Wednesday, April 27, 2011

an evolution of helplessness

Sir J's post about helplessness ties in very directly with a lot of what i've been working on recently.  It's not in my nature to cut myself slack, but i'm doing it this time - i think that it's a process i had to go through, i'm sure i'm not finished and this is not the final word, i hope that i am learning and growing in a useful direction, but i think it is all part of the process. 

For me, helplessness isn't about ordinary things.  I can pretend to be helpless, it's an old game.  I play dumb sometimes too.  Sometiems he thinks it's cute, or maybe he just finds it annoying.  But it's uncommon, and it is just a game, no one is uncertain about that.

But my emotional balance, my mental state, my sense of well being and day to day frame of mind - those are all much, much more complicated. 

Prior to ttwd i certainly wouldn't say i had control of my emotions; at best, i barely learned to mask or hide them as needed.  I carried on in spite of them and maybe make it look like all was well.  But i absolutely didn't share them, and wouldn't consider looking outside myself for help in changing bad feelings, or in maintaining a sense of well being or mental balance.  In fact, i didn't have any way to change my moods or attitude myself either.  I wouldn't have known that was even a possibility. Emotionally, i just went where the wind blew.

One of the first things he pushed for once we agreed to extend D/s into all of our relationship was for me to be open with him about my feelings - really open, like i had never been before.  Also, we discovered early on that attention, spanking, pain, play, etc did help reset me, restore my mental balance, improve my mood, adjust my attitude - whatever you wish to call it.  It is good, it feels good, it is a release and a great reconnection. 

But it isn't always possible, mostly because of timing, and the reluctance on my part to depend on him for that.  A reluctance i fought to overcome. He wants to take care of me, he wants me to rely on him.  That is what he sees as the point and the gain of all this.  And one big area he wanted was for me to accept his help in my mental state.  And i didn't want that to happen.  It has been hard to learn to let that happen.  And now that i am learning it, it feels very good.

Only in the past few weeks am i starting to see that it isn't necesssarily service to him to depend on him for my emotional balance in the way that i had.  Sometimes it is just work for him.  And sometimes he needs me to work for him instead.  Sometimes what he really needs is for me to remain balanced and even joyful, to carry on, to help him remain balanced, to provide a respite. 

I have begun to see that the continued evolution may be my learning to control or balance my own emotions, my own mental well being.  I think this must be a fairly normal progression of ttwd.  Or maybe not, maybe it is just us.  We are certainly still figuring out us. 

There is a nice image in my head of my being able to be pleasant, and pleasing, and bringing him joy rather than strife and angst.  On the other hand, his image has to do with me being completely open, no longer resisting him, turning to him with all of me and relying on him.  Maybe there is a way for these two images to meld.  Maybe there is something more i haven't glimpsed yet.  I wonder if he has?  

Monday, April 25, 2011


The past few weeks have been wearisome.  I've tried again and again to write out my thoughts and what i've learned and how i got stuck; after all, that's what this blog was supposed to be for.  Often, writing it out does help me see things more clearly.  

This time though, i'm finding that i don't want to dwell here anymore.  I've had my mistakes pointed out, much to my chagrin and my shame.  I've talked it out.  And i'm fed up with myself for winding up right back in the same spot i've been in before.  I should be able to learn and move on. 

So i'm shamelessly stealing Xantu's technique here, with a twist.  A few bullet points of  things i would be well served to remember:
  • if i say i want this - i need to mean i want to follow him, his way, not mine - that is the underlying assumption of which i seem to keep losing sight
  • the fact that he wants and needs this dynamic in his way, not mine - does not mean he doesn't want or need it; quite the opposite, it means he gets it (and i've missed it - see above)
  • he doesn't need to use the words or gestures i think he should - i should pay attention to what he does say and do
  • that if what he needs is time, space, rest, patience, peace... then that is what i should try to provide
  • stopping me, holding me, kissing me, making me kiss him also - are perfectly good ways to say "I love you"
  • "I will" instead of "I want" is an incredibly useful paradigm shift (Thank you Sir J)
  • a crop, a flogger, and several canes are very good at changing a girl's mindset, re-focusing her on what she should, and resetting a wonderful feeling of connection
  • as effective and wonderful as those are - that girl needs to work to be the person he wants, and the person she wants to be for him, under her own steam;  that is what he really wants

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

full of myself

I've been trying to figure out why i'm so discontented, so off, so fragile and down...

And every path i take in my mind keeps coming back to "I want...."

So I will stop trying to figure it out - because i don't like me when I'm focused on "I want"

Saturday, April 16, 2011

it doesn't feel helpful

There have been a number of people writing about how a sub helps and supports her Dom when he is the one who needs it (see Dauntless Vitality here, and A Dominant Character here, and Kytten here.  I have to say though, that in my case, it doesn't feel like i am being helpful at all.   It feels like the most i am offering is not adding to the problems, and maybe staying out of the way.   To a mom and someone who is a problem solver by nature and profession - this doesn't feel like much. 

The phrase "still waters run deep" was coined just for my husband.  Add to this the fact that when he is upset about something, he doesn't usually respond then and there.  I really believe that he mulls over, deciding if it's an okay thing to be upset about, or if it's actually misplaced anger.  And he compartmentalizes like you've never seen: work in one box, home in another, the kids, politics, the price of gas, tea in china - all have a little box in his head and the ick from one almost never drips over onto another.   And (in the understatement of the century) he doesn't like to talk about his feelings.   Ok - I think i've covered all the applicable stereotypes.

The sum of all of this though is that he doesn't tend to get upset when and how you would expect.  He is so even keel that the tiniest ripples, the most subtle changes in behavior, can be almost alarming. This is the him that i know, i am familiar with it.  The subtle changes that most people, including our kids, don't even notice, can shake me to my core.

And the past week he has been very off, distracted, distant, not sleeping, and not at all connected.  This has been much more than tiny ripples, and I have been very, very shaken by it.  A day or two i can attribute to work or some other stress, by mid-week it was only getting worse. When i asked, he assured me it wasn't me, that he didn't know why he was so off-kilter, but i hadn't done anything to upset him. (Unless i keep prodding - that upsets him)

Previously, I would have become paranoid that he was hiding something, or defensive, as if he were blaming me, or just pissed off that he was being so unpleasant.   There *is* a new pattern now and that *is* a good thing.  I have been able to argue myself out of my paranoia or defensiveness.  I've managed to (mostly) keep moving and go about the usual day to day stuff.  I've gotten all the things done that needed to be done, without adding too much to his worry.  He knows i am very concerned and feeling unsure of how to act and wanting to be able to help. But my fears and upset haven't spilled over to infect the kids and rest of the house. 

So - to that end - i am glad i have been able to give him the time and space to work through what he needs to without the double burden of soothing the emotions of me and potentially the whole family.   I'm sure he has worried some, wondering if i would last or if i would come to a breaking point.  I can't change that though, it will take time for each of us to trust ourselves, each other,  and "the system." 

But still - not being an additional problem does not feel at all like being really helpful.  And i think that most people - of whatever flavor - do feel a strong desire to help when they see that someone they love is distressed. 

I don't have the feeling that i am accomplishing what seems to be described in any of the blogs i mentioned above.  I appreciate the explanations.  It sounds right and lovely and i want to believe that i offer him something similar.  I want to believe that this, essentially very passive, offering is really of some benefit to him.  I really have no idea if he views my submission as a comfort or even a good thing in his life.  I know that there are two competing implications of my submission: i feel much, much more acutely lost and hurt by his distance and withdrawal, but i am better able to trust him when he says it's not me and to wait and let him work through it. 

All of that aside though, it is always hard to watch someone you love struggle with something and not feel like you are able to help. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

unconventional cure

Sometimes, not often mind you because i am really most often just very demure and compliant, but every once in awhile, i get into a mood that just won't quit.

This mood was cute and playful - or irritating and smart-assed, depending on whom you ask.  And it wasn't the mood he was looking for.  He had a plan and that plan involved me being quiet and open and pleasing and - well - submissive.  He warned me that if i didn't get on board with the plan *now*, that he would make sure i did.  Of course, i was instantly intrigued and all thoughts of self control went out the window.  So i kept pushing. 

Topping from the bottom?  Certainly i manipulated the situation - he told me what he wanted, and i ignored that looking to see how he would respond.  Maybe i would like the response??  So on the surface - maybe people would call it topping.

On the other hand, we know each other well. When he really doesn't want to play games -  he just doesn't play.  He warns once, then tells me he will stop and roll over and leave me alone if I don't comply.  And I've pushed, and he has done just that, and frankly - it sucks and i won't push that way again. 

This was not that.  This time, he told me that if i didn't settle down it would "get intense."  Sounds like a gauntlet being laid - no?  Who could resist that?  Not I! 

He has in the past used the clover clamps always just hard enough and just long enough; he seems to magically know just when to stop.  This time went well beyond that, to the point that i was furious and genuinely worried, besides being very, very focused on the pain.  That got my attention.  

Then he turned attention into complete submission.  There is something about trying to get his whole fist up there that demands my entire focus be on him.  It requires me to be completely trusting and totally open to him (I know - duh).  And it always produces an overwhelming flood of sensations and emotions.  He got me right to quiet and open and pleasing -and oh so submissive. 

And it was a very, very good experience for me on a lot of levels.  But it leaves me wondering if he would have preferred I comply straight off, or if he enjoys the whole dance on some level as well. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

just because

The question is central in christianity - are we saved by grace or by faith or by our works.  In other words, do we earn God's love, or is God's love always there and we accept it or reject it, we live in it and work with it, or we don't. 

I actually am a little uneasy with drawing parallels between D/s and religion; but some of the parallels are undeniable, so off i go with my train of thought.

There are times that i catch myself feeling like i have to earn my husband's love and affection.  It's not often, and it doesn't come from him, it comes from me.   I love him because i do, not because he earns it.  Why do i soemtimes have trouble accepting that the other way around? 

I believe there are several big ways that D/s differs from abuse and i believe this is one of them.  The idea that love is contingent in any way, i think leads to abuse - or comes from the same faulty wiring as the abusiveness in any case. 

When i catch myself thinking about earnign his love - it also makes me wonder if that's where this submissiveness comes from. Is that why this desire to serve, to please, to give myself to him? Is it so i feel worthy or that i earned his love for me?   Or at least, that i earned the care he takes of me? 

I don't understand this submissiveness at all.  One side of it is the fact that i need certain things, or at least i function and relate and thrive much better when handled in certain ways.  The other side is that i have an undeniable impulse to act certain ways - to do things for him, to please him, to offer myself to him.  (I know i've repeated myself - i don't know how else to say it). 

Actually - i did deny those impulses for very long time, or just refused to recognize them. And I can still hear the voice in my head telling me that I shouldn't let myself be used, or be taken advantage of, or that I needed to be vigilant to keep things fair or i would end up being walked all over.  It wasn't an altogether useful way to live and relate.  No matter what i may have said or believed, that kept me at a self imposed distance. 

I still don't understand being submissive.  I am this way just because and he loves me just because. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

what i want vs what he wants

He has told me what he wants.  It's not at all a long or detailed list.  There are some rules, things he never felt he should have a say in previously, that now he likes done his way.  Most of that  - I've mostly managed.  And there is only very minimal anything that could be called a ritual.  It's pretty simple stuff, and even at that, i kinda push back.  Or if not pushing back, i giggle and manage not to offer it gracefully or graciously.  Honestly - i can't imagine what it should look like: standing naked waiting to get into bed, asking permission to get into bed.   How should that look?  What does one do with her hands, her eyes? 

Overall, big picture, there are a few things that are very important to him and those he wants to be made to happen.

He wants me to focus on my work.  He wants me to not let drifting off into this world in my mind, or chatting, or anything else, interfere.  He wants me to succeed at it - not just their definition of success, but for me to feel i have really accomplished what i can.  And for the most part, I do.  (Have i mentioned here that i really, really like my new job?  It's a great fit, it combines all my occupational passions into one job, the people around me are engaged and supportive and challenging, in a good way; it's the perfect position for me to be the things i love to be, and not need to be what i am not.)

He wants a peaceful home: structure with plenty of room for fun, order but not living in a museum, warmth and love that the boys will feel safe to come back to so they can go out and conquor the dragons in their own worlds...  Honestly, that has come pretty naturally with the change in our dynamic.  It just flows better.

He wants me to take care of myself.  I used to run.  Actually, i used to really enjoy doing triathalons.  I also liked being fit.  Just to clarify, lest anyone have a really skewed image of me - I'm no true athlete, I'm slow and plodding even when i'm in shape.  But i've gotten far, far away from anything resembling 'in shape.'   And this is what he would like me to get back.  But it's hard, and it's boring, and there's no time, and i'm getting old, and it's cold out (or too hot), and i would rather stay in, and, and, and... 

And this is just a really mundane thing for him to ask of me.  It's not sexy or erotic or exciting or the kind of challenge i want.  It's like laundry - if you do it today, it just needs to be done again tomorow, and the next day.  And it's something i should do anyhow.  I would face this same challenge if i had never heard of ttwd. 

If only he could ask of me something more fun, maybe erotic or provacative, like in all the fun stories: maybe being plugged (as i do laundry), or wearing nipple clamps (to walk the dog), or going pantiless (to the kids' soccer practice.)  On second thought - my life may not be suited to erotic fiction at all. 

I can convince myself that my working out helps him too.  I've never had, nor will ever have, a killer body - so that's not the gain for him.    But, when i can get into a routine,  i am better balanced, i like myself better, i have more energy, etc. It also it helps him stay on track.  He has his ups and downs and stressors and busy times and, and, and... just like me.  It's easier for both of us to stay on track if both of us are on the track together.  Plus, lets face it, it makes it easier for me to get my knees behind my ears first thing in the morning, or to hold that really low position he likes a little longer.  

So - when he nudges me, or outright tells me to pull my shoes on and get out the door, i try hard to do just that.  I just hope he doesn't mis-interpret all this and decide I should wear nipple clamps under my jogbra or a plug to swim. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

i caught a glimpse

For a moment last night i caught a glimpse of it and it was beautiful!

Ok - that may be overly melodramatic - but i did see something last night.

Often when he asks me at night what i have to tell him - i freeze up.  The millions of thoughts i have during the day, even the ones i chew on and worry over, all poof away, or stay just far enough out of reach that i see them, but can't make them coalesce enough to make him see them.  Last night the words just flowed and i heard my thoughts for the first time along with him. 

I want to be able to let go of worrying about this dynamic.  I want to be able to trust him on the level that means i don't look at it, and watch it, and wonder about it, about whether it's going the way it should, whether it's going too fast or too slow, or even whether it's going at all.  I want to be able to worry about him and about me, not about whether he is keeping us going the way i think i want. 

More accurately - i want the thoughts about needing to watch over this dynamic to stop occuring to me at all. Right now - they occur, I argue with myself, wrestle them into a corner and force myself to behave as if they don't occur - which only really works to a degree.  Doubt, irritibility, silliness, fatigue - all of these creep out anyhow, or crop up because of this internal wrestling match. 

I know i can't actually let go of knowing how i feel about things, imagining what i might like, craving this or that at a particular time - but i can envision being able to accept all those thoughts, see what they mean about me maybe, but not using them as a test of our dynamic. 

And i dont think its a matter of letting go of all of my feelings and desires and responses, or pretending those thoughts don't exist.  I think it's a matter of being able to tell him that this is what i feel or think or imagine - purely in letting him know - not with a view to nudging him one way or another, not strategically to keep things flowing when i think they might be stalling, but just because its something i want to share with him.

I've come to this realization before.  That keeps happening: the same concepts keeps coming up, but on a different level or in a different way.  That was the glimpse i got.  I knew, still know, that there is a lot of control left to give over.  I'm not upset with myself about it and i don't wish he had just taken that control.  It's not the kind he can take or force or even ask me to give because it is way down deep in my mind.  I think we both know it's there but had no idea what it looked like or how to get at it.

My outward appearance, my behavior, is what it is - but we both know that is forced at times and in some areas.  That's ok.  It's like that grade school question about sin: if i think it but don't act on it, is it a sin?  What we actually do - in spite of our thoughts and impulses - is what matters.  But i think as we get older we realize that we ought to mature in our thoughts and desires too.  Why do we have those not nice thoughts?  How can we get around to a way of being so that our first thoughts are better?

In this case, my first thoughts and impulses aren't what i see they necessarily can be, what i think i want them to be.  But i need to get around to a way of being that the place they come from sends up the right kind in the first place.  And that's what i caught a glimpse of last night.  I saw what it would feel like to have the right kinds of impulses, that I'm not just surpressing the desire for control in this area, that it just isn't occuring to me at all. 

Actually, melodramatic or not,  it was beautiful.  While i was listening to myself describe this to my husband, i could feel the relief of it, and the joy.  Maybe now that i can see it, i can start getting at it.