Since my husband is far, far away and has been and will be mostly for some time to come, and i'm not really writing about sexy fun, even if there were some, and even control and that wonderful power flow aren't really in abundance - things are mostly on me and mostly about me at the moment. He will read - and that is the point in the end.
So many pieces pushed to the front of my brain recently and demanded to be considered all together. Oh well....
I worked through an activity with my students on the tension between the importance of the image they project/how they are perceived, and being true to their athentic selves.
That tension slays me.
But mostly i was thinking about my authentic self.
We went to a music competition thing at my kids' school. A lot of really bright, really talented kids. What i noticed - when the judges questioned the boys - the boys stammered a bit and were certainly not over confident, but they looked at the judges and answered. The girls looked at the floor, giggled, looked away, and never really did answer, never engaged in the conversation the judge was trying to have with them.
In class i notice, the women (who are by no means less bright or capable than the men) step back and look away when faced with opportunities to stand out, try something new, challenge themselves. The men not so much. They often stumble or have to try few times, but they step up and accept the challenge.
That got me thinking about educating girls vs. boys (I know - I'm hardly the only one - and yes - i have two boys - and even if i didn't - i'm not interested at all in limiting their opportunities, I don't want to level the field by lowering it, but by raising the girl side of things).
It made me think about my education - in a very small, rural, and very backwards area - a long, long time ago. I was insanely curious and a tomboy and i loved science. And by 3rd grade my teachers were taking me aside to ask me to not ask questions any more, to not "do so well at things so the other kids have a chance," to sit more quietly and to focus on more girl subjects. They also stopped allowing me (and a few other girls) to play sports at recess - girls had to sit and talk or play jumprope or jacks (yes - i'm old). This got repeated over and over for the next few years - by about 7th grade i was completely compliant - i didn't ask questions, i didn't answer questions in class, i withdrew completely, i intentionally dumbed down.
I'm sure i had been an obnoxious child to be around - always asking questions, wanting to challenge ideas, pushing.... I know - because i have one of those children - it's exhausting and he has had to learn to manage himself somewhat so as not to drive people away with his intensity. Peoples' perceptions do matter if you want to continue to be around them - even more so if you want to be friends, work with them, etc. There's a balance point in there. I didn't have a chance to figure that out, i just shut down.
Even now, still, i am learning to find and be my authentic self - curious, geeky, a little too intense sometimes, different in a lot of ways... and to modulate that appropriately for the context.
This includes D/s too - the tension: the being submissive but also intense and challenging, modulating without withdrawing and shutting down, being vulnerable without going back to my 7th grade self.
What's brilliant though - what's brilliant about my husband - is that he knows all of me. He knows the real me. The geeky, the weird, the intense, the insecure and the still learning... And somehow he embraces all of it and manages to let me keep all of it while still being his, still submitting all those contrary parts to him.