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.

Faith in Humanity

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I don’t do Black Friday. Ever. For any reason. Friday is my normal grocery shopping day but on Thanksgiving week, I make sure I stock extra provisions to hold the family over, lest I should have to venture out into the insanity of the holiday shoppers.

This year, I noticed an item that the family had been wanting/hemming/hawing over for a couple of years. It was absurdly cheap and so I found myself getting up this morning at the ridiculous hour of 6:30am to drive to a store nearly an hour away, with all of the other asylum residents.

On my way home, I was famished. The cereal I had consumed, three plus hours before, may as well have been eaten last week sometime, for all the energy it was providing. I was registering mild to moderate on the crabby scale because I got a bit lost on the way home.

I decided a breakfast sandwich would be just the thing … until I saw the drive-thru line … then I wasn’t so sure. Maybe a granola bar at home would work. Nope, fuck that. I’m doing something for me. I cranked up the stereo and sat in line.

While waiting, I contemplated if I had the funds to pay-it-forward. During the holidays, when people are so wrapped up in consumerism they forget to be kind, I will, when finances allow, pay for the car behind me in the drive-thru lane. I decided that since I wasn’t going out this weekend, that I would go ahead with it.

I pulled out the appropriate bill and got my pen ready, as it is my habit to write “Pay it Forward” on the receipt to be given to the customer with their paid for order. I looked in the rear-view mirror at the folks behind me. It was a young couple in an older car. I hoped it would make a difference in their day.

I pull up to the window, my schpeal at the ready, prepared for the cashier to be completely perplexed and for her to give me the why-would-you-pay-for-someone-you-don’t-know face that I have become accustomed to. She hands me my order and, with a huge grin, informs me that my order was paid for by the person in front of me.

I was immediately choked up. In all of the years I’ve been doing this for others, no one has ever done it for me. With my crabbiness obliterated and with tears in my eyes, I told her I would pay for the people behind me. She handed me my change, told me I was blessed, and sent me on my way.

Five bucks. That’s all it takes to make someone’s day.

Because they really mean as much as everyone says they do.

In the before time, she saw many posts about the power of “good girl”. Each viewpoint she read earned a scornful smirk. Oh come on now? Are there really this many grown women who need their hands held? Who need external validation? What a load of mass hysterical hooey this is. Though she never gave them voice, she had these thoughts in the before, when she could not begin to understand. The thoughts were born of ignorance. She is not proud of this.

In the before time, she could not know how impossibly difficult this life would be. She could not know that one person could become the focus of everything she is. She could not have known the crushing devastation of disappointing Him. She could not have known the brilliant internal illumination set aflame when being introduced as His girl. She knew none of this.

In the now, when she hears the incantation good girl she understands the power. There is a strength of emotion invoked that is belied by the simplicity of the words. For this reason she knows they are magical. They must be. There is no other explanation.

It is not always easy to hear. When she has failed, when she has disappointed, when she has been chastised, the words burn. When she needs to hear them most, they stab. They wound. They rend. She shakes her head in denial, at odds with them being spoken when she feels they cannot be true, while knowing He would not speak them if they were not accurate, authentic, sincere. She wants to be left alone to punish herself for whatever error she has made. Festering in failure, she wants to cover her ears, to tell Him to stop, to tell Him it hurts, to tell Him she is anything but good.

She has never been able to separate failure, the act, from failure, the person. She firmly believes if she fails in a behavior or task then she, the person, is proven once again to be a failure. As if the thing she could not, or did not, correctly do defines her. It is a brutal way to live, to go from one failure to the next, always knowing there will be a next. Each one a tick on the balance sheet of what a horrible person she is, knowing no matter how she tries, no matter how much good she does, it is not something she will ever, can ever, overcome.

And still, with all of this, given the countless times and the innumerable ways she has failed Him, He still says You are a good girl. He makes her say it, each word chipping away at the definition she has for herself, I’m a good girl, Sir.

You are my good girl.
Yes, Sir.
You are my good girl. Say it.
I am Your good girl, Sir.

And every once in a while she believes it.

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Wrong.

I read this post the other day. I literally read the first sentence and thought “WRONG!” I did plow on through the rest of the post, admittedly colored by the outrage I still felt from that first sentence. This is what floored me:

The job of a dominant is to bring contentment to those who submit.

Granted I’m not a dominant. If I may respond from my position as an s-type; (and I will since this is my space) No … just no … that’s not your job! This is so backward and foreign I want to give the author the benefit of the doubt and say that can’t be what he meant. It is not my Master’s job to be sure I’m content. I am in my Master’s life to bring Him contentment, to be there for Him, to make sure He is happy.

I defy any submissive to approach a prospective D-type and say “Your job is to make me content.” I cannot imagine a dynamic that one-sided on either side of the slash. A Dominant works every day to provide the structure in the dynamic. I should thank Him by also making Him responsible for my emotional well being? Not just no but, hell no!

If you are new to dominance, you need to be strong enough for the both of you, or in some cases, the several of you.

It is writings like this that pour fuel on the I’m a special little snowflake entitled submissive attitudes that infuriate me. I don’t need anyone to be strong for me. I can and will be strong for myself. Any relationship I am in has support from both partners involved. It is not always 50/50. There are days when I need 75% and there are days when I give 75%.

My point is this: No one should enter into any relationship expecting to give everything or to take everything. That level of expectation is unrealistic and unsustainable. I would love to believe that I can be all, do all for my partner. I would like to believe it. I also know it simply isn’t possible. We all have our limitations. Even Dominants.

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What is enough?

What follows is the sort of self-examination that I do not indulge in often. It is borne of uncertainty, deprivation, and cabin fever. It will most likely be lengthy. It will probably not be rational. I anticipate many rhetorical questions. I expect it will get messy. You may wish to simply move along as though none of this ever happened. If you choose to stay, I suggest you don your hip waders. You’ve been warned.

Today while showering, I happened to glance down and notice a faint purple tinged line running along the top of my thigh. I knew immediately this was the remains of a mark from my last play. It was the last vestiges of the hog slapper’s handle. A smile chased across my face. My body does not hold onto marks any more. This pains me. I used to rely on them to remind me that my experiences had in fact been very real, however dream-like they might seem. I don’t look for marks anymore. I give myself 24-48 hours to spot them and then I stop looking. I assign them too much weight. Their absence combined with sub drop can turn my emotions very ugly very quickly. I can’t tolerate the compounded aftermath.

Today when I saw this faint stripe, this simple mark, in the solitude and quiet of the shower, my mind immediately went back to that session, nearly a month ago now. I thought about how devastated I had been that weekend. I thought about how intensely sad I had been. I thought about how I almost staid His hand, thinking it would be better for me not to play when I was internally that much of a mess. I thought about feeling ashamed after the scene because I felt I hadn’t been enough, my pain tolerance wasn’t enough, I hadn’t taken enough, been hard core enough. I was so crushed that it followed me for more than a week after the fact.

This mark … nearly a month later. On my body that barely ever marks anymore. On my body that, when it does mark, they are gone in a few days. If this reminder is still on my thigh then the play must have been more intense than my perception of it.

The next station on my train of thought was Warped Perception Depot. I thought about all of the areas of my life where people often provide positive feedback that I do not hear, that I am unwilling(?) to accept. Talented creative, wonderful mother, asset to the community, graceful submissive, positive roll model. I have no trouble hearing, giving validity to, internalizing, and beating myself up repeatedly about anything negative that might be said, regardless of the quality of the source. When will I believe I am enough? When will I develop the ability to say Pfft, they’re a first class douche canoe! Their opinion holds no water?

I looked back at my life two years ago. I mentally cataloged the changes, the goals I set out and achieved:

I wanted to get in shape. I dropped 60 pounds. I exercise often and have a toned, fit body. Not good enough says my self-talk. Look at that paunch I say pinching the inch or so above my c-section scar. Where’s the full six-pack? Not enough.

I wanted to be happy. I wanted more. I wanted power exchange to be part of my life. I wanted to serve. I am owned by an amazing Master. My family has grown into a poly family. Seamlessly connected. Communication hurdles behind me. This relationship has enriched my life in ways I could not have imagined. My marriage is rock solid and we are happy. Not good enough! shrieks my inner demon. My memory is horrid but the demon has no trouble clinging tenaciously to every error in my submission, from the smallest misstep to the most grievous fuck up. If I think about them, I can feel each and every one as if they happened this morning. I have fleeting moments of selfishness. No matter that I am human. Not good enough.

I wanted my child to excel academically. He has been on the honor roll his entire academic career in spite of his disability. This year he was accepted into a prestigious school that admits only the best of the best. He maintains his position on the honor roll in spite of all the new challenges I pushed on him this year Sorry. No Mother of the Year for you. He still has no friends. This term he was only honors not high honors. He still has a few behavioral issues. He still has to be brow beaten to do his homework properly. He would still rather watch TV than read. At least once a week he fails to clean his room before breakfast. Not good enough. Not even close.

I wanted to waist train and learn to tight lace. My first corset was a 36. I’m now at 23 inches. People in my community come to me for advice on getting started. I’m considering teaching a basic course. Where’s that last inch, eh Corset Girl? You wanted 22 inches. So what gives? Why can’t you get it done? Never good enough.

As I mentally filed these things, and several other relatively minor accomplishments, I thought Jesus Christ! Are you EVER going to be kind to yourself? Ever? Even a little? And if the answer to that is “no” then what the fuck are you doing here? If you do everything in your power to be the perfect wife, the slaviest slave that ever slaved, Super Mom and it’s still not enough for you … why bother trying? What exactly are you working toward? It’s clearly not the goals you set out for yourself because you accomplish those and still find yourself sorely lacking. Seriously, what the fuck?

I believe there is always room for improvement in everything and everyone. I don’t know how to adhere to that belief while simultaneously being accepting of myself, my best efforts, and my accomplishments.

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