September 6th, 2012
Last night was a new experience for me. One, I’d been expecting to have at some point in the last couple years, but it took a class for it to happen. Yes, my first waxing for hair removal experience happened with an audience. I generally trim my pubic hair, but shy from shaving it due to a tendency for infected in-grown hairs. Waxing, I was told, should be safer on this front. We shall see. The cosmetologist, licensed, but no longer professional (she both no longer gets paid to do it, and also enjoys it way too much), spoke to the class about proper procedure, cleanliness, ways to reduce the pain (most of which she didn’t do, as the class was called waxing for sadists), and proper techniques, as she applied and ripped the wax(and hair) off.
It was an odd experience, to say the least. Not excruciatingly painful, though a few of the strips reached a 7 or so on my pain scale. But the pain was fleeting, gone almost as quickly as it came. The harder ones were when the wax or hair didn’t come and she had to do the same spot repeatedly in quick succession. The first few strips had me arching off the table, until I got accustomed to the ripping. Some of the lower strips had me cursing (or propositioning, depending on your view) my friend, and eventually she asked me to stop screaming so one of the audience didn’t have to keep plugging his ears. The poor dear. Looking down at what she was doing was also a strange sensation. The first few times, expecting to see red, angry skin, I saw only smooth whiteness. Apparently my skin objected less than the hair follicles and the associated nerves. When she finished, it was the first time since puberty that I’ve been hairless, another unusual sight for me, and hubby. Several asked how I was doing, I was fine by then, but told them to ask me after COPE if it was worth it.
There has also been some preparation for COPE on the relationship side of things. He, the engineer and I had a group chat just the other day, to talk about expectations for our first major kink event together as a group, and their first time at COPE at all. It was a very good, and very long discussion, ranging from play, to protocols, to packing. We talked about scening together both publicly and privately. There was discussion of what “reasonable use” of Sir meant to each of us. We talked about appropriate behavior and communication, including bringing cloaks in case we are roomed on the vanilla side of the hotel. And we talked about having protocols that were natural and easily met. This weekend isn’t about trying to trip us up, but rather, about having a time to be together, play together and to take care of each other. I am very much looking forward to spending a weekend in his service.
And then I get to the clothes part of the packing. What to wear, what to wear. So many choices, and changes to be considered. Sleeping without Pjs has been decided upon, so I can at least not worry about that set of clothes. But let me ramble on the sets I think I might need: opening ceremony outfit, after play outfit, Saturday classes outfit, leave the hotel to eat lunch/dinner outfit, closing ceremony outfit, after play outfit, Sunday go home clothes. One might wonder why an after play outfit. Well, it depends on the ceremony outfit, but one of them will certainly be my new corset, and after a heavy scene, I just don’t see it going back on. So, what about just walking around nude after? Well, if it’s what he wants, that’s fine with me, but he tends to like outfits a little bit more.
So, I’ve got one outfit decided upon, probably the opening ceremony – make a good first impression, without having to wear a brand new corset for too long. I was thinking of bringing my saris for easy, toss and tie it on. Those might work really well for after play outfits. Easy on, easy off. I should really run them through the wash and hang them up so they aren’t so creased from being folded for years. Saturday class time? It’s always so cold in the hotel, but warm clothes aren’t generally conducive to practicing new rope work, and I do imagine most of our class time will be rope. My SAM tank top and a long sleeve jean shirt for easy cover up of arms or legs? If I wear that tank top, I’ll have to wear the “apology skirt” with it. Sunday and go out for dinner are the easiest, just a skirt and cute t-shirts. But what about that second ceremony/make an impression outfit? (I don’t think I’ve ever put this much thought into the clothes I wear to COPE.) I’ve got a lot of fun things these days, and less opportunity to wear them. I’ll have to put some more thought into this last choice. At least these days, I have appropriate footwear. The girls always used to tease me about going about in sexy dresses while barefoot, even at the start of the night. Some day I’ll have to dig my old prom dress out, and have it cut off me. If my high school peers could see me now…
A week and a day until COPE, so excited!!!
August 18th, 2011
It has been a week. No, I’m not going to talk about details, but if you want to see reactions, take a look at my writing on Fetlife. Suffice it to say, I have a lot on my mind. Several of those things are fit to print. So there will be at least two, if not three posts made today, should time and brain power allow. The first will be the easiest and most amusing.
At the end of last year, I posted about Negotiation. I detailed a negotiation that really started our relationship with toy, and a scene that came out of it. Many months have passed, much life has happened, but we have never lost sight of that scene. Focus, yes, a few times. But that’s to be expected. The original agreed upon date came and went, due to out of state commitments. And things just kept not lining up, not to mention toy never could pin him down or negotiate a new time and place, due to a lot of factors.
However, a few weeks ago, he asked if we were ready. To perform and serve him this month. We agreed that a given Saturday was good for us all, and started practicing the song and dance again. Shortly thereafter, he poked toy about how much better this Friday would be than Saturday, given the venue and availability of our partner in crime and myself. So, it got changed to Friday. Tomorrow.
We’re ready. The night will be awesome, amazing and hilariously fun. I’m just a bit full of stage fright for the performance. I hope I keep breathing and don’t pass out. I think the dance will help with that part. Keep me moving and force me to breathe. And hey, he’ll be smiling, grinning and probably cackling with laughter. So will everyone else, I imagine. So it’ll be alright. Really, it will.
And of course, I’ll be making an after action post at some point, to share with you all, the highs and lows, the amusement, embarrassment, creativity, service, love, fun and torment of the evening. I can’t promise it this weekend, but next week at least. It is going to be Epic.
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.
February 17th, 2011
My Four Mistakes
1. I did not wear a skirt when I went over to his house last Tuesday. In fact, I wore jeans. Excuses, excuses, excuses. I did not wear a skirt, as I had agreed to do, and failing a skirt, shorts, in his presence. This was a promise I made to him, quite a long time ago. And this was the second time I had broken that promise. Both times, I had excuses and distractions, but that does not change the facts. He asked me to wear skirts or shorts so that he could have easier access to things he might want. I agreed to wear skirts and shorts for him, to always be available for that access. It became a sign of my submission to him. Being ready and available to please him at any time. To forget, no matter what the reason, to not be aware enough of myself and my promise, is unacceptable. It is disrespectful of our bond and my gift of submission to him.
To correct this mistake and keep it from happening in future, I have chosen a skirt to keep in the car at all times. It is shorter than my usual skirts, but still appropriate for wear around other people and in vanilla settings. It is a skirt I don’t mind wearing, but it is not my preferred skirt, so it will allow me to keep my promise, and remind me to be fully conscious of my choice of clothing.
2. I did not text him when I got home last Thursday. More excuses that do not matter. I know it is the rule, and it has a very solid basis in history, both his own personal history, and in our personal history. He wants to know I have gotten home safely, and I have agreed to let him know that. There are even nights when I haven’t been with him that I text to let him know I’ve gotten home safely so he does not worry. I often ask others to do the same and have recently started teaching our Toy this habit as well. I often get on Hubby’s case to let me know where he is at and I understand the worry, though not with the keenness his past has sharpened it to. Driving anywhere is always taking a risk that something might happen along the way.
To correct this mistake and keep it from happening in future, I will let go of the various things that caused excuses in my brain. Daylight or early evening is not an exception. Not playing is not an exception. Whenever I leave his presence, I will let him know when I have arrived at my destination, regardless of situation, time or place.
3. I did not follow a direct order. He told me to take off her pants and I hesitated and hemmed and hawed and used her as an excuse. He even said I was getting in trouble the more I hesitated, and I did not act. He told her I was getting in trouble, and I was still negotiating the order with her. Eventually, when a solution seemed to be reached, I did take her away and get her changed out of her pants, but I still did not take them off myself. I was acting as a buffer to her comfort levels, instead of doing as I was told.
To correct this mistake and keep it from happening in future, I will remember that she is responsible for herself, and while it is our agreement to protect her, I am also to do as I am told. She has full capability to take care of herself and stand up for herself, I must allow her to do so and not do it for her.
4. I took the cuffs off her without permission. No excuses, no demurring, I did not have permission to remove the cuffs he instructed me to put on her only minutes before. He had, in effect, put them in place, and I removed them. Putting them back on correctly makes no never mind, I took them off without asking. He bound her and I undid that. She is our toy, but the bondage, in that instance, was to him.
To correct this mistake and keep it from happening in future, I will be more aware of what I am doing for myself, for us, and what I am doing on his behalf. I will be more aware of the bonds of bondage and respectful of undoing them. I will be mindful of asking to undo things he has done, or asking to stop doing something he has begun.
Punishment and Service
I speak above about how I am going to avoid making these mistakes in future. But that is for me, that is my process. For him, I must not only correct my behavior, but also make up for these mistakes. It sets my mind running, thinking of what to offer him for these infractions. I have warring feelings of guilt and a desire to please. I know he likes to receive service, but I feel a selfish want to be punished. There are also complications of health, situation and timing, and our new toy to consider. I also do enjoy the punishment fitting the crime.
It took me a while to break the cycle of feeling pain must be involved or offered. It took him being blunt and throwing it in my face for me to realize that I had to stop. Sometimes punishments include pain, but in this case, it was not on the table. My masochism was not to be fed, my guilt was not to be relieved through physical catharsis. To truly make up for my mistakes, I need to be selfless and offer service to him, not ask him to do something for me.
I also got spun around on writing as penance. I would write about my mistakes and read it aloud to remind myself not to repeat them again. But this is hardly punishment for a writer, this is what I do. And it doesn’t really work all that well, as may be evidenced by my repeated attempts last year to stop making the same mistakes over and over again. Writing, as he pointed out, is good for reflection, but does not punish or correct mistakes. It does help me to make plans though, and that is good, but not what I need to offer to him.
And so I began again, for a third time, to think of service to offer him. To think of things he would like, that I could do for him, that would match up to the mistakes I made. Things I could do with Toy’s assistance, as well, because two of them involved her, and perhaps it would help her, as well as entertain him. Things that would not interrupt our evenings, but enhance them.
We are still negotiating the final details, but I have found my path again, with his guidance.
January 13th, 2011
Ten pm on Thursday night. I’m going to a con this weekend, to relax, teach and drink with a good number of my chosen family. It is not a kinky convention, but there will be kinky classes. We are teaching electric(violet wands), flogging and rope this weekend. Short and fun classes, designed to introduce the topics and entertain the audience before we invite them to play with us. After play both nights, there will be drinking for those of us who choose to, and the pointing and laughing by the ones that don’t. A chance to let go and not be responsible for a little while. While we generally work with a drinking audience, it is rare that we get the opportunity to put the toys down and drink ourselves. This is one of those weekends. My post today isn’t going to go very deep, and will probably be very rambling, because I am tired from a day of running around and distracted by thoughts of the upcoming weekend.
So, what is on my mind? Poly, negotiations, lying, learning and secrets. An interesting list, let’s see where it takes me.
Poly. This weekend, during the convention, I will be spending time with both my husband and my boyfriend. My husband will be spending time with me and his two girlfriends. My boyfriend will be spending time with me and his wife. Floating around all of us are friends, play partners, flirts, exes and all the various other distractions, not to mention new people that may grab our attention. All of us with different attachments and dynamics, needs and wants. It is supposed to be a relaxing weekend, and I have all intentions of staying drama free, even if it requires copious amounts of jet fuel.
Negotiations. I made a post about negotiating a few weeks ago. It is something that has been an ongoing lesson for myself and others in my circle lately. Remembering the details, always. Keeping in mind that you can say no. Knowing when to back down, or wait it out, or when to push for what you want. It’s a careful balance to keep playing the game.
Lying and Learning. Interesting discussions lately around telling the truth and accepting consequences. I’ve said a few times lately that I only lie to my family these days. That may not be the entire truth. I probably still lie to myself as well. It is something to be aware of and try to recognize and correct within myself. I cannot be fully honest with others unless I am fully honest with myself. It goes hand in hand with remembering that things I want to talk about are important, too, because sometimes I tell myself that if must not really be important if I don’t remember to bring it up.
Secrets. The world is full of secrets. From national and international secrets, to diary combinations. It is important to remember that sometimes, keeping a secret can do more harm than good. If something is wrong and no one is talking about it, then the problem cannot be solved. Secrets can sometimes protect, but they can also sometimes cause harm, or allow harm to continue. Be careful what you keep locked away.
The weekend looks bright ahead of me, I’ll try to have a better post next week. Just some thoughts to consider for now, in between the meme posts. Coming soon: Bootblacking, Interrogation, Abuse and Family.
December 30th, 2010
These last few weeks have provided many lessons in Negotiation. First as an observer and then as an active participant. I watched several new people learn their first lessons in trying to fence with him, and in trying to assist one of them, became part of the scene. Bear with me and I’ll tell you all about what I ended up agreeing to do. So, what have I learned?
No wishing for more wishes. This seems simple enough, most of us remember Robin Williams’ genie quoting this to Aladdin. But in the heat of the moment, when you don’t have any better ideas. A blank check, while dangerous, seems simple enough. You must, however, remember to stipulate, that it cannot be cashed in for more blank checks, otherwise, a single scene at his whim becomes many more.
Don’t forget your limits. Not that you might forget your limits such as they are, but always remember to include them in a negotiation. Whether it is telling a new partner what your limits are, or stipulating that the above blank check(s) cannot violate them. It is all well and good to push your limits when you want to, but make sure you want to.
Be specific. At all points of the negotiation, be clear and precise. What are you offering, what are you getting, what are the terms and the rules and the boundaries. “Test me!” might be a fun thing for an excited student to shout, but it behooves one to specify what they want to be tested on. “School girl outfit” can mean different things to different people. “Skirts” come in many different lengths and styles. “Tied together” sounds fun, but do you really want to leave the binding material up to his imagination? Stockings, hose, fishnets, knee-highs, socks all very important distinctions in how much leg is covered or uncovered.
Offer something of value. Different people value different things from different people. Some people value sex. Some people value service. Some people value suffering. Some value the passing of knowledge. Learn what it is that will be of value and find ways to offer it.
Be creative and then be even more creative. Don’t offer things you have already given or things he already has. Offer something new, offer something bigger, offer something more interesting. Start with new and interesting offers, and then push them one step further. And don’t be afraid to make them well rounded – paint the full picture, not just the center of it. Bootblacking is good, but bootblacking while naked and kneeling is better, and bootblacking while naked and kneeling followed by some boot worship is even more interesting.
Don’t let other people negotiate for you. Stay in control of your side of the negotiation. Keep your wits about you and keep your mouth moving. If you want to be happy with what is agreed to, stay actively engaged in the discussion. Stick up for yourself and stand your ground when you have to. You do not have to agree to everything they say, keep seeking compromises that work for both parties. Unless agreements to the contrary are already in place, you can always say no, and most times even then.
Be reasonable and trust the other people in the negotiation. If you have a real problem with something, explain it, trust that they care about you and will listen. (If you don’t trust them or they don’t care about you, well, that’s another entry entirely.) Then, negotiate to find a way to make it work for everyone. Try not to just say no, that is impossible. Look for solutions that benefit everyone. Most problems are only little bumps in the road.
Be flexible and open minded. Understand that everything is not going to go the way you want it to. Understand that your definitions may not be the same as his definitions. Accept that sometimes comfort zones are meant to be left behind, it is how you can grow. I am incredibly curious, sometimes I have to let the curiosity override the fear.
Relax and enjoy it. Negotiation is where you get to learn about the other person. You get to see how their mind works, what they like and don’t like, how they feel, what their state is. You get to know them, and get to share yourself with them. You are not going to get it all right, but you’re not going to get it all wrong,either. But if you’re both/all happy when it is over, then everyone wins. Keep talking until you’re happy.
So, I promised to let you know what I got myself into. A new friend was starting a negotiation with him, and I was offering some advice. When he was presented with that fact, he suggested that since I was trying to help out, perhaps I should join the negotiation. Her fate and mine became intertwined. We spent most of the rest of the night negotiating. When it was all said and done, we had quite the scene lined up:
Three of us, dressed as school girls (clothing was one of the largest parts of the negotiation) – Japanese, American and British, respectively (I hear there may be a chalkboard hung high up on the wall for sentence writing). We may not say no for the entire night (creativity will be flowing). The evening will start with bootblacking, and we will be available at any time for massage. At his leisure, he may put us in the dog cage (with a violet wand kit nearby), or bind us all together (quite possibly with saran wrap, followed by ice and then hot wax). And at some point during the evening, there will be a Japanese song and dance (whaddya mean I have to dance when I’m sober?) in front of an audience of undetermined size (our voluntary third musketeer is joyfully plotting choreography to the song chosen last night).
It shall be a Very interesting evening. I can hardly wait.
What are you thoughts on Negotiation? What traps have you fallen into?
September 10th, 2010
When you’re going to play with someone new, you talk about the scene, you talk about limits, you talk about health. When you’re going to play with someone you’ve been with for awhile, sometimes you don’t talk at all. You just do what you’ve always done. Play in the boundaries you’ve always had, or push the boundaries you know you can push. So what happens when the rules change? What happens when the boundaries get drawn differently? How do you take a step back and say, okay, that place is off limits for now?
I was writing about renegotiation of my submission yesterday, and the comment came to mind that it was incomplete submission. That without giving up all control, I was holding back, keeping something from him. Over the last six months, I had been striving to not hold back, to give him all the control he would take. So, for me to say that I cannot do that right now, that I have to put a limit back on the table, was difficult. The dream of no-limits submission is seductive, but it is not always possible. Even in the way we were doing it – in short spaces of time, not 24/7.
I find myself struggling with my sense of self – self awareness, self confidence. There is a picture on a book about the female brain that is a large mass of tangled phone cord. In one of my favorite fantasy books, the city designed by the female deity is akin to a labyrinth. Sometimes I feel that way about my own mind, it takes me a while to navigate and process and distill what is really going on for me. A friend commented she thought I had been getting better at this over the last few months, or at least at articulating it. She gets to talk to me only after I have done a lot of processing, though. I want to be better at on the spot self awareness. As well as the confidence to trust in myself and my instincts and act on them in the moment.
What does all this mean? What am I on about? Some of our more rough mental play hit harder than expected, and I had trouble dealing with it appropriately. I broke and let things spin out of control. Now I have to heal and grow, and pick up the pieces. I aim to come out of this an even stronger person than before. I have a wonderful life, and so many amazing people in it, who support and love me and help me grow.
February 4th, 2010
Maybe I should officially switch to Thursday post, it seems to work better for me lately.
Poly relationships, I have said before, are balanced largely on communication. Also important are consideration, compromise, and compersion. Sorry about the alliteration, but it works for me. Negotiating relationships and boundaries is an important part of maintaining balance and happiness for all partners. Every relationship is different, what works for one, may not work for another, and what worked last month may not work this month. People change and grow and relationships have to do the same to keep up.
In any relationship, you have to have consideration for your partner, for their feelings, for their triggers and for their foibles. Mindfulness, to me, is next to godliness. And compromise follows right along behind. Being willing to give and take to keep the balance. But also remembering that you have to do both, one-sidedness is not compromise. Compersion is hardest, being happy for what your partner has with their other partners, instead of our normal human reaction of jealousy.
I admit, I’m not always mindful. I sometimes do not want to compromise. And for some people, I just have a hard time even approaching compersion. That is okay, I grow, I learn and I keep moving forward. I keep trying, I keep loving and I keep communicating as best I can.
January 28th, 2010
It’s that time again. A major kink event with play parties both nights. This time, I find myself in negotiations with someone I have never met for a scene I never imagined. It has been an interesting week, thus the lateness of this post (again), but I have a break in all the communication right now, so I can sit and reflect for a few minutes.
I rarely negotiate scenes. I rarely play outside my comfort zones, or with people I’m not familiar with. Most scenes I’m involved in start with: What do you want to do? How about x? Okay. And then we do x. We don’t discuss things in detail, we don’t talk about limits and safewords. I play with people who already know my boundaries, and if they push them, it’s with full knowledge and care. That isn’t to say I don’t talk about these things with my partners. With my Lover, there was much discussion about my experience and likes and dislikes before we ever played, but since that time, I would not really call anything we’ve done ‘negotiating a scene.’
So I find myself filling out a questionnaire, and asking questions and playing a little bit of semantics. I find myself having discussion with all my other partners around the proposed scene as well. This is a whole new experience for me and I find it all fascinating and incredible. I have had some very good, very important discussions because of all this, and it’s not even done yet. I will have more to say soon, I am sure.