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.
September 16th, 2010
I am a geek. He looked at me and asked if I get upset when my D&D character does something wrong or bad. I said of course not. He asked what is the difference? I said that was a character, a game. He pointed out that being object is just a role I choose to play, and a lightning bolt hit me in the head.
Are you submissive? Yes. Are you an object? No.
The second should not have been a hard question, nor should it have had so many wide ranging implications, but it was and therefore it did. No, I did not think I was an object, but yes, I was trying to be one. Trying really damn hard to be one, and be a perfect one, without the error and failure that is inherent to being human. We knew I have a perfectionist streak. What we did not know, is that I had gotten lost in the intoxication of the fantasy, and had forgotten that object was a role, not a goal. I enjoy thinking for myself, making my own decisions, being a smart ass, loving, living, playing and serving. Object is one way to play and serve, but it is far too limited a role to wear all the time. I am so much more than that.
What problems was this causing?
Because I was not keeping the line drawn between fantasy and reality, I was not divorcing object’s actions from self. I was carrying baggage from our scenes back into my day to day life. I was carrying guilt and blame from play into reality. Instead of using our transition ritual in the way it was intended, to shed the trappings of object, I was gathering it all up to pile on self. Self gave way under the pressure a few weeks ago, and we had been scrambling to figure out what had caused it ever since.
Viewing object as a part of self instead of as a role to put on also led to problems with the transition into object space, as well. I had trouble identifying the boundaries between submissive and object. I had trouble communicating when I was going from one to the other. I thought of object as a deeper part of my submission, so one night, even though I felt objectified, I did not identify that as a need to begin object space.
Another problem was keeping my focus in object space. If we were in public, I would give him priority, but I was also still interacting with other people fairly normally. When I would turn to address him, I would not always have my object role firmly in mind, nor his as owner. I would drop Sir, or be thinking of him as boyfriend. This loss of focus and loss of role had the potential to cause hurt to us both.
What are solutions to these problems?
One solution to the problem of leaving object’s baggage with object, is in properly using the transitional ritual he had me create. Looking back at my post about the creation of the ritual, I was more focused on limiting drop from our scene. Limiting its effects on my other partners. He spoke of relieving girlfriend of any lingering guilt for object’s actions, but I don’t think I really understood that as well as I do now. The ritual I created worked for my needs then and it covers current needs as well. The gratitude not only serves to simply be grateful for what he gave to me in the scene, but can also serve to acknowledge it as just that, a scene. Service, which often was discussing the scene to help us both process, was intended to give me time to deal with the emotions and reactions to the scene in the immediate, so I did not carry them with me back out into the world. Connection, to reconnect with him as girlfriend and finish the transition out of the role of object, back to the reality of self.
The solution to the second problem is self awareness. Staying aware of my self even while transitioning. Being very aware of what it feels like and being able to communicate that clearly. I need to keep in mind that not only do I need to take on the role of object, but at the very same time, he needs to take on the role of owner. He can only do that if I clearly communicate with him. Owner/object does not work if both roles are not fully taken at the same time. We created verbal tools to do this, my saying Sir, and his confirming with me, or his asking the trigger question of Aren’t you under dressed? and my confirming with a Yes, Sir. If he is pushing me mentally or physically towards object space, it is up to me to let him know when I arrive. He cannot know my mind, and so I must. I must be aware and clear and able to communicate with him, before, during and after a scene.
Solving the third problem is something I have had a constant struggle with over the last seven months. I had it tackled for a while, having problems only with volume and clear speaking as opposed to staying in state. I think this is part of the same need for awareness, but in this case, not just awareness for myself, but for him as well. I have a responsibility to maintain my role as well as keeping his in mind. This is not a part I can equate to gaming, we rarely stay in character at the table, and I’ve had very little experience with LARP, but theater on the other hand works. I was in a lot of plays as a teenager, and while I never had a big part, it was always important to stay in character on stage, no matter what you were doing. You don’t address your fellow actors as your friends, but only as the character they are currently playing. Sir is the verbal tool here as well, a reminder of role in every sentence I speak. A requirement of the character I have chosen to play.
These are not the only problems, nor the only solutions, but they are a place to start.
September 2nd, 2010
Everyone says communication is they key. I have talked about it being one of the most important things in poly. He and I have discussed how important it is to maintaining and protecting our relationship. In scene and out of scene, communication is the avenue to safety for all involved. Communication is what keeps people together. So, when communication fails, things fall apart.
I fell apart recently, and I took communication down with me. Clarity followed pretty close behind with self-worth tagging along for the ride. At so many points during this fall, communication could have kept me from hitting bottom, but I was so wrapped up that I did not catch the offered hands, or reach out for the sides of the hole. When I hit bottom, I started trying to climb back out on my own, trying to find my way back up, but I just ran circles in the dark for a while, reinforcing doubt and confusion to the point where I just gave up and sat down.
He tossed me a torch, like he has so often done, and I picked it up and looked around, but still could not find my way. So he tossed down a few more, the hole was now well lit and getting very hot, but I could finally see more clearly. I looked up and saw him waiting for me about half way down, I had pulled him down with me and we have quite a climb to get back to the top. So, I picked up a torch and started climbing. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time, to get back to him and get back out of this hole together.
That is a lot of words without saying anything very clearly, but it’s an illustration of how I have felt these last two weeks. I’m a writer, I get a little flowery at times. I am not ready to put details here, and while they are important to him and myself, they are not the point of this post.
Clear communication is. It took me quite a while to get clear with myself so I could be clear with him. The first weekend I appeared to be clear with myself, but I was still reacting blindly and from a place of broken confusion. I sounded rational and clear to some people, and while some of the things I was saying were true and in need of addressing, by the time I got to him, I was still not in a place to be truly clear. This caused the damage of miscommunication to multiply.
It took another week, two more conversations and two very long writing sessions and some reading, for me to finally be fully open and clear with myself, to find the truth in my actions and my heart. So that now I can start clearly communicating with him again.
Over the last six months, I have worked on communicating with him more verbally and less through written word. I often would write him emails about scenes or to answer questions I felt I had not fully answered. We chat online almost every weekday. However, talking, face to face, makes for much better communication, much clearer reading of meaning, intention and tone.
He is a public speaker, a leader. He is used to thinking and speaking on his feet. He often asks me to think out loud and expresses frustration when I fall silent. I am not a social person, I write and am afraid of public speaking. I form my thoughts and words more slowly. But I have been trying, for him, to be more communicative. I have been trying to learn let myself ramble even if the thoughts aren’t fully formed. It is unnatural for me, and I am not good at it, yet. I still fall silent quite often, I stare at the floor or the ceiling or the wall, or just off to the right, trying to compose in my mind, gather my thoughts before speaking. He occasionally asks if he needs to get me paper and let me write so I can talk to him, trying to tease me into speaking, and it sometimes works, and sometimes hurts because I am truly trying to speak.
In trying to be more verbal, however, I have left myself lacking. He found it odd when I was talking to myself the other day and generally I don’t do that out loud, unless I’m scolding a joint for hurting, but that’s what my writing is. I get more clarity for myself by writing. I am more honest with myself with a pen in my hand, or a keyboard at my fingertips, than if I just sit with my thoughts. I have been making less time for writing lately, and I have suffered for it. So, in my plan to create better and more clear communication with him, I have included writing, so that I will be more clear with myself as well. More writing about my other relationships probably wouldn’t hurt either. All the better to have good communication and healthy relationships.
So, my dear readers, what methods of communication do you find work best for you?
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.
April 22nd, 2010
Failure of perfection. Perfection of failure. Fail again. Fail better. Make mistakes with confidence. Reach for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.
I grew up with the expectation of perfection. All A’s in school or there better be a good reason. High test scores, do well in academic competitions. Best behavior, don’t cause trouble. Be polite and kind to everyone. Do everything to the best of your ability.
So, what happens when failure is the expectation? When the object is to push and push until you fail? When failure is the road to growth? How do I reconcile this with my ingrained desire for perfection? Which, when it comes down to it, has become a fear of failure.
Well, it’s just one more fear to overcome, then, isn’t it? What am I truly afraid of? What does failure mean? Why is it scary? Failure equates to loss, for me. Loss of face, loss of respect, loss of pride, loss of love, loss of approval. I need to rewrite this equation. Failure is the road to success. Failure is the path to learning and growth. Great things have been accomplished in the history of man through even greater failures. If I allow myself to be paralyzed by the fear of failure, I will never even try. I will never grow. I will never know what I could accomplish.
I have allowed my fear to stop me these past two weeks. I have let uncertainty and hesitation keep me from growing. I have given fear the control instead of giving it to him. I have failed to try. To top it all off, I even failed to see what was happening and to communicate it to him. Fortunately, he saw it, and he did not fail me. He turned on the light and shined it in my eyes until I could see, and kept it there until I could understand and accept and admit it.
Now I take the next step. Eyes wide open, I accept failure. I will walk out on the wire and not look down for the net. If I slip and fall, I’ll make a beautiful dive on the way down. I will, as always, do my best, but I will not let fear hold me back. I will accept the risks, enjoy both failure and success, and learn from them, too. There are things I want to do, places I want to go, experiences I want to taste, fears to overcome, limits to break.
I am so lucky and grateful to have people around me who accept me for who I am, for what I can and cannot do(this list gets smaller every day), and who push me to be better than I ever thought possible. Who, when I fall down, reach out a hand and help me back to my feet. Who believe in me, even when I am at my worst and who rejoice with me when I am at my best.
December 2nd, 2009
Some months ago, I wanted to cry and I was ashamed of that desire. Not just cry, I wanted to be Made to cry. I wanted to be pushed so hard that tears came bursting forth in and uncontrollable fury. But I was afraid. I was afraid that this was a ridiculous desire. That it was childish to want to cry for no particular reason. That wanting the release and cleansing of flowing tears was simply weakness. I was afraid that it would change things, too, with whoever made me cry. I had never gone there before and it looked terribly dark. I did not want that unknowable change in my marriage, and that was a difficult decision and a difficult discussion. My lover, more experienced than either myself or my husband, became the giver of those tears. It was the release I needed at the time, and nothing was changed or broken in the giving.
Since then, my edges and the darkness have been moved and pushed and shoved. Tears are no longer shameful to me, but they still have a specific place in my play. There is still darkness when I think of bringing them into my home. The tenderness and love between my husband and myself seems incompatible to a tearful scene.
My lover, more often than not, gets the tears through fear these days. Threats of freshly remembered intense pain or of heightening the current level of pain can drive me over the edge. (Nipple clamps of various varieties are usually present in these threats.) Tearfully begging for mercy or for the pain to stop. Sometimes he grants it, and sometimes not, driving me further into tears or into complete surrender where the tears stop and soft stillness comes.
My other partner has only brought out tears twice. Both were corporal scenes, but they had a heavy mental elements that had more to do with the tearful response. In both situations, expectations were set, and tears came when I failed to meet those expectations. The pain levels were high, but it was the mental game that was more costly.
In the first, I was given a task, an object that was not to be dropped. It fell twice and tears fell swiftly behind it, but were gone again when he gave me another chance after a few choice strikes for the drop. It was an incredibly intense scene, the tears just one more spice in the delicious flavor.
The second, was a flogging scene set to music, and the final song came on, and he said he would flog the whole song at the same tempo and strength. I soon began to falter under the heavy strikes, and tears welled up as I thought I would not make the entire song. As I fell down and stood back up several times, his strikes never missed. Tears were flowing freely as I fell the final time, turning slightly towards him, but my back still raised to accept his strikes. He stopped then, accepting my surrender and my tears. His acceptance washed away my tearful disappointment in myself, and I smiled when he said I would do better next time.