Try Love, Not Anger

January 18th, 2016

I read a post by a good friend of mine today, and it raised two topics in my mind, (one I have posted on before). Today’s post was about not taking things personally when people ask questions about your lifestyle choices. My favorite section of the post was:

“Everyone has their own stories, their own experiences, their own truths, and their own filters that they view the world through…why get angry because someone didn’t ask something in the right way? Or assumed something? Or had a wrong definition? Are you angry because you are truly angry? Or because you’ve read an article that says you should be angry if someone asks you insensitive questions.”

With all the political correctness going around, we tend towards offense if questions are asked in an insensitive way, or asked based on incorrect assumptions. She suggests that one not take it personally, but rather as a chance to share one’s truth. I think this is a great outlook, and a good way to face a critical world.

  • “Why aren’t you happy with just one partner?” Well, I am happy with one partner, but I am also happy when I have two.
  • “Aren’t you cheating on both of them if you have two partners?” No, in fact, they are both fully aware of each other and supportive of my relationships with each other.
  • “How could you let him do that to you?” We only do what we have both agreed and consented to do. These are things we both enjoy, is there a particular scene or interaction you did not understand?

People’s questions are not about you. They are about misunderstandings, about the person’s own beliefs and stories, the way they view the world. If you take offense and don’t take the time to think about why they asked the question, you’ll just perpetuate their misunderstandings, beliefs, and stories. So, next time you are offended by a question, try to take a breath, and answer with love and sharing, instead of anger.

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The Cycle of Change, Simplified

April 16th, 2013

Fear – Knowledge – Understanding – Acceptance – Normativity

New ideas are met with fear. People fear what they don’t understand. So, those with the new ideas keep talking, bringing knowledge about the idea to others. They educate people so that there can be understanding. Once there is understanding, people can begin to accept these new ideas. Once enough people accept an idea, it becomes the norm.

The trouble comes when fear closes eyes and ears. When it stills tongues. When fear kills a new idea before it can even be explored. Fear can be strong, so strong, that new ideas are met with violence. Over and again in human history, ideas beget fear, and fear begets violence. When there is fear and violence, there is no learning, there is no science, and there is no progress.

And sometimes we move backwards, and we have to start the cycle all over again. Homosexuality is nothing new, it has been part of human culture since the ancients. But somewhere along the line we moved backwards, and acceptance of homosexuality became a new idea again. And it is met with fear, and sometimes violence. Today, the knowledge is overwhelming the fear more often, and understanding is growing again. But we are still too far from acceptance, and much too far from normativity.

I mentioned to gay marriage to my mother, a retired pastor, this week. Her response to me was to mention that a different denomination approved of it. Her answer to my disappointment in the Church I grew up in, was to change denominations.

The idea of multiple loves, and marriages, is nothing new. Around the world today, various cultures approve or disapprove of it for various, mostly religious-based reasons. People interpret their holy texts in the way they see fit, and base their values around it. And that’s fine, the trouble comes when they try to make others live by their chosen values. This is a nation based on freedom. Freedom of religion. Freedom of expression. But we make laws about who can love who, who can marry who and how many. Why is that even part of the legal system?

Health benefits, death benefits, power of attorney. You can have a wife and three kids on your family insurance, why not two wives, if you pay for it the same? Child custody is just as complicated with marriage, divorce and remarriage and divorce as it would be in multiple parent households. We were founded by people fleeing religious persecution, only, centuries later, to be basing our laws on Judeo-Christian religious values.

I went to church this past weekend and the lesson was the parable of the Good Samaritan. The lesson was to love, not just those that believed as you did, but to love everyone. The world gets more crowded every year, we have got to stop pretending that we are right and everyone else is wrong. There will never be peace while there is fear, hatred, and intolerance. Fear breeds violence, and violence brings change to a screaming halt.

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Identity

March 7th, 2013

Personal identity. Gender identity. Sexual identity. Secret identity.

I think of identity as internal, as opposed to the exterior-ness of labels. Identity is who I am. It is how I feel. It is my proclivities, my interests, my views and my way of being. It is the unique combination that makes up me.

But then, someone asks me, who are you?

And I try to put it into words. These shapeless, unspoken thoughts of me. I use labels that other people have created, that other people have defined. And they are the closest I can come to create communication, but they are not the truth. Because I am so much more than words. I am so much more than someone else’s definitions. So, new words are created, but they, inevitably fall short, too. I try whole lists of words, sometimes seemingly contradictory, just to get the point across that I am more than.

More than a single concept. More than a strict definition. More than a simple category.

I am so much more than my job, my hobbies, my submission, my service, my masochism, my body, my sarcasm.

Who am I? You’ll never know. Because you are not inside me, and no matter how much time you spend with me, you will always filter me through who you are.

But sometimes I want so badly to be understood, to be accepted, to be loved. That I try to fit in. Fit into the molds society has created. Fit into the roles that someone else has defined. Fit into boxes that people understand.

And when someone does not understand, I try to explain. But sometimes words just aren’t enough. Because they do not feel as I feel, they do not experience what I experience. Their frame of reference does not allow for understanding. And I can let myself feel alienated and ashamed, or I can remember that they don’t have to understand me. My identity is not based on anyone else’s understanding.

 

 

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Blossoming Submission

September 27th, 2012

I don’t think I did justice to the topic of my journey into submission in my long rambling post. Not sure I really did justice to any of the topics I covered, but this one struck me especially. I talked more about my development over the last few years, mixed with a few popular questions of the day, around the cyclical nature of D/s and how a strong woman can be submissive. All those thoughts about control came much later, when I finally got the language for it. But how, exactly, did the submissive grow within me to start with?

Early desires, and my most guilty pleasures, revolve around over the knee spankings. I don’t know why this came about, but it started as early as grade school with an unhealthy(or so I thought) enjoyment of the poem The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. And in middle school blossomed into school girl fantasies that I very much enjoy to this day. With stops along the way to incorporate a Newsie spanking fantasy or two, as well.

This is where my submissive side started. A desire to bend, or be bent by, a person of authority. I was a good girl, I didn’t like causing real trouble, never got a detention, though I came close once, only got grounded once, I don’t even remember ever being spanked as punishment, though I’m sure I was when I was very young. But in these fantasies, I would get into mild trouble, and the person punishing me wouldn’t actually be angry, they’d simply be teaching me a lesson, usually in private. Punishing me for being “bad” or “naughty,” but without the public humiliation of being paddled in front of class, or others. And after I became a bit more sexually mature, I would always thank them for this lesson.

In grade school, we had a hierarchy among my friends. The one at the top of the pyramid could still the rest of us with a look, and usually a smile. I never wanted this power, but I certainly respected it. And fantasied about it. To be quelled and cowed with just a look. It made me shiver, it aroused me. It took me years to understand why. We gave him that control, and he used it, without abusing it, so he got to keep it. He ruled our part of the playground, but he was always kind and always fair. He took care of us, so we followed him. That exchange of power, so simple on the playground, and so much more powerful in a relationship, has always thrilled me. And for those who can express it with just a look, it still makes me shiver and smile.

I comment in the long rambling piece about meeting “strong men,” but what I really meant was strong dominants. Men can be strong without being sexually/kinkily dominant. And I met a woman, as well, who fit this role. I had a few boyfriends that were tops – we played physically, the only power exchange being that I was physically submitting to having things done to me. Usually things like biting, spanking, pinching, pressure points.

Then I met a couple of friends online, who, when they were dating, adopted me in a non-kinky RPG we were all playing. I still call him Daddy, or my Aussie Daddy, to this day, though it never was kink-related. When I lived with him for a (US) summer/(Australian) winter, he preferred Sir in our play. They taught me about what power exchange really felt like. I loved it, though many will say online isn’t the real thing, it was where I was first able to explore it. And explore it I did, in role play, in cybersex chats, in long-distance telephone calls. When I went to Australia, Daddy wasn’t active in the community, but we made the best of our time together. Our kink relationship was mostly physical, but I also enjoyed the bits of D/s we tossed in here and there, as well.

It was a long while before I found that again. Hubby, a sensualist, enjoyed the physical play I asked for, but D/s was not something we managed to figure out on our own. When we found the community, our explorations took different paths, as I found two dominant men that I was drawn to, and he found his own path to kink.

This blog tells the story of my journey since then, for the most part. Exploring different types of D/s and the different ways to submit and serve, learning about taking and giving control. I have tripped and fallen many times. I have had high expectations, and been crushed by reality. I have lost sight of the path and been shown the way back. I have run headlong into the darkness, and survived the fall. I have been taught, guided, chided and chastised. I have been cared for, comforted, crushed and rebuilt. I have been programmed and reprogrammed. I have experienced amazing scenes, awesome service, and incredible love, trust and understanding. Submission has always been inside of me, and these last four years have made it a rich part of my life.

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Conflict & Communication

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.

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Learning to be Active by Doing

June 25th, 2011

It’s been a long week, and I’m not ready to post about it, may never. Not the specifics anyway. But I want to write today, about some of the solutions. I hesitated about that word, solutions. We haven’t fully solved anything, but he asked what I wanted to do, to make sure we did not end up here again, and two of those things are what I want to talk about. They aren’t really solutions, but they are processes that will help us.

They are processes he has been teaching me since I met him. I have learned more about verbal communication in the last three years, than in the previous twenty-five. (I’ll grant that learning to talk was pretty huge in those first three years of life.)

I lived my young life in the shadows, being fairly passive, letting circumstances, events and people pull me along. I could take a stand and step forward in a pinch, but it wasn’t until college that I really started learning to stand up for myself. After, when I moved out west, I dropped back into the shadows. When we got back home, I started to step out again. I was out in front meeting people and being social and making choices again. We became poly and joined the kink community and I started finding my voice and my spine. He’s been helping me develop and grow both since I met him, as well.

But there is so much more to successful poly than that. I harp on communication all the time. And yet again, I fell down. I haven’t done my write up on Part Two of The Ethical Slut, yet, but it’s all about agreements, and communication and jealousy. Not necessarily in that order. It’s about specificity, and being completely clear and getting what you need.

The two things I want to talk about today are active communication and active thinking. Two concepts that are not unfamiliar to me, but that I need to take a deeper look at.

Active communication is not just about listening and responding. It is about making sure you understand what is being said. It includes telling the other person what you are hearing them say, in your own words, to make sure you are getting the message they are trying to deliver. We use different language sometimes and it can make clear communication difficult. Sometimes it may take rephrasing several times to make sure you are both on the same page, or even in the same book. Try to be patient.

It is also about making sure you know what the conversation is about. By this I mean, we sometimes come at things sideways, or with humor to diffuse a possibly difficult subject, but it’s important to know what the conversation is really about. To not get sidetracked on a tangent and miss the point completely. If you have a question, make sure it gets answered, and everyone knows the question and the answer. If you are the one sidetracking the conversation, check yourself, ask yourself, and your partner if necessary, if you actually answered the question or concern, and if you really understood the question in the first place.

Active thinking. This has several layers for me. On the surface, it is constantly considering your actions and their consequences. In poly, it means including the consequences with your partners (and maybe even their partners) in your considerations. It also means being self-aware of any uncertainty or confusion in these considerations. Which then turns back around to active communication to get those uncertainties or confusions cleared up.

If I do not know, with fairly absolute certainty, how something is going to affect my partners, if we haven’t discussed it, or it is a new situation, then I should step back and really consider what I’m up to. If it could have any negative consequences whatsoever for my partners and loved ones that they have not agreed to, I need to step away. Then, I need to talk to them, discuss the action and come to an agreement about it. There are often negative consequences that people will agree to, – feeling uncomfortable, being jealous – but the whole point is to make everyone as comfortable and safe and happy as possible. I have to be actively thinking about all of this, all the time, so I recognize when an agreement hasn’t been made, or is needed.

Learning to be active by doing doesn’t always mean going out and doing what you want. Often it means being active in your conversations and being active in your thinking. Being aware of yourself and your needs and finding out about your partners and their needs. Communicating and making agreements and then being active and conscious about keeping them.

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Day Twenty – Do You Understand

January 20th, 2011

Talk about something within kink/BDSM that you’re curious about/don’t understand.

I don’t understand you (I don’t understand you)
I just don’t understand you (I don’t understand you)
I don’t understand the things you say
I can’t understand a single word
I don’t understand you (I don’t understand you)
I just don’t understand you (I don’t understand you)
I cannot understand you (I don’t understand you)
I don’t understand you (I don’t understand you)
~They Might Be Giants, Fingertips, Apollo 18

I don’t always understand the other side of the coin. I am grateful that my partners want to do to me the things I like, but I don’t always understand where their enjoyment of it comes from. Sometimes I remember to ask, I must do that more often.

He and I had a recent discussion about how both perspectives are important. That hearing from both the top and the bottom when learning a new skill helps everyone to understand it. This was a very good point, and one I hope to work harder to include in my journey.

My 30 Days of Kink

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Communication, Goals and Separation

September 24th, 2010

A day late, but hopefully not a dollar short, my dear readers. Yesterday, life and a missing power cord got in the way of my posting. It has been quite the roller coaster ride for me lately, but what would life be without some ups and downs? Today I’m going to ramble about my partners, communication and decompartmentalization, we’ll just have to see where that takes me.

This past weekend was a big event that I did not go to. Two of my partners did, with their other partners, and everyone had a blast. The trouble came, in my own mind, when Lover played with someone I did not approve of. He told me that afternoon that he was going to, I expressed some hesitation at the idea, but did not fully express my concerns or feelings. He had no idea, therefore, that I had any concerns or negative feelings. When he came back to me two days later, he was caught flat-footed by my angry, incoherent emotional state. This, eventually, a few days after that, brought us around to a discussion of my needs around his play partners. Our agreement has always been that he will listen to what I have to say, but I do not have veto power over him, none of his partners do, nor visa versa. I asked to modify that agreement, so that not only will he listen, but he will be sure to ask in advance with enough time for discussion, how I feel about an upcoming play partner. I needed time to process, get clear and feel heard before he played with this person. It also probably would have helped to know why he had chosen to play with her. We agreed that we would try to do this going forward. Communication can prevent a lot of unnecessary upset.

My weekend was about simple goals. After last week’s discoveries, I needed a way forward. Having large goals of communication and self awareness are good, but he pointed out that they are not quantifiable or immediately achievable. He wanted me to come up with things I could point to and say, look, I met that goal. Simple things, one step at a time. Friday, I stayed with be of service, I was available to him for whatever he needed or asked of me that evening. Saturday, I had more specific goals. I wore my latex skirt for him. I kept it shiny for him. I pleased him, was a body pillow for him and slept by his side. These were both girlfriend goals and submissive goals and they were all achievable and rewarding.

I have often written of keeping my partners separate, especially around play. Occasionally more than one will be at a play party or at the club, but generally, I am able to focus on one at a time, and I have taken steps to guard that. However, this week, those steps created a situation that caused upset on several fronts and I was forced to rethink my position. One particular division I had created, was now creating a public division, and I needed to think long and hard about whether that was appropriate. After discussions with all of my partners, I decided that it was time for me to change and grow. I decided to let go of the control I was holding so tightly to, and trust that we could all do what was best for everyone, while still meeting all of our own needs and wants.

It has been a a week of learning, growing and better communication. Not everything is sorted out, but the future looks bright and I am lucky to have this life and these men, all of whom are willing to work hard to solve problems and communicate clearly. Everyone knows how hard that can be. Writers do not all make the best verbal communicators, and they are all willing to accept, understand and help me with that.

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