Something Nothing

Alan Watts says that nothing can bring clarity to something. As I walked today, I realized that until Sir and I break it off, I will never truly understand our relationship. More to the fact, I will never truly understand myself within our relationship. I will never understand Sir. He is too compartmentalized in his life to open up to one person and show his entirety. Perhaps he will one day find that person he can trust with his emotions, his innermost thoughts, his being but it is not me.

In the beginning, I may have thought one day I could be that person but now I know I am not. Up until the last few years, I accepted this but now with his other partner, I imagine my deficits. But it would be simplistic to think I am jealous or beating myself up with jabs at my self-esteem. It is neither. It is the lack of connectedness that hurts me. For so long, the power exchange was the connection between us. When the whip struck, I felt this deep connection, a yielding to his power increasing my desire and erotic need. The last time as the Cossacks whip struck, I searched my memories frantically attempting to process the pain and figure out why did I ever enjoy this? It is the connection between us that has disappeared. Sir is not a talker and seldom tells me how he feels about me. It probably totals one hand’s worth. His answer when I request words are to look at his actions. I want to reply, “including your betrayal?” but it would do no good. I understand why he did it and beneath the betrayal I believe he has feelings towards me. Or maybe it is simply his arrogance that he can have it all his way.

Maybe his feelings towards me no longer exist. Perhaps he ties me based on pity. Perhaps I am simply an occasional contrast to his other partner who doesn’t like pain and tight bondage. Submission is not acting like a doormat and yet I am acting like a doormat and can’t seem to help myself.

Why do I stay in this relationship? He is the friend I have relied on for over a decade. Life is so uncertain now that circumstances may end our relationship without the dramatic break-up. And there are moments I can set aside my hurt and he actually makes me believe he needs me and the ropes once again tingle against my skin. But in my imagination, it is always the 3 of us in the room. Has he applied the ropes this way to her? Did we not talk because they were meeting yet telling me we would talk? I know he would enjoy that sense of power – tying one and talking to the other in secret. The whole don’t ask-don’t tell is really ridiculous and demeaning to both of us. Don’t lead me on with unmet expectations and subterfuge. Let me live my life.

I want the confrontation fueled by all of my hurt and lack of understanding but it is also so boring, dramatic and painful. Why not just wait and let the inevitable happen? I am getting older and maybe my desire to be loved with ropes will diminish and the next stage of my life will let me be free. At that point I bet I understand what has gone on before.

Power Exchange

Power exchange. There is so much to dwell on when I think these two words together that I end up in a muddle. For much of my life, I did not have the vocabulary to even voice to myself my need for it. What did it mean for a woman to deeply desire someone else to be in charge? Did this mean I was less of a person – ignorant, weak, ineffective as a human being? I did not even know of power exchange relationships and there was no internet to just google my needs. I do remember reading some Christian book on letting the husband be in charge but my spouse at the time just thought I was “insane.” So I waited and survived and buried my feelings.

It wasn’t until I found the kinky world that I was able to enunciate my deepest need to myself and identify the missing part of me. I remember so vividly the day Sir collared me and I sobbed at the intensity of the feeling. I felt so powerful, needed, desired, and fulfilled as a woman and a human being. I believed in our relationship and his ownership with no doubts but only truth and the absoluteness of it. I know how I felt in that time of bliss and I felt complete.

Let us not forget that life is impermanent. Doubts crept in since Sir could never enunciate what I needed – that he believed as equally as I did. I will never know if Sir felt the corresponding feelings or if he felt anything. Perhaps it was just part of the physical game to him. Sir never speaks of feelings so I have been left to interpret his actions or come up with my own story. I tell myself Sir gave me what I needed because he cared so deeply for me but this thought will never be confirmed. I gave the collar back to Sir and sometimes I broke up with him but I always returned.

I do not understand this thin line of control that Sir maintains between us. We play around with orgasm control now but that is the only non-physical aspect of power exchange between us. And it means almost nothing to me so I wonder why we keep this vestige of the past? After Sir’s Great Reveal I know I asked for something to satisfy my mental need but really I was asking to recreate the past but the past is past. With the changes of my life, this too will disappear and I wonder if I will miss it. Long ago, Sir said he would never let me go but now maybe he will say goodbye forever. I don’t know. I do know when I think of that kind of forever, I can’t breathe.

Why does this thin line of control still persist, at least on my part? I know the moment it was created – I disagreed with Sir and he didn’t reject me but remained. I could cry, run away, fight, argue and yet he didn’t reject me but let me rant and rave until I gave in to his control. Underlying all of this drama was simply friendship, respect and understanding. And there have been inadvertent moments of reinforcement so that this underlying feeling remains deep inside me. I simultaneously need him to let me go yet fear this might destroy me. The hurt of his big lie wars with total understanding of why he did it and a constant thought of it is not the same as it was. It is time for that leash to be cut.

I am left now to figure out why did I need this so badly and do I still need it? Is there a replacement for it? I have to just wait and see.

Work

Beware the barrenness of a busy life.

Socrates

I heard this quote and realized this has been my motto. At some point in my tweens, I began to focus on good grades, hard work, control, and all the aspects of gamesmanship that would lead to a “successful life.” There was time at the end when the work was done to enjoy life. I don’t mean I haven’t done things I wanted to do or that my life was unhappy, but my focus was never on what brought me joy. Joy was squeezed into the moments of work, responsibility and obligation. The pandemic has forced me to stop and examine my life in preparation of this next big step of retirement. Meditation, secular Buddhism, and physical health have become my new focus but primarily I have been trying to figure out who the hell I am. I no longer want to be a chameleon blending myself into external expectations.

My life has been a series of fits and starts attempting to determine what I liked, where I belonged, and what made me feel good inside. I too am impermanent and most likely once I figured it out in the moment, I changed initiating a new wave of self-reflection. A new insight to myself arises and then I forget whatever it was due to my busy-ness. Now I am practicing mindfulness and focusing on my reality in the moment. That stress in my jaw and shoulders doesn’t solve anything. Relax! Given what I have learned about Buddhism, what is real in this moment? This is a learning activity.

In the next few months, my life will undergo tremendous changes. Difficult decisions will need to be made. Will I keep working? Will I see Sir ever again? Is it the end of my kinky life? Will I find some kind of purpose in life or just sit and watch Netflix? Will my family be OK? How much should I be involved in their lives?

Decisions though exist only in the moment they are made. I see now I made decisions and threw them out into the universe believing I had control over the outcomes. Not so fast grasshopper, said the universe! Unexpected outcomes, roads not taken, and new roads appearing occurred most of the time. I see these ideas reflected in my need for a power exchange relationship and bondage. I give up control to Sir and the ropes and as I say yes to this decision, I still believe I control the outcome. I think I know Sir well enough to predict his actions and when he doesn’t act as predicted, it shocks me. Same with my every day decisions – life shocks me.

I have always said I am a busy person. I cannot stop being who I am. Perhaps it is in my genetics. I enjoy doing things, going places, learning new things, and most of all, challenging myself in my doing. My kink has been an attempt to control who I am but it has never been enough with Sir. It has always been a bit of control and then long stretches of me being me overwhelmed with a to-do list. I no longer believe the universe will present me that person where I feel complete. I accept my aloneness so maybe the answer is just me: being strong enough to just stop, determine what is real and then get on with it.

Impermanence

According to Buddhist philosophy, everything in life is impermanent. It flows from one state to the next whether the view is external or internal. The last few years certainly exemplify this belief and I have had to adjust my thinking to incorporate the uncertainty into what I base my life on. Uncertainty is frightening if I am in a negative mood but with a positive view, uncertainty can also be the beginning of a new adventure.

This week marks the 13th year anniversary of my relationship with Sir. It means absolutely nothing to him but to me, it marks the passage of time and personal growth. I began this adventure with excitement, ignorance, and some trepidation. I quickly discovered that bondage, impact play and dominance were the missing feelings that fulfilled me. There was nothing I could do about abruptly changing my life at that point so this part of my life became my shadow life.

My relationship with Sir was never about living together and has morphed over the years into something that lacks the sweetness of the beginning years. I always vowed to capture our relationship in words when it was over. It is not quite over yet but I sense it on the horizon. Life does not stand still and that horizon will be filled with immense sadness but I will try to find excitement and joy in the freedom.

Oh the wonder and joyful immersion into those first few years! I love to learn new things and every kinky term was brand new and shiny. Each time I met Sir, it was so wonderful to feel the ropes on my body which quivered in expectation, my breath coming rapidly, and my need evident. All I wanted was to be dominated, held in safety with ropes, and to be Sir’s slave. The first few months, I felt it was never enough and discovered the term sub frenzy. Neither of us had the time to meet often enough to satisfy my kinky cravings and I had to learn control.

For the next handful of years, our relationship deepened and expanded but also had periods of contention. There was a contract, dominance and impact play. Sir expanded my abilities as a bottom with imaginative bondage expectations and extreme impact play. But Sir was a switch and I lacked the confidence to top him. Eventually I did my best but never felt I was good enough. Although we talked, we lacked communication. Love was a four-letter word. Assumptions were made. I lived in the compartment of Sir’s life he created for me and cried and thrashed at the confinement but accepted the rules. Thinking back, I still don’t understand why I stayed except for the fact that Sir completed me.

Our individual lives changed drastically and we had less time to meet but we held on and stayed together. Then the political situation changed and Covid arose and then I found the reason for the last few years of thinking something wasn’t right: Sir had taken another partner. It had gone on for 5 years and I had sensed it but he denied it. I can understand taking a partner but not the betrayal. We proceeded in a don’t-ask-don’t tell type of polyamory (the worse type of polyamory that exists!). It is not really polyamory, but cheating with permission.

We talk. We still play. We vow to communicate more effectively. But the relationship has changed. I am not the same person and I can’t view Sir with the same look of ownership and respect. He is my friend and top and I accept Sir as he is because I feel he is a good person who does his best just as I do. I have tried to find other partners but I am in my 60s and nothing has clicked for me. My body hurts and I know the day will come when I can’t tolerate the tight hogtie or Cossack’s whip. I will retire and move away. However that is the future and who knows what we come in the next moment.

I sit here now thinking of the last 2 years. That knowledge changed me – I found meditating, walking and secular Buddhism in order to cope with the stress. I am thankful for the cause and effect of Sir’s news because I have become a more open-minded individual. I am (I hope) more positive about life since good things can come from bad if you change your viewpoint. I cannot live in the past but I feel I can use all of our history to better understand myself. But even that understanding is transitory and looking in the mirror yields nothing but a reflection.

Grasping

This morning yoga focused on grasping and attacking life in attempt to get “something.” Once again, I see that is my mood. I am grasping with hands outstretched to the universe desiring “things” that most likely are unattainable.

I have a list of desires and wishes – needs and wants – that I think I must have immediately. It drives me into a frenzy.

In yoga, grasping and attacking the pose is frowned upon. Instead one must relax into the pose. As with yoga, I need to relax and let life come to me and stop thinking time is running out. It is not.

The frenzy does not need to control me so I will relax into it today and let it evaporate. I am not sure I can do it but I will try.

I just wish I belonged somewhere and someone said “good girl” to me and took the weight of judgment from my shoulders … just for a bit.

Grief

A big part of my depression is grief. There are many components to this grief and I am not sure how to process that grief. There are days where the anger takes over and I find it difficult to hide it and not lash out at people. Other days I function in a fog of optimism that I plaster on my face. This works when I focus on my immediate surroundings and keep my grief and discontent at bay. I can’t be tired or distracted and have to be focused for this to occur. Eventually the grief will lessen – I hope.

As I hit each birthday mile marker, I accepted the new number and just got on with life. But the last few birthdays have not been easy. I have no time to exercise and feel the skin pooling at my feet. And most likely no amount of exercise will tighten the skin. I walk and do yoga every day but still I shuffle along, dragging the sagging skin behind me. There are things I want to do again – run, horseback ride, bike – and I know my body will not allow these activities. I make do with what I can do. I grieve the loss of what I could do.

My kids are adults now and I am no longer needed as that person who kept them safe and cheered them on into life each day. I am not ostracized from their life but I am not an intricate part of their lives also. They have become distinct adult entities as it should be and live their lives. But empty nest is a big part of my grief since it leaves a hole that I have been unable to fill. My dog passed away and the emptiness is profound. I am at the bottom of a well with no way out.

And I grieve the loss of what I thought I had with Sir. Our relationship has changed and perhaps it is better than it was. But there are moments when I think what I believed and realize it was a reality conceived in my head. I cannot help but grieve that loss. This component of my grief is larger than Sir though. I grieve my kink, my needs, my desire to be out and display who I am because I am proud of this part of my self. Instead I skulk around repressing the most important component of my identity.

I do not wish to be mired in grief. I have much to be grateful for and I appreciate it. But grief does something to your brain and I can’t seem to change it back to a more favorable view of life. It is a struggle. In moments like this, I need a strong Master who takes me in hand and whips the pain of living out of me. Someone who cares for me and wishes to define the outer edges of my universe so I do not feel overwhelmed with possibility. I cannot do this on my own but I guess I must try.

Crossroads

I stopped writing due to lack of time and a reluctance to contemplate my life and probably depression. Since I last wrote an entry, I have not had any insights or revelations that would settle my mind and give direction to my future. For my whole life, the thousand gears in my brain have churned out answers, prepared for the unexpected and attempted to keep loved ones safe. As the pandemic lifted, I threw a spanner into those gears and have attempted to stop thinking. I decided to take it a day at a time and make no rash decisions since none were expected. However not thinking about my life is just as bad as overthinking my life. I decided I need to write it down even if I limit my writing to a paragraph or to 15 minutes. It is writing or a therapist – one or the other. Something has to give.

The title is crossroads since that is where I am. Sir would say I am at a fork on a path in the woods and would start the long lecture on “the road not taken”. I get it. It is useless to look to the past since I cannot change and I do not exist in that molecular configuration and time does not exist in that physical configuration. But when I do look, I see myself making the same decisions over and over resulting in the same purposeless life over and over. Perhaps I cannot escape who I am – perhaps my genetics holds me to one long decision made over and over.

I can retire which should be a time of joy. I am currently working in a toxic environment and want to get out. However working provides structure so it has its benefits. My kids have almost left the nest. There is one more graduating from college and beginning their life. But all three kids are untethered to a geographic location. I wish to move but where? This should be an exciting time but I dread the decisions to be made. Who do I wish to be when I grow up? What brings me joy? Contentment? These are questions I have never been able to answer.

So I will write and see what happens. I will write in truth without my self-delusions. However I am too close to myself and I can’t help but only see what I want to see. And anyway, I do not believe in truth or honesty or trust. Sir made sure of that. And after reading Talking to Strangers, I see I am right. I may have no readers – I don’t care about that. I simply want to know myself and figure out my life before I die.

Some Thoughts on Rejection

Within the last few months, I have started to listen to podcasts. Typically I listen to an audiobook while commuting and walking in order to occupy my mind so I do not think. I do not want to think of the world, my life, or my relationships. And yet I find it interesting to listen to different podcasts and recognize my life situations and find insight in their discussions. One podcast example is WorkLife with Adam Grant associated with TED talks.

I recently listened to “Bouncing Back from Rejection” and although the podcast focuses on the work environment, I recognized the emotion of rejection in my personal relationship with Sir. In the podcast, Adam Grant discusses rejection with 3 individuals: Sarah Robb O’Hagan, Emily Winter, and M. Night Shyamalan. This post will deal with Sarah Robb O’Hagan.

Sarah Robb O’Hagan, activist and entrepreneur spoke with Adam about being terminated from various companies. At first she blamed the company, then herself and finally the relationship with the company. Termination of employment translates into rejection by the group and results in feelings of worthlessness and incompetence. In terms of pain, when neuroscientists scan people’s brains, social rejection impacts the brain in similar ways to physical pain.

As I listened, I realized I also had experienced rejection due to Sir’s sudden announcement of another play partner. After blaming Sir, I primarily blamed myself and also wondered about my worth and competence in our relationship. In blaming myself, I felt powerless and despised my submission. It was who I was that was rejected: my devotion, my submission, and my being. Over time, these feelings have lessened but have not disappeared. When compounded with depression due to the pandemic, looking back I cannot discern if my feelings originated from the pandemic, my relationship with Sir or both.

In the case of employment termination, the recommendation is to blame a mismatch of the individual to the corporation. Although both Sir and I are accountable for our actions, it is perhaps a mismatch of the definition of our relationship that has resulted in my feelings of rejection. We have never agreed on what our relationship is in terms of power exchange structures but what we labeled it never really mattered. The label may not have been identical but our personal understanding of Us mattered greatly.

We knew how rare and special our friendship was and treasured it. We were not perfect for each other but we appeared willing to sacrifice some part of our needs for the relationship. All of these years as Sir’s submissive, the definition and parameters that described Us in my head were reinforced by his words and actions. Now I see past words and actions with a different perception of intent and cannot discern truth from fiction. If we had calmly sat down and discussed the situation and worked out a polyamory arrangement years ago, I believe the outcome would be different than it is in the present.

It is difficult to identify the cause of my various emotional states whether it is the pandemic, the loss of truth in our relationship or simply incompatibility. I have always believed in the polyamorous viewpoint that there is no Prince Charming-Cinderella relationship in reality. And yet over the many years Sir and I have been together, it was the truth and respect that allowed me to feel I could express the deepest parts of me – to be vulnerable with this one person in my entire life. I waited to be discarded and yet through all my mistakes, Sir stood by our relationship. Can I do the same for him? How do I do that?

The past is history and nothing can be done about the past but how to move forward past the feelings of rejection of myself and our relationship? Our relationship has changed as we changed over the years but that old definition of Us is gone no matter how much I might like to cling to it. A new understanding of our relationship must be built on the foundation of our friendship but I do not know what it will be or if it will be successful. How does one repair the cracks in friendship and trust? I do not know but I know I want it to work out. There has been many understandings of our relationship through the years and simultaneously a new understanding of myself. That is the exciting part. I want to see how this catalyst for change impacts who I am and my life.

Relationship

Inspired by Red’s Writing Challenge and Index

Fetlife

If I had to grade my relationships, I might give myself a C- or D+. Most of my life, I did not know about kink and once I knew, I discounted my kinky urges due to misplaced feminism and ignorance. Upon reflection, I acknowledge my relationships were based on impulsive decisions attempting to find a version of happiness defined and dictated by society. However, this is a harsh view of myself and the people in my life moulded by the fantasy view that out there in kinky land there is one kinky prince that will sweep me off my feet and will justify my devotion.

It is my unrelenting urge for time to standstill and let me focus so I can understand that never happens. The ropes are never tight enough – the pain never intense enough to suspend time. In rare moments of clarity and self-control, I know the answer to my discontent but quickly forget it and must rediscover it. My relationships with those around me – family, friends, Sir, co-workers – are fulfilling and when I stop grasping for more, I realize contentment is there if I just reach out and focus on what is. But the beast inside me never lets me rest unless it is tied down unable to move and pain cages my adventurous mind that searches for some missing thing with undefined parameters. Where the fuck is it? What is it? Would I even know it if I found it? Perhaps I already have it? My theory is I will see where it was hidden in my last breath.

So what is it? My current relationships are loving, fulfilling, fun, and positive but there is that thing that is missing. No one person can ever check all the boxes as far as what I need and my collective support system of those around me get me through the day. I know I need to feel needed and thus, valued in someone’s eyes. It is the removal of self-judgment and replacing it with the objective view of another and getting that gold star at the top of the paper. I firmly believe this person does not exist and I must have the self-discipline to develop these feelings within myself.

The beast is not the need to be tied up and find peace. The beast is the urge for control of myself and my surroundings. Bondage only supplies the moment of withdrawal of the needs of others and the clamoring of the world so that I can think. The beast is optimism that things will work out and there is more to life that what is in the present moment. “Just get on with it” says the beast but it is impossible after living a lifetime and pruning the tree of opportunity. The beast replies coward.

The beast and I sit in the fortress that I have built around me waiting in a constant state of angst. There is no rope, no pain or caring Dom able to obliterate the angst. I am the answer: simply accept my life. The beast is optimistic whereas I know the truth of reality. The beast has unbounded energy and must be tamed, controlled, and forced into submission and acceptance of the present situation. It is the relationship with myself that is the most important and if not rectified, the scorched earth policy will continue.

On Deck

My last post, “The Pool of Submission” described the analogy of my submission to a swimming pool as described by furcissy in Mental Spaces in BDSM v 1.0 (12/20/2018). In addition to my readings, I have been listening to the podcast Kink Buffet hosted by Manny, the Dom and wyo, the sub. They live a 24/7 D/s M/s lifestyle while traveling the country. Unlike Fetlife, where there are a variety of opinions and the gold nuggets of information are hidden deep beneath the surface, Manny and wyo simply talk about kink in a non-preachy manner and discuss their relationship. One of the most valuable contributions to my kink has been their usage of vocabulary and providing structure to some of my most inner, unvoiced thoughts. I have felt the tangled ropes of my kink unraveling as I expand my education.

I decided to listen to the podcasts in order so I could gain an understanding of their relationship as individuals and their power dynamic but also perceive any change in their viewpoints over time. I imagine myself having a cup of coffee with them discussing the topic at hand and nod or shake my head as I listen. Up to this point, my education has been based on conversations with Sir and sporadic usage of Fetlife. There were many gaps in my understanding especially outside the parameters of what was important to my immediate relationship with Sir. I have also found the discussions on polyamory useful since our relationship recently opened to others.

In listening to Manny and wyo, I have realized I had some misconceptions about power relationships. Manny and wyo agreed on areas of domination where Manny has control with the remaining parts of life 2 loving people living together. I am sure there is more to their relationship than this but this information combined with the swimming pool analogy has restructured my own thinking.

Sir and I have always had a dotted line between the areas of my life he controlled and the areas he did not control. In our early days, Sir and I had a contract and he controlled many areas of my life although we lived apart. Our lives were very different back then with less responsibilities and the time to enjoy our relationship, physically and mentally. Things have changed drastically since then with less time for each other and less time to process the power exchange. Domination and submission take up mental space and if you live an extremely busy life, it just cannot be supported. Some rules and protocols are in place to maintain the dynamic but often a day can go by without dwelling on D/s overmuch.

Through the years of our relationship, I struggled with controlling my need to submit. Looking back, if I return to the swimming pool of submission, I was “on deck” waiting to be called to action and thrown into the pool. Just as the anticipation, anxiety, and focus of attention builds when on deck prior to a swimming race, I was always ready and on edge waiting to submit. I handled waiting for the call to action in various ways and eventually beat my submissive need back into Pandora’s box with the lid cracked open for necessity. Life went on and then Covid happened.

After some honest communication, our relationship is now open to other partners. And yet I felt I was still on deck. In listening to Kink Buffet, I realized I was putting myself on deck, not Sir. My entire existence is not under Sir’s control through submission or friendship although that belief persisted. If we are not together to play or Sir has not thrown me into the pool with a trigger, I am free to be me, do what I want, find a new play partner and just live life as I see fit. I can find joy in this although my life and identity can be a burden. But it is my burden, my life and I want to live it and enjoy it. It is tricky living my life and then triggered by Sir into a submissive mental state periodically through the day but it is a reminder of what is so great about our relationship and then as that feeling subsides, it is great to feel my freedom. I don’t quite have the hang of it yet but acknowledging that it is both sides of the same coin doesn’t make it less valuable.