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.

 

 

 

Piercings: 3 weeks later

It’s now a touch over three weeks since I had my piercings. I continue to heal as expected.

By the time a few days had passed, the sides of both of my nipples were black with bruising. The bruising took a couple of weeks to clear up. This was surprising to me, as any marks I have from play are typically gone in just a few days. The color was truly disturbing and fell outside the realm of normal, for me. Then again, I’d never done anything like this before so, I suppose it stands to reason.

The nips do still feel achy at points during the day, especially when taking off or putting on a bra. They can be downright painful when I’m doing something stupid like carrying heavy things whilst leaning them against my chest. Also not fun, the very tight hug. It smooshes them in ways they should not be smooshed at the moment.

The past week(ish) my left nipple has been giving me grief. It feels very much like I have a horrible bruise on the southern half. I attribute this to somehow catching it on something while I was sleeping. I don’t know how this happened. I’ve been wearing a bra to bed just like I’m supposed to. I don’t keep tools, dildos, or implements of pain in my bed while I’m sleeping. In spite of that, it undeniably got caught on some thing some how. A wrinkle in the sheet perhaps? Maybe I dragged the fitbit on my wrist across my breast as I moved. Again, I can’t say. I can say that I woke up from a dead slumber with pain nearly as bad is when it was being pierced, which did not fade for several hours. That side has been temperamental ever since. There’s nothing to see. (Believe me, I know because I keep looking thinking there has to be something there.) It just hurts every so often.

The VCH is progressing nicely. Nicely enough that I couldn’t resist trying a little self love. Readers, let me tell you, if you go out and get a VCH (and you totally should because, adorable) you’re going to have to start from square one when it comes to clitoral masturbation. There is now this piece of metal in the way of what you were (probably) doing before. What you did before is not going to work and, depending on your methods, might hurt like nothing I can begin to describe.

I can tell you for certain what you won’t be doing anymore. You will absolutely not, for any reason, be placing your Hitachi directly on your clit. Go ahead. Try it. I dare you. You will swear all the minions of Satan are attempting to rip your nerves out through your skin with fiery pliers from hell. Seriously though, don’t do it.

Having said that, there is hope. With enough motivation, persistence and practice. you will be able to learn some new moves that will get you there, if ya know what I mean. (Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink. Say no more.)

Word to the wise: When your piercer suggests that you might want to avoid skinny jeans and other tight fitting pants for a while? Listen to that person. They know what they are talking about. I can personally testify that if jeans are a bad idea, leather pants are doubly so. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

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.

The Day After

POSSIBLE TMI. You have been warned.

I am slightly over 24 hours post piercing. I do not have constant pain. I do get twinges in my breasts from time to time. They are momentary and minor.

I woke this morning to find my nipples crusted in blood that did not come off during my morning saline soaks as I was told it would. When the soak failed, I figured the worst of it would come off in the shower and, as instructed, I could take a q-tip to the rest. This approach was mostly successful save one extremely stubborn blood clot on the outer edge of my left nipple. I sterilized a pair of tweezers and removed it because it was just gross. I followed this with a sterile saline rinse to all piercings.

I was instructed not to touch any of the jewelry unless I had thoroughly washed my hands and even then only for cleaning purposes. While cleaning my left nipple, I could not get off this stubborn black mark that I had interpreted to be left-over marker which was used to mark the placement.

Given that I’m not supposed to fiddle with the jewelry, and it was becoming progressively more uncomfortable trying to remove the mark, I figured what the hell, I’ll just leave it. It’ll wear off on it’s own. It turns out this was a good decision because it’s not a mark at all. It’s a flipping bruise! What can I say? I’m old and busted and I don’t see all that well anymore.

nip_bruising

I realized, when taking this picture, that my nipples have been erect since the piercing. I can’t help but wonder if they will always be that way now. I suppose time will tell. It’s kind of funny considering I’ve always been self conscious about people noticing when they get hard. Oh, I’ll tell you what, though, there is pain when I get cold and my nipples get very hard, the way nipples do when it’s cold. That smarts big time. I’m working on not getting chills for the next couple of weeks because, ouch.

I don’t have any visible bruising from the VCH. (Even if I did there would be no pic forthcoming, ’cause I don’t do that, which is a shame because the jewelry really is darling.)  It doesn’t hurt at all, not even mild discomfort. It is “weeping” clear fluid which is not unexpected. I was told this would be part of the healing process. I was not told it would be annoying. Again, it is a minor thing and it will pass.

Since I got the VCH, I have had this mind over matter issue with urination. I have a complete understanding of the female anatomy. I fully grasp that the wound is above my urethra. I cannot seem to get it through my head that urinating will not hurt, no matter how many times I do it. I still have to concentrate on relaxing and still, I wait for the pain that doesn’t come. This was unforeseen and very odd.

I do not at all regret having them done. I am, thus far, very happy with how things are progressing. I’m particularly pleased with the unexpected lack of pain.