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.

The Pool of Submission

Since I left my own little, isolated world of BDSM, I have realized how much I could have been learning if I had continued broadening my mind with reading and other methods. As I started this blog, I found this writing Mental spaces in BDSM v 1.0 (12/20/2018) from furcissy that finally gave visuals and vocabulary to my beliefs about domination and submission. furcissy defines a mental space as “who we are at a given time. It is the collection of all of our different mental spaces that describes who we are as a whole.” Specifically, furcissy speaks of submissive and dominant mental spaces. Mental spaces and other items in the blog post have enabled Sir and I to discuss the specifics of our power dynamic not just of submission but also domination.

Briefly, submission is viewed as a swimming pool of submission with a shallow, medium and deep end. Triggers place the sub into specific locations in the pool and then can be manipulated by the Dom into various depths of the pool or may take the submissive total out of the pool. A trigger is described as “acts, ideas, kinks, fetishes, or fantasies that elicit a strong enough response to cause the sub to shift into their submissive mental space.” A person with a submissive persona in the pool is not a submissive out of the pool but resorts to their standard persona.

When in my submissive persona, my focus is on Sir. My actions, my thoughts and my decision making process redirect and support our power exchange. I am aroused sexually. I become sensitive to Sir’s approval and feel vulnerable to his moods. When I am in my standard persona, I slip easily into my submissive persona with the slightest nudge. In order to stay in my standard persona, I need to work at it and occupy my mind with distractions.

Each sub has their own triggers that place them into the submissive pool at a specific depth. Using the epithet “Sir” and wearing Sir’s chain are examples of shallow end of the pool triggers for me. Requesting permission to cum is a medium depth trigger. Meeting to play is a maximum depth trigger.

There is a fluidity of movement in the submission pool based on many factors. As Sir applies ropes to my body, I can start out in the shallow or medium depth of the pool but as the ropes tighten and escape becomes unachievable, I end up in the deep end of the pool. Impact play may drive me deeper. At this point, I may end up in subspace, a chemical induced state different from my submissive mental state. As we play, Sir uses various triggers to move me about in the pool and sometimes forces me out of the pool only to put me back in the pool. The intensity and depth in the pool depends on the flow and sequence of triggers used.

Triggers are also sensitive to factors such as the level of trust, my mood, Sir’s mood, location, time, events, and many others. Sir’s displeasure indicated by harsh words can either take me out of the pool entirely or place me in the medium depth depending on the circumstances. It can feel extremely uncomfortable and hurt physically to be forced to move from my submissive persona to my standard persona. Conversations about some topics can drive me from the pool and causes me to resist returning. Mood and life can weaken triggers or empower them. As with most things, they are not static but changeable.There are also triggers initiated by myself such as writing this blog entry, listening to podcasts, or just thinking of our relationship.

My standard persona consists of many different personas such as my professional and parent personas. But there is also a basic persona that represents me and who I am. This is the logical, rational, strong woman who strives to be a good person in this chaotic world. In my basic state, I am Sir’s friend rather than submissive. My default has been my submissive state but now I want to find out who this person is without carrying the expectations of submission constantly and without feeling I need to break a few rules to accomplish this. My basic persona is restless and wants more variety, challenge and experiences and seeks adventure. I find the coexistence of my basic and submissive viewpoints of life clash and at times are contradictory in their goals. This probably accounts for some of my erratic moments. It appears I have some thinking to do.

In This Moment

I wake each morning thinking today is the day I will find some peace and joy and not think about my to-do list, projects, goals and unattainable ideas. I will simply be mindful, be present in my life and focus on what I am doing right this moment. I am not very successful in this. I know mindfulness is the current hot topic after the years of the former guy and the pandemic. Many of us are struggling with depression, fear and anxiety. They are my unwelcome companions in life each day and I am not sure when they joined me on the journey. These feelings may be the backdrop to my life but it is the feeling of time running out that pervades my thoughts.

In order to boost my mood, I walk and meditate each day. I attempt to banish my negative thoughts as I work and live my life. But there are so many reasons to have negative thoughts: The state of the world! The state of my relationships! The state of my life! I ask why I cannot control my thoughts and have some discipline over them and find satisfaction in my life at this distinct moment of time? I do not have an answer.

I am a strong woman and externally manage many things and people in my life and yet I feel I cannot control my thoughts as they float through my head. There is much despair and the future often looks extremely bleak. The simple peace watching the birds at the bird feeder does not translate to the minutes of my day.

If I cannot control these unwelcome thoughts, can I eliminate the cause of them? Certainly aside from my vote, I cannot control my immediate world. I can attempt to give advice to family and friends but they do not have to listen and I do not want that responsibility anymore. They must live their life as they see fit and my life is not example of perfection. And Sir is in control of our relationship so I submit and should feel relief but it feels like a mirage.

I look to others like Brene Brown and Jay Shetta for the secrets to get on with a good life and attempt to swap the negative for positive but the dark side is powerful. I challenge my mind with reading and hobbies just to keep it occupied but the challenge must be equal to ropes and whips to be effective. Appreciation of what I have, logic and rationality appear to be in short supply in my head! I try not to beat myself up too much about the quagmire in my head since that is Sir’s job but I do feel unsuccessful at life.

There are valid reasons for my struggle at maintaining a stable mental health: the pandemic, the former guy, my empty nest, aging and other items. In essence we have been trained by the last few years to think negatively about life in general. The past can’t be corrected and the future is an unknown so in the end it is just about this moment. If I struggle to do this, I know I am not alone and that no one else has the secret. Otherwise authors would have stopped writing books decades ago. And I do not have a mountain top to sit on meditating. All I can do is not give up and do my best. And just perhaps a hand will appear out of the darkness and show me the path.

Love the One You’re With

In 1970, Stephen Stills sang “Love the one you’re with” and as a teenager, I took that to heart. I was ready and willing to do this through the decades as I sought the solution to that need I could not define. It was my quest. I followed the rules of society until overcome with an audacious moment of courage I said to Sir, “Yes tie me up”. My quest was finally over.

With the new year, Sir redefined our relationship as polyamory. My first thoughts were of immense relief that I could shed the guilt I carried that I could not fulfill Sir’s needs to perfection. I also felt the excitement of possibly meeting new people and acquiring new play partners. I knew nothing of polyamory and began to research it with readings and podcasts. So many new concepts and vocabulary to absorb! It makes perfect logical sense that no one person could meet all of your needs. I admit freely I do not know what I am doing or exactly what I feel since it changes from day to day. I will make mistakes and misunderstand frequently. Negative thoughts creep into my mind rather than the positive benefits of polyamory. I must do my own work on these negative thoughts and find my way to the other side.

Can I be that audacious woman once again and find my way out of the forest of fear, insecurity, ignorance and confusion? It will be hard work to shed the societal baggage and change my conventional thinking of relationships. For the most part, I have centered my life in service to others facilitating their lives and meeting their needs. I worked hard at feeling satisfied when I was not even with my relationship with Sir. I felt I was unselfish but in reality I was very selfish. I expected Sir to change and give me what he cannot. This is perhaps the ultimate in selfishness! The constant battle between my unmet needs and acceptance of the status quo made my emotional life unpredictable.

Perhaps this is my definition of life? No matter what I have, will I constantly be searching for something else that is just out of reach? I believe none of my issues are centered on polyamory or new play partners but rather on my own personal battle with life. Sometimes I believe my love of challenges creates the fodder for these skirmishes and battles. The reality of my life is that it is a very good life and it is easy to say focus on what you have but where is the challenge then? My personal philosophy is to feel authentic and understand myself ad nauseum and all these little issues that polyamory have uncovered must be dealt with. The fear of abandonment, the not good enough feeling, and the confusion about who I am and what I need have always been there. I do not believe they will ever be dealt with but rather are the negative components of who I am. This is the reality of life, at least mine, and I should be thankful Sir has been willing to aid the fight on the side of logic and rational thought.

Living each day and fighting to get through it takes a bold act of courage. I may find solutions to some of my issues but I guarantee new ones will crop up. It is the viewpoint of who I am and which identity I choose to wear that makes all the difference. If I truly love a challenge then I must face my inner battles with the appreciation of self-discovery and not fear what I may discover. I can embrace my challenges, learn more about myself and enjoy the view.

Orgasm Control

Over a decade ago, I gave up my orgasms to Sir’s control. I really didn’t know what this meant initially so I tested his control. I found out what it meant the next time we met. A few years ago, Sir gave me back control but as we continued to play, I found this wasn’t satisfactory for the power exchange. I requested some form of control during the time apart. Sir gave me a physical token of control and took back control of my orgasms. If I want to cum, I needed to ask permission first.

Then the pandemic struck and my family and I were all home. As the months dragged by and the stress escalated, I justified to myself not asking permission. We were not meeting and spoke only of the horrible state of the world and country. Why was I asking for permission? Our friendship kept us together but I wondered if it was time to part. I still asked permission occasionally but I felt the guilt of my non-permissible moments when I did.

With the new year, we started communicating and revitalized our relationship and reconnected on many levels. However, my Big Secret felt heavy and I knew I had to confess. It took weeks before I could feel ready to confess and feel Sir’s disappointment in me. I knew there would be punishment but Sir’s disappointment was the real punishment. Sir let me stew in my head for a few days before announcing one of my punishments.

Sir had me write lines. So I started.

I sat in my office without music or distraction because the lines required concentration. I was focused on the task and getting through it. I didn’t think it would take as long as it did (almost 2 hours). At first glance it appeared very silly and I felt like a child being punished. Coincidentally, I was reading “Gordon” (by Edith Templeton) and the Dom calls the sub “my poor child”and tells her to “go make loo loo” (pee). Lines felt very belittling to me and I felt like that “poor child.”

For the first 10 or so, I was all gung-ho which then led to “this is ridiculous” for the next 10-20. Then rewriting orgasm, cum, permission over and over made me want to cum so badly. I couldn’t sit still but had to keep writing. At about 50, my hand started to hurt, I was bored, and I got mad at my submission. Why couldn’t I be a Dominant? Why did I have to get slutty thoughts sitting here writing over and over. I am a strong woman – this just is not right! Some thoughts of justifying my errant behavior cycled through my head. It is a pandemic after all!

I started underlining words to focus my attention and control myself but I kept realizing I couldn’t cum without permission and what that meant – what it said about me. As I approached 100, I was bored, my hand hurt badly and I couldn’t write. I felt Sir’s anger and disappointment and teared up.  Lines 80-100 were illegible and I was terrified I might have to redo it. I vowed to myself to be obedient from this point forward and always ask permission.

By the end of the lines, I wanted to ask permission which further emphasized what I was writing over and over so I was deeper in agony. Having broken the rule and felt Sir’s disappointment, anger and punishment, I felt the power of the rule more so. I could only sit in my submissive puddle and knew I dare not ask. 

The rest of the story

My midlife crisis began with playing an MMORPG and while gathering supplies and acquiring armor, having long conversations with other adult players about life, opportunities and of course, sex. While defeating monsters, I flirted and was initiated into sexting. I was a relative innocent sexually and knew absolutely nothing about BDSM. Based on a conversation with a particular friend, he had me watch “The Secretary” which opened my eyes to what I needed. He set up a rudimentary D/s, LDR relationship where he tested the waters of my submission and obedience. During the time we were together, he recognized my need for a physical relationship and assisted my navigation of online personal ads.

One day I found an ad that intrigued me. There were many words I did not totally understand but the words bondage and rope appeared to grow in size and pulse as I read it. With tremendous amounts of courage and a bit of daring, I responded to the ad. Wife, mother, soccer Mom – this act did not fit my identity but I had to do something. I could no longer live with this mystery and need deep inside me. And thus began a friendship with Sir that has grown through the years and weathered many obstacles, hurts, and setbacks. But with each situation, our friendship grew rather than wilt into obscurity.

Sir introduced me to bondage, impact play and power exchange. I finally felt whole and complete as a person. In these beginning years, Sir and I had a contract and when possible, I wore his collar. We saw each other when we could and enjoyed the friendship and the kink. Although we were long distance, I felt the constraint of the imaginary leash as I lived my life.

Every day small changes bring about major shifts eventually and for both of us, life got in the way of our relationship. Although our friendship remained solid, our relationship drifted apart physically and mentally. I often thought of ending the relationship and possibly finding another play partner but I felt I couldn’t betray the devotion I felt to Sir and our friendship. The years flowed by with little focus and even less communication on our power exchange needs. Assumptions were made by both of us and neither of us had the correct vocabulary to discuss our issues. And the outside world weighed heavily on both of us. For myself, the past year of the pandemic was a year of fear and depression.

Sir initiated a conversation of honesty and open communication at the beginning of this year. The changes in our relationship have opened the door to my unspoken desires, kinks and fetishes (and I believe his). We have work to do on our relationship. I have immense work to do unlocking my vault of desires, letting go of fear, and forgetting past assumptions. We are open to other partners so polyamory concerns must be considered. Friendship, trust and the desire to remain together will hopefully help us overcome potential issues.

The Back Story

How far back should one go to explain their life and decisions? Are my kinky interests predetermined by my genetics? From my genealogy research, I do know I have individuals that would take chances sexually. One close relative was a bigamist leaving his pregnant first wife with young children in the workhouse to emigrate with his “second wife” to America. I am shocked at this behavior and think it unique but others tell similar stories from their own family history. There is no way to determine if my unique DNA predisposed me to my personality and my traits.

Perhaps then I should look to my upbringing? I know there are events in my early childhood that stand out in my thoughts as catalysts to developing my love of bondage and my need for submission. Is it obligatory to be tied with rope in this period of childhood to develop a need for bondage? Maybe someone should study it but there are probably more people tied in childhood games that do not fall into kink. I admit it was my favorite game with neighborhood children. When I was perhaps 3 or 4, I did not enjoy going to sleep and my father put me outside the house one night, I was told to go play, and the door was closed. Does submission and obedience come from an episode like this? Perhaps this event can explain why the ropes are never tight enough to comfort me and tell me I am not abandoned. If I had not heard “Stop being bossy” over and over might I have taken the Dominant path and not been shamed by it? Does my shame tell me it is better to submit than dominate and thus, finally receive my parents praise? None of my questions or hunches can be proven and I have been done pondering them years ago.

Culturally I grew up in an uptight, pseudo-British household in the 60s to the 70s. I went through a rebellious hippie phase in order to get through high school. In college, feminism brought out my strong, powerful woman persona. A few degrees, a successful corporate career, a failed marriage and a second marriage with children later, I knew the past was not the life I wished to live. I gazed at the horizon and felt out of place with the world and knew I had my own personal work to do to find what was missing. The boxes society had forced me into did not work for me. I was ignorant about what was missing but I was going to look for it and find it.

I was in my early 50s but what did that matter? I ran half-marathons and felt healthy and sane. If not now, when? It was out there and I was determined to find it. I didn’t know what I was looking for but I would be open to life and hopefully it might find me.

Step right into my kinky world …

Dear Reader,

Welcome to my blog on kink, life and other miscellaneous topics that I wish to write about. I may write periodically since I will not allow my blog to become a chore but something I enjoy doing. There is too much on my must-do list already. The aim of my blog is to have fun writing and if perchance I deepen my knowledge of myself, I am overjoyed. I am new to WordPress so forgive my blogging faux pas.

I enjoy writing and it helps me cope with life and organize my thoughts and emotions. As an exhibitionist, I enjoy the illusion someone is reading my blog but don’t feel compelled to find readers. Topics will focus on my power exchange relationship with Sir, our kink activities, and my curiosity about polyamory. Although I do not live in the past, I may touch on topics that provide insight into who I am today and where I may be going. Of course, some aspects of my family life and work activities may sneak into my blog since I am also a wife and mother.

My blog’s main focus will be on my journey discovering my sexuality, my submission, and the boundaries of my adventure. I welcome comments from like-minded individuals.