play he no longer offered me? The thought had crossed both our minds, with varying reactions. I do not play out much at all. I don’t go to play parties and find random hookups. I don’t make play dates with people outside my relationships. And I am not looking to add another partner. I like the number two. Three was lovely while it lasted, but two is what feels right to me when I think about the future. He pointed out that when you’re not looking is usually when it finds you, but there is no use worrying about what might happen. I am not looking to go have my needs met elsewhere, and as I don’t intend to let him go, we have plenty of time to see where we can go and what needs and wants and desires we can meet.

The end of our conversations wandered around to him poking me to keep talking, seeing as how I was being so open and honest and it was going so well. I hit on the topic of labels. In my musings since Monday, I had considered recasting his concern in the terms of I was still submissive to him, but he was not returning dominance towards me. My brain, in that light, then wandered over to the label In Service To. I shared this with him last night and he grabbed it quickly. Asking if that was something that was important to me, because that was something we could address.

I considered it for most of the rest of the night and some more this morning, both out loud and to myself. Back when we first established our relationship, labeling what we were was important. I wanted to be publicly acknowledged as his girlfriend and his submissive. My other partners had already identified me as his submissive, but I wanted him to say so, too. That leads to the other point. Certainty. Knowing my role, being able to say what I am to him, how we both agree that we view the relationship and connection. There is another aspect to the label as well. Being his. I wrote in one of my last five hundred word emails, that I while I was still acting submissive to him, I was not feeling like His Submissive. There is something special about that feeling, of belonging. Not that I want him to own me, Hubby owns me, heart and soul. But the acknowledgment that my submission, or my service is for him, special to him and to us. I know that this is important to me, because while I was writing it, all the doubts and self-conscious thoughts of last night were silent in the face of writing how I really feel.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, may not have been able to put Humpty together again. But they were impatient and not vested enough in Humpty to put forth the effort to find that one big piece to form the base from which he could be rebuilt with time, love and care. Love is not all you need, but it is a good base to start from, and stronger than hundred mile an hour tape.

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