Sometimes it is very easy for me to share my story. I run to the keyboard and pour out an idea that has sprung to mind, or eagerly type out the results of some brainhamster action. And other times, I agonize over every word, hummingÂ â€œOh Lord, please donâ€™t let me be misunderstood…â€Â tersely under my breath over and over, hoping that I will hit it just right, and that people reading will grok my ideas, not tear me apart, have mercy on my soul, and see themselves in my story.
Other times, I am compelled to NOT share, because of internal ethical considerations orÂ externalÂ influences.
And other times I desperately want to share and…canâ€™t. A combination of things. Timing, uncertainty, confusion, anger, sadness, disappointment, fear…and in those times, I just have to wait.
I hate waiting. But I have learned a great deal about patience in the past decade or so. And even more in the past year or so.
So let me rewind a little.
The holidays were tough. I wrote about some of that. In addition toÂ finding out I carry HSV I and HSV II, I lost my hard drive and my trusty laptop deceased, taking a whole lotta awesome with it. I took a few serious financial blows. Which sucks when youâ€™re looking at the end of unemployment insurance coverage. But Iâ€™ve been worse off, and I have a wonderful place to live, with wonderful people. And Iâ€™ll get by.
As its been, Iâ€™ve struggled with some deeply personal issues over the past couple of months. At the root? A growing sense of disquiet around my submission, a disconnect from my progress in slavery, and frustration due to the stresses of trying to do all of this shit long-distance.
One of the mainstays of my slavery is â€œThe Prime Directiveâ€ and by that mandate, it is my responsibility to maintain the integrity of this slave’s emotional health. And mine was failing. I had to look at the aspects of my relationship with The Dominant Guy that were underÂ myÂ control. And the aspects that were underhisÂ control. And see what I could do to ensure that I was complying with The Prime Directive, ensure I was behaving in a way that was honorable, obedient, supported by transparency and trust. All that good shit.
And then, when I still felt that disconnect, the emptiness, when the pain outweighs the joy, I have to ask myself the hard questions.
- Are my needs being met?
- Is this feeding my soul?
- Am I living in joy?
- Is this submission elevating and liberating my heart?
And once Iâ€™ve answered those questions, and others, and seen that my heart is even heavier because I cannot answer in the affirmative, the next part of my job is to determine what it would take to bring these back to a â€œYes.â€ I need to be able to say to himÂ â€œI am having difficulty, I need your help. And here, I can offer you my thoughts on what we can do: you on your end, me on mine, and both of us, working in concert, to staunch the emotional bleed-out. Does this make sense? Are you willing?â€
And then I have to work up the guts to actually say this shit. The actual act of saying it is its own obstacle. Then thereâ€™s the fear of outcome.Â â€œYes, OK, Iâ€™m willing. Lets do this work.â€Â is, of course, what I wanna hear. But what if I didn’t ? Am I willing to upset the slow erosion for the abrupt loss and plunge into the unknown? And once I’ve put it out there, ainâ€™t no stoppinâ€™ us now, baby. I’d have to DEAL with the consequences.
It took weeks for me to get to the point where Iâ€™d coalesced into a coherency about my slow-creeping sadness around our relationship. Distance is one thing. Being involved with a poly person when youâ€™re monogamous is another. But funnily enough, the poly thing was less grim than Iâ€™d thought. I found myself NOT experiencing violent paroxysms of jealousy. And moving back east meant I was a cheap bus ride away from him. So that would help, right? But all of those things aside,Â timeÂ was the finite commodity, the fulcrum, over which I did not have control.
Having to practice what I preach is difficult. Having to go to the person who inspires in me heretofore unknown depths of submission and obedience and sayingÂ â€œThis isnâ€™t enough. I need more, I need your help. I need you to see me, to prioritize me. I need your focus. And I need your time.â€Â was profoundly daunting. I thought it and re-thought it. I re-arranged my priorities. I tried to match @TheDominantGuyâ€™s pace, since thatâ€™s what slaves do. Follow, and obey. But I only found myself feeling more detached and frustrated. I struggled to find words, to know what I needed, and to certain I had coherent thoughts about what it would take to have these needs met.
And then the time issue became even more difficult. It’s tough to find time in a busy life to have dense talks. And this became another obstacle. Time has to be carefully allocated and managed in any relationship. This is eversomuchmore critical in a long-distance relationship, and when there are multiple people involved in the aforementioned relationship dynamic, time can become more precious than ever.
No matter how much I agonized over it, eventually it came down to my having to bring up the obvious fact: things were unravelling. No matter how differently Iâ€™d wished this might be going, no matter how much I adjusted my expectations and pared down my needs, I had to face the fact I couldnâ€™t hold on and feel we were in a healthy relationship unless things changed. And changed in very specific ways.
And I did. Bit the bullet, steeled my nerves, hoped for the best…and had to wait just a bit longer. Priorities…priorities are a bitch. But eventually time was made and we were able to communicate.
Hard talks are hard, and they suck. And the only way they suck less is when, as an outcome, things are better off. And in this case, IÂ reallyÂ reallyÂ needed to hear a “Yes.” Yes, that it would all be OK. Yes that time would be made for us to do the work that would solidify our growth. Yes, that this would be a priority…
Thereâ€™s a particular coping mechanism I have when things suddenly fall from beneath me. I become eerily calm. Reasoned. I listen carefully, record every word, track my emotions with a detached sense that permits me to remain in control. And as I realized that the outcome I desired…that he said he desired too, was not going to be reached, I felt my heart shrink.
No,Â there would not be room and time to create the environment that we agreed was necessary for our M/S to flourish. Yes, it was important that everyoneâ€™s needs be met. And the current situation was not OK.Â No,Â it wasnâ€™t gonna open up and shift anytime soon.
And there it was.
If your needs are not being met, and you know what it takes to do so, and you put it out there, you have to be prepared to hear no.
This wasnâ€™t an apocalyptic breakdown. There was no bad guy. It just wasn’t working.
There were plans for us to spend some time together, and Iâ€™d hoped we would be able to re-connect, see what the next steps would be, since neither of us were of a mind to sever all ties and just walk away entirely. However that was a bit complicated…he had a big event for which he was preparing, and diverting focus from that to do this processing wasn’t his priority.
So things were put on hold.
Iâ€™m not gonna go deeply into the details of how emotionally awful that became. That first conversation in which I maintained my calm control was, apparently, a brief respite. The next few days found my mental state deteriorating. I felt disconnected. Couldnâ€™t think. became violently physically ill several times, even, as a result of this emotional process.
I need to thank my friends and roomies,Â LauraÂ &Â Karen, for being truly amazing. I need to thank all of my Family, bio, kink, Leather & Chosen, for supporting me. I need to thank everyone who called, texted, e-mailed, reached out. I need to thank the people who took care of me. The people who held me when I broke down and cried, the people who responded to my various pleas and freakouts.
And then the oddness started. As it happened, because my time with TDG was cancelled, and because I wound up being able to attend Creating Change, a convention whereÂ Vi JohnsonÂ was being given an award. And because I was able to represent the International Ms Leather organization, I was invited to take part in the color guard. And so, in spite of feeling torn up, I pulled myself together, and stood with 50+ Leatherfok to honor Vi in a packed ballroom. I was invited by Vi to sit with her and her family at their table. And when it came time for me to leave, I knelt next to her chair, to thank her for the honor of being able toÂ be present.
â€œI wasnâ€™t supposed to even be here…â€ I started
â€œNO.â€ she looked at me sternly, but lovingly. â€œYou are. You are exactly. Exactly where you are supposed to be.â€
I broke down again.
A day later, I confirmed that I was going to go to Yale and perform as part of their â€œSex Week.â€ A gig Iâ€™d previously had to turn down because of my commitment to be in service to TDG because he wanted me present for his event.
My head was swimming even as my heart was heavy. How could I celebrate these things that, on the surface, seemed so cool when I was still breaking down crying several times a day?
Just keep swimming
Just keep swimming
Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming
What do we do? We swim, swim…
I was on the bus on the way back from Maryland when I realized several things. I realized that it WAS possible to feel great pain and yet survive. I realized that, as much as I was mourning the shift in my relationship with TDG, I was mourning the idea of an M/S relationship, something Iâ€™d wanted for so long, and that has its own life and breath.
And I realized that not all things that are obstacles are fearsome, horrid monsters. Sometimes they are the very things we fight for. Fight and bleed and suffer and struggle. And even as we are holding on, God / The Universe / Fate / Good Sense / The Flying Spaghetti Monster is pulling it away because this thing, this goal, this situation? Is NOT for keeping.
Just because things are meant to be, doesnâ€™t mean they are meant to be forever.
And the story isnâ€™t over. Sometime, sometime soon I hope, I will be able to sit with @TheDominantGuy and see whatâ€™s what. I donâ€™t know how thatâ€™ll go. And yet, Iâ€™ve managed to let go of the expectations.
Because, frankly? I donâ€™t know what the fuck to expect anymore.
IÂ DOÂ know this.
Being transparent is hard. Opening up to possibilities that feel dangerous is hard. Spending almost a year and a half stretching, bending and pruning myself into new and amazing shapes is hard. Putting myself out there, trusting…
But all of that paled in comparison to having to take care of myself when all I wanted…all IÂ thoughtÂ I wanted…was slipping away.
Sometimes it takes a rather violent blow upside my head to help the lesson permeate.
Iâ€™m still working on this one. But I can say Iâ€™ve learned many lessons. I have remembered where my core is. Again. I have seen the difference between compromise and capitulation. Again. and I have realized that no amount of desire and intention can substitute forÂ realÂ work done inÂ realÂ time.
Some obstacles are so, so beautiful. And I am grateful for them. And oh it aches as they are removed. But I have to trust. Again. That this pain, this darkness, will give way to new and even more amazing adventures. And growth. and love.
Thank you for this. I am in constant awe of your clarity, integrity and strength.
Thanks, Tracy. It isn’t all that bloody easy but I keep telling myself all of that is worth it, you know?
While I suspect you do not remember me, I had the pleasure of meeting you at Glenda’s playhouse one evening…I was there with Syr Kris. . . and I for one thank you for having both the courage and the talent to put into words the struggles I sometime face in my own collared service.
In the end, it is all we have to give, all that is ever really our own. It, too, is the greatest obstacle my Master and I face day after day as we try to balance His once-again blossoming career, His insistence that I engage with people and organizations around here that can feed my soul (quilters and barbershopping women, no less!!), and our shared need for staying in integrity with the collar He holds, which I wear, and which defines how we are, who we are, with one another.
I would like to say that waking up in the same bed with Him makes it easier. It doesn’t. I’ve done long distance. It has its own kind of harder, including the lack of warmth against my back at night. I find myself humbled by your ability to be honest with yourself about getting your needs cared for. Master’s “First Rule” — “Protect and care for Master’s property”. Included in it, though not so elegantly expressed as in your “Prime Directive” is saying “no, Master.” when an order or set of expectations puts me at risk of harm. It is both the easiest and hardest of His rules to obey.
I too have experienced the frustration and pain of watching what I thought was the best for me taken (torn, wrenched, or ripping from white-knuckled claws) away from me, only to find in the wreckage a new path which brought me more — more joy, more growth, more opportunity. Even after all the cycles of “rip, build, repeat” I still find letting go, especially of expectations, painful and frightening.
Blessings to you on your path, dear lady. Your courage is a beacon for all who wear the collar, owned or not. The collar lives in the heart of the slave / servant / s-whatever. . . and we are allowed, at the best of times, to share it with One who gives more than takes.
If there are any downsides to my having left Maryland for the wilds of Wisconsin (and there are a few, like real restaurants and the ability to be open about lifestyle choices), it is not having a chance to get to know you and the amazing leatherwomen in the area better than I did.
In leather and the life,
Master Jeff’s kitten
Im do glad I’m not the only one who’s sometimes rendered completely at a loss sorting through what I want, what I think I want, & of course that old bastard, what I need. Fortunately there are people like you to remind me that it can be done w/grace & strength.
Thank you, Thaniel. I don’t think we have much opportunity in our lives to work out those prioritization muscles, and so they have to learn in the trenches. I very much appreciate your kind words….I don’t feel particularly graceful or strong right now. But I’m trying.
This is a magnificent piece of work you’ve accomplished. Self-care, honesty, transparency, stating our needs and claiming our space are among the most difficult things to do in ANY circumstances, but with the added chemistry of a D/s relationship, well, that’s just above and beyond. Thank you for offering a clear, healthy example of how to take care of yourself. I, for one, am most grateful.
Thank you so much…I don’t think I’d realized how difficult it really was until I had to wade through it. And I am grateful that I have the chance to share it with folks.
My heart goes out to you. Thank you for having the courage to share your struggles toward clarity, and bravo for your difficult choices made from a place of self-awareness and self-care.
Thank you, bliss. It doesn’t always feel so courageous. But every day, it feels a little more right. ((hugs))
Thank you for sharing this. Your writing always brings me to tears. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad. But it also always helps me find the words I’ve been looking for. I wish you and TDG all the best.
Dear Mollena: I’ve never read a blog entry and wanted to hug the writer as much as I want to hug you write now. Everything you’ve written, I have thought at some point in my M/s relationship. Despite incredible odds we’re making it work, and M promises me that our relationship will always be dynamic. That we will always work to meet each other’s needs even if that means ending it. My heart goes out to you. You’re an amazing woman. Thank you for writing this.
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