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.
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.
September 2nd, 2010
Everyone says communication is they key. I have talked about it being one of the most important things in poly. He and I have discussed how important it is to maintaining and protecting our relationship. In scene and out of scene, communication is the avenue to safety for all involved. Communication is what keeps people together. So, when communication fails, things fall apart.
I fell apart recently, and I took communication down with me. Clarity followed pretty close behind with self-worth tagging along for the ride. At so many points during this fall, communication could have kept me from hitting bottom, but I was so wrapped up that I did not catch the offered hands, or reach out for the sides of the hole. When I hit bottom, I started trying to climb back out on my own, trying to find my way back up, but I just ran circles in the dark for a while, reinforcing doubt and confusion to the point where I just gave up and sat down.
He tossed me a torch, like he has so often done, and I picked it up and looked around, but still could not find my way. So he tossed down a few more, the hole was now well lit and getting very hot, but I could finally see more clearly. I looked up and saw him waiting for me about half way down, I had pulled him down with me and we have quite a climb to get back to the top. So, I picked up a torch and started climbing. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time, to get back to him and get back out of this hole together.
That is a lot of words without saying anything very clearly, but it’s an illustration of how I have felt these last two weeks. I’m a writer, I get a little flowery at times. I am not ready to put details here, and while they are important to him and myself, they are not the point of this post.
Clear communication is. It took me quite a while to get clear with myself so I could be clear with him. The first weekend I appeared to be clear with myself, but I was still reacting blindly and from a place of broken confusion. I sounded rational and clear to some people, and while some of the things I was saying were true and in need of addressing, by the time I got to him, I was still not in a place to be truly clear. This caused the damage of miscommunication to multiply.
It took another week, two more conversations and two very long writing sessions and some reading, for me to finally be fully open and clear with myself, to find the truth in my actions and my heart. So that now I can start clearly communicating with him again.
Over the last six months, I have worked on communicating with him more verbally and less through written word. I often would write him emails about scenes or to answer questions I felt I had not fully answered. We chat online almost every weekday. However, talking, face to face, makes for much better communication, much clearer reading of meaning, intention and tone.
He is a public speaker, a leader. He is used to thinking and speaking on his feet. He often asks me to think out loud and expresses frustration when I fall silent. I am not a social person, I write and am afraid of public speaking. I form my thoughts and words more slowly. But I have been trying, for him, to be more communicative. I have been trying to learn let myself ramble even if the thoughts aren’t fully formed. It is unnatural for me, and I am not good at it, yet. I still fall silent quite often, I stare at the floor or the ceiling or the wall, or just off to the right, trying to compose in my mind, gather my thoughts before speaking. He occasionally asks if he needs to get me paper and let me write so I can talk to him, trying to tease me into speaking, and it sometimes works, and sometimes hurts because I am truly trying to speak.
In trying to be more verbal, however, I have left myself lacking. He found it odd when I was talking to myself the other day and generally I don’t do that out loud, unless I’m scolding a joint for hurting, but that’s what my writing is. I get more clarity for myself by writing. I am more honest with myself with a pen in my hand, or a keyboard at my fingertips, than if I just sit with my thoughts. I have been making less time for writing lately, and I have suffered for it. So, in my plan to create better and more clear communication with him, I have included writing, so that I will be more clear with myself as well. More writing about my other relationships probably wouldn’t hurt either. All the better to have good communication and healthy relationships.
So, my dear readers, what methods of communication do you find work best for you?