August 26th, 2011
Hubby and I are celebrating our 7th Anniversary this weekend. Married for seven years as of yesterday. Our reception was at the Renaissance Festival, on our third anniversary he got me my dragon collar there, and tomorrow we’re planning on going back again. There hasn’t been a week gone by since he bought me that dragon that I haven’t gotten a compliment on it. Makes me beam every time, and smirk a little bit because they don’t know what it really symbolizes.
Seven years together, and many more to come. It has been quite the adventure. From moving cross-country twice, to meeting swingers and then the leather and lifestyle communities. From temp jobs to high paying globe-trotting jobs, to retail and help desk. Through four apartments and sharing a house. Through five cars and eight computers. With trips to Seattle, Boston, Maine, California, Chicago, Michigan and back home to Idaho; some together and some separately. And definitely through sickness and health, richer and poorer.
We started this journey back in 1999, when my best friend told me there was this guy in our online game who needed a stable girl in his life. I was a college sophomore, and far from stable, but it turns out, one of the more stable female influences in his life from that moment forward. He was poly when this journey started, and I was kinky. Over the years, we have brought each other into our worlds, and found our places in both. It hasn’t always been a comfortable fit, and we are always learning and growing, but we are happy with what we have discovered, both with each other and within ourselves.
Our paths have diverged occasionally. Learning different things from different people. Spending time with our other partners. But we’ve always had each other to come home to. We have our home together, where we can collapse into each other’s arms when we need to. We take care of each other, support each other, and protect each other, and love each other as best we can.
These days we are looking to strengthen our path together. Finding new ways and old, to reconnect, to share with each other, and to grow together. Using all the things we have learned to make our next seven together even better than the first seven. It has been quite the wild ride, and we have no intention of stopping.
March 17th, 2011
What’s really there is that I have an awesome boyfriend who loves me, who trusts me, and who wants to continue our journey together, in life and in kink.
What’s really there is several new paths we are taking, one including an awesome woman who has decided to be our toy.
What’s really there is stressful work and health situations that are not who we are, but simply things we are doing and dealing with.
What’s really there is drama in our worlds and families that we need to deal with and solve together, supporting each other.
What’s really there is amazing opportunities for love and companionship and play and fun together, that I never would have thought possible five years ago.
These sentences are currently written on my thighs. I wrote them in a chat yesterday, and we decided I ought to write them on myself for a little while. “Until the message sinks in,” you might say. I need practice focusing on the positive. I need to not let the negative build up and build up, because “it’s just a little thing,” until it becomes a whirlwind of fear, doubt and crazy. I’m a writer, a good thing, but also bad. I write stories in my head, make assumptions, fill in the blanks. I live inside my head a little too much. I need to remember there are other people out there, often right beside me, who have the real answers, the actual truth of the matter, and sometimes, a far better grip on reality than the tangled mess I sometimes get myself into. Speculative fiction is awesome to write and sell and share, but reality is strange enough without me getting creative on it.
So, lesson of the week: Communicate!
How many times have I written about communication? And yet…
Things are far easier to deal with and discount and conquer when they are small. And nothing is too small to mention. A grain of sand creates a pearl, but a fleck of metal can blind you and a single spark can burn down a forest. He is good at noticing when something is wrong or off, but I am not always so good at realizing he is right. So, communication. Don’t dismiss it when he questions, really look and try to shake loose the thought that is keeping me off balance by hiding in the corner. Life is always crazy and busy and stressful, but letting things bottle and build up is only going to make things worse. Explosions are far more damaging than a firecracker. Just don’t hang on too tight, toss it up in the air and see what it looks like in the light.
I am loved. I am wanted. I am needed. I am worthy.
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.
June 24th, 2010
In college, there were times when I was in love with not-yet-Husband, and dating other men. He first proposed to me while engaged to someone else. I did not say no, not until I met her, anyway. When he proposed the second time, and I said yes, it was on the condition of monogamy. I accepted that he was flirtatious, and loving towards others, but we made an agreement that there would be no other relationships when we got married.
Two and a half years in, and we were both finding ourselves interested in other people on a level more than just flirtation. We talked about swinging, playing outside our marriage. I played with one friend, trying to keep emotions out of it, but when he decided he could not continue, I was hurt. Friends invited us to a swingers party where I was fairly wide-eyed and quiet the whole night. Then we moved.
We looked around online for potential play partners. We played with one couple, and we met another, but neither turned out well. Then we found the local kink community. I agreed that Husband could be true to his poly nature, and I would continue with the label of swinging. I was afraid of getting hurt again, swinging felt safer, it was not about love, or relationships. It was about experiences and having fun.
Then I met Lover, and Him. We started playing, in various forms, and it quickly became apparent that emotions would always be involved, that there was always risk, that the trust required for the way I wanted to play was not something to be given casually.
Husband has formed various relationships, girlfriends and play partners, looking for what he wants to add to his life. Together we explore our rules and agreements. We deal with jealousy and time management. We grow together and we follow our own paths. I love him, I am in love with him, I will love him forever and always.
I had a hard time with labels and defining relationships outside my marriage. Lover started as a play partner. Love grew between us, but in different ways. There are many kinds of love, and my love for him does not feel like the romantic, forever love of a Husband or a Boyfriend. It feels like the love of a cherished and trusted friend, a confidant. I chose the word Lover for him because I do love him, and we do play and make love, but it is a different kind of commitment that I feel for him.
Him, Rigger, Mentor, Dominant, Boyfriend. He and I have gone through many stages of our relationship. Growing closer over the last two years, taking things one step at a time. We began trying to define things around the turn of the year, or rather we tried to move forward without truly defining things, and found that it would not work anymore. After some stumbling, we defined what we had and what we wanted, and what boundaries that created for us, to keep us and our relationships safe. I love him, but more than that, I am In love with him. In the life-sharing, forever kind of way, and I am incredibly grateful that his wife is accepting of my love for him.
Compersion is an important concept in how I do poly. I love my Husband, my Lover and my Boyfriend, and because I love them, I want to see them happy. Their other partners bring love and happiness to their lives, so I am happy for them, and those relationships. I do not always want the details about how their other partners are making them happy, but sometimes it is fun to share the excitement and experiences, and it is definitely fun to share the energy created by those experiences. Jealousy still crops up, and relationships are not always happy, but over all, I know that love is not divided between us, it grows and expands to include everyone in our lives.
Polyamory has been a quite a journey, and I am still exploring the path.
March 18th, 2010
He asked how I wanted to be conditioned when I was already kneeling at his feet. I told him that kneeling was special to me. I thought I had given him clues to that before, but I had never told him outright that I liked it. That I wanted it, craved it.
He taught me the position he wanted me to practice then. Knees spread comfortably wide, to allow access and increase the feeling of vulnerability. Sitting on my heels, feet flat on the ground. Sit up straight and tall, shoulders back and chin only slightly lowered. Hands, palm up on my thighs, with fingertips at knee caps and thumbs pointing outward.
He asked me to practice that position, starting with five minutes, adding one minute at a time, until I could maintain it for thirty minutes. I set myself a goal, to be at thirty by March 26th, the last weekend of the month. I will be at twenty-five minutes when I kneel today and I still have not found a solution to the onset of high levels of pain around the fifteen minute mark. The numbness and tingling after is far less of an issue than simply maintaining the position through the pain.
The last few times, I have ended up repeating a mantra of “My pain for his pleasure” to get me through to the end of the time I have set for myself. It becomes an exercise in breathing, concentration and control. At home, I am kneeling barefoot on carpet, I have not even begun to try to train up kneeling in shoes or boots, though that is how I kneel for him at the club. Wearing boots puts a different angle on my feet and knees, but in both cases, it is my ankles that have the most trouble with this position.
So why do I do it? It is a connection to him, time out of my day when I do something for him, whether he is near me or not. It gives me time to reflect on our relationship, on our scenes and on our recent discussions. I have time to think about questions he has asked me, and the answers I have not yet found or given. It is a time when the rest of life is set aside and I just focus on him and us. I usually do Tai Chi and Yoga before kneeling, to bring my mind down and let go of the world so by the time I get to kneeling, I am ready to simply sit and reflect. I do not always find answers there, but I always at least find new thoughts and new questions. It leads me further along my path, helps me find more clarity. I keep myself fairly busy all the time, but when I am kneeling, I am forced to stop and be quiet and still. It brings peace into my life, and strengthens my connection to him.