Owning My Shit

August 22nd, 2013

A friend of mine posted recently about his young son, after being yelled at, saying “Daddy, I made you angry.” He then had to pause and reflect on his anger and tell his son, “I am angry, but you didn’t make me this way.” He realized that his anger was his own reaction, not his son’s doing.

I get cranky sometimes, at things people say or do. We all do. But it is important to remember, this is how you are Choosing to react. It is not the other person’s fault, it is a choice you are making. When people get cranky at me, my gut reaction, is to get snippy back. This is still a choice, it is a learned reaction, by my own choice.

Today, I chose to be more aware of this behavior in myself. The only way for me to unlearn this choice, is to teach myself something else. I cannot control what other people do, I can only accept them for who they are, and choose to react in a way that serves me better. And in the end, this will serve my relationships better than adding negativity to the cycle.

This also goes along with holding grudges/holding onto hate/dislike for someone. If you hold on to negative feelings for someone, especially someone you don’t actually ever interact with, it is doing nothing to them, and only harming yourself. If it is someone you do interact with, you may feel justified, by making them feel as bad as you do, but look around, you’re making life miserable for everyone else around you, too, not just the person you’re mad at.

Something I am working on with all of this, is to analyze my reactions. Why did that upset me? Why did I react that way? What is really going on? In the moment, these are very difficult questions to remember, let alone answer. Sometimes the answers go along the lines of “it ruined my night” or “time is limited and precious” or “it’s not fair.” But then I have to ask, but did it really? Is it really? Usually the answer is no. Usually whatever negative thing happened only darkened that moment in time. Usually there is plenty of time left, or coming, or the ultimate optimistic thought: “we have the rest of our lives.” And let’s not even get into trying to define “fairness” in life. Every person is different, every relationship is different, fair is a ball hit between first and third base. Trying to define it anywhere else is ludicrous.

Sometimes the answer to “what is really going on” is envy or jealousy. Both normal, human feelings. And, as has been stated many times before, and being the point of this post, what matters is what you do with that feeling. Becoming angry or upset, lashing out or freaking out, will hardly ever get you the result you desire. I know, I’ve tried. 😉 When those feelings rear their heads, it is time to sit down with myself. To think about why I am feeling that way, and what I can do to resolve those feelings. Do I need to ask for something? Do I need to work towards something? Do I need to take a deep breath and just remember all the wonderful that I have?

I am in charge of my own happiness. I get to decide to be happy, or not. I get to decide how I react to stimuli. I get to decide how I express myself and all my crazy emotions. And I get to decide who I share all of this with.

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Reactions

February 14th, 2013

I want to write something intelligent today, but my body wants to sleep. I want to write something deep and meaningful, but I should really be packing. I want to write something that fully expresses the emotions of these last few weeks, but I’m not sure I’m ready. I want to put it all out there, but I don’t want anyone to read it. That’s the trouble with a blog – people read and react to it, whether you want them to or not. Best to keep the private things on paper, or at least locked away in your personal files.

I do too much of that, though. Locking away how I feel. I resist reacting because it feels pointless, useless and occasionally stupid. I hate it when people call themselves stupid, but lately, I’ve found myself calling my reactions that. I’ve gotta stop. They aren’t stupid, they’re my reactions. And they aren’t always logical, because reactions are emotional. I’m allowed to be upset about things, allowed to react to things. As long as I recognize that’s what’s happening, as long as I keep working through the reaction, keep listening and talking. As long as I don’t sit and dwell and wallow in the reaction. And that’s the problem. Because if I feel like the reaction won’t accomplish anything, I try to resist it. Trouble is, that only puts a stopper in the bomb, and the pressure builds and then explodes even stronger.

Last night we were talking about things, and he gave me a heads up, and I shut down. I was reacting, but I didn’t want to react. I didn’t want to be upset because he was just trying to warn me that something might happen. He noticed and poked, and I eventually mumbled that I was reacting and it was stupid. And he looked me in the eyes and told me I was allowed to react. It was still an internal battle and the conversation that resulted wasn’t much fun either, but it kept me from stewing and wallowing. It gave me more information, and a better ability to deal with the information, process it appropriately. Otherwise, my mind would have stuck in the pothole and spun for the last 24 hours instead of being able to accept the warning and figure out how to deal with it. It didn’t make for an entirely pleasant evening, but bottling would have made for a much worse one.

I did the same at the con. Stamped down on feelings and reactions because I didn’t think they would be useful. In a couple classes, I refused to let myself cry, refused to let the emotions out because I didn’t want to call attention or make a scene. Neither of these things would have happened. The presenters had everyone’s attention, I was free to react however I wanted. But I resisted, screwed that lid down tightly. It led to an explosion later, when he said something that I reacted to. In this case, he walked away because he wanted me to feel free to react and get it out. Which I did, in spades. But again, I felt reacting at him would not accomplish anything, so I tried to keep it inside. Fortunately, even when ill, he notices these things. When he came back we were able to talk it through, and then the next day, because often I take a day to process, we finished talking it out.

It is all about these stories we write in our brains. They are written in an instant of reaction. And often, they are wrong. And I usually know they are wrong, so I scold myself and try to stifle them, but I cannot erase them unless I get them out of my head. Unless I ask. Unless I get clarification when I’m confused or unclear. Writing stories without all the facts is fine for novels, but it doesn’t work in relationships. Yes, sometimes asking is really hard, sometimes it escalates the upset, which is a hard thing for a peace-maker like myself. But not asking just strengthens the false thought. Leave a thought long enough, and it becomes your truth. And truths are even harder to erase or rewrite.

I am taking better care of myself this year. I am standing up for myself. Next step is to stand up To myself. Allow myself the freedom to react, to question, and to find the truth.

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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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Poly Pie

October 29th, 2011

It has been a week. And once again, Thursday was too busy for me to get a post written. Two jobs is good for the checkbook, not so good for my writing pursuits. Life is full of changes. Growing, expanding, renegotiating, learning, adding, subtracting, multiplying. Relationships are the same.

He and toy are “officially dating” now. A new young woman has entered all our lives. Schedule changes are heading our way. So things are in a little bit of flux as we try to see where it is all lands. This has led to a lot of conversations. A lot of communication. And a lot of thinking and processing. Also, a lot of reacting, but hey, that’s where it all starts. Reactions let us know what’s important, and then we figure out what to do about it.

I seem to have, for the moment, gotten over my usual reaction of replacement fears to change, and have settled into a more tetchy fear of losing time and attention. More tetchy, because those things are limited. There is only so much time in a week, and so much attention to give. I started talking about it like a pie. Fearing my slice was going to get smaller, that someone else was going to get a slice, or a bigger slice, or already had, or whatever. The trouble is, that’s life, things are always changing and adjusting. I need to focus, not on, how do I get a bigger piece, or keep my exact piece, or any of that, but how to enjoy my slice to the fullest. To do that, I have to stop worrying about other people’s slices. I only have control over how I spend my own.

To that end, I tripped over an even older mental block. Asking for what I want. In order to facilitate him making decisions about those slices, he has to know what I want and need, so he can give me whatever he is able to. And in order for me to be happy, I have to take care of my own wants and needs. This means several things. First, I have to know what I want and need. Second, I have to tell him what I want and need. Third, I have to be patient about getting those met. I have several stumbling blocks in this series. Knowing what I need seems to have gotten easier, though I sometimes have trouble with the want/need line, falling on the side of, well, I don’t really Need that, I can Survive without it. I’m still working on that.

The blocks really come with telling him. A couple problems here. I grew up in a household where wants were generally not considered important. At birthdays or Christmas, you could ask for things, but other than that, only if offered. And at those times two times a year, we made wish lists and didn’t demand particular things. To say, you must get me this one thing or I will be miserable, was just not done. We made a list and we’d usually get a few things off that list, but not everything, and often things that weren’t on the list. You got what they wanted to give you. So, how does this translate now? Well, if I have everything I need, I feel selfish asking for things I want. At birthdays and Christmas, I tend to posts lists to my blog, but I don’t really ask for things directly. If I’m asked what I want (to do), I tend to come off shy or coy because I’m not used to being that direct.

The next block comes in with the third step. I’m a fairly patient person, but sometimes to a fault. I won’t ask for things if I feel like the answer will be not right now. For a couple reasons. One, it feels like a no to me, and I don’t like hearing no, so I just won’t ask. Two, because I figure I might as well wait until the answer is likely to be yes. But, as he reminds me, if he doesn’t know what I want, I am taking away his chance to decide if there’s time/opportunity for it, nor can he plan for it in the future if there isn’t time in that moment. So I have to ask, and then be patient about receiving.

To make the most of our slice of poly pie, we have to be fully informed of each other’s wants and needs. I have to grow and overcome some roadblocks, and let myself hear not now, without it meaning no. Sharing wants should be fun, describing things I like or want should be entertaining and arousing. Fantasies and daydreams come to life is what makes our lives amazing. Why would I deny either of us that?

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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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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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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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Are You a Wildmage?

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.



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