Things I Want to Say

August 10th, 2016

I have things I want to say, things I want to post about. But I’m tired all the time, and I write them down, prompts for when I have more energy. But then, they don’t make as much sense, or they don’t seem as important. Or them seem too vulnerable a topic to put out in public space. At some point in the past, I didn’t care that this was public space – blogging for the world to see, mostly because I assumed that no one did see it. And that’s mostly true, still, my numbers are depressingly low for a blogger that’s been blogging this long, but they’re good enough for me, a few people visit every day, and that’s all I really need. Just enough for me to be sure this isn’t a hidden space, just enough for me to worry about being judged. Though not publicly, I hardly ever get any negative comments, or contradictory even. And yet…

Part of me wants to do another 30 days thing, to get my juices flowing, to get me back to posting. To get me back to making the time for writing. I’ve let the worries of the world, of money, of jobs, of moving, of health, beat me down into a little worker bee, doing all the needful things, but not doing the heartful things. The things that fill me up and move me forward into the world with happiness.

Which takes me to one of my topics. Abnegation versus Dauntless. I’ve been listening to the Divergent series audiobooks. I’ve only made it through the first two, because the third has a waitlist. But the main character’s struggle between selflessness and bravery is interesting to me. The other factions – knowledge, honesty, happiness – these are good traits, too, but they aren’t a struggle in my head. Bravery – in this internal struggle, is more about standing up, for myself, for others, instead of selflessness as standing back, doing what others want.

I’m not sure I’m explaining this well. In the D/s circles, there are discussions about doormats. One wants a submissive, not a doormat. Sometimes, it is a struggle between selflessness and doormatness – knowing where the line is, and having the bravery to stand up for oneself, while still serving.

But it’s more than that for me. I think I do a pretty decent job staying out of doormat-land. I am working on that standing up part, though – not to other people, necessarily, but for myself – to myself. Believing in myself, I guess. Some say that bravery is not being unafraid, but rather, being afraid and doing it anyway. It doesn’t take courage to do something you’re not afraid of.

And sometimes selflessness is bravery – in the books, being willing to sacrifice one’s life for others is both brave and selfless. The trouble, for me, with selflessness, if forgetting about my self. Not taking care of my self, doing for others instead of myself. Not because they don’t care about me, or don’t want me to think of myself, but because I put them first, instead of myself.

I forget to think, what do I want to do? What is good for me in this situation? I’m getting better at it, day by day. I’m taking better care of me, and not getting down on myself when I forget to. I have people around me that love me, who do their best to make sure I’m thinking of myself, too, when they ask me to do something.

What faction would I choose? All of them – I want to be brave, selfless, honest, happy, and intelligent. Because all of those things together is what make humanity great.

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For the Love of Service

April 10th, 2014

I just watched an episode of House, M.D. about a blogger. She blogs her entire life (except her BM, that is), and it got me wondering about my blogging. I blog once a week here and on my family-friendly blog (which is like my weekly call home, as generally it is only my family who comments on it, though a few friends do read it, too). I’ve been at this blog for nearly five years now, with 413 posts including this one (I’m sure the actual 5-year mark will be a fun celebration of links or something).

I didn’t post last week, and I really wasn’t sure what I was going to post about this week. I don’t share a lot of the Really Personal stuff here, and sometimes, I just feel like I don’t want to share anything. Other times, I wonder if I have shared too much. But I still come back here (nearly) every week. Because I want to share with you, my dear readers. I want to be the voice saying, you are not alone. There are others like you, who feel the way you do, who have the same problems and missteps. This is how I give back. I was welcomed by my kink community, and I want to help others find their own, even if it is just by letting them that such a thing exists.

I was trying to explain my desire to serve to a friend this week. I went searching the Service tag on this blog, but did not find a post that really explained my view clearly and succinctly, to share with him. There are lots of posts that mention it, or talk of a specific example. But, getting right down to the heart of it, did not seem to be there. So, I told him: helping people fills me up.

It really is as simple as that. I’ve lasted in the retail industry for eleven years, not because I love sales (hate it, hate it with a firey passion), but because I love helping people. And yet, he still had to point this out to me a few years ago, when I bristled at the idea of being a service sub, if only because I disliked the examples I had to that point. I’m still not sure that I would be a service sub for any future partner, but I know the caretaker in me comes out regardless of whatever dynamic we may or may not have.

I went to a really awesome service intensive this past weekend, but when I looked back over my notes, I wasn’t really sure what I’d post about it, other than a general list of classes and that they were great. I didn’t want to reiterate what the teachers had spent so much time creating, it felt like I’d be stealing their hard work if I posted about a class individually in depth. So, here’s an overview.

I learned about mindfulness and gracefulness in each act of service. I learned about pouring tea and catching drips. I learned about the difference in leather-care opinions between leatherworkers and bootblacks. I learned about folding napkins and towels into fun and amusing shapes. I was reminded that receiving service is not passive, and involves just as much vulnerability as giving service. And I learned about gentle massages and nerve stroking. But more than that, it was a very small group, which enabled me to meet and connect with some really great people from the local area, and from as far away as D.C. and Minnesota. We had a wonderful time and are already asking to do it again.

As per my last post, even after a class in mindfulness, I went to lunch Monday and forgot to change into a skirt for him. My mind was so full of other things that when he looked at me funny, I didn’t even realize it until he pointed it out. I spent last night digging mud out of his boot soles, after he went to the dog park, as penance. He thanked me today, and even so, my brain was full of wishing I’d done better. Don’t I always? But I did a better job at cleaning them than I’ve ever done before, so I’ll be happy with that. And I’ll ask the other bootblacks for tips on Saturday.

Well, considering I wasn’t sure if I was going to post Anything today, I’d say that’s a fair bit of rambling about service. Good night, dear readers, see you next week.

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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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