TMI Tuesday: Love, Work, and Money

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1. When did you last sing a love song? What song? Did you sing it to someone?
I sing everyday. I don’t think any of them have been love songs lately but, then again, I am often unaware that I am singing, much less what I’m singing.

2. How do you want to spend a special day with your lover?
Being in his presence is special enough. I often joke that sitting in a room just looking at him is all that matters.

3. What is the ideal number of calls/texts a couple should exchange in a day? Why did you say that?
This is dependent on whether they live together or not. If they co-habitate, once a day is plenty. It’s not as if they won’t see each other over dinner. If they are apart, at least once a day.

4. With regards to work, what do you enjoy doing (again, and again)?
Anything creative. While I enjoy design, I much prefer execution over design. It is the making of a thing that satisfies me.

5. Are you on track with your work career? Are you where you wanted to be with education, training, position?
Nope. Not on track at all. I left that environment to care for my child. My job as a full-time mother is almost at an end. I’m not sure what I’ll do when my time is my own, once again.

6. What do you want to avoid in your job/career?
Monotony.

7. Money–do you have enough?
There is no such thing as “enough money”.

8. On Valentine’s day do you normally buy your loved one a romantic gift or a practical, usable gift?
We stopped buying gifts for each other a long time ago. If time allows we often go out to dinner or a movie. Sometimes both, though that’s the exception.

9. Are you being paid fairly?
I had a good long laugh over this one. No. Mom’s don’t get paid. No, it’s not fair. That is the way it is. That’s the way it has always been. I expect that is the way it always will be.

10. What’s the most money you’ve ever given away?
As a matter of practice, I don’t give money away. I recently made an exception and donated $20 to a local club. That’s honestly the only time I can remember having done such a thing.

Bonus: What’s the biggest personal change you’ve ever made?
Geez. There have been many significant changes over the course of my life as, I would expect, is the case for most who reach this age. The changes I’ve made over the past 4 years or so have certainly been monumental. I would have to say becoming a mother was the biggest and most permanent.

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How to play TMI Tuesday: Copy the above TMI Tuesday questions to your webspace (i.e., a blog). Answer the questions there, then leave a comment below, on the TMI blog post, so we’ll all know where to read your responses. Please don’t forget to link to tmituesdayblog from your website!

We

Have you ever been alone in a crowded room? Have you ever been alone in a relationship? Have you ever been alone while in bed with your spouse?

Until recently, in the historic perspective of my life, I was alone. I heard the word “we” often. We better get to work. We have to do something about his behavior. We need to pick up more detergent.

In all of these cases, and many more, the We really meant you – You better get to work because the team is going to miss the due date and it’ll be blamed on you. You have to come up with and implement a strategy that will get the little man back on track. You need to remember to pick up detergent at the market.

Then my Boy came into my life. He has said we from the very beginning. I’m sure of it, though I did not hear it until very recently. He and I were talking about one of my persistently fluctuating health issues. He said, and I will never forget this, which is saying something if you know anything about my memory, he said “We still don’t know what it is.”

He meant that we. He meant it as it is defined in the OED. He meant the two of us. He meant we will do this together, no matter what it takes. He meant I am by your side. He meant we are partners, facing whatever life brings.

I still hear the echos of that we. The we that was so very different from any we before. I hear it when I lay in the dark. I hear it when I obsess about all the things in life that are beyond my control. I heard it today when the little man asked how I was and I told him honestly. He replied “Maybe you should go to the doctor.” I thought, There’s that you, again. Then I heard we and was reminded of all the promise held by those two letters.

Empathy

Today, I read this brilliant post on fet by @TheFerrett. (For those without fet accounts, find it here, if you’re interested.) He talks about love languages and how acting from a place of your partner’s love language instead of your own can, at first, feel awkward.

I am one who practices empathy on a regular basis – sometimes voluntarily, often not and it seems the involuntary empathy is always from other’s pain. I want everyone to be happy. If happiness isn’t possible, I want the people I love to know I stand by their side.

If my partner needs to explore the world of, oh I don’t know, green grapes, let’s say. I think green grapes are an absurd, ridiculous waste of time, energy, and money, because hey, what did green grapes ever teach me and you’re only going to flush them down the toilet (metaphorically) in a few hours anyway. Being a loving partner, I not only support their eating of green grapes but I seek out new varieties. I send them hyperlinks to Green Grape Enthusiast blogs. I make the attempt to understand the basics.

This is what it is to be an active partner. I do not force my views of green grapes on my partner. This won’t change how they feel about grapes. All it will do is make me look like a selfish clod who has a closed mind. If I tell them how stupid grapes are every time they talk about it, they won’t share that part of themselves with me anymore. My partner won’t stop loving, eating, trying, reading about grapes. They will do it when I’m not around.

This is how walls are built. This is how relationships fail. I guess what I am saying is, I get it. I get what @TheFerrett is talking about: Practice empathy. Be there for your partners, not in the way you want to be or in the way that is comfortable for you. Be there in the way they need you to be.

 

 

 

The High Cost of Living

Over on Fet today, @TheFerrett posted a brilliant piece of writing about the cost of social interaction. (It can be found here for those without Fet accounts.) He noted that the cost is different for everyone and generally higher for introverts than extroverts.

Ferrett used the analogy of budgeting well being. For most people talking to someone they don’t know is about a dollar, while for Ferrett, it’s fifty bucks. Again, it’s a brilliant piece that wonderfully illustrates what I’ve been trying to explain to those close to me, for what seems like forever.

As I kicked this around my brain, I thought about what my costs would be in terms of Ferrett’s analogy. I think they would look something like this:

Going to a lifestyle event with people I know              $20
Going to a new lifestyle event with people I know     $30

Going to a lifestyle event alone     $40
Going to a new lifestyle event alone     $60

Engaging in conversation when approached by someone I don’t know   $75
Approaching someone I don’t know to introduce myself   $100
Talking about myself with anyone other than family    $200

Existing, without speaking to anyone, in a venue with a lot of people (variables include size of venue, number of people, noise, etc.)
$30 first hour, $40 second hour, $50 third hour, $60 fourth hour

Asking for help from those who do not live in my household     $250 min.
Asking for help from the Husband     $5 – $50 (context dependent)
Asking for help from the boy    $1

Cold selling anything (raffles, soliciting donations, products, etc)  $1000
Selling to people who come to me     $300

Confrontation of any kind     $700

When you consider how these stack, and that these costs are per interaction, an evening at the local dungeon can get quite pricey. A weekend at a lifestyle event takes a solid week, which includes sleeping in and quiet alone time, to refill my emotional wallet.

Still, given all of this, I’m much better than I used to be. There was a time in the not-too-distant past that just attending a munch was a couple of grand. It does get better with practice.

On Brats and Bratiness

Recently there was a post on fet, written by a 40 year old male Dom, the topic of which was bratty submissives. For those who do not have fet accounts I’ll nutshell it for you: The OP does not want “blind obedience” and therefore he finds brats exciting. He goes on to say that they should brat with commitment, like it matters.

I’m going on record here: Brats piss me off. When I was a dedicated submissive I did not practice blind obedience AND I was not a brat. Shockingly, (#sarcasm) those are not the only two options. I was required to question my Master. I was required to respectfully speak my mind. See that word “respectfully”? That’s my issue with bratiness. It smacks of lack of respect.

I worked incredibly hard to always be respectful, to always obey, to always honor my commands, to complete tasks correctly and in a timely fashion. For outsiders, I appeared to be a model submissive who carried herself with grace and confidence. In my mind and, within the intimacy of my dynamic, I did not always succeed. In fact, if I’m being honest, despite my best efforts, for a whole bunch of reasons, I wasn’t a very good submissive. Though it was certainly not for lack of trying.

In my current dynamics, I expect my submissive/bottom to be respectful in all things. They consent to be submissive. I am not forcing them to do as I say. They have consented to relinquish their power to me. This is true for both a one hour scene or a long-term power exchange. I am not going to battle for obedience. By agreeing to be my submissive, regardless of duration, the individual has agreed to obey me.

Let’s face it, realistically, most of my bottoms outweigh me by at least 100 pounds. If they do not wish to obey me there is very little I can do to make them. I can punish them for disobedience, sure. Again, they have to allow it. I cannot physically force them to be still and take it. It’s just not possible.

My only true recourse is to revoke my domination. I am in charge. I will listen to your input with the same intent you afford me. I may not always change my directive. Obey me or I will not play with you. Period.

“May I” Those two words prefacing any statement, concept, idea, question, immediately make clear that the one saying them understands they have something to say and they must ask permission to say it, in a respectful manner.

I don’t want anyone doing something I ask blindly. It is entirely possible there is a valid reason why they should not be doing it. Any submissive/bottom in my care is welcome to speak up. My only requirement is that they do it with respect.