September 22nd, 2011
One of the first times I answered “the heath question” before playing with someone, that’s what I said. I’m not fragile, but I am broken. I have RA, so I have fussy joints. Hubby has a badly injured back. He has had surgery twice in the last two years. Toy has a myriad of problems, treatable and mysterious. And we all get injured, ill or just plain exhausted. So, what then? What do you do when your play partner, your loved one, is not feeling up to snuff?
He once asked me if I could be happy not being suspended by him for a whole year (at the time he was suspending me three nights a week), and suggested that such could be the case some day due to health. Now, I have not gone a full year between suspensions, but often it is months. And yes, I’m still quite happy with him. It isn’t about what we do together, but more about being together.
There is a lot of service in my submission to him, so taking care of him when he’s not feeling well comes naturally. I’m not really the maternal type, but fetching food, giving massages, just sitting and stroking his hair, all feel good to me. Hubby and I are making time to take care of each other more now, too. We plan out our date nights, but sometimes, one or both of us is feeling rough, and we just take care of one another in the same way.
Toy has a unique way of taking care of the sick. She likes to be the Get-Well Fairy and goes to the store and drops of little bags of whatever is needed or wanted. She likes to help people out, and even remembers to let us help her when she’s ill, too. She does ask for help when she really needs it, but sometimes we have to push past her reflexive “I got this, guys.”
So, this is all good and nice and happy. What about the parts I don’t do so well? This is two-fold for me. One, I don’t take care of myself. Two, I over-protect those I love. So, let’s take these in backwards order because the one leads into the other.
Over-protectiveness. If someone is not quite up to their full health, or feeling tired or sore, I assume the role of care taker. Which isn’t a bad thing, but it also means I don’t ask them for anything I might want. I feel that their health is more important and it would be selfish to ask for anything. This happens a lot on Wednesdays. If he comes in late from work and looking worn out or complaining of headache or pain, I won’t ask to play, even if it has been on my mind all day. I don’t want to push him if he’s not up to it, I don’t want him to feel bad for saying no, or make himself feel worse by saying yes. I’m taking away his ability to make that decision for himself by not asking. Bad me. There’s a bit more baggage around that one than just health issues, but that’s not today’s topic.
So, that also leads into not taking care of myself. Just because the desire mentioned above is a want instead of a need (I hesitate to call anything defined as play or sex a need), doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have it. Doesn’t mean I shouldn’t ask for it. I don’t often ask for things I want, because, I tell myself, I don’t really Need them. I put those I care about first, my assumed responsibilities second, and myself third. It’s why I stopped Tai Chi and Yoga, it’s one of the reasons why I can’t get back into kneeling regularly. Those things all came to be “about me.” I’m doing them for myself, so they aren’t as important as the things I’m doing for others.* The only thing that over-rules that is exhaustion. I do veg on the couch when I’m too tired to do anything else, until I fall asleep. With taking on a second job recently, exhaustion is winning out more, and the second job is taking all the time usually reserved for “my things.” Only illness and injury slowed me down this week and did not provide for productive “me time,” and I took extra shifts to make up the missed days. So much to do, it’s hard to find the proper balance.
*As I reread this, I decided some extra discussion was, perhaps needed, to define how this ritual came to be “about me.” Roughly a year and a half ago, he asked me to kneel for him, to get up to thirty minutes a day and to reflect on our relationship during this time. Tai Chi and Yoga became part of this ritual to take care of myself, to be healthy for him. I wrote a post about this just a few weeks ago, about what I could do to reclaim this habit. However, the changes in our relationship, and the problems I had with the kneeling, and my efforts to overcome them, have cast this ritual in a different light. Yes, once upon a time, he asked me to do it. But it no longer feels like a part of our exchange. It is something I do to center myself, or to take care of myself. Not something I do for him. And so, when I fail to do it, it’s just one more thing I don’t do for myself because I don’t have or make the time after everything else I put first.
April 1st, 2010
Ritual: Any practice or pattern of behavior regularly performed in a set manner.
This week, I was asked to create a purging ritual that accepts the scene for what it was to myself as object and free myself as girlfriend from any feelings of guilt that might have been created in my object state. The purpose of creating this ritual is to create a space where I can be free to have drop and deal with my emotional reactions while I am still with him, so that when I go back to my other partners, I am whole and fully functional on the levels where I operate with them. It is vital that I am able to be wife and girlfriend to my partners and that I do not come back to them broken. That could damage those relationships and create animosity between my partners.
I looked at what other rituals I have, and came up specifically with my ritual around suspension scenes with him. Afterward, there is always a moment where I thank him, and we hug, making a mental and physical connection. Then, I always sit down with the rope and coil it up for him and put it away. I provide this service in exchange for the scene. This lead me to creating a ritual of Gratitude, Service and Connection.
Specifically, it plays out in my head thus: Thank you for taking care of me, how may I take care of you? He makes a request, from a simple glass of water, to a back rub, to helping him with another scene. This provides me a chance to give back to him for all that he has given me. As well as creates space for me to react to and process the scene we just had, and if there are emotions I need to deal with, if there is drop, then he is right there to help me through it. Ending with physical connection, a touch, a hug, a kiss. I often find that physical connection with my partner is the best way to recover from drop. A tangible expression of our love for each other. It is, after all, love that makes this possible. I would not and could not give up this much control to someone if there was not a loving and caring relationship as a foundation.
I have another ritual that I perform for him. Daily, I run through my Tai Chi forms, a short set of Yoga positions and then I kneel for half an hour. I use this time to relax, find peace and meditate. Sometimes there is something he has specifically asked me to think about, other times, I simply reflect on recent conversations or scenes. This is a ritual I do for him, to take care of my body to better serve him, and to practice a kneeling position for him. It gives me time during my day to think about him, a connection to him on days when I may not see him in person. This is a ritual that was created out of requests he made of me.
The purging ritual is different. He asked me to create it myself, after we discussed why it was necessary and what it needed to accomplish. He could not tell me what I needed to do to come fully out of object space, create opportunity to experience drop and then finish the transition to girlfriend space. I had to think about what my needs are, and how I react to things and what works for me. It is my responsibility to ask for what I need, to be healthy emotionally, mentally and physically. The ritual as created, meets the needs of acknowledgment, contribution and connection. It gives us time and space to deal with reactions to the scene and gives me a more smooth transition from one space to the other.
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.
February 26th, 2010
I am discovering a level of submission within myself that I had only read or dreamed about before. I have, almost since the day I met him, had submissive inclinations and attitudes towards him. Over time, my other partners have even commented on it. I have found joy in serving him, and I follow his commands unquestioningly. Now, I am offering even more.
The phrase: If it please you, Sir, came to my lips just last week. Every day brings me closer to buying and bringing him needles(post to come), a lifelong phobia and hard limit. I am developing a personal daily practice of Tai Chi, and Yoga at his request. I am practicing a specific kneeling(post to come) position with a goal of 30 minutes. I am offering him more than I’ve offered anyone before, and it brings me joy.
It is a little scary, in the exciting sort of way, to find myself offering him a deeper submission. Learning to actively submit, modifying behaviors and being trained to do specifically for him. We have defined our relationship, and in doing so, we are taking it to another level. I am working to stay grounded while discovering a whole new reality of possibilities.